Blog Overhaul

Well, I’m back in the saddle as far as this blog goes, and some of you may be wondering why the options at the top of the page have gone down.

The answer is there’s about to be some pretty big changes around here.

I’ve removed a number of tabs from the site, ones dealing with old scripts, the first three chapters of the novel I’d been writing, and an entire page dedicated to world building on my fantasy universe. I’ve removed all of these as I feel they no longer reflect my skills, and the project they were for is getting some much needed rest before I go after it again.

This entire blog is going to be re-worked into one that isn’t specifically devoted to Never Heroes, but rather a writer’s blog in general.

I’m currently debating whether or not I’ll be removing the concept art pages from here. Perhaps they’d be better to keep under wraps until an art book is released, if an art book is released.

I’m not ashamed of this project, and it will be finished. You can count on that. But looking back at this blog a few months after taking a break, and I look at it now as a testament to who I was three years ago, a kid fresh out of college who was still a little full of himself. That’s not who I am anymore, and that’s what this page needs to be. The content will still be saved for my own purposes, so somewhere down the line I can look back and have a good laugh. But you guys will be getting something totally new, and hopefully more representative the current state of the author.

Damned if I know exactly what it’ll be, but we’ll figure something out.

Looking forward to seeing you soon, and happy writing.

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Where Have I Been?

It’s been over two months since I checked in to this little blog, so where have I been?

A lot has changed for me since my last post here. I left Los Angeles and moved back across the country to the Mid-West. I’ve moved in with a close friend of mine, got another job, picked up my secondhand work doing script coverage, and have been overall really, really busy.

So what of the writing dream? I know you’re all wondering just what became of the very thing I’ve been chatting about since this blog started back in 2014.

Rest assured, that dream is more alive than ever.

Los Angeles made it very difficult for me to concentrate. It can be hard to get a word out while choking in a sea of smog and traffic. Moving back to the Mid-West has been something of a writer’s dream come true. It’s far less crowded, far more quiet, the rent is cheap and resources are plentiful. This has put me into a world free of stress and troubles. Because of that, my writing has picked up rather nicely. Moving back here was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Since getting back here I’ve completed another short story, and am about a third of the way done with a horror/thriller novel I’ve been working on. I’ve been reading a lot too. I recently finished Stephen King’s Misery, which was as the reviews called it, a ‘white knuckler.’ I also dove headfirst into Crichton’s Jurassic Park for the first time, which was a similarly gruesome and unexpected surprise. Am about a third of the way through reading that. I think it’s a testament to the benefits of books that my writing style has vastly improved since taking up novels again. I’ll also be reading The Dark Tower, The Talisman, and Black House, before delving into the world of Middle Earth with the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

I’ve also been doing more paid work in writing, picking up the pace with script coverage and making more money than I ever have in the past. I’ve already made my rent for the month, which will make this the first time that reading and writing have been able to pay for my living expenses, an important milestone in the life of any artist, and something I’m deeply proud of.

Most importantly, I’m a different person. I may not be that much older than when this blog started in 2014, but those three years of being beat down, depressed, and challenged have given me a lot of time for reflection. I was a vain kid out of college who assumed I was the smartest person in the room. Turns it I’m a whole lot dumber than I would have liked to think I was. But realizing this has been beneficial as well. Knowing that has better allowed me to see the flaws in my writing, and work very hard to improve on them. I’ve found the key to my evolution was some much needed humility, and I intend to keep it.

It’s actually kind of funny to look back on most of this blog’s posts, which are dripping with way too much self assurance and not enough contemplation. I wasn’t growing as an artist because I believed, rather vainly, I was already a master. Realizing I still have a lot to learn has helped reveal the mountain still in front of me. Now the real climb has begun.

Will be getting back to you soon, and I hope reading this has been as pleasurable to you as it was for me to write it.

One Chapter Down & Chapter 2 Starting

It has been an interesting and turbulent time in my life to be sure. I started this blog three years ago as an ambitions optimist with big dreams. Three years on and none of those ambitions have come true and I’m now a high strung depressed wreck of a person. About the only thing about me that has improved is my writing.

The coming weeks will bring some big changes. I came out to Los Angeles to chase my dreams, and thought I’d find a home in this bustling metropolis. Instead I found a place that was as cold and apathetic as the asphalt was hot on a summer day. I now look to my coming journey back to the midwest with a lot of apprehension and very little hope.

But my writing IS better. Even though my life is slowly but surely turning to a mound of fecal matter, I still know that much is true. Earlier this week I began writing a book, hopefully my last go around of a project that’s been in my heart for many years. This morning I finished the first draft of my opening chapter.

I’m surprised by how quickly the words are piling on. So far we’ve reached some 21 pages and just over 7500 words. The first days were a bit off. I wrote eight pages, four of which I liked and four I thought were garbage. I threw the latter away and got to work again, and then something just sort of clicked and the gears started working. It has pretty much been my only reliable source of comfort these last few years, something that I do hope will turn into a career.

I’ll keep you all posted on progress. If things go at their current pace, I should have another chapter or two done by week’s end.

