Advanced-Level Cubes (Day 7)

Festival Freakout: Recovering from a Food Coma

So, I didn’t get a chance to write a blog yesterday. Instead, I was shaking off the effects of a massive food coma. Ahh!!!

Advanced-Level Cubes (Day 7)

My Quest to Draw (Day 7): The topic is “Advanced-Level Cubes.” The bottom right drawing looks almost livable.
Almost.

Ice Storm: Days 14 & 15

The last two days constituted Days 14 and 15 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. I edited 6,000 words in total, bringing my redraft to 45,000 words. That means I’ve reached the halfway point.

I wish I could say I felt the wind at my back. Unfortunately, it’s the exact opposite. The last two days haven’t been particularly good ones. The words are coming slowly and I’m having trouble focusing on my story. I find myself doing a lot of wandering (yes, literal wandering!) and daydreaming and I keep getting distracted by non-Cy Reed short story ideas.

That being said, this isn’t unusual for me. I usually reel off 100 to 150 pages without any problems. Then I get antsy and start ripping apart my draft. Endless rewrites ensue. So, I’m determined to see this through.

Festival Freakout: Recovering from a Food Coma

I didn’t get a chance to post an update yesterday. Truthfully, I was still “hung over” with a food coma. Julie and I had met up with some friends at a local food festival. Basically, the area restaurants set up shop in the retail shops and hand out samples. Local musicians hang out on the sidewalks and everyone walks around town trying out the different items. Some of the food is pretty fancy and a few of the restaurants manage to outdo themselves every year. Anyway I ate way too much and got that dreamy, logy feeling Julie likes to call a food coma. By the time I got home, the food coma had taken complete control and it really didn’t pass until well after I woke up.

Drawing: Day 7 – Advanced-Level Cubes

I completed my 7th lesson from You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler last night. The topic was advanced-level cubes. Basically, the lesson built on the previous ones by adding arches and ramps to box-shaped structures. I worked a little more loosely than usual and for the most part, enjoyed myself. My perfectionism still seeps in from time to time though and I sometimes spend several minutes drawing and erasing just to get the right lines.

Other Stuff

No news to report here. Just the same old stuff. Namely, I’m still thinking about making adjustments to my sidebar (that one on the right with Chaos in it). I might expand it to include international bookstores. And yes, the link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is STILL broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos but doesn’t seem to have posted it yet. I may have to double check with Smashwords to make sure there isn’t another problem. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon. Get it and review it!

Day 6 - Stacking Tables

Writing Hell or: Why I hate Tuesdays

I hate Tuesdays. I hated them when I worked in an office. I hate Tuesdays now.

Day 6 - Stacking Tables

My Quest to Draw (Day 6): The topic is “Stacking Tables.” Check out the scary box monster down there…just don’t look too closely at his right leg!

Writing Hell: Or Why I hate Tuesdays

It’s Day 13 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. I edited 3,000 words yesterday, bringing my redraft to 39,000 words. That means I’ve got about 51,000 words still to go.

This is always a hard spot for me. I’ve been at this redraft for almost two weeks and yet I’ve still got three weeks to go. In other words, this is like Tuesday to me. And I hate Tuesdays. Let me explain. These days, I work from home so the days of the week tend to run into each other. But when I used to work out of an office, I hated Tuesdays. I usually felt recharged after a weekend so I didn’t really mind Mondays. Wednesday wasn’t too bad either since that was the halfway point. Thursday was always good. I could practically feel the weekend rushing at me. And of course, Friday was my favorite work day for obvious reasons. That left Tuesday, which became my least favorite day of the week. I’m hoping to reach the halfway point of Ice Storm by Thursday. But in the meantime, everyday feels like a “writing Tuesday” to me. And like I said, I hate Tuesdays.

As for other contributing factors, I’d have to point to the whole development hell thing. I’ve been working on this book for so long, it feels like I’ve written it ten times over. I’m not sick of it. But I’m definitely not going to mind moving onto the next story. Plus, I caught a cold from my wife so I’m dealing with that right now too.

On the bright side, I spent some time at a nearby pool yesterday. It wasn’t the ocean but I still enjoyed it. I laid out for a bit and mulled over some story ideas. I’m thinking I’d like to write one more Cy Reed novel after Ice Storm and then branch off to start a parallel series.

