IT FIGURES

Standard

I’m a few days away from going on vacation, and then the urge and inspiration to write strike. I think it’s a short story. I think it will be my test of the characters I want to use for this year’s National Novel Writing Month submission, and the ideas have just been in a steady flow into my head since probably Sunday.

This is all great, but I fly out for a week’s vacation in a couple days, and I’m only going to have a phone with me… not exactly conducive for writing a short story. But will I write? I hope to. It means taking a notebook and pen, and it will mean that I’m going to have to write long-hand, but I want to get this down and committed to paper before I lose steam on it.

So I guess, here’s to “working, writing” holidays?

BACK TO BLOGGING, BACK TO WRITING

Standard

It has been quite a while, but here I am, back again.

Writing this year has been pretty much non-existent. I haven’t been in the headspace to write. I’m not experiencing block, but rather just the fact that life has been going on, and I’ve been enjoying it as much as I can.

But I have been thinking about writing, and I have been planning in my head.

I have pretty much given up on my writing goal of six short stories by the end of the year, and that’s largely due to the fact that we’re in the middle of July now, and I haven’t written so much as a word towards one of those stories. I’ve been thinking about National Novel Writing Month a lot though, and I think I may have an idea to get me through this year’s contest. And planning. How much planning?

IMG_6730

Apparently character sketches have already started. And despite my proclamation above that I’m not going to get six short stories done this year, I am going to attempt to test drive these characters I’m putting together in a short story before the contest in November. Let’s see how this goes!

THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR AND HOW TO WRITE WELL

Standard

A couple weekends ago, I finished watching Daredevil on Netflix. This was before a second season was announced, so I am trying to keep the majority of my thoughts about the series and my overall impressions limited to pre-second season announcement.

Daredevil in terms of tone, source material and execution is perhaps one of the truest to form adaptations I have seen of a comic book property, and also one of the best that has emerged from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A street-level vigilante, Daredevil as a character and as a series struck a particularly dark, grimy and bloody tone. Charlie Cox was one of the key highlights of casting from the series, and his portrayal of an antagonist straddling the lines of the law had the right balance of delusional, righteous, and almost humbling. Our hero takes a beating (several in fact), and while he toes the line throughout the series, seems to always just come short of crossing it, his religious and legal convictions holding him back.

Daredevil is a show that gave a little something to everyone. For non-fans, it gave a gritty crime drama. For fans, it gave them a new, fresh take on the Daredevil mythos, and for Marvel Studios, it gave them an opportunity to reinvent the character after their abysmal attempt to bring the Man Without Fear to the silver screen under Ben Affleck.

The writers on the series took their time giving us the origin story of Daredevil. Instead of rushing through a five minute montage, the writersgave us the backstory over the course of the 13-episode series. Largely adapting the Frank Miller origin tale Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, the show adds a few nuances, takes a few liberties, and pays if off rather well. For fans unaware of the character, or with limited exposure, they got a solid story that gets them into Hell’s Kitchen and into the heads of our protagonist and antagonist. For fans of the character, they get a rather faithful retelling of a well-loved storyline. For the mega fans, there’s easter eggs galore, such as when Nobu the head of the Japenese mob goes after Daredevil. Dressed in red ninja robes, the average person would see him as a ninja. For longtime fans, it’s a nod and a wink to The Hand, a notorious sect of ninjas that have plagued Daredevil over the years.

…Or even the use of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime. He is offhandedly referred to as “The King” in the series, but his somewhat hokier comic book moniker of the Kingpin is not referenced, instead the writers playing with the gag that Fisk’s name should never be uttered (a double-entente, referring to his moniker not being used, and also Fisk’s desire to remain a secret).

So where am I going with all of this? Simply said, that in a world where we have an over-saturation of comic book properties become movies and television shows, one or two truly rise above all the others, and it comes down to writing. Get a good story, give something to a broad range of viewers, gather strong actors, and the finished product will speak for itself.

A FIRST FOR 2015 (BUT NOT QUITE)

Standard

For the first time in 2015, I started putting words down in a word processor over the weekend. And then quickly scrapped them. The core idea will remain, but the opening approach just did not seem to work for me.

For the first time since high school I am writing something formal in first person narrative. This particular piece, what I think will be a short story that will help me figure out characters for National Novel Writing Month later this year, feels like it should be written in first person narration. It feels that way, because if I continue with these characters in November, the novel idea is something that I would really like to do in first person.

I used to think that first person narration was the easiest, and that writing third person would be the more difficult. In fact, Closer was originally first person narration through Jonothon’s eyes, but somewhere in the middle of the first draft I switched it to third person. I can not remember why I did it, it has been years since that change occurred, but I seem to think now it was probably because first person ended up being a lot more than I thought.

