Innards #14: The Vault


A new and big idea has decided to settle in my head. This intrusive idea arrived this morning, knocking politely in my hollowed skull, and what did I do? I let it in. I entertained it. I gave it a glass of water, fed it, and before I knew, I had accidentally nurtured it. 

Oh Cthulu… 

It’s something to be proud of and yet, something you shouldn’t. Oh wow, you got a fun new idea, neato! Yes, it is neat. But what’s not neat is me unable to finish a single manuscript.

This new idea is a reminder that I’m dragging behind while all the cool stuff is piling up. And quite frankly, the more I hold off those ideas the more they become stale. And I do not want stale bread and I certainly do not want my cheese all moldy. 

I forgot how many “Projects” I already have out there. “Ashes” and “Dark” are definitely going after Red Whale. Then there’s the matter of “Tunnel Crow Town” and Project Ghosts, which is going to be really big. There’s also Project Sherlock that needs to be written after “Ashes” and between “Dark” because the latter two are so damn depressing. Oh, there’s also Project Hunter, my planned YA books, and then well, there’s the new idea that happens to be YA. Oh, I’m not done yet. There are multiple horror anthologies being written and then Project Starkiller, which is as big as Ghosts. Oh, I forgot my 2010 baby, “The Conductor” and my 2005 sweetheart, Shards. 

There’s a few more, like projects Apples and Valentine, and my nose is itchy to write a classic High Fantasy with a bit of twist. Then ther are a bunch of novellas. So yeah. In short, I’m screwed. I need to catch up or else the world will roll all over me.

A friend of mine said I may have writing ADHD and from exhausting all my projects like that, I can see why. 

In the meantime, the Red Whale is cruising along, almost done but with a lot of holes that need more than a few patches to fix.

Now I stop this and onwards to writing!

Patch 1.0

Locked in 43,000 words, I feel I have overwritten things for the Red Whale. 

I know it’s said to finish the draft first before applying rewrites, but, it’s just not working for me. So I stopped writing forward and moved back a bit, all the way to the second chapter actually, and started making a few tiny fixes. 

These include:

– Shortening chapters. 

– Tightening sentences.

– Removed characters.

– Added new characters.

– Deleted entire chapters.

– Toned down the dark by two shades.

– Included new sub-stories for new characters.

– Deleted sub-story arcs. These were intended for future use.

– Picked up the pace.

With all of that I ended up with 38,000 words. I still feel there’s a lot to do here but for now I’m content and I’ll start working on new material.

In other news, spent an hour and a half playing “Super Mario Maker” and learned how to Shell Jump, P-Switch Jump, and Spring Jump. So far, Shell Jumps are the most difficult to do.

Production at full go!

After weeks of going back and forth in other things that needed immediate attention, I am back at full production for “Year of the Red Whale.”

My word count has soared up to 50,000. It is not a great number from a shy over 35,000 from last month, but I managed to plunge right through it. I had to delete entire sections and chapters of the novel to begin a fresh start with greater clarity in mind.

It’s never easy to cull huge chunks of your story. Sometimes it is necessary though. Who knows, maybe they will end up as part of a “Deleted Scenes” section, somewhere, somehow.

This is still Draft 1, I should say. But I’m doing everything I can to polish it as I go deeper into the story. Maybe that’s why it’s taking me too long to finish the entire damn book.

I’ve also finished writing a short story titled “Shiny’s Purple Bottle.” It’s a story about a woman and her mother.

I think I’ll send this off to a magazine. Maybe at Shock Totem when they open submissions. I’ve always wanted to get my story published by them, been watching them from the very start. So far I had submitted one story to them, which was rejected, and after looking at the story, I can see why they, or any other publication would decline in publishing it.

I do hope that this new short has the meat and bones professional publications are looking out for. I’ll keep polishing this story until Shock Totem becomes available.

In the meantime I’ll draft another short story. One that isn’t horror or weird, for once. All my shorts are either of those two. Maybe I’ll try my hand for science-fiction and aim for Clarkesworld.

 

Not going to make it

As of this writing my total word count for “Year of the Red Whale” is within the 30K range. This includes the initial write-up pre-NaNoWriMo. I still have two hours to go, but I don’t want to blaze through it so recklessly.

A lot of things happened this month. And I failed to catch up, and that’s no excuse. I failed at NaNoWriMo, but I still managed to write a large amount of words into the story. So, I can’t feel too bad about it.

I’m just now going to polish the things I’ve written at this point and then proceed in crafting the rest of the story.

Peace out. Still listening to the entire Paramore soundtrack in an endless loop.

Uuuuugggghhh…

rocketannoyed

Rocket Racoon from Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Procrastination, is a dear, ugly friend of mine.

