Perfect Day

Thursday, December 1, 2011



All I can say is NaNo was a total blast this year. 

And that fun isn't just about success.  It's also a lot about sharing a process with you fellow writers--struggling, failing, digging deeper, carrying on, making it work, facing the beast--and being a part of something bigger than myself that made it so fun.

I still have another 50k or so words to write to complete this year's NaNo MS, but I'm already thinking about next year--and all the fun I'm going to have in the interim, making this story shine, seeing how far I can push it.

I think it's totally appropriate that Thanksgiving comes in November, the same month as NaNo, because I am again reminded how thankful and grateful I am to be a part of this community of writers.  Life is short, and sometimes we need to stop, take a look around, and realize how good things really are.  This is one of those days. 

So thanks to each one of you!  It's no exaggeration to say I couldn't have done it alone, so let's celebrate this perfect day.  Truly.   :D

How was your NaNo experience this year?  For those not doing NaNo, are you making progress on your own work? 

Day 28: I Shall Believe

Monday, November 28, 2011


For me, the NaNo dust is beginning to settle.  The excitement and pressure of getting to 50k is gone, replaced now by the warm afterglow of success--although I keep pinching myself as I strive to remember that I still have another half a novel to complete.

And along with that excitement, other things have fled too.  Confidence, for one.  Some reflection and review has shown there is much work yet to be done on what I've already written, and that of course becomes and easy cause for pause. 

I suppose, though I spend most of my days with my head in the clouds, both literally and figuratively, I've never really been great at pressing the 'I believe' button.  I don't know if it's my upbringing or 20 years of military service which has made my outlook so pragmatic and unyielding, but I find I must see some shred of evidence--even proof sometimes--before the tenor of my outlook softens from the hardcore skeptic I am most of the time.

But boundless optimism is a prerequisite in this business, don't you think?  How can one stick it out, month after month, year after year, writing in a quiet room, all alone (or mostly so), hoping one day someone will read your book and like it, if you aren't optimistic?  It can't be done.  So I'm learning to look on the bright side and--yet another tool in my toolbox!--to believe!  Yep, and it feels pretty good.

Less than 48 hours 'til this thing is over.  How you feeling?

P. S.  The Golden Eagle has added his voice to our Songfest.  Go check out his selection here!  Thanks Eagle!  :D

Day 25: Still Lovin' You

Friday, November 25, 2011


Judging by the lack activity here over the last few days, I bet most of you are either stuffed to the gills with turkey and/or stuffing, or out braving the crowds, taking advantage of the varied and fruitful Black Monday deals.

No matter.  Life continues on here, as you might expect.  Of course the other shoe to fall from NaNo is that once you cross that 50k finish line, you have in fact completed only half a novel (unless your piece is very short).  So perhaps it should be called NaHaNoWriMo instead.  I'll let you translate.  :D

But the good news is I continue on.  I expect (or perhaps hope is a better word) to complete my first draft by year's end.  I've set aside the actual writing until Monday.  A much needed break, you know.

But the cogitation continues, and just this afternoon while I was giving my daughter a bubble bath (aren't these sparks of inspiration the craziest things?!), I realized something profound and earth-shattering and completely cool about my MC.  Helps me better understand how to construct my opening scenes, and I am armed with anticipation to go back and make all those wild first draft faux pas right.

But I am sensitive to the fact that some of you are not yet complete on the NaNo front.  How's things?  Well, I hope.  Keep on keeping on, is what I say.  And good luck!  :D

Day 24: What A Wonderful World

Thursday, November 24, 2011



HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!  HAVE A GREAT AND GROOVY DAY!!!


Day 23: The Crowd Called Out For More

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I wasn't much of an athlete in high school.  In fact, my athletic endeavors were pretty much limited to hanging out with friends, playing various coach-assigned sports, in gym class.

As I've gotten older, that lack of athletic activity--and interest--has changed.  Since then, I've gotten into running as a pastime, a love that started several years after high school, no doubt a throwback to early mornings when I was ten and eleven, when my step father came to my bedroom door at five in the morning, asking if I was running today.  Most days I said no.  But on that rare day I said yes, I was in for a thrill.

Since then, I've run a few races.  And there's always a very special moment in the race, whether you're running a 5k or a marathon: the moment when the finish line comes into view.  I don't know if you've experienced it, but that feeling is breathtaking in it's reality, so visceral and real that I can still conjure it sitting at my desk.

I think that moment is so pivotal because seeing the finish line is a very real example of a payoff.  Here's you've been running some long distance, slugging along, wondering how you decided to embark upon such a misplaced, out-of-sorts endeavor, when validation, in the form of a physical end to your troubles comes into view.  It's truly a motivator, if there ever was one.  And I'd say the fastest parts of the few races I've done have been between that point and the finish line.

A similar thing happened to me today, on the writing front.  When I woke up this morning, I realized 50k was within spitting distance, and I happened to have a few hours free this afternoon.  A gander over to the right shows the result: I'm done with NaNo 2011.

And really happy about it too!  I even bought a bottle of champagne for me and the wife to celebrate. 

How goes it with you?  Take a look, out there and the horizon, and I think you'll see the finish line too!  Here's to hoping you get across quickly, and I'm raising a glass to your success!  Cheers!  :D

Day 22: Marrying The Sea

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I've sailed into a slight case of the doldrums over the last couple days.

Perhaps it's to be expected.  I have to keep reminding myself that, after having such a successful week last week, the expectation can't necessarily be that the next week will be even better.  Sometimes it works that way, but more often than not, a great success requires a follow on period of reflection, regrouping and simple basking in the pleasure of having done well.

I think this tends to lend itself to a softening focus, a blurriness around the edges of the day.  But no worries.  It isn't as if things have gone South.  On the contrary.  By most standards, I am doing quite well, and have just today crossed the 40k mark.  It's just fun (and funny) to watch the ebb and flow of the tide of my motivations on this sea of a manuscript.  How's that for a metaphor?  :D

And in honor of said metaphor, and said doldrumic period, I present a great tune from Declan O'Rourke: Marrying The Sea.  Had to put the video together myself, from old Youtube scraps and slivers of footage I had laying around. I hope you enjoy it!

And I hope your Tuesday is going well. Happy writing!!

Day 21: Little Wing

Monday, November 21, 2011

:D

Day 20: Step Outside

Sunday, November 20, 2011


There are not many downsides to living in one's head all the time.  Balancing the different elements of one's life--friends, family, work, fiction--can be a challenge, but all in all, the payoffs are worth it IMHO.

I have come across one thing I miss: spending more time outside.  When I first joined the Navy, I worked as an aviation electrician's mate (this was before I got picked up to be a pilot).  This meant I spent tons of time out of doors, and that was one of my favorite parts of the job.

But I am starting to see a trend here with writing fiction, especially if I am ever fortunate enough to be able to do it full time.  I have this image of myself, several years older, emerging from the dark cavern of my office, pale-skinned, eyes round and white like teacup saucers, after having written fiction for three days straight.  Sunshine?  What's that?