Drawing: Day 6 – Stacking Tables

I completed my 6th lesson from You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler last night. The topic was stacking tables and as you can see from my sketch book, it was mostly about drawing column-like objects. He suggested readers time themselves as they complete the exercises. It took me about twice as long as he suggested, which probably means I’m being too exacting with my work. I’m going to try to take a more sweeping approach the next time I pick up my pencil.

Other Stuff

No news to report here. Just the same old stuff. Namely, I’m still thinking about making adjustments to my sidebar (that one on the right with Chaos in it). I might expand it to include international bookstores. And yes, the link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is STILL broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos but doesn’t seem to have posted it yet. I may have to double check with Smashwords to make sure there isn’t another problem. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon. Get it and review it!

Day 5: Hollow Cubes

Amelia Earhart: Writing about her Lost Flight?

So, my web traffic exploded last Thursday. The reason? A sudden avalanche of interest in the possible discovery of Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane.

Day 5: Hollow Cubes

My Quest to Draw (Day 5): The topic is “Hollow Cubes.” I thought the treasure chests turned out pretty good…now I just have to figure out how to draw some sweet-looking treasure to put in them!

Ice Storm: 12 Days, 36,000 Words!

It’s Day 12 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. I edited 3,000 words yesterday, bringing my redraft to 36,000 words. That means I’ve got about 54,000 words still to go.

I drew up a chapter from scratch yesterday. It’s written from the point of view of a scientist named Holly Whitlow. She’s got a secret deep in the heart of Antarctica, one that could get her into a lot of trouble. Initially, I hadn’t planned to do a whole lot with the chapter. I just wanted to reveal her secret and give her a quiet emotional moment. But I found myself inspired and turned out a pretty good scene with some emotional resonance. I love days like that…one moment I’m sort of going through the motions, the next I’m experiencing a creative outburst.

Amelia Earhart: Writing about her Lost Flight?

Last Thursday, my web traffic exploded. In case you haven’t heard the news, a group named TIGHAR announced it had discovered a sonar image that might be the wreckage of Amelia’s long-lost plane. I’ve been writing about Amelia Earhart’s doomed flight and TIGHAR’s various expeditions to find it for over a year now (in case, you’re interested, here’s my Amelia Earhart archive).

Anyway for the last couple of days, my Amelia Earhart articles have received lots of traffic. But it didn’t last. A lot of people visited my site and clicked around on the Amelia Earhart stuff. Then they took off, presumably to search for more information on her. I was tempted to do an update, Guerrilla Explorer style. But I decided not to go through with it.

When I started Guerrilla Explorer, I thought I’d see more overlap for stories about mysteries of history, lost treasure, and monsters. But I’ve noticed that audiences tend to be very distinct. Bigfoot hunters, by and large, don’t seem to care much about Amelia Earhart and vice versa. So, while an Amelia Earhart update might get me a few days of heavy traffic, it seemed unlikely to draw in regular readers. And honestly, I’d rather build a long-term audience who’s interested in my books and other creative endeavors than try to snag a bunch of short-term visits.

That being said, I’m thinking about starting a weekly series in the Guerrilla Explorer vein. This would be based on a fictional Guerrilla Explorer character, perhaps someone who would investigate the paranormal and lost cities in a very unique way. I still need to think this through, but it’s on my mind…

Drawing: Day 5 – Hollow Cubes

I completed my 5th lesson from You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler last night. The topic was hollow cubes and as you can see from my sketch book, it was mostly about drawing boxes and treasure chests. It’s amazing how the little things matter when drawing a picture. The inner line of the box and the inner lines of the treasure chest lid really make those drawings pop out of the page. By the way, when it came time to freewheel it at the end, I couldn’t figure out what to do. My drawings aren’t bad considering I’ve only been at this for a few days. But I haven’t reached the point yet where I’m taking the art into my own hands and adding my own personal details. I imagine that will come eventually, but for the moment, I’m basically just following instructions and trying to figure out the basics.

Other Stuff

No news to report here. Just the same old stuff. Namely, I’m still thinking about making adjustments to my sidebar (that one on the right with Chaos in it). I might expand it to include international bookstores. And yes, the link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is STILL broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos but doesn’t seem to have posted it yet. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon. Get it and review it!

My Quest to Draw (Day 4): The Cube

Ice Storm & the Dreaded Information Dump

I like to weave little slices of dark history into my novels. Unfortunately, that usually means one thing…the dreaded information dump!

