Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Becuase It's GODzilla...

One of my favorite websites to get my daily intake of nerdery/geekery is io9. If you've never been there and you make some claim to be interested in all things geek, then you are doing it wrong. Every once in a while they throw out a question for the audience to answer in the comments sections. I usually don't respond, mostly because time is at a premium for me right now, but they asked a question that I felt deserved a long form response.

Why does Godzilla continue to fascinate us?

Now, there's part of me that was actually kind of mad about this because....really?? Really? The preeminent website for nerdery on the entire Al Gore interweb actually has to ask that question? He's f**king GODZILLA?

Then I relaxed and thought about it a bit. Then I read some of the comments and almost blew a gasket at the trolls. That's when I decided I was going to write this blog entry.

A few weeks ago a writer (and ex-CNYer) Aaron Starmer started a hashtag called #99inspirations on Twitter. I totally loved this and decided to steal the idea for my blog, but I'm holding off until something happens in my writing career. But in preparation for it, I started a Word document called 99 Inspirations and started listing the things that inspired my writing. I was surprised the first few things that made it on to that list, though I shouldn't have been. The first things I typed were: Star Wars, A Song of Ice and Fire, Pro Wrestling and Godzilla. Seriously. In pretty much that order.

Now, if you didn't know I started a sports blog where I'm going to pontificate about sports in the way I know how and I'm going to post a pro wrestling long form over there. I decided to answer io9's question over here on this blog.

So why Godzilla?

The most obvious answer: Because he's GOD-f**king-zilla. He's an enormous monster that kicks everything's ass and lays waste to everything in his way. Plus, it's in his name. God implies the most powerful and that's really what Godzilla is. He's an unstoppable, nuclear powered, flame throwing, mutant T-rex (in some versions, but more on that later) that equally loves and hates the Japanese people.

I was weaned on Godzilla in the pre-cable days of the late 70s and early 80s, when WWOR in NYC would run "monster week" during the summers sometimes for their midday movies and every post Thanksgiving Friday (not to mention the King Kong marathons on Thanksgiving with fond memories of my Uncle Joe's wooden paneled rec room). It was always potluck and I can remember hoping and praying that it was going to be monster week when I would spend weeks at a time at my grandparent's three bedroom apartment in Astoria, Queens. I'm sure the countless war films and courtroom dramas had some influence too, though not as indelible as Godzilla. But I remember those memories with the fondest of memories and for that alone is enough. Even sittting here in my darkened classroom while my students are watching the final act of Romeo and Juliet, I'm seven again, staring at the television in the cramped living room as the Godzilla movie comes on the TV and the excitement I felt then is as fresh as ever. The nostalgia alone is why he matters.

If we've learned anything about our sort of pop cultural zeitgeist it's that we love the destruction of the things that our society has built up, especially the things that have come to visually represent us as a society I suppose. We are the ultimate consumers of disaster porn and, when you think about it, Godzilla is the ultimate disaster porn, unlike the standard issue natural disasters (earthquake, meteor, tidal wave, rouge ice age, sharknado). There is an undeniable appeal to watching an enormous monster with firebreath wreaking havok on a city and at the same time an undenaible relief that it is not an American city.

We are also fascinated as humans with monsters, real and imagined. Always have been, going back to when we were sitting around the fire telling stories. Monsters have changed and transformed over the centuries, especially in the last one hundred years.  Think of ancient mythology, Gothic literature, pop culture and even kids entertainment like Pokemon and Digimon. We love our monsters. Think about it, right now zombies are the monster du jour. Why do you think the CDC actually has a zombie preparedness page on their website? Because even regular folk are watching The Walking Dead and zombies are now part of everyday pop culture, but really when you think about it, Godzilla is still the alpha monster even 60 years later. No one's been able to come up with something better than Godzilla since he first graced film screens in 1954.

We've tried to supplant the big guy several times and none of them stuck. We tried an Americanized Godzilla and that was a joke at best. Cloverfield was a joke, let's be honest. Yeah, we love destroying NY, but Clover isn't Godzilla, sorry JJ but Big Green would've made short work of Clover and his little ticks. The closest we've come, in my humble opinion has been Pacific Rim. It was awesome when it was robot on monster action and some of the moster brain stuff was fun, but the whole alien invasion thing kind of bored me a bit, even though it was a relatively clever take on monster origin that we've seen before. The thing I appreciated about PR was that it was giving a nod to Godzilla.

