Sunday, April 28, 2013

FIRST DRAFT BLUES AND GREENS

Writing a first draft is the hardest thing in the world.

It's like waking up every day feeling hungover but never getting to take a drink. It's being acutely aware of every perfect sentence and description and cover in existence, while not having the time to read them, all the while feeling like you're never going to finish and will probably die on page 21 of a draft, pantless and alone. It's forgetting to eat and not being able to sleep, and having the neighbors steer their children away from you on account of the muttering and questionable hygiene.

It's staring at muted, charcoal sketches of characters for hours, with them smirking because they know you'll never figure them into full color. It's plotlines that veer, pick up speed, and crash into unforgiving dead ends, using your brain for their car bumper.

It's a sore back, sore eyes, sore wrists and sorely tested relationships.

It's not being able to wait to get home to finish a scene and capturing dialogue in the margins of menus and trade publications while nodding along with business associates and hoping you aren't promising something you can't deliver. It's dropping the post-it notes with your recalibrated outline in the hallway at work and not caring that your coworkers think you're threatening them.

It's that sentence you tossed off at midnight that still shines the next morning. It's the scene after that which opens up into a gleaming handful of possibilities. It's that moment when you're reduced to tears alongside your character. It's seeing the end in sight and dawdling because you don't want to let these characters or this story go.

Writing a first draft is the hardest thing in the world.

Friday, April 26, 2013

THE STORY OF JOFF WASHINGTON AND THE CHERRY TREE

At dinner the other night, the four year-old asked his father to tell the story of George Washington and the cherry tree, then reciprocated with gruesome alternate history. Here is their story:

Kid: Dad, tell me the story of George Washington and the cherry tree.

DH: One year, for his birthday, George Washington received an axe. And he loved the axe so much that he started chopping down trees. Chop, chop, chop. All over his father's farm. Chop chop chop. Until he chopped down his father's favorite cherry tree.

His father saw that his tree had been chopped down and said, "Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, who chopped down my cherry tree."

Kid: That doesn't rhyme.

DH: My story. "Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, who chopped down my cherry tree." And George Washington thought about lying, but instead he stepped forth and said "Father, I cannot tell a lie. It was me." And the moral of the story is...

Kid: To never chop down the favorite cherry tree if your father is a giant.

DH: Close enough.

Kid: Let me tell you a story now. It's the story of...of...Joff Washington. One year, for his birthday, Joff Washington got an axe for his birthday. A big axe. A REALLY big axe. His father told him not to use it because it was too big and he couldn't use it until he was older.

But Joff tried and tried, and finally lifted it. And then he dropped it on his foot. And cut it off.  And there was blood everywhere. Because you shouldn't play with big axes. The End.

Indeed.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

THREE THINGS: WARMTH, WRITING AND CARNIEPUNK

Travel (Warmth)

Last week the family took a quick trip down to Arizona. When we left Anchorage it was 8 degrees and snowing, and the forecast was for more of the same. When we arrived in Arizona, we were told it was cold (haahaahaaa - 75 degrees), but it felt amazing.

It's hard to describe to someone who doesn't live here how draining six months of not being able to bare your skin to the outside air or walk a block without fear of falling - if you can find a sidewalk that's been plowed well enough to walk on.

We had an excellent few days. Played in the pool. Walked everywhere we could. Hung out with writer friends Kevin Hearne (and family) and Tiffany Allee (and husband - sorry if we gave you the plague, dude). Ate tacos by the bushel. The kid got a ball at the Diamondbacks game (thanks, Nieves!).


Writing

A few weeks ago I finished the rough first draft of a near-future sci fi mystery thingie. After a few weeks of crawling through major clean-up, I've sent it off to my wonderful beta readers. Here's hoping they are kind in their scathing critiques. :-)

CARNIEPUNK!

From what I've seen around the Interwebs, Carniepunk ARCs (advanced reader copies) have landed in the hands of reviewers and bloggers. I should be receiving a couple of copies soon, so watch this space because I'll probably need to do some kind of giveaway.

Monday, April 8, 2013

RUNNING FROM THE DARK

I'm running away for a few days. Why, you ask? Why would you leave home as the temperatures are rising and trees are budding and birds are singing? Heh. I'll tell you.

Because this was our Easter:


And this was today:


This spring shit ain't working too good in Alaska.