Camp! Camp!

 

I love NaNo and Camp NaNo.  I get excited each time it rolls around, tomorrow is no exception.  The clock starts at midnight!

Thankfully, I’ve been able to finish every time… this will be my… fifth?  Very cool.  Hopefully I can keep the trend up with my next project.

Here’s a sneak peak and a draft cover I made:

Last Rights

There’s a diner at the intersection of two remote highways that also correspond to the crossroads of the afterlife.  After having a cup of coffee, maybe flirting with Carla, Ghosts can pick a direction and start walking down the lonely roads.  No one knows if one road leads to a pleasant place, or the fiery one, or something in between, or whether direction even matters because no ghost has ever come back.

Until one does.

Also deserving an honorable mention here is the cover I made for a friend who I cajoled into participating.  It’s the least I could do, right?  Turned out pretty sweet if you ask me.

third 5.1 sized M

Writing Music – Dad

One of the biggest hurdles I have to face when writing at home is that I live in a teeny, tiny apartment.  In other words, the TV is about five feet away from me when I’m trying to be productive.  What I used to do is put on some idiotic TV show, just so that there’s some sound other than traffic and neighbors, but it always ended up distracting me.

Today, I wanted to get into some editing and decided that I really needed music instead of some dumb show.  I managed to figure out how to stream music through my ill-used game system without straining myself too much (as a technophobe, that’s saying something).

Then I reached the next big decision.  What to play?

This is a tougher question than one might assume.  I’m a very picky music listener.  I used to play in bands during High School and College, there’s not a lot I can stand and it was important that I find something conducive to writing.  I couldn’t just put on anything, if the vocals were too loud, or the beat too techno, or a million other variations it wouldn’t work.  I’ve tried writing to music before, but often found it as bad as TV.

So, what to play?

And here’s where we start down the rabbit hole that inspired this post.

My Dad is an amazing guy, talented in a million different areas.  But, when I was growing up, his taste in music used to drive me INSANE.  He used to buy the soundtracks to big budget movies and play them all the time.  And I mean the original soundtracks, not just a bunch of bands thrown together.  John Williams, Danny Elfman, etc.  Last of the Mohicans, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, there’s dozens I know by heart.

At fourteen I’d be sitting at the dinner table, mentally stewing because “Why are we listening to this when I’ve got a perfectly good Nine Inch Nails album in my room?”

Among the many talents of my dad are he’s exceptional with photoshop, digital animation, video and photography, and graphic design.  He spent so many hours in his office perfecting his work and it shows.  Calling him a talented hobbyist would be a dramatic understatement.

All while listening to movie soundtracks and similar music.

As I perused my options today one stood out: movie soundtracks.

That’s perfect, right?  The music varies, there’s a bit of every mood, there often aren’t big vocals or distracting flurries.  It’s meant to be subtle but evoke emotion.

And it works perfectly for me.  Now, when I’m writing I know what to pull up.

I had to laugh at myself a bit as the opening strains of Jurassic Park came through the speakers today.  How many times had I complained about my Dad’s music choices and now they’re my go-to?

It’s also nice that every once and a while a familiar tune plays and I get a little smile thinking of him.

Testing, testing…

I’ve been needing to upgrade my site for quite a while now but have finally gotten around to it.  And it’s already kicking my proverbial butt, in case you couldn’t tell from the state of the header.  Sigh.

So, for the next few days (at least) this site is going to be under construction.  Wish me luck.

I’m back, kinda

I’m sure you’ve noticed, being such rabid fans of mine, that I haven’t posted since… a long time ago.  Months, probably.  I could make excuses, the holidays and various trips, but the biggest thing is that I needed some time off.

This is something I highly suggest to other writers, take a break every once and a while.  It goes against the common advice to “write every day, no matter what”, but I find that taking off a week here and there allows me to maintain my enthusiasm.  It isn’t work, it’s exciting.  And that’s an important part of keeping this fun and interesting to me.

So, throughout the holidays and trips I took a break from writing and blogging and social media.  I focused on the stuff in my real life that’s important.  It was awesome and totally worth it.

And now I’m back, nose to the grind stone again.  I’ve got a couple projects that are pretty exciting and I can’t wait to share them.

November and December

I’m sure you were all wondering what happened to me over the last six weeks or so (not really), I haven’t posted in that long, but I’m still alive.  I’ve just been intensely, insanely busy.

November:

Was NaNo!!  I ‘won’ for the fourth time straight (if you count Camp NaNo) and had a great time doing it.  I missed almost a week due to work stuff but managed to catch up before the deadline, writing almost 9k on the last day to finish.

Like last November, my story went a little off the rails from where I imagined it would.  I’m a devoted pantser but this story surprised me when it went from a light-hearted, silly concept into a fairly serious adventure story with a bit of a dark theme.  It’s good though, probably one of the best stories I’ve written.

*Side note: I didn’t post this story to Wattpad as I did the last three NaNos as it was being written.  Wattpad is a cool site but to really get the benefits you need to be really active on it.  I’m not, so I closed my account.  Rather than focusing on social media, writing sites, or blogs, I’m focusing on getting my stories finished and (hopefully) published soon.

After finishing up my 50K, the next week was a crazy one for work… Then the next week my sister came down for a visit.  I have this week as somewhat normal but then next week I’m going on a trip for the holidays.

As you might imagine, the schedule hasn’t left much time for blogging and won’t until 2016.

When I get back I’ve got two drafts that I need to finish, then I’ll be looking for a good editor to get the ball rolling on publishing.  I’ve also got the comic series that I was working on in October that has been a lot of fun and I want to turn into a regular on the blog.

Updates might not be coming fast for the next couple weeks but hopefully they’ll be worth the wait.

Feedback on a Comic Idea

Hello all you lovely readers and writers, I’ve got an idea for a semi-regular comic strip and I’d really like some feedback.  I like doing draft covers and showing them here but my artistic history has always been in comic style and I’m wondering if I can combine writing humor with some art.

SWB1.4s

I’ve got some fun ideas for some future strips but I’d like to know if this is something that interests people before I put in too much time and effort.  Let me know what you think!

**Update: it was suggested that the format might be confusing so I changed it up to a more traditional panel layout.  I mangled it a bit but it should be good enough to get the idea across.  You can click on it to make it bigger.  Better or worse?

SWB1.6s

NaNo!

I haven’t been writing here too much this month because I’ve been trying to finish up a novel I’ve been working on before November… then this week I had a really fun idea for a short story, so now I’m trying to wrap up two projects in the next five days.

I’m not really complaining, I’d rather have too many things going on than too few, but it does add a little stress to the week.

All that said, I’ve got my idea and a very basic outline for my NaNoWriMo story!

back_draft_9s

McGhoulie’s:

On all Hallow’s eve, when a young thief breaks into an old costume shop he gets the shock of a lifetime.  Not only is the place open it’s occupied by the strangest creatures he’s ever seen.  Monsters of all shapes and sizes wander the aisles, shopping, gossiping, picking their noses.  Blue vested employees work the counters and cash registers.

And none of them are happy to have been discovered.

Given the option of putting on a blue vest or becoming a late night snack, which would you choose?

I think it’ll be fun and just like the last few NaNo’s I’ll be posting it to Wattpad as it’s written.  You can follow along here:  https://www.wattpad.com/user/jmpayer1

And to everyone else participating, Happy NaNo!