Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When Avoiding The Rewrite

As I mentioned last post, I've been doing a lot of rewrites lately.

There are some writers who can't help but write. As frequently as possible, for hours on end, with passion and obsession. Then there are most writers who aren't like that at all. We often have to cajole and trick ourselves into getting the work done. Some people say we're not real writers if we have to struggle with it. We tell those people to go fuck themselves and we squeeze a little more work out of our keyboards.

Rewriting is normal, but there are times when one doesn't want to tackle it. It may be due to the fear that the rewrite will make it worse. Whatever the writer adds or subtracts will ruin that gentle balance of mess that originally sat there and that's like taking a step backwards. We don't want to take a step backwards. We're far enough behind as it is. Paralysis is easier and can often be rationalized as something else.

Here's a thing that helps me get over that feeling. I copy the entire text into another file, call that file "Story Title" Rewrite, and tell myself I can fuck up the story beyond recognition there and the original will remain pristine back in that other place. In fact, it might help to insist to myself that I fuck it up and come up with the most ridiculous shit that occurs to me every step of the way. I just need to push forward. Many times that ridiculous shit is brilliant.

If you're still having trouble, start slowly. Change a word here or there. Do a search for a name and replace it with another name. Add a sentence that you feel is too gorgeous not to exist right in the middle of that mess. Sooner or later you'll find you've pulled out of the driveway and home is in the rearview mirror. That means you're rolling.


Sunday, August 09, 2015

Some Things Old Are New Again

Quick update.

I haven't been working a lot on new fiction the last couple of months. What I have been doing in the non-Mango fiction world is rewriting old stories so as to give them a better chance in the cold cruel editorial world. I don't know if I've made these stories great, but I do know I've made them a hell of a lot better than they were.

I still haven't finished MuchoMangoMayo! I'm trying to squeeze out an episode once every couple of weeks around the episodes I normally produce. I still have four May shows to go.

I have piles of ideas and I'm trying to find the time, the discipline, and in one case the money to make things happen.

Jonathan Brown - Murder Ballads

If you're not subscribed to the Indie Feed podcast, fix that.
http://traffic.libsyn.com/indiefeedpp/indiefeed_jonathanbrown_murderballads.mp3

Elizabeth Bishop - The Fish

This fish has had a tough life. From Indie Feed:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/indiefeedpp/indiefeed_elizabethbishop_thefish.mp3

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Genius Isn't Drippy Enough

I decided to start listening to one of the voices in my head. I'm going to start mowing the roof.

No, not actually. 

When I finish a story I'm hot to get it out into the world. I see flaws in it, and think, "Yeah, but look at all the genius in there. That'll drip down and fill in all the flaw cracks. Art isn't finished, it's abandoned. I need to move on to the next story." 

Then I wonder why nobody buys my stuff. ("Nobody" is a bit of an exaggeration, yes.) 

So the voice previously mentioned is that pointing-out-the-flaws voice, not the other one. It struck me a day or two ago, that I should pay more attention to that one, because the other way hasn't been working. I've finally admitted to myself that my genius isn't drippy enough.

It's hard as hell for me to not send a story out when it seems done-ish. I want the glory, I want the fame, I want the money, now now now, and finishing fiction is infrequent enough it deserves a red date on the calendar. Then again, selling a story later would snag more glory than getting a rejection sooner. 

I've never been good at sacrificing now for something better later. If you know me well, you know that explains my entire life (which, for those of you who don't know me well, is shitty). As they say, the first step is acknowledgement.

The next is fixing those unfillable flaws and if I can't, sitting on those finishes for a couple of weeks, then finishing them again. And then maybe you can read something from me that isn't a blog post.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

As The Ripe Wheat Lies After The Reaping

Here's a new thing I'll do once in a while. I'm going to post a passage of writing that I love. I've been told that such a thing is covered by Fair Use, but to cover my ass, I'm linking to the books, so it might be considered a review. Also, why don't I pick up 4% of the sale, if you buy it? But money isn't the goal.

Here's a bit I love from The Cairn on the Headland by Robert E. Howard. To the best of my knowledge, this work is in the public domain:

"Aye, it had been a feasting of ravens, a red flood of slaughter, and I knew that no more would the dragonprowed fleets sweep from the blue North with torch and destruction. Far and wide the Vikings lay in their glittering mail, as the ripe wheat lies after the reaping. Among them lay thousands of bodies clad in the wolf hides of the tribes, but the dead of the Northern people far outnumbered the dead of Erin. I was weary and sick of the stench of raw blood. I had glutted my soul with slaughter; now I sought plunder. And I found it--on the corpse of a richly-clad Norse chief which lay close to the seashore. I tore off the silver-scaled corselet, the horned helmet. They fitted as if made for me, and I swaggered among the dead, calling on my wild comrades to admire my appearance, though the harness felt strange to me, for the Gaels scorned armour and fought half-naked."

