Kicking My Own Ass

Motivation is tough in the winter, when the overwhelming urge to drink three cups of rum-spiked hot chocolate and watch umpteen episodes of 30 Rock can really put a damper on your novel writing. Here, in no particular order, are some ways to get motivated during the long, gray days of February:*

  • Wake up early to write before work. Check a few blogs and websites and maybe facebook to see what happened in the last six hours until your eyelids start working normally. Make coffee. Maybe take a shower. Realize that you’ve wasted your morning and manage a paltry 130 words while brushing your teeth and tying your shoes.
  • Get a fancy notebook as a Christmas gift. Write in it once, very productively. Carry it around like a fetish thereafter. When needed, stroke its smooth cover protectively.
  • Win Nanowrimo! Take a month off. Return to writing feeling like every day you didn’t write is hanging over your head like a second moon. Curse the gods.
  • Create a fun rewards system:
    • 100 words = 5 minutes away from computer to feel like a human being again
    • 250 words = 1 cup of coffee to stop the shakes and headaches and voices
    • 500 words = 1 dessert, to be eaten not at dessert-time
    • 1,000 words = $5 in the “buy a new computer” jar
    • 2,000 words = Blast “We are the Champions” and sing like you’re auditioning for The Voice
    • 5,000 words = Convince girlfriend that you’ve “earned it”
    • 10,000 words = Convince self that you’ve “earned it”
    • Finish manuscript = Mists of Pandaria and 1 month gametime
    • Finish manuscript before 32nd birthday = Realization that you are good enough, smart enough and doggone it, people like you
  • Look for inspiration in the world around you!
    • The Groundhog didn’t see his shadow, and you can safely ignore the spectre of failure that looms in the recesses of your mind.
    • The most literary team in the NFL won the Super Bowl! Named after a Poe poem and harboring a murderer, let the Ravens’ gothic flavor seep into your writing.
    • Terrorist attacks abroad and shootings at home indicate that people need escapism! Now is the perfect time to finish your fantasy novel and get it out there. Sure it’s set in 2006 and seems laughably dated to even the least interested reader, but that’s what they you pay editors for.
  • At the end of the day, you can always go back to your 3-years-defunct blog and mock yourself. It’s what the pros do!**

* Note: Not all attempts at motivation succeed. Don’t get discouraged, just try something else.
**Note: I don’t know any pros.

An unexplained disappearance

Sorry for the unannounced hiatus, gentlemen and ladies, but I have had an important development in the ol’ personal life that necessitated a temporary removal from things internet-esque.

I got a new job!

In a new city.

Which means I have to move…

Like soon!

Yikes.

Moving day

So, congrats to me, but also I’ve been organizing and packing and all at a breakneck pace in order to get things where they need to be for my transition.

Long story short, sorry again. And look, it took me almost a month and a half to go back on my promised blog agenda. Sigh.

Anyways, here’s some news you might not have heard about:

As of yesterday, the HBO pilot based on George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, the first novel in the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, was picked up for a series! The first season will be ten episodes long and will cover all of the events of the novel.

If nothing else, this means that Martin has a firm deadline on when A Dance with Dragons must be finished, as they’ll need to start filming it sometime in 2014. Better get typing, George.

Here is the first promotional image for the show.

First promo image...ominous

I won't spoil it...

I’m not sure how well my total geekiness about this series has come across so I’ll just say that without any context, I’m almost positive this is Ser Waymar Royce of the Night’s Watch coming upon the massacred wildling camp in the book’s prologue. There. Don’t ever doubt my geek powers again, everybody.

This news led me down an interesting path. What is the state of fantasy television? Maybe it’s just me, but it feels as though the science fiction* side of the Genres gets all the attention on the small screen.

I took a quick survey of shows currently airing on US television and came up with a surprise (to me, anyway). The numbers are about equal.

On the sci-fi side of things, we have:

  • Chuck (NBC)
  • Flashforward (ABC)
  • Fringe (FOX)
  • Lost (ABC)
  • V (ABC)
  • Caprica (Syfy)
  • Eureka (Syfy)
  • Stargate Universe (Syfy)
  • Warehouse 13 (Syfy)

And on the fantasy side:

  • Ghost Whisperer (CBS)
  • Heroes (NBC)
  • Medium (CBS)
  • Past Life (FOX)
  • True Blood (HBO)
  • Sanctuary (Syfy)
  • Smallville (CW)
  • Supernatural (CW)
  • Vampire Diaries (CW)

Interesting lists, and full of information. For instance, while the two subgenres are tied at the moment, the fantasy list is already in trouble. Both “Heroes” and “Smallville” are finishing up their final seasons, while “True Blood” has a short season (compared to the others) and is only available to customers that pay a premium.