My Quest to Draw (Day 4): The Cube

My Quest to Draw (Day 4): The topic is “The Cube.” The bottom right drawing turned out to be a bit of a mess!

Ice Storm: 11 Days, 33,000 Words!

So, here we are…Day 11 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. I edited 1,500 words yesterday, bringing my redraft to a grand total of 33,000 words. By my estimate, I’ve got 57,000 words left to finish. The work required a lot of research and I found it quite interesting. Of course, research is usually far more interesting to the writer than it is to the reader. And that brings me to today’s topic…the dreaded “information dump.”

The Dreaded Information Dump!

Here’s the deal. The primary goal of the Cy Reed series is to provide entertainment. But I also hope to shed some light on the secret events and ideas that have influenced our world.

I love history, especially the dark stuff that normally gets ignored in the history books. That’s why so many of my Guerrilla Explorer posts are along the lines of “Thomas Edison…Kills an Elephant?“. Another type of history I enjoy involves the struggle over ideas such as The Debate that Rocked the World? (also known as the Socialist Economic Calculation Debate). Many of these debates are little known. And yet, they’ve completely changed out world.

Well, I needed to write about one such debate today. And it’s a particularly dark debate, one that took place decades ago and whose ramifications are still felt in modern society. I loved researching it. But writing it was difficult. Truth be told, it’s hard to relay factual information in an interesting way. Most writers just dump the information into a chapter, creating an information dump. Then they wash their hands and move on to the next scene.

Information dumps are often essential. And yet, I think most readers skim over them, eager to get back to the main story. So, I try to spice up my information dumps by pitting characters against each other. In yesterday’s work, Cy Reed squared off with a guy by the name of Aaron Jenner. Jenner believes something…unusual. Cy is shocked and even infuriated by Jenner’s opinions. And yet, Jenner is able to defend his position. Neither side wants to give into the other one and thus an information dump is transformed into a battle of wills.

By the way, if you haven’t already done so, head on over to Thriller Central to check out my article, Writer’s Guilt. Thriller Central is a terrific site, devoted to thriller and adventure fiction. There aren’t a lot of sites like this one so make sure to bookmark it.

Drawing: Day 4 – The Cube

I completed my 4th lesson from You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler last night. It was about the cube and you can see the resulting page from my sketch book. This one wasn’t too bad but I kind of lost it at the end when I tried to sketch a box on end. I tried to widen the angles, to fit the visual imagery we normally expect from three-dimensional boxes. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out so well. This was a good lesson, especially since I was getting a little cocky after my success on Day 3. Now, I’m sufficiently humbled again.

Other Stuff

I’m up to 104 Facebook followers. Not that this is a huge deal, but it’s still fun to see that number grow. Also, I’m still thinking about making adjustments to my sidebar (that one on the right with Chaos in it). I might expand it to include international bookstores. And yes, that stupid link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is still broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos but doesn’t seem to have posted it yet. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon. Get it and review it!

Day 3: My Quest to Draw

My Favorite Authors: The Great E.W. Hildick

Who are your favorite authors? I’ve got a bunch of them. Today, I wanted to write a little about a man named E.W. Hildick. Read on to find out more!

Day 3: My Quest to Draw

Day 3: My Quest to Draw. The topic is Advanced-Level Spheres. I felt pretty stiff so this lesson took me a long time to finish. But I thought it came out pretty good…

Ice Storm: 10 Days, 31,500 Words!

Today is Day 10 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. I do half days on the weekend, so I only edited 1,500 words yesterday, raising my grand total to 31,500. That leaves 58,500 words left to edit.

Before I forget, head on over to Thriller Central to check out my article, Writer’s Guilt. Thriller Central is a terrific site, devoted to thriller and adventure fiction. There aren’t a lot of sites like this one so make sure to bookmark it.

My Favorite Authors: The Great E.W. Hildick

My cousin Erik texted me last night. He wanted me to know he’d seen a lady reading Clive Cussler at the pool today. For those of you who don’t know, Clive Cussler was my first foray into the world of grown-up literature. One day, I’m gobbling up Hardy Boys books. The next day, I’m poring over Dragon and Night Probe.

It got me thinking about the other authors who’ve influenced me along the way. There have been a bunch of them. When I was a kid, my favorite author was E.W. Hildick. I read his books over and over again. One of my elementary school teachers once required our entire classroom to send letters to our favorite authors. Naturally, I chose E.W. Hildick. He never responded. I’ve always been a little suspicious that she didn’t actually mail it. Or maybe that’s just me hoping he didn’t throw my letter in the trash!

