Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fresh Eyes

I finally settled down to edit the three short stories I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I have to admit, going through them the first time after they sat for a while certainly makes me enjoy the editing process a lot more. Another guilty admission: I like my own stories.

I realize that I may have broken cardinal rule #1 for any artist, which goes something like this: you must HATE anything you create. The more other people like it, the more you should despise it, yourself and even your ancestry (which you wouldn't know anyway because you're a bastard). Now, self-loathing has never been my forte and at 48 years old, I'm going to guess I'm not going to start working on that skill. I may never been a best selling author, but if I even hate this writing thing or myself for what I create, then I'm dropping it altogether. That's not me.

Doc On Loan, my latest screenplay, still sits in first draft status. I'm not looking forward to cutting 30+ pages from it to get it down to "acceptable" size, but I know I have to grow a pair soon and start slicing. I'm only crying on the inside, I swear.

My newest novel, Novel #5, kept me somewhat busy this week, though I'm writing it at the same intensity as I did Doc On Loan. There's definitely a different energy and finesse needed to write both types of work, as I've discovered. I'm enjoying the process, but it's definitely a major change in pacing and technique.

Needless to say, I didn't hear from Bombastic Bob this week. I figured I wouldn't even follow up with him until September 1st. Yes, I can be that patient especially since I'll be going out of town soon and will be FAR away from email.

Okay, back to editing. I hope all of you have a wonderful and creative week. I know I will.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Novel Broke Out The Other Day

I swear, I don't have attention deficit disorder when it comes to most everything else. But while I was in the middle of writing my latest short story "Games of Chance", I had an idea for a novel which I decided to explore. I should be more accurate … it was a idea for a start of a novel because I didn't have a bloody thing planned out, but I just wrote an introduction out of thin air. I won't reveal the title (yet), but this week, the only thing I've been writing is that book. I will say it is a murder mystery, but an amateur ends up being the "detective" … and that it's based in Los Angeles. The book will have many of the components of a traditional mystery with some unique features thrown in. By the way, I'll be referring to this masterpiece as Novel #5, since I have four others in various stages of completion.


I did no editing on any of my first draft stories or Doc on Loan, my latest screenplay, this week. Summertime and this writer is lazy ….

No word from the Bobster, my crack(ed) attorney. I'm not sure, but I'd say that's not the best news in the world. Bombastic Bob, attorney-at-law … maybe he's run away with my option money?

One of my articles written under my real name (which is becoming difficult to keep straight) finally got published in one of the tech industry magazines I write for. It was supposed to be in the July edition, but got bumped. As always, it's great to see your hard work on paper - real paper, not a webzine.

I've decided I will remain on sabbatical from writing for American Chronicle for the rest of the summer. I'm having too much fun with my fiction writing and besides, I have no contract with them.

Helium is an interesting online magazine and my experience with them is a lesson in how you should actually READ the user agreement before you click "I agree." I decided to post one of my short stories there, with the idea I would leave it there for a while to see what kind of reaction I got, then pull it to submit to another magazine. Unfortunately, all articles submitted there remain there in perpetuity, even if you quit the site. They don't insist on exclusivity, but most other publications do … so if you publish on Helium, forget about publishing anywhere else. Bummer, since one of my favorite stories is now locked in there.

That's it from here. A bit of a mélange this week, wouldn't you say?

Until next time, I wish you all well.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Life's A Comedy

I recently joined an online forum (unrelated to writing) for the sole purpose of developing a persona that is a fragment of my own (my wiseass side, to be precise). The idea was that I would push the bounds of written comedy because I have found that that genre requires significant exercise to strengthen its effectiveness.

Well, I can report that I've been having a blast pushing that envelope and establishing this avatar as loony and from what I can tell, humorous. That's not to say I'm going to be hitting the stand-up circuit anytime soon. But now I've created a lot of new material to use in my work (not to mention a method for creating more).

Short Fiction

The "The Bing Wong Motel" still sits waiting for me to return as does "Bones Under The Bed." Instead, this week, I wrote a whole new story called "Terminus" and started another new one, entitled "Games of Chance." My editing still sits waiting for me and eventually I'll get back to it, but while I'm on a roll, I might as well pump it out!


I submitted A Perfect Tenant to the Bluecat screenwriting competition. This one will be judged in November, but I got mine in early because of a few added benefits. I'll write about those down the road should any of them actually come to pass. Meanwhile, I haven't touched Doc On Loan to edit it … soon, I swear.


No word from Bombastic Bob, my MIA attorney. I'm fantasizing he's in meetings with all kinds of producers who are just FIGHTING to get their hands on one of my masterpieces. Yes, I'm delusional. Anyway, I'll follow up with him in a couple of weeks.

Finished all James N. Frey's books I had on writing novels, now I've returned to a book I started a while ago, The Writer's Journey, by Chris Vogler. I also have an audiobook of him presenting on this subject which I will be adding to my playlist very shortly.

