Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I am large; I contain multitudes

Credit where credit's due - a geek blog I follow called Lifehacker reminded me that today is Walt Whitman's 192nd birthday. Please sound a barbaric YAWP in his honor.

An excerpt from Song of Myself:

It is time to explain myself—let us stand up.
What is known I strip away,
I launch all men and women forward with me into the Unknown.

The clock indicates the moment—but what does eternity indicate?

We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers,
There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them.

Births have brought us richness and variety,
And other births will bring us richness and variety.

I do not call one greater and one smaller,
That which fills its period and place is equal to any.

Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you, my brother, my
sister?
I am sorry for you, they are not murderous or jealous upon me,
All has been gentle with me, I keep no account with lamentation,
(What have I to do with lamentation?)

I am an acme of things accomplish'd, and I an encloser of things
to be.

My feet strike an apex of the apices of the stairs,
On every step bunches of ages, and larger bunches between the
steps,
All below duly travel'd, and still I mount and mount.

Rise after rise bow the phantoms behind me,
Afar down I see the huge first Nothing, I know I was even there,
I waited unseen and always, and slept through the lethargic mist,
And took my time, and took no hurt from the fetid carbon.

Long I was hugg'd close—long and long.

Immense have been the preparations for me,
Faithful and friendly the arms that have help'd me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Shooter Vanished

and the direction of the story vanished from my brain for quite a while as well. Recall that just recently I was discussing turning it into a screenplay as a way of trying to avoid some of the stuff I was having difficulty with. But trying to write in a form I have no experience with isn't the answer.

Turns out the answer was simply sitting down and figuring out the damn timeline. This is a story that is very dependent on a precise timeline in which events unfold in a particular order. So I figured out the timeline. I made myself a little worksheet and plotted it all out. I even printed some blank calendars and handwrote the key events on the blank calendars to have a way of visualizing things better.

Once I did that, the story really started to click for me again. That, and I realized the yWriter software I thought had been helping me had actually just been throwing unnecessary complicated fiddliness into the mixture, which gave me another excuse to procrastinate. So I took the story out of yWriter and started writing it in Word again, and that also helped. Once I was able to look at what I had written as a whole, I was able to cut and paste, reorder, rearrange, rewrite, and start to really put the puzzle pieces together. I did a ton of that today, and I feel really good about it.

Three Bikes and a Broomstick (which is what I was previously working on) hit a wall for me when I realized that my three main protagonists were all completely flat and featureless. The story is fun, but I need to flesh out my characters before I continue it.

So, current status:

Jeff Thurman in Universe 12: Stalled, until I figure out how the hell it ends.
Three Bikes and a Broomstick: Stalled, until I flesh out the main characters.
"Ark Ship" (my hard sci-fi short story): Stalled, just generally, until I do some major tweaking.
The Shooter Vanished: Progressing nicely now - hopefully for some time to come.

Of course, knowing me, I'll hit a wall on Shooter Vanished next week. If that happens, I'll turn my attention to cracking one of the other things I have stalled. That's kind of how I'm going to operate, it turns out - have several projects going at once, and work on one of them until I hit a wall, and then move on to another, lather, rinse, repeat, ???, profit.

Anyway. Onward and upward.