So I'm taking a breather this afternoon.  Maybe I'll go outside, live in the sun for a few hours.  Who knows what might happen?  The sky's the limit!

And what kind of music best captures that ray of sunshine optimism, the best anthem for stepping out a bit?  How 'bout a little shot of Britpop for starters.  Anyhoo, enjoy this video, and I hope, wherever you are, you're having a blast!!!

Day 19: So What

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Feeling like a smoky, jazzy Saturday, so I'll keep it short--especially since I still have some writing to do to reach my wordcount goal.  I hope your weekend is off to a grand start, and the writing (or other endeavors) goes well.

Here's a little jazz to set the mood.  Maybe it's a little obvious, as jazz selections go, but this tune totally captures that cruising feeling ideal for getting some writing done.  Or just hanging out.  :D

Stay groovy!

Day 18: I've Seen Fire & I've Seen Rain

Friday, November 18, 2011


Notwithstanding my goofy superstition chat yesterday, I am extremely happy with my NaNo performance so far.  In fact, I'd have to say that this has been one of the best weeks of my life, writing-wise.  Lots of wordcount.  Lots of good ideas.  For the first time in a long time, I'm feeling in my element.

This morning I took a half hour and looked over some of my earlier chapters.  Certainly, they'll need a lot of fixing up.  My first drafts are very messy.  But I also saw some flashes of--dare I say?--brilliance.  At least brilliant by my own standards for my work.  I'm relatively hard on myself most of the time, so when I see something I like--especially if I don't have the slightest idea how it got there--I naturally think it's an act of genius.  :D  Do you find the same thing with your own writing? 

It was nice to revisit some of those scenes again, even if briefly, and I'm looking forward to getting the first draft finished so I can spend a little more time on them.  Thus I'm feeling happy and warm and somewhat introspective this Friday.  :D

But wait!  There's more!  I have other business to discuss.  Two things, in fact. 

First, Chris from The Kelworth Files interviewed me yesterday on my NaNo experience.  If you haven't checked out Chris's blog, you really should.  He delivers solid content, day in, day out, as evidenced by this recent roundup post he put up. 

Second, I received an award.  Francesca over at Zap's Lobster Tank gave me the Lovely Blog Award.  Thanks so much Zap!  I'm a new follower over at her place, but I've been nothing but impressed by her work ethic, style and sense of humor.  In fact, she reached her NaNo goal: 90k words in 15 days!  Talk about smoking up those pages!



I'm supposed to pass this on to fifteen folks, so I'm going to choose some fresh faces this time out, some folks who I've recently come in contact with or have been around lately that have impressed me.  In no particular order:

1.   Vive Le Nerd
2.   Far Away Eyes
3.   Let Go Of The Past, Live Today and Create Tomorrow
4.   Crazy California Claire
5.   The Organic Writer
6.   Mainewords
7.   Moody Writing
8.   My Literary Jam & Toast
9.   I Am A Man
10. Michael Offutt
11. Insomnia Strikes
12. The Girdle of Melian
13. A Daft Scots Lass
14. Live High
15. Writing In A Nutshell

These are all really great blogs and you should go check them out.  Now.  It's alright.  I'll wait.  :D  Anyway, thanks for stopping in.  Enjoy this great classic video and have a totally groovy weekend!!

Day 17: Superstition

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Have you ever noticed how superstition tends to run in mostly one direction?

Superstition seems intimately linked with unusual runs of good luck.  For the batter on a long hitting streak, or the Las Vegas slot player sliding coin after coin into her favorite one-armed bandit, small decisions become very important.  Eat a bucket of chicken before the game.  Cash out after every win.  The slightest variation in the way we approach an endeavor can knock things off track and send the good luck fairies scattering away to spread their good fortune elsewhere. 

A crash after a long run of success can easily be blamed on not wearing lucky socks, or forgetting to knock on wood.  It happens all the time.  How many times have you found yourself talking about how well you are going to do something, and then stopped mid-sentence, realizing you were setting yourself up?  Invariably, you go on to crash and burn, almost as a kind of punishment, and your friends laugh at you.  :D

I'm in that zone now with my NaNo story.  Really.  So I've come up with an antidote.  As of now, I'm putting every one of you on notice.  This weekend, I'm gonna eat it, big time.  Really.  I'm not joking.  Probably have a couple of zero wordcount days.  I'll probably delete a couple thousand words by accident.  I tell ya, I can feel it:  I'm gonna fall flat on my face and scream: "I've fallen and I can't get up."

Good luck fairies, you hearing me?  :D

Have a great Thursday everyone, and enjoy good ole Stevie, doin' his thang!!!

Day 16: Whether Mice and Men Have Second Tries

Wednesday, November 16, 2011



Day 16, and we trip over into the second half of the month!!! 

My second try at getting this NaNo story right seems to be going well.  This morning was my fourth 3k+ day in a row, so I'm feeling pretty good.  Trying not to think about it too much.  Don't want to jinx it.

That's all I have to say about that.  :D

Enjoy some sweet rock from Switchfoot! 

Day 15: Keep Your Eyes On The Road

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


One of the things I've learned about myself over the years is that I tend to be a hare (as in The Tortoise and the Hare) in the way that I go about accomplishing things. 

Let me illustrate: If it's Monday and there are ten things to do by Friday, the reasonable person might do two a day.  Or a go-getter might do seven tasks today, three tomorrow--and have three days to relax.  A procrastinator might wait until late Thursday or mid-day Friday to get all ten tasks done. 

What I tend to do is sprint, then rest.  I may knock out three tasks today.  Rest tomorrow.  Knock out four on Wednesday.  Rest Thursday.  Finish the last three Friday.  Or I may just inexplicably accomplish everything Wednesday afternoon.  It's very mood dependent.

Why is this important, you ask?  Well, when it comes to an endeavor like NaNo, where I should be doing something everyday, I tend to struggle with the routine.  I tend to fight it.  On any given day, I may race ahead, or do nothing at all.

This behavior, of course, has negative knock-on effects.  Coming back to a story after a several day lay off feels much different than after having written 2,000 words that morning.  The daily grind of getting down a certain number of words everyday builds a kind of writing fitness, where things begin to come easier, where the writer (one hopes) begins to think less about the process and more about the content.  When everything is clicking along, the words appear magically on the page without much thinking at all.

So for me, NaNo is a good exercise to try to break my hare-ish habits, at least when it comes to writing.  I'm hoping the routine I'm learning now will stick with me, long after November has ended.

What about you?  What's your approach to staying 'fit' as a writer?  What obstacles do you find you must overcome to be successful? 

Day 14: Just A Little More Time

Monday, November 14, 2011

 Me and the the Manuscript are getting reacquainted.  :D

Took a little doin', though.  I had to go back and basically rewrite my outline all the way through the turn into Act II, and now I'm going through and filling in the first draft holes in my story--which is upping the wordcount and also making me feel like I'm progressing.  I struggled because for a long time I failed to understand how my character arrived--emotionally--at a key scene leading into the B story.  Now that I have that straight, it feels like I'm tracking again.

