Monday, August 28, 2006

bare the wire


I have a few guilty secrets. Like right now, I’m listening to Michael Jackson as I write.

I hope that didn’t just bring up your last meal.

And hey, it’s Monday again, but not just any Monday, it’s the final Monday on my mini-journey to finish the first draft of my very own dramody screenplay.

It would be about now in the post where I come up with valid reasons for why I’m not going to meet my Sept 1 deadline. So, as not to disappoint, here are five.

1) My full time job at home (family) and work (slavers) has prevented me from getting as much done as I wanted to . . .

2) I’ve contracted a rare disease and had to spend the last week in hospital away from my computer . . .

3) My wife and I are fighting every second . . .

4) My dog ate the backup disc of my script, and my computer drive crashed leaving me with nothing . . .

5) I have been abducted by aliens every night this week and am so damn tired I just can’t get up the energy to write . . .

Now, at this point in the post, I tell you the five excuses above are complete bullshit.

Complete.

Well, maybe number 5 is legit - I wouldn’t remember except under hypnosis. Must schedule a session or two . . .

Now for the naked, raw and straight-up truth.

I’m down to the last sixteen scenes in my script, but I have some legitimate time suckers coming up this week. The ace up my hole (is that the right phrase?) is this coming Friday - which I have off.

Since it is the deadline day, I can, if allowed, finish my screenplay then. I have till midnight Friday to deliver the goods.

And deliver I shall. I am determined to see this thing through because if I don’t, well, it will be bad for my inner task completer.

More harsh truth follows.

I’ve had to abandon a lot of my perfectionist ways so I can actually complete my screenplay on time. Last week I whined and moaned (Geez I hate that in a post, don’t you?) about how I would most likely miss the deadline.

Ain’t gonna happen. It ain’t.

So I am completing it with “IT IS A FIRST DRAFT YOU JERK” firmly embedded in my cranium so I don’t dawdle and screw around anymore.

And, it’s working. Only problem is at this point I’m hating it and think it sucks . . .

But since that is the natural reaction to any first draft work, I must be on track.

You know, you look at it (your work of art) and loath it, then you get angry at it, then you get indigestion, then you abandon hope, then, after all the agonizing (self-imposed of course) you realize it is part of you - and you accept it, embrace it even.

Doesn’t stop you from hating it and thinking it sucks, but after second draft that mostly formless blob will start to take on a real shape and by third and fourth draft it transforms into a thing of beauty . . .

Crap, Michael Jackson is fragging my frelling mind.

Hang on a second . . .

Just changed my music selection to, A Flock Of Seagulls: I Ran.

Much, much better writing music. Which reminds me . . .

I better get going on my last sixteen scenes now . . . Running, running would be good.

Until next Monday when you will know it I crossed the finish line in glory, or crashed and burned like an all-mouth-no-substance loser.

Please save you judgements until then.

But feel free to hurl insults or encouragement in the meantime.

Monday, August 21, 2006

deadlines and dead lines


Nobody I know ever says “Thank God it’s Monday”

I can’t blame them really. But I kinda like Mondays – they keep me honest in the writing world.

And I’ve been feel lost in the wasteland of words for the past several weeks – let me explain.

I’ve been working towards a Sept 1st deadline for my script, and I’m pretty sure, as the days go by, that I’m not going to be able to make it. I have some quality standards that would need to be seriously compromised if I do so.

Sounds like an feeble excuse I know, but let me elaborate a little more.

A while back I mentioned that I changed the “idea” of my script from a dual theme to a single theme, and with that some significant rewriting needed to be done to make it all fit correctly. My old outline was done "pre" this revelation.

So, my old outline needed to be pretty much scrapped, leading me to almost start completely over again. I rewrote the beginning of my script to suit, and now find myself mired in a race to the finish line without any super clear direction.

I feel as though the deadline is causing me to write dead lines . . .

If you will pardon my language.

So, I’m stepping back some and revisiting the whole writing my script thing. I want it to be good. I want it to work – but it won’t if I force it through a strainer just to hit a deadline sacrificing quality for speed.

I see this more as a realization than a failure. You can call it what you want.

So, when Sept 1 flys by – I”ll still be cranking away on my script. It will be done when it’s done. At a guess, that may be another month or so.

More on my writing life next week.

On a side note:

I’ve had an entire week of quiet house (just me, the dust and the BBQ). No sounds except my fingers tapping on the keyboard or clicking the mouse, either writing or playing –

- Fallout 2.

Now, if you have never played Fallout or Fallout 2, you have missed one of the great reasons to be alive at this time and place.

Also – don’t miss watching Buffy or Firefly.

Some things you can go through life never experiencing.

But the first two Fallout games are not on that list. Well, for me anyhow. You may like knitting or flying kites or talking to your pets.

Now you are just dying to know why I find these games so incredible. If so read on. If not, now is the perfect time head to another website.

I’ve played a few (hundred) computer games starting way back as far as 1989. I bought my first PC then, a wonderful 088 computer running at 4.77 MegaHurtz for just under two thousand dollars. The first game I bought was Ulitma IV. I had a blast playing it on my 13” Amberchrome monitor.

From there I progressed to the D&D SSI games, etc. One absolute highlight was “Alone in the Dark” Man, that game creeped me out something awful – awful in this instance as in “Frelling Great!” I remember plugging my computer into my stereo system and playing it through there. I wonder why the in game shotgun blasts didn’t have the neighbours calling the police . . .

