Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Writing Wednesday: Motherfucker, I'll Be Back From the Dead Soon

The sirens start up. The world is all deafening screeching and flashing red lights. The scientists look at each other from inside their hazmat suits. They don't have time to move before the glass doors slide shut, sealing them in.

"Sorry, gents," says the man at the controls, twisting the ends of his handlebar mustache nervously. "You know how it goes. Protocol and all that."

"But, Steve, we're not the ones in danger!"

The man with the handlebar mustache turns and cries out in terror. Writing Wednesday stands in the doorway, wreathing in a sickly yellow light. It moves toward the man.

What I'm Reading

I'm still making my way through Aftermath, and still enjoying it very much.

I usually have about eleventy billion books going at the same time. So while I'm listening to Aftermath, I'm also reading Kameron Hurley's Empire Ascendant. I'm super glad I preordered the book last year, as, even though I didn't get it finished before it properly came out, I have the eARC on
my phone, which lets me read it on my lunch break at work. It's also great.

Honestly, though, I'm hunting for something somewhat spooky to read/listen to for the remainder of the month. It is October, after all. If I have some money when I finish up Empire Ascendant, I'm tempted to pick up Bimiangus by J.B. Rockwell, or Voice of the Blood by Jemiah Jefferson.

I'm also thinking about getting Night Film on audiobook with my latest Audible credit. Or maybe something by Sarah Pinborough.

Like I said...eleventy billion books.

What I'm Writing

I had a great couple of writing days over the weekend. Got around 5000 words on Werewolf Bar Mitzvah: SPOOKY! SCARY! The book is now around 33,000 words, which is exciting. Replotting the book really helped me hit my stride again.

I also added a sinister ice cream truck that plays terrible Kidz Bop-style covers of gospel songs. Can you imagine anything more terrifying? Because I can't.

I have another day off coming up here eventually, and I'm going to try to get more words down, then.

I think I like rewriting more than writing, weirdly enough. I can riff off myself and get more interesting stuff than the stuff I come up with initially.

What Else I've Been Up To

As I mentioned yesterday, the wife and I went to a corn maze over the weekend, which was tons of fun. Then we met up with my friend, Brooke Johnson, and played a game of Betrayal at House on the Hill. And then we played some more of Risk: Godstorm. But we can never finish a game. We always start them too late, ha ha.

In the meantime, I've been trying to watch as many horror movies as I can this month. I can't commit to one every day as I just don't have the time. But I can do at least one per weekend, and probably two a weekend or so. So we've been watching movies. I'm going to write a post about that here soon. I love spoopy movies. I'm such a sucker.


Unrelated to all that: I've also been interested in trying to learn some programming, but I can't think of any free time I have to set aside to look into it/learn it. I'll have to make the time, I suppose, if I really want to learn it, though.

And that's my week in a nutshell. How was yours?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Beware He Who Walks Behind the Rows

Over the weekend, my wife, my brother, and I went on an adventure.

For a few years now, my wife has wanted to go to a corn maze and a pumpkin patch. Two quintessentially autumnal experiences. Between bad timing, laziness, and lack of funds, though, we never got around to going.

That changed this year, however. My wife was determined to go to a corn maze. And because we live in a really nice area, there were several to choose from. I was only slightly disappointed that the maze we chose did not have "punkin chunkin'," but it did feature pig races. (We didn't actually see the pig races though because I live in the south and that kind of shit is HUGE down here.)

There was a sandbox that was filled with corn. It was cute to watch the kids romp and play in it, even if I was confused why anyone really cared. There were hay bales stacked on top of each other making a giant pyramid with a tunnel through it the kids could play in. There was a hay bale maze. There was live music. There were tractor wagon rides. There was also a petting zoo.

I like this guy because he was watching people walk to and fro in front of his pen and eventually he decided, "Fuck this noise, I'm taking a nap," and flopped his head to the side as shown above. He looks like he's enjoying that sun, too.

There was also this little tyke, who was just chilling on the stairs. I like to think she's surveying her kingdom. Like, "yes, I will rule all of this. Watch me."

There were also piglets. Look at this. LOOK AT THIS!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW CUTE THIS IS??? CAN YOU EVEN COMPREHEND???!!!

This was the pattern of the maze that we walked. There were actually two mazes. One a "mini maze" that was about an acre in size for the kids. The one we walked was about three miles worth of walking. It was several acres. It was gigantic. Fun, though.

This was my view for about two hours. We were actually surprisingly good at this. We wound up getting through the maze relatively quickly. We only got lost once where we wound up doubling back on ourselves, and that was literally at the last fork. If we'd taken the left instead of the right, we'd've been out. But we didn't listen to my wife because we were convinced the different colored ribbons we kept seeing a few rows away was the final section. It was not. It was, in fact, the mini maze.  Oops.