In the latter half of 2011 while everyone was applying the final touches to their theses, my partner and I were just getting started. We had everything we needed: journals, interviews, the so-so stuff, but we were just about to start writing it.

I don’t know what the hell had happened. I distinctly remember working on it but the end result wasn’t good. So, we had exactly 32 hours to finish it. We did. We nailed it. Over 300-pointless pages, out of a 50-page maximum requirement. Our thesis professor was pissed. I was pissed, I wasn’t happy with how we did it, I felt our output was sewage. Students doing research on similar topics all over the country will be reading this. It’s an embarrassment. The dean loved it. Hell, I’ll take what I can get. In spite in how ugly it was, we still managed to blaze through the oral defense, leaving no loopholes, two of the three panelists were satisfied, the third needed a wee bit more convincing. Bottom line: We killed it, somehow, with utmost luck, and a lot of prayers, and sacrificial hamsters.

Oh, there are other scenarios where procrastination is barking at my heels. My NaNoWriMo entry, for one. As of this writing, November 18, 2016, I have on record in my NaNoWriMo profile, 3,492 words. Lovely. That means I have about 11-12 days to reach that 50,000-mark. I also realize that my book, “Year of the Red Whale” doesn’t need to be a 100-120,000-word monster. Based from where I am now, this book needs no more than about 50,000 words. I don’t think I can have that. This will mean adding more scenes into the story, adding characters, and tossing in side stories to fill in the gap. I’m aiming for 80,000, at the very least, without looking like a stretch. It’s even more challenging to meet that requirement when I have only one point-of-view character.

I think the best part of procrastination is having that sense of urgency that you need you finish something before time’s up. It’s like being in a MacGyver situation where you have 10-seconds to live and start getting creative to get out of that butt hole you’ve dug yourself in with a few mental bumps and bruises. It’s actually fun, sometimes, if not outright frustrating.

So, there we have it. My fond update of this month’s contest. All things considered, hopefully these next few days will help me get to the road to 50,000.

Innards #13

I promised never to make another “Innards” post unless I’ve actually made some real, solid progress with my stories. Then this means, I just made some real, solid progress!

It’s only been a little over a month, and my current project, titled, “Year of the Red Whale” has built itself a humble 15,000 words. More are still pouring in as I do my best to type as fast and meticulous as I can. I’m rather satisfied with the outcome so far and things are continuing skyward, much to my satisfaction. Before the month ends, I hope to reach 20,000 words and enough to proceed to the book’s “Part 2” segment, which I aim to become my NaNoWriMo entry. Whether I reach the 50,000 goal or not should be awesome. There is a deeper drive now to finish my stories more than ever.

As I continue the Red Whale, I’ve gotten a chance to check out my older projects, “The Conductor” and Project Scar. Each were started in 2010 and 2008 respectively. Both are around 30,000 words and looking at them now, I’m surprised by how different they are from what I’m writing today. Not in a bad way. The prose was a little bit more florid, the pacing was nice, and world was more imaginative and bigger. On a single page, I’ve managed to cram in a lot of information, without feeling like an infodump. I know what I’m saying sounds egocentric and I’m just blowing air into my head. Not really, I’m just saying, if someone like me, who has little to no talent in writing, can come up with something like that. Then anyone can.

The biggest difference I’ve made was spending a lot of time in those two stories. I remember staying up late at night trying to finish a chapter. Always pushing into my head, one more paragraph. I’d spend entire weekends locked in a room, staring at a blank page, trying to cough up the right words that would breathe life into my stories. I wrote a paragraph. I stare at it and I take it out, unsatisfied. It’s a long, damning process that ended up being worth it.

It was also a time when I’ve done nothing but read a lot of books, nonstop. I suppose all those prose bled out into my subconscious. “Year of the Red Whale” begins to pale in comparison against “The Conductor” and Project Scar. Looks like I’ve a lot of thinking and redesigning to do.

The only advice I ever took was from an Aussie writer: “Read, write, and practice.” He said. I took it to heart, kept reading a lot, kept writing a lot, and got a lot of feedback. I never settled on what I’ve written. If I had to cut out entire chapters just because they no longer fit, so be it. It’s a habit that needs to come back.

These days I only get to write three to four hours a day, at night, after getting back from work, where I’ve spent the entire day writing. It gets dull and sickening, but, that’s all part of the challenge.

