24 April 2011

Water for Elephants

I saw the movie on Friday. Good movie, for sure, but as always, I am a little disappointed because I had already fallen in love with the story in the book. Some things are impossible to include if your time constraint is around 2 hours, so it is understandable.

It was definitely worth the $20 for the tickets! I cannot say the food was worth it though. We went to one of the newish style theaters where you can have food and drinks from the in-house restaurant while you watch the movie. I like this idea - but they tend to price the food like most movie theaters price their popcorn - like it's made of gold!  Not the MOST horrible food I have eaten, but not worth the price.

Yet - I still go back there... Why? This time it was because I expected the regular theaters would be overflowing with Edward fans and I thought this might help avoid that. I believe it worked - I saw a good movie - My wife got her Edward fix - and we were not overrun by girls wanting to be bitten by Mr. Cullen...

My wife said the theater was cold... I told her to imagine she was cuddled up to a vampire... She laughed, so I wasn’t in trouble for my vampire humor…

I tease her relentlessly about this stuff; however, since I had to live with a calendar of Mr. Vampire on the wall in my room for a full year, I am entitled to some fun!  ha!  (Please forgive my teasing - see a previous post for a disclaimer - I love the Twilight series - and even the movies - it's all in fun)

20 April 2011

Sample Writing

I added a second page here (A Work in Progress) and have included the beginning to a book I will someday finish. It is not my current work because I just don't feel I can share much about it at this time.  BUT - I hope you like what I have posted. If people are interested, I will add some additional bits of the story.

I look forward to seeing what you guys think of it!

18 April 2011

Weekly Dose of Poetry

I have been writing poems since I was about 11 years old or so. I will be kind enough not to regale you with those adolescent poems, (you're welcome) but I thought it might be fun to share some of them on here.

Hope you enjoy!


The tears I cry
For you now
For me alone
Slipping down my face
Leaving rivers of ache

The sound of silence
You’re not talking
And I can’t hear
Crashing in my heart
While we are apart

This pain in my soul
You feel nothing
And I’m dying inside
Reality, I’m losing touch
I need you so much

This storm
The miles between us
You set the distance
I count the inches
Without you I’m lost
In this hurricane I’m tossed

This poem is the result of a game called ‘Poetry Tag’ that I used to play in AOL chat rooms. It was SO much fun! People would tag someone – give them a topic – and they were to (almost) immediately start writing. You couldn’t really wait more than a minute or so to begin or the natives would become restless.. ha!

Anyone else out there every try it?

16 April 2011

Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

After reading this book, I have one very important piece of advice: Should you ever make the acquaintance of an elephant, strive to become its friend! For me, to be a worthwhile read, a book must have engaging characters, plots and subplots that would leave you uneasy if you never learned the outcome and I expect to have learned something by the end of the story. Now, if you wrap that up in creative storytelling and a strong compelling conclusion, then you have a winner in my opinion. And, ladies and gents - we have a winner with this one!

09 April 2011

Writing Method

I have read many articles on approaches to writing a novel. I recall reading somewhere that one author (I believe it was Dean Koontz - sorry for being too lazy to go look it up again), said he perfected each page before going on to the next page. THAT - is simply amazing. I thought about giving that a shot, but I don't think it will work for me.

While working on the last novel I started (not the current), I would re-read parts of it each time I sat down to write. There was something satisfying in that because it led to the beginning being strong and well enough written that I felt confident showing it to others. Unfortunately, at around 11K words into it, I became unsatisfied with the structure and just could not get back into it. I like the story though, and plan to tackle it again someday.

Over the last week, I have done a few re-reads of what I have written and have made some changes. The most startling thing though is that I am finding that some of my characters are turning out differently than I planned them to be. Of course, I want them to grow in some manner THROUGH the story, but these changes are a bit different. I think I am fleshing them out some as I go. That is good thing I believe, however, I am going to have some SERIOUS fun going back and altering how they spoke and some of the things they said early on since it is no longer in line with the character.

Has anyone else experienced this?

I know part of the problem is I do not sit down and make a ton of notes about my characters before writing. It seems like a great idea, but it does not work for me. At least it hasn't so far. I like to get to know them as I write. I also don't plan all the details of the storyline ahead of time, just the general direction.

Anyway - enough of my ramblings for now.

UPDATE ON MY PROGRESS - I am up to 22,000 words, I have been shooting for 80K, and I feel like I am probably more than 25% into the story, sooooo... It may come out a little shorter than planned.  But, I keep adding layers as it goes - which helps keep me interested!

Also, I started reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. So far I am loving it! (As an aside, I had to read the book since I know my wife will drag me to the movie later. After all, even if he isn't an ice cube, Edward will be in it!!!!! (***gasp and faint***). Please excuse my sarcasm... I am only teasing and do not want to offend anyone. I have read the entire Twilight series (almost twice) and love the books! The movies are good, though I was a bit disapointed in the third one. But my wife has a bit of an obsession (that is me being nice about it) with Robert Pattison - so I cannot help but throw a teasing bit in here when I can - since I know she will read this at some point.

