Friday, January 29, 2010

The poll is deadlocked

Interesting. About 6 hours left and the poll for whether or not to do a Choose your own adventure blog once a week is even. Only two votes. I was hoping for a better turnout in regards to the idea, so this is sort of disappointing. Well if I don't get anymore votes, I'm not sure what I'll do, probably continue with the idea regardless as it might get more interest that way, or I could just shelve the idea and continue with other things.

What do you guys think? Any suggestions for things you would like to see on the blog. More writing related entries, more reviews, more personal stuff? I'm open for any sort of suggestion.

Have a good week, look forward to seeing the results of the poll tomorrow morning.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life's obstacles

As you might have noticed yesterday, that I didn't do any writing. It's an unusual event when I'm not able to write as my wife gives me an hour a day to do so after work. If I want anymore, I have to squeeze it in after she's in bed, which doesn't happen often as I get up for work at 5:30am, so being up after 11pm isn't good for the soul.

So when something like my car has issues and I didn't get home until nearly 5:30. I lost my hour because of the kids and the requirements of being a father demand. So my writing went kaput.

I was wondering how do you guys deal with obstacles in your life? Do you just forsake what you want to do because that time was taken from you like I did in this case, or do you just rearrange your schedule(if you go with one) to still get in your writing?

If you can't rearrange your schedule, do you not give something the necessary time that it deserves so you can get back to the thing you would rather be doing?

What sort of obstacles have you had to overcome to reach your goal, or find the time to do something that you love doing? I'm pretty good at keeping my schedule with the family, however that kills writing time sometimes. So what do you do when you are faced with this choice? Did I do the right one? Why or why not?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WiP Wednesday

Well today's post is going to be short as life has gotten in the way again.

I left work excited to get to my WiP which I felt motivated after last night working on it, however, car trouble decided to rear its ugly head again and now I don't have time to write. (Schedule's ruined.)

So a quick note, my WiP that I got reinvigorated in is at around 95 pages so far. The main character is twisting around like a lost leaf, while her sister left her. Lots of drama building up with the antagonist gaining strength while the main character flounders around. Loving it!

Hope everyone else's day went well. Hope to get back on schedule tomorrow though :).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review of "Under the Dome" by Stephen King

I recently finished this book before the new year. If you are a fan of Stephen King you will notice that his mastery of multiple POV's and building the tension is at the top of his game in this very large novel.

Some of the things that I found really interesting about this book was the dynamics of the two sides. How he built up the bad guy, not to be some superhuman monster, (a monster in a way), but one that you could understand and rationalize his thinking. Even if you don't agree with it. On the other end, he did a very good job at throwing obstacles at the main character that were each greater than the previous one.

There are even moments where King is able to make you wonder if he is going to survive the ordeal under the dome.

I think what makes this book so interesting was the way that King used the very restricting environment to explore how fragile society really is. If you take away our technology, brought us down to our basic survival instincts and let us try to figure it out. This dynamic is really what he plays with that makes for such a scary situation(reality).

A thing that I found to be a bit disturbing, and not in a good way was the ending and how it was solved. I'm not going to ruin it, but it just sort of came out left field to me. Unlike the rest of the book, which was grounded in a realistic situation, barring the mystical dome, I found it cheapens the ending a little bit.

Overall, I would rate this book up there as one of his better pieces. Not quite "The Stand" level, but I would say in the top ten of the books I have read of his.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I was thinking about my writing and how far I have come since I started writing, a long long time ago.

This got me thinking about some of the influences of my writing. I'm an avid reader of Stephen King, yet don't write horror, nor think I could do a good job of it, but he influenced me in one small way. His mastery of telling a riveting story has influenced me to be someone who strives to tell my stories in such a way.

Another influence is my past life. Not going to go in details as they aren't important, but I learned how to persevere through complicated situations and still come out accomplishing what I set out to do.

I have also been influenced by the challenge of seeking representation. It's disheartening when getting a rejection, but if you keep working at it, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You just need to want it bad enough to work for it.

What sort of things influence you and your goal of being published? What is your goal in life, or writing? Do you have things that seemed insurmountable, but once you attacked them they seemed easier and made you stronger?

Friday, January 22, 2010

A New Idea.

