Innards #17: Birth

Last week my wife went into an unexpected labor. Four hours later, she delivered our first child.

The delivery itself was only about 10 minutes. From the labor room, my wife was moved to the delivery room. I was asked to wait, to make room for their preparations. I complied. Ten minutes in, the nurse fetched me, and when we both entered the delivery room, the child was already there.

Everyone was surprised by the speed of the delivery. And the sudden change of our timeline shook our entire future.

My wife has two months of maternal leave. I only have seven days, which is a bummer. Thus far, things have been great. My wife and I have so far, spent sleepless nights watching over our child, changing nappies, and whatnot. The most time we were able to spend on sleep was barely 30 minutes. And yet, neither myself nor the wife feel any level of exhaustion.

 

It sucks that we need to go back to work, eventually. But such is the way of life. My writings have gained newfound priority. There’s a bunch of stories that needs to be written and the road to publication, whether independently, or traditionally, is going to be a long and hard one. If there’s any a time to make changes, that would be now.

The Red Whale WIP has progressed from 23% to 27%. A lot of changes were made. Many of those changes I am not too happy about. At the cost of 40,000 words, these changes gave room for a faster and smoother narrative. I’m circling around to see if there’s anything from the old draft I can migrate into the new one. There’s a lot of really good stuff in there.

I still have a few days left to finish what I can finish. In between writing and taking care of the child, I open Steam and have been playing “Wizard of Legend,” “Frostpunk,” “Poly Bridge,” “Brawlhalla,” and, ahem, “HunieCam Studio.” I do hope I get to stream someday and continue to work on the development of YouTube videos with “Super Mario Maker” content, while I still have the Wii U in my hands.

There’s also the pre-development of a podcast I’ve been wanting to make. I have most of the equipment, so it’s just a matter of finding the right time for it.

In any case, onward we go, first, to burp the baby, and then, to write!

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No comfy

Yesterday, a strong burnt rubbery smell filled the apartment. I freaked out. It’s Summer. A season of fires. Then the wife and I discovered the smell was coming from the air condition.

Ruling out all possible reasons, I have concluded that the motor is overheating. It was a shit thing to undergo. That night, I tested the AC. I lowered the fan speed and upped the temperature a little, so it would’ve overwork itself. 

And just to stay safe, I MacGyver’d a work table using two chairs and several boxes and books, near the AC. So when it begins to smell, I can shut it off right away. 

I was not comfortable in my position. Not at all. But you know what? It turned out to be my best writing night yet.

Within three hours I managed to add some details into my story, edit a huge chunk of the book, and ironed out the plot that had been bugging me. Many of the issues have been resolved and finally I can move on to the second part of the novel. 

I have small conversations with some writers. Advice from them always points out that a writer needs to be comfortable and relaxed. It helps them develop ideas and fine tune the writing.

In my case, sitting comfortably makes me feel like shit. When I’m comfortable, my mind wanders. I end up either going to YouTube or check out any updates on Hayley Williams. If I turn on music, I end up imagining I’m in a group called The Jon Karoll Band, and we’re rocking it from ’70s classics to more modern awesome sauces like Yellowcard… anyway. Bottom line is, I am least productive when I’m comfortable. I fall asleep and I wake up with a stiff neck. I was pretty much screwed.

I’ve made good progress. And I’m going to see how much productivity I can get while feeling uncomfortable in my seat.

Red Whale: Quick Update

On Reddit Fantasy a topic about National Novel Writing Month emerged. Writers everywhere started posting stuff about their work-in-progress. I’m still waiting what exactly comes out of the blender out of all the random stuff I put in the Red Whale. Yet, I gave in, and posted something real quick about the “Year of the Red Whale.” Might as well update it here too for the world to see.

Tyrant emperor turned beggar turned criminal thug, burns empire that starts a world war but he doesn’t give a damn cause he’s busy squaring off against necromancers, witches, and basically everyone else he pissed off while he was the emperor.

That’s a mouthful. I probably could have come up with something better, but I didn’t want to write a sales pitch, just to bring out an idea into the open. My original thought for this novel was to set it at 120K words, then it got reduced to 80K. Having recently scraped much of the material, I feel the sweet spot is going to be between 90-100K. This is, if the plot went out of its way again to complicate things. I could revert back to 80K if I manage to control everything and keep the plot simple.

Now, with this shenanigans over, I’m off back to writing.

By the way, this is Ryukahr, my favorite Super Mario YouTuber/Twitch streamer. Give him some love, will yah?

On a side note, here’s Hayley Williams of Paramore doing a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere”

Red Whale: Year One Draft

I started writing “Year of the Red Whale” around October, to participate in NaNoWriMo. I made it to 40K words before the month ended, progress that I’m proud of. Since then I barely made it past the 50K-mark, getting stuck on multiple dead ends. The plot thickened to a messy pile of goo. Then all sorts of ugly things started spawning from said goo after trying to patch things up.

I didn’t think much of it until January. The Red Whale was a NaNoWriMo project, not the main WIP, but still it had ended up as my top priority novel to work on. I kept putting deadlines for myself to complete the draft, after all as a journalist I’m trained to submit on time, but I keep letting myself down. The solution was to get back to the main WIP, Project Ashes, but I couldn’t just let go of the Red Whale and busied myself over it.

Now, a year later, I’m still stuck, making no decent progress whatsoever. I had renovated a lot of scenes and redone several chapters. Nothing helped.

Finally, the nuclear option: Change the entire plot. Keep some scenes, some chapters, some characters, but turn things around. It worked. The pace changed, a lot, and I had to remodel my writing style. I had to cut down some action scenes and then add more action scenes. It feels like a brand new work-in-progress at this point, really. My only issue is, should I add more POV characters? There’s a lot going on, but the only thing that matters comes from the protagonists. So there is that to consider.

My final deadline, I hope, is on December.

Since it’s November and it’s a season for Stranger Things, here’s a Alice Cooper “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” I’d put “The Man Behind the Mask” instead, but, meh.

Innards #15: Shoryuken!

Progress!

The word rolls around my tongue like a sweet ball of chocolate. I am savoring every bit of it as it melts in my mouth.

For all it’s word, the development of the “Year of the Red Whale” is again, running at full speed, after getting buried alive in a mountain of debris. The said debris, has finally popped out, like a nasty pimple.

Gross, I know.

I’ve included a bunch of stuff that were only ever to be glanced at. Such as sorcery. Mages exist in the world of Red Whale and after over 40k words, not a single scene involving magic has taken place. Only lots and lots of gun fights in a world where people still use swords as the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Move over Zatoichi, The Man with No Name just walked into the saloon. Give the man some whiskey! He’s had a long ride home. But don’t expect Zatoichi just to vanish, he’d be checking in to one of the room upstairs.

So yeah: Magic, switched character roles, and deleted a bunch of useless words. It only saddens me that I had to kill off a character who was meant to live throughout the story. It worked though. The story started flowing more naturally after. I’ve also switched around the protagonist’s party a bit, so now I’m getting to know a whole bunch of new people that I’ve made up in the moment.


In other news, I have a ton of other stories waiting to be written. What’s awesome is that, the more they sit in the Vault, the more they sizzle, and new ideas for their respective worlds are starting to take shape. I would have never thought of these stuff if I were forcing myself to come up with some cool things.

 

I’ve also renewed my efforts to write novellas. I have originally planned to write and finish three before jumping into the whole novel. But, whatever. Like the stories locked in the Vault, the novellas have sizzled, bringing out some fresh flavor into the stew. I cannot wait to write them all.

One more thing. I am not the slightest bit embarrassed to learn the band, Blink-182. So here’s a song from them.

 

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.