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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mental Exhaustion

     Sadly, there will be (or rather was not) an F3 today due to mental exhaustion. It struck me somewhere in the middle of the week, and I knew it for what it was as I had trouble finding basic words in my brain, and putting together sentences. So, for today, and tomorrow, I have (and will) be letting my brain get as much rest as possible, which means only the bare minimum grading and lots and lots of fun, mindless entertainment and physical activities in order to mentally prepare for NaNo.
     Also as preparation, a spy movie marathon (see above, mindless entertainment). It will get me thinking spy thoughts at least, and secret organizations bent on world domination and getting women to wear bathing suits and high heels as much as possible. And go-go boots. I don't have a thing for go-go boots, but it seems part of the shtick.
     I will endeavor to revive F3 throughout NaNo by taking bizarre pictures with my camera phone, and throwing something together in that way. And, as is my habit, I will post up the first chapters of the new novel.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Purpose of The Story

     Way back in my days of (semi) innocence, I was a creative writing major, and took creative writing fiction classes to advance towards that degree. I remember vividly sitting in the class near the end of the semester, a rough semester at that where I felt a certain disposition towards my classmates and my TA (but that's another story).
     During one day, the TA asked a question which I thought there was an obvious answer, and really the only answer that had any merit. Just for reference, I maintain my stance. The question was simply, this: "Why do we write?"
     My answer, as simple as could be: "To tell stories."
     I was given a very tiny amount of lip service, but it was clear that she wanted something more. I really couldn't think of what that might be. The TA moved on, and fished for something more, to which another student answered, "To send a message," which the TA and several others echoed their approval.
     It didn't really occur to me to do that, and I really didn't think that I wanted to read a bunch of heavy handed stories where I was being lectured at by the author. I just didn't think that it would be very enjoyable. Mostly I thought that my TA and class were a bunch of crackpots who were far too concerned with conceptions of high art than storytelling, and kind of disregarded that.
     That changed when I came to begin the road to querying. I read over famous blogs and query attempts, mostly from The Janet Reid where she states more than once on the Query Shark again and again that stories that are all about the message (that is just one example out of many on the blog. Go ahead, read them all. I'll wait.) are generally not the ones agents and editors are looking for. More than that, it kind of nailed home an idea that a lot of these writers focus on is the message where they report about what themes they deal with in the book, and what messages they want to convey instead of the events of the plot, and the choices that characters face.
     Whenever I conceive of a story, I start with the characters, and then come up with some events which set the stage for the story. I don't think about any type of message in the story whatsoever. It's not my purpose. My purpose has always been to tell a story that I thought was interesting.
     Now, that is not to say that I don't think I deal with some issues and convey some kind of message, but it's far down on the list of things I do. I'm not even fully sure of what messages I'm articulating as I write these stories. I'm more about presenting issues and questions, and have my characters deal with them. I try not to be prescriptive with how the characters deal with these questions. I just show how the characters have done it. The reader is able to take away whatever they wish from it. Of course, that leads to something else, which I'll cover in another post.

Friday, October 22, 2010

F3 Sundown

     Sundown. A lot of people watch the setting sun for the glory of those last rays of light. How they seem more intense than the sun at midday, and reflect off of clouds and buildings in brilliant reds, golds, and oranges.

Monday, October 18, 2010


     "It's better to burn out than fade away." Going out with a bang may appeal to homicidal immortals via Highlander, but it's not so good for me. All weekend I'd been feeling lethargic, unable to focus on what I should be doing, and I finally realized, yes, I'm burned out. Burned out on teaching, on grading, on side projects, on query revisions, and even a bit on writing. It's a really bad time, too, as I cannot afford to burn out, but I'm stuck wondering how to stave it off. So I'll open it up to any who might glance this direction. How do you stave off burning out?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Well, the huge hump of grading is ended (for now), and I am once again dedicating myself to writing. At first it was difficult, but I'm getting back up to speed. I'm also beginning my NaNoWriMo training regimen again, upping my totals slowly over the course of the month. I should be able to handle the NaNo load even though I have some mega grading to do in November, and some other projects that have come up. I'm still making preparations for my new series in November, and hope to have enough of a plot mapped out and characters defined to zip through the first 50k.

Friday, October 8, 2010

F3 The Smile

     Tough guys have a reputation, and for good reason. We've seen and done it all. It tends to make for hearts of stone. Every joe and jane that crosses my path has done something, and it's usually not pleasant. I know enough to cut through what the false fronts of the grifters, and I can take or leave the hot-eyed looks of the dames. There's one person that cuts through me, though, and with nothing more than a smile. When I see my niece smile, I can't help but give one of my own. Guess I am just a sap.

Friday, October 1, 2010

F3 Problem Solvers

     The ME was still giving the once over as I stared down at that hand. It had rained last night, but no more than usual. It made the ground into a muddy muck in Raleigh Park, though. It was hard to tell where the mud ended and the blood began.
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