Oscar Night

Super short post today. Didn’t write a post because I wanted to spend most of the day WRITING.  I managed to get most of HawkeMoon done.  Just missing the climatic scene & epilogue.  Want to finish HM in Feb. & start a new story for March.

Oscars inspired me to start a screenplay.  Prob. won’t be great but at least I’m TRYING to “Dream Big!” 😃

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Snow Day

Rare snow day here in the The South (USA), so I took the time to read, something I rarely get to do these days.

So I finished a comic book on my backlog-Star Wars 01 (2015) Marvel Comics. The story features the original characters (Luke, Leah, Han & the rest) and is set between Star Wars: A New Hope & The Empire Strikes Back.

I wrote a short review at http://www.Goodreads.com. I’ve quoted here as well:

As a “child” of Star Wars (Star Wars, Empire, and Return of the Jedi were my “Harry Potter” & “Hunger Games”), I always view new interpretations with both excitement and trepidation. Excitement, to see my favorite characters in new stories and trepidation, hoping that the creators don’t mess it up and get it wrong. The new Star Wars comic by Marvel has been getting good reviews, so I took a chance and bought issue 1 via Amazon. Well, so far, these creators got it RIGHT!

The characters act and sound just like they should. The story setting is interesting and the story itself has that original Star Wars feel (not that slightly nebulous and incongruous feel of the prequel trilogy.) I’ve ordered issue 2 and if it is good then I think that I’m going to try follow it regularly.

I know I’m high on my score (most are giving 4 stars), but I’m really pleased with it. Now, 1 issue does not make (or break) a series, but (just like the upcoming 2015 movie The Force Awakens) I am cautiously optimistic about Star Wars’ future in the near term. The Force is Strong with this one.

Blueprints – Writing and Letting Go

A LOT has happened in the past two weeks and I’ve changed quite a bit (at least I like to think so).

First, I caught a cold from one of the students on Friday and felt terrible from Saturday morning when I awoke until Monday morning when it was time to go back to work.  I literally did nothing the entire weekend.  I did get to watch the Super Bowl, but that’s about all I did was simply watch it (and the commercials).  I had been stressed the entire week before at work and I learned that my body and stress don’t mix well.  Lessons that I learned on how to cope had to be relearned as suffered through the weekend.  As much as I want all my students to be brilliant, make good grades, and behave well so that I can teach them, the fact is I can’t control what they do or don’t do, I can only control my reaction to them.  So that’s what I focused on all of this past week — letting go.

So it was timely when I heard this week’s IGN UK Podcast: “The Force is Strong With this One.”  The interview is with Gary Whitta who works in Hollywood as a Screenwriter.  He has worked on The Book of Eli, After Earth,  and has just finished up work on The Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  

Now, as he’s talking I realize first that the podcast is talking the way that I’d envisioned the blog operating–not just about writing, but about all things Science Fiction/Fantasy (from movies to games to novels to little hints about the industry that he works–the whole nine yards).  I realized that I’ve seen both Interstellar and The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug and haven’t at least shared opinions on them (and yet, they are in part why I write Sci-Fi and Fantasy–to do what they did, just on the page).

But one thing that REALLY struck me was the idea of writing (scripts especially) as BLUEPRINTS.  Essentially, he notes that in Hollywood, the scriptwriter sells the script and is no longer in control of the script’s (and by extension–the story’s) fate. It is the movie’s director who ultimately becomes the “author.”  He shares that his movie The Book of Eli was unique in two ways 1) it was ORIGINAL–not based on some preexisting property (which is rare in Hollywood) and 2) what ended up on the screen was MOSTLY what was on the page.  The movie After Earth–well, not so much.

You have to let go of the process in collaboration.  In movies, there are hundreds, if not thousands of people spending millions to make your vision come alive and you have to hope that it turns out like you have it in your head (or laid it out on the page).

The implications for me are clear: when I write scripts (Graphic Novels), I need to turn it over to my artist and not try to “direct.”  If it matches my vision, awesome.  If not, move on to the next project in hopes that the next one will.  My first experience with collaboration went well up until I saw the finished artwork.  With all due respect to my artist (whose artwork was awesome) it just didn’t match up to the Marvel artwork at the time that I was reading and envisioned for the project.

Lastly, I can also use this for the rest of my writing–right now, I spend months on short-stories for a $10 – $25 payment.  I’m very detailed and I don’t want to lose that, but I’m making a couple of small tweaks to writing to help me be a little more efficient.  Instead of writing at night after teaching all day, I’m taking a little time on the weekends and dedicating it to writing (I’m writing the blog post right now during this time, so hopefully its working!).  I can still write during the week if I feel so inclined, but I KNOW that I’ll have a block of time to write no matter what if for some reason (tired, illness, etc.) that I can’t write during the week.

There were many other takeaways from this past week, but I’ll save those for future blog topics.  Expect more of “round robin” approach on future topics as well–not just on writing and my process.  Later, all!

Tech Update – Strangeness!  Router=stable, Wifi=comes and goes at its whim (been up for 3 days without a hitch, though.

Writing Update – Slowness!  Added a little more to 2nd scene of HAWKEMOON.  Worked on setting and characterization.  Hoping to finish this scene today. If so, 2 down, 2 to go.