Saturday, May 31, 2014

May gloom...

This hasn't been a happy month. Thanks to a 100 degree heatwave, I got very sick.

As far as writing goes, it went well. It was very satisfying working on the variety of stories I was working on. "Tommy and Me" is a short story (novelette) and The Phantasms of the Present is a novel. It's nice to have that level of diversity. In June I'll be working on a screenplay (just to write something other than prose).

Sadly, as well as the writing went, it wasn't well enough. I went two steps forward and took one big step back.

The damned Wizard of Santa Monica.

Thinking and rethinking about it made want to dismiss it first, then rewrite it...again. So, now it's scheduled for a rewrite. Not all of it, just most of it. Sigh...

One of the great Truths of writing, I suppose, is that the gap between initial idea and completed manuscript is the same length tens of thousands of rewritten words.

Ascension is going well at least, as well as the other stories I'm working on. The difficult part is resisting the urge to throw myself at the words. It helps that I can visualize the monster.

Displaying ascensionreal.jpg

Art by Celairen 2014

No, that's not a zombie. I do play with the idea of zombies in this book, though. It's nice to visualize the characters. I think I'll commission a portrait of Detective Adams. Already, this month I also received the cover art for The Wizards, which looks great! Thanks Ravven.

The wonders of this age never cease to amaze me.

And now for some June goals:

  1.  Write 20,000+ words of Ascension, which will bring me to the halfway point of the novel. 
  2. Get at least halfway through "Tommy and Me"
  3. Write a chapter or two of The Phantasms of the Present.
  4. Outline The Wizard of Santa Monica. 
  5. Read another five books.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mid-May, the wind blows...audiobooks!

It's 100 degrees Fahrenheit in downtown Los Angeles.

Outside of the library it is in the mid 90s. There are several problems with that. The most important is that Starbucks likes to turn up the frosty air when it's hot outside so that the temperature difference between inside and outside is about thirty to forty degrees.

I coward away from the place since it earned me a nice head cold. I'm at the library now, waiting to go to the airport. It's nice having the option to haunt a location where nothing is expected of you. Give me a clean, well-lighted place and I will rebel in the emptiness. No sense of accomplishment. No egotistical drive to get more. Bliss! There is comfort in the lack of responsibility. And I need to feel comfortable. I am no one. Deadbeat son of the Middle Class, why do you see the stars in the ground below you? Louis Corsair, you are a ghost without substance!

While here, and without body or form, I browse the collection of audiobooks; I'm hooked now and need a fix. I do note the differences between this format and written fiction. I enjoyed Gone Girl (in audiobook format) thanks to the performance the readers gave. This made me somewhat guilty at first, since I chickened out of reading the actual book. Yet, there is more to consider here.

A decent reader will bring life the many characters in a story. This adds a dimension of creativity not in the written novel. And this means that the successful audiobook must have a reader that complements the variety of styles in the written book.

Not all readers are adept. For example, I'm reading Ford County (audiobook) and the reader is John Grisham. He...probably should have let someone else read it. The performance is not the best. That doesn't mean that John Grisham can't read (obviously he has to read his work). But Grisham isn't a professional audiobook performer.

Also, the best of readers won't make a unlikable novel better. Consider the case of The Black-Eyed Blonde. The reader was great! Kudos to Dennis Boutsikaris, whose work I now look for when browsing audiobooks. Sadly, Mr. Boutsikaris' talent couldn't save the story... The novel didn't work for me.

It makes me wonder about a number of things. One of the critiques a friend of mine received during a brutal workshop session was that his reading of the story he wrote was too much a performance. He wasn't letting the reader invent the voices in his head; he read the dialogue of one of the characters with an accent meant to be annoying.

And I agreed with the workshop leader then and I still do. But I do enjoy the audio performances of certain professionals. I wonder if in the future there will be a market of writers writing books meant to be performed, similar to stage plays (which are the children of poetry) and screenplays (the children of stage plays). Why not? Before television killed the radio serial, it had a decent audience.

The audiobook, in my opinion, is the descendant of the radio serial. Except now we get to pick the pace the serial goes at.

But here I have mused far too long...


PS: I met my too-easy writing goals already! I'm doubling down on them. The reading will require some will power, unless I only chew on audiobooks.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

April, 2014

The current heatwave in Los Angeles is nothing to laugh about. I wouldn't care except I now sleep during the day because I work late. Sadly, at around 10 AM it is over 80 degrees in my bedroom. It is impossible to sleep. And so, I prepare for work.

I think on an average night, I walk about a quarter of a mile at the airport. Sometimes I walk more, especially when I have to stay late or overnight. The only limit to how much I can work there is the amount of punishment my body can take before I fall down and die.

In the city that is LAX, I am an usher. More often than not, I am a sheepdog and you are my sheep. I gently remind you of where you need to go and how to get there. Sometimes I yell, but only when the volume level of the airport is higher than average (or when you piss me off). You bleat and I come running. Naturally, whenever a writer compares people to sheep, it is negative (not enough individuality in sheep I guess).

This is different than the library, where I exercise different muscles. It's a curious thing.


I wish I could say that I took April off, but I did not. I've been working on The Wizards, specifically on The Wizard of Santa Monica, which I had to re-write. Also, there are a number of little things that took my attention. I finally got a grip on a short story I have been wanting to write since 2005. I also wrote a chapter of The Phantasms of the Present.

What I wanted to do that I didn't get done was re-read what I have so far on Ascension. Now, I want to say that The Wizard of Santa Monica is in a decent enough draft-form that I can leave it alone, but I can't. It bothers me to leave that undone like that when I'm so close to putting it down. I may have gotten a bit ambitious with that one since it is now over 18,000 words long and growing.

To be honest, it's liberating to write something different, not Fantasy. The quality I like most about Mystery writing is having to build a puzzle backwards. With Ascension, I've learned some lessons, both from my successes and failures with Absolution and from the current Mystery novels I've been reading. All in all, Ascension should be a different type of challenge for me.


It has taken two weeks to finish this post. The good thing is that it is warming me up for what comes next. I'm very pleased that I have some things in order, not all, but that is what the rest of this month is for.

So, here's to May. Cheers!

May Goals:

  1. To warm up, draft 5000+ words of Ascension
  2. Finish the chapter I had been working on for The Phantasms of the Present.
  3. Take a bite of the short story I finally worked out in my head.
  4. Read five or six books (audiobook rocks!).
  5. Finish my research on the Kabbalah and the Sefirot.