E.W. Hildick wrote a series about a junior detective agency, It was led by a young redheaded kid named Jack P. McGurk. McGurk was sort of like a young, mischievous Sherlock Holmes (he once held a “clue hunt” in his backyard…the other kids spent hours picking up candy wrappers and other trash before they realized he’d tricked them into doing one of his chores). The cases were a lot of fun. Many of them were adult crimes brought down to the kid level. So, instead of a typical kidnapping case, Hildick would present a case about a kidnapped doll, complete with ransom note. Over time, the cases got more complex but they always maintained a sense of youthful innocence. That made Hildick pretty unique, especially since so many other kid detectives were battling killers and Nazis at the time.

A couple of years ago, I hit E-Bay pretty hard and now I own the entire McGurk collection including The Menaced Midget, which was never released in the United States. If you get a chance, check E.W. Hildick out. You won’t be disappointed!

Drawing: Day 3 – Advanced-Level Spheres

I completed my third lesson from You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler last night. It was about advanced-level spheres. Check out the photo to see my work. This one took me several hours to finish. Keep in mind I’m really just going through exercises now and doing a lot of copying of his drawings. Not that this is a bad thing. Copying is a pretty good way to learn how to do something.

Be that as it may, I’m still too stiff, too careful with my work. I erase a lot and do a lot of reshaping of individual spheres. It tends to slow me down big time. Anyway I hope to work that out of my system over the coming weeks. In the meantime, I start work on cubes today. I’m still a long ways from being able to draw out the characters and worlds I see in my mind. But I think I’m on the right track.

Other Stuff

I just gained my 100th Facebook follower (thanks Dena!). Good stuff. Also, I’m still thinking about making adjustments to my sidebar (that one on the right with Chaos in it). I might expand it to include international bookstores. I sell far more E-Books in Amazon’s UK store than at Barnes and Noble. I guess that shows how good Amazon is at targeting a book to the right audience. Unfortunately, the link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is still broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos in hand so hopefully, this will be fixed soon. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon. Get it and review it!

Ice Storm Hell: Things just got a Little Easier…

It’s Ice Storm Hell! Ice Storm, my latest novel in development, has been one headache after another. But last night, I finally caught some good fortune.

Day 2: My Quest to Draw

Day 2: My Quest to Draw. The topic is Overlapping Spheres. Those tennis balls look almost good enough to play with right? Right???

Ice Storm Hell: 9 Days, 30,000 Words!

Today is Day 9 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. Yesterday was a surprisingly good day. I edited some old stuff, wrote some new stuff. When the dust was cleared, I’d finished another 3,000 words. 30,000 words down, 60,000 words to go.

Until last night, I’d been dreading this week. To make a long story short, Ice Storm consists of six parts. Each part is roughly 15,000 words long. When I first mapped out an editing plan for Ice Storm, I decided my third part was largely unusable. So, I decided to eliminate it and redraft the whole thing. I wasn’t looking forward to making such a drastic shift from editing to writing and then back to editing again. Then I caught a break. I took another look at my notes and realized I’d been too aggressive with my story map. So, I reworked it last night. And lo and behold, I figured out a way to reintegrate a lot of scenes I’d planned to throw out. So, Ice Storm’s third part will need far less rewriting than I’d thought. Needless to say, I’m stoked.

Drawing: Day 2 – Overlapping Spheres

I also completed my second lesson from You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler last night. It was about overlapping spheres. Check out the photo to see my work. Essentially, there are three tricks to make a sphere look three-dimensional. First, you overlap it on top of a second sphere. Second, you make the closer sphere larger than the one that’s further away. And third, you place the first sphere lower on the page. Then its just a simple matter of casting some shadows and adding several layers of shading. All in all, this was a good lesson. I could definitely see the improvement in my spheres and thought I did a decent job drawing a pair of tennis balls (yes, those are tennis balls) to finish for the night.

Of course, it’s going to get harder from here. Probably a lot harder. And I can already see I’m going to want to go over these lessons again when I’m done to make sure I really know them. But I’m starting to think I might really be able to draw for real someday. Neat!

