Day 15 NaNoWriMo 15

OK, so I had what looks to be a super slow day with my word count, that’s true. On  the other hand, I had a really great day as far as taking notes for story development.

I guess that’s a wash?

It’s one of those days that I ask myself, “What lies beyond NaNo 15?” I could just write for the thirty days of November and that really would be a real accomplishment.

Or I could take the whole thing to the next level. I could take my novel a whole lot more seriously. I think I have an interesting story to tell. I like the way the characters are developing and I really like the story arc so far. If I put a good deal more effort into this project I think I could really make something out of it.

I have two people that write and blog that have been a huge inspiration to me, Namely Carrie Rubin and Aetherhouse, I hope I have helped them a fraction of what they have helped me. The words of encouragement that I have gotten from them have kept me writing. It is also a huge inspiration to know that Carrie Rubin has just released her second novel and Aetherhouse is deep in the thick of publishing her first.

But as for me, it’s my plan to heed Stephen King’s advice and read & write a total of four to six hours a day throughout the future. And that means beyond NaNoWriMo.

Something hit  me this year. I have decided to focus on being a writer and work toward the ends of being published.

Sure there is a lot I will have to give up; time with friends, social activities, gaming, hobbies and that is just to name a few.

But here is the crux: It feels right to be at a keyboard, telling stories.

Will I every make it to the Big-Time, a superstar author with huge advances and book signing events? Dunno.

But for me that’s not the point. For me, the point has become to enjoy telling a  story. A really good one if I’m lucky. And to enjoy the process of making that story.

Maybe I’ll get the chance to thank Stephen King in person for the inspiration, but there are those that are a lot closer (even if in a digital sense) that have been amazing help and guidance.  and so with that in mind:

thank you

words today: 1115

words total:28,220

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Self Fulfilling…

A week ago I was diagnosed with depression. Over the weekend and into the week I felt down, sluggish, of-of-sorts and wanting to be alone.

Yesterday, I woke up before my alarm went off. As I lay in bed just thinking (and it is one of my favorite pastimes), I came upon an important insight and it is this:

Yes I have depression; yes, I will have bad days, but n the morning when I wake up, I make the decision how I approach the day. I decide that I will do my best to make it a great day, or not.

So a crappy day at work, I decide how I react. Pulled off my machine… twice, told to relieve other operators for lunch and a planning meeting for the continuous improvement team that I am on.

But wait, through this all I have a chance to be seen by the top brass in the company for efforts to improve efficiency where I work… Maybe  it’s not all that bad.

If fact, maybe it’s HOW I approach issues that arise, THROUGH the understanding of depression that I will transcend what happens.

It’s just a thought.

Peace all.

Tonight, I’m Setting Aside Writing For Reading.

That’s right, tonight I am taking a break from doing background work for my NaNoWriMo project to allow time for some reading. I’m at a point where I feel that I really should take a break so that I don’t start to force idea. After all, who wants to read a novel that reads like it’s been forced with story points and characters start to come across as contrived at best,

I think we’ve all read enough of those.

So the choice is between the next Cherie Priest novel in the Clockwork Century series of A Clockwork Orange. And if you are wondering, no, there is no intentional fixation on the word “clockwork”. They just happen to both be on my TBR shelf.

Those two and numerous others like, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, reread Dubliners (I even have a cat named James Joyce), Cherie Priest’s Maplecroft, Sirens of Titan, Breakfast of Champions (I’ve always loved Kurt Vonnegut‘s work), Warlord of the Air, The Alchemy of the Stone… OK, I think you’re probably getting the picture. My tastes range all over the map.

I guess I can thank, or blame, my dad for always encouraging me to read almost anything and everything.

What does anyone else have on their To Be Read list?

Course Change Ahead!

So I’ve shelved another novel idea for what I think is a better one.

I’m going to embrace the whole steampunk idea and couple it with alternative history from America’s late industrial revolution period. I’m also entertaining the idea of incorporating real people from history but changing their histories to fit the story line. Funny what happens what happens when one gets bored at work.