This has been something I've thought about for a while, long before I started this blog. I'm going to post a poll and see what sort of response I get to it because I think it will be interesting, entertaining, and most of fun for me and you guys. I am going to add a poll to this post, please follow me and provide an answer on the poll so that I know if this is worth doing. If you think it is a good idea, please spread the word so that more people get involved. I am thinking of doing a Choose your own adventure story to be posted on a weekly basis, probably on Monday's with a new poll coming up at the end of each post with the options. Then I will post the following Monday with the resulting choice. The majority votes choose the path. The genre I'm thinking is a zombie survival story. 3 reasons for this: 1. Lots of potential for choices at the end of each break. 2. I've always wanted to write a zombie story. 3. It will be a lot of fun for me and I hope enjoyable for you. Also if you don't like the zombie genre, once this one ends, I will put up a poll to see what genre the next one should be. Hope you enjoy this idea as I think this is cool idea.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A writer's doubt.

I was inspired by my friend Elana Johnson's blog entry, which you can find at:,+Author)&utm_content=Google+Reader

She's brings up the worry's that most(all) writers feel at one time or another. We all are a bit worried about stuff like whether or not people will like what we write. This leads to worries of getting an agent, finding a publisher, getting an audience.

I am completely guilty of these same sort of worries, but maybe not the same level as Elana happens to be. Yes, I worry about those things, but I believe that as long as I write what I enjoy everything will work itself out. The only problem with this currently is that I lack a good idea that really has me motived. I'll find one eventually though, just need to keep tasting the different flavors before one catches on. But what do I know, Elana has an agent, I don't. Maybe I should worry more about it.

What do you guys thinks, do you believe as I do, that things will work themselves out and worrying about them are just going to make things worse? Or do you believe that worrying helps motivate you to get better at what you do? Maybe I'm just in denial and worry more than I realize. Anyway, thank you Elana for the wonderful post, I think she wrote it better than I could, but it stuck with me, so I decided to write my own post on it as well.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WiP Wednesday

So a quick update on my current outline tasks. I stopped doing them. It just doesn't work for me. I find it hard to work through the story unless I'm actually writing it. Maybe its just the way that it has to be with me. I like to find out the twists with the character as I write. I learn more about the main character as I go, which helps me get attached to him.

The main flaw of this method is that my rewrites tend to be longer, harder, and deeper than if I would outline. Some of the things that need to be fixed is making things consistent. Maybe the main character's sister at the start of the story has blonde hair, but later on she has brown hair, because I forgot as she was only in a minor scene? Stuff like that pops up.

The good news is that I have started on my next piece. So far, the outline that I did create is off, but it works. The main character reveals his secret in the first 5 pages, and when initially I wanted his friends to abandon him, they embrace it, accept it and don't think anything about it. Honestly, I don't know if this piece will work so far, but thats how I feel for the first fifty pages usually. That's when I get a better understanding of the world and really know the rules. This is also where it gets fun. I'm engrossed in the world, enjoy the characters, feel for them and let them take me on the journey. It's something that I think most writers can enjoy, the characters talk to you. It's a very magical moment.

That's enough for now. I'll keep you updated on this project as it goes along. I still have another piece that is waiting patiently to be looked at and started on the first rewrite. I'll get to it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

PS3 Game Review "Darksiders"

I'm not one to do a review of something that I haven't completed, so after playing this game for the last two weeks, I feel qualified to provide a review.

I thought that graphics were well done, very crisp, easy to see what was going on and didn't notice any lag or screen tearing on the PS3 version. However, on the Xbox 360, I've heard of some, but didn't experience any in the PS3 version. One thing that I liked about the art style they chose, was that the enemies were large, menacing and reminiscent of the old days with games like "Legend of Zelda." Also the detail that they were able to accomplish in the environments helped add to the dire situation that you were roaming around in. Destroyed cars, cracked streets, collapsed building, etc. All add to the post apocalypse sights.

The controls were very tight and responsive for the most part. They were simple and made combat more fun then some games I've played like this. This was mainly accomplished because there were primarily three attack buttons depending on what you wanted to do. Because the controls were easy and responsive, the combos that you can pull off with a few quick button presses were impressive. However, the controls did have a few quirks, such as dash and block being on the same button made blocking more of a chore than it needed to be. I think I only blocked a few times and most of those were to complete a challenge that required it. Other than that, dash was safer and more useful. There are a wide variety of combos, and moves you can earn through the game, (By buying them from a vendor like character.) which was nice to add variety to the combat as well.