I probably should have rewickered my outline a week ago, but I was loath to step off the 'write-each-scene-chronologically' bandwagon.  Last year I did exactly that when I started feeling lost.  For the whole second half of NaNo, I wandered the wilderness of my MS, understanding as I wrote that I probably needed certain scenes and writing those out, but having nary a clue as to how these different set pieces hung together.  That is probably one of the reasons why I haven't returned to that story yet--still shaking off all the confusion in my head.

It's early yet, but it looks like the gamble this year is paying off.  I'm giving myself kudos for not having given up by taking the same route as last year, and the magic in my head is back.   We'll see how long it lasts...  :D

So this little video seemed appropriate for today.  Back in the Eighties, I was not a great fan of Corey Hart, but his tunes have caught my ear now and again over the years.  Watching this performance, regardless of whether you're a fan or not, I think you have to admit that this man is practicing his art--and that must inspire all of us.

I hope your writing--whether it be NaNo or a non-NaNo WIP--is going well!  Happy Monday everybody!


Day 13: Cinema Paradiso

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Day 13!!!

Hi all!  I'm running out the door as I write this--the reason for the early post.  I get to fly off to Croatia on a pop-up mission, so NaNo may or may not have to be on hold for a day or two.  But needless to say, it's still much on my mind.

So, I'd like to depart from much of the pop and rock I've been featuring and throw up a beautiful composition by none other than Ennio Morricone.  If you've not heard of him, you may be surprised to learn that he's written a surprisingly wide array of soundtracks for many Hollywood movies.  You can see a complete rundown at the Wikipedia page.

Here's the soundtrack to one of my favorite films, Cinema Paradiso.  Enjoy!!

Day 12: Can We Still Be Friends?





Day 12!

I don't know about you, but I'm definitely entering a love-hate period with my Nano MS.  Some days, I really feel in touch with my MC's dilemma, and the words come easily.  Other days, I have trouble keeping all the threads of the story straight, and I constantly glance back at my outline hoping to find some little hint or turn of phrase which will restore the story's magic in my head.

I suppose this is what it all comes down to: learning to write when we don't feel like writing.  It's an experience similar to that of a long distance runner who sees yet another hill materialize out of the fog and knows, though he questions whether he has it in him to make the ridgeline, that he must press on anyway, buckle down and dig deep, or risk failure.

It's in this way we find out what we're really made of.  :D

ANNOUNCEMENT: Deniz Bevan has posted her video as part of the NaNoWriMoVideo Songfest: The Perfect Ending, by the Whiskey Trench Riders.  Go have a listen!!  And thanks Deniz for contributing!

Happy writing everyone!  Stay groovy!!  :D

Salute

Friday, November 11, 2011

All over the world, there are people thinking about the significance of today.  Here's a taste: 





Banging out 50k words in 30 days is a feat, but your friendly neighborhood Marine, Sailor, Soldier or Airman has a few stories to tell too.

Please make an effort to thank a service member today.  I think they've earned it.  :D

Day 10: Unwritten

Thursday, November 10, 2011



Day 10!!

When I originally picked this song as a contender for the NaNoWriMoVideo Songfest line-up, I thought it would be an easy task to talk about its larger message: specifically, finding our way in our (writing) life, making something of ourselves, and learning to live with our own limitations and imperfections.

While this song certainly captures that idea well, we now near the end of week 2 of NaNO and I find myself behind in my word count (not terribly behind, but enough to give myself pause).  Therefore, it seems a much simpler and more fundamental point must be made: Of this here novel I'm working on, there is still a lot of it unwritten!  :D

I am no NaNo expert, for certain, but I am beginning to understand that much of the drama of the struggle to finish in time is baked into the cake.  Finishing a novel is, after all, a gargantuan undertaking, and I think anyone with any sense, faced with such an imposing challenge must pause, reflect, and say to themselves: $%&#*%*#**@!!!

Then you shake it off and go back to work.  That's what I'm doing, anyway.  So enjoy this great tune from a few years back: Unwritten, by Natasha Bedingfield.

P.S. This is a seven day a week blogfest, so don't forget to stop by on the weekend and see what's cooking!  :D


Day 9: Cheeseburger

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



Day 9!

I've had a bumpy few days--but not to worry.  I'm still feeling good, and the upcoming holiday weekend will no doubt be a boon for my wordcount.  Plus I've had plenty of time to think about my first few chapters and made some interesting connections I hadn't made before.

Bottom line: even though it's getting tougher, I'm still loving it.  And I think it's helpful to cultivate a sense of humor about these things--thus today's musical selection.

Enjoy The Lyle Himself performing one of his early hits: Here I Am


Day 8: Come On Baby Play Me Something

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Day 8!!!

So all last week I was going like gangbusters.  Truly!  I mean the words were totally flowing and I was feeling good.

This week, I've somehow wandered into a bit of a dry spot.  It's not that I don't feel like writing.  I do.  But the words don't seem to come, like opening a water spigot but nothing comes out.  Has this ever happened to you?

I am still at the tale end of the my novel's set-up, and I am anxious to get into the meat of the story--so that's a possible contributor.  But I also wonder if I've just pushed too hard.  Last week my daily goal was 4k a day, which is a lot, and I came pretty close to hitting it--if you count in the 2k I accidentally erased on Tuesday and some unanticipated work obligations that popped up on Friday.

But there's no choice, is there?  Gotta keep plugging away--which of course is one of the virtues of NaNo.

How 'bout you?  How goes your writing?  Any pointers for getting out of dry spots?


Day 7: Shelter

Monday, November 7, 2011


Day 7!!

A rare treat today: Ray LaMontagne singing "Shelter."  Plus a bonus second song!  Have a great Monday!  :D

Day 6: Fly Away

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Day 6!!  


I'm feeling a little need to rock out coming on as we start into NaNo week two!  It's been a good first week, but I'm looking forward to settling into more of a groove next week. 

How's that wordcount coming for you, BTW?!?  :D  Have a great Sunday!

 

Day 5: Pure Imagination

Saturday, November 5, 2011



NaNo, Day 5!

I'm feeling a little retrospective today.  I guess it's sortof a weekend thing.  Less going on--at least as far as the work routine goes.  And it's also nice to spend some much needed time with the family.

I hope this post finds you well and moving up that thin gray line on the Nano Stats tab.  If you're like me, then the initial energy of getting started, of being excited about the idea is starting to fade, even if the shift is barely perceptible.  In another few days we'll get into the territory where the act of scribing all these words on the page will stop feeling like a sprint and start feeling like a marathon.  It's not that the idea and the characters aren't speaking to us any longer; rather the day in, day out of the grind will begin to take its toll.  Fatigue will begin to set in.

And that is when we need to revisit some of why we're doing this, to keep the batteries recharged.  And to remember why this story inspired us, and to continue to fuel the fire of imagination that is the engine that keeps us moving forward.

So enjoy this great video--an amalgam of my personal favorites: Gene Wilder singing "Pure Imagination" from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, paired with amazing footage from one of the most imaginative companies making films today: Pixar.