Science fiction, on the other hand, benefits from significantly higher exposure, advertising budgets, and general regard in the eyes of the media and consumers. Sure, none of these 20 shows are exactly ratings powerhouses, but most of them do well. “Chuck” is NBC’s highest-rated scripted hourlong while “Lost” and “Caprica” both have plenty of cachet and devoted fanbases.

Meanwhile, the only fantasy shows to generate buzz or ratings are “True Blood” and it’s distant cousin “The Vampire Diaries” both of which could be accused of simply riding the coattails of the Twilight phenomenon (however untrue that might be). “Ghost Whisperer” and “Medium” play down the supernatural aspects of their premises in favor of melodrama and procedural trappings. “Supernatural” and “Sanctuary” both started out with interesting ideas that have gotten bogged down in their mythology to the point of ridiculousness (a problem with fantasy in any medium, I guess). And that leaves “Past Life” about which the less said, the better.

Hmm. When does “Game of Thrones” start? 2011?

Dammit.

*Note that for me, the working definition of science fiction includes science fantasy–fantasy that makes the impossible seem plausible–and thus includes Lost and Flashforward. You may quibble with my definition. Feel free. Just be nice.

Pulled for retooling

C'mon, everybody's doing it...

Six months! I do feel a bit...sheepish.

Six months later…

Yeah, so that worked out well.

Blogging and I have a tempestuous relationship–always have, always will, I imagine. Suffice it to say that I’m sorry, and I would like to promise to do better, but that and $1.50 won’t buy you a cup of coffee anymore.

Things in the scope of this blog that happened in the past six months that I didn’t blog about:

  • Passing the 50,000 word mark on my work-in-progress!
  • Reading a lot of books
  • Writing a fair number of things that weren’t my work-in-progress but may turn out to be full-fledged ideas anyway
  • Much writerly pontificating
  • Much self-inflicted misery about not writing enough and doing other things (TV!) when I should be writing
  • The ongoing slow implosion of the publishing industry over Americans not reading/book sales declining/Stephanie Meyer ruling the world/e-books/whatever else

Things NOT in the scope of this blog that happened in the past six months that (duh) I didn’t blog about:

  • Looking for and failing to find a new job (many applications, cover letters and interviews. sigh.)
  • Two week trip to Argentina!
  • Holidays
  • I got paid to blog about bicycles (the only thing that competes with writing, reading and girlfriend for my love), but examiner.com turned out to be a total writer-scamming racket

Right, so it’s a new year all of a sudden, which practically begs for a new danthology! ‘Because the old one worked out so well’ you might be saying. Well, Sarcastro, get ready, because I’ve got plans. Big ones. On blue paper and everything. Here’s what I’m resolving (see what I did there? Happy new year, kids.) to do starting probably Monday, January 11th.

  1. More 5 point reviews! Up to three per week until I run through my backlog, then as often as I actually read things.
  2. Work-in-Progress tracker! This is more for me, but if you care, you can track how many words I’ve written. Luckily, there’s no tracker for how many of them are actually good.
  3. Writerly pontification! At least once a week, but hopefully twice. We shall see.

Ok, there you have it. I want to make good on the promise I made to myself when I started danthology. This blog is a space for me to get all the reading/writing stuff in my head out and hopefully make it interesting to at least a few other people. The goal being that if I’m cranking up the brain muscles in a writerly way here, it will make it easier and less cluttered when I have to do the same for my fiction.

See you soon.

Dan 1, horde of marauding viruses 0.5

Yeah, sure, in the grand scheme of things, viruses just want to live and let live, man. Unfortunately for them, living involves brutally invading my body and wreaking havoc. Which, if you’re interested, is a surefire way to get me in a fightin’ mood.

So, I made mincemeat out of ’em. And now, i’m on the road to recovery. It is a winding road, and not at all scenic, thus offering plenty of time for reading!

So, as a sort of teaser, here’s what you can expect on danthology in the next week or so:

Books I finished and will soon review:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden (this might involve a digression or two…)

Books I’m currently reading:

Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar

Very Mercenary by Rayo Casablanca

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas (who went on to make “Veronica Mars” the best TV show that you’ve probably never seen)

Also, I’ll try very hard to branch out and entertain you with the many ways I fail to work on my novel, plus my first ever rejection letter!

a reading/writing blog

ok, this is a step in my professional development as an author.

the writing blog is supposed to be a place to establish an online presence, build a readership, and commentate on the various trials, tribulations, and triumphs that you encounter as a budding author.

it is not supposed to be a notebook for story ideas. that’s what google docs is for.