Okay, my post ends here, friends. I hope all of you have a fine week and are able to get your projects done or at least moving forward.

Keep writing!


Sunday, July 8, 2007

When Ideas Strike

Did you ever have one of those weeks where you had ideas coming in left and right and you have to write (or paint or sculpt) what's in your head or your brain will explode? Okay, maybe it's just me, but this week was one of those weeks. Carrying on the theme from the last blog post, it was nothing that I planned to work on, either. This time, I decided to ride the wild horse and see where it would take me instead of trying to direct the thing myself. It made for an enjoyable week.

Short Fiction

I temporarily put "The Bing Wong Motel" to the side. Instead, my muse told me to write a story called "Wandering." I was just "musing" (see how that works?) about how I never see anybody hitchhiking around these parts and voila, the germ of a story popped into my head. I start the story off with a quote from William Blake and the sentence "Nobody hitchhikes anymore." The rest of the plot filled in as I wrote. I had the entire 6,500 words written over a three day period.

Once I printed off the first draft of that one, I intended to go back to one of the stories in progress. Instead, I got my hair cut yesterday (I go to a "real" barber instead of a salon). There was this little boy there about to get his first haircut and I had front row seats at the event. As I watched, another story idea popped into my head and I couldn't wait to get home to get it onto my computer. As of this writing, I'm probably another page or two from the end, called "The Deepest Cut."

The goal here is to write more short stories (and poetry) than I'll need for the book so I'll have something to choose from when it's time to pull the book together. I'm going to have twelve stories and six poems in the final manuscript. Right now, I have twelve stories either completed or started, so I should have fourteen or fifteen ready by later this year.


Still waiting to hear from my attorney (I'll call him "Bombastic Bob," a nod to Johnny Carson's own real life attorney, Henry I. "Bombastic" Bushkin). The reason Bob is "bombastic" is because of what he charges me per hour. Oy! Aside from that, Bob is a great guy and I'm hoping he'll be even greater and hook me up with a producer or two. We'll see.

By the way, I've been reading the rest of the books in the James N. Frey "series" of "damn good novel" instruction books. Jim has a lot of good practical advice for novelists and as I've found, no matter what I've learned from my own experiences or other writers, it's always worthwhile to read books and magazines which are geared to helping writers out. I always get something useful out of it. Right now, I'm working out the idea of "premise" (v. theme or moral) and making sure I have a solid one before writing my stories. Very helpful stuff, I'd say.

That's all for today, friends. I hope you're having a creative week and I look forward to hearing from you or at least, reading your own masterpieces.

Until next time, write on!


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Attention Span Issues

I have to admit that when it comes to other facets of my life, I can be very focused. In fact, in a world of significant distractions, I can't think of anyone more single-minded than me. I'm not bragging … in fact, I would call it a curse more than anything else. Writing, however, is a different story. Here is an example of such a week.

Short Fiction

I did nothing this week with "Bones Under the Bed," my current short story in progress. Instead, I started a new one (one that was sort of in the queue) called "The Bing Wong Motel." Simply put, it's an offbeat story of discovery. I've only written a few pages of that one so far.


Doc On Loan remains in the "to be edited" mode, which was intentional because I wanted to look at it with fresh eyes for the second draft. Meanwhile, I didn't make any progress on Original Idea nor did I look at Thirty Years in any significant fashion. Instead, I started outlining the scenes for a new screenplay I had in the queue (Untitled here, for now).

Why this one? It was one of those shower epiphanies I have. I've always seemed to have gotten my most creative ideas while in the shower. I don't know what possessed me to think about this particular screenplay idea I had, but the scenes started dropping into my brain so fast, I couldn't wait to get out to write them down. I'm not done yet with the scene outlining, but I was able to capture all I thought of for now. Untitled is yet another comedy featuring a popular comic actor (in my head, of course). I'm looking forward to writing it.


Nothing on the American Chronicle front again this week. I seemed to have lost my momentum there (for now).


I decided to email my entertainment attorney (the guy I hired last year to review the option contract for The Rebound Guy (which became Ricochet Man) to find out if he had any contacts - producers, literary agents, etc. - that he could hook me up with to look at my two completed screenplays and the reality show treatment my wife and I wrote. Sure enough, he wrote me back and invited me to send him what I had; he will read them and decide whether he will pass any/all of them on to the producers he knows. He claims he's done this for other clients and some have walked away with projects options. I can only hope :-)

Also, I decided to use to turn the cover of my book into postcards, all for just the delivery charge (less than $6.00 … they were having a sale). I got them the other day and they turned out MUCH better than I could've hoped for. I will be using these to help me market the book before I publish In The Foothills next February.

Okay, that's all from hot So Cal to your home. Have a great 4th!

Michael C. Cordell