I never really relied on any other books that thought how to write. Sure, I got a few, read what advice they’ve got to offer, and I’ve only ended up feeling disappointed, wishing I’ve spent my money elsewhere. There are a ton of forums out there who can give the same exact advice from those books, for free. They can be a little harsher though. The only books that I felt were ever really important, were Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.” The first one, was well, because it was about King telling us how he got into writing and it was damn interesting. The second book, King himself had actually suggested in his book I’ve just mentioned, cleaved a path  on how to write better, how to construct concise and clear sentences. If I had to choose between two sentences where one attempts to sound profound and sophisticated, over one that immediately puts an image in my head without disrupting the flow of the story, I’d pick the latter any time. That’s the most important thing, clarity. Writing is a long process. You’d start with a blank page and by the time you hit less than 1,500 words, over an hour has already passed. That’s fine. That’s how good art is crafted. Savor every moment of it.

On other news: The Wife is insisting I should switch jobs. With my income, I could hardly blame her. She believes I can do better. She’s not the only one, truth be told. Many other folks who have grown old within the company are insistent, I should get out while I still can. The inferiority complex in me is trying to cower behind closed sheets, afraid to take on another professional, meet new people, but, but, potentially earn at least twice as more than my current job. I only earn, in US dollars equivalent, around 280. It’s pretty dismal.

Earlier this week Nintendo has finally unveiled the NX console – the Switch. It looks amazing. It’s a console I want to have alongside a PlayStation 4 when I get one. When they announced sometime ago that Nintendo was working on going mobile, I didn’t expect this. It is a brilliant execution, a potential merging between handheld and home consoles – considering handhelds in these past years, had been Nintendo’s strongest selling point. If ever, the Switch will be my first Nintendo console since the SNES, and I’m really looking forward to it.

It’s no mystery that I’ve gotten myself into reading more self-published books. It started with Hugh Howey’s “Wool,” and followed by Anthony Ryan’s “Blood Song.” I wanted to see what all the fuss had been about and how the independent-segment is fairing. And it’s looking quite good. There are lots of talented traditionally unpublished authors out there. Sure, some of them needs a few more polishing, but the quality of fun and stories they deliver remain to be topnotch. My recent read was Will Wight’s “Unsouled” and it’s something that needs more attention.

Apparently I’m still in-love with Hayley Williams. Her weird iTunes Festival getup in 2013 and the green-haired, tight shirt,  skirt, stockings look in Wango Tango 2014, was just, damn.

Out of boredom I went back listening to some bands I haven’t listened to for a long time. It’s just such an amazing treat to go back and relive the songs that defined my era while growing up and how I started getting into music. Green Day gets the most nostalgia in me with their song, Basket Case, and of course, Boulevard of Broken Dreams. This is quickly followed by Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue, bringing back old memories from my time in California as a wandering, angry, solitary teenager. I also just found out they’re on their very last tour. That hurts. Finally, there’s Foo Fighters. I haven’t been a fan of their newer songs, while still great, I’d still like to dwell on their songs like Monkey Wrench, Learn to Fly, Long Road to Ruin, and yes, Everlong.

The season 7 premiere of “The Walking Dead” blew my brains out. So, spoilers from here. Based from the comics, I knew what was going to happen. But the first shocker had thrown me off guard, it was an attempt from the production crew to mess with the longtime fans of the series. Something worst was bound to happen. It just did.

Year of the Red Whale: NaNoWriMo

Oh snap! I just did it. I just did this thing in NaNoWriMo where I announced Project Crown! Looks like I really will be participating this year.

As of this writing, Project Crown has over than 10K words. NaNoWriMo asks writers to start writing on the first of November. I’m not in the mood to stop writing and work on yet another project (Project Hunter, most likely).

Project Crown is on the roll and I see it being completed soon. Even though that’s still about 90-110K words to go. What I’m going to do, is write as much as I can until the official start of NaNoWriMo, after which, I’ll jump to the book’s next segment, or rather, the next “Part.”

NaNoWriMo challenges writers to write 50K words between November 1 to 30. If I do that, that’s 50K new words into my novel. To participate in the spirit of the event, I won’t include any words written before November 1.

I’ve announced Project Crown in NaNoWriMo as “Year of the Red Whale.” And that is its final title. It’s a fantasy story set in the Industrialization era. A time when most of the world has been discovered, explored, and colonized. It is a time for modern medicine as new diseases are born from the empire’s strands.

It is a revenge story and will involve all sorts of crazy stuff in it. I’m very excited in how much I was able to put in it without being senseless clutter. It all worked, somehow, at least for me. I’ll have to tally what the beta-readers will have to say.

Anyhow, I suppose I’ll talk more about the book some other day, when it is undergoing rewrites and polishing. While I understand a 100-120K-word novel is no easy feat to accomplish, I’m aiming to complete this story sometime in December. But who knows, I’ve said that before about Project Ashes.