Friday, July 27, 2007

Words Words Words

I have been moving well on the second installment of the Sureshot lately and hope I can keep it up because I would very much like to have the draft completed by the end of next week (cross your fingers). I have been totally obsessed with how many words it is going to be and have my computer count them nearly every five minutes. I wish I could have a running counter, but instead I have to click my word counter when I want an update. This is nothing new. When I wrote the Sureshot I was even more obsessed with how many words it was because I had no sense of how long my book was going to be. As it was it ended up being a bit shorter than I would have liked. It was just over 70,000 words and was published at 214 pages. This one will end up being a bit longer and is already over 72,000 words (72,681 to be exact), and I still have quite a few more pages to write, let alone all of the words I will add once I revise. I am hoping that this book ends up being around 100,000 words, but that may be pushing it, and I do not know how good that will be considering the length of the first book. See, I told you I was obsessed with word count.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Battle of Oneself

The roads stretch on and on all around,
Dry and hot for miles not a single sound.
Thoughts bounce in the skull with much speed,
Contemplating the most current and basic need.

Don’t halt the inevitable journey for long,
Soon tired ears will fill with lovely song.
Keep treading and the body will always reach,
A place some imagine is as sweet as a peach.

It can be reached when the will is great.
Iron builds strong tall bounding gates.
Open to small paths leading to the beating.
It will beat loud and clear forever needing.

Enter the fortress if you posses the courage.
Only in mastery of fear will you receive suffrage,
From the dark prison, built around us all.
Breath easy, your safe, so stand tall.


I have not posted in several days, but that is a good sign for anyone hoping to read the second installment of the Sureshot within the next decade. I keep saying it, but I really am nearly finished. I have been working, some times tediously, but inching my way through the end of the book. It needs a bit of revision, but I believe that it will be better than the first. I am going to explore some publishing options if my publisher balks at putting it out, and I am excited about that. Other wise I have been doing the usual busy father/husband things. Taking kids to places, picking up toys, and looking for a new house. All of these things have slowed my progress, but I still believe I will have a draft completed within the next two weeks. I will then begin reading it to find out what the heck I actually wrote, and then probably changing a significant amount. I am also interested in having a few people who read the first book read this one to get their opinions before sending it to any publishers. Since I have small, ok very small, but loyal group of fans, I thought it might be very helpful for them to read it, just to get another point of view. Anyways, I am going to try to finish the chapter I am on so I need to get to it. It sounds like both kids are awake now, so I am not sure how that will work, but I got a new CD to listen to so I hope that will help me focus on my task. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Writing is hard

I was doing so well. Really I was. I wrote about 20,000 words in a couple of weeks and I thought that I was going to be finished with Sureshot 2 by the end of July. While there is still an outside chance of that happening, it is not looking good. I lost my steam. I do not know where it went, but I think that the vacation on the coast did not help. I was in the "zone" before we went for the weekend, and when I returned the zone had faded. I am having trouble finding it again, and writing has been grueling. I wish it came easy all the time, but right now I seem to find anything else to do but write. For instance, I should be writing instead of blogging (which is writing of course, but not the same). Tonight I vow to get unstuck. I think I know how to do it. All I do is write no matter how painful until I get in the flow again. It is a bit like running, if you will entertain an analogy for a moment. You never want to start, and when you do it seems painful at first, but then your muscles loosen up and your blood starts to flow and you begin to enjoy yourself. Ok, maybe not everyone feels the same about running, but you get the point. I am going to sit here and type until the words start to flow again. No doubt I will have to rewrite the pages I produce while I am dreading it, but that is part of the process. Ok no more delays. I am off....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Book Review: Pig Island

Before writing my review, I would like to point out that I do not read thriller novels even though they are so popular currently. This is not for any real reason except that I have not found the time really. So I had few expectations when I read this book.

It begins very well. The author, Mo Hayder, draws readers in right away with action and mystery. The premise was exciting: there is a mysterious cult on an island and a journalist is going out to interview them. He has a history with their leader, and wants to find him. However,I was very interested from the beginning. I was immediately disappointed with the lack of character development, especially with the main character, Joe. Descriptions and details were good as was the dialogue, but there was something missing. I wanted to know more about Joe, but I was left wanting.

In the first part of the book all of the cult members are killed and Joe “saves” the daughter of the man responsible who has a deformity, a tail. This is what most of the controversy surrounded. Some people thought that she was a demon or something that Malachi, the groups founder had summoned. The author even uses the term biform, and has some of the people calling Malachi’s creature Pan or Satan, but does not go into this idea at all. It is sort of added to give the illusion of religious significance, but she does not support the use of the words and terms with any information. She also uses Bible versus but they seem to be out of place. At one point she used the story of Jesus healing a man named Legion because of all the demons in him. It seemed to fit given that they were on pig island, but the author decided to have Malachi stick the heads of the pigs on sticks, but never said why and skirted the issue by adding “I’m not sure even he (Malachi) knew.” I was not excited about that omission. It seemed she used it just because it would be exciting and scary, but it came off as lazy.

