Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Question about being drunk

I've always thought having a character become drunk in a film was an easy out for the screenwriter. A lazy way to have him or her become honest and revealing and even a little silly. When it happens, you just know that things are gonna get intense. And it just feels wrong.

Susan Sarandon put it best when she was acting in "The Hunger". There's an amazing love scene between her and Catherine Deneuve, and the way it was written, Sarandon's character gets drunk and falls into the affair that way. To paraphrase Susan, she said, "Don't have her do that. It takes away her choice in the matter and lessens the meaning."

It's the same with Richard Dreyfus's character in "The Goodbye Girl". After a hideous performance, he gets drunk and reveals all. And got an Oscar for it. As did Katherine Hepburn in "Morning Glory". The Oscars like actors playing drunks. Witness Ray Milland in "The Lost Weekend" and Nicholas Cage playing the same damn role fifty years later in "Leaving Las Vegas".

I've seen it used a hundred times in plays, TV shows and movies, to give the uptight character an excuse to let loose. The worst was in "The Shadow Box", when a dying gay man's companion is suddenly sloshed and gets loud and in the gay man's ex-wife's face. So I'm not prone to using that device.

Problem is...well, Adam wants to. I already have him downing a glass of Scotch to help him tolerate Orisi's antics. However, I don't have him get drunk off it. But suddenly he's had another glass...and I'm starting to feel like his entrance after being made over is too pat, with him being huffy about how he's been treated. His best line sounds like it was written for just that moment, which irritates me. And on top of it, he wants to be a happy drunk. Which would fit the next few scenes. Dammit.

So...does anyone else have ideas on that? Am I just being too dismissive of a solid tool that could help the story? It's not like I've ever used it in any of my scripts or books. Same for drugs. Maybe it's okay, for this story. I dunno.

But my prejudice against it runs deep.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Quick note on A65...

I input changes from the first act and managed to trim that half-page, but did it by intensifying Casey's character and letting Adam change his slow burn with Orisi. I'm still too focused on loading a lot of info in the beginning, but it's not really necessary to have it all right then. Doling out the info works better. Now it flows a lot better and feels much more organic.

I'm tossing my 100 page limit. The characters won't let me force something that artificial on the story. So be it. I want good, not cookie-cutter or standardized format.

Light Bulb Moment

You never know where awareness will spring from, especially self-awareness. I got a negative review posted for "How To Rape A Straight Guy" on And it didn't bug me, because I'd written the book I wanted to, and I learned long ago I couldn't please everybody with it...especially considering the title.

It's been the same for any other negative response to my narrative writing. "Okay, sorry you didn't like it." But no worry or concern about the book not being perfectly acceptable to one and all.

Well...that segued into me thinking about how I write screenplays. Yes, I write the stories I want and the characters build themselves, but in that I always have an eye to pleasing someone else. In the past, I've gone so far as to change the script to suit a producer's notes, and come damn close to ruining the story...even when I knew what I was doing was wrong.

Thing is, I've never been able to shake the idea that if my script is criticized or shrugged off, that means it needs more work. And tonight I finally got the idea that the reason I fall into that trap is because I'm not writing the script exactly as I want it. As the characters want it.

One in particular is "Mine To Kill", a story about a woman who wants to bring her husband back from the dead and an empathic-intuitive intern who senses the turmoil in her soul. I've had several people tell me the story needs to follow one character or the other, because it's split between the two of them. But the story doesn't want to do that, nor do the characters. And so it's still a problematic script because I haven't accepted what the characters want.

I keep trying to make it fast and scary in the first act, and it's not that kind of story. Period. It's the story of two decent people -- one who's getting lost in evil and one who's climbing closer to the angels. It needs a slower pace to build from...but to appease the Hollywood attitude and all the Syd Field acolytes, I've been trying to make it do the wrong thing for it.

I need to look back over my scripts and just write them the way they want to be. Write the movies I'd want to see instead of what I think might sell. I should let my attitude about my books, which are really problematic for some people, to encompass my screenwriting, as well. I mean, trying to appease what Hollywood says it wants isn't getting me sold, anyway, so what've I got to lose?

Some angst, maybe?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Oops...dug myself a hole...

