May 16th, 2018

Shower ideas. They’re the best, right?

This morning I was hit with a bolt of inspiration whilst washing my hair. Some people sing in the shower, others try to plug plot holes or divine a character’s motivation. Whatever floats your boat, so to speak.

I quickly hammered out some notes in a Google Docs file before scampering off to work, wishing I could stay home and further elaborate on my thoughts, but the important part was I got to preserve them. Other distractions prevented me from fleshing them out more than I’d like this evening, but I’m still very happy to have those notes captured and ripening on the vine, so to speak.

It also occurred to me today that the current planning / outlining stage I’m at with this project is not unlike plotting / drafting plans for a house. I never was any good with my hands, but I caught myself wondering if this is how people feel when they’re physically building something from the ground up, or are rebuilding a carburetor or some other automotive analogy at which I’m completely failing here.

It feels good, is what I’m getting at, and I hope to feel more of it in the not-too-distant future.

May 11th, 2018

(So I accidentally made this a site page a few days ago instead of a blog post. Whoops. Originally written on May 7th, but posting it here now because why not? Live and learn.)

Oh hey, look. It’s May. There goes that whole ‘maybe I’ll update this blog every week in 2018’ idea.


Anyway, at the risk of setting myself up for failure once more, I’ll see what I can do from here on out.

Things have been going well on the writing front as of late. I can officially say that I’m a published author, having had one of my short stories included in Chillers from the Rock in March. I’ve also managed to win a flash fiction challenge as well, which was an unexpected yet very pleasant surprise. Both are thanks to Engen Books, which is run by an amazing group of people and features many talented writers.

I’ve yet to really dig in on something bigger than short stories (of which I’m working on a few for the next From The Rock series and a flying anthology for 2019), though I do have plans. I keep meaning to dig into it, but never do for a variety of reasons.

My latest excuse: I’m waiting for Scrivener 3 to come out for Windows. I’m good at creating distractions and (also, how do you pronounce Scrivener? Is it skriv-uh-ner or skryv-ner? See what I mean?) I have it for my Mac, but my intent is to work on things on a USB flash drive I can use to swap between the laptop and the desktop. Until I have the same software on both, though, I’m afraid something will get messed up in between.

A friend of mine asked me last night if the short story I’d had published would lead to anything bigger or not, and that’s really inspiring me to push forward with things once again.

So, I’m calling myself out now: even if I can’t get the actual project started, there’s no reason I can’t continue to outline and plan using Google Docs or something similar in the interim, right? Right.

So, here goes nothing.

January 23rd, 2018

RTX anyone? Announced earlier today, RTX Austin 2018 will take place from August 3rd to the 5th this year, a departure from the normal early July dates.

I went on a whim last year; with my wife having a couple of conventions she wanted to attend herself, I saw RTX tickets were on sale last January and picked one up because why not? I was a fan of RWBY (still am), was interested in some of their other things (ditto), and knew at least one person who lived in Austin (who has since moved, however), so it made sense. It was an adventure, as I’d never been to Texas before. I had no real idea what to expect, but I wanted to give it a shot.

Boy, am I glad that I did. Austin is a great city, and, even though I was nervous about staying sort of on the outskirts, it wasn’t hard to navigate at all. I ended up using Lyft a whole bunch, something I’d never used before (or since, as we don’t have it here), but it wasn’t difficult or complicated. It actually was kinda nice, as all the drivers were friendly and talkative, giving me some more insight on the city itself and some of the people that lived there. And yes, everything everywhere was air conditioned, thankfully.

The convention itself was amazing. I know I haven’t gone to very many, certainly not of that scale – the inaugural PAX East, Emerald City Comic Con 2013 being the largest – but it was such a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Going alone had me a little nervous, even though I knew a few fellow attendees who I met up with there, but I never once felt out of place or awkward.

If you bought a general weekend pass, you were given one autograph session code as well. The VIPs, who get two each, got to pick their sessions first, so I didn’t get one with anyone I really knew, so I chose to meet another group of people I’d heard of: the guys from Kinda Funny. Meeting them was amazing, and only made me a bigger fan of them. They do a daily (M-F anyway) gaming podcast that I’m up-to-date on after 100+ episodes now, because they’re awesome. Looking forward to their panels and another autograph session if I can manage it this year.

