The Start of… Something

April 12, 2011 at 1:14 am (Books, Fiction) (, , , , )

I recently started a new story and for the first time EVER, I feel like it could lead to being a novel.  I usually write short stories and occasionally longer short stories, but for some reason, the scope and possibilities I have opened up before me with this one seem, well, bigger.

I once wrote a story about a guy who made a set of tap shoes for a cockroach.  I wrote a story about a guy stuck working in Wisconsin who wishes he could dream about the girl he left behind in North Carolina, but keeps having silly dreams instead.  I wrote a story about a guy who is making a cross country trip and finds himself talking to a hand puppet in a motel in Wyoming.  None of these needed to be longer.  They told the story I wanted them to, quickly and easily.  The short story format was perfect for them.

Then there was “Into the Black” and “The Carnival.”  The former could easily be the beginning of a book.  The latter could very well be fleshed out with a few more characters added and end up being a book of its own (both of which are ideas I have been toying with).

But this new piece that I started…well, it is already apparent to me that it belongs in a big world.  A wide open place where many things happen.  A place where the protagonist is on a quest.  This is all VERY obvious to me.  The problem?  I don’t know what that quest is!  I don’t know the “what if.”  Without sounding flippant, good novels can be thought of (though not summarized) in concise “what if” questions.  “What if Childe Roland was a gunslinger making his way to The Tower?”* “What if a magical ring needs to be destroyed in enemy territory?”**  “What if a retired man’s mind is beginning to slip and he wants to keep it a secret?”*** 

My newest piece starts right after a battle, the final battle of a war, and the prince commanding the losing side is the only person still alive from his troops, but no one knows he has lived through it.  Sounds OK, right?  He then meets a guy who is scavenging the bodies of the fallen soldiers and he lies about who he is, knowing that his enemies have won and are now in control of his former city.  Again, sounds all right.  But that’s where I’ve been stopped.  For three days now.  Because I have no “what if” for this guy.  What’s his quest?  To regain control of his city?  Sure! …except I know so little about politics and intrigue that I don’t know if I could do that.  If it was an Item Quest, well, somehow a tangible goal seems much “easier,” but I haven’t figured out what he would be questing after in the situation that was created.  I am a firm believer in what Stephen King talks about in his book “On Writing,” mainly: create the situation, create the characters and don’t worry about plot, it will come as the characters try to resolve their situation.  But guess what?  I ain’t Stephen King.  (Actually, you probably didn’t even have to guess that.)  I feel like I should have SOME sort of idea as to where they are headed… even if they never get there.  Right now I’ve got, “What if the former prince of a nation……….umm….”

Anyway, bear with me.  I feel like this story and my quest to tackle it are going to be with me for a little while.

*= The Dark Tower series
**= The Lord of the Rings
***= A Spot of Bother

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Great Stories, Poopy Endings

March 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm (Books, Fiction) (, , , )

So far this year I have read 2 books that I have completely enjoyed… until the very end. Castle by J. Robert Lennon and The Tsar‘s Dwarf by Peter H. Fogtdal were both great stories that pulled me in from the very start and completely held my attention. But both of these books had what felt like cop-out endings. Castle had the worst of the two, having a totally open ended non-ending. I don’t want to give it away in case you choose to read it, but I seriously closed the book after finishing it and said, “Really? Are you kidding me?” You know how in school the teacher would say, “OK five minutes left. Go ahead and wrap up what you’re writing”? It felt like that. Like the author scrambled to finish because his publisher was standing there, countdown clock in hand.

The Tsar’s Dwarf, on the other hand, wrapped itself up just fine… I just didn’t like it. The ending I mean. Loved the book but when I got to the end it was more of a “Aw, come on. Is that the best way you could think of to end this novel?”

Maybe I should read a biography next. One of someone whose ending I already know. Lincoln, I know what happened to him, right? …or do I?

