I Take Myself Too Seriously

I’ve sometimes thought that I take myself too seriously as a writer. Then I realize I definitely do. When did writing become a chore, a line on my “to-do” list. When did it stop being my exploration into the human nature we all exhibit and start being the long hard slog of artistic endeavor? I’ll tell you when.

Revision.

Of course, revision isn’t typically thought of as a “when” but let me assure you it is. Revision is time that spans months and even years. And it’s not fun. Not for me anyway. For me it’s something else to check off. So that’s when writing stopped being fun. This isn’t to say it’s not fulfilling, or course.

But now, with my thesis approved and graduation nearly innevitable, writing can be fun again. I have so many ideas for stories I just haven’t had time for, as well as some revisions I can do–if I so feel like getting something up to publication standards.

But back to the fact that I take myself too seriously. I do. And one way I do this is by saving all my work for some unknowable publication in the far distant future instead of writing for writing’s sake. I think it’s part of a writer’s evolution to want readers, but why must I publish through the traditional channels to feel accomplished? Why not publish it online. Why not put work out there, into the ether and see what comes back. I believe (though I have no way to know) that I’m an above average writer of fiction (ego ego ego)–so why can’t I have an online following? I mean, that’s what this here blog is for, and it doesn’t get a thousand views each day, but it gets some and that’s enough for me.

I know you know my novella The Night Sputnik Flew is being serialized up on Jukepop, but now I’ve decided to put a work in progress up there as well. It’s called MODED, and it’s a science-fantasy-cyberpunk thriller. I call it science fantasy because it’s more fantastical than it is scientific, but there is a lot of unexplained technology in it which could make it fall into the science fiction realm.

With this piece I’m just aiming to please myself. I’m not writing for a deeper purpose. I’m writing characters I think are exciting and intersting and putting them through a ringer of a plot that I think is exciting and interesting. Maybe the piece raises questions about technology, but it’s much more of an adventure piece than it is a thought piece, like much sci-fi is.

check me out on Jukepop if you have a chance: Click here

Issue 1, Draft 1 Manuscript Complete

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finished the first draft of a comic book, which will be illustrated by Andy Flemming, a friend of mine.

He approached me about a year ago with the idea to collaborate on a graphic novel. It was an ambitious idea for someone who’d never written a graphic novel before, but I didn’t think it was outside my capabilities. It would just take a while. After writing nearly 20 manuscript pages, Andy felt as though we should try something smaller and maybe get back to the GN later. Our comic book is 25 manuscript pages, which means it’s about 60 or so actual written pages–of course there’s a lot of white space.

For research I bought Blankets by Craig Thompson and Low vol 1 by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini, Blackhole by Charles Burns and East West vol 1 by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta to get a feeling of how comics and graphic novels flow. Comics/GNs are so much more cinematic than writing prose. I was constantly thinking about camera angles, lighting fixtures and shadows. I could see in my mind exactly where I wanted the panel to go, but I also needed to give Andy enough freedom, as the artist, to do his own thing and interpret my manuscript in his own way.

I’m excited to see what he comes up with, as there are some cool SF elements in it, as well as space creatures and very grounded, real human questions. I’ve always felt like that was where SF fell short at times: real human questions. I want to know that the character I’m reading about is grounded and real, not just some space junkie from planet X. In order to do this in my manuscript I thought about the most difficult decisions people make in their real lives under bad conditions. This is where my protagonist finds herself. She must make a very real decision while on a SF adventure, so to speak. I feel like there are a lot of layers to it, and hopefully you do also.

I hope to post some of Andy’s concept art and sketches here in the coming months. That, perhaps, more than anything will make this project feel real. It will be scary, but exciting to see my characters transformed from words to images.

10/17/15 Simic (MODED)

(Follow the full story on Wattpad)

Next to the hulking men Null felt very small and fragile. His shoulders slouched and slanted from his nick, while these men were thick set, their shoulders coming up nearly to their ears.

“We have not informed him of your arrival.” said one them. Null couldn’t tell which.

“Then I don’t suppose you’re going to take us to him?” asked Yu-Das.

Even with night vision Null couldn’t make out the features of the two men. He supposed they had a cloak on. Watchmen would be little use if anyone with night vision could see them as plain as day. One of the men let out a grunt.

“We know who you are. But who is your friend?”

“He’s clean. Not a corp spy or anything,” said Yu.

“Simic trusts you,” said the bodyguard, “But it’s my job not to.”

Null thought this was strangely apologetic, and strangely diplomatic. He didn’t understand the respect in the man’s voice. The way both of them stood rigid in the entrance to the court yard.

In the dark a baby began to cry. Null looked back and up. Peer in the direction of the sound.

“Your boy’s a John. You know Simic don’t work with Johns.”

“No, he’s not a—well, maybe he is. But he’s got something Simic will want to see. Trust me.”

This talk didn’t make sense to Null. A John could be found in the slums bagging NEDs and poking girls, but he’d never done that. Well, NEDs occasionally when he’d been feeling low, but that had been years ago. After Bee had died.

“My name’s Null. I’m not a John,” he said, rather more bravely than he felt.

He felt Yu-Das’s eyes swivel and fix on him. The man she’d been talking to chuckled.

“Well, you ain’t a threat, that’s for sure. But why should Simic agree to see the two of you? I know Das here—she’s in and out as much as anybody, but a new boy on the block. Now Simic is a busy man—he doesn’t like wasting time. ‘Specially when he’d rather be in bed.”

The low voice was almost soothing in the darkness. It was calm and menacing, and in Null’s mind he felt the man was right. Null knew he was over his head. Maybe he should go home. Forget this crazy idea. Enjoy what little pleasures he could find in life. Leave the underground to the big boys and kingpins.

Null blinked. Those thoughts—they were wrong. They didn’t come from his resolve or his fears. He’d given up on fear long ago. He accessed his chip and found the MindShield app. Enabled it. At once the doubts, the confusions, the small fragile person he felt himself to be, vanished. The man who had done the talking take a step back.

“Huh. MindShield. Where’d a pretty boy like you get the money for something like that?” he asked.

Before Null could say anything, Yu-Das cut in. “That’s what we need to see Simic about.”

“Trust me,” said Null, filled with resolve once again. “He wants to know what I have to say.”