 Godzilla is the king of the monsters and always will be. A thousand years from now, I firmly believe that kids will study Godzilla in school the way we studied the stories of the Grendel, the Behemoth, the Hydra or the Dragon are today.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Moment of Doubt Turns Into Inspiration

If you haven't figured it out yet reading this blog, you need to know that I am an unabashed George RR Martin fan and sycophantic apologist. I love just about everything the man writes, especially in Westeros, and will defend him with vigor. I fear the day that I will get to meet him (if ever) because I really have no idea what my reaction will be. Seriously.

For those of you not in the know, today GRRM released another chapter (I'd link but the traffic pretty much crashed his site) of the penultimate book in the classic A Song of Ice and Fire series. And yes, #1 it's classic...say all you want about delays and the mediocrity that was FEAST, it's still one of the most important pieces of literature of my generation...I said it, frakking deal with it...and #2: I won't call it by it's HBO name, that's something completely different! It's a chapter titled Mercy but we all know who it really is...don't worry, I won't spoiler it. And it is intense. And creepy. And squicky. It's everything that Ice and Fire is. And it's brilliant. And it's visceral. And in that moment, it made me completely and totally question my ability as a writer. I mean seriously, pack it in John. Game over, man. Game over. You don't stand a chance at ever being good. My mind goes panic/dark too quick.

I'm overreacting, of course. I know that's a shocking to those of you that know me on a personal level beyond the confines of the World Wide Web! I tweeted something to that effect and was talked down a bit by my friend Mark Hoover who directed me in the way that I should be: inspired, moved, so get freaking writing. And that's just what I am going to do. I've been in a rut lately and I need to correct that ricky tick. Maybe this was that moment of doubt that I needed to spark me into action. I think that it might be. GRRM did it to me once, way back when in 2000 when I first bought my copy of A Game of Thrones and never looked at fantasy again. It's like he's done it to me again. Kicked me in that ass. I've been thinking about writing all afternoon (well, at least since my students left my classroom) and I can't wait to wade back in!

Tonight, words on the contemporary project I'm working on and a serious focus on a "writing plan" for the Spring and Summer. Lots of spinning plates and I want to dedicate a serious chunk of time this summer to working parallel: writing a fresh project while working on rewrites. I'll talk more about that in another post...once I get my writing plan down!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Movie Review: Frozen


So I finally saw FROZEN and I freaking loved it. Just spectacular.

Now, I know there are plenty of people that go hot and cold with the Disney Princesses, but as I know I've said before, my daughter adores them, so for no other reason that will make me love them.

FROZEN is the best Disney movie in a long, long time, probably since THE LION KING. (I'm not including the Pixar movies for this review.) Now I loved TANGLED and think that movie is vastly underrated not just as a "Disney" movie but as a fantasy adventure, but it's not even close to this movie. They had a chance to do something really good with BRAVE but that was mediocre with a few shiny spots along the way. I think they really return to form with FROZEN in a big way. So, on with the review, I'm going with my original format on this, so here we go:

What I Liked:
In all honest, just about everything, but let me address a few things:


  1. Grimdark Junior: Grimdark. That ambiguous term that is all the rage in fantasy right now. Martin. Abercrombie. Lawrence. Weeks. Brett. Morgan. FROZEN is the closest thing that we'll see to a grimdark musical. No, I mean it. A good, functional definition that I found for grimdark, for those not in the know is (according to Sam Sykes) when a story’s setting, mood or theme is one of relentless violence, despair and grit, usually to a degree that some would find excessive to the point of absurdity. FROZEN doesn't quite reach that point, but damn it's close. (That's why I used Junior.) I think the writers definitely knew what they were doing and it hooked me right away. Sure, most of this will go over most little kids heads, but older kids and adults will clearly see it. The tone and the twists and turns in this are Westerosi in level (the duke of Weselton sending assassins to kill Elsa, Prince Hans' schemes, etc.).
  2. Two Strong Female Leads: Now, I know that this immediately discounts the movie from being considered for a Hugo Long Form award....cause, y'know, girls are icky. And we know how the entertainment industry feels about female leads. I loved the two female leads in this for various reasons, especially the voice actresses. Was there anyone else that could have played Elsa other than Idina Menzel? (I'm going to get to the song in a minute.) Surprisingly, Kristen Bell more than holds her own when she shares scenes with her. I thought it was great how they flipped the normal roles in a story like this. Elsa was far more complex than most antagonists are (I refuse to call her a villian...and I'll get to that in a minute as well) and it directed the conflict of the story. Ana is spunky, adventurous and more than a little naive, which she needs to be for the story but do not mistake this for not being a strong female lead. She's brave, resourceful and a little bit reckless, which she, again, needs to be for the story. 
  3. The Song: Alright, let's address the elephant in the room a little bit. FROZEN is just WICKED Lite (I mean that as a compliment), it deals with a lot of the same themes and is really written more as a Broadway musical and that really helps the movie work. "Let It Go" joins the Disney canon very high. It's the closest to "Defying Gravity" that we'll ever get on the big screen and it owns the screen. 
  4. World Building: I write big, huge epic fantasies, so when world building is in a movie like this, I jump on it. If I had the time or gumption, I'd love to do a giant world book on the Disney canon. Now, the world of FROZEN alone is complicated: Arendelle, Weselton, the Southern Isles, etc. I imagine Disney canon turning into some kind of second world, fantasy version of our Earth (kind of like any number we've seen out there: Mark Lawrence, Jaqueline Carey, Scott Westerfield) where technology levels vary (more on that in a minute). FROZEN not only reveals the world around Arendelle but gives us tastes of the wider world: there's a Spanish analogue and a Germanic one as well plus we see Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel show up to the coronation, so there's the unnamed kingdom from TANGLED as well. It's just stellar....I'd love to have seen some other peoples represented as well and if they were really smart they could have rolled in some of their stuff from SOFIA THE FIRST into it to really tie the canons together. See Disney, you need to hire me to work on your world book.
  5. Anachronism Stew: Fantasy fans often have a problem with this one. If you aren't sure what I mean, here's a link to TV Tropes to give you a little help. Go read it. I'll wait. Let me editorialize for a minute. I love this trope and it is one that I use constantly. Is there no reason why a civilization has to follow the same path that ours did? Is there no reason that ships of the Age of Sail couldn't have happened earlier in a fantasy world where there are large seas? What about some steampunk elements in a fantasy setting? Dwarves and orcs are industrial, right....what if they kicked off an early Industrial Revolution of sorts. If you can have it make sense with some intelligent world building, why not. Now, the folks at Disney have said that FROZEN takes place in the equivalent of the 1840s, but there's a mix of stuff from the 1900s to the 1500s in it. And why not? There's magic in this world and trolls and magic. The repeater/easy to load crossbows are genius (used in this and TANGLED). Why couldn't they exist? Maybe they were troll created and can be mass produced? Who knows? I really like that the Disney movies (and TV shows) are taking this approach because it makes for a better story. We don't get bogged down in the idea that something can't exist because in our world it wasn't that way. 
  6. Intelligent Animals: Another aspect of fantasy that seems to chafe some people. I love that some of the animals in the Disneyverse are semi-sentient and can communicate with humans on a similar level as a dog. Max in TANGLED and Sven in FROZEN are cut from the same cloth and it works for me.
  7. Alan Tudyk: I really love that Alan Tudyk has become something of a Disney/Pixar darling. I mean this is the guy that was so awesome as Wat in A KNIGHT'S TALE that people in England were shocked to find out that he's from Texas. That NEVER HAPPENS! The only thing it does is make me sad that Wash is dead.
 What I Didn't Like:
There was very little I didn't like, but there were a few things I wasn't sure about:
  1. Olaf's Sacrifice: I thought he was going to be the annoying Jar Jar Binks, but he wasn't at all. He was masterfully done actually, but I have to ask: why wasn't the fact that he was willing to melt to keep Ana an act of true love? It's a minor quibble that has been refuted by others, but that's still the way that I see it but then the movie wouldn't have been as exciting, I guess.
  2. Trade-able Goods: What exactly were the goods that Weselton wanted? It's an interesting plot point that could've been explored more. Maybe in the extended edition.
  3. Trolls: I feel like the trolls were underutilized though I'm not sure how else you could have used them. 
What Can I Take Away As A Writer?
Anachronism stew is doable and when it's done right, it works really well like it did in FROZEN. Also, world building is important. It needs to be consistent and work for your story not have the story work for it.  Now, if I can figure out a way to get a show stopping musical number into my book, then I'd be set. 



