Thursday, November 13, 2008

The process

So here I am in the middle. Not exactly according to plan but I got there, and now I'm sort of freaking out.

Only because I care.

After 100k words I've typed "The End" on the last page of 'Matthew Newman'.

It's time to do more revisions on 'Seeds', which has been sitting for near eight months. Now I have two, count 'em, two, novels in the draft stage.

I care deeply about both of these books and I want them to be not just good, but great, because great is what it takes to get published these days.

So here's the plan.

I've started creating an outline for 'Seeds', which in second draft form. Yeah, I'm proud of the fact that I don't outline much of anything but I saw this idea floating around about the benefits of doing this to a novel in the draft stage and I thought, maybe I should keep an open mind and see how it works. So chapter by chapter I'm writing a short synopsis in order to see how the story line progresses. I already know it drags a bit in the middle and although the ending is good, it may need a bit more punch. Plus, it's still a bit on the long side for a first timer writing YA so it looks like I got some work to do. I would love to start submitting this after the holidays, which seems reasonable considering the two weeks I get to take off from the day job at the end of the year.

By that time 'Matthew' will have set long enough that I can go back and start cleaning up that mess. Honestly, the way I free formed my way through that book, there's no telling what I might find when I go back and actually read it. Should be fun.

Should I remind myself one more time that writing is not for the impatient?

Allow me to lift a line from our newly elected Pres. just for a bit of inspiration.

Yes I Can!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Other End of the Horse

Hi, I’m Tim, and I’m a political junkie. I’m not sure if there’s a twelve-step program for us, but if so, at least I’ve got the requisite opening lines down. I’m equally unsure that you could effectively run a twelve-step program for us, because, for starters, we’d certainly want to conduct a series of straw polls over what steps there would be, and in what order. Not to mention organizing the committee to implement said polls. Further, we’d be so obsessed with the demographics of our group, the trends in messages shared, and the issues that drive each of us to such distraction, that I’m sure we’d just end up politicizing the entire thing. Imagine a ful-service bar attempting to treat alcoholism, and that’s about what it would look like.

As you probably noted, unless you read “The Horse’s Mouth” as a sleep aid, as I do (sorry David, but you know I’m not to be trusted!), I am not the originator of this blog. I have long wanted to start a blog of my own, but have never been able or willing to devote the time to it. But since I need a continuing fix for my politics addiction, what better way than blogging about it. Until I take the plunge and start my own, David has been gracious enough to let me occasionally hijack his.

This seems to me to be a perfect fit. We met online at a fan site of our beloved Lakers (although I was tempted to say it was a dating site, just to spice things up). Our politics are somewhat agreeable, and we are both men creeping into middle age, but still hanging on to the dream of being published writers. OK, truth be told, David’s been creeping into middle age a bit longer than I have, but he’s also actually finished a novel! Given the name of his blog, and my disposition, which should be readily apparent if I’m any kind of writer, perhaps I can function as the other end of the horse.

I am no stranger to being, or being called, a horse’s ass. In fact, my political addiction coupled with a contrary streak often leads to this behavior. While a staunch Democrat, if you put me in a room full of them, I naturally morph into the room’s Republican. I can even do a spot-on Sarah Palin, as I’m originally from Wisconsin, and her accent is faux Minnesota. Throw in a dollop of “Church Lady”, and voila!

But perhaps the most telling symptom of my addiction is the need to read all the numbers, analyze them, get the internal data, and roll all of it together to partake in the ultimate political junkie sacrament: prognostication. With me, it’s bad, real bad.

On Super Tuesday, while most observers were asking whether Obama could really win the primary, and if so, what his chances in a general election might look like, I was quickly organizing a “who is his VP pick?” contest. I chose, yup, Joe Biden. This doesn’t make me particularly prescient either. If you look at all the things Barack needed for the general election and beyond, how could you not pick Joe the Senator? Experienced insider with a vast pool of knowledge and respect in Washington? Check. Popular with white, blue-collar voters, especially in must-win Pennsylvania? Check. Not likely to run for President later, and thus not likely to derail the campaign, or worse, the administration for personal politics? Check. There’s a lot more, but you get the idea.

The week before the election, while most were sweating the polls, the Bradley Effect, vote tampering, turnout, and other such issues, I was busy organizing a state-by-state Presidential election pool. I’m happy to report that if North Carolina stays blue, I am a perfect 50 and 0. Of course, I also predicted Hillary Clinton would win the primary before it started (and was a John Edwards supporter, although not to the degree that some were), so I’m not infallible, merely so involved that I get some of them right.

But that’s the problem. Without a blog, I have nowhere to post these prognostications, insights, and other drivel, so I can claim credit later. So David, as part of my first post on your wonderful site, here’s a fearless political prediction:

In 2012, Joe Biden will not be the Vice Presidential nominee. Barring some major catastrophe, scandal, etc., that honor will go to Rahm Emmanuel.

OK, I feel all better now. David, thanks again for the opportunity, and I look forward to, hopefully, more substantive missives in the future. Oh, if you don’t approve this message, please delete this post...