So, yes. I want to go back. They have a new ticket level this year that interests me, the Weekend Plus package. It’s a cross between Platinum (which was VIP last year) and a Weekend pass, which includes two autograph sessions and some other perks. You don’t get into the Friday night party, which, eh, and I don’t care much about priority lines as all the panels I wanted to see last year weren’t a problem to get into, provided you didn’t mind sitting further back. Being tall has its advantages that way too, I ‘spose.

Tickets go on sale in February, and I’m definitely going to be picking some form of pass up at that time. If you’re looking for something awesome to do, I highly recommend checking it out.

January 1st, 2018

So, it occurred to me earlier that, while I failed to write in this blog daily for 2016 (and didn’t every try for 2017), I can begin that whole process anew today. I think I’ll keep the goal to just once per week, in order to make it more realistic, but must say that I’m a little excited at the possibility of living up to this goal.

Will I have a lot to say? Probably not. I am looking forward to the challenge of keeping it up, however. I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions (see: making this one two years ago and failing, for example), but I do like the general idea of trying to improve one’s self. Writing is something I want to improve, so here we go.

Last year was actually a pretty good year for me, writing-wise. I set a goal in mind (to create something by a specific deadline), met the goal (finished said thing and submitted it in time), and also started meeting with my cousin on a weekly basis in February to discuss our writing. That was the biggest part; even when we didn’t have anything new to review or talk about, we still made an effort to meet up and at least talk about things. I really hope we follow through with that in 2018 too.

The 2017 NYC Midnight Flash Fiction challenge was pretty fun as well, even if I didn’t make it to the second round this year. The first round consists of two challenges that everyone gets to do, and the top five in each group move onto the second round into new groups, then the top four of those groups make the finals. In 2016 I got there, but fell short this year. It was very fun, though, and I got some useful feedback. More importantly, I got to write in two unfamiliar categories, and did pretty well with them, so there’s that. As a result, I signed up for the 2018 NYC Midnight Short Story challenge, which takes place later this month. We’ll see how that one goes.

Of course I’ll try to write about more than writing, but that’s what I’m focusing on right now, so there.

Welcome to 2018. Upward and onward.

November 8th, 2017

The results came back today on the second story submissions for this year’s NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. While I did much better with this one, I won’t be progressing to the next round this year.

Overall, it was another great year. I received a lot of useful feedback on both stories, from both the judges and some of the other competitors over on the site’s forums. It’s a great experience, having to come up with an idea, write it, and refine it, all over the course of 48 hours. It really pushes you to just write and put something out there, which is often the problem. It’s much less intimidating than NaNoWriMo (which is started again and which I am trying, but am not holding my breath, haha) but gets the creative juices flowing just the same. Part of that may be that you actually have to pay to officially participate, as opposed to NaNo, which is free, but I digress.

For those who are curious, I’ll add links to both of this year’s entries at the end of this post. Looking back I’m happy with them both, especially the second one, which scored better with the judges. Neither of them were in my wheelhouse – the first genre was action/adventure, the second historical fiction – but I think I learned a lot from completing them both.

Onward and upward, as they say. 🙂

Story 1: Better Than Nothing

Story 2: Us And Them

July 23rd, 2017

July 23rd, 2017

Last weekend was the first round in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction 2017 challenge, and this is my third time taking part. I made it to the third round last year – everyone is guaranteed to take part in the first two, then your cumulative point total determines whether you advance onward or not. This year one of my cousins is taking part as well, which is making it even more fun this go round.

This year there are 80 groups of 30+ people. In each round your group is assigned a genre, a location, and an item to include, leaving you to write a story that’s 1,000 words or less based those things. Here is my entry for anyone that’s curious. Our genre was Action/Adventure, the location was a yacht, and the item was a sledgehammer. It was fun, especially because I don’t usually write a lot of action-y things; dialogue is more my thing. It was also challenging, because you don’t have any room for backstory, lengthy exposition, or character development, you just have to take a snippet and go for it.

I was happy enough with it, and we’ll see how the judges score it. Each round gives points for the 15 best stories in each group, 15 points for first, 14 for second, etc., and the top five contestants move on to the third round, where new groups are formed. Last year I made it to round 3, but flubbed on the Fairy Tale genre we were assigned, ugh. Here’s hoping I can make it again this year and that we get something better.

In other writing news, I’ve been reading up on the Snowflake method of writing, which is interesting. I don’t know whether it’ll work for me or not, but it’s fun to give it a shot. The person who come up with it wrote a book that explains it through a story, which is an interesting way to show how it works. The book was cheap so I picked it up on Kobo, and I hope to try it out once I’m done reading it. Time will tell, I suppose.