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Unknown Wizard of Oz

March 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm (Books, Fiction) (, , )

I am currently reading the Wizard of Oz and am amazed by the differences between the book and the version most of us know. I am only two chapters into it but already things are interesting. For example, before the cyclone, there are no other people besides Dorothy and her aunt and uncle. No lady on a bike, no cousins, no nothing.

When the house lands in chapter 2, Dorothy is greeted by 4 people, 3 of whom are male Munchkins. The woman in the group is an old woman no taller than the Munchkins. She is the Witch of the North. That is the only name she gives, not Genda.

So now Dorothy must set out to see the wizard in the Emerald City having only met 3 Munchkins. Oh! but not before taking the silver shoes from the dead Witch of the East.

I’m sorry, did I say SILVER SHOES?! Oh yes I did. You see, it turns out with the invention of Technicolor, silver shoes just weren’t amazing enough. Ruby slippers, probably one of the items most connected in our minds with this story, weren’t in the story at all until the movie. I find that to be amazing.

As I start chapter 3, I can’t wait to see what other big changes are in store for me. If they are as earth shaking as the shoes, I’ll make sure to report back.

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Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

March 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm (Books) (, , , , )

Happy, happy day for me! I was poking around the Sony Reader store (because some of us are old school when it comes to eReaders) and I happened upon THIS!

That’s right, baby! Those are my two short books. I didn’t even know they had been picked up by the Reader Store 🙂 If you click the picture, you can get them for FREE at the Sony Reader store. If you want other download options (such as PDF, Epub, Kindle) you can click on this picture instead and go to my page on the publisher’s site. After you click a book, you will be taken to the different options. Don’t worry, they’re FREE there as well.

And for those of you who have read the books and have asked about the 3rd book in the series… I, um… I’m not entirely sure it’s gonna happen. I’ve begun work on a full length novel and I’m not sure when I’ll be heading back to my little space pirate, Isambard Tims.

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untoched, unedited

June 26, 2010 at 12:42 am (Life)

NOTE: I didn’t go back and edit any of my spelling (except in this sentence) for a reason, which you will learn. How you see it is how it was typed… which is the problem.
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This isn’t something I’ve tlalked to anyone about, but that’s mainly because I don’t know if it actualy means antying or I’m making a big deal about tnothing.

lately, my memory has ben shot to pieces. Two nights in a row, when closing at work, I completely forgot to shut down a machine. Also, my spelling has been terrible. When texting, I misspell workds over na d over, sometimes not sunderstanding what is wrong or how to fix ti. When typing/? Well, I think you an see for yourself. You may be thinkin, “Jeremy, everyone isspells words when typing,”… but I dont, or at least, not to this degree. And this isn’t me looking at a paper while I’m tyopng. This is me looking at the screen, at the keypboard. I tried to work on my shortstory the other day anid I had to quit because i was getting so grufstare…. frustrated.

Today, I stood in a bookstore and for 5 mintues, i couldn’t remember the dan… *sigh* name of my favorite artist. I knew he had a beard, but that’s as far as I could remember. What’s even worse, I couldn’t remember any of this guy’s work! I was thinking, “Oh, I should see if they have a book of ______, the guy who makes _____….oh.”

If it’s stress, I don’t know it. Sure, I am moving to NYC and am going to be homeless for 18 days before I make the move, but I’m not actually worried about taht. In the past, my memory problems have been because of worry… and yes, I realize that is stress, but I see it as such a negative stress. I wasn’t aware something like this could affect me the same way. Well, as far as memory, that is. The spelling? I don’t know. it woorr…. worries me. I ain’t gonna lie. it’s like there’s a disconnect between my brain and fingers.

It’s funy, the usaual sign of stress fr me is switching my nuons in spoken sentences. Thinsg like, “I’m going to drive my store to the car.” I am not usally aware I am doing this, and when others point it out, I recognize it as a sign and I start taking stock of where I am emotionally. I haven’t been doing that, though. Not this time. Oooo! Maybe negative stress (worry) makes me switch my words and psoitive stress screws with my spelling? Dunno. That doesn’t seem very logitcal. Oh well, 20 days until I am living with the love of my life in NYC… maybe it will go away then.

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