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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Gauntlet

Way back in the beginning, you may recall that I said that 31 Days of Spoooktacular was part of how I planned to force writing to become a habit for me. Writing has always been something I do sporadically, intermittently and with no true pattern. Even over the course of this year, where I’ve given myself the goal of writing ten entries a month, which I have done so far, I don’t evenly space those entries throughout the month. Usually they’re all shoved in at the end of the month and then I go on another, three week long sabbatical.

But with 31 Days of Spoooktacular, you get one entry a day, every day, for 31 days. And that’s great for me and great for you and everyone is happy, except for people who aren’t so interested in me writing about horror day in and day out. But, if you remember, I said that in order to successfully form a habit, you have to do it for around 70 days. I need to continue to write every day for another 30 days (and some change) before it becomes rigidly locked in as something I just do as an impulse.

It just so happens that there’s an event for the entire month of November that dovetails so nicely with my needs. That’s right, I’m doing NANOWRIMO. Again. But this time, I’m picking up that gauntlet and I am slapping NANOWRIMO in the face with it. I am going to write a 50,000 word novel and then some. The way I see it, I’ve been in training for NANOWRIMO this whole month, a light workout to get me into shape for what’s to come.

And by the end of it, I’ll be the better for it, I think. I’ll have mastered a skill that has eluded me almost my whole life; the ability to stick with something through to the very end. I’ll work on a project, sometimes very close to the ending point and then just sputter out, within spitting distance of the finish line.

But not this year. I can feel it. I have the idea that I want to write about. I have the tools to write it. And here, on October 24th, I think I’ve managed to prove that I have the ability to sit down in front of the computer everyday and put words to screen and keep going long after the point in which I should have stopped.

I have never written a novel, though I have tried. For me, just finishing one, even it’s terrible, will be a triumph of sorts. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

31 Days of Spoooktacular, for all of it’s goofiness and beer tasting and horror conventions, is just the beginning.

-D-

PS Check out my profile here and cheer me on all next month. Or not. It’s fine.

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Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More

31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Halfway Point

It is now the 16th of October and the halfway point, or a little over the halfway point. 31 doesn’t really split equally very well.

I’m torn with how this is turning out. It’s really hard to write non-stop about one subject for 31 days and keep it interesting for both myself and the people reading. I kind of gave up on that a long time ago. It’s kind of like how NANWRIMO isn’t about writing a good novel, it’s just about writing a novel.

I’m trying to build some good habits here by writing every day and writing semi-coherently. And, so far, I think that’s mostly happening. Except for the days that I did a beer review that required the entire six pack. And I think it’s becoming slightly more natural to sit down in front of the computer and have words come out, in a way that it hasn’t in a long time.

In fact, in general, this year, has been a good year for the blog: More views, more subscribers, more likes. And every year has been an improvement. It’s not improving fast enough for my tastes and I’d like things to go more, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

What I’m saying is, I’m kind of pleased with how the blog is going. I hope you are too.

But I need to think of something new to do tomorrow.

Think, think.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Reflection

I’m still reeling a bit from the convention yesterday. I’m not a person that really likes big crowds of people and I don’t like big crowds of exuberant people. So yesterday was a bit overwhelming.

But, as I mentioned briefly in my last blog entry yesterday, there is something invigorating about being surrounded by a bunch of people who are doing what you want to be doing, who are enjoying what you enjoy. I write, on occasion, horror, but I surround myself with the things I like and the things I’m familiar with and it doesn’t really do a lot to get me going creatively.

I need to and should, go outside of my comfort zone, trying new fictions, new places, new art forms. The convention, in a lot of ways, was not geared toward someone like me. I don’t wave my freak flag high. I keep it locked in a chest in the basement behind a padlocked door. There were people with fangs and people with spines showing and and people on stilts and people with mohawks (!!!!!).

And all the things! There were posters and toys and little sculptures and pins and paintings and indie films and actors and make-up artists and authors and pythons.

It was overwhelming and wearying and tiring and by the end, I needed a sit down.

But I’m ready to start contributing again, I think. Ready to start putting those stories back out there and wincing as they’re sent back to me, but sending them out again anyway.

