Wednesday, October 2, 2019

To Read or Not to Read: The Balance of Consuming the Works of Other Writers While You're Writing Yourself!

Long time no see, fellow Cosmonauts! Fall is officially upon us, the season that motivates me to do all the things before the year wraps up. I had a terrific time at Salt Lake City's FanX event, and now I'm getting ready to participate in Anime Banzai in a few weeks. Hopefully my foot will be better by then (I had a losing argument with a flight of stairs--long story). I had something in mind to share, but the IWSG post for this month is a great one that's really worth exploring:

*     *     * question - It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

Ah yes, the writer who does not read. Or the writer who reads so much that no writing gets done. I dabbled both ends of this pendulum, and have personally concluded that I'm something of a sponge when it comes to reading. Case in point, my second novel. I read the entire Lord of the Rings while drafting and, in the editing process, I realized I had a problem when my characters introduced themselves by genealogy in a sci-fi novel, especially when no one ever did this in the first novel. Not that this way of introduction is wrong, but it clearly had a Tolkien flare to it.

I found myself with this issue again when I picked up The Chronicles of Narnia. And again with the Mistborn series. I was borrowing the voice of other authors without ever trying. It's all about voice, right? And I wanted my writing to reflect mine. So I did an experiment with my 8th project: read nothing until it is finished. This wasn't always easy because I wanted to read (and did), and at this time I had joined a critique group, so I was reading some WIPs, but I limited myself. I found more originality was had after a brief distancing, and my first published novel came as an eventual result of this experiment. Ever since, I've adopted this balance of Read when I'm NOT writing and Limit my reading WHILE writing. I'm not saying this is the recipe for getting published, but I've found it helpful to keep the voices in my head straight. Even better are audio books while writing, because listening to a book is a different process that, for me, doesn't mesh in my head the same way print does. It kinda makes me want to get serious about producing some audio books myself ... Do you have audio books? was the #1 question I heard at the FanX event.

But that's another topic for another time, my friends! :)

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Update: Inching ever closer to finishing up my second zombie novel, however it's on hold again because I got my edits back on my dragon story. They're awesome, so I'm going to self publish it sometime early 2020! I'm in the process of formatting and landing a cover designer now. I'll share more details as they become available. Back to work!

I appreciate your visit to my corner of the interwebs!

Have you found a balance between reading and writing? What is your opinion on audio books? Recommendations for a cover designer?

I'm David, and what book should I ask for my birthday? ...

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Might Just Be the Best Thing To Happen To Netflix Since Roast Nebrie!

Hey guys! Something special dropped on the internet last week in the form of a teaser trailer, and what a glorious trailer for the awaited ...

That's right, I said glorious. Sure, there are some good trailers, some bad and some great, but with this prequel series of the original 1982 film, Jim Henson Company and Netflix have teamed up for a fantasy spectacle that is deserving of a big screen run (for context, check out the trailer below). When this series was announced a couple years ago, it was pretty exciting. Many view The Dark Crystal as a flawed masterpiece, namely because of the contrast of a very compelling dark fantasy world that begs to be explored and the preschoolish, connect-the-dots telling of the heroes journey (not to mention there are no human characters to be found). But as a kid, watching the movie at an early age (I was born in 1982, so that's telling you something), it was a blast, and one of many classic, heavy-on-the-practical-effects films that inspired me to write in the first place.

Oh, in case you're wondering what a Nebrie is, find out more here.

So what's so special about a trailer for a prequel series? Rather than abandon the old ways and go full-on CGI, the series will be practical effects heavy, and it's been said that there will be very little CGI, and most of it will be used to remove wires and puppeteers. Essentially, they've made a Jim Henson production in a way that could never be done in the 80s. Key words like action-oriented puppetry only add to the excitement and a refreshingly answered call to fantasy fans who are tired of CGI being overused. If anything, the use of CGI will be there as a tool to refine the details, but not serve as the canvas. All the tools needed to fully dive into this world are now available.

Seriously, watch the trailer. You can hardly see where the CGI is!

On top of all this, the cast for this show is stacked! Mark Hamill, Simon Pegg, Anya Taylor-Joy, to name a few. Should this series be successful, it may send a message to the gurus of entertainment that audiences still enjoy practical effects, and maybe we'll see more subtle uses of CGI in future sci-fi and fantasy works, and stoke the fires of other highly anticipated Netflix live action projects like Cowboy Bebop and The Last Airbender. We'll know for sure on August 30th. I hope it is successful, mostly because of all the projects Jim Henson worked on, he said The Dark Crystal was the most rewarding, the film that he most enjoyed making. And it shows. I have no doubt he would be proud to see his legacy endure for another generation to enjoy.

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IWSG Question for June 2019: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

Great question! Although I started out writing science fiction, I would say fantasy is where I lean toward most nowadays. It's true escapism. If I so wished it, I could be swept away to another place and enjoy the growth of others through the trials and struggles unique to their world. It's also a medium where I can work out my demons and recapture the joys of life and youth. It's my therapy, my motivation and my guide in this journey that we call life.

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Update: Having realized how divided my time has been and wanting to be more consistent with my output, I'm focusing solely on Zombie Summer: Part Two while my dragon novel gets professionally edited ... and possibly self published in the near future. It's done, it's good, and I'm ready to move on to new things. I'll keep you posted on that. Also did a little updating/housekeeping on the blog, which it needed. And as always, thank you for visiting my corner of the interwebs!

Have you ever seen The Dark Crystal? What's your favorite Jim Henson creation? What's your favorite genre to write in? Why?

I'm David, and please click on the trailer below ... please ...