Writing Report November 16, 2017

by Buzz on 16/11/2016

earl-norem-conan-wont-ask-for-directions-capart by Earl Norem

As you’ve seen, I’ve done quite a bit of writing in the last week, but none of it for the barbarian story I’m doing for NaNoWriMo.

It’s been a week, as they say, and there will be more political and cultural commentary from me in the months to come, but I do need to get back on track.

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Item:
The first female barbarian story (the one to which this current effort is the first of three sequels) was rejected by the prestige well paying market. They said nice things about it (more so than the standard thanx-and-try-again) so they’ll remain on the top of the list for more stories in the future as I write them. That first story is now in the hands of the aforementioned perfect match market; presumably I’ll hear from them no later than early February.

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Item:
I became bogged down with the sequel. I had a two page rough outline written and was following that, but as I did more and more unnecessary supporting characters began popping up and working their way into the story. I say unnecessary because none of them were moving the dramatic thread of the story forward (nor were they likely to, with only one exception). I was at the 8,900+ word mark and I realized that not only had my main antagonist not made it onstage yet, but I was going off in a side direction that would take me even further from the core theme of the story.

Now the NaNoWriMo people suggest blitzing out a first draft in one month and going back to fix it later, but my years of experience writing for TV works against that. When you’re writing for the clock you need to realize ASAP when something isn’t working and you need to jettison everything past the point where it goes south and if that means start afresh on page one, so be it.

It’s a lot easier to restart a story and do it correctly than to slog through and try to fix it later.

So despite hitting the 8,900+ word mark in my collegiate notebook, I’m moving the writing over to the computer now. Much of what I’ve written is salvageable in whole or in part, but I am cutting loose tons o’ loose threads and superfluous characters.

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Item:
While the basic two page rough outline covered the broad strokes of the story, I’ve written a somewhat more detailed format outline ala
I.
A.
……1.
………a.
as we learned in grammar school. (You did learn that, didn’t you? If not, WTF are they teaching kids nowadays?) I’m breaking everything into big / BIGGER / BIGGEST arcs and scenes, working my way up to what I’m sure is going to be a thrilling action-packed climax once I actually reach it.

But this big / BIGGER / BIGGEST approach makes it easier to see when I’m starting to drift. This is not a story that can afford to meander; it needs to get in / get out / quit muckin’ about. As such I’ve been jettisoning a lot of the stuff I wrote by hand.

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Item:
Despite ejecting trunk loads of superfluous characters, I am keeping one. I try not to plot or project too tightly when writing, preferring to let the characters and story surprise me as we go along.

The first story in this cycle started as what I thought would be a 2,500 – 3,000 word story and mushroomed to 16,868 by the time I was done. And when I was done, I saw room for not one, not two, but three sequels that would wrap up my character’s story.

So I wrote short paragraphs about what would need to happen in each sequel, seeing a specific ending that would require a certain group of character types.

As I began writing this, the first sequel, I really hadn’t given any thought to what was going to happen, much less who was going to be in sequel #3 (there were four characters whom I knew would have to be in it, but since they were already introduced in the very first story they were hardly new characters).

So when I began writing this first sequel, I was filling it chock-a-block with good wholesome bloody barbarian-on-barbarian fantasy action.

And in a scene not at all uncommon in barbarian fantasy stories, my protagonists and a few others enter a city in the aftermath of a massacre and find bodies piled everywhere.

And for reasons the story will make clear, they began pulling bodies off one particular pile.

And until the last body was pulled off, I had absolutely no idea there was a four year old child still alive under it.

And I realized she was going to be crucial for my heroine to make a change of plans from her goals in sequel #1 to sequel #2, justifying those changes instead of making her look indecisive.

And I realized she was going to be one of the crucial lynchpin characters in the third sequel.

So you don’t want to be too anal-retentive
when you’re plotting these things out.

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text © Buzz Dixon

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Quis Custodiet Ipsos Slickee Boiz?

by Buzz on 13/11/2016

A person is wheeled into an emergency room with a blistering temperature of 103-degrees. They’re barely conscious, their skin is hot and red and dry. The fever is the result of an opportunistic infection to a compromised immune system.

They will die if the fever is not treated.
They will die if the opportunistic infection is not treated.
They will die if the compromised immune system is not treated.

Which do you treat?

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All of them, of course.
Why wouldn’t you?

You douse them with cold water, you drive that temperature down so it doesn’t cook their brains and internal organs —

You clobber the opportunistic infection with medicine to kill it —

You beef up their immune system so they can fight these things off —

Why wouldn’t you do that?

It’s not an either / or proposition.

Welcome to Trump’s America.

We have just elected the single most unfit person ever to the office of president.

We elected him because for the last 40 years none of the people fit for the office have done enough to help the American people.

Yes, I know Congress is equally at fault; we’re talking about the presidency here, the big enchilada, the brass ring, the capo di tutti capo.

Both parties have failed to help the American people while lining their own pockets.

We’re cool with them lining their own pockets, we just want them to do something that benefits the country while lining their pockets.

The one common theme among Trump voters is that the GOP and Democratic mainstream never did enough for them.

They knew what the problems were and they didn’t address them.

They often made things worse, and quite deliberately so. (Looking at you, Reagan Republicans.)

So we now have a country with a highly pissed electorate.

Enough of them were so pissed they voted a gibbon with a ball peen hammer into office on the theory what whatever happens next, it sure as fnck won’t be the same as what happened before.

A lot of the rest of us are horrified by this.

We know what the gibbon is like and we know what the gibbon has said and the gibbon has validated and emboldened a lot of deplorable — yeah, I’m using that word; if the shoe fits, lace that pup up and wear it proudly — people and as a result a lot of innocent folks are going to suffer and more than a few will die.

But the bulk of the people who voted for Trump were not sheet wearing / cross burning bigots. They could afford to vote for a person spewing hate because by and large that hate was not directed at them.

Are they evil for having done so?

It’s tempting to slap a label on, but if we do, then we’re just playing the same game as the deplorables.

The majority of people who voted for Trump are not hate mongers.

They’re not greedy slickee boiz.

They’re not filed with rage.

They’re filled with anxiety.

They were brought up with the promise that if they worked hard they would find a place in America and they would lead good, comfortable, productive lives and they would eventually be able to retire with dignity and live out their lives securely.

The corporations and their shills have pretty much dynamited that idea.

Their wages and salaries stagnated.

A trillion dollars in cash, savings, and real estate was transferred from them to the 1%.

The 1% was protected and shielded by congress from having to pay their fair share of taxes or being held accountable for financial crimes and shenanigans or shipping jobs overseas.

The 1% don’t live here.

They’re not part of America.

They live in their own private universe, and while their physical forms may occupy the physical space of America, they don’t care about the country or its citizens one iota.

If they did they wouldn’t be decimating business by sending manufacturing and tech support jobs overseas, they wouldn’t be stonewalling unions and demanding workers take cuts in pay and benefits, they wouldn’t be turning to automation without regard for the impact it has on the people who live in this country.

They only care about making money.

For them.

And despite their claims to the contrary, the slickee boi 1% Is Not That Smart.

Henry Ford was as far from a bleeding heart liberal as you could hope to find, but Ford was smart enough to know he needed to pay his workers enough for them to be able to buy the products them made.

See, that’s how the engines of industry turn:
Company pays workers to make something, workers buy something from company. The more they get paid, the more they spend; the more they spend, the more the company makes.

The slickee boiz don’t see it that way, which is why we keep having these problems.

The slickee boiz know if they cut costs they can make more profits.

At first they try doing things more efficiently, but at a certain point you’re just running things as efficiently as you can.

You’re making millions — billions! — but it’s Still Not Enough.

So you squeeze the work force.

You cut pay and benefits.

You give jobs to robots or send them overseas.

You make a shipload of money…

…this quarter.

But in the next quarter, you take a hit because your unemployed ex-workers can’t buy what you’re making.

So you lend them money through credit card companies, taking the money you stole from them and lending it out at usurious rates so you can make twice as much off it.

…and you advertise the crap outta your crap, telling people they are worthless and will be tragically unhip if they don’t buy your (now) substandard product (substandard because quality control is one of the many things you jettisoned to make that extra couple of billion).

Is anyone surprised this results in an anxious population, fearful for their own security, their own survival?

Is anyone surprised that this population keeps voting again and again and again for change, growing only more fretful and anxious as change does not arrive for them, but only for the slickee boi 1% who exploit them?

