Whoa, a post!

 Posted by at 01:11  2 Responses »
Apr 202010
 

So, yeah. My profuse apologies for being so lackadaisical about posting for the last, oh, four months. Quite a bit has happened that’s kept me otherwise preoccupied.

First, there was that whole winter holidays thing. Second, upon returning to work following the winter holidays, I was informed (along with many, many others) that I no longer had a job. Downsizing, division cutting, etc. Basically, the company retooled itself into something completely different. C’est la vie. First thing I did when I got home was start working on my website/resume/etc. By the end of that week, I’d already sent out several inquiries.

Fast-forward through two months of hand-wringing, and a lot of WoW-playing, and I find myself working at 38 Studios. I can’t say enough about how awesome a company 38 is. You’ll have to read about it for yourself. I will say this: it’s an incredible feeling to be working on something that excites you. I can’t provide any details, I’m afraid, but I can’t wait for our game to come out just so I can play it! The only downside is the hour-long commute1, but audiobooks are helping me get through that2. I’m so jazzed to get to work every day that the commute really doesn’t matter. I end up voluntarily working 9-10 hour days, without even realizing I’ve done so until I look at the clock and it dawns on me that I should probably think about going home at some point.3

Wedding planning has continued, though sluggishly. We’re starting to pick up steam now that I’m working again, though, so that’s good. We finally got rid of our rattling, rumbling, not-at-all-working dryer and purchased a new, awesome dryer4. I did the first lawn mow of the year today, with much success. Mower seems none the worse for wear having spent the winter in the shed.

Still haven’t finished5 editing the novel I wrote in November, but now that things are settling back into something resembling normalcy and I’ve had a chance to recharge my batteries, I’m ready to dive back into the little world I created. I’ve also speced out a new system that I plan to upgrade to in the near future6. In preparation for that, and because I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, I pre-designed the file structure that I plan to use for my new system. Hopefully, it will keep me somewhat organized.7

Since the weather is finally getting nicer, I’m also getting the itch to finish off the various house projects that remained incomplete once the cold weather set in. Chief among these are finishing the pantry and repainting the upstairs bathroom. Once those are done, I want to replace the screen doors on both entrances with ones that actually open in a logical direction. I may replace the back door altogether. It’s fine as a barrier to entry, but it’s pretty drafty.

As if all that weren’t sufficient, there are a ton of weddings and other events on the horizon: my friend Jen is getting married in May, our friends Keith and Lisa are getting married in June (and I’m in that wedding as a groomsman), my birthday and bachelor party are at the end of July, I’m getting married in August (and Keith is in that wedding as a groomsman), and our friends Christina and Alex are getting married in October.

To top things off, also spurred on by the improving climate, I’m considering actually tackling some of the costume-making ideas I’ve had kicking around for years.8 I have no idea how I’m going to fit all this together.

Somehow, I always manage.

I’ll also be making an effort to write more here. Ideally, I want to post once or more a day, just so that I’m writing something every day. Practically, of course, that’s not likely. Ah well.

Thanks for reading!

  1. And that’s one way! []
  2. So far, The Mote in God’s Eye (Niven, Pournelle), The Last Colony (Scalzi), American Gods (Gaiman), Zoe’s Tale (Scalzi), and about half of The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger. []
  3. Fortunately, Cody is so happy that I’m happy about my job that she doesn’t mind at all. []
  4. They even delivered it the next day, and hauled away our old one, all for free! []
  5. Okay, I admit it, I haven’t actually started the editing process in any concrete way. Lots of brainstorming, but no tangibles. []
  6. My current machine will become our house server, running Ubuntu of course []
  7. Knock on wood, and all that. When it comes to organization, I’m a contradiction: I’m always disorganized and I can’t stand disorganization. Mm, self-loathing. Tasty. []
  8. Yes, stormtrooper armor is on the top of that list, thank you very much. []

Writing Professionally

 Posted by at 10:20  No Responses »
Apr 072009
 

The first career path to which I gave serious consideration was authoring fiction.  The driving motivation behind this idea — telling stories — drives a disproportionate number of my hobbies: independent film-making, movie/TV-watching  and game-playing (on the receiving end of told stories, in this case), role-playing games.  Every other career I entertained the notion of pursuing held storytelling as a key component: acting, directing, visual effects for film, and now game development.  Within the last year, I decided that having a “day job” by no means precluded professional writing.  Author John Scalzi, internet-famous for his Whatever blog, cemented this decision by restating my own conclusion in as many words.  This led to my involvement in NaNoWriMo 2008, which I completed within the designated timeframe.  Though the resultant short novel is not something I feel is worth publishing (contrary to prior statements I’ve made about it), the simple fact that I wrote it armed me with the confidence that I can write a novel.

Pursuant to my goal to be a professional writer, I decided yesterday that I would take another page from Scalzi’s playbook and try to write a blog entry every day from now on.  My morning routine includes perusing a number of websites (a task made much simpler thanks to Google Reader and the wonder of RSS), which often have several interesting stories worth pointing out.  My hope is that readership here will grow beyond the small circle of friends that now read it and that it can become a community unto itself.