Of course, the entire time I was walking, I kept making Children of the Corn jokes. And The Stand jokes.

"We wants you, too, Malachi. He wants you, too."

We also stopped by the pumpkin patch to pick up a few pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns/roasted pumpkin seeds.

Speaking of: I need to make a pumpkin pie soon. Mmmmmm.

By the way, here's a baby pumpkin!

Isn't it cute? I totally saw a baby watermelon about the same size, but I didn't think to take a picture of it.

So that was our weekend adventure.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Writing Wednesday: I Could Liken You to a Shark, the Way You Bit Off My Head

Cue intros are for people with time. Let's do this!

What I'm Reading

Image from Goodreads
I just finished Nnedi Okorafor's Lagoon not too long ago. Now I'm listening to the audiobook for Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. Unsurprisingly, it's great so far. Surprisingly (to me at least) it's also one of the most well-produced audiobooks I've ever heard. The Star Wars theme played as the narrator read the credits. There's sound effects and mood music throughout the book--dramatic John
Williams high-brass during battles, lower, quiet score during dramatic scenes. Blaster sounds, bleeps and bloops of droids and space tech. I saw a few reviews that didn't like that, but it feels almost like listening to a radio play to me, except it has the full narration of the book. It's great. I definitely recommend picking up the audiobook if you like what I just said.

If you don't, or don't like audiobooks in general, I still recommend picking it up, as the story is very good so far, and it's nice to listen to a story that actually deals with the immediate aftermath of blowing up the second Death Star and what that means for the people of the galaxy.

And the MRAs and homophobes hate it. Which, while not the ONLY reason to support a product, certainly helps, ya know?

What I'm Writing

Still plugging away at Werewolf Bar Mitzvah: SPOOKY! SCARY! Remember when I said that I was pushing ahead in spite of recognizing the massive work that needed to be done with the beginning? Well...I couldn't stop myself. I didn't go back and rewrite the whole beginning because I don't hate myself, but I did go back and re-outline the A plot. Now there's drama, it's messy, there's conflict and more than just two characters and a handful of NPCs expositing at them. And I can continue to write now with these changes in mind so I have less I need to work on later on my redraft...theoretically. We'll see how that plays out.

When I actually get this draft done, I think I'm going to write a post about what my process was for this first novel. For my own records at the very least.

That said, I still haven't topped 30k because I haven't written like I've been meaning to. Part of this can be chalked up to a rough bit of time at work lately, and part of it can be chalked up to me being a lazy sonuvabitch. I mean, I'm trying to be all forgiving about missing days of writing if I don't get around to it as long as I'm making some progress--and I am making SOME progress, even if it's not on word count--but at the same time, I didn't write last night because I was going through my Amazon wishlists and removing stuff I don't really care about anymore and moving items around. Then I watched some Dragon Ball Z: Abridged. See? Lazy.

What Works for Me

Outlines. I didn't realize how much I lock up when I don't know where the story is going, but I move so much faster and feels so much more comfortable when I'm not wasting my time writing stuff I know is junk--describing scenery in every minute detail--until I get an idea of what I'm wanting to say. I get there eventually, but with my limited amount of time writing in the evenings (and mornings sometimes) I don't have the luxury of meandering here and there. By the time I find my thread and run with it, it's already time to go to bed. So: outlines, because without them I basically sit on the ground with my hands held aloft going, "What do now? WHAT DO NOW???"

What Else I've Been Up To

We went to the drive-in last weekend to catch a "horror" movie double-feature. It was M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit and then Joel Edgerton's The Gift.

Image from Wikipedia
The Visit was awful. It felt incredibly lazy at every step. And it featured a white teenage boy freestyle rapping in the way that you would imagine white, middle-class teenage boy's would rap.

The Gift was an absolutely fantastic movie, right up until the last 20 minutes or so where a plot twist/big reveal was so horrible, manipulative, and disgusting that, for me personally, it ruined the movie. My wife ended up liking the movie way more than I did. As much as I loved the first 2/3rd to 3/4s of the movie, that last bit ruined everything else for me.

Part of my issue--not all, but part--is that about halfway through the movie, the woman that the movie is focusing on stops being the main character. It's really similar to Hitchcock's Rebecca, you can almost feel when the camera detaches from her and starts focusing on her husband. But where Rebecca is really good, The Gift tries to make me feel sympathy for horrible, horrible people that I did not give a shit about by the end.

Anyway, sorry to get negative there.

On the positive front, I'm eagerly looking forward to watching The Final Girls, which it looks like is going to be On Demand this weekend, so we'll probably give that a watch at some point.