07 April 2011

How it Began...

I have started and not completed more novels than I care to admit.

Lately, I have been considering going back to school, as one thing I always wanted  to accomplish was to earn a college degree. (If you are in college or just out of high school, and people are telling you that "taking a break" from school is a bad idea - even if you think it is just for a semester or just for a year - listen to them!)

Unfortunately, doing so does not make sense for me and my family financially right now. So, as the time for my mid-life crisis approaches (ha!), I have been looking around for other unfullfilled dreams to accomplish. Think about it, if I can't afford college, then I can't afford a sports car either, so I gotta come up with something else.

I believe I am finally at a point in my life where I have enough confidence in my ability as a creative story teller and a writer to do this one thing that has been gnawing at me since I was a child. SO! I took a weeks vacation from work to get going with it.

Funny, I had a few nice little day dreams where I would write 10k words a day and finish a whole novel in those 9 days (I planned on using weekends too!).

Yea - how many of you think I was able to accomplish that? (See that last sentence? That's me hoping someone actually reads this someday).

Nope - didn't happen. After 5 days I amat about 16K words. I'm not sure why I am so fascinated with how many words I have typed... I guess I think it isn't complete until I hit a certain mark, but really it's done when it's done. If it takes 70K or 100K words, thats what it is. (I have been shooting for 80K - we will see...)

Anyway that's where I am this morning - hoping I will hit 20K today. Once I go back to work my time is a bit more limited. But strangely, even though I have all day (minus the seemingly unavoidable distractions), I think I am only getting done as much writing as I probably would in a few hours a day.

I think I could be done in a few months if I commit to doing at least 1500 words a day after I go back to work. There is a mountain of editing and rewriting ahead of me - and much to my surprise, I think I am really looking forward to it. The story seems to solidify more each time I look back over a section and make some changes/improvements.

I'm curious if this process and the amount of writing I am getting done in a day is typical.  Is there even really a typical amount?

Well - thanks for listening... And for being my silent therapist on this matter!

06 April 2011

So, why am I doing this?


Well everyone else is, so if I am playing follow the leader, I guess that makes me a sheep!?

No really, the world of writing and publishing seems to be changing so much lately. I have been reading blogs of writers for a while. I find that I really like being able to read what their thoughts are and I have enjoyed reading the reviews done my many book bloggers.

I do not presume to think that many people really care what I have to say. So I guess I am doing it for my own gratification too.

On another note, I hope I can go back and change the blog title later, because what seems awfully witty right now, might just seem awful later.

But really, why am I doing this?

For one thing, I would like post about books I read, joining the book blogging community.
For two things (ha ha), I thought it might be fun to share and explore my writing process here. I find it fascinating to learn how other writers write.

I started writing poetry around the age of eleven. For eleven, I was pretty good I think, though reading some of them now they seem so very simplistic. I guess even if you think the sky is falling, at eleven, things might be a little more simple than they feel. (Or in my case, maybe not - but that is a story I'm not ready to toss out on a blog).

Somewhere around Junior High, I wrote my first short story. I was severly proud of my accomplishment and I am surprised I didn't have it memorized because I ready it over and over again. Around that time, I also spent quite a bit of time drawing, mainly cartoon characters I had created. I thought I was pretty good at that too; I generally recevied a lot of praise from my family and friends for both the poems and the art. I was not nearly as conceited as it may sound when I tell all this, though my mom tells some stories that might make you not believe me. Ha! (If she ever reads this someday, she will be laughing - sorry for throwing out an inside joke like that, it was too good to pass up!)

Anyway, so I saw my dad around that time, he had been living in Maine, (though if he had lived closer, I probably would not have seen him much more frequently), and had come to Texas for a visit. He read the short story of which I was so proud and pretty much told me it was crap and I should stick to the cartoons.

That totally messed me up for a while. I loved to read even then and would devour four or five novels a week by high school. I had decided that, since there was no way to follow all the interesting career paths out there, (and specifically because I learned that to join the FBI you should study accounting... ACCOUNTING! - I wanted to be a profiler and it was before all these CSI and Criminal Minds type shows came out), I would be a writer.  Writing would let me live out all the dreams of all those careers through my characters.

Well, according to Dad, my writing sucked...  Next?

Fast forward twenty years. Now I work in a job where I read, edit and sometimes write reports. I craft emails to clients on a regular basis. I seem to do pretty good at it and catch on to the style needed without too much pain and suffering. Maybe I can write?

In that time, I have started and tossed numerous stories which I had planned to be novels. I have read blogs, books and everything I could find to devour on the topic of publishing and writing. But with a more than full time job, a family and some selfish time spent just doing stuff that's fun, I have never made myself sit down and really focus. I want to write a novel, but I just haven't done it.

So, I took a weeks vacation and I am here at home giving it a go! I thought I would start my little writer's blog here, at the beginning.

I'm writing, and I hope I am doing it right!