Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal bloggings in me.

It’s Thursday again, the third Thursday of the month, and as you may know, I did not write an episode of “My heroes have always been villains” last week.  I considered writing an episode this week, but I think I’ll just push that off until next month; I’m just not in the mood to do it.  Writing those posts is something I do for fun.  It may seem perverse to take pleasure in writing about and celebrating my favorite villains; perhaps it is perverse.  But I really do enjoy it, and I want to do it when I have a mind-frame of playfulness.  If I write about villains when feeling negative, I’m liable to enjoy the villain more for the villainy, rather than on terms of the character as it contributes to a work of fiction.  That’s not a state in which I want to encourage myself, so I’m going to write a more ordinary blog post; indeed, as you can see, I’ve already begun.

As you can also see—if you’re looking—I posted the audio for Chapter 8 of The Chasm and the CollisionThe Chasm and the Collision yesterday on my blog, here.  Within the next day or so, I expect to post the “video” of that audio on YouTube as well, so for those of you who prefer that venue, it will be available soon.

I’m pleased to note that my new regimen for writing Iterations of Zero is working well.  I’ve produced two IoZ posts in the last two weeks (on Tuesdays), and though this is too small a grouping to be considered a pattern, I expect that I’ll continue to follow that schedule.  Similarly, despite that commitment, I haven’t lost ground on my primary task, which is fiction writing, since I find it easier to write fiction on the weekend than to write nonfiction.  When I write a blog post, I expect to produce a final, more or less polished, work, and to publish it that day, whereas with fiction I know I’m writing a first draft, so I don’t have to think of the whole process from beginning to end on each day of the writing.  This is a quite freeing, and it encourages me and makes the process easier.

Of course, I could give myself that freedom with my blog posts as well, but I find that if I write a draft for a blog post and then plan to come back to it and edit it later, I tend simply not to return to it.  Other things steal my attention, and enterprises of great pitch and merit lose the name of action.  That habit would probably be surmountable, but the way I’m doing it now seems to be the most straightforward one available, given the constraints on my schedule.

Unanimity continues to proceed well under my slightly modified writing regimen.  In fact, it’s probably going a little faster than it was before.  Terrible events are occurring or are about to occur in it, but that’s only to be expected as a horror story draws to its climax.  I can’t believe how long it is, though.  Seriously, it’s a bit mind-boggling.  It’s not Proustian by any means, but it’s certainly the longest book I’ve ever written.  In its current form, it’s already longer than most Stephen King novels.

I expect to hone it down quite a bit, of course, before it’s ready to be published, but wow.  I sometimes wonder if the book will ever reach its end.

One thing I’m enjoying about it is that a character who did not seem very promising—he’s socially awkward and lacks a certain amount of imagination and motivation—is going to be the one who will rise to the occasion and “save the day.”  This was not what I expected, and it certainly wasn’t what he expected, but that’s the way stories go.

I feel as though I ought to have more to write about here today, but whatever it is that I thought I needed to say isn’t springing out at me.  I think I’m just extremely tired, in a non-ordinary, non-trivial sense.  This has nothing to do with my writing, of course—although I can become fatigued when writing, I never seem to tire of the process in any fundamental way.  The same cannot be said of so many other things in life.  Sometimes I wish I could just go to sleep for a year…or a century…or indefinitely.  Perchance, to dream.

Oh, well.  Life is dukkha, after all; you can’t always get what you want.  (And though the Rolling Stones respond with the rejoinder that, if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need, implicit in their use of the word “sometimes” is the fact that, quite often, you get neither what you want nor what you need.)

C’est la vie.  Sometimes it’s hard to see why anyone bothers with it.

TTFN

Art thou not sorry for these heinous blog posts?

Hello everyone.  I’m sorry to report that I’m not doing a “My heroes have always been villains” episode today (as must be obvious by now).  I simply don’t feel well, and it doesn’t make sense to try to write such posts when one can’t summon enthusiasm.  An engaging discussion of a good villain (Is that a contradiction in terms?  I don’t think so.) deserves someone writing with a bit of joy about the subject, considering that the whole point is to have fun with it.  I’m not really in a fun state of mind right now.  So, I’ll just give a quick report of what’s going on, boring though that may be.  Apologies.

I’m making steady, even rapid, progress on Unanimity.  It’s still probably more than a month away from being a completed first draft, but it’s moving along.  I’m amazed by how long it’s become, and I’m going to have to be especially brutal in the rewrite and editing process (I think I’ve said this before—I tend to be repetitive, as I suspect you’ve noticed).  But, as I’ve also said before, stories must be what they want to be, so there’s only so much that I can do about it.  I don’t think it’ll be wasted time (any more than all time is) so try to be patient with me.