Other Stuff

This is kind of my wrap-up section to sum up non-creative issues. So, I noticed I’m at 99 Facebook followers. Join today and you can be #100! What else? Oh yeah, I’m still thinking about making adjustments to my sidebar (that one on the right with Chaos in it). I might expand it to include international bookstores. I sell far more E-Books in Amazon’s UK store than at Barnes and Noble. I guess that’s a testament for how good Amazon is at targeting a book to the right audience. Unfortunately, the link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is still broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos in hand so hopefully, this will be fixed soon. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon. Get it and review it!

Day 1 of my Quest to Draw...think Double Fine can do any better? Well, yes. Yes, they can.

Double Fine, Kickstarter, and Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding involves creating a world and populating it with people, history, ecology, etc. It’s normally the stuff of fiction. But a quirky video game company named Double Fine has taken worldbuilding to a whole other level. More on that in a minute…

Day 1 of my Quest to Draw...think Double Fine can do any better? Well, yes. Yes, they can.

Day 1 of my Quest to Draw. The topics included spheres, light sources, and shading.

Ice Storm: 8 Days, 27,000 Words!

Today is Day 8 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. My brain is constantly on the move so I often end up distracting myself during writing sessions. I’ll play some Conceptis logic puzzles. I’ll check email. I’ll browse the web. I’ll do anything but write. Usually, that’s not a huge deal. But lately, it’s gotten a little out of control.

Yesterday, I took a different approach. I started writing first thing in the morning. I also timed my progress. My average writing pace is 2 pages per hour. When I’m unfocused, it can take an hour or even longer to write a single page. But when I time myself, I work much faster. I can usually write 3 or even 4 pages an hour. And yesterday was no different. I wrote about 1,000 new words and edited another 2,000 words in 2.5 hours. Not bad. So, I’ve now got 27,000 words done with 63,000 words to go.

Today will be a good test of my ability to focus. I need to write a couple of new scenes. If I’m focused, it should pass with relative ease. If not, well, I don’t want to think about that.

Drawing: Day 1!

I also completed my first lesson from You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler yesterday. It was about spheres, light sources, and shading. You can see the results over there on the right. On the bright side, the apple drawings are probably the best pieces of art I’ve ever produced. On the not so bright side, the apple drawings are…probably the best pieces of art I’ve ever produced. Clearly, I’ve got a long way to go. But this early lesson gave me a lot of confidence and a few tools to add to my toolbox.

Double Fine, Kickstarter, and Worldbuilding

Double Fine is a mid-sized video game company. Last year, they raised $3.5 million via Kickstarter to fund an old-school adventure game called Broken Age. They also produced a documentary for backers showing how they actually made the game. Now, Double Fine has launched a new Kickstarter project called Massive Chalice. Since last night, they’ve raised about $0.5 million.

I loved the adventure game genre as a kid and spent many hours playing Police Quest, Space Quest, and the Indiana Jones games. So, I ended up backing Broken Age. And then a curious thing happened. I started paying more attention to Double Fine. I purchased The Cave and played it with my wife. I enjoyed the emphasis on characters and worldbuilding. So, I started looking into their other games. I tend to have very specific tastes, but I found myself being intrigued by games that fall outside my normal boundaries. True, they make good games. But it’s more than that. Their documentary opened up a whole new world to me. I got to see them work, make games, and interact with each other. There’s an old rule in fiction…intimacy breeds sympathy. It certainly worked in this case. The more engaged I became with Double Fine, the more I wanted to try their other games.

In effect, Double Fine used worldbuilding techniques to create a unique nonfiction world. In the process, they’ve turned me from a casual fan into an engaged one. In many ways, they’ve helped inspire this latest “open novel” experiment of mine. Hopefully, you’ll get to know me and like what I do here. And hopefully, you’ll decide you want to read my books too!

Other Stuff

See that sidebar? The one with Chaos in it? I’ve been thinking about expanding it to include international bookstores. My second largest store (after Amazon of course) happens to be Amazon’s UK store. Barnes and Noble is way down the list. So, I might shake that up a bit. Unfortunately, the link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is still broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos in hand so hopefully, this will be fixed soon. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon. Get it today!

Me enjoying a moment of boredom

Boredom is a Good Thing…and Here’s Why!

Most people hate boredom. Personally, I think it’s highly underrated. In fact, I could use a little boredom in my life right about now…

Me enjoying a moment of boredom

Me enjoying a moment of boredom

It’s Day 7 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. Yesterday was a little hellish in its own right. After four days off, I found myself struggling to get back into the story. This isn’t unusual for me and it’s one of the reasons I don’t like to take breaks during the middle of a story. Anyway it took a long time but I managed to edit another 3,000 words of my second draft. So, I’m sitting at 24,000 words with 66,000 words to go.