Thanks for reading and see you all soon.

 

New Book Beginning & New Article Finished

Well, it has been a busy week on the writing front. Not only is our little film journalism magazine taking off, but earlier I was able to start work on a new book after months of planning.

ScreenHub is a website formed by myself and a few colleagues after our previous magazine unfortunately folded last October. So far we’ve actually been getting some decent traffic, already gaining around 1k views the last few days. Trying to keep our traffic on a steady pace, I’ve contributed my second article to the site.

Be sure to check out my latest article on this link.

But that’s not the only thing I’ve been working on. Since putting down my fantasy novel to give it a rest, I’ve been hard at work planning another project, this one a novel based on a script I wrote back in 2016, a horror/thriller about werewolves.

On Monday night, I sat down and started doing that familiar keyboard waltz, putting some 500 words on the page. It was a light writing regiment, but that generally is how things go when I’m trying to get back into the wordsmithing spirit. It also was hardly perfect, but it seems a month of researching and outlining the project did pay off. Some of those seeds of inspiration did blossom into some wonderful words. I’m particularly proud of this passage here in the opening paragraphs.

The werewolf stood high above Luther, dragging its tongue across rows of blood soaked teeth. In the darkened hallway the only source of light were its yellow eyes, slicing through the blackness like a pair of searing hot blowtorches.

I certainly like the language there, though it will no doubt be subject to improvement in later drafts. I aim to do another 500 words tonight, then 1000 the night after, and hopefully I’ll be fulfilling my daily goal of 2k words in no time.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with you all very soon.

Back To Film Journalism

For most of 2017, I was working my first paid writing gig, a small job writing editorials for an online film magazine known as MoviePilot. I may not have earned much, but sharing my opinions to be read by so many people was a pleasure. In that time, my work was even noticed by actors Tom Noonan and Lance Henriksen, who shared my articles on their pages and earned me more recognition.

MoviePilot unexpectedly closed its doors in October. While it didn’t put any financial stress on me, it was still sad to see this creative venue go.

But all wasn’t lost. Many of us got together and decided to start over, so we pooled our resources and started a magazine of our own, a little place called ScreenHub. Today I am pleased to announce that our first article has been completed, this one on the much anticipated sequel to Halloween from Blumhouse. It was written by yours truly.

It feels good to be back in the saddle with a nice little corner of the internet to call our own. Who knows? Maybe this little venture will lead to something.

Give this article a read and be sure to visit our page. All the best.

via Why Blumhouse’s Halloween Could Be The Best Sequel Yet

Short Story Streak

This has been without a doubt my most productive month of writing in some time. I just can’t stop writing short stories. I’ve put the finishing touches on one, completed drafts of two additional ones in less than 24 hours, and am on the cusp of completing the draft of another one as early as tomorrow.

I just can’t stop writing.

What has changed recently? Ridding myself of the flawed draft of what was to be my first novel has defiantly been a major help to me. One of the reasons I wasn’t so confident about my work was my constant attention given to a story that, deep down, I knew had fundamental flaws that I just wasn’t willing to overlook. Moving away from it and writing anew on the other hand has reassured a lot of my various anxieties. I’m writing stories that I’d love to read.

What have I noticed with this unexpected bout of creativity? My prose and dialogue for one have vastly improved since I went to work on my book over three years ago. Some of the more creative language that goes with a book just seems to come naturally.

I’ve also formed much better habits as a way of combating writer’s block. Before I’d pace around a room in desperate search of an idea. Now if I have trouble forming my thoughts into words, I need only reach for the nearest book and read through a few pages. It’s kind of like recharging a battery. The words on the page give my head some good extra juice, just what I need to power up my pages.

I’ve thought abut short form fiction before, but never really got around to it. I suppose I figured my work was better concentrated on long form work. Perhaps that was a little arrogant of me as short form fiction has proven a lot of fun. I never thought that simply writing a short story could bring such a feeling of accomplishment, but when all is said and done, there’s still a finished story in front of you once you hit that final period key on the manuscript.

I’m still submitting to magazines. i think I’ve hit twelve so far and already got my first rejection letter!

Okay, maybe I’m not so happy about that last part, but at least I’m submitting work I’ve got some faith in.

Unsure if any of these stories will be published on this blog since many of these publications forbid it, but if they have an online venue, I’d be more than happy to link any of my material back here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I got a story about a couple of hunters running afoul some monsters in Kentucky that demands my attention.

 

Preparing For Change

Big things are happening soon.

After three years of struggling to make it as a filmmaker in LA, I’ve come to realize this place makes me pretty miserable, not the struggle itself but the setting. A lot has happened in this tie. I’ve grown far more interested in the writing process itself as opposed to getting behind the camera and barking orders to actors and crew. Knowing this, I was hit with a realization.

I don’t have to be in Los Angeles to write.

So I’ve made the decision to pack my bags and go back to where it all began, to a little state in the midwest where my dreams of storytelling first took a definite shape, back to Ohio.