I got into the party sequence of A65 and now am totally lost. It was long and boring and needlessly so, really, so I started cutting nonsense...and now I don't know what the hell's going on. I think I need to go back to page 1 and input my changes, because many of the pages have a lot of red ink on them, some of it scratched out and newer changes made to locations and's mind-boggling. Begone with the confusion, is the best method.

It's been an odd day, anyway. I had a hell of a time concentrating at work, and when I got home I could barely get myself to sit down to write. Instead, I watched silly stuff like this...

That fox is a trip. "Juuuuuust messin' wit' ya!"

I guess I'm just overwhelmed at the need for something to keep this script from being lost in nothingness. Or stupidity. Or repetitiveness. Like that fox doing the same damn thing over and over and over...

God, my brain is fuzzy. What gives?

Monday, February 25, 2013


...Deeper and deeper into "The Alice '65", and in doing so I'm finding Casey. I've been keeping her too down to earth and not at all interesting. But I've adjusted her first interaction with Adam and several aspects along the way to the premier and party, and it's getting closer to what they need to be.

Lando's still being difficult, but he's starting to realize he's got to do something or he's going to vanish into the shadows. And I've trimmed back some nonsense bits that added nothing but space to the story. I can keep them in the book version.

I found the perfect placard for me. I nearly died laughing the first time I read it, it's so damn true. Of course, I never did make friends easily, and living in Buffalo, which is a very insular town, makes it even harder. So my best buddies right now are my characters.

I'm still able to feel pain and sorrow for real people. In fact, when I once made the comment I might become a serial killer, a coworker instantly said I'd never make it as one; I have too much empathy. Maybe that's why my most vicious work, HTRASG, keeps getting basically good reactions; I felt both for Curt and the victims of his revenge, and it showed on the page.

I wonder if I ever could write a character devoid of a heart or pain, just nothing but cruel? I doubt it. Even Allen, who causes so much grief in "Bobby Carapisi" has himself explained in such a way as you can understand why he became like he did. And his punishment is beyond cruelty. But I show that it is unacceptable. Show that what happens to him is evil.

Of course, I could just be talking myself into an arrogance unjustified in my actual abilities...which I wouldn't mind, right now.

Dismal Oscars

Emmanuelle Riva got dissed by a 21 year old who can't even walk. Shit.

Tarantino won another one. Gag.

Who said Seth MacFarlane was brilliant? Seen zero proof of it.

The opening was an embarrassment.

And I still want to be part of it. What does that say about me?

I'm a psycho.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Quick note...

This blue suit is the exact feel I'd want for Adam's transformation...

Albeit, without the sequined shirt and blue boots.

Act 1 on A65

 I say I'm going to cut, so I add half a page. It's crazy. But I've gone through the first act four times and it stays the same length. I'm fighting a losing battle, there.

That said, I am in the leanest part of the script, and Act 2 is so much sloppier. I should be able to cut in there; I have way too much chit-chat.

Act one's tight because it's where Adam's established as a cloistered lad en route to being old too soon, then he's being talked into working with Casey, and then he's being made over by Orisi. He goes from this... something along the feel of this, just not as "City" as that. And then through the second half of Act 2 is totally deconstructed.

I'm having more fun with the interplay between him and Orisi, but Casey's too much in the background. For this to be a romantic comedy, she needs to make more of an impression, and she's still being reticent. Dunno why. I'm giving her the chance. Maybe it's because Patricia's around taking up all the good air. She's Casey's manager, backup, and entourage...AKA: Mom. How many girls want to be all they can be in front of mommy?

Damn, I'd like to win the lottery and make this movie. I'd cast Russell in a heartbeat, along with Eliza Dushku. It wouldn't take a lot to do -- $5-7 million. I know the perfect cinematographer who'd add immeasurably to the project.

That said, again...anybody know any millionaires who like to gamble on long shots?

Friday, February 22, 2013


I may take this too deeply to heart...but it does seem right.

Are the fates speaking?

I ran across this on Tumbler -- 
Mark Twain's house in Hartford, CT.