               
 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Review, Part Two: Writing

How about that, a double post day...what is this, a flashback to my LiveJournal days?

2013, The Year In Review, Part 2: The Writing

I honestly believed in my heart of hearts that this was going to be the year that I got my deal. Obviously, it wasn't. But I'm not going to focus on that right now. Most of that is out of my hands now, so there's not much to carry on about. Anyway, let's talk about writing.

I felt like this was one of my worst years writing since I spent a good portion of time working on revisions and rewriting, so it was hard to do "word counts" for those things. And they look bloated because I may work on two chapters that only need light cleaning up in one night so it looks like I wrote 7,000 words and the next day I have a chapter that needs to be blown up and I only get 700.

I keep a writing log in Excel and I usually quit on it at some point (October this year) because I don't know exactly how to handle revisions/rewrites in my word counts.

Anyway, a review of what I wrote this year:
  • SISTERS OF KHODA, YA fantasy, 2nd rewrite (112k).
  • TOURNAMENT OF PRINCES, YA fantasy, plan, abandoned.
  • WINTER'S SORROW, Fantasy novella, 2 rewrites (31k).
  • TOURNAMENT OF PRINCES, YA scifi, 1st draft started, back burnered (~3.5 k done).
  • THE WRONG PATH, Fantasy short story, 1st draft. (3k).
  • THE SEVEN LABORS OF NICK JABLONSKY, YA contemp, 1st draft (~12k done).
  • WINTER'S DISCORD, YA fantasy, 9th rewrite (131k).
By my count, that's about 300k, give or take....maybe I was a little more productive than I thought. I think the last draft of DISCORD is damn good and I think the TOURNAMENT and LABORS have loads of potential. SISTERS does too. I have a really thorough beta reading it right now and she's already given me amazing notes for the first three chapters and how to fix them. I'm very excited.

As for 2014, what do I have planned? Well, I haven't gotten my official 2014 notebook, so I haven't written a formal plan, but as I see it, here's what I plan on doing:
  • Finish LABORS and TOURNAMENT drafts.
  • Rewrite SISTERS.
  • Plan the sequels and prequel novellas to DISCORD. Possibly draft one of the novels and the accompanying novella.
  • Plan and draft the follow-up to SISTERS, tentatively titled THE ROAD TO STANDISH. (Part of the YOUNG WEAPONMASTER series)
  • Work on a novelette or two based in the WEAPONMASTERS world.
  • Work on a short story or three.
  • Plan and write something that my daughter would enjoy.
  • Plan and write something that my nephew would enjoy.
I've written a ton on writing routines. Now it's time to stick to that routine.

Wish me luck.

2013 Review, Part One: Reading

2013

If not for the birth of my son Cooper, I'd almost say this was a pretty crappy year. His birth actually makes up for a lot of the crappy things that happened this year.

Now, let me say, I don't generally like making blanket statements about something. (Like I just did.) But it wasn't a great year for me and I'm looking forward to 2014.

I'm going to avoid talking too much about school (2012-13 School Year: Meh, 2013-14: Worst Ever so far), personal issues (I'm really not destined to own nice things) or health (hip replacement was a miracle but tweaked back and stress have undone some of the progress I made from June 2012).

Let's focus on the things that this blog was supposed to be about: writing and reading.

Reading first.

I read 64 books this year. I intended to read 75, but such is life. I gave a "rest" to my WHEEL OF TIME read and will pick it up next year. I read a lot of graphic novels and limped my way through some good and mediocre novels. Here's my top five for the year of books released in the last 12-15 months (in no particular order):

  • Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole: Control Point, the first book of The Shadow Ops series made my list last year, so this was a natural. It's better than the first by far and it was my favorite treadmill read of the past summer. He ramps up the stakes while giving us a broader view of the world that he'd built. Myke is on the precipice of being one of the important voices of my generation of fantasy writers. Now, if I could just get him to appreciate team sports...
  • The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch: Lynch is a genius and Jean Tannen is one of my favorite characters in the modern fantasy canon. (Come on, a smart, strong fat guy that wears glasses? Yes, please.) Lynch juggles three different stories here and the flashback and the play they are performing are vastly more interesting than "A" story revolving around the elections, but THIEVES returns us to what makes Lamora and Tannen tick, a rollicking con with bigger repercussions than anything they've ever done. Lynch plants some nice seeds for the bigger series in this one and I can't wait for THE THORN OF EMBERLAIN.
  • Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang: I am fascinated by idea of "Imperial America," in particular American foreign involvement and the conflicts created therein, so this book was a natural for me. And I loved it. Beautiful, vivid and an amazing tale that mixes history, legend and mythology while asking some pretty tough questions.
  • The Red Knight by Miles Cameron: A big sweeping epic with a huge cast of POVs focusing on the siege of a keep on the border of civilization and the Wild. Great characters, great plot and talk about painting a vivid picture with words!
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: A loose retelling of the Cinderella myth (very, very loose) that is absolute genius. A rollicking fantasy adventure with hints at bigger repercussions for later books. Action, romance, love triangles, elder magic, tragic backstory (read the novellas), etc...it's like Sarah put all the tropes into a giant pot and made a damn near perfect pot of sauce. 
Honorable Mentions:
  • Bomb by Steven Sheinkin: A thrilling nonfiction account of the race to build the first atomic weapon.
  • The False Prince by Jennifer Neilsen: Hidden heirs and succession conspiracies. Feel like the 1st person POV hurt this book. Could've been a real Game of Thrones for teens if it were 3rd person close with multi POVs would've made this book top 5.
  • The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima: Good ending to a great series.
Top Older Books I Read:
  • Batman: The Killing Joke and Year One: Fantastic stories that I couldn't put down. Classics.
  • The Blind Side by Michael Lewis and Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissenger: Read quite a bit of nonfiction this last year in prep for the change over to the Common Core and these two stuck out as brilliant.


Biggest Disappointments:  
  • Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes: Billed as GAME OF THRONES for teens, it reads like a bad pastiche by someone that just read the Wikipedia entry on Game of Thrones and decided the most compelling thing about GOT was the incest part. It was just bad and it made me sad as someone that wrote a YA GAME OF THRONES type book.
  • The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy: What could have been a fun, rollicking adventure story about the Princes in your favorite fairy tales got caught up in it's own gimmick (a real problem in YA and MG right now). Healy plays with every trope all wrong and it comes across mean and not fun or silly at all.
  • Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes: I was really disappointed that I was so disappointed with this one. Sam is one of the coolest guys out there right now, but UNDERGATES was a big let down. I understand the appeal and there are some flashes of "what could've been" in it, but overall it didn't live up to the hype for me. 
  • Kick-Ass 2 by Mark Millar: Gratuitous, pointless and over the top for the sake of being over the top. It had none of the weight or point of the first one.
  •  
Books I'm looking forward to in 2014: Avalon by Mindee Arnett, Dare Me by Eric Devine, Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison, Landry Park by Bethany Hagen, Frostborn by Lou Anders, Breach Zone by Myke Cole, The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron, The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen, The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas.

So, there's my 2013 in reading.  I'm aiming for 75 books in 2014 again. I think I can do it.

Writing post will be up a little later on.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nose Meet Grindstone

It's hard to believe that it has been almost 3 months since the last time I wrote a blog entry. It has been one of the busiest, most frustrating starts to the school year in my career and anything beyond that realm has been pushed to a back burner. There are plenty of days where I feel like I am holding on by the tips of my fingers. And when you consider that my son's sleeping habits have changed and we're not exactly getting great sleep at the Zeleznik Compound, it's a miracle I've gotten anything done that doesn't involve planning, grading, the Common Core or APPR! But I have, somehow, managed to get some things done. A major rewrite, some new words that have been impeded by the loss of Verdell (my home computer) for a little while and some advance thinking about what I'm going to work on down the line. Unfortunately, with that comes sacrifice, meaning I haven't been blogging as frequently as I would have liked. There's something about today that makes me feel like I needed to get something on to the blog. Could have something to do with tomorrow being the anniversary of my hip surgery, it could be the holidays or it could just be I want to occupy myself in a moment of thought where I'm going to act like a little baby.