Guest posted by Tim Johnson

Tired but happy (for once)

I don't have much energy to put into this today, but I did want to point out the obvious. History was made last night in a good way. The kind of history that will forever be remembered as one of those before and after moments. Where were we before, look where we are now. Not having great powers of divinity, I can't say exactly what will follow in the coming years, but I feel fairly confident we're heading in a new direction and that several of the rules most of us have lived with our entire lives will be rewritten in some form or another.

This morning I produced very little on my WIP, which I was really hoping to finish the first draft of last month. What I did get down was not only pivotal to the conclusion, but also inspired by the man now known as our president.

Here it is:

And with that his upper vest pocket began glow. Then sparkle. Then shine. And finally beam upward. And last but not least, do all those other things pure radiant light does when unleashed upon the shadows of doom—those things one can’t quite put a finger on. Into the darkened sky the light from the Eveningstar gem pierced the clouds in a display so bright, so brilliant it could have made a blind man squint and a fish’s eyes water. A beacon that, when reflected off the stratosphere, surrounded the planet spreading a message to all who were witness to it. A message unseen for more days than one can keep track of without the help of several 18 month calendars and a good secretary. A message that stated in no uncertain terms, “You are saved from the darkness.”

I like it, even though it's still first draft and subject to land on the editors floor.

Hope you're feeling good today.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election day special!

I know, here I went for months without posting squat on this blog and today I'm going to post twice. But hey, if you can't speak your mind on election day you may as well live in Texas. Am I right?

So what I've been wondering during this entire election season is why in God's name has it been so difficult to see the clear advantages of one candidate over the other. Namely, how can anyone with half a brain cell left in their noggin honestly think that a McCain Palin ticket on Capital Hill would be preferable to an Obama-Biden reign? I understand the master plan of the Universe in that everyone needs to be different in order to keep things running smooth as Jello, and that you can't win over all of the people all of the time, but honestly people, this election shouldn't even be close, especially after the eight years of inept bumbling of the soon to be last Republican administration.

So I thought I'd go to the source. For the first time in my life, I turned on the radio and listened to Rush. All I can say about the experience is I'll probably have nightmares for months after listening to that moron. It's not that he's stupid. In fact, the scariest part about him is that he isn't. But the way he can take a perfectly intelligent idea and twist it to make it sound like it came from the mouth of Beelzebub himself is more frightening than a clown at a birthday party.

According to Mr. Limberger, us liberals don't want to work hard, that our sole motivation in life is to suck off the welfare system and that only good patriotic American conservatives want to work hard and get ahead in this world. Add to that the fact that under Mr. Obama's plan there will be no motivation for good honest American conservatives to get ahead because if you do become successful the government's just going to take your money and hand it back out to us liberal ne'er do wells. And that my friends is...gasp...SOCIALISM.

Okay Mr. Limberger, first off I'd like to say fuck you and fuck all your fucking stupid ass listeners for being so fucking ignorant. The human condition has nothing to do with wealth, nothing to do with who gets to keep what. An enlightened Humanity has an inherent need to feel useful and to spend our days on this planet making a contribution REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH WE GET PAID.

Mr. Asshole, do you honestly think that people would rather collect welfare than work? That being on the welfare roles is a place people aspire to be? That if given a choice, people wouldn't rather have a job that pays them enough to live decently? If this is your belief, Mr. Asshole, if this is truly your belief, I pity your pathetic germ of a soul because you have missed the point of existence entirely. If this is not what you believe but spout this gibberish merely because it makes for good radio than you are scum and should have that golden tongue of yours ripped from your mouth and shoved up your sphincter.

There, I feel much better now.

This is a good thing, right?

It's that time of year again, when the days are growing shorter, the leaves are changing, and there's that woodsy smell hanging in the air signaling a change in the seasons. I think we all know what I'm talking about here...

I'm thinking of writing a short story.

I may not have said it here, or to anyone for that matter, but if there's one thing I suck at it's writing short stories, and song lyrics...

If there are two things I suck at it's writing short stories, song lyrics, and relationships...

If there's three things I suck at, it's writing short stories, song lyrics, relationships, and handling finances...

Okay, there's a lot of things I suck at, short stories being pretty close to the top of the list. So why on god's green earth am I thinking about taking another stab at the genre. Maybe I want to keep poking at it until it's dead, never to rear its monstrously hideous head again. Who knows. But one thing I know for certain: I will not substitute my short story writing for any progress I'm making on the two novels I'm pecking away at. And, (this is a biggie), I will not worry about the word count either. If the damn thing wants to grow into a novel or a novella (eew, not a novella) then who am I to stop it, although I don't see that happening. The idea I'm playing with just doesn't have enough meat to it to last 300 or so pages. That's not to say I wouldn't ever tinker with the idea of trying to find avenues in which this thing could travel. In fact, I've already got a few thoughts on that. But damnit, something is telling me not to be so quick to drive a stake through the short genre's heart, that a really good writer should be able to master several different styles, and my heroes, i.e. Vonnegut, Gaiman, Salinger, etc., never shied away from that sort of work.

Still, I hate the idea of doing something I suck at. It's so much easier to do stuff that comes naturally--like feeling sorry for myself, which, as it turns out, happens to be the very premise for the story I'm contemplating.

Shouldn't be that hard, should it?