Wow…just wow…

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Making money from my writing

A whole $11.55 from Kindle sales of "Bobby Carapisi, the Complete Novel." Actually, I haven't been paid that, yet; I'm getting a bank transfer on the last day of the month. Still, that's more than I've received from any of the publishers of my other works, and it's just for November and December.

Wait, I shouldn't say that. STARbooks Press, who put out "The Lyons' Den", paid me $50 for "Perfection", my novella. Of course, that was nearly five years ago. And I once won $300 from a screenplay competition for "Bugzters" and got prizes that were worth a bit from others for "Blood Angel" and "Find Ray Tarkovsky". It's just, this is the first money from any of my novels, and it feels special.

I worked more on "The Alice '65", digging into my restructuring...well, not so much a restructuring as a rewrite. The spine of the story's good; it's the flesh and bones that need realignment. I printed out a copy and am red-penning that to figure out what goes where and how much the story can do without. I want it to be so tight, no one can even think of a reason to do a rewrite...except to please their own vanity. Of which there is a lot in Hollywood.

The thing I'm finding is, a lot of the information I squeeze into A65 is more suited to a novelization. So once I have POS done, at least in first draft, I'm going to shift it into a book.

Of course, if I win the lottery, I'm making the movie, myself. I've still got arrogance enough to think I can.

But...I also want to make "The Cowboy King of Texas". So I may work on that, too; try and make it funnier. And "Wide New World" is in line, too.

Damn,one of the things they don't tell you about growing old is how much extra baggage there is for anyone who's trying to be a writer. Not just yours, but all your characters', too. I'd need to work on it full time for the next 15 years just to catch up to today.

And that's without anything new coming up.

I'm still writing...

Working on A65...and Adam now talks to his books. I'm also describing him as "a young man whose heart is going prematurely gray." A bit florid but closer to his reality.

As for Casey, she's "every thinking boy's superhero pinup girl." And Lando is "the dumb jock who's always going to be that, no matter how smart he really is."

I'm seeing that I'm way too serious about the writing style of this script. Credit my arrogance for that. Hopefully, I will cease this obnoxious attitude of superiority and actually have fun with the writing, again.

Tally-ho, you ho's.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Downton Abbey

Finished Season 2. I have to think about making myself go through Season 3. I really do not understand the fascination with this program. I have yet to see one moment of originality in it, and cannot connect with any of the characters. They're all so derivative and stale.

But my biggest gripe is with Thomas, the footman. The one gay man in the whole of England, despite how infamous British public schools were about male on male romances, is a conniving bitch.

Of course, none of the people inhabiting the show are of top drawer material. They all seem to have one note to play. Lady Mary as the haughty hypocrite. Matthew as the perfectionist prig. Lord Grantham as the befuddled patriarch. And Thomas as the back-stabbing faggot.

That really fucking pisses me off. I've got a vicious, cruel, selfish, back-stabbing queer vampire in "Blood Angel" -- Dmitriy -- but I give him a back story to explain it, and there's a counterpoint to him; Scott, one of Tristan's friends, is gay and would rather die than hurt him, even though he's desperate to feed after Dmitriy turns him.

I don't mind gay villains. What bugs me is when the only gay character is the worst guy in the room. Thomas steals, lies, cheats, blackmails, plots evil with O'Brien, cuts people down with emotional bullying, you name it. And I fucking hate that.

I think I will avoid any more of this show. It just pisses me off.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Playing catch up

A65 has begun to rumble in my brain. It wants to get its changes down and ready to be honed into something sharp. Adam's already shouting in my ear about where he wants to go, and now Casey's begun her song, as has Lando. She's come up with a way to make the ending even wilder than it already is, with a kick at the end of it, and he wants to mess with Adam more.

I'm not done with "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor" yet, but it'll have to wait.

So will "The Alice '65" for a bit longer. I've got too much to catch up on here -- paying bills, getting groceries, digging through my mail, and don't get me started on paperwork...I had nothing but that all day long.

But...reading this book on writing comedy has both given me interesting ideas and helped to reaffirm my belief in my writing ability. I have about 75% of what they say you need in a comedy already part of A65. My main problem is, I go on too long with too much of it. So I'm sending out a message to all my characters -- this script is going to be 100 pages. Period. That will also help me keep my focus on what's needed and find ways to say more with less.

