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Manuscript Update, Who are you thankful for?

Hello again, a little review of some irons in the fire and a little more introspection.

I’m almost finished making revisions off the latest critique of my first general fiction manuscript. It’s about a twentysomething guy who is a bit aimless, having just dropped out of college and summarily kicked out of his house by his folks and left to figure out what he wants to do with his life. He works through some interesting, occasionally uncomfortable situations with his two closest friends, who also are dealing with balancing work, friends, love, sex and that irresistible lure of social media.

Hmm, I sound like I’m writing back cover copy. Hey, it’s late and my mind is wandering, bear with me 🙂

Another quick pass to tighten up a few things like grammar and I believe I’m ready to put this one to bed – meaning, send out some queries and see what happens. I’m pretty excited and of course a bit nervous about this as well. Will keep you posted once I launch into Query mode on this one, which should happen by early 2016 if not sooner!

Hot on the heels of the general fic is my dystopia. My nutshell description of the main character is she’s kinda a cross between Joan of Arc, Wyatt Earp, and perhaps Sarah Connor (in badass mode). Plan for that one is to work through that over the course of 2016 and get it ready for submission. More details on that one to follow.

About a week and a half ago I attended a software convention. At this convention, professional speaker Seth Mattison gave an incredible presentation that went into the whole affect that the new culture of the millennials is having and will have on the existing unwritten rules and guidelines of the workplace to date. It was fascinating stuff to me. As a Gen Xer, I suppose I kind of have one foot in more of the “old school” approach to business, aka when you’re new at a company you keep your mouth shut and pay your dues and then maybe if you behave long enough you get to contribute and have your say.

That being said, I like to think I have a little bit in the social media slash newer approach to idea sharing (hello have you been reading this blog?) But I know I’m not at the level of many of the younger crowd, instagramming and pinteresting and such all over the place. But being out there and just checking things over is pretty fun. It’s tough to maintain that balance though, between having fun and keeping myself on track to things like the finishing of the two manuscripts I mentioned.

Another point Seth touched on, which really got to me, was to show gratitude for those who have helped you get to where you are. At one point in his talk, he asked everyone in the audience to write down the name of one person who had an impact on getting ourselves to where we are today. Without thinking or hesitating, I wrote my mother’s name down. Then, Seth encouraged the audience to contact that person to thank them, if we are able to.

Sadly, I’m not able to. Lost my mom in 2013. However, her influence over me is as strong today as ever. In addition to the countless carpools, homework help, cooking, cleaning, etc mom did without any thought of reward over the years, she supported my writing ambitions. She insisted she get to read the first draft of my general fic manuscript. Who was I to say no? Not only did she read it, she emailed her thoughts to me. Ever loving, caring and supporting. I cherish that moment with her as one of many examples of how much she supported me.

Who in your life helped you get to where you are today? Have you thanked them? Are you still in touch with them regularly? If not, and you’re able to, why not reach out to them to thank them for what they did for you.

That’s all for me for now. Hope you’re all doing well out there!

Chase Your Goals

I recently watched two distinct but (in my mind) somewhat related movies about goals and reaching for them.  “Everest” and “The Walk”.

“Everest” chronicles the doomed 1996 expedition to reach the summit of Everest, where most of the people making the attempt to ascend the mountain were lost at some point due in part to a severe winter storm that came through while the climbers were at or near the summit.

“The Walk” recounts Philippe Petit, the man who walked across a tightrope suspended from between the then twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York (quite illegally at that).

Now, what do these two have in common with whatever I’m trying to say here?  I’ll tell you.

I’m a big goals person.  If you know me at all, you know I usually have one or more goals in mind.  Years back, it may have been preparing a piece of music in grade school or high school to be judged in a solo and ensemble festival.  Later years, my goals included things like getting my grades up in college after a tough semester, or studying to get an IT Certification.

As of late, several of my goals are writing related.  Publishing short stories, novels, etc.

I think it’s not only good to have a goal, but to do whatever you can to strive towards it.  I watched “The Walk” and it really locked in with me, the struggle of Petit to do something big, to make a statement, no matter how over the top grandiose or extremely dangerous it was.

I’m sure he felt the danger.  Watching the movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s great portrayal of Petit, stepping out and just enveloping himself in his dream, his goal.  It really resonated with me.  I think of my writing goals often, and while I’m not exactly scaling the World Trade Center or climbing Mount Everest, they are every bit as important to me as I’m sure Petit’s walk and those climbers of Everest held their aspirations.

One of the climbers depicted in “Everest”, a Japanese woman named Yasuko, evidently had a goal to ascend the seven highest mountain peaks in the world.  Her ascent of Everest in 1996 was the seventh and final ascent, and she made it.  Tragically, her story didn’t end well afterward.  But the spirit she had to aim for that goal, and press on in spite of what turned out to be insurmountable odds, touched and inspired me deeply.

Maybe it’s easy for me to tout having goals, sitting at a laptop and typing away, where my biggest threats are likely eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome.  But I feel inspired by people who reach out and strive to accomplish.  It’s a part of life that I think makes things worthwhile.  It’s not the only thing, but it is a tremendous part.

Whatever you’re doing, wherever you’re at in life, whatever your dreams are, don’t just cherish them.  Chase them.

Dystopian Manuscript progressing!

Very excited that I’m done with the writing phase of my dystopian manuscript!  I’ve been working on this particular piece on and off since about mid 2013, so this is a great accomplishment.  Currently, the manuscript is approximately 86k words in length and is what I’d say about the third draft.

Mind you, I may still have a little bit of rewriting in order on this one.  I plan to read it from start to finish though.  The way I wrote this one, very little of an outline… it seems necessary to go back through to make sure what I’ve written and anything else I intend to write to fill in the gaps fits with the story.  Otherwise, I’ll just be writing end on end forever.  At some point it’s got to be finished, right?

My hope and plan for this is to be fine tuning and polishing this manuscript up throughout 2016, and then start presenting/querying this to prospective agents by 2017.  I’m giving myself some time to get it together so it feels right.  Seems better for me to have a goal, but not one so imminent and close that I rush things.

I still have the 2nd half of a critique of my general fiction manuscript to work through as well, so I’ve got something to break up my train of thought a bit too.  I find that helps me from getting stagnant.

Anyway, plenty of writing and rewriting work in my near future.  Now I wonder if the Bayou Writers Group will be sending their novel length project for me to edit as well.  Busy times!

I hope you’re all well and are able to write and read plenty!

When do you write?

Besides the challenge of coming up with all the different elements of a story and making them all fit together in an entertaining way, I find just having time to write lately is a challenge.  Do you have this problem too?

Some members of the writers group I belong to, Bayou Writers Club, suggest to determine a good time of day for you to write, and develop a habit of always writing at that time.  Some people like to write early in the morning, others, late at night.

Lately, my best time has been around lunch time at work.  I may only get 300-500 words in at a clip, but it’s writing time.  Enough days of writing around 500 words at a clip and I’ll have a good amount of material to work with in short time.

Welcome!

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