There was an attempt to develop an interesting character in Joe’s wife Lex. She came with him to Scotland, and their marriage is not going well, and she is seemingly in love with a doctor that she previously worked for. This is great. I thought that the author had solved the problem of having weak characters by creating Lex, but then…she killed Lex. I was mad at this point. The only interesting character and she was dead. Hayder had a girl with a tail, and tried to build some sort of interesting character out of that (which is already pretty interesting) but the tail girl turns out to be a tart, and totally loses her appeal to me.

The book started off well, and lost its momentum early and in my mind never regained it. The last 300 plus pages of the book were mostly the suspense of “where is Malachi? He is haunting me! I am scared of him!” It was not enough to carry the book. And then in the last fifty pages the book twists, turns and then ends. I was disappointed. Especially since I saw it coming. It was all too obvious. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but you will see it coming too I suspect. If not then maybe you will love it, but to me I had to wait through a lot of pages that were suddenly talking about bestiality and strange sexual perversions just to get to the twist. Anticlimactic if you ask me.

Anyways, I would not recommend this book. I repeat that I have not read much in the genre, but I suspect that there are better writers with better characters, and more consistent writing from beginning to the end.

Vacation Reflection

Ok, so I learned a few things after the few days at the beach. One is that it is really hard to get work done. I did not write a single word on anything, let alone work on my manuscript. I knew this already as I elaborated in my previous post, but it was reinforced this weekend. It turns out that even as we left on Saturday, I was sick. I spent all of Saturday, Sunday, and most of Monday near a toilette, and finally I recovered enough to enjoy myself a bit by Monday night.

The second this is that there is not much to do at the beach. Pretty much the beach is it. Since I do not like the beach all that much (it's the sand) I have little to do there. My children are also a bit young to spend much time on the beach all at once so we went down in the morning and then in the afternoon. It is nice, but I am not much of a beach fan. I prefer mountains and hiking and such.

Thirdly, I want to retract my previous statement about people reading on vacation. I picked up a book while I was there (one that people leave for others to enjoy) and read through it in a couple of days. It was very relaxing. I suspect that people read while they are on vacation because we often do not get a lot of time during their busy lives to just sit and read all day. It was great. I read a 500 page book in two days! How often does that happen? Not very. So I now advocate for reading while on vacation because it is very relaxing, and I might add, a bit more stimulating than watching cable.

This is the final thing I learned: there is nothing worthwhile on TV. We do not have cable at home, because it is costly, and we are not TV advocates, but in the house we were staying in there was cable. So like a couple of starved castaways, we ate it up the moment we got there. The kids watched cartoons, my wife watched the home and garden channel, and I watched ESPN. It was great. For a couple of days. Then it was boring. And it was so hard to find something interesting to watch. I think that there are so many channels now that they cannot possibly all have something interesting on, so they have their one or two shows that are good to get people watching and the rest of the time they hope that what they have on will be interesting enough to get people who do not want to do anything but sit on the couch something to stare at while they waste their time. I was not impressed, and will not be getting cable any time soon. With that I will say that if nothing else the trip was restful even though I was sick for most of it, and I am glad to be back in Fresno where it is hot and miserable, yet still home.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Weekend Retreat

We are going away for the weekend and I am going to take my computer and writing notes with me in case I am motivated to write while I am there. I know that there are a lot of writers who like to go somewhere else to write, but I have not yet understood that. Maybe I will this weekend. Whenever I go somewhere interesting or beautiful I want to enjoy it, not write. I write best when I have nothing else to do, or when there is something I am supposed to do that I don't want to do. It is complicated, I know. I never understood why people go all the way to Hawaii just to sit around and read. Speaking of reading I saw something interesting Wednesday night. I went to the movies with my dad and a friend of mine late to watch Pirates 3. I had already seen it and since it is so long I got up to go to the bathroom. While I was returning I noticed a couple sitting on a bench in the theater lobby. They were both reading. I asked the man if they were waiting for their kids or something and he told me that they were. Their kids were in the movies while the parents sat outside and read. I thought it was really funny. Anyways, I have a lot more things to talk about because I just finished my yard work (that is when I get a lot of ideas) but it will have to wait until next week.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Somehow Surviving

Water runs swiftly through a deep forest,
Like hot blood through my veins.
Grass soft and green tickles my skin,
Easing my nagging pains.
Falling without hope of regaining control,
Only with an outstretched hand have I a chance.
Colorful fragments of consciousness stream,
Before my eyes as a majestic dance.
Dreams engulf my mind drowning,
What little sanity remained.
Crying softly in the deep night,
Longing for a stability to be maintained.
Loving the state of companionship,
I strive for every day.
Hating the mess it leaves me in,
And the price I must pay.
Living regardless of obstruction,
Surviving the game of predator and prey.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Change of Clothes

A woman of stature enters
Tall and elegant she glides
What is it though, at the center?
Her beautiful, sparkling dress hides
The black ugliness is on the inside.

No one can see through her style
She is a glimmering example of perfection
An illness has infected her for awhile
Still her clothes make her look like a confection
I appall her brilliant deception.