Stay with it.  And have a great weekend!  :D

Day 4: Higher and Higher

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNo, Day 4!!!

Note: I am posting this video as part of my NaNoWriMo Video Songfest, continuing through the end of November.  You don't have to be participating in NaNo to take part, and if you don't want to post a video on your blog, I do take requests--just like a real life DJ!

Wouldn't you like to see your song up there on the Master Songlist?  :D


*****


So I'm trucking on the NaNo wordcount, and happy with the product, though I'll have quite a bit of revising to do.  I tend to write really messy first drafts--but since I enjoy the editing process, it all works out in the end.

Today, I'm sharing a really cool video with you:Van Halen's "Dreams", featuring some awesome footage from the Blue Angels.  I hope you find it as inspirational as I do.  Even after having been a Navy pilot for 20 years, I am in awe of these guys.

But there's another reason why this video is appropriate.  Way back in the dark ages, when I first joined the Navy as an enlisted man, I had dreams of one day becoming a Naval Aviator. 

Because of my father's background in the U.S. Air Force, I grew up attending scads of airshows, and I have always loved aviation.  But there's a time in particular where The Blues--as the Blue Angels are affectionately referred to in Navy circles--came to the base where I was stationed in Maine.  I watched their incredible performance, never taking my eyes from the pointy nose aircraft performing impossible maneuvers, rocketing by in close formation--less than two feet between aircraft during some maneuvers!--and impressing the crowd.

As a guy who finished middle of my class in high school, and a college drop-out to boot, watching those blue fighter jets tear up the sky made me feel like my chances of ever becoming a pilot were slim to none, and slim had already left town, as they say.  I might as well have been dreaming about walking on the Moon.

Yet, fast forward two years and I found myself in Flight School.  I had worked my tail off, submitted my package, got picked up (much to my surprise).  But even though I was successful in getting myself into the pipeline to become an Aviator, I still found the whole idea daunting.  I didn't "get" it.  I felt like much of what I was expected to know was beyond my understanding, and I struggled.

I remember the moment like it was yesterday: we launched on a training hop late in the afternoon.  The event was called a BI (Basic Instruments) flight, where the student (me) spends about 90% of his time under a big hood, flying a series of maneuvers completely on instruments, with no outside visual reference. 

One of the manuevers, called an unusual attitude recovery, was considered extremely difficult to pull off well--but that day, I knocked it out of the park.  The instructor even went so far as to ask if I was 'cheating' by looking outside.  Of course I hadn't, and I told him so. 

When we finished the event and turned the aircraft toward home, I pulled back the hood to discovery the whole world bathed in the orange glow of the Corpus Christi setting sun.

There was only one thought in my head: I can do this.

I have recently reached a similar place in my writing.  Even before NaNo I was beginning to feel it, but now that I've been plugging words like they're going out of style, that sentiment is strengthening in my mind with every keystroke.

If you've been following this blog for any amount of time, you were witness to my stumble earlier this year, where things went quiet here at ~WSMG~.  I stopped blogging, but I also stopped writing fiction at home.  I was dogged by self doubt, uncertain of my abilities.  I wasn't sure if I could pull it off, and that apprehension kept me from staying engaged.  But that skepticism has been replaced by a confidence that I am working hard to cultivate.  And thus far, it's working. 

So, to what do I attribute this personal growth, this change of heart?  Work, and lots of it.  As Joel Arthur Barker said: 

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes time. Vision with action can change the world.”
The novel of a hundred-thousand words begins with the first keystroke.  And the next.  And the next.  Keep at it, and before you know it, you'll be flying too!  :D

Hope you have a great writing day!  Stay groovy!

Day 3: It's A New Dawn

Thursday, November 3, 2011



Day 3!!   I'm feeling good!  How 'bout you?  I just went over 6k words this morning and I'm hoping to do at least another 1k tonight.  So everything's tracking.

How go things with you?

Enjoy this great song--one of my absolute favs!  It'll have you on the moon in no time!  Have a great Thursday!  :D

Day 2: I Feel Love

Wednesday, November 2, 2011




Day 2 of NaNo!!!!

This is Day 2 of the NaNoWriMo Video Songfest as well.  Go get all the details if you want to participate!

So, I am off to a rousing if rocky start on my NaNo MS.  How you?  Words flowing like wine?  Ideas flocking to your blank page like the Salmon of Capistrano?

My wife has coined a new phrase: The NaNo Curse.  You may recall my bumpy ride to 50k last year; it seems we're off to another rough start in 2011. 

First, my wife was in a car accident yesterday.  YES!  YES!! Everybody is absolutely alright (Thank God!) but I think the car is toast.  We got to talk to some very nice security people yesterday and she's talking to some very nice insurance people this morning (I have this thing called work).  And the kids are fine--but with us going home in a few months, the timing is, well, lousy.

Then, because I am so darn brilliant, I managed to save an old version of my NaNo 2011 MS over my new NaNo 2011 MS--the one with over 2,000 extra words in it!--and the word angry doesn't even approach it.  Livid?  Apoplectic, maybe?  Bristling, wrathful, cantankerous, cross, outraged... huffy.  You get the picture.  :D

But I refuse to be deterred.  Because I'm in love.  Yep.  I totally totally TOTALLY dig this NaNo story I'm writing.

You're loving your MS, right?!  You feel love too.  I hope so.  It's easy to feel good about our beginnings. The old MS ain't given us much trouble yet, see?!  Let's wait a few weeks, mmmkay?  So we gotta enjoy the good times while they're here, so I give you:

BLUE MAN GROUP: I Feel Love!

P. S. Plus, we've had our first non-WSMG song offering: a totally sweet tune by Miriam Stockley called "Beautiful Day."  Go check it out over at Middle Passages.  Thanks Liza!

Day 1: Open Your Eyes

Monday, October 31, 2011


DAY 1 of NaNo is here!!

WAAAAAKKKKKEEEE UUUUUUUPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!

:D

Open your eyes.  Get outta bed.  Go turn on that computer.  Get coffee.  Get breakfast!  Let's get this party started!

And we need some MUSIC to get that party started: so ~WSMG~ brings you the NaNoWriMo Video Songfest! 

First up, this great tune from Snow Patrol.  I chose this video--not only because it's an awesome tour of the early morning streets of Paris and it's an awesome song--because it's the best video representation of writing a novel I could uncover--with all the twists and turns and the switchbacks that come from tackling a project of this magnitude. 

The trick to finishing NaNo strong, right?  Always remember that there's a prize at the end: the chance to look yourself in the mirror and say with great pride that YOU DID IT! (Which means you have to watch the video all the way to the end to understand--and no cheating by skipping ahead!).  :D  Enjoy!

OK.  Done watching?  Then what the heck are you still doing here?

Go kick some wordcount booty!!!   :D

Video Songfest Kickoff: Unearthed

HEY GANG!

First: Happy Halloween!  You know what I'm going as this year?  A fiction writer.   :D  What about you?