Today should be a relatively easy day. Then I’m going to need to start creating some new scenes, which will slow me down a bit. I’m beginning to wonder if I can keep editing at a pace of 18,000 words per week. Writing and editing at the same time is far more difficult than doing just one or the other. So, I may need to cut it back to 12,000 in order to give my inner batteries more time to recharge. And that brings me to today’s topic…

Boredom is a Good Thing…and Here’s Why!

No one likes boredom. Many people even consider it evil. This is a leftover from early American history, as brilliantly shown by Thaddeus Russell in A Renegade History of the United States. Prior to the American Revolution, America was a hotbed of saloons, interracial mixing, non-marital sex, homosexuality, and prostitution among other things. Life for these people was about having fun.

After the war, the “Founding Fathers” became worried. They thought these frivolous, pleasure-seeking lifestyles would ruin the American experiment of self-rule. The result was a strange merger of Puritan values with Victorian ideas about work and leisure. Work was said to be godly, regardless of whether it had a purpose or not. Idle hands supposedly led to misery and wretchedness.

These ideas continue to this day, albeit to a lesser degree. We still avoid boredom like the plague. In fact, we do everything in our power to avoid it. We turn on the television. We surf the internet. We call people. We engage in work. We do chores. We run errands. In general, we throw ourselves into any structured activity that promises to alleviate our boredom. But creatively speaking, that’s a mistake. Boredom can be an extremely powerful tool.

I try to fit boredom into my daily schedule. Yes, I know that sounds weird. But I have to fight my initial instinct to consume entertainment. So, I find time to sit down once a day. I don’t do anything in particular. I just let my mind wander. And the result is often amazing. I do some of my most imaginative work when I’m just sitting around, being bored. The other thing I like about boredom is that it helps me realize my passions. A couple of weeks ago, I found myself thinking a lot about drawing and how I wished I knew more about it. Now, I’m about to begin a 30-day drawing program.

So, embrace your boredom. Avoid the temptation to fill every spare moment with outside stimulation (unless, of course, it happens to be Chaos!). Instead, let your imagination go to work and maybe you’ll discover things about yourself you never knew before.

Other Stuff

I wanted to begin my 30-day drawing program yesterday. Unfortunately, I ran out of time. Hopefully, I’ll start it to later today. The link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is still broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos in hand so hopefully, this will be fixed soon. On the bright side, I fixed my Goodreads link. So, at least that’s off my list. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon.

Wood Table

4 Days, 13 Hours in the Car, and 1 Sick Wife!

My wife and I don’t travel much, but when we do we make it count.

Wood Table

Check out the table…it might look like a bunch of mangled wood but to me, there was a whole other world beneath that glass…

It’s Day 6.5 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. Last Friday, I reached 21,000 words of the second draft. Just 69,000 words to go. I’ve spent the last four days on the road, traveling up and down the East Coast. I’m excited to be back to work but first a little vacation recap is in order.

4 Days, 13 Hours in the Car, and 1 Sick Wife!

May 25: Early in the morning, Julie and I drove 5 hours to visit our friends Graig and Michelle for a BBQ. I know what you’re thinking. 5 hours for a BBQ? Well, it’s a little more than that. Over the years, my close college friends have moved all over the place. Thus, I don’t get to see them very often. Anyway we ate too much, drank too much, and slept too little. All in all, a great time. Unfortunately, our hosts got extremely sick that night. They thought it was food poisoning. But since the rest of us felt fine, Julie and I decided we were safe. Oh, how wrong we were.

May 26: We drove another five hours to Massachusetts. My parents recently bought a retirement home in Cape Cod. So, they’ve been gradually moving into it and sprucing up the place. Julie and I drove out to meet them and got a chance to see my aunt Karen and uncle Brian as well.

Karen and Brian own a home right down the street from my parents. They’ve been renovating it and it looks terrific. My favorite addition is a glass coffee table built on top of curving, winding pieces of wood (see photo). The table originally belonged to my grandparents. As a kid, I used to take my action figures and thread them in and out of the wood, weaving them through the nooks and threading them through the crannies. It was like a world in of itself. Seeing it in their home brought a huge smile to my face. Good memories!