The sound of the game was well done. I especially found the voice acting of War (the guy you control) to be well done. I've read where some people thought that the voice acting was good in some spots, not so much in other spots, but I disagree. I found all the characters were well done and it added to the immersion in the world. Even some of the small baddies, have speaking parts which I thought was nice and it was a pleasure to shut them up after they talked trash. The music in the game helped really set the tone of the game. I especially liked the boss fights music, had me pumped up to face the beasts.

This game wasn't the most difficult game I've ever played, as I beat it on the Hard (Apocalyptic) on my first play through with minimal problems, except for one boss who will remain nameless as to not spoil anything. Most of the puzzles you encounter in the game aren't that hard to figure out. Basically if you have played and beaten a few Zelda games, then these puzzles won't stump you for long.

The most important thing to me is this, so if I finished the game, its usually a good sign that the story was strong throughout. I'm not going to spoil it, but I felt the reasons you are doing everything were well done and based on War's character very believable. If you want a summary of the story without any spoilers, it goes: War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse is on a mission to find out who brought about the end of the world and laid the blame on him.

I would give this game an easy 9/10 with the only real knock being that it was bit too short, and later in the game it becomes a bit repetitive as you are searching for something that makes you run all over the world. It wasn't that bad as the world and controls were awesome, but it was a little unnecessary as it added length that would have been better used in a stand alone dungeon than what they did.

If I wasn't so broke, I would have bought the game as it is definitely worth the $60. I actually think you can find it online at some places for $40 now, but it's worth it so if you get a chance you should check it out.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Muse

Today I was reading through my blogs and something struck me as interesting. It was brought on by the blog of Suzette Saxton and Bethany Wiggins.

It got me thinking about what strikes me as a writable idea? Where do I get my muse to write a new story? What makes me decide what is a good format for the story? (e.g. Screenplay, Short Story, or novel.) So I decided that this would be a good place to write how I come up with my ideas.

It got me thinking about it and my answers to the above questions are:
A writable idea is something that I think would be fun to read, something that I can really get into writing and enjoying the story.

I get my muse from my family and friends honestly. Poker is a big part of my life as you saw from the last two posts, so a recent story that is bouncing around in my head starts off in home poker game. Granted it goes sort of fantasy after that, and might not ever get completed, but that's not the point. I draw from things in my life which lead to ideas, and it has a sort of snowball effect.

The format of the story is something that I still struggle with. Currently most of my ideas are novels. Currently 5 WiP, 2 in first draft format. One 90 pages in, another 30 pages in, and 2 others that are in outline format only. (That's actually 6, but I thought of the sequel to my current novel as sort of in limbo until the first one gets picked.) Before these pieces I wrote many short stores, granted my short stories have a difficult time being under 8,000 words, which makes them hard to place in magazines. Then before that, I have written 3 screenplays, tried to sell two of them with no luck, but I still enjoy the format, most recently entering a short script contest, which I didn't place in, but it was fun to write in the format again.

I think that I struggle with this last question most, which might be a bad thing as how can you finish a project if it's in the wrong format. I can answer that question with my current novel that I'm querying, it first started out as a 4-part series of novella's. (Still have them somewhere.) Then I turned the first part into a screenplay, and it was good times, got good reviews, yet something just didn't sit right with it. The way that the telekinesis of the main character wasn't coming across well in that format. So I decided to try my hand at a novel and the hardest thing about it was switching from present tense to past tense.

So after all this rambling, hope you don't mind, but I thought it was interesting to think about the process writing in relation to myself.

Do you find yourself going through the same thoughts, or am I just crazy and making things harder for myself?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Poker Finale Part 2

(Looks like everyone is riveted waiting for my picks.)

Now on with the main reason that you have stuck with me for another day, my predictions of the outcome of the Final Twelve. If not you can leave now, I won’t hold it against you.

Now that that is situated, and you all get a chance to see what your opponents look like. Time for my predictions on how it will all unfold.

First out for the night is going to be: Will Pettis. The reasoning behind this is because his luck has been strong lately, and it tends to come in waves, unfortunately, his latest wave is going back out to sea, just like his chips.

The next out will be: Dave Evans. His style of play will get him in a lot of hands, unfortunately this time his river outs won’t hit. He will last until the 3rd round though. (History will not repeat itself, as I will last a bit longer this year, hopefully)

Next is: And first out of Table 2 will be Jack Barr. his tight conservative style will keep him in longer than others, because he will be reluctant to play up to the speed of the final game, and he will bleed chips when people raise him a lot with sub par hands and he will fold the better hand.

Next up is: Matt Giffen. It will be a big hand, he has the hand on the flop but someone is going to suck out on him and since Dave isn’t in the hand it will be someone else for a change.

Final 8 Table (If Kevin goes this way. He could wait to make it the final 7.)

Next is: Jem Lechner, who gets knocked out soon after the tables merge as he was short stacked and just had to go all in with the first good hand he had. Unfortunately his King doesn’t hit.

A few hands later, Gordon Austin will be knocked out by Natilee, who trapped him with a full house on the flop while Gordon hit the flush on the river.

Soon afterwards, Rob Foglesong will be knocked out as he mis-reads Kevin for a big hand and gets knocked out by Kevin’s two pair. He will not be getting his missing trophy as he has placed 2nd and 3rd in the previous years. Sorry Rob, as you would say, “that’s how I roll.”

This leaves us with Natilee, John, Joe, Dan, and Kevin for the final five. With the chip leader being Kevin.

The play will go back and forth for a while with people moving chips around the table with Dan Koppe playing the right hands, just ending up with the second best hand a few too many times. The final nail in his coffin is Natilee taking him out with a four on the river to hit the only pair on the board after Dan goes all in with Ace Queen. His luck seems to have run out after winning the double point’s game. (I know how it feels Dan. It’s a curse.) He will still be the player of the year in all our hearts, except for maybe Kevin.

Next out is Joe Teiteltaum. His play will bring him a lot of chips to begin with, but soon he will start to siphon them all away to the likes of Natilee and Kevin.

Leaving the final three to be Kevin, John, and Natilee with Kevin still playing the big stack against them. He tries it one too many times as he tries to take out Natilee and John in consecutive hands but they both double up through him with top pair and him missing his straights.

This evens the table out a bit more until Natilee hits her higher flush with a four card flush after John Sankovich made a Queen high flush on the flop.

With John still stunned by the hand, Natilee makes short work of Kevin Lichtenberg with trips against Kevin’s two pair to finish off the tourney in first place. The first woman to do so in the game and her second win of the year.

So those are my predictions and how I think things will shake out. Natilee is due a win, while John manages to get his first top-three placement in the final game ever. Kevin is content with a second place finish as he managed to place in the game after not doing so the previous year.

So a summary of the final game is in this order, from first out to first place
12:Will Pettis
11:Dave Evans
10: Jack Barr
9: Matt Giffen
8: Jem Lechner
7: Gordon Austin
6: Rob Foglesong
5: Dan Koppe
4: Joe Teiteltaum
3: John Sankovich
2: Kevin Lichtenberg
1: Natilee Harrison

Oh yeah, here's a picture of our CHAMPION: (And, see Dan, you still get to enjoy the prize.)

P.S. If I offended anyone with my predictions or comments please forgive me and know that this was done for purely entertainment value. Look forward to seeing how it all comes out this Saturday at 8pm.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Poker Finale Part 1

It’s that time of year again, the time when all the best of Deuce’s Poker face off for the final game. The prize? 3 paid trips to Chinook Winds Casino for a tournament there. Lots of fun to be had this season, lots of Bad Beats, which many will lament for months, as well as some glorious hands, some off of other’s bad beats. Don’t worry, it will all start over again, come two weeks from tomorrow. That is when Season Four begins, so all you unlucky souls that weren’t good enough this year can tempt fate again, and come up short once again, but at least you can say you tried, and cried.

Fist order of business is the players in order of Table position:

Table 1: (The one with the player of the year and a bunch of other people that aren't the player of the year.)
1st – Dan Koppe

3rd – Dave Evans

5th – Will Pettis - (See Below)
7th - Matt Giffen - (No picture available)
9th - Gordon Austin - (No Picture available)
11th - Jem Lechner - (He is on the right and Will is the one on the left.)

Table 2: (The one with the regular cast and crew of Deuce’s Poker, most since it started back in 2006)
2nd - Kevin Lichtenberg

4th - John Sankovich

6th - Jack Barr

8th - Natilee Harrison

10th - Rob Foglesong

12th - Joe Teitelbaum

That's it for now, the actual predictions (Which I'm still debating about) will be laid out tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WiP Wednesday

So just a quick update today with regards to my three current works in progress (one Being in second draft stage). The snowflake method I mentioned has been a little shaky for my first time doing it. So far I have reached Step 4 and started Step 5 for some of the characters. However, I'm not itching to start writing the books. The odd thing, and I think this is the main thing holding me back is the difference in the two stories. One is very grown up and tending toward a more adult audience, while the other one is geared toward the younger teen crowd. Currently jumping back and forth between the two is fun, but ultimately unproductive.

Now I have to ask you my fellow writers, and readers of this blog, how do you decide which project to work on if you are debating between two? Do you do, like I've been contemplating, flip a coin, or actually take on both projects at once. Or should I work on editing my first draft of my other WiP and let the other two stew for a bit more?

I want to hear from you, how do you decide these troubling questions?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Review

I'm going to try to have a Review Tuesday every week. Either reviewing a book, movie, or video game, maybe even a TV show or two. Today I decided to review a movie my family and I have recently watched, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."

This movie sort of flew by my radar without much of a glance when it was in theaters, for the fact that it was just another animated film, and my kids didn't show much interest in it since they are at the age where talking animals are more their forte, not people.

Anyway, we picked this up this past week and watched it while eating dinner one night. I don't know what to say, but I was pleasantly surprised by the touching story. It boils down to an outcast, which I think a lot of people can relate to, trying to get recognized for one of his inventions. However, this one had a bit of a glitch in that his inventions would work, just not quite as expected, take for example the hair growth spray that made his father into a sasquatch for a bit, and I don't want to ruin the other's but some are quite amusing.

Another thing that I really liked was the subplots with the father minding his own business and help keep his eccentric son in line with what he considers normal. The ambitious news reporter that was really a closet geek, or the the town mayor who manages to get fat due to the hero's newest invention. These plots all fed into the main story very well which added a depth that I wasn't expecting based on the previews.

The animation on the other hand wasn't as good as say, "Avatar," or even Pixar's "Up," but it had a very charming quality to it. Especially the facial expressions of the characters. Small things like the sneer of the villain, or the rising eyebrows of the father were well captured.

I'm not going to spoil everything, but the ending had some surprising elements that I think will make you laugh out loud as well as cheer for. Overall, I think that this would be a good flick despite its message that eating too much food is good, which was criticized in the media when it came out. I think that most kids between the ages of 4-11 would be a good audience for this, but it also maintains a good flow which kept my wife and I entertained.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Building Drama

I was watching football this weekend interspersed with other things that I had to do, such as cleaning, cooking and playing poker. (Only a 10th place finish.)

However, these games were pretty boring until the final game on Sunday. The reason being is that there wasn't any drama after the first scores of the game. The games were blow outs for the most part and that makes for some boring television and storytelling. The last game, however, was the lone exception.

As anyone who reads stories, watches movies or television shows, the key to what keeps you interested is the drama: the conflict, tension, and feelings that are evoked within you. Take for example the Packers/Cardinals game Sunday night. I'm going to break it down into a 3-act structure because I want to and I think it shows this lesson nicely.

For the example purpose, the Packers are going to be the hero, and the Cardinals are going to be the Villain.

Act 1 starts, I'm all excited because this should be a good game, two high powered offenses with decent defenses. (Packers were actually a better defense than the Cardinals in the regular season.)

Act 1:

So the game starts, the ball is kicked off to the Packers, good start for the hero, he has the opportunity to create some action. Drive the plot forward so to speak.
However, the first obstacle to their goal happened on the first play. The interception. Now this can be related to the first plot point of the story, also referred to as the inciting incident, where the hero's world is turned upside down.

The Cardinal's score, building the drama even further, because now the hero has to catch up, which builds the emotion of the reader because they can relate to the situation and feel bad for the hero. Now the hero gets another chance to make a move. They start a drive, and fumble soon afterwards. This further puts pressure on the hero to perform because now they are down two scores. This once again ups the tension, but the reader will get frustrated if the villain gets too far ahead, almost give up on the hero, so now you have to show some glimpses of the hero coming back. Plot Point 1.

Act 2:

The moment where the hero makes a resolve to solve his problems. The packers hold the Cardinal's to a field goal, so it shows something is about to change. Now the hero starts to execute his plan. He scores a couple of times to bring the game back within striking distance. The villain is still in control of the situation, but things are starting to work for the hero. He's starting to gain some ground. He just needs that little bit extra surge.

The middle point of the story is when the story takes another twist the to make it harder for the hero, this case is that Cardinal's get the ball back after half and promptly score. This makes things look bleak, the hero is disheartened, yet over time we have started to believe in him, but right now it looks hopeless. However, now the hero has to make the final push, save the day, girl, world, etc. He makes a little leeway with a score then goes for the final grab, take the bull by the horns so to speak. The Packers kick an onside kick and recover it. A surprise, something that catches everyone off guard, including the reader.

Act 3:

They use this to hook the reader into the final Act. Now the hero is on a blazing trail and nothing is going to stop them. They are a runaway train and no matter what the villain attempts to do, it just doesn't stop the hero.

This is where the reader starts to really think the hero can do it, he's chased the villain into the abandoned warehouse and killed all of his goons, but the villain doesn't give up. No he still has one trick under his sleeve and is desperate. This is where the game would have ended as the Cardinal's scored on a defensive touchdown to the end the game in overtime. In most stories though, the hero thwarts the villain's last ditch effort and saves the day. Everyone cheers, celebrates, you the reader smile and feel satisfied with the ending.

The End: (of the example, not my post :P)

Hope you enjoyed this because unlike real life, you, the writer, have control over the outcome and you usually make your hero win if you want to and readers expect that most of the time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Big Game Saturday Night

Look at all those potential's. When it all comes down to it, it will be down to 12.

For those that are currently reading this blog, mainly my writer friends, I am an avid poker player. Love the game, probably third thing on my list of things I value. I think it would go, Family and Friends, Writing, Poker, then somewhere after that work, video games and movies.

Anyway, this Saturday is the final points game of the year. Every year we have a leaderboard and the top 12 in points face off for a grand prize of a buy in at a poker tournament at a casino in Oregon. This year I started off slow and managed to climb myself back up to 5th place, while some of the more interesting battles are between the final spot and the one person trying to take it as well as Kevin, the host of the poker game trying to take the player of the year award from another friend of mine Dan. It should be a great night with lots of fun, sadness, maybe even tears.

For those of you around the Oregon area you can check out the poker website at There you can find out the information about the games, the people that partake with pictures and such as well the current leaderboard and when future games will be held.

Oh a small side note is that for the past three years, I have won this game and gotten knocked out very early in the final game, so here's hoping that I don't follow that in the new year. Good luck all and look forward to taking your chips, and pride tomorrow night.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Suzette Saxton and Bethany Wiggins

I'm a new blogger, but have been following many blogs(15 to be exact), not as many as some, but I feel I have a fair share of them.

One of them happens to be A wicked cool blog by a friend, or at least I think we're friends. Isn't that what Facebook friends are?

She is having a great contest where you can win 2, no 4 First 5 page critiques, 2 query critiques, and a signed copy of "The Dark Devine." Part of the requirements is that I post about the contest so here it is. I'm subtle ain't I?

But honestly, Suzette, who also awarded me a contest prize on the Querytracker blog is a wonderful woman who, because of the contest, I got to know a lot better. You should check it out and enter if you would like to. It ends tomorrow I think, one week from Monday so I'm thinking either Friday or Sunday as the winners are announced on the 11th.

Well, there you go, check it out and since my day has been pretty bad so far, I'm looking for a little bit of good news come Monday. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


So I've taken a few weeks off of anything writing related, well the creation of words that is. Just this week, I started to get back into swing of things and I've found it difficult going. Mainly because I thought I would have the excitement to edit my most recent work in progress, but that hasn't happened yet. So I tried my hand at something that I've never attempted before, outlining a new novel. This started off well enough, but realized that outlines don't work for me.

Frustrated, I turned to asking the question, "Who uses outlines and what are some of the ways you do so?" (Or something of that sort. I don't remember the exact wording now, but you get the point.)

So a poster on their mentioned Randy Ingermanson's "Snowflake Method." (You can find the information on it here: I've heard of it before back in the college days, so I decided to give it a shot. See if it could help give my muse a kick in the butt.

Well what do you think happened? It helped a little bit, in that I have now done Steps 1 and 2 for three different novels that I'm bouncing around in my head. This might seem like a problem, but for me it's a revelation. Two of these ideas I've had started a bit of already, one was the above mentioned outline, but another one, the one that seems most fun currently came up by messing around with this method. I'll see how it progresses, I might even try to use this on my Work in Progress in a sort of backwards method.

So how many of you have heard about this method before now? Probably many have heard of it, but few have actually tried it. Maybe I'm wrong... So I thought I would announce that I think I might have my mojo coming back. Still only writing 30 minutes a day right now about half way to where I was before my break, but I'll get there soon enough, I'm sure of it.

So what methods do you use when starting a new project? Any tips or experience with this method I mentioned? Am I being dumb for dabbling with so many projects at once?

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

James Cameron's "Avatar" Review

I wanted to start off this post with a small thing that I have to say about this movie. I really enjoyed it, but it wasn't original. See below for my full review. It does contain a bit of spoilers as the outcome and stuff, but nothing too bad.

The tickets for this movie was a gift from some friends so when my wife and I went to see it, she more excited to see it than me, it was free which is always good. The movie started off very typical of James Cameron stuff, about thirty minutes of it explaining the world, the tech in the world and a little bit of the character development. Slowly we start to get an understanding of this character, his motives are clear from the beginning as he says that he "wants his legs back." So the first person to offer him this got his support. It happened so fast that I knew it would change before the end of the movie. I think it was probably the Plot Point of Act 1. For the entire second act it was a very standard Native American Story. I saw somewhere the plot was summed up by the Disney movie "Pocahontas," which it is very close to it. Except for the scifi elements it would be that exactly. I don't think this is a bad thing as it allows the story to falls to the side as its predictable, but allows us to really focus on the characters and how they are developing, which is what I found most interesting. Basically, by the end of Act 2, it was going strong and I felt that the final act was going to kick some butt. It didn't disappoint at all and varies here from the ending you were expecting as the Natives actually win the war as opposed to other movies where the invading people usually do, but being that we are sympathizing with them throughout the movie was to be expected.

Overall I found the story to be a bit predictable, which did detract from the movie a bit. The characters were well thought out and I felt very developed so much that I cared for them all.

The special effects, even not in 3-D like I was told to see it in, but didn't have the extra cash, were extraordinary and they are what drew me into the world that Cameron created.

I would give this movie a solid 9 out of 10 the only thing knocking it down was the predictable plot line. Because I'm a writer, this is worthy of a one point knock off as I feel that plots should be more of a surprise even if it has been done numerous times.

So that's what I thought of the current Mega-Blockbuster making the rounds. If you have any comments or want to discuss this please feel free to in the comment section. I always enjoy a vibrant film argument.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year and a New Blog

So as you might have guessed, one of my New Year's resolutions happened to be trying to establish a better web presence. I started with my website,, and that is a special thanks to my friend Kevin who did all the work on it. Since this is pretty much just an introduction to me and what I plan to do for this blog, I'll say this.

I plan to use this as a place to allow people that don't know me that well to get to know me better. This will reveal itself through many avenues. I'm not one to rely solely on my writing as that isn't my only interest. It's a big one, but not the only one. I plan to also write about my poker exploits, my family things, my video game conquests and reviews, movies I've seen and reviewed, and of course my pursuit of my writing goals.

So to start this off, I'm going to leave it open for comments, and questions. What kind of stuff are you looking to know about me? Ask me anything and I'll be honest about it. I'm not going to shy away from anything. Anyways, this is probably enough of my jabbering, now time to advertise this blog on various avenues that I have access to.