So tomorrow's the big day, eh?!  NaNo 2011.  I'm brimming with excitement!  Are you?

Got your game face on?  Do you know where it is at least?  I do.  :D  I am all atwitter with excitement and ready to get writing on this bad boy.

And if you're not doing NaNo, find a fellow writer and lend them a little support.  You know they'd do the same for you!  ;)

But enough of my chatter.  You have until November 30th to get in on the Video Songfest fun.  Go here for the detailsClick here or on my sidebar to find the Master Playlist.  (This is the only video so far, but it'll start filling up over the next few days.  Feel free to bookmark it if you like!).

The below totally awesome video--which many of you might know as the Cold Case TV-show theme--was actually off  E.S. Posthumus' first album, entitled Unearthed.  Incidentally, all the songs on the album are named after ancient cities that were late discovered in the modern era--thus the title.  Just the way you'll be excavating the action in your MS, eh?!

This amazing tune, paired here with stunning Planet Earth footage, is the perfect cocktail to get us all in the mood for awesomely epic world-building, off-the-hook character development and total bada$$ery.

***The world is a blank canvas, just waiting for our paintbrushes.  Now, let's go get 'em! ***

LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!  :D

Casting Call Character Bloghop: FIRST PERSON SHOOTER

Friday, October 28, 2011


Hiya folks!

This is my post for the Casting Call Character Bloghop!  The point of this bloghop is to share images and other media about the characters and settings in my NaNo project.

As you may have gathered, my story for NaNo this year is one I've been thinking about for several years now, since my return from a year in Baghdad in February 2010, but this is the first time I have collected images to try to solidify the pictures I've been carrying around in my head all this time.

To orient you to my story, I offer my logline:

When a shy and diffident U.S. Army soldier fighting in Iraq guns down a local shopkeeper and suffers a loss of confidence, a fellow soldier with the innate ability to pacify the aggression of others aids him as he strives to defy his intolerant squad leader, bring the fight to the enemy, and restore his own sense of self worth.

Next, a few shots to give a sense of the setting.


The story takes place in a fictional district of Baghdad in 2005, when the fighting against the insurgents was at its worst.


We've seen a hundred and one war movies--many recent ones about the Iraq war in fact--so the challenge as a fiction writer will be making my descriptions as vivid as the explosive realism of current films, while also capitalizing on the advantages of fiction: better visibility of characters' internal conflicts.


Now let's talk characters.  My MC is PFC Jared Christianson.


Caucasian, Scandinavian descent. 24. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Built like a marathoner.

He's a bookworm, and very intelligent. His heart is in the right place, and he tries to do the right thing when the circumstances call for it. He doesn't always succeed. Considered a nerd and minor player by the rest of the squad.

The 'fellow soldier' of my logline, the one with 'the innate ability to pacify the aggression of others', is named PFC Michael Sedo.


PFC Sedo is from Utah. Caucasian, vaguely Nordic. 26. Almost like an albino in appearance, with piercing gray eyes. Narrow waist, broad shoulders, trim but muscular.  He's very quiet--almost never speaks, except to those he trusts--but supremely calm and confident. He remains so unruffled in difficult situations that it's downright scary.  His influence over the people around him is a major catalyst to the action of the story.

Finally, we have the antagonist, Staff Sergeant Richard 'Gut Punch' Brody.


He's an Army careerist who's been around the block a few times. His outlook, which once was "We have a hard job to do. Ain't no use in bitching about it." has morphed over the years into "You're either with me or against me." He believes sincerely that dissent within the ranks endangers the unit's ability to execute the mission.

He demands unconditional loyalty and respect, and cuts anyone who does not give it to him down to size.  He rules the squad with an iron fist.

So I'm pretty excited about this story, so excited that I spent some time putting some cover/splash art together.  I thought I'd share it with you:


Did that in MS Powerpoint, yes I did.  All those hours doing slides at work isn't a complete waste after all!  :D  And that tag line is MINE!  Came up with it myself.  You take your hands off!  ;)

So that's my line up.  I have plans to spend the weekend tuning up my treatment/outline and will be an 'up round'--ready to charge to 50k+ words--on Tuesday Morning.

How go preps for NaNo?  Are you ready to go?  

For the non-NaNoers among you, do you select pictures for your WIP characters? What else do you do to get your characters clear in your mind?

Have a totally groovy weekend, and thanks for stopping by!

I'm A Lumberjack (Part Two)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Hey Guys!

This is Part Two of a two post series.  Here's Part One.  Tuesday we spent a little time discussing loglines: what they are, the requisite elements, and we looked at a few templates.  Today we're going to apply that knowledge.

An obvious question we didn't talk about the other day is why worry about constructing a logline?  Why is it important to me as a fiction writer?

Understanding Your Story

Here's my argument: drafting a solid logline will mean you have a solid understanding of your story.  If you haven't written your story yet, then the logline provides the destination.  If you're story is already written, then doing a logline after the fact can help you identify the story's weaknesses.

Let me give you an example from my own experience.  My project last year for NaNo was a MS entitled Daisy.  When I started out writing the first draft, everything was copacetic.  I felt I had a clear sense of the story and where it needed to go.  But about 30,000 words in, something weird happened: Of the two primary characters, I was suddenly unsure which of their stories I was telling.

Now I did put together a synopsis last year (similar to a logline, but 1-3 sentences), and so I thought I had things nailed down, but when I went back to look at it, it became clear that there was a problem.  You guessed it: my logline didn't clearly outline who's story I was telling.  I never really had it clear in my head which character was leading and which was support.

The thing is that writing your story in one sentence forces you to make hard choices.  It forces you to define the overall dramatic action of your 100,000 word WIP in one or two verbs (struggled, strives, overcomes), which becomes mighty useful when you get half-way in and lose your way.

Advanced Tips

External vs. Internal:  In the best stories, the MC has both an internal and an external conflict.  In Star Wars, Luke struggles with the Force, and is also chased by the Empire.  In The Hunger Games, Katniss must fight to stay alive within the game, but she also struggles in her relationship with Peeta.  If the best stories contain both an external and an internal conflict, then the best loglines do too.

Offensive vs. Defensive: Avoid loglines where the MC is essentially on the defense, because this makes for a weaker hero, and may mean the stakes of your story are unclear.  Stories where the MC initiates the action are more dramatic--because a choice means the MC is chasing a goal.  So looking back at my Daisy story, this was another problem.  Even though Kodi's choice to 'kidnap' his daughter and flee looked like a strong choice, the reality is that once they got away, it became unclear to me what they still hoped to attain?  You can't run away from cancer, after all.

Goal vs. Opponent: Well-written loglines (and well-written stories) pit the MC's goal and the opponent against each other (which results in the battle).  In other words, stories where the opponent doesn't stand in the way of the MC's ability to reach his goal aren't very dramatic.  Even though a goal isn't one of the key elements I originally listed, it's inherent in the idea of the life-changing event, which forces the MC to accomplish an objective to either take advantage of new circumstances because of the life-changing event, or put his life back the way it was. 