How 'bout that, huh? If you dug this and want to read more, you can buy the collection through the link below


Monday, June 15, 2015

Drabblin' Guy

I drabbled all over myself and others when I did the narration for Katherine West's story Trimming the Fat on episode 360 of the Drabblecast. Guest producer Adam Pracht felt I fit the story, and he pointed out there was mention of a mango. You can soak it in here: http://www.drabblecast.org/2015/05/31/drabblecast-360-trifecta-locked-boxes/

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Oh Right," He Remembered. "I Have A Blog."

Oops.

The Mango Coast Guard came out in partial force over the last two and a half weeks and gave me a pile of money so that I might cause MuchoMangoMayo 2016 to happen. So that's something.

I haven't even finished this year's MuchoMangoMayo and it's the middle of June. Well, as this neglected blog will affirm, I've been busy. the last three and a half months have been crazy, with life warping in unpleasant bends. Whatever. Go listen to some of the Mangoes I shot up there in the last month or so and enjoy yourself for a few minutes. >>>> http://bewarethehairymango.com/

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

155

Just finished and shipped off story 155 of The One-Thousand! If I had any hair, I'd be able to feel the wind in it! This one was a shortie that I conceived of yesterday and finished today. It's a story that would be perfectly at home at Beware the Hairy Mango (though it's twice as long as most of those) and I'm sending it to a very non-Mango magazine. Actually, every magazine is a very non-Mango magazine.

In the last five days, I've written or finished three stories and submitted seven. Golly!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

154

Finished and sent out story 154 of The One-Thousand today! This one is a sort of war story that was mostly finished last year. I pulled it out, tweaked and modified it a bit, and shipped it out into the world.

Godspeed, little doodle!

Friday, February 20, 2015

153

Yay! I wrote story 153 of The One-Thousand this evening! I haven't finished a story since November. Probably because I'm working on so many Mango scripts.

153 is a sort of time-travel thing about attitude and regret. It's an 80s story, probably because I've been caught up in the eighties for the past week, starting with watching Top Secret! clips last week, and ending with watching Better Off Dead (for the hundredth wonderful time) last night. Maybe having written the story will shake me out of the 80s thing. Maybe not.

The Kickstarter is still on. It's been a bit too mellow for my comfort the past couple of days. Consider kicking in and/or telling your friends. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/189894541/hive-five

Thanks!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Help Me Write A Novel!

Hey, gang! I'm stoked to have a chance at writing the type of thing I love this spring: a funny, crazy science fiction novel. It's called Hive Five and it's about a hive mind that's not very good at being a hive mind. Here's the opening:

 Everyone was covered in either blood, kisses, or barbecue sauce. 

 Sammy's Recipe for Barbecued Chaos: 

 1. Decide you want a nice little party at your house. 

 2. Forget for a moment that you're part of a hive mind with fifty-six other people. Not a very good hive mind, admittedly, but good enough that those fifty-six other people simultaneously decide they want a nice little party . . . at your house. You do have the biggest yard in the treeborhood, of course, nearly an entire limb to yourself ever since you convinced the Umumwei family there was such a thing as a cybernetic squirrelfestation thanks to the loan of your friend Barry's Travelling Squirrel Zoo, some manufactured doodads from your garage forge, and a hot glue gun. The Umumweis folded up their house and moved it two levels down that same afternoon. 

 3. Allow your now enormous party to be crashed by the rest of the treeborhood who, for some reason known only to God's Clone, have become more affectionate than spawning salmon at a grizzly bear swingers party. 

 4. Remind yourself you have to get better at creating metaphors, but in your defense there is a half-love, half-fistfight free-for-all going on in your yard at the moment.

Tell me that doesn't look like fun! Here's where you can help. I need to raise the money so I can crank this out in three months and get the finished novel into your hands this summer. Besides the book, you can also get cool rewards, like a personalized episode of Beware the Hairy Mango, a ringtone of my voice, having a character named after you, and more!

Check out my page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/189894541/hive-five

And my video right here:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Good Testicle News



Went to the doctor today and had the staples removed from my scrotum. That was a great physical relief, but what was a great emotional relief was the doctor telling me that everything was healing normally. What I thought was a refilling of fluid into my drained left baggie is actually just my swollen left testicle. So it only looks exactly like my original problem wasn't solved, but became more painful. My lefty testis feels larger than a goose egg, but the doc assures me that the swelling will go down. In three weeks. At least Tom Brady likes them.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: The Ultimates 2, Vol. 2: Grand Theft America


The Ultimates 2, Vol. 2: Grand Theft America
The Ultimates 2, Vol. 2: Grand Theft America by Mark Millar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I really needed this after volume 1. I felt relief long before the ending, seeing the heroes getting their teeth kicked in. That was bad enough that the comeback of this pile of dicks made me happy. Great art, twists and turns, but it did get to the point where the "tough-guy killer line of dialogue" was beginning to grate. Very entertaining stuff.



View all my reviews