What do I mean by professional writer?  I don’t mean quitting my day job.  Scalzi (yeah, you’re going to see him name-dropped quite often) makes the observation that unless you can guarantee annual income from writing that’s 30% above what you make at your current day job, your financial situation will be worse if you quit your job to focus on writing.  The only reason to quit your job for writing is that if holding the job impedes the income you could otherwise make from writing.  

Professional writer, in this sense, is synonymous with Stephen King’s definition of a talented writer: if you wrote something and someone paid you for it, you’re talented.  It doesn’t matter if the writing was technical, analytical, editorial, or fictional — if you wrote something and got paid, you fit the definition.  Take it as a forgone conclusion that my ideal world would have me waking up at noon to eat breakfast and surf the internet for an hour, writing fiction for the next five, eating dinner with Cody, and then spending the evening on entertainment, all while making much more than I make now.  It’s not an unrealistic fantasy, but it’s not one that will come without time and effort.  

Sometimes, to get what you want, you have to elect to do things you otherwise might not choose to do.  To that end, I stopped procrastinating last night and bought myself a copy of Writer’s Market 2009.  This book is the ultimate go-to resource for writers, listing every publishing outlet for every topic available.  I plan to find a small outlet that publishes articles I might be able to write about with some intelligence, and submitting.  Without some incredible luck, it won’t be fiction.  I would be more than happy, however, to be paid for writing movie reviews, technical reviews, game reviews, or any other number of topics on which I tend to pontificate anyway.

As with every other industry, you first need to get your foot in the door.  Prove that you’re publishable in a small way before you can hope to hit big.

Projects

 Posted by at 16:55  No Responses »
Jan 092009
 

It’s been a while, so it seemed high-time to talk about some of the things I’m working on.

Novel: Gold (tentative title)
This past November, I participated in and “won” NaNoWriMo by completing a 50,000 word manuscript.  It’s the story of a young woman that wakes up in a strange, burning office with an unfamiliar voice in her head urging her to jump out of the window…to save her life.  Once I completed it, I sent it to a number of people for a first review.  I haven’t touched it since, taking the advice of Stephen King to let the first draft sit in a drawer for a while before returning to it.  My parents have recently finished reading it and are going to be sending me their feedback this weekend.  I’m still waiting to hear Cody and a few others’ thoughts as well.  Once I have the combined feedback of everyone, I’ll set to work writing the second draft.  My hope is to publish it sometime this summer.

Film: Wec: The Sequel
Wec 2 has been in stasis for a while, superceded by work, more immediate hobbies and diversions (Xbox games, Fallout 3, novel-writing, etc.).  However, I do still plan to finish it.  It’s hard to bring myself to work on it specifically because it’s a film that deals with an entirely different era of my life.  I’m not that guy anymore, and so the movie’s personal relevance to me is greatly diminished.  However, with Ron’s help, I still think the movie itself is salvagable and will actually be interesting.  I recently showed Wec: The Movie to a co-worker of mine in preparation for a new project (see below), and I realized (again) how inane that first movie is.  I want the second one, as silly as it is, to actually be enjoyable for more than the sheer lunacy value.  I think it can be.

Film: Untitled Star Wars Fanfilm
I’ve played with the idea of doing a Star Wars fanfilm many times in the past.  A few weeks ago, an image formed in my head that caused inspiration to strike: an X-wing, floating “hidden” behind an asteroid, and then maneuvering like a real spacefighter (a la BSG).  This prompted the idea of creating a film based on a some X-wing pilots, in the vein of BSG.  It would play with established SW conventions (i.e. X-wings would actually maneuver like space fighters) and make a more “hard” sci-fi version of Star Wars.  

Co-worker and fellow SW fan Steve was intrigued by the idea when I told him about it and with a bit of convincing I’ve gotten him pretty enthused about the project.  We recently asked Ron to help us with the writing, and the last week has had us working through the first draft of the treatment he wrote up for us.  He’s now busily working on the second draft that Steve and I will use to write the first draft of the script.  Once we’ve done that, it’ll go back to Ron for a dialog polish (George, why didn’t you do this?) and we’ll start material pre-production (set building, costumes, etc.).  So far, the film will star Steve, Cody, and myself, along with a cameo by Steve’s wife and children.  

Other Novels
I have several other novel ideas that have been banging around in my head, begging to be written.

  • A mostly-hard science fiction novel dealing with the rammifications of space warfare after the advent of practical defense shields.
  • A science fiction novel dealing with the setting that I’ve had in my head forever, first implemented in any practical form as the UEDF Illustrious Defender e-mail RPG.
  • A sword-and-sorcery fantasy novel wherein a character joins a guild of assassins and uncovers a plot that led to her father’s murder.

There are more, but those three are the most fully-formed.

RPG: Vampire
At some point in the near future, I also plan to resume my Vampire game.  I’m not totally sure when this will happen, though it is likely to take place on Saturday evenings.  The timing is up in the air right now because many of the players are currently in unstable situations (as it pertains to regularly meeting on IRC, that is).

So, that’s about it from my neck of the woods.  Going to be a busy year!