I finished the first draft of the audio of Chapter 8 of The Chasm and the Collision yesterday, and the sound editing process shall now begin.  I imagine it’ll be finished and released on a similar schedule to how the others have been coming out, which is roughly once every two weeks or so.  I’ll try to let you know if there are going to be delays.

I posted some thoughts on Iterations of Zero earlier this week, in a blog post titled “Never hate your interlocutors.”  I think it’s a particularly timely message, so I encourage you to read it and think about it.  We could all use a little more patience and little less vilification in our discourse than we tend to have, nowadays and always.

And, finally, I’ve decided to embed here the “video” for Chapter 7 of The Chasm and the Collision, so that those of you who come here to the blog can easily enough listen to the chapter on YouTube, in case that’s the simplest way for you to enjoy it.  If you are enjoying the chapters, I do hope you’ll consider buying the book.  I think it’s a good story…but then again, I would.  I am unavoidably biased.  That doesn’t necessarily make me wrong, but it makes it difficult for me to be an honest judge, and I haven’t received any real feedback from anyone with which to update my Bayesian credences.  We’ll see what happens, I suppose.  Or maybe we won’t, who knows?

Here’s the video:

 

That’s about all there is this week, or all that comes to mind that’s worth sharing.*  To paraphrase the typical Metta mantra:

May you dwell in safety.
May you be happy and healthy.
May you be free of afflictions.
May you be at peace.

TTFN


*Assuming, of course, that it is worth sharing.

O Lord, that lends me life, lend me a blog replete with thankfulness!

Welcome, welcome, to August of 2018, the second of those two months which push back September, October, November, and December, changing them from the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth months—which they should be, based on their names—to the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth months.  It’s a shame.  It might have been preferable to have July and August at the end of the year, rather than the middle.  Then Christmas would be on the twenty-fifth of August, which sounds strange, of course, but only because we’re used to it being the other way.

Next week being the second Thursday of the month, I will write a new entry in “My heroes have always been villains.”  As usual, I haven’t yet decided what villain I’ll discuss, nor even from which media form I’m going to take it.  Hitherto, I’ve done one from movies and two from books, but many other sources are available.  Excellent villains can be found in comic books and manga (especially comic books), and those media have become more and more respectable over time. Continue reading

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time…the blog’s delay?

Okay, to begin with:  an apology.  I didn’t write a blog post last Thursday because I was sick in bed, and I felt so low and grungy that I wasn’t even up to composing a brief paragraph to let everyone know of my state.  Perhaps I should have, in case any of you were worried about me, or awaited my blog post with bated breath, your happiness intrinsically and inescapably tied to the weekly presence of my words.  If such a person exists anywhere in the multiverse, I apologize especially to that individual (and recommend psychiatric care).

Other than those days in which I accomplished very little due to my illness, I’ve been proceeding at a good pace.  Some improvements in my schedule have given me a bit more time (and energy) in the mornings, so I’ve written slightly more than usual on Unanimity this week—about two thousand words a day.  It’s coming along well; the story arcs toward its climax, which is on the distant horizon at least, if not yet in easy reach.

As followers of the blog (and of my Facebook page and Twitter feed) will know, I haven’t been remiss in recording and posting the audio for the chapters of The Chasm and the Collision.  You can listen to Chapter 6, with the name “Discussion and Encounter”* here, or you can listen to the “video” on YouTube, here.  It’s shorter than the preceding chapters, but new and surprising things are happening to Alex, Meghan, and Simon, and they’ll soon learn much more about the strange events in which they’ve become embroiled.

I’m vaguely embarrassed by some minor recording glitches that happened for a short time in the middle of Chapter 6’s audio.  I did my best to correct them in the edit, and maybe they aren’t noticeable to anyone but me, but I find them annoying.  However, despite that annoyance, the prospect of going back and re-recording those sections was too daunting.  Your enjoyment of the story shouldn’t be diminished by them, but I will try to keep them from happening again.

On other matters, I was a bit surprised (dare I say disappointed?) that the third installment of “My heroes have always been villains” didn’t get more readership than it did.  I would have thought that Hannibal Lecter would be an extremely popular character to discuss, but maybe he’s not in the front of everyone’s minds anymore.  Or perhaps most people know him solely from the movies, and the fact that I focused on the character in the books was too alien an approach.  If anyone has feedback to give, I would certainly welcome it.  In any case, I invite and encourage you to go back and read it, here, if you missed it.