Putting These Techniques To Work

So I thought I'd quickly walk through the basics of how I came up with my final logline for NaNo this year so you could see blow-by-blow how to apply these techniques.  Here's the original logline I came up with, based off the template.

When a meek and alienated (flaw) young soldier (hero) fighting in Iraq befriends a soldier new to the unit who possesses the power to calm those around him (life-changing event/ally), he finds the courage (battle) to defy the domineering soldiers in his outfit (opponent) and lead the battle against the enemy to prove his sense of bravery.

I don't think this is a bad first try, but note that the verbs are weak (befriends, possesses, finds), as is the conceptual link between the life-changing event and the overall arc of the story.  In other words, how does the befriending of the new soldier give the MC a problem to solve?

Also note that the MC's flaw is not in opposition to the main arc of the story, since being alienated really doesn't keep him from being brave in the end (which, by the way is his goal).  On the  positive side, I did manage to allude to an internal and an external conflict.

Here's try two:

After a meek and disaffected (flaw) U.S. Army soldier (hero) fighting in Iraq guns down a local man under questionable circumstances (life-changing event) and befriends a soldier new to the unit with the secret ability to pacify the aggression of those around him (ally), he finds the courage to defy (battle) the intolerant, narrow-minded soldiers in his outfit (opponent), lead the fight against the enemy and restore his own sense of self worth.

This is an improvement, IMHO.  By separating the life-changing event and the ally, the story begins to come into focus.  Also, his flaw is now sorta opposite of what he's after in the long run, right?  A meek guy trying to go up against his squadmates makes for good conflict, at least on paper.  Still, this one is a little wordy for me, and I felt the connection between the two soldiers was too tenuous.  Plus, battling a group is less specific than facing one antagonist.  Based on those notes, here's try three:

When a shy and diffident U.S. Army soldier fighting in Iraq guns down a local shopkeeper and suffers a loss of confidence, a fellow soldier with the innate ability to pacify the aggression of others aids him as he strives to defy his intolerant squad leader, bring the fight to the enemy, and restore his own sense of self worth.

This is the one I'm happy with.  With the MC being shy and suffering a loss of confidence, he has a real problem to solve if he wants to "restore his own sense of self worth."  What's more, it's clear that he must overcome the obstacle presented by his squad leader--with the assistance of the fellow soldier with the strange powers--if he wants to achieve his end goal.  Note also that both the internal and external conflicts are clearly defined and conceptually linked--since he must overcome his own flaws to succeed in the external battle and triumph (hopefully) in the end.

So, that's it in a nutshell!  A logline is a powerful tool for helping you zone in on what's important in your story and give you the direction required to stay on the character arc until you type "THE END".  It's something I've added to my writer's toolbox and I hope this post series has helped you find a use for it also.

BUT, with a title like "I'm A Lumberjack", you didn't think I'd let you get away without some Monty Python (I'm a huge Python fan, BTW).  Watch at your own risk!

Have you played around with loglines before?  Any tips to share?  

*****

Check back tomorrow for my Casting Call Character Bloghop post!  Have a groovy day!

The Leopard's Spots: Rule of Three Blogfest Finale!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Before we get started today, some shameless self-promotion!  If you haven't yet, please consider stopping by and checking out the NaNoWriMoVideo Songfest, hosted by yours truly throughout the month of November.  You don't have to be doing NaNo this year to participate!  So swing by and see what you think!  :D

*****

We can't always what we want.  What I wanted for this blogfest was a great finale post under 600 words--but I didn't get it!  :D

What I did get--on this post and the others--was an enlightening experience trying my hand at a shorter story.  There are various definitions out there about what length story is considered flash fiction, and I'd say a 2,000 word story is right on the outer reaches of that category.  But 2k words is much shorter than just about any of my other projects.

So for me, this was a departure from my writing norm, an excuse to stretch myself and see what I was capable of.  During this blogfest, the challenge of cutting the fat, paring things down to a pure distillate, of still conveying the point without the luxury of endless blank pages taught me volumes.  Even though I vastly exceeded the wordcount for this installment (~1200 words), which likely puts me out of consideration--if I was ever a serious contender--for any prizes, this Blogfest has been a true blast and helped me continue to grow as a writer. 

And I'll say it again: if you haven't made it around to see what the other participating writers have cooking, you are truly missing out.  (I have some getting around to do myself!  :D)  Some great work has been done by great writers, and I'm happy and honored to be a part of this effort.
 
So I want to take a moment and give massive unadulterated thanks to the #REN3 Blogfest sponsors: Damyanti, JC, Lisa and Stuart for setting up this totally fun event and keeping it going throughout the month.   It was truly a blast!

*****

The Leopard's Spots
by Jon Paul
(c) 2011

Wordcount: mumble mumble :D
Prompt: Relationships are torn asunder.
Link to Part One (Magnus McGrool, 596 words)
Link to Part Two (Theodora Ravelstein, 597 words)
Link to Part Three (Calvin Rumpus, 600 words)

Part Four:

     CALVIN ARRIVED EARLY. On his desk he found a 5x7 photo of himself, distant and serious on the rock at the Heriot Pass trailhead, the words "Stay cool!" inscribed on the back in Theodora's expressive hand. He was still grinning when Magnus arrived ten minutes later.