But again I ask myself the question, “How much of myself, my own ideology do I include?”

I don’t want to turn off potential readers, after all.

But then again, it the story is very well written, and authorial message will be subtle and perhaps not even noticed on a conscious level. The story will still be enjoyed by the reader. Vonnegiut was a master of that.

So here I go headed in a new direction. I just hope I have enough background ready by the start of NaNoWriMo.

Writing as Social Commentary

So this post will be another stream of consciousness babble fest, but here goes:

The novel I’m working on is a story based on what I fear that I see growing in society; that is, what I am afraid is happening with what I perceive as an “everything for profit” society. That may sound a bit preachy but…

The books I find most interesting are the works of Vonnegut, Huxley, Bradbury and Orwell. (Wow, even by avid reader standards, I’m a geek.) I’m thinking that this is due to the fact that I have always been the odd-ball outsider in what is a very conservative area of my state. Blame my father. He was a hard-assed union man from the late 1940’s. He was also the one who not only encouraged me to read, but to make sure what I was reading was worthwhile.

We may have been the geekiest blue-collar ever to inhabit Earth. By the time I was in middle-school, my dad would either read a poem to me or I would read one and we would discuss it. Setting, characters, meaning, he and I would discuss it all. Everyone from Noyes to Tennyson to Dickinson to Sandburg was fair game.

It was during that time that Pops introduced me to Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five“. I was sold. He and I talked about what the book meant, and what it meant to me. Why was the book written in the first place? Did Billy Pilgrim lose his mind? What was the purpose of the science fiction theme? From that time on, I felt Kurt Vonnegut was one of the greats.

Hey, not bad for a twelve or thirteen year old.

But literature wasn’t all of it. Dad loved reading the Chicago Tribune. And chief among the reasons for this was Mike Royko. He would have me read Royko’s columns to engage me in news papers and to instill in me the idea that everyone has opinions but the best opinions are those that are best informed.

Incidentally, when I took my Op-Ed class, Mike Royko was held up as the gold standard of opinion writing. Damn, my old man knew what he was talking about.

So this brings me to my writing. I hope it doesn’t sound presumptuous, but I try to write what is important to me.

The novel I am writing tries to tackle both socio-economic inequality and women’s issues. Both of these I have strong, progressive stances on. I am trying my best to write a novel that is worth reading, but it might be slower going than I had first hoped.

Wish me luck.

In Both Science and Art…

…one is told to question everything.

 

The purpose of science is to explain the things in our world and beyond; to figure out the “how” and explain it. The process uses the Scientific Method. Through the Scientific method, science is self-correcting. If an observation is not in agreement with the predicted results, known at the hypothesis, the hypothesis is revisited and changes made and a new series of experiments are designed and the process goes on.

But Art, on the other hand looks to answer the question “Why?” But we  Artists in all our forms (visual, plastic, music, literary, et.al.) are societies three-year-olds, constantly repeating the one word guaranteed to make each and every parent on the planet roll their eyes. Why, why, why, why, why, why? And it IS never ending. Writers (and all the rest, but being a writer, I’ll stick to using that moniker) hold up a mirror to our moment in time and through the medium of words say, “Do you see what’s happening? Why is it happening?” An example of what I mean is Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. A savagely barbed and unforgiving satire of the US-Soviet arms race in which a petty dictator inadvertently brings about the end of the world.

Cat's Cradle JPEG

I love satire. For me it’s criticism in the highest form. It can be hard to read and the stories are not, for the most part, light. It makes one think and in today’s America I think we have become intellectually lazy. I hope I’m wrong.  Satire in all of its forms (novels and cinema) asks the question- Why? But are we losing our ability to create satire? Maybe I am missing something but I seem to be seeing less of it. what I am seeing is a lot of ham-fisted commentary by angry writers” that are some of the same people who are screaming talking heads that criticize while foaming at the mouth but offer no real alternatives to societal issues they perceive. In my opinion what is missing at this time is the nuanced written word that points out what is wrong in a style that stands the test of time.

I would like to think that there are writers out there who can deliver, but time will tell.