We also looked through some of my grandfather’s old belongings. He passed away four and a half years ago and left behind a variety of trinkets, paperweights, and geological specimens he collected from his travels. I was fortunate enough to be able to take a few things with me. My favorite one is a carved rock. On the bottom, my grandfather wrote “PAKISTAN” in large letters on a piece of tape. In smaller letters, he wrote “Bought in Colorado.” It’s hard to explain but this sums up my grandfather in just a wonderfully succinct way.

May 27: At about five o’clock in the morning, Julie woke up with stomach pains. Two hours later, she got violently sick. Around noon, she started to feel a little better. I took her outside for some fresh air. She was okay at first but eventually got sick again. After another spell of sickness, I got her into bed and she napped on and off for a few hours. By night, she was feeling well enough to eat some noodles and watch Moneyball. I’m guessing she caught a 24-hour bug from Graig and Michelle. Fortunately, everyone seems to be feeling much better now.

Moneyball was an interesting film. I read some of Bill James’ books as a kid. They were interesting, albeit a little over my head at that point in time. I’ve always thought sabermetrics was best used to analyze history. I also think it leads to a more focused understanding of baseball. Even before I found Bill James, I was stumped by why batting average got tons of attention while on-base-percentage was virtually ignored. I’m a little less bullish about its ability to predict future individual performance. I worked on Wall Street for a number of years and the first lesson you learn is that past performance cannot predict future results. So, I’m not convinced it has much to offer for draft analysis or team construction. Regardless, I enjoyed the film. The concept of an outsider trying to spread a powerfully-felt philosophy in opposition to an old guard has particular meaning to me. In fact, this is a sub-theme that runs through Ice Storm.

May 28: We drove three hours home. I was tired from the trip and decided to extend the break for an additional day. Today, I’m back at work on Ice Storm!

Other Stuff

Later today, I plan to begin my 30-day drawing program. Look for more on this tomorrow. The link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is still broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos in hand so hopefully, this will be fixed soon. Also, my Goodreads link still isn’t working. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon. Cheap!

A David Meyer Original!

Learning how to Draw: When is it too Late?

I am the worst artist in the world. But not for much longer. I’m going to teach myself how to draw. That is, if it’s not too late…

A David Meyer Original!

A David Meyer Original! Wow, these are not good. Well, this is a house, an airplane, and a not-so-tasty bagel. Whatever you do, don’t eat it!

It’s Day 6 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. Yesterday, I reached 21,000 words of the second draft. Just 69,000 words to go. As expected, it was a tough day. I had to write a new chapter and shift parts of two other chapters around. I cannot begin to describe how much I despise writing new material while editing old material at the same time. It’s exhausting. But at least I’m still on target to finish this draft by June 30.

Learning how to Draw: When is it too Late?

I’ve always wanted to learn how to draw. Unfortunately, I never got past the stick-figure stage. But I’m determined to change that. My brain likes to work in a frenetic fashion. Sometimes I’m writing one story while my brain is focused on two other ones. It can be difficult to keep track of everything. So, I’ve started to storyboard future novels. I take these large pieces of poster board and scribble ideas and little drawings onto them. Unfortunately, my drawings are just awful. And that’s no good because I have a lot of visuals I’d like to put down on paper.

So, I bought myself a couple of how to books from Amazon. I picked You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler and Drawing for the Absolute Beginner by Mark and Mary Willenbrink. I’m going to be working out of them for the next few weeks so expect to see plenty of photos of my work. As a starter, I took the advice of Mark Kistler and sketched a house, an airplane, and a bagel (yes, that’s what those drawings are supposed to be!).

Hopefully, I’ll learn a few things. Further down the road, I’d love to draw as another form of entertainment. I’m a huge fan of old school comic strips (Dick Tracy, Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon, X-9, Li’l Abner, and Rip Kirby volumes all line my bookshelves). It would be an interesting challenge to create my own adventure comic strip. I’m also interested in creating a Cy Reed-based adventure video game using Adventure Game Studio.

Other Stuff

The link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is still broken. On the bright side, things are moving forward and from what I understand, Diesel received a revised version of Chaos yesterday that should fix the problem. Also, I just realized my Goodreads link isn’t working. This seems to be a coding problem as the widget I use for social networking doesn’t have an “author” function. Finally, the Chaos paperback is still on sale for $13.25 at Amazon. Get it while it’s cheap!