Anyone?

Bueller?

Bueller?

So we are now at a point where normally decent and compassionate people are willing to vote a probable rapist / known bigot / proven con-man into the White House because they just don’t have any hope for the two established parties to do anything to help them.

They will be fncked over seven ways from sundown anyway, so what have they got to lose? Might as well make it an entertaining spectacle, eh?

I am absolutely 100% in favor of applying the cold compress to the fevered brow of hatred and bigotry currently flaring up here in the United States, to cool it down, to stop it before it does irreparable damage. I don’t want women or African-Americans or Latinos or non-Christians or gays & lesbians or transgender or disabled people or anybody to be singled out for hate and violence.

I will stand up against that.

I will call out against it.

I expect you to do so as well.

But I can also see that cooling off the immediate fever doesn’t do us a lot of good if we don’t address the underlying cause.

And the underlying cause is found among a tiny handful of huge corporations that steal from us.

They steal from us because we built this country for all Americans to enjoy, and however imperfect we have been in seeing that to fruition in the past, that was at least the goal.

The slickee boiz want to rob us of our legal and social protections then bill us for the privilege.

I call that theft,
and I say to hell with it.

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 13/11/2016

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls


WotP 14 Bertrand Russell 2

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Wot Hoppen?

by Buzz on 10/11/2016

There is no simple thread, no single cause to explain Trump’s victory. There are many, many factors, some operating alone, some overlapping with others like a Venn diagram.

There’s a great temptation to view all this as one vast interlocking conspiracy but it’s not. It’s more like a core illness that allows other opportunistic infections to settle in. Treat the main illness and the smaller ones will fade away on their own; deny the reality of the main illness and the problems will never go away. Read the rest of this article »

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haiku for cat

by Buzz on 9/11/2016

the cat’s litter box
doesn’t include elections
and still needs cleaning

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text © Buzz Dixon

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H.L. Mencken Prepares Us For The Worst

by Buzz on 8/11/2016

HLMencken on ideas

“Any man who afflicts the human race
with ideas must be prepared to see
them misunderstood.”
— H.L. Mencken

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 6/11/2016

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement hallsWotP 14 Buck Fuller

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Thinkage

by Buzz on 4/11/2016

“These are grim times, in which the God of our fondest dreams is nowhere to be found.

“But down in the darkness below those dreams — in the place where all our notions about God have come to naught — there is still reason to hope, because disillusionment is not so bad.  Disillusionment is the loss of illusion — about ourselves, about the world, about God — and while it is almost always painful, it is not a bad thing to lose the lies we have mistaken for truth.  Disillusioned, we come to understand that God does not conform to our expectations.  We glimpse our own relative size in the universe and see that no human being can say who God should be or how God should act.  We review our requirements of God and recognize them as our own fictions, our own frail shelters against the vast night sky.  Disillusioned, we find out what is not true and are set free to seek what is — if we dare.” — M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

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fictoid: I know we are but what are you

by Buzz on 3/11/2016

nightmare-inducers-150203

The circus parade came to a full stop when Oscar halted his giraffe unicycle to peer in through a second story window.  “Holy cow, wouldja look at this!”

Margot, the nimble tightrope walker, ran up a telephone pole guy line then walked along the phone line to peer in as well.  “Now there is something you don’t see every day!”  She yelled down to the lead clown:  “Ferdinand!  Come up and take a look at this.”

Ferdinand’s head shot up on his accordion neck.  “Well, I’ll be damned.  Last time I saw anything approaching that was in a Barnes & Noble in Bangkok.  Spring of ’87 — no, ’86.”

By now the spectators on the sidewalks were yelling and hollering:  “Stop peeking in windows!  Respect their privacy!”

“Oh, yeah, like you don’t gawk at us,” said Margot.

“Well, it’s your job for us to look at you, to gaze on you superciliously with mockery and contempt for our own amusement,” one of the philosophers in the crowd said.

“And it’s your job for us to look at you with mockery and contempt for our own amusement,” Ferdinand said.  “The only difference is, we know it.”

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text © Buzz Dixon

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Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments Of Writing

by Buzz on 2/11/2016

henry-miller_1965-10-14-by-david-levineHenry Miller by David Levine

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can’t create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.

Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

found here

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