On to still other topics:  looking back, I realize that, with the exception of my author’s notes, and “My heroes have always been villains,” these blog posts tend to have the character of a sort of weekly report, as though I were summarizing my activities for an employer.  Of course, in a sense, those of you who read this, and especially those who buy my books, are my employers, so that’s not an inappropriate format for the posts to take.  Still, some of you may find them unexciting, and if you have any suggestions, please forward them to me here in the comments, or send them to me via Facebook or Twitter.  I’m always interested in getting your feedback.

There’s not much else to report, meanwhile, given that my productivity was impaired a bit this last fortnight.  Unanimity approaches its climax, and once it’s finished I’ll give it a bit of a rest (about a month or so, as per the practice of my role model, Stephen King), before beginning the arduous but rewarding tasks of rewriting and editing.  I already have one short story to write during that break time, and I may end up writing two, because there’s another one that’s been percolating and festering in my brain for ages.  My head, it turns out, is an excellent environment for such festering; I’m just lucky that way.  After that, I will begin my next novel—probably even as I rewrite and edit Unanimity, if I can make that work—which will be called Neko/Neneko.  More on that later, but it’s going to be much more lighthearted than Unanimity, and probably considerably shorter.  At sometime in the not-too-distant future, I really need to work on the second book in the saga of Mark Red.  I don’t want to leave Mark, and especially Morgan (my favorite of my characters so far) alone for too long.  They deserve better.

With that, I will bid you adieu for another week, and this time it really should be just one week.  I’m also going to try to increase the rate of my posting on Iterations of Zero, so keep your eyes on that; I just need to work out effective scheduling for it.  Be well, all of you, and again, feel free to give me your feedback.

TTFN


*This may sound like an inauspicious title, but it’s not always easy to keep finding intense and gripping chapter names for an entire novel.  It’s a pivotal chapter, however, and at the end of it, some very dramatic events occur, so be of good cheer.

The Chasm and the Collision, Chapter 5: “Peetry” – the audio

All right, everyone, here it is, on schedule, the audio for Chapter 5 of The Chasm and the Collision, “Peetry,” read by the author, yours truly:

 

The usual disclaimers, restrictions, and permissions apply:  Feel free to listen, to download, and to share as often as you wish, by whatever means you wish, but you are not authorized to make any money by doing so.

I’ll convert it to/create a video of the audio and post it on YouTube early next week, but in the meantime, please enjoy it here.  To find earlier chapters, just search in the categories sidebar under “audio,” or you can go to my YouTube channel here.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are blog’d of in your philosophy.

Hello and welcome!

For those of you in the United States, I hope you had an excellent Independence Day yesterday.  Earlier in the week, I wrote a blog post on Iterations of Zero encouraging Americans to remember the meaning behind the holiday; you can read it here if you so desire.

My fiction writing (and my reading/promoting of already existing fiction) goes well.  I’m almost done recording chapter 5 of The Chasm and the Collision.  It’s slightly longer than the previous chapters, so editing it may take more time, but I still expect it to be available for your listening pleasure* by the end of next week, or perhaps by the middle of the following week.  Reading for audio seems to take much less time than editing; this is in contrast to the process of writing a story, where the composition takes far longer than the editing process, even when that editing is thoroughly draconian. Continue reading

They have been at a great feast of languages, and blog’d the scraps

Hello and good day!

It’s Thursday again, and time again for you to endure the ordeal of slogging through my blogging.  I could say that it’s also time for me to slog through the process of writing another blog post, but I rarely think of writing as an ordeal (though sometimes the process of forcing myself to get started can be a minor challenge).

One crucial aspect of writing, of course—if you want to be a good writer, anyway—is that you need to read a lot.  Most of the writers whose work I admire are or have been avid readers.  This makes sense.  One could probably say something analogous about musicians, or about other types of artists:  it’s difficult to know what’s possible, to have a deep grasp of the intricacies of one’s subject, if one doesn’t expose oneself to what other artists have done.  Of course, each person’s bandwidth is limited, as is each person’s interest and exposure, but that’s part of what makes art interesting, and fundamentally stochastic.  Mozart, unfortunately, could never be influenced by the music of the band Yes, but the converse is true, through the accident of historical placement.  I sometimes wonder what Mozart might have done with modern musical instruments and precedents at his disposal, just as I wonder what Shakespeare or Dickens might have written after extensive exposure to the modern world.  We can, unfortunately, only imagine the wonders to be found in “Electric Guitar Concerto No. 4,” or “The Tragedy of Richard Nixon,” or “A Tale of Two Social Media.” Continue reading