Friday, November 28, 2014

Star Wars trailer.

Got shivers down my spine when the Star Wars music started and the Millennium Falcon burst into view...

It's going to be really hard to live up to expectations, you know?  I mean, how can it?

But if it's a decent movie, it will be received as the Second Coming.

So much fun.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Star Wars Again.

Let me rephrase that.  STAR WARS AGAIN!

That's more like it.

I can still get excited by this.  I saw Star Wars the opening weekend in Oregon, at a big theater in Portland, front row. Within the first 30 seconds I knew that someone had finally done S.F. right.

The next Star Wars movie is still a year away, which gives us a year of anticipatory selling at my store, Pegasus Books, which is the best kind.  Things always sell better in advance if it's a well-known license.  (Things sell better after the movie if it catches people by surprise...but usually if it catches people by surprise, there isn't any ancillary product to be had.)

The first Star Wars trailer comes out tomorrow.  Oh, boy.

Anyway, Cameron and I are doing the orders for January, and up pops the #1 Marvel comics version of Star Wars.

January 14, 2015.  

Wind back a bit.  Marvel had the license to the original Star Wars movies, but let them go after they figured the excitement had faded.  Hard to remember now, but that's the way it worked then.  A  movie came, it was a big hit, and then it faded.  There was a small nostalgia market maybe, but it wasn't a world where Star Trek or Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, or Doctor Who existed independently whether or not there were any current versions of them in the marketplace.

It turns out that comics are a great place to keep the excitement simmering, even if the movies aren't being made.

When Dark Horse picked up the license, I had a feeling that the excitement hadn't faded, it was just sleeping.  I ordered what, for Pegasus Books, a huge number of #1's, and they sold well...and they continued to sell for years, at higher prices.

The whole thing got diluted down a little by the myriad titles and storylines, but added together they are significant enough to have their own little corner in my store devoted to nothing but Star Wars.

So there is no shortage of Star Wars material.  Not only that, but Dark Horse did a pretty good job of it.

So a new Star Wars comics shouldn't be a big deal.

And yet I think it will be.  Because it will be done by Marvel, who is owned by Disney, who owns Star Wars (frightening when you put it that way...)  This will be officially sanctioned, connected to the movie stuff.

Marvel is also having one of their "Party Packs," which I have always ignored.  These are packages that you get if you host a "party" on the day of the release. (We would do it after store hours.)

But I'm actually going to do it this time, because I have Cameron and Matt who seem excited to be able to host the event.  The Party Pack gives us material to give away, and we'll be getting a bunch of variants that we can use as prizes.  I'm thinking we should have a Cosplay contest, and maybe a trivia contest, and maybe a drawing.

My biggest concern is the lack of space we have in the store.  So I expect it will get ridiculously crowded and will spill out onto the sidewalk.  But, even if I personally avoid the whole thing which I probably will, (introvert!) I can still kind of thrill to the idea.

I'm going to order a ton of these #1's.  Which cost 4.99!  And as many variants as I can qualify for.  My reasoning is, I can sell these for years, because my assumption right now is that the first Star Wars movie will be the biggest movie ever.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Successively instead of concurrently.

I've now had two occasions where in writing the third book in a trilogy, I've needed to go back and rewrite the second book.  (Thankfully, the first books usually seem to stand alone, for some reason.)

It's fine.  It's a good reason to write the whole trilogy before I do anything with them.  The hardest part is when the trilogy represents one storyline.  I prefer to have each book stand alone, but there is usually a larger plotline going on that has to be tied together.  Which is pretty complicated.  Each book usually has it's own theme and characters, and they all have to be brought together in a way that makes sense and is satisfying.

This is different from the Series where I have may have a unifying character and world, but there isn't one over-arching storyline.  I can write the Virginia Reed Adventures in such a way that a reader can read them out of order and not lose anything.  The same is true of the Lander series.  Each book stands alone.

The Vampire Evolution Trilogy and the Tuskers Trilogy are each one big story, which turns out to be a pretty challenging thing to do.  Though there is something satisfying about it.  (Not least that when I'm done, I'm done.)

Anyway, I'm stuck at 2/3rds of the way through Tuskers III.  Partly because I know I'm going to have to rewrite Tuskers II, and I feel like I should do that first before tackling the end of III.

I'm waiting for the editing of book II to come back before I tackle II.  I've learned a lesson over the last few books -- that having multiple versions and then trying to consolidate them is a nightmare.  It isn't terribly efficient and no matter how hard I try, I tend to drop a few nice sentences or plot points by accident because it is incredibly complicated.

So I've decided from now on that if I have multiple editors (including myself) that I will edit these books successively instead of concurrently.  It will take longer waiting, but should make things much easier.

I also woke up this morning determined to finish the first draft of both Tuskers II and Tuskers III by the end of the year, no excuses.  Just do it.  I think more than anything I've been missing the resolve.  So my goal over the next few days is to jump full speed into writing on December 1 and finish these books.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

8 years of blogging.

I started this blog on November 26, 2006.

