Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Month In Review: May 2016

Come what May, thank goodness April was over. May was definitely a better month than April and I gained back some productivity and a slight nudge in a newish direction for me and my writing. So, here's what I did:

WRITING: After the disaster that was April, I found a pretty good groove in May. I finished the first draft of THE FALCON AND THE CROW and I'm very happy with it. But more on that in a minute. I finished that up and then dove into a rewrite of THE SEVEN LABORS OF NICK JABLONSKY. And I discovered that LABORS was better than I thought.

The story made a lot more sense than I remember and only needed a few tweaks and cuts along the way. I blogged a little bit about some major changes I contemplated making to the story but decided against because of the fundamental changes it would make to the story. In the end, I told the story I wanted to tell and wound up coming up with a great narrative concept for another project. I was so happy with the rewrite that I decided to just send two "Aw, what the hell" queries out into the world. I don't know if LABORS is completely indicative of me as a writer, but who knows what'll happen.

After finishing LABORS, I reengaged FALCON and I'll be honest, it's good. Really good. I'm cruising through a revision because it doesn't need a major rewrite. It needed some fixes here, mostly continuity for the "McGuffin" and a few other tweaks here and there, then I'm going to work on a synopsis and the query letter to see what it can do in the world.

As for what's next, I'm kind of grasping right now. I had a great conversation with someone I trust a great deal about my writing and it has me thinking about what I do. I need to think about what is going to make my writing stand apart from everything else, make it distinctive. It was a great point that should've been made to me years ago, but that's a gripe for another time. For my next project I have to think distinct, which has me questioning my YA fantasy I was contemplating and has me thinking of how to make it distinct. Or do I try another project to see what makes sense.

READING: Another slowish month of reading. I finished four books and I'm in the process of reading two more. It was a pretty good month. I'm moving through DRAGONS OF WINTER'S NIGHT slower than I want and I can see the flaws in it as much as I can the things I loved. But I'll get to that in a separate entry. (Plus, we did a massive housecleaning and I have no idea where my wife put the book.) I'm about half way done with AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and adoring it. It's really good. I have a stack of library books out that I'm going to tackle for June. I'm aiming for at least six books this month. So, here's what I've read:

  • The Iron Trial: I'm all for putting your own spin on an idea, especially when it comes to genre. I mean I put my eggs in the "YA Game of Thrones" basket from day one. But there are two things that drive me crazy: someone trying to hitch to a trend where you can tell the author didn't really read the inspiration and one where they are so in love with the inspiration they make minimal changes. The Iron Trial is the latter and it ruined the book for me. It had some nice moments but the twist was obvious,but I wonder if that was more of a middle reader thing than bad writing. It uses the tropes all wrong and felt rote and formulaic. 
  • Better Days and Other Stories: A Firefly comic collection. Very good. Nice to be among friends. 
  • Birthright Volumes 1 & 2: A fantastic graphic novel that taps into some great and timely things right now in a lot of ways. It seems like returned missing children is a hot topic in pop culture right now and this plays right into it as a little boy goes missing in the park while playing ball with his father. His family falls apart and just as they reach the tipping point a grizzled man in armor and carrying a kingdom's arsenal with him is detained by police, claiming to be the missing boy having returned after growing up the Chosen One in a fantasy kingdom. The PTSD portal story is another story that's gaining traction and this one starts off this way before veering in a different, satisfying direction that I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I was, giving some great insight into some of my own writing. (Related to directly to my rant about "distinct.")
WATCHING: All over the place this month, but here's a sampling of things I watched:
  • Game of Thrones: Wow, seem to be gaining back some of their first few seasons form this season. I mean the Tower of Joy, Coldhands, Hodor....poor, sweet Hodor. 
  • NBA Playoffs: Steph Curry....just remember, a clown sports commentator that once tried to get people on Twitter to get me fired compare him to Carrot Top. And Fox Sports 1 pays him 6 millions dollars a year to do this. I can do the same for 2% of that. Call me.
  • Castle Series Finale: I adored this show, but the final season was lazy, rehashing old plots and turning the best comedy flavored crime procedural since Moonlighting into a conspiracy thoery mess. The finale was a disaster with a trick ending that tried to do one thing but did something else and failed miserably at it. 
  • The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?: Wanted to be Jodoroesky's Dune but it wasn't. Still enjoyable. I'm all for more Kevin Smith talking movies. 
  • A League of their Own: The second best baseball movie ever made. Fight me about it, Field of Dreams people, I'm ready. 
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire: The last of the Potter movies I actually watched and pretty much the EMPIRE of the series. I forget how well done these movies are. They are the best book to movie adaptations I can think of. I'm going to do a blog post on this at some point...I may even reread the books. There are a lot of parallels between Rowling and Martin that deserve some conversation.
  • Rick and Morty: I have a blog post in my about things that I love mostly because I feel like I could've written them. This is one of those things. 
What's in store for June? End of the school year and I've adopted a motto from HAMILTON, I'm going to write like I'm running out of time. I'm also going to read. Lift some weights in earnest. Ride my bike with my daughter and try not to kill myself doing it. Blog a little bit more. Read some books.

What about you?

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