This choice fills me with a mixture of hope and fear. It’ll be good heading back to a place where I don’t have to worry so much about money and can focus on my writing more thoroughly, but at the same time I don’t want to stagnate and languish as I have out here.

Steps are being taken to prevent this. I’ve been in touch with some of the heads of my college and they’ve been putting me in touch with many of the film and writing oriented societies that have taken root around town since my departure, and I may have already landed my first piece of remote freelance work. Paying for rent won’t be a concern. Getting work that is worthwhile on the other had will undoubtedly prove challenging.

What I do expect is my writing to improve. The big city is a noisy place and it’s hard to concentrate. Ohio has some urban areas, but none so overwhelming as the cacophony of Southern California. For a writer seeking solitude, quiet, and a relief from some of life’s pressures, where I’m going is a dream.

Survival will not be a problem, and I doubt very much writing will be either.

I look forward to going back to this place. It does fit into the whole “This was your home all along” cliche that we see in so many bad stories. I suppose I don’t mind if my story is bad, just so long as there’s a happy ending, but then again, that’s all up to me.

Starting Over Set Me Free

Putting away my book which Id been working on for three years was initially a very painful decision, and for the last few days I was greatly fearful that this story I so loved was now dead, and nothing would bring back the passion I once felt for it. However, soon after putting down my draft and moving away from it, a funny thing began to happen.

Fresh ideas.

Since putting down my draft and unshackling myself from all my previous plot-points, I’ve come to recognize my approach was fundamentally flawed from the start. My first scene, though thrilling and tense, resulted in the first of a series of contrivances that were to bring my heroes together, when in truth there was a much more simple and effective approach to do that.

My original take was my character is forced to take up the role of hero through blackmail. What I realized was my favorite heroes are forced into it by circumstance. Characters like Indiana Jones, John McClane and Ellen Ripley are not brought into insurmountable odds by any sort of planning. They often have those odds dumped on top of them unexpectedly. It is how they react to this sudden upheaval that they become heroic characters.

That I think is the approach that will best work for my protagonist, and may ultimately make their turn all the more unexpected, which was the original intention anyway.

This sudden flush of ideas has brought me nothing but relief. Though I ended up hating the book I wrote, I was still in love with the characters, the world, and the emotional core I was trying to evoke. Though I failed with that last draft, I knew there was a story worth telling in there somewhere. After only a few days, the mistakes are becoming more obvious, and that story is starting to take shape a little at a time.

My first draft was never going to be what I wanted, no matter how many times I hammered and chipped away at it. I initially thought the right amount of work could make it happen, and kicked myself every day I’d go another round on my manuscript and it still wouldn’t come to life. Now I see that there is no fixing a story that’s fundamentally flawed, except one. Throw it away and start over. It sounds terrible, but it may be the best creative decision I’ve ever made.

It will still be a while before I get back to it. Another book has taken priority, one for which I have a clearer vision. Still, it’s good to know that there is still life buried in there, enough for even the most meager ideas to struggle their way to my consciousness.

The last week was one plagued with self doubt. Though I’m still nervous about my eventual return to my planned fantasy epic, the doubt is not as strong anymore.

My manuscript depressed me with wasted potential. This new empty page excites me with endless possibilities.

My Big Concern – Not A Lot of Completed Works

As a writer, I have a number of problems that will need to be fixed. A shortage of ideas can’t be counted amongst those problems. Over the years and over the last few months especially, ideas have hardly been an issue with me. But having a vision and knowing how to structure a coherent plot relatively free of contrivances are two different things, and sometimes the ideas for different stories come so quickly, I don’t take the time to finish one.

When I look at my body of completed works, I can’t help but be dissatisfied. Over the last few years, I’e written numerous drafts of screenplays that, while technically are complete, I consider far from finished. I’d say a total of three or four. Numerous short stories and short scripts have been finished as well, and it seems in short form, I’ve found more success. When it comes to books, forget about it. Three years and the one book I’ve been working on just hasn’t worked out. I’ll finish it and complete my three book ark, but now isn’t the right time for it.

So what are the numbers? I have three completed feature scripts, but I’ll be doing additional drafts of those and adapting one into a novel so I’m not sure if those count as being done. Books, the one book I was working on was Never Heroes, and that is being put away while I  build up the world’s history and mythos. Short subjects I’ve done better with, with some six or seven completed shorts. The numbers aren’t terrible, but they’re far from where I want them.

Sometimes the ideas seem to come so hard and fast, it’s difficult to commit to one project. I have two versions of this problem. I overcommitted to the book and shelved a lot of projects I should have been working on. But if I spread myself too thin, I could also under-commit to both projects and have them both come out poorly. There’s a lot of distance between getting tunnel vision and not being focused on anything, and the trick for me is to find that healthy middle ground to make sure these things get done.

My numbers aren’t bad, but they’re far from where I want them. I want to see this stuff get done. Hopefully my completed short story this week will be a sign of things to come. I’ll be trying to think up another piece of short form fiction, and hopefully this new book will be getting underway soon. By the time I turn 30, I want to have a finished novel that I’m satisfied with.