I haven't missed a day since.  Not every entry has been important and profound.  But I always seem to have something to say about something.

I've enjoyed it.  It hasn't been a chore.

It started off as a "bubble blog" because I was convinced the economy was on the verge of a collapse.

I wasn't wrong.

In the last few years, this has mostly been about writing.  Because that's what I'm doing.  Writing all the time.  I don't think I have as many readers as I did at first, but that's OK.  It never really was about that.  It was just me expressing myself.

I think letting myself write whatever I wanted to write might have even led to my re-entry into Fiction writing.  I have a different, lighter approach, which was at least partially attributable to the blog. 

So I'm going to just keep going, because that's what I do.

I'm nothing if not persistent. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Another idea for a book.

I've got plenty of ideas for books.  I have three or four fresh ideas I'd like to explore, as well as continuations of the worlds I've built.

So coming up with ideas isn't a problem.

It's more a matter of time and timing.  What do I write next?  What would be best for my career?

I do want to spend more time thinking about next book before I write it.  And I'm kind of wanting to write a standalone book, something other than what I've been writing.

So I just have to choose which idea to pursue.

One idea is a modern fantasy.  Maybe with a little satirical element.

One is a dystopian S.F.  Might as well make it Y.A. while I'm at it, no?

And the third is sort of Steampunk.   Deep and dark and strange.

I've not done any of these three genres yet, though I love reading them.  So they would be fun to try.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Breaking the formula.

Saw a crazy Spanish movie last night, Witching and Bitching.  Loved it.  Over the top humor and some interesting satirical ideas on the battle between the sexes.

Anyway, a review of the movie caught my eye.  From Matt Donato; We Got This Covered.

"Witching & Bitching is a perfect example of how Video On Demand horror movies are making Hollywood's mainstream titles look like bargain bin garbage in comparison."

I think this is exactly right.  I consistently find more interesting movies on Netflix than are at the theaters.  Many of these movies never made it to the theaters, but are way more fun than many of the formula Hollywood movies.

I keep going back to my experience at writer's group of a new member who insisted that there was only ONE way to write a book, and it was by THIS formula.  He was absolutely convinced that any other way of writing was a waste of time.  Whereas I couldn't imagine doing it.  I mean, I love writing my stories because of the way they just happen, without regard to any pre-concieved standards.

It was like we were living on two different planets.  

I think that the new media is going to end up creating more creative material than the old media ever could.  Because you can write a crazy book, make a crazy movie, and find an outlet for it.  It doesn't have to make millions of dollars to be valid.

I've always thought that comics are consistently more creative than any other media I consume.  I think it's because it is such a small medium, there is not as much at stake.  People just let it go.  It's no accident that so many movies -- and not just superhero movies -- are made from comics.  They break the formula all the time.  (Don't get me wrong -- the vast majority is formula, but there is still much more acceptance of non-formula material.)

I think traditional book publishing also operates by formula, more or less.  No matter what they say.

But indie publishing is going to bring out a lot of fresh, original ideas because there isn't anyone who's going to say, "You can't do that."

I'm not saying my own books are incredibly different; I think I've absorbed many conventions by osmosis, by my reading.

But I don't set out to write a book by some formula.  I write what I want to write.  The story has to be internally consistent, not bent to meet some outside standard.  That is creativity to me.

I admire people who can write formula well.  Any Star Trek or Star Wars or Doctor Who or any other licensed property is going to be formula, almost by definition.  There are people who can take the formula and be brilliant.

But I couldn't do it.  I have to write what comes to me and it doesn't fit the formula, well...I can't do anything about it.

Alone with my thoughts.

My moratorium on Internet browsing from 11:00 to 7:00 each day has been interesting.

I'm not sure that I'm not wasting just as much time, but at least I'm aware that I'm wasting time.  What becomes obvious (even more obvious that the obviousness it already was) it that the Internet is a constant distraction. (duh)  Once I close that window every day, it's as if I'm alone with my thoughts again.

I don't know that being alone with my thoughts can be considered a waste of time.  It centers me.

I'm also learning that I'm not missing anything.  I can easily get just as much information in the time before and after my moratorium hours.

I was hoping I'd get some writing done on Tuskers III, which 2/3rds done.  I'm afraid the further I am from writing, the further I'll get.  It's hard to pick up the story threads, the longer it goes.  But I'm also leery of going in the wrong direction.  I at least want a strong feeling of where the story goes next before I start writing again.

I'm also leery of struggling and failing, struggling and failing, which only leads to struggling and failing some more.

I have a crude example of that.  I tried quitting smoking for years, and I'd struggle and fail, struggle and fail, until that became the expected result.

So I told myself, no more attempting to quit and failing.  When you are ready to quit, then do it.  So a few more years went by, and that's what I did.

I trust there will be that moment when I know I'm ready, when the story is ready to proceed.

I think I've had so much trouble with Faerylander because I forced the story, and it went in an unnatural direction.

I need a good, solid sense of where the story is and where it is going before I start again.