*****


     The next hour passed in a blur. Readying the Conference Room. Copying and organizing various forms. Magnus grimacing and cussing. Briefing security personnel who would be posted nearby, in case of trouble.  Calvin tried to stay focused, but a strange anxiousness made him feel out of place in his own skin.
     "You're running the show," Magnus had told him. "Time to step up and show what you're made of."
    Calvin took the news in stride, nodding in what he imagined to be a professional way. Magnus even hinted that a good performance over the next several days might earn him a shot at becoming HR Director permanently. Calvin watched his boss carefully. Did Magnus really think he had it in him? If so, then the vote of confidence felt like a real affirmation, and a wave of pride surged through him.
     At 9:00 a.m. Gladdis ushered in the first employee: an older man wearing a wrinkled avocado-colored suit. The three of them--Calvin, Magnus and some flunky from Legal--sat behind a long mahogany table.
     Calvin cleared his throat and gestured for the man to take his seat. In a quiet voice, he began to explain that the man's services were no longer required at Barchadelli Marketing, Inc. The surprise in the old man's eyes turned first to dismay, then decayed gradually to a bitter, tight-lipped bemusement. Calvin continued on, ignoring the ticks gnawing the insides of his stomach. This is just business, he reminded himself. Magnus looked on as well, his face a mask of blank acquiescence.
     One by one, two more employees were brought in. A woman whose left eye twitched when she was nervous. A long-limbed man with acne. Calvin went through the motions, explained their rights, conveyed the company's regret.
     Throughout it all Magnus looked on, as cold and emotionless as a machine. How does he do it? Calvin wondered. He never betrays his emotions. Calvin had to admit it: despite Magnus' bad reputation, he had earned Calvin's respect in the time they'd worked together for just this kind of detached professionalism.
     Feeling a flutter of edginess as the man with acne was shown from the room, Calvin girded himself and tried to follow Magnus' example. Being professional is a skill, Calvin reminded himself. One I can master.
     The next employee entered the room. Calvin was scribbling on a legal pad when Magnus nudged him gently and knocked him from his reverie.
     In the interview chair, Theodora sat eyeing him in profound disbelief. His mouth fell open. When he looked toward Magnus, he expected to find a cruel smile there, expected Magnus to admit to the joke. Instead Magnus' hawk eyes articulated absolute tranquility.
     He tried to compose himself. "This is business," Calvin mumbled, but when he began to speak out loud, he was sure his voice would falter. Theodora sat cross-legged in her chair, her face a manifestation of open defiance.
     He couldn't look her in the eye, so he continued to scribble on his legal pad instead, going through the motions. The economy had suffered, he explained, and Barchadelli's revenue had fallen as a result. Management's decision to reduce the workforce was unfortunate, but it had to be done, for the survival of the company.
     "Calvin?" Theodora intoned. In the emptiness of the room her voice rang like a bell and cut through his thin words, stopping him in his tracks.
     Magnus looked over, surprised at her familiar manner. Sensing his boss's concern, Calvin chose his words carefully. "Mrs. Ravelstein, let me urge you--"
     "No," she said, the corners of her mouth curling into a vicious grimace. "I'm not going to play along. I'm not going to go quietly."
     "I can see you're very upset, Mrs. Ravelstein. I'm very sorry--"
     Theodora clamored to her feet, pointing at him. She spit words at him like daggers. "This is just what we talked about. Can't you see? It's flat out wrong, and you should know it!"
     Strangely, amid the chaos, Calvin caught himself noticing the graceful curve of Theodora's jawline, the elegant slant of her nose, the way the corner of her mouth always seemed on the verge of an animated smile, even when she was angry. She was beautiful, Calvin realized. Why hadn't he noticed this before?
     He shook his head, tried to dispel these thoughts, yet her kindnesses kept coming back to him: her compliments on his photography, their conversation over the weekend, the photo she'd put on his desk that morning. She'd warned him he was being set up. She'd said he was too nice for his own good. She'd said a lot of things, but why?
     Theodora railed at him, shook her fist, called them every name in the book. One of the security people appeared at the door. Magnus was smiling now, enjoying the show. Calvin caught his grin out of the corner of his eye and wondered again if this was all some sort of joke, wondered if Theodora had been right about Magnus' intentions all along.
     It came clear to him in that moment that he had a choice. In his mind's eye, Calvin saw himself standing up from the table, straightening his suit, walking toward the conference room door. He'd tell the security guy to take his hands off Theodora, offer her a winning smile. When Magnus asked him what the hell he was doing, Calvin would say it to his face, without equivocation: "I quit."
     News of his revolt would spread through the Barchadelli offices like wildfire. Walking through the hallways toward the exit with Theodora at his shoulder, he'd call out "Who's with me?" over and over again. Mobs of employees would materialize from cubicles, given permission to quit, freed suddenly of the yoke of responsibility, happy to be a part of something profound and brave and real at last. He'd lead the mob out the front doors of Barchadelli, leaving Magnus and the other Directors behind to pick up the pieces.
     "Calvin?" Her voice broke the spell.
     Two Renaissance PD officers had appeared from somewhere and they were hand-cuffing Theodora. He had said some things, he realized, but he didn't know what. The storm of Theodora's anger had broken, and she stared at the carpet, looking as if she might cry. One of the security people was holding a handkerchief to his cheek, a smudged rose of blood soaking the white fabric where she had scratched him. The guy from legal was nowhere to be found.
     His eyes locked on hers. Her confusion about him had given way to an unwavering clarity. When she spoke again, all generosity had fled from her voice. "Things didn't have to happen like this. You know that, right?"
     He looked away, scrutinizing a picture on the far wall. As it turned out, it was a photo taken long ago of the Roundeli Mountains. It was funny what people said about them: you could never really tell if they were real or an illusion.
     "It's business," Calvin said at last, his eyes on the photo. "Nothing more."
     After they took Theodora away, Magnus patted him on the back and spoke at him--some chatter about the interviews that afternoon and the fine job he'd done and how he'd known Calvin had it in him all along--but the words sounded garbled, muffled, like whalesong. Then Magnus was asking him something else. What was it? Lunch? Executive Boardroom? CEO?
     Calvin told him to go on; he'd follow in a minute.
     When finally he was alone in the room, the silence hung in his ears like the persistent ring of artillery fire. He looked at the photo on the wall again, ran his eyes along the snow-crowned summits, the rocky saddles between outcroppings, the overhanging cornices frozen still like thousands of white horses.
     From his pocket, he withdrew the photo Theodora had given him that morning. I should have realized all along, he mumbled to himself as he tore the photo into neat 1-inch squares and let them flutter to the floor. The peace he had felt that morning, the strange sense of happiness and contentment he had found in those spare moments before the day started now seemed like a distant dream, a vacant event, a carelessly scrawled fragment of another person’s life.

~fin~

Thanks for stopping by!  :D

I'm A Lumberjack And I'm OK (Part 1)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


 Author's Note: Part 1 of this two part series covers the basics of loglines.  On Thursday, Part Two will cover the pros and cons of the different templates I've discovered on the interwebs.

Loglines: What are they good for?

You ever tried to tell the story of your WIP in one sentence?

No, I'm serious.  Have you ever tried to sit down and capture some of the nuance, the complex penumbra of your story in a short collection of words that begin with a capitalized letter and ends with a period?  (I suppose you could end with a question mark, but that might raise some questions...)

It ain't an easy job, as I've recently discovered.  And there's quite a bit to know--AND quite a bit of benefit to your story if you figure it out too.  

So, let's talk about loglines:

For the uninitiated, a logline is a film industry term for a single sentence that captures the essence of a screenplay.  This concept has since been co-opted by writers in other genres, such as fiction.

Here's my logline from a WIP I first began developing three summers ago (this is the same story I'm doing for NaNo this year, incidentally):

It's 2005.  Staff Sergeant James Carlson and his men are losing a vicious war in the streets of Baghdad.  As summer wears on, Carlson begins to wonder how to clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.  Then Michael Sedo, a young Private with the ability to ___________________, joins the fighting.  With Sedo onboard, can Carlson turn the tide of battle, or will Sedo's strange ability tear Carlson's unit apart? (I chose at the time not to reveal Sedo's ability).

Sure, it describes a story, but knowing what I know now, it doesn't do the greatest job of making us really understand what the story is about.  And it violates a number of loglines rules.  A single sentence.  Less than 25 words.  Suggest and inner an outer journey for the MC.

Back when I wrote this I really hadn't played with loglines much, and I sorta winged it, hoping it would work.  Turns out there's a science to the whole thing.  After all, every story has certain elements.  Manage to get them all in or allude to them and you have a strong logline.  Leave elements out, and your logline will suffer.