Some things apparently do not change for writers.

Will the short story be first person? Yes. I just need to figure it out just a little more before I go ahead with a new opening.

The important thing is that I started writing. It may have only been a few paragraphs that were subsequently trashed, but it was a starting point. This year has been a stressful one so far, and writing has just gone the wayside turing this time period. This weekend marked dipping my toes in. I am hoping the next attempt is at least a foot. Or maybe I will get it up to knees and start wading in once again.

LOOKING… FOR REALNESS IN WRITING

Standard

Watching the season finale of Looking last night hit a little too close to home. I have been in the situation that Patrick found himself with Kevin before. And I reacted for better or for worse, the same way that Patrick did. It was quite honestly uncomfortable watching some of those scenes last night; a mix of what it must be like to watch your parents fight, and a stark reminder of my own personal history.

As much as I rail against the show at times to friends, this is perhaps one of the best, most nuanced depiction of gay men, and gay relationships I have seen on television. It is not all about sex and partying and all the other tropes that Queer as Folk trotted out nearly two decades ago. Instead we are given a group of gay men who love, live, laugh, struggle and persevere through life. There is something truly special about that show. As much as Patrick frustrates me in naivety, I have come to realize that there is a lot of him in me. And perhaps that is the sign of exceptional writing, when you find yourself strangely relating to a character on multiple levels, a character that irritates you.

Now I am a bit jealous, because the characters on Looking, especially Patrick and Kevin, are ones that I strive to create and to write about whenever I try my hand at a new novel or story. I realize that in terms of craft I am not quite hitting the same strides, but this does provide me with a certain benchmark of what I would like to achieve in my writing.

If you are not watching Looking, you should. It is smartly written, with three dimensional characters that shine. It may just find itself creeping into my list of favourite television series one day soon.

CONSUMING BUT NOT PRODUCING

Standard

It has been a bit too long since I last wrote here. As always it seems, real life takes over, and I find myself with very little time or motivation to write. I have been consuming a lot of pop culture lately though, and it has started to inspire me quite a lot.

Over the course of January and February I read The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal, one of the first mainstream homosexual novels to come out after the Second World War, and City of Night by John Rechy, controversial for the fact that it was semi-autobiographical about Rechy’s experiences as a male hustler. The City and the Pillar was an excellent read, while City of Night fell flat for me.

I have been having mixed reactions to television as well. I finally signed up for Netflix, and have been spending far too much time watching stuff on that (but then again, who can claim that they do not?). I watched a documentary on transgender porn star Buck Angel, called Mr. Angel, which I thought was exceptional. Last weekend I watched Getting Go, the Go Doc Project which is a fictional gay love story told in documentary style, which I thought was exceptional. Then there was German gay film, Free Fall. It was awful. I will leave my opinion as that.

I have also been watching HBO’s Looking religiously. The main character Patrick still really gets on my nerves, but I have been finding the second season fairly strong, with some great character work, including a fantastic Doris-centric story last weekend. My issues with the protaganist, I think it has done one of the most balanced, nuanced portrayal of gay men in a long time (though it could serve to step up its game and introduce a lesbian & a transgender person).

So inspired, I hope to finally return to the keyboard tomorrow. Someone please hold me to this?

SO IT’S BEEN A WHILE…

Standard

I had not planned on taking such a long hiatus from this blog. In fact, I had not planned on taking a hiatus at all! I completed National Novel Writing Month at the end of the November, making me a eight time winner, and then promptly got really busy between my two jobs, and then sick, and then even busier with one job. Before I knew it, it was Chrismukkah, and I have not had the time to write.



That changes though, with the new year, and with a new set of challenges. Every year I do something called my “Accomplishments List”. It is not a resolutions list (people constantly fail at resolutions), instead it is a list of things that I wish to accomplish. It is a mix of fitness stuff, travel, personal stuff and of course writing. The writing stuff is the most applicable to this blog, so let’s talk about that.



I will write a novel (big surprise), but it will be my last year of competiting in National Novel Writing Month. Writing a novel in a month is a crazy idea to begin with, but I simply do not have the time anymore. I have a full time career as a government drone, a part-time gig as a Personal Trainer, and a passion to sleep more than two hours a night. So why am I not just saying screw it to National Novel Writing Month now? Glory. My previous “winning” streak stood at four novels before I failed in 2010. I tied that record last year. If I comp(l)ete this year, it will be my tenth time, my possible ninth win, and a five time winner in a row. That is a pretty damn good high to end on.



I am also going to write six short stories this year, posting each as I complete them. They will be rough, they will be first drafts, but they will be something available to consume.