It’s about adding to that wonderful cacophony of scary that I saw on Sunday. It’s about going back there one day, not as a gawker or a viewer or a spectator, but as a maker.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Rock and Shock (Prelude)

So here’s the plan; I’m going to try and post small entries throughout the day from Rock and Shock. Hopefully there’ll be pictures and commentary and at least one story of me running from a crowd while Yacketty Sax plays.

I’m terrible at live blogging, but we’ll see how this goes. At the very least, keep an eye on my twitter, because I do update that.

I’m pretty excited.

-D-

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Entry X

So! For the second time this year, I’ve forced myself to write ten entries in a single day. I’d feel bad about making this last entry a cop-out, wrap-up entry, but I don’t.

So there.

In the future, I’d like to avoid this little bit of tom foolery. Shouldn’t be too hard. All I have to do is actually update my blog in a reasonable fashion so that I have the proper number of entries up per month.

Ha!

Anyway, it’s been fun, but I’d really like to go watch Hellraiser now. If, for some reason, you missed any of the entries I wrote today just click on the following links.

Entry IX

Entry VIII

Entry VII

Entry VI

Entry V

Entry IV

Entry III

Entry II

Entry I

 

Thank you and good night,

-D-

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Filed under Writing: Novels, Stories, Blogs and Comics

Hallowed Days

In ye days of old, I did something terrific and scary and awesome to celebrate Halloween all month: I would write a short story every single day and post it on my old blog. I called it Thirty-One Days of Horror and the last time I did it, I raised the roof and brought down the house at the same time. Nowadays, I’m too old to do that and too worried about my stories wandering off of my site and onto other sites.

But I want to try something like that again. I want to do something epic. I want to do something crazy. I want people to sing songs about my Halloween Celebration. I want this to be a painful, horrible slog and I want to come out the other side changed.

I hereby promise, on an oath shaped by the very forces of Halloween itself, an oath bound up in black cats, bats, witches and pumpkins with scary faces carved in them, to write a blog entry EVERY DAY IN OCTOBER.

Thirty-one blog entries, one after the other, until Halloween’s bloodred moon rises and I, at last, can rest for the entire month of November.

I’ll come up with the some cool, kitschy name for it later.

But it’s coming.

And I promise to not drop the ball this time ON AN OATH OF HALLOWEEN ITSELF.

-D-

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Paring It Down

For most people, editing is about excising. You trim out all of those unnecessary words and details and phrases and commas. You said too much. You described too much. You gave him too much to say. Stephen King even comes up with a basic formula for editing your story that goes as follows:

First Draft – Ten Percent= Second Draft

It’s one of the more difficult challenges for most writers because you have to determine what’s actually crap and what’s actually good, what actually helps the story and what hurts it. Even if that paragraph is utterly brilliant in terms of language and artistry and characterization, it’s unnecessary. And that’s the key word: unnecessary. Pare it down, clip it out, get rid of it, especially it doesn’t help the story go forward.

I don’t have that problem so much. Yes, I do clip out my fair share of badly used and superfluous words, but, for the most part, that’s not my problem. My problem is my first draft is always anemic and pared down already to the point that the story is skeletal. I’m an impatient reader and viewer and I’ll rail against authors who spend their sweet time getting where I want to be going. And when I write, I do the same thing. Why show this? The reader understands! Why show that? The reader can figure it out.

My murder mystery looks like the following: The body is found. The detective looks at the body. Ah-ha! He says. He captures the killer. Fin

I ignore little things, insignificant things like: personalizing the victim, describing the investigation, adding in a second murder to really kick it up a notch. I know the tropes and the cliches and the tools and the frameworks; I just choose not to utilize any of them because I want to go from A to B in the fewest number of steps.

So my editing process ends up being the exact opposite of Mr. King’s advice. I fatten. I add. I write more pages and boost the word count way up and flesh it out and grow it out. It’s the process of adding flesh to a skeleton. For me and for writers like me, it’s more:

First Draft + Twenty Percent = Second Draft

What about you? How does editing work for you? What do you have to do after completing that first draft?

-D-

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Filed under Writing: Novels, Stories, Blogs and Comics