I'm entrenched in this contemporary YA that I'm writing, but it's proving to be harder than I thought, especially considering I did a major rewrite of one of my fantasy books then tried to dive back into the contemp. It's not that easy and I sort of struggled getting back into the "head" of the narrator of the contemp. It's 1st person, so it's very, very different from what I'm used to writing and I have to sort of get into the mindset. Not having a computer over Thanksgiving break killed all and nay productivity...it's very difficult to write in a notebook while keeping an eye on a mobile 9 month old. Now that Verdell is up and running, I'm going to give a real run at hammering out the contemp as quickly as possible. I think it's a good story, I just need some good old fashioned butt-in-seat time. Hopefully, two weeks of Christmas break will help!

I need new words right now. I need them because I've been sort of in rewrite purgatory for the entire year...I took a break for the novella but still, I'm stuck in my own old words and I need some fresh blood in my writing because I'm looking down the barrel of some more rewriting, though it won't be as much as a rewrite as a straight up murder.

Between the rewrite and novella, I'm realizing that I need to pretty much write the second book of my SEASONS series from scratch, so I've got some planning to do. I realized that the pacing of SPRING is all wrong and I need to pretty much blow it up and rebuild. Sigh. Hashtag writer problems.

The plan, as I see it, is to spend a few days catching up on the school work I'm behind on (and there's always a truckload of that) and then sit down and do a real writing plan then get to writing.




Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dreams and Sacrifice (Am I Using Parenthesis Right?)

The beginning of the school year is always a dodgy time for me. Any activity not associated with the beginning of school usually comes to a grinding halt. (If you could see my lawn, as meager as it is, you would understand what I am saying.) The last few years have been difficult too, between the switchover to the Common Core (I'm pretty fluent in it, but by no means an expert despite working with it for three years now) and the inundation of the Literacy Mafia (or by their corporate name: Pearson). Between moving and setting up a classroom (they moved me BACK to my old room), prepping for the classes and learning the new initiative, there isn't much room left in my brain for anything beyond school. Couple that with having two kids (the house looks like a tornado hit it on the inside) now, chaos reigns supreme. But with that comes some decisions about sacrifice.

I want to be a successful published novelist. That is one of my life's dreams. (Well, the whole being the starting fullback for the San Francisco 49ers didn't work out. And neither did being a Lothario of super hot, super rich celebrities. I suppose I could still try that stand up comedy thing...but, I digress.) I realized in order for any of that to happen, I would need to sacrifice a little. (My Twitter habit hasn't helped in that distraction.)

Usually, sacrificing for my writing came at the expense of sleeping. I'd stay up late (I'm something of night owl. Actually, you know how they say that you aren't a "morning person?" I'm not a middle of the afternoon person...if that makes sense) when I was really enthralled with a writing project. I can remember vividly doing a rewrite a few years back at the request of an agent and staying up consistently past 1am to work. (Everyone's in bed by then.) I also would usually shut down the mechanism from the end of August until maybe December or even the beginning the next year. I realized that if I want to be a successful writer, this was not an acceptable arrangement. I needed to sacrifice more. Even though I'm exhausted and beat down (I teach Freshman, so let's just say the number of gray hairs on my head has grown by a hundredfold in the last two years), I need to take some time to read and write. I ask my kids to do so, why shouldn't I do the same. (Modeling is a huge part of my teaching style now.)

I'm obsessed with writer's routines and long for one. (I've blogged about that before) So, I've decided to set a little time each night/day to write. Only an hour a day, if I can do more, than I do, if not, then at least I logged in an hour. It helps that I have a project I really like and am finding a groove on. I'm putting it together like a pitch to my agent to see if he likes what I am doing with it. (I'm playing with genre and the narrative style a little bit. Nothing I want to share yet, but it's...different for me.)

I'm about 5k in and grooving. (My writing tracking has fallen to shit, so I'm going to try and fix that tonight if I can so I can track my words.) It's contemporary and first person, two very different things for me, and I'm really enjoying it. (I've blogged a little about it before as well.) I abandoned the idea of writing it long hand. It's a romantic notion, but too difficult considering my circumstances.

My goal is to try and bang out about 20k by the end of the month. Do a little more in October so I can finish in November. It's ambitious, but doable. I'm hoping to have about 30 pages for my submission to my agent in the next week or so to see what he thinks of the stylistic thing I'm trying. I'm envisioning the project being about 75k. When I finish that, I think I may try my hand at a novelette in the Jaiman world then move on to the abandoned project I mentioned in that other blog while planning another plot monkey I have jumping around in my head that requires some research.

Then again, I may just watch a lot of college football and drink beer.