Say G’bye Twenties… “Good Bye Twenties!”

Greetings and salutations ladies and gentlemen,

I apologize for the delay in getting a new post up but this week has been pretty hectic.  I’m not one for excuses, but in saying there here’s my excuses:happy_birthday_by_alexiuss-d46w91y

I was out of action for two days with the most violent stomach bug I’ve ever contracted, strangely enough it only lasted for two days but it was enough to floor me.  This week has three zero word days and I’m not pleased about that.

Aside from the bug yesterday I made a conscious decision that I would spend my normal countless hours on the keyboard trying to make up my lost word count; since it was the first day of my thirties.

That’s right as of Saturday, October 17th, I am 30 years old.

I understand some of you may be older than that but I just don’t want to deal with that right now.  I keep thinking back to when I was a kid and was always convinced that I would Chris Farley myself and be around much later than my thirties so I’ve had many years of building fear of this decade.

Of course, I’m not going to sit back and just let that happen.  After going to my sister’s house tonight to see my parents, I begin considering my health as important as my writing from here on out.

I was let loose on this world thirty years ago yesterday, and well I plan to start a writing career that should flow through the next thirty years.  There’s a lot of work to do and it’s time to get down and do it… tomorrow.  Tonight is for nachos & cake.

Almost every year of this blog I’ve made some kind of post on my birthday itself telling everyone how “things are going to be different” and “I’m putting my foot down, Change Now!”  – And recently every year I’ve been actually drawing attention to that trend.

The end of 2015 and the birth of my thirties I think will remembered as when I finally got my shit together.  Truth be told, the last few months leading up to this I’ve felt like I’ve got a lot together, but we’re talking about birthday milestones here.

As for where my writing progress stands at the moment, I’m pretty optimistic in spite of this week having a few set backs.

I presently stand a hair over 62,000 words on the first draft of Dean’s Novel.  The end is in sight and I am pretty sure I have the beats in my head for how the rest of this story goes, so it’s getting pretty exciting to write.

The other night an aspect of this story dawned on me that damned near broke the whole thing and is going to make the revision process so much of a pain the ass both for Dean’s Novel and Seth’s.

Speaking of Seth’s I’m still holing out hope that I’ll be able to finish this draft of Dean’s novel in time to make a couple of fresh eyed editing passes of Seth’s.  That needs to be submitted for Percy Janes in the middle of November which means I need it done before since I’ll be hot and heavy into NaNoWriMo by then.

If the schedule stays true I still have seven days to finish this draft of Deans story, that will give me a full week to dedicate to polishing Seth as much as I can before submitting him.  I’m excited for that contest, the novel will get critical feedback win or lose.  With no entry fee how could I not enter?

The other news on my ditch digging is that I have almost completely decided on my idea for NaNoWriMo and I’m going to be writing in a different format, yet again.  Seth’s novel was a straight first person linear story, Dean’s is a three POV non-linear tale, and I suspect my Kruger story is going to actually be written as a multi-installment serial.

By the end I hope to be able to bring them all together and make a 80-100K word novel, but I will be doing so in a format of writing them at 7-10 installments.  Meaning there will be a soft beginning middle and end in an episodic fashion, while still trying to make it feel like one cohesive story when combined.

Ambitious for unpublished aspiring writer but hey, that’s kind of what NaNoWriMo is all about isn’t it?  Experimentation and testing your limits?  Will it be gold or non-publishable shit?  We’ll find out in December I guess.

Anyway, that’s basically it for now.

By the time I come here to write my post about turning thirty-one I intend to finally break the cycle of “this will be my year” kind of posts and finally be able to give you all my first celebratory, “I finally did it” posts.

October 17th, 2016 – I plan to announce being in the best shape of my life, and at least able to announce that I have a couple of books up for sale.  I’m not greedy I don’t want to be making Terry Mixon money quite yet, but I want to at least have a professional looking product that is respected by the few people who do pick it up.

Wish me luck folks,
Cheers.
~Devin

Mail at: devinleenl@gmail.com

The Mysticism Of Writing – Misconceptions

The idea of being a full time writer has been bouncing around in my head for a long time, long before I realized what it the bouncing actually was.  From my early days of fantasy wrestling to my current endeavor of 3,000+ word days to built a body of work, it’s clear that this was the path I should have took years ago.

NoTearsPlease is still something I would like to get involved with and get developed but that is more of a passion project that I will try to get to at some point because it’s something I will enjoy.  It’s not something I’ll even really be able to monetize so it has to go on the back burner for now, especially with the looming period of unemployment rapidly approaching.

