Monday, May 2, 2016

Month In Review: April 2016

April, the month where my writing and reading, as Eddie Izzard might say, slowly fell apart like a flan in a cupboard. After the relatively torrid pace set in March, I hit a wall in April. Part of that was some upheaval in my writing world that I'll talk about at some point, but not now and that took away significant writing time. In addition, my students' research project was over and handed in, so I had grading to do and was back in front of the class with some direct instruction. So, here's what's happening.

WRITING: Said upheaval completely took me off the tracks. I managed to scrape together 12k on FALCON, so it wasn't the terrible month that February was, but it wasn't the 32k that was March. The sad part is that I am still in love with the story I'm writing. It's doing so many things that I want it to do that I'm happy with it. I've done some story editing as I write and I managed to cull some fat from the outline and I'm looking at it being closer to 75k and not 82k, which is kind of where I wanted it to be anyway. I figured out some plot issues that I'll fix with the next draft, but if I can get back on track, I should be able to finish by the end of this week.

After that, I'm not sure. I'm piecing together this new YA fantasy idea bit by bit but I'm beginning to realize I'm not ready to write it yet. It's not a hard YA like SEASONS or SCION is, meaning my target audience is clearly YA. I'm looking closer to a tween audience on this project and feel like I need to do some more research on it, but I'll talk more about that in the READING section. What I'm thinking about doing is writing a little dystopian piece with my students. We're doing a unit on dystopia and for the final project, I'm having them write a creative piece of some length (I'll share next week when I assign it) about a dystopia of their creation. So I'm going to write one along with them over the three weeks of may. A novella maybe. Then I'll work on the fantasy piece. Then maybe come back to contemporary and do my prank war story.

One of my goals for May is to increase productivity. Try to hit about 40-45k for the month and then average that for the Summer, depending on employment situation.

READING: Read 3 books and they were meh, seen it before and amazing. No reviews this month. Read a diet and fitness book that I'd read before and learned nothing new from. I read "A World Without Heroes" by Brandon Mull and walked away feeling meh. I think the 13 year old in me might have enjoyed it, but the me now was just meh. I'm trying to find things that will thrill the 13 year old in me, so I'm starting my reread of the second "Dragonlance" book to try and figure out what thrilled the thirteen year old in me about it. I'm also reading a few other tween books to see if I can figure out how they tick.

The best book I read last month was "The Day The Crayons Came Home" by Drew Daywalt. This is a work of genius. I had a chance to read this book to my daughter's class and did it cold. There were jokes in it that made me laugh out loud while completely disrupting myself as I read. (There was an allusion to the expression, "Does a bear shit in woods?" that completely unhinged me in the middle of reading that the entire class of 2nd graders were baffled by my giggles.) It's another early leader for best reads of 2016.

WATCHING: Did a lot of watching this month. Here's some highlights:

Dune: The Lynch version. What a freaking mess of a movie this is and it is glorious for it. It's still not the best Dune movie. That honor belongs to the documentary JODOROWSKY'S DUNE.

The Walking Dead: I don't watch this show often, but I understand the appeal of it. My problem is the lazy writing. People make bad decisions, but having characters make the same bad decisions over and over again for the sake of the narrative is lazy writing.

WALL-E: Just amazing story telling and writing with almost no dialogue. Smart, funny and sweet. When Pixar is on, they are so good and this was damn near as good as it gets.

Jurassic World: What a silly but fun movie. I mean when Star Lord leads out the pack of raptors to fight the mutant dinosaur, it was pretty bad ass. The thing the movie was missing was the sense of wonder and awe that Jurassic Park had.

All Things Must Pass: A documentary about Tower Records. I love a good documentary and this was well done. The heavy 70s vibe was again speaking to me as it has been a lot lately. Plus, I love walking around book stores and seeing what's on the shelf. I miss those days when it comes to the record store.

Varsity Blues: My friend Mike Winchell and I have very differing views about this movie. I really like it and I'm pretty sure he thinks it's a abhorent piece of garbage. Sure the ending is hackneyed and rediculously silly, but it's a fun, over the top movie about high school sports. Tweeder kills me every time.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: I had to talk about this. I love Indy and I'm not one of those people that thinks this mars his legacy. The most frustrating part of the entire movie is that the potential for this to be a very good entry in the series. The chemistry between Indy and Marion is still there. Cate Blanchette just chews scenery. The action scenes are pretty good. But the freaking ant scene. The monkey scene. Shia LeBouf. The ending. Shia LeBouf. It becomes a mess.

I'll be honest, I think this was a movie that they should've just recast the character. Not a reboot, just recast the character and continue stories that take place in the original era. I'd be very happy with that.

So, that was April. For May? Writing. Maybe some actual constructive blogging where I actually have something to say. And finishing up the school year.

No comments: