Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dry Run update

Very briefly, three things:

1.  I have started on my dry run story, and have a couple of pages written . . . in the darned notebook.

2.  I have come up with a temporary title for it (besides "Dry Run"), and if it seems like it will work, I'll "announce" it in my next update.

3.  Because I can't have nice things,* I decided this week to finally get a laptop computer.  It has been ordered and is, apparently, on the way.  I hope to use it to write this, and many other projects in the future, as well as using it to podcast and edit podcasts.  Yay!

So, there's my short update.  Though it's going to look pathetic, I said I'd do it, so here is the meter as it now stands:


Rish "Sigh" Outfield

*My nephew stepped on and ruined the screen of my craptop (which was a lil tiny netbook I didn't appreciate till it was gone), and then my brother gave me his decade-old laptop, which I used until this week, when I broke it after a Skype call.  I have a bad track record with electronics, but apparently Doctor Bruce Banner has a worse one.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Rish Performs "Technos" by E.C. Tubb on

I finally got another of the "Dumarest of Terra" books produced, and it's available to buy on Audible and Amazon.  This one is the seventh in the series, and wasn't hard to get through.  Well, comparatively.

In "Technos," Earl Dumarest goes to farming planet Loam to seek a wise man who knows of Earth, and eventually ends up on its conquering planet of Technos, where he must flee from the authorities and seek out a woman with a photographic memory who may know the location of his homeworld.

"Technos" brings up several fascinating story elements--a planet where status is based on how everyone does on vocational/standardized tests, an unkillable toxic plant on an agricultural world that is encroaching on every farm (perhaps placed there by an enemy planet), a tribute of the poor citizens in which the wealthy elderly use their bodies for a chance to be young again, a sadistic scientist who develops elaborate mazes in which to test the intellect, physical prowess, and luck of the various prisoners he places in there, and a fear-obsessed, ageing ruler who sees betrayal and assassination at every turn.

Of course, none of this is ever explored in the book, but I think I might get on the old ouija board and ask Tubb if I can take these elements and use them in my own writing over the next few years.

The Link:

Honestly, this was probably the smoothest, least-troubled Dumarest production I've done (although there was one chapter I had to do over because of an ugly static that came from me boosting the input all the way to record panels at a writers conference the day before).  I looked at my stats--feeling masochistic after misunderstanding the plot of 50 SHADES OF GREY--and discovered that the first Dumarest book "The Winds of Gath," is my biggest-selling audiobook, so I guess I'd better get off my duff and start another of these.


P.S. Not really sure what's up with the cover art, but it's still better than what I could come up with.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Dry Run

So, I recently decided that 2015 would be my year for writing a novel.  It still seems to be the plan, though I have little idea how I'm going to pull it off.*  One of the problems is that I lack discipline.  That's a major one.  But a more minor one is that I do my writing--for the most part--in notebooks, written out with pen while I wait for things or during lunch breaks.  There's no way to chart my progress if the writing just stays in a notebook.

So, I thought I would do a test, a dry run for the next story/novella I write, and see if I can't force myself to get on here, chart my progress, and see what writing my novel this summer will be like.   Can I do it?

Wait, don't answer that yet.  I got an idea, a couple of months ago, for a story I'd like to someday write, and I found the paper where I jotted it down the other day.  I've been thinking about that idea, and even though I don't have an ending for the story yet, I thought I would choose it as my next writing project, and try to use my blog to track my success or failure with it.

So, what I'll do is, start the story, guess that it will be, say, 25,000 words long, and stick some kind of meter on here to see how far along I've gotten.  As of right now, the meter is thus:

It doesn't look great, but it does the job, right?

So, two things: 1) I have to come up with a title for the story (I'll let you know when I do), but for now it's gonna be "The Dry Run."  2) I can only count the words if they are computerized up and shareable with a potential audience, so that means I need to type up whatever writing I do in my notebook before it gets added to my tally.  Fair enough?

If you'd like a bit more rambling than these short paragraphs, I talk about it in a short, very boring Podcast That Dares Not Speak Its Name, which you can listen to here.

Rish Soon-To-Be-Novelist Outfield

*Which is made all the worse by the fact that I don't know what it's going to be about.  I made a list last week of the novel-sized ideas I still have kicking around inside my head, and without exception, they all feel like screenplays to me, which, last time I checked were not the same thing as novels.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Rish Performs "Drink To Me Only With Labyrinthian Eyes" on Pseudopod

Pseudopod is a horror fiction podcast that is, amazingly, over four hundred episodes long.  It is hosted by the Lord of hosts, Alisdair Stuart, who elevates even the word "Hello" when he says it, into poetry.  A couple of those episodes have, unfortunately, been tainted by my foul narrations, and this week's is one of them.

The story, if it can be said in a single sentence, is "Drink To Me Only With Labyrinthine Eyes," written by Tom Ligotti, and as the title suggests, this was a bit of a throwback kind of story.  It reminded me of Poe, when in "Tell-tale Heart" he goes on a first person diatribe about the Eye, or in "Cask of Amontillado," where he pontificates about his desire for revenge.  The narrator is a mesmerist/hypnotist/entertainer, delighting the rich attendees of a party in a huge house, and his contempt for the people he has enthralled is only barely contained.

I tried to deliver the dialogue in a classic, melodramatic, mid-Atlantic manner, channeling (perhaps) Vincent Price in another Poe tale this reminded me of, "Masque of the Red Death."  Because of the language and type of story, it was a challenge to make it sound natural, and only you can decide whether I succeeded or not.*

I'm always happy to narrate stories for other shows, but some are more challenging than others.  Here be yon link:

Rish "Labyrinthine Arse" Outfield

*Sorry to get off on a rant here, but I've meant to write about this for years.  There's this Activision video game called "Skylanders" that runs on gaming platforms, but requires kids to purchase action figures to play the game, placing a figure on the stage setup and being that character in the game.  There's a demo of the game at every Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Best Buy, and Barkley's Fun Funeral Home location in the country.  And on the demo, there's a voice-over explaining the game in excited tones to any child that happens by, and the thing that always stays with me, every time I hear it (and I've heard it dozens of dozens of times by now) is when the narrator says, "Only YOU can save Skylands by placing a character on the game portal and defending the land from evil!"
It strikes me somewhere down deep when I hear it.  Only you.  Only you can be a hero.  It's up to you.  You're our only hope (Obi-Wan Kenobi).  The ball is in your court, and if you don't pick it up, no one else will.  It's that Call To Adventure that Joseph Campbell spoke of, and the way it's phrased always makes me want to stand tall and say, "Alright, I'll do it.  I will place a character on the portal and I will save this land.  Because if I don't do it, no one else will."  It speaks to me, even though I once considered myself smart, and have been around the block long enough to know that a) Skylands does not exist, and b) that thousands of other kids will step up to save the world if I don't.
Someday I'd like to sit down with the guy who wrote that, and tell him how I reacted in a Pavlovian way every time I heard that recording.  I hope he knows what the devil I'm talking about.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Rish Outcast 22: Ask Me No Questions (An Unexpected Journey)

Fan and friend of the Dunesteef, Tom Tancredi, recently sent me a list of questions, expecting me to answer each one.  I did so, in my usual, verbose, over-long fashion.

Well, as the hours, days, and weeks passed, it seemed prudent to share them with everyone (i.e., all four of you who listen to the Rish Outcast).  This, technically, should've been an episode of the Podcast That Dares Not Speak Its Name, but because I recorded the intro in the car, my lawyers say I must refer to it as an Outcast.  Thanks, guys.

To download the episode, right click HERE and save to your dee-vice.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Almost There . . . Stay On Target

Wow, I haven't blogged in a long, long time, the calendar claims.  It seems like I was just on here, writing a bunch of words no one would ever read, but it was apparently weeks ago.  Also, my hair has gotten longer than the last time I checked.  Should I see a doctor, do you think?

Anyway, last time I wasted your time with my typing, I had begun work on a sequel to "Birth of a Sidekick."  And then somehow, it was April.  I don't really understand it myself, but February and March were each apparently only two weeks long.  Is this how life is going to be from now on, with the days, months, seasons, and decades getting shorter until the morning where I hit the Snooze button and wake up to find someone new is President, and popular music has miraculously gotten even worse?

Anyway, back to writing.  I have quite enjoyed writing BOAS 2, I write four or five days a week, and  have been limiting myself to using "apparently" only once each paragraph, but I'm still not quite done with it.

But I am close.  This thing has gotten bigger and uglier than I ever guessed it would get.  At around the halfway point, I realized I could probably quit there and call it a story in and of itself, and then the second half of the story could be a third story.  Do any other writers do that kind of thing?*  I think at that particular point, the sequel was already as long as the original story, and when I wrote the second half, it turned out to be twice as long as the first half.

And I'm still not done, apparently.  The big confrontation with the bad guy has yet to happen--I meant to start on it today, but I sat on the toilet and emptied the trash instead--and then the story is going to end so abruptly that any reader who stuck with me that far will rue the very day I was born.  That's the plan, anyway.  And after that, I'll have to a) type up the damned story, b) try to fix all the problems with it, and 3) attempt to give it a more Western flavor, at least as far as description and dialogue go.
My plan is to have the story finished this week.  After that, I've got a story for a contest to write.  I've already got the idea (and I sketched out how it would end on a Post-It note at work the other day, only to find it in the trash can when I came back from lunch, so that apparently bodes well).  As all contest stories are, it's supposed to be wicked short, so that should make my job easier.

The "Birth of a Sidekick" sequel has not been a chore to write (though that doesn't mean it's inspired rather than terrible), but I have been tempted, a time or two, to set it aside and start work on the story for the contest, since that may well be easier.  Or more fun.  But at the writers symposium I went to . . . let's see, it feels like eight to ten days ago, but the calendar claims it has been seven weeks . . . one of the speakers really stressed that you must stick with the project you are currently working on, no matter how distracted you are by shiny new ideas.  He said that a writer works on one project at a time, finishes one project, and then can reward himself (or herself) with that second project as soon as he/she's finished.

Apparently.  So I'm going to take his advice, just this once, and keep to the plan,  After those two projects are done, I will possibly have time for one more story before I take up Big's challenge of writing a novel this summer.  And for that . . . I vow to limit my "apparentlys" to one per chapter, at most!

Rish "Ostensibly" Outfield

*Obviously, the writers of BACK TO THE FUTURE, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, and THE MATRIX 2 & 3 know what I'm talking about.  Except what they did was worse, even though I like 4.5/6th of those movies.