Writers-in-Real-LifeThis week I’ve made tremendous progress on my most recent novel.  I still don’t have a name for it; something I need to deal with at some point.  I’m on track to have three full length and edited novels completed before the end of the year.  If I can make a fourth available in January then I’m certain I will be able to make my announcement in February.

This project has just come up shy of the 34,000 word mark, meaning I’m a little less than half way there.  Based on my word tracking app, I’ve got 20 more days before I hit the 95K goal, and to be honest there’s no guarantee it’ll be that long.  It may end up being much shorter.

Anyway, as far as writing goes I’m making steady progress and it’s feeling awesome.  My shifts at work keep feeling longer and longer because I miss being at the keyboard getting my narrative out.

Now with that said, I want to rant about something that a friend posted on her Facebook.  Here is the image/blurb.

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My response to this on Facebook was a conflicted one.  I’m not really sure how I feel about it.  The fact this person is calling all writers liars because they do not share in the opinion is a little insulting, but their justifications do not come from an objective area.

When I read this I see a conflict between the general perception of writers in the eyes of the non-writing society, and a misunderstanding in the advice and opinions giving by professional authors when they talk about their craft.

Let’s break this down, first and foremost that opening line is a little ridiculous to me because I do not know a single writer who actually publishes work that would say this work is easy.  Yes, it’s something we love doing and there are certainly times when the words flow so smoothly that you swear you are just an extension of the keyboard; that doesn’t mean the whole process is an easy one.  For every day spend sitting back and being a passenger in my own story there are at least two or three sessions where I despise every word I put on the screen.

Writing is an endearing vocation but nothing about it is easy, nor have I encountered any credible professional who will disagree with that.

I agree that from the outside looking in people get this idea of writers as these uppity, zen like beings who dive into these fantastical worlds navigating treacherous perils and bring back the story to share with the world.  We are pilgrims in the land of imagination.  That may very well be the type of feeling we hope to invoke in the reader who is taking the time to read our products but I have my doubts that this is the way the average author will look at his work.

Attacking the “morning ritual” and “dressing as a writer” tells me the original writer of this passage is not a full time author or a dedicated writer.  The idea of the morning ritual is not some mystic feng shui.  It’s about finding that balance of variables that provoke the most creativity.  It’s not superstition, it’s psychology.

I discovered that in the night time if I wrote in my basement with two lamps to give a cozy lighting and a comfortable space, I basically doubled the amount of output that was fostered by sitting on my bed writing for the same amount of time.  There are conditions that work better with some than others.  For me it involves music being played and my table in the basement or my booth at the local Tim Horton’s.  I’ve tweaked with this a lot, and I won’t go so far as to say that I can’t write elsewhere, but through trial and error I found my comfort level was greater in these two locations and when I can sit down and write in those conditions I get more productivity.

It isn’t that the otherworldly energy is channeling through me and giving me the story while in these ritualistic areas, they are just places that comfortable places to write.

The “dressing like a writer” is advice that stems from the common workplace advice of “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”  Being a full time writer, especially a self-published writer is all about your interaction with your readership.  If I find myself in a conversation with a random person and tell them I’m a writer, they could very well be a potential customer.  They may love the genre I write in and be interested in checking it out, then tell their friends if they like it.

If I have food stains going down my shirt and reek of body odor then what is the chances that conversation will last long enough to ever get to the point, let alone will they be interested in looking at my work.  You are your own brand when you’re a writer and if you dress like a slob and unprofessional than that’s how your audience are going to react to you.

*Looks at the chili stain on his hoodie*… I think I need some new clothes….

Anyway!

Authors don’t “pretend their stories were shiny and perfect waiting to be written.”  This again is a mash up up two different schools of thought.  The idea that writers have it easy, which I already addressed.

Any honest writer, which is most of the talented ones, will tell you that every story undergoes numerous drafts before even seeing an editor sometimes.  In fact a big reason self published authors get such a bad rep is because of amateurish writers who are posting first drafts in amazon and touting it as great pieces of work.  No, stories aren’t shiny and perfect out the gate.

The second school of thought is also mentioned in the next sentence. The idea of a story being like brushing dust away from a fossil, discovering the whole body.

This comes from a Stephen King’s “On Writing” – which whether you’re a fan of him or not is a great read.  Especially if you’re a discovery writer like myself.

First I want to ask, “Has this person ever looked at the process of excavating a full sized fossilized creature?  King wasn’t referring to brushing a bit of dust from an arrowhead that can fit in your palm.  I’m sure he was more referring to unearthing a T-Rex.  You need to brush a little, dig a little, brush a little, dig a little, with pin point accuracy for fear of hurting the fragile skeleton.

Discovering a fossil and actually digging it up is a very delicate endeavor.  If you want to compare your righting to having at ice with a screwdriver that’s within your right.  To me that analogy makes writing sound a lot more clumsy than precise.  Especially when you are discovery writing you have to consider your overall story, individual character arcs, their personalities, plot twists, how even the most trivial action taken by the characters can affect the entire world you’re exploring… yeah, that doesn’t sound like hacking away, I wish it was as simple as just hacking away with tenacity.

The dust on the fossil analogy tries to paint it as easy, I see it as painstaking accurate and a lot more stressful.

Also, I mentioned Discovery Writing – that’s what the fossil analogy explains.  If you’re an Outliner than you tend to map out the whole body of the creature first before a spec of dust gets moved, and taking an accurate excavator to raise the whole thing, making sure it all stays together while it’s being lifted.   Just as challenging, just in different ways.

If writing is more hard and boring for you than anything else, you’re doing it wrong.  Yes I know I said there were plenty of days when you hate the words you write, but the point is if you’re a writer than even on those days you still love what you do.  It’s never boring to you.  – sure it wouldn’t make for good television is someone wanted to watch the story of your life, but who cares about that.  As writers we weave the tales, we’re not the stars of them.

Unless you Mary Sue it, but that’s a whole other discussion we would need to have.

Anyway, that’s it from me.

Cheers,
~Devin

Twitter:@ShallopNewf
Drop me a line here or at DevinleeNL@gmail.com.

Facebook Author Page To Come In February!

Decision Made: I’m Self Publishing in 2016! Thanks Dead Robots & Authorcast!

If you fancy yourself a writer and you have any desire to produce high quality work and publish it for the world to enjoy, then I have two very important places for you to go.  Writing Excuses is an amazing podcast to get some real input in how to focus on vital aspects of your writing, it’s one of my favorite resources I use to improve my craft.

Of course listening to these guys can be quite influential to thinking the best route to take is traditional publishing.  They don’t actively discourage self-publishing but they have to talk about what they know and they are all traditionally published with a major publishing house – except Howard who has a daily comic strip.

The idea of self-publishing was something I knew about but never completely understood how viable the process can be, especially if you’re starting from scratch.  It’s not inaccurate to say that I don’t know if my work is up to snuff to get the attention of a publisher, but in all reality I’m quite content with finding an avenue of getting my work out there for people to see it.

I am confident that I have good, compelling stories to tell.  The novels I’m working on are among the first ones I’ve ever written in their entirety.  This means that from professionals of both self and traditional publishing, my work is probably sub par at best.  It will take a few novels at least before I truly find my voice and hit my stride.

I’m okay with that assessment, but I also believe they are enjoyable reads anyway. So with that being said I’ve made the decision to continue to work on these stories for a few more months.  I have Seth’s story done just going through a copy edit, I’m 25k into a stand alone novel, and come November I intend to use NaNoWriMo to power through a rough draft of Seth’s sequel.

You loyal reader, if you haven’t already stopped reading, can take heed of this announcement.  I intend to announce a publishing date for my first novel on Feb 26th, 2016.  I am going to be a self-published author – of course I will from here on out use the term Author-published, or indie-published.

So check here on the 26th of February to find out when my first novel is going to be published on Amazon. (I still haven’t completely decided on if it’ll start exclusive to Amazon or if I’ll branch out to other streams – that’s stuff I need to figure out before announcing it.)

In the new year I will be losing my day job (not by choice) and more than likely be subject to drawing unemployment.  My fiancee and I have done the math and although things will be tighter we will be fine with my unemployment & her income.   The positive side of this is it will provide with an abundance of time I intend to work on getting the word out and clocking my hours writing.  There will be short stories collections, novels, maybe I’ll even have some novellas.

The plan is to establish that back catalog as efficiently as I can without sacrificing quality.

Where is all this coming from?  I just finished talking about Writing Excuses in at least a subconscious way encouraging Traditional, so why am I going Indie?

Well two podcasts opened my eyes to the world, and I serious believe if you are a writer and have any inclination of being in business for yourself then you have to listen to these guys.  The first is the Dead Robots Society – there’s over 350 episodes and they are all available.  If you listen from beginning to end you actually experience these guys on their journey navigating the indie-publishing world.

The other is AuthorCast, it’s hosted by David Wood – founder of Gyphonwood Publishing, and Alan Baxter, great author who had his Alex Caine trilogy picked up by Harper Collins.

Pic_DRSE9sQz3if_400x400These two casts are so casual, yet helpful. You don’t get that “in a classroom” vibe that I get from writing excuses.  The way these guys carry themselves it’s like you’re there with them – it’s just a bunch of buddies talking about their writing ventures.  They use what they know and have discussions about industry strategy and just how to carry yourself in general as an author-published writer.



If Writing Excuses helped me improve my writing, it was DRS and Authorcast who gave me the ambition to stay at it.  They make it feel like it isn’t such an impossible goal to achieve if one if willing to put in the work.

You have absolutely no reason NOT to listen to these podcasts if you are  writer, or aspiring writer.

Do It, now.

Then come back here on Feb 26th to find out when my first book will be dropping 😉

Cheers,
Devin.

Slow & Steady

Well simply looking at the empirical evidence of my ability to keep this blog current, I draw the conclusion Thursday is a far superior day to update consistently.  Of course by saying that I run the risk of starting a trend of Friday updates going forward since I seem to love to self-sabotage my own deadlines.

circa 1890:  Two-headed Janus.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1890: Two-headed Janus. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

I presently do not have a lot to talk about at the moment.  I wish I could weigh in on my position on the recent scandal at Memorial University and the professor who refused to wear a device required to teach a hearing impaired student.  She cited religious reasons to explain her refusal yet I still haven’t seen any such mention of a specific religious text to support that claim. Alas I don’t have the time to give it the attention it requires.

My computer essentially gave out a couple of days ago so I lost a full day of writing to technical difficulties.  It’s been rough trying to get back in the habit.  It’s like missing a day at the gym, just worse.

In this past week I have successfully got a few chapters in my next project, the Brandon Lee inspired horror novella – though at this rate it’ll end up being a full length novel I believe.  Originally it was going to by my NaNoWriMo idea but I am uncertain now, I think I may just try something completely different for that, something ridiculous, maybe a paranormal romance?

How about a story with two different incarnations of Vampires… ones that burn in the sun and others that glitter.  There can be a civil war breaking out and maybe I can do a whole cheesy Romeo & Juliet thing with it.  Oh man, I’m going to stop here and brain storm this train wreck.

In other news I got edits back from the third draft of Seth’s novel – still untitled.  It looks like most of the grammatical problems were picked up.  Once I’m done applying these changes I will be making a pass on it myself to see what else I can catch before I format it as a manuscript and get it ready for Percy Janes.

One should at least feign confidence in situations like this but I am far too skeptical about the chances for success.  Looking at how far I’ve come even from the first draft to now I see how much my writing has changed and I completely understand why most authors will say your first few novels at least will be utter garbage.  Barely anyone has published and been successful with the first novel they ever wrote.

I’m looking forward to the feedback from the Judicator, it’ll be my first real feedback from a professional in the field. I will finally get a decent gauge on where I presently stand as a writer.  Wish me luck.

In other news this week has been a little strange for me in that we have finally went public to everyone that my significant other and I are engaged.  Technically it’s something we’ve known for a long time – She has written notification from me from more than a year ago announcing my intention to marry her.  The congratulations have been pouring in though I’m sure a lot on my end will dismiss the legitimacy of the announcement because there is presently no ring involved.

I’ve made a vow that the ring I buy her for to symbolize our love and commitment is going to be bought 100% with money I accumulated through my writing.  Maybe it’s cheesy but to me there’s something to be said about doing the thing I love to most to earn my way to a physical symbol of expressing my feelings for the person I love the most… what do you think?

It makes sense to me, especially considering I don’t think I would have even been able to make it this far along in the pursuit of a literary life if I was with anyone else.

That’s it for now, I’ll try to have something more interesting to say next week.
Cheers

~Devin

I Will Remember Sept 17, 2015 – Final Re-Write On First Novel

I wish I could find out how long it has been since I began the process of writing a novel.  It’s something I wanted to do for many years but there was always a reason to suppress that desire.  The toxic opinion of a few friends in particular was a major proponent in my shame for wanting to be a writer, or at least in the consideration that I have the ability to pull it off.

CPL4wyEUEAALeEvI’ve let fear and uncertainty keep me from a lot in my life.  Those of you who know me may find it hard to believe but fear once governed a lot in my life, it still does to an extent.

Yesterday while sitting at my usual table at Tim Horton’s in the heart of St. John’s on Thorburn rd I finally reach the two most sought after words a writer wants to reach.  The End.

I finally reached the end of the third draft of what I hope will become my debut novel.  This may not sound all that momentous, a non-writer may think that finishing the first draft would be the note worthy day.

This third draft was more than a simple revision, it was a complete re-write.  I started the original draft more than two years ago and was very green.  When I went to make a pass for this draft I realized that I as pretty much re-writing every chapter anyway with new techniques I picked up in the last six months, and added some much needed character depth to the story.

I started with a brand new OpenOffice document, eventually purchasing and migrating to Scrivener, and rewrote the entire book.  This third draft is really just the first draft of a far superior book.

I intended on taking a few days off and relax while waiting for some edits to arrive on the manuscript. It was a brutal period, especially as I approached the ending.  I felt so accomplished yesterday yet so mentally exhausted.

The strange part of it all?  This morning after finally sleeping through the night, I got up a little later than normal but packed up my laptop and my gear and headed out to Tim’s.  Here I sit about to open up Scrivener and see what kind of tale is going to flow from the keyboard this morning.

This feeling I have of sitting here like a child on Christmas morning is why so many of you do this isn’t it?  The editing and revising process is grueling, and I imagine it’s only going to get more draining the further I get along in the publication process… especially if this ends up becoming a self-publishing endeavor.

Is my novel good? great? complete Meyer-sized trash?  I have no idea.  I love it, my parents love it, my girlfriend loves is, and my friends love it. (Or at least they all say they do)… does anything else really matter?

(Well of course it does if I want to turn this into a career… but I digress)

If you look back from this blog, especially in the last two years since I began this project, you are going to find a lot of posts citing the line, “I Am A Writer.”

There have been a lot of epiphany’s, a lot of revelations, and a lot of “I finally feel like a writer” sentiments but looking back on all of them now I realize it was all said with the wisdom of that second grade boy and girl who hold hands and tell each other they love each other.

They have no way of knowing so young, so innocent.  It could be true, more than likely it’s not.  Until yesterday this is how my eyes viewed writing.

I guess it should be common sense to say that you can’t really feel like a writer until you’ve written something.

I don’t know if it’ll ever see the light of day, nor can I say I’ll get as popular as people like Peter V Brett, Wes Chu, Chuck Wendig, and so on.

What?  Stephen King? hahahahahaha

I think my difficulty bar has been set considerably high enough, those guys are amazing, I’m not aiming for the stratosphere at this point.  Let’s just see if any of you actually enjoy my writing to begin with.

~Cheers~
Devin

P.S: If you would like to be a beta reader for upcoming work, you can e-mail me
DevinLeeNL@Gmail.com – I decided to repurpose this e-mail for my writing relating avenues.

The Paper Magician & Finding Perseverance

I actually have a pretty great segway for this entry from the previous one.  If it hasn’t been made abundantly clear by now I am a huge fan of the Writing Excuses podcast.  If you were to take a look at my second draft vs the third draft (that I’m almost finished with), I don’t think you would attribute it to the same writer.  Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mary have been instrumental in the evolution of my writing. Honestly if I can actually sell this book when I’m done I will be in their debt.

Sometimes it’s a little discouraging to hear that my first novel is going to be basically a learning experience and wont sell to anyone, so they can get a little discouraging when it comes to my ambition of being a successful writer anytime in the next three-five years.

It could very well be an arrogance or it could be just confident that through reading and listening to the pros (like Writing Excuses) I have been able to take their teaching and made myself into a marketable writer… is that the case?  Probably not, but I’m going to damn well try.

So. Anyway.  To the issue at hand.  I’m not really one for giving in depth reviews, at least not at the moment but I needed to highlight this book.

Writing Excuses featured an author who recently sold their first series of novels to Amazon’s publishing imprint.  She is a former student of Brandon Sanderson himself, and was really entertaining to listen to.

Favorite quote, “and I it only took my nine book to get published.”  Referring to Sanderson’s thirteen he wrote prior to his success.

This was enough to make me pick up The Paper Magician on audible.  There were a few more night shifts left before I had a day off and it felt like a great way to kill a shift.

The book is fantastic, even coming from someone who doesn’t usually enjoy this kind of story.  The world really drew me in.  The idea that various man-made materials were able to be manipulated by magicians gave a bit of an Avatar The Last Airbender vibe.  The Paper Magician is a “Folder” who specializes in using paper in various ways.  Rubber, Metal, if it is man made there is a manipulator for it.

I asked if this was influenced by Avatar on Twitter and Charlie herself responded saying it was more of a Howl’s Moving Castle.  I never noticed it early on but I definitely seen it afterwards.  (And if you haven’t seen Howl, go do so now. Miazaki FTW)

I loved the novel, this week I’m going to be picking up the other two in the series and look forward to seeing the growth of her heroine.

I really would love to talk more about it but I refuse to spoil anything. So go now… read The Paper Magician, then message me on Facebook or Twitter and I will certainly gush some more about it.
Buy It On Amazon, Seriously it’s $5 for a kindle copy, there’s no reason NOT to have it.
Or listen to it on Audible

Disclaimer: This is not a paid ad, I get nothing from you purchasing this other than the satisfaction that more people are reading this book.

Alright aside from the commercial.

Charlie’s story gave me a renewed vigor in my writing endeavor.  She didn’t sugar coat it making it sound like it’s easy, or that success will come sooner rather than later but she gave practical insight and grounded perspective.

I’ve listened to that episode of Writing Excuses at least a dozen times in the past two weeks and every time it motivates me to get back at this manuscript.  I’m more than 2/3’s through this rewrite.  I’m about a month or two away from submitting it for the Percy Jane.  I see the like at the end of the tunnel, and it is from stories like this that I find the will to keep going.

I’ve thanked the crew and Charlie on Twitter already but I wanted to say it in a little more than 140 characters.

Thank you again guys for everything you do, and Thank you Charlie for just sharing your story.

“I’ve got a ton of rejection letters and I made a quilt out of them, keeps me warm at night.  Don’t let it get you down.  We[Her and Brandon] both wrote a ton of books before we broke in.  Just keep going, don’t give up but don’t get lazy.” Charlie N Holmberg 

P.S: If you go read the Paper Magician series and want more she has a new book, Followed by Frost up for pre-order.  Coming out Sept 22

Now I’m out of excuses, well maybe one more.

Writing Excuses is fifteen minutes long because we’re in a hurry and they’re not that smart.  Well at least that’s how they open each show.  Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and (as of season six) Mary Robinette Kowal break downs the difference between strong and weak writing.  They offer tips to improve, pitfalls to avoid, and anecdotes from their prolific career in the industry.

Grammar Girl is more than just a podcast.  It is a complete website dedicated to helping writers and authors educate themselves on the proper use of grammar and punctuation. I’ve only listened to a handful of different her podcasts but those few tips have improved my writing exponentially.

I am indebted to these podcast and secretly harbor a burning hatred simultaneously.

On the one hand my manuscript is going to be exponentially better when I finish it between now and November.  If I have a prayer at winning the Percy Janes Award, it will be primarily due to the influence of these two casts.

The other hand is the one that is buckling under the weight of my laptop and the 180 page manuscript that I was only going to give a proofread before submitting it.

There is an entire world of considerations and techniques that could improve my story and although I was proud of the second draft, I’m really excited with how this third draft is turning out.

I am a listening of The Sword & Laser which is a Sci-fi/Fantasy book club podcast.  I’ve been a fan of the show since it was on Geek & Sundry on YouTube and I saw their interviews with R.A Salvatore and George R.R. Martin.  I harbor a not-so-secret desire to one day be the Sword & Laser book of the month pick.  I’ve curious how they would feel about my writing.

A quick google search for other similar podcasts linked me to Writing Excuses.

Best… Google Search… Ever.

I started listening at the tenth season and I have been working my way back for the last couple of weeks.  These guys are great.

If you are an aspiring author at any particular level of success I think this cast is something you should check out.  Everyone can learn something from these guys.  Writing Excuses help me identify a lot of weakness in my second draft which has prompted this re-write in progress.

Today I made it through most of the first season and I’m very close to having to wait for each new episode each week now.  I’m not looking forward to that but the beautiful thing about the archives is that I can just re-listen to episodes when I need some insight.

Everyone reading the new draft so far agree that it’s a vast improvement.  That is quite uplifting.  Though another measure that makes me feel a lot better about this draft is that now that I’m listening through the first season of Writing Excuses I’ve noticed a lot of the markers they use to describe strong work and good fiction actually apply to my novel.

I’m not overcome with vanity about the quality of the story, I know that it’s probably not going to be my best work.  The first novel you write isn’t meant to be great.  That’s something I’ve heard from just about every professional author when they offer advice to aspiring writers.

Between Grammar Girl helping me plug the holes in my fundamentals and writing excuses helping me keep my eyes on the bigger picture I’ve never been as confident in my future success as I am right now.

Of course I really should get back to revising.
Like Brandon says at the end of the show.
“You’re out of excuses… now go write!”

Cheers.

A Deadline Appears… November 13th

My name is Devin Lee. I don’t think this is the first time I’ve used my actual name on this blog, but I know it is something I’ve avoided whenever possible.

The World is Broken was never to be referred to as a blog even though that is clearly what it is.  My name was Shallopnewf for any online interaction.

Why did I take this mentality so early?  I really have no idea.  Maybe in my mind I was thinking the blog would blow up and ShallopNewf would become a recognize name in the blogosphere. I really can’t answer that question.

The last post I made here was my proclamation that I am finally Taking My Shot. There’s been so many different failed endeavors in my past but the one passion that never waned throughout was my passion for writing.

Even if it was just incoherent rambling on this blog, I never stopped writing.

Today I have a vibrant fictional city of my own being constantly developed and grown over the last few years and I am sitting on a second draft of my first novel.

I am in the midst of a major rewrite to create a third draft.  This will be the final draft after a few passes as a proofread.

I’ve made a lot of progress from this point to where I finally began taking this seriously.

I’ve sent my first submission of original work for an anthology.  I offer thanks in large part to Dave Banko for sharing the link with me.  Hopefully I’ll be getting good news from The Telegrams short fiction contest the Cuffer Award in the fall.

Even if I hear nothing it still feels good to finally hit a point in this process where I can submit work.

There is a much more critical deadline on the horizon. I have until November 20th to complete the manuscript of my novel in order to submit it for a particular competition.  I am absolutely ecstatic that I have this deadline.  It adds a lot of pressure but I feel it’s the motivation I need to help persevere through this difficult part of the revision process.

Without this deadline I feel I would make excuses and put off revising and it would take at least another year to finish.  Without that luxury of time I am confident I’ll stay the course.

I made a personal deadline of November 13th.  This will offer a full week for a final pass over the manuscript  to tweak the small details I will miss between now and then.

This blog has now become the official home of Devin Lee on the internet, I’m stepping away from the curtain of ShallopNewf.

Stay tuned each week, there will be at least one new entry every week, starting this coming Wednesday.   Sept 2nd.

Until then, Cheers.

– Taking My Shot –

Hey guys,

The first thing I want to say is that I’m thankful for each of you who keep coming back here and checking out my various ramblings over the last few years.  The World is Broken has been here for some of the greatest and most heart wrenching moments of the past five years.  Thank you.

A lot of you who are new to the site have found this blog because of some writing related action I did on some form of social media. In light of that I hope this re-direction doesn’t turn away very much of my small, yet appreciated reader base.

smoking_barrel_by_tntrekabulator-d6or65dI’m in the early stages of revising my first full length novel into a Third draft.  My life over the past week or two has consisted of nothing else other than Sleeping, Working, and Writing.  Like the title of this entry says, I am taking my shot.

Of course this isn’t really a huge surprise and I’ve written about that right here more than once.  This time I mean it in a way that’s going to affect the World is Broken.

I have a long way to go before I’m going to find success as a writer; unless some one in a million miracle happens but I’m not banking on that.  All the advice I’ve received and the opinions of everyone I’ve talked to who is making a living at this continue to tell me how you need to just do it.  My first book is probably going to be terrible but the more I finish and the harder I work the sooner I’ll find myself in a position to make it.

So I decided that aside from working on the writing, I need to focus myself when it comes to my online presence. The World is Broken has been a home to my random thoughts for a very long time.  I’ve even dabbled in television reviews and a couple of journalistic endeavors.

But I need to brand it.  I don’t want to just start a new site and go from there, I want The World Is Broken to be my definitive home online.  Although I still intend on the randomness of whatever goes through my head being fair game for an entry… I am going to primarily use this blog to share my experience while I’m writing this novel, to talk about various advice or news from the literary world, and all in all turn this mostly into a writing blog.

The writing community is where I am trying to break into so I need to use everything at my disposal.

For example, I’m in the midst of introducing a character that wasn’t in a previous draft but so far it’s been difficult to begin because I don’t clearly know his voice… I don’t know him all that well yet.

So instead I wrote a blog post about how I’m going to change the general concept of my blog posts.  Humm.. Maybe I’ll change the theme too, make it more literary in design.  Yeah, that’ll kill another hour or so.

Haha, and to my comrade at arms Firebat-Medic Gurt, you’ll be pleased to know this is the last entry I’m going to put that isn’t really proofread at all.