Logline Templates:

To construct a logline, you have to first understand the elements of your story. The best loglines include as many of these elements as possible: hero, flaw, lifechanging event, opponent, ally, and battle.

Here are some common examples I found on the web:

  • E.T.:  A meek and alienated (flaw) little boy (hero) finds a stranded extraterrestrial (lifechanging event/ally) and finds the courage (battle) to defy authorities (opponent) to help the alien return to its home planet.
  • Rocky:  A boxer (hero) with a loser mentality (flaw) is offered a chance by the world champ (opponent) to fight for the title (lifechanging event) but, with the help of his lover (ally) must learn to see himself as a winner before he can step into the ring (battle).
  • Casablanca: A jaded (flaw) WWII casino owner (hero) in Nazi-occupied Morocco sees his former lover (opponent) arrive (lifechanging event), accompanied by her husband (ally) whose heroism forces the hero to choose between his cynicism, his feeling for his ex-lover, and his once-strong feelings of patriotism (battle).

I've also seen this template floating around:

When [MAIN CHARACTER] [INCITING INCIDENT], he [CONFLICT]. And if he doesn't [GOAL] he will [CONSEQUENCES].

Kind of a plug and play sorta thing.  (Who remembers Mad-Libs?)

But putting a quality logline together, even with a template, can actually be quite a challenge.  Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees.  For example, can you tell me the movie this logline describes?

A suicidal family man is given the opportunity to see what the world would be like if he had never been born.

If you said It's A Wonderful Life, you're right!  But look closer and you'll realize that the action described in this logline really only occurs in the third act of the movie.  A much better logline for this movie would be:

When a family man's constant struggle to escape small town America for a more successful life in the big city fails, he contemplates suicide, but his guardian angel visits and the man experiences what the world would be like if he had never been born.

Maybe a little wordy, but it certainly captures much more of the overall arc of the story.  Remember: the more story elements you can fit into your logline, the better it will be.

That concludes the first half of our discussion on loglines.  Check back Thursday for Part Two--where we talk about a few handy logline rules, and take a close look at my NaNo WIP logline!

References:

*****
  • DON'T FORGET: Tomorrow is the final installment of the #REN3 Blogfest!
  • HAVE A FAVORITE SONG OR VIDEO?  Go sign up for the NaNoWriMoVideo Songfest hosted by yours truly.  You don't have to be playing in NaNo to participate!
  • FRIDAY: My post for the Casting Call Character Bloghop goes live.  Don't miss it!
P.S. If you don't know what comedy sketch the title of this post comes from, you'll just have to wait until Thursday to find out!  :D

NaNoWriMoVideo Songfest

Monday, October 24, 2011


This is my second year participating in NaNo. Last year, when I awoke at 5 a.m. on November 2nd to commence my second day of writing, this is what I found:



Needless to say, a flooded house tends to put a crimp in the writing process, and NaNo 2010 ended up being quite a bumpy ride for me, as a result. If you want to have a laugh, go take a gander as I tell the tale of the whole sordid adventure.

One of the downsides of all the real-life drama in the midst of trying to bang out 50k+ words is that my blog presence really suffered. I didn't put up a single post between the 5th and the 26th last year, a mistake I was anxious to avoid again.

But obviously, if I'm contributing every last word to my manuscript, how will I find subject material for blog posts, and will I have the energy to even think about it after a long day of fiction writing?

So I was toying with this dilemma the other night. At the same time, I was also concocting a set of music playlists on my laptop to have at the ready for NaNo (music is a huge part of my writing process).  Then it hit me: Why not post video/music during here at ~WSMG~ during NaNo?  I can share songs from my playlists with you groovy folks, and maybe you guys will want to join in the fun too!

And like a bolt of lightning from the blue, the NaNoWriMoVideo Songfest was born! :D


Each day in November, I'm gonna put on my NaNo Video DJ hat and post one of my favorite videos here at ~WSMG~.  The songs will be chosen from my collection of writing music to help inspire you guys, help us stay sane during the craziness that is NaNo, and totally rock out!  Sound groovy?  But it gets better: I'd love nothing better if you joined me. 

If you're interested in being a part of the Songfest, here's what  you need to do:
  • Go to YouTube (or the video site of your choice), pick one of your favorite videos, then put together a post featuring the video.  To participate, post AT LEAST ONE video sometime during the month of November.  If you want to post more, knock yourself out! (Here's a tutorial on how to embed a video, if needed). If you put up three or more posts during NaNo, I'll list you as a DJ!
  • Comment (*details below) or send me an email at jpcircusboy@gmail.com, subject line 'VIDEO' with the details of your post, including your link information. LATE EDIT: Of course, you can send me a Tweet too (@skymeetsground)!
  • Alternatively, like a real life DJ, I take requests!  Tell me a video you love and I'll share it here on ~WSMG~ myself, giving you full credit, of course.
  • Each day, I'll announce new videos, highlight the high points, and add them to the Master Playlist.
  • DISCLAIMER: You do not have to be a NaNo participant to contribute!  Just follow the directions above and you can support your fellow writers!  :D
Below you'll see a second post entitled NaNoWriMoVideo Master Playlist (or click this link).  The Master Playlist is where I'll link participating blogs and add videos throughout the month, listing the artist name and song title, with a link to the person/blog who sponsored the tune(s).  *Leave me a comment on this post or on the Master Playlist post if you want to be a part of this effort! (You know you wanna!)  :D   

The Goal of the NaNoWriMoVideo Songfest:
  • Have a total blast!
  • Share some awesome NaNo writing music, and get a chance to hear the tunes everyone else finds groovy.
  • Give everyone one stop shopping for a right rockin' video playlist throughout the month.  With any luck, the combined energy of all that awesome music will help us get across that 50k word finish line just a little bit faster!  Who knows, maybe that really moving snippet of music posted by a fellow writer helps you nail a difficult scene or understand a character better.
  • Even if you're not doing NaNo this year, why not throw one of your favorite videos into the mix to support your fellow writers and let everyone else benefit from your good taste!
Help Get The Word Out:

You'll find a badge on the Master Playlist post below for sharing, so feel free to put it up wherever you want to help get the word out.  Please let folks know about this if you have a chance--and let's rock out!

I'm tapping my foot just thinking about how fun this Songfest is gonna be.  Thanks, and stay groovy!

*****

Stay tuned later this week as there's more pre-NaNo excitement in store.  Carrie Butler, Melodie Wright, and Lisa Regan are sponsoring the Casting Call Character BlogHop.  I'm playing.  It's sure to be a blast!  Check my sidebar for details!  I'll also have some fun with loglines--especially the one I've been writing for my NaNo novel.

Also check back on Wednesday for the final #REN3 Blogfest post.  Have a rockin' Monday, ya'all!

ONE LAST THING: You DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, talk about WRiTE Club!!!!!

NaNoWriMoVideo Master Playlist

HIYA!  WELCOME!! 

Here's the badge.  Grab and post as you see fit!




NaNoWriMoVideo DJs (three or more songs):


JP @ ~Where Sky Meets Ground~


NaNoWriMoVideo Playlist

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