28 October 2009

Where Ideas Come From

In a 1970 interview with Rod Serling by sci-fi author James Gunn, Serling recalls...
...99% of the writing that arrives on the desk of a mass media guy is pretty therapeutic writing. These are people who generally preface by saying, "I ain't such a good writer but I got this real good idea in my dream after eating the rancid mayonaise..."
It's about 8'59" in...

26 October 2009

"Here we go again/ He's back in town again"

For the past two years, I've sworn off National Novel Writing Month. It's not that I've ever turned my nose up at it. It's just that I'm primarily a short-story writer, for one. And, more importantly, I've got a bit of a backlog of stuff that needs to be revised and submitted (or resubmitted). Plus, I've always had trouble wrapping my head around the idea of writing a novel. Besides having only one or two ideas that might possibly be big enough for that format, I get discouraged that I don't have the level of fortitude I see in the novel-writing members of my critique group.

But somewhere along the line, I've gotten out of the habit of drafting new stuff while rewriting old stuff. If you've read or heard Ray Bradbury's thoughts on writing, he'd probably tell me, "Yr doin' it rong." And it's bothered me for the past twelve months, which is why NaNoWriMo keeps me coming back.

I'm not too hung up on whether or not I finish. I did back in 2005 and haven't looked at the thing since, and since I've published a few things since then, it's all good. Basically, I'm in this because my feeble Jedi skillz need work and I figure NaNoWriMo is the best way to kill all these birds with one thirty-day stone.

I've got a strategy which involves...
  • Creating a novel of interlinked segments. Yes, you can check the NaNo boards for the endless debate about what constitutes a novel, but if Cat Valente's In the Night Garden (The Orphan's Tales, #1) and Sarah Shun-lien Bynum's Madeleine Is Sleeping are novels, then so is my attempt, tentatively titled Thoughts of Reference.
  • Going through my notebook--I've accumulated and tagged all these items, and dammit, it's about time they started working for me.
  • Channeling Ray Bradbury, the master who demonstrated that it was possible to write a story a week. I'm attempting something a little more ambitious, but at the same time, isn't. All I'm after are first drafts!
You're all welcome to join me for the ride, though I make no promises as to how long that ride might be. I'm always glad to offer help & support, but I gotta warn you: I believe in doing unto others as I would have done unto me, so my help & support might look a little something like this...

If you're down with that, then by all means, look me up!

13 October 2009

"Help, I'm steppin' into the Twilight Zone"

The Twilight Zone: Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? (Rod Serling's the Twilight Zone) The Twilight Zone: Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? by Rod Serling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bought this adaptation of my favorite Twilight Zone episode at the 2009 Rod Serling Conference. Written and drawn for YA audiences, the adaptation is almost too faithful.

When I first saw this episode as a YA, I had no idea how gimmicky the twist was. Nor did I realize that Serling committed a major sci-fi writing faux pas when the alien showed how well he could pass himself off as a businessman but didn't know what it meant to be "wet."

I still love the twist, though, not from a plotting perspective, but from a character one. It was a life-lesson: no matter how slick you think you are, there's always someone slicker, so smugness doesn't pay. And despite the slight tweaks in this adaptation, that lesson remains.

View all my reviews >>

05 October 2009

Catching Up is Hard to Do

I've decided that part of the problems I've been having with writing have to do with all the stuff swimming in my psychic RAM that needs to be dumped out. So many blogworthy things going on; so little time to blog them. So, here goes.

Just 'cos there haven't been my usual Tough Love posts doesn't mean that I haven't been attending the biweekly evisceration. I just haven't had anything to be eviscerated, not by the group, anyway.

I'm eviscerating my current short story in-progress, formerly titled "The Six-Hundred Dollar Man." With every section of prose I clean up, I feel like I'm butting my head trying to stick to the story I want to tell.

You may be thinking, "Maybe it's not the story that needs to be told." Except I know in my gut it is.

And aside from that, I've got 3 other stories that I need to finish revising and send off.

I entered The First Annual Brain Harvest Mega Challenge a little while back. The Second Place Winner has been posted. And I have to say, if that's second place, I think I'm pretty sure I didn't make First Place. :(

Last Friday & Saturday, I attended the 2009 Rod Serling Conference. I'm still processing the experience, a weekend filled with scholars, fans, and artists including Serling's surviving fammily and the legendary George Clayton Johnson on whose every word we hung.

A modern-day John the Baptist, if I ever saw one.

I'll blog the blow-by-blow later.

And now that I've taken time out to process my inbasket and tickler files, I can get some sleep and hit the WIP tomorrow.