The Objectification of Magic Mike XXL – Not Cool Bro.

This is going to be a strange one… for one I have to openly admit that I voluntarily went to Magic Mike last week.
*sigh*  To defend my masculinity it was a surprise to the girlfriend; not out of a deep-seated desire to see the movie.

This is something that has been bothering me ever so slightly for a few days.This past Friday I entered the completely female filled theater to surprise Jess taking her to Magic Mike XXL. – Up until Channing Tatum showed up on the screen she thought we were going to see The Gallows 😉

maxresdefaultShe puts up with enough things from me so I figured I could survive a viewing of Magic Mike XXL. You know what? It actually wasn’t as bad as I was expecting; it’s true that I’m not a fan of the male ass shots but there really wasn’t a lot of them.

A couple of surprises came out of that film,

#1 Holy Shit, Kevin Nash is in this movie. (Apparently he’s in both). Kevin Nash could barely walk to the ring without looking feeble a few years back during his return to the WWE; and now he’s playing a burly, dancing, male stripper? Just hilarious.

#2: Donald Glover is ALSO in this movie. He plays a stripper that does more singing than actual stripping but the only thing going through my mind is; I would love to see how Troy (from Community) would react to all the things going on in this movie. Always good to see Don Glover; I’m a fan.

Honorable mention surprise: I wasn’t expecting to also see Jada Pinkett Smith in it as well. She basically played the same basic character as she does on Gotham (minus the mob ties),but it was enjoyable.

#3… and this it he big one.

1415127555179_wps_27_Myrtle_Beach_SC_Channing_Why are women not looking at this movie and getting offended? I’ve seen Show Girls, I’ve seen straight up pornography, there are very few well-known distasteful video that I haven’t seen.

I have seen nothing in many years that so blatantly objectifies women as bad as this movie does; and it gets away with it.  There’s no backlash.

Who would’ve thought a movie about male strippers would objectify women; but here we are.

Anytime there is a dancing scene it’ like they realize there’s only so many times these guys can strip before it gets old so to “spice up” their routines they use props. That’s not really that big of a deal; except the most commonly used prop in this movie are women watching the dance.

The literal definition of objectification is seeing and/or treating a person as an object.

The “oh my god these men are so talented” moments they were trying to go for while the actors were dancing seem to exclusively be focused on how skillfully they can pick up and throw the women around. There’s one scene at Jada Smith’s place where a dancer literally bends two women over adjacent tables and then lounges over the two of them like they were chairs.

I know there’s suppose to be crotch trusting in personal areas but this movie takes it way beyond believable and acceptable levels.

I’m not saying that I am personally offended by it; I don’t really get that easily offended on topics like this. I think most groups have grown too sensitive and tend to over-react…. but this is one case I would consider it perfectly acceptable.  It’s not so much that I’m offended, It’s more that I’m absolutely stunned there is no radical backlash coming from the eccentric part of the feminist community about this.

I guess because it’s about “male strippers” it gets a pass; but that makes no sense to me… when I google the topic of Magic Mike and objectification the only responses are talking about objectified men. This movie treats these men like they were gods; all the girls that meet worship them and with a few exception there really isn’t any true character flaws to see… Other than a very few examples of the men trying to avoid telling someone they are strippers; they are always met with cheers and admiration wherever they go.

The women? Well not to spoil the ending but there is only one solid female lead (not including Jada Smith who was badass and respectable – she needed more screen time.) She is the main love interest who delivers witty banter to Magic Mike and never seems to compromise her own beliefs….

Until the end when she is brought on stage for the climax of the movie to sit in a chair and have Channing Tatum flip her in the air and thrust his dick in her face. Seriously if you have already seen this movie and don’t know what I’m talking about all this give it a second showing and keep an eye open.

Yes there are male strippers but that doesn’t necessarily mean the men are the only ones being objectified. How are feminist groups not jumping all over this thing? If you watched the movie instead of just reading the premise and assume you know what is going to happen you will see what I mean.

The very sad part is, in spite of the ridiculous premise and some of the more juvenile situations written in this film; as a narrative it really isn’t all that bad. The one last ride of an old rag-tag troupe… it can make for a good road trip movie. If it wasn’t about male strippers, I’m sure there would be a lot more of both genders checking it out.

I guess all that’s left now is to sit back and see how many pro-feminist readers are only going to read the title and assume I meant that the men of the movie were being objectified… without ever reading my post.

Le Sigh.