My wife could probably tell you I’m a computer game nerd, addict, nut or something.

And she would be right. I can’t help myself.

One of the reasons I like the Fallout games best of any computer games, is because they allow you time to make decisions. No twelve-year-old-on-caffeine reactions needed. Just your mind, careful planning and execution of moves and a story unriveled in computer game worlds.

Ahhhhh, the story. I love stories and the Fallout universe story – from the first game through the second – it is simply marvelous. Even Fallout Tactics (sort of a combat only game) has a great story unfolding as each mission is completed.

And the world which is created is desolate, realistic and post-apocolyptic in amazing detail. It really is a fully immersive experience and you can find yourself sucked into the tale as the hours go by. (not my sacred writing hours mind you . . .)

It has everything I could ever want in a computer game and I’m dying for somebody to make another like it. Fallout 3 (a true successor to 1 and 2) would be a RPG computer game players dream come true.

There have been rumblings on and off for years about one actually happening. But sadly, the third true game was turned into a console game piece of crap.

And Fallout Tactics, while fun and all, just isn’t the wandering-the-wastelands open ended fun that the first two games were/are.

So, I replay 1 and 2 and enjoy them each as much as the first. You can create different characters each game and complete quests several different ways. Both 1 and 2 are so open ended that you really, and I mean really, can do almost anything you want.

Be evil or good – you decide. And your actions affect the characters in the game and the world around you. Nothing could be cooler – in my opinion.

So, rush out and get them. Oh, and they work on Windows XP as well in case you were worried about that.

Well, until next Monday –

- I’ll be traveling the Wastelands and rewriting and reworking my script –

- but not at the same time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

bring in the old


Okay, so I missed yesterday.

Sue me.

Or not – this is Canada, not the USA after all.

Yes- the script is coming along – yada, yada.

What a boring post idea for Mondays.

I mean really – does anybody give a crap how my writing is going?

But hey, something much cooler have I been working on. And no, it’s not “Yoda speak” but computer related.

You see (or read in this case) I had this old junker Pentium 233 computer which was kicking around and I thought – hey – I have a bunch of old computer games that just don’t go on my new XP machine.

So, I slapped the sucker together and plunked in an old (but very reliable) 8X CD-Rom drive from like 15 years ago and voila – instant old computer game machine.

It has 64 Meg of ram, a 2 Meg video card and an emulated Sound Blaster onboard sound

– Oh, yeah – I’m really cooking with gas now baby!

Now why all the excitement you might ask? Well, I starting waxing nostalgic for some good old computer games like I played long ago. And yes, the packrat in me, means I still have copies of them.

So, I loaded up Star Control 3 (runs like a dream). And tonight I’m going to load up Fallout!

Gawd, how I love these two games.

You see, with the major improvement in computers I feel a bit of a loss for the amazing story driven less eye-candy games of yor. Now I don’t have to pine anymore, but can play them - again.

And yes, I even loaded in Pool of Radiance – and it works just fine although a tad fast but I’m not complaining. What a great old D&D computer game from SSI. You have to draw your own maps and everything. How cool is that?

Okay, nuff said on the topic. I am very pleased with myself and am going to tour the galaxy and tread in the Wastelands once more.

And try to get my Monday updates posted on say – Mondays.

Until then.

Now, where did I put my shotgun and mentats!

Monday, August 07, 2006

oh my ears and whiskers


I’m late!

Crap, it’s Monday and I actually forgot about posting here until only a few moments ago.

You see, it’s a Holiday here today in Frosty Canada, and I did the good health thing this morning and went for a one hour tour - a walk that is.

I left the house at 8:00 AM and found, to my chagrin, that it was already very, very humid and hot. But, I was out for exercise so didn’t really care about the sweating so much.

Got back, made a coffee, checked my “other blog” to make sure no spammers or hackers had frelled it up (Farscape reference recognition - 5 points) and then onto my email and - oh, crap - forgot.

So, here I am scrambling to put together a cogent sting of ideas for you to feast on and utterly failing. Must be the endorphins still pumping through my body from the walk.

Oh, yeah. The reason for my Monday ramblings. Writing. Um, well, been doing it actually. Started a new short story, but chopped it off before it went too far. Cool idea I put on ice for another day.

Because the “script” is king and needs much attention. Like I need it done by Sept 1 or face the music. And the music is Joe.

Not pretty music to listen too. So, I’ll get it done.

Oh, and major treat for all you reader(do I dare add and s here?) I am - after first draft script done - putting together a FREE (no Ginsu knife though - unsafe and a choking hazard to boot) E-Book of selected short stories!

*looks at your blank stare*

Okay, not the coolest thing you have ever heard, but pretty cool - admit it.

Now, the key to a “cool” E-book has got to be art. And when it comes to art - I suck the big one. So, I need to hire (reading this Paul?) Somebody who can draw cool pencil line art for my stories.

I have to decide how many “stories” to include in the E-book. I’m thinking 6 will most likely be more than enough.

And, when do you get to see this work of art? Well, it will be ready in time for Halloween 2006.

See how my plans for world domination are not working out? So many other things for me to do instead.

Well, until next Monday - when I hope to remember it is Monday before Monday - if you follow me.

Stay well.