BTW, here's an idea of what I left a week ago last Saturday. This is the street leading up to where I work. What's funny is, I like it. Most of the snow is gone, now, and the streets are things were back to commonplace. But when it began to snow en route home, this evening, sudden shifts in the breeze would make the flakes dance around the asphalt like grains of sand swirling over a beach, catching the beams of my headlights and seeming to come alive. It was so beautiful, I actually drove a bit slower just to watch the display.

Of course, it was 20 degrees, too, and the wind sliced into you, but still...magic comes from places least expected.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I left my hotel early because I couldn't even send e-mails on my business site. It would freeze up and I'd get kicked off before it could be sent. The company I work for uses this amazingly limited off-site service called Network Solutions that hates Macs, so if I don't keep sending messages every 2 minutes, it closes on me. Marry that to WiFi that doesn't like to do anything in less than 5 minutes, and you get nowhere very very slowly.

And it's most sites this happens to. It took me 10 minutes to check in with Southwest. The site froze, then I had to shut down and restart everything, including my WiFi connection, then I had to refresh twice...and finally I was able to get in and go through the laborious process of getting my boarding pass set up. And trying to post on my blog? No way in hell. Oh, I can input it, but I can't post it. The thing just vanishes.

But apparently it's not just my hotel that's a problem. At the Concourse, the WiFi was fast and efficient, but here at San Francisco's airport, it's almost as slow as at Best Western. For a city that's supposed to be so Tech-savvy, San Francisco is way behind the times. In London, I'd connect in nothing flat no matter where I went or what I logged on to.

What's even more fun, Best Western has its wall lights on timers. I was sitting in a nice hot tub, soaking and reading, when the light went off. I nearly fell trying to get up and turn it back on. Maybe I should have and sued the bastards.

Enough whining. I'm reading a book on writing comedy, and while it seems to be on the simplistic side, it has freed my mind as regards "The Alice '65" in ways I hadn't thought possible. What's interesting is, I'd already done a number of the things they suggest in the book -- a fish out of water main character, his comic blow-up, him needing something and there being characters surrounding him, those sorts of things.

I do need more of an arc for Adam; he starts at too self-controlled a point, and his ending is not as advanced as I'd like. I also got some fun bits to add to the process. So even though the book's not all least, at first's proving to actually be all that.

Shows me not to judge so quickly.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Only in San Francisco...

The WiFi at the Exhibition Concourse is a hundred times better than at my hotel, and since I have a moment, I thought I'd share my first true San Francisco experience...all because I decided to have breakfast.

I'm staying at a Best Western that thinks it's trendy but is really a bit sad. Their restaurant is a CustomBurger, where everything's twice as much as Burger King for the same amount of food. So I ordered a short stack and some hot tea -- $10 for 2 pancakes and a cup of hot water! Anyway, as I was eating, this gay porn star came strolling in.

In LA you can see movie and TV stars all over the place, especially if you go to a sidewalk cafe along Sunset or in B Hills. I've seen Jake Gyllenhaal and Keanu Reeves and Ryan Philippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar...and even Sophia Loren (who stunned me into silence, she was so gorgeous). So I got a bit used to that.

But porn stars rarely look like themselves. The camera and makeup are used to hide all sorts of flaws and limitations. This guy...his name's Alex Marte and he was instantly recognizable, but he did not even begin to look as dumb as he does on camera, and is just plain better looking, in person.

Still, he's way too built up for my taste. Legs the size of prize hams and guns bigger than my thighs. The guy who was with him is more my style -- shorter, well-formed, a little bit of baby fat to keep him from seeming too obsessive in his looks, with a sweet face.

And yet...this is what can make your day in San Francisco...which is really just a little weird. But that's me.


I'm not posting much, lately, because the WiFi in this Best Western hotel sucks. I've tried posting a few times, and the upload just freezes. It starts...looks like it's going to work...then stops halfway there. Very irritating. I can't stream a video or music. When I try to go to a site for research, half the time the site will not load in. I called tech support and got nowhere. So I just don't bother. I'm trying this one because I'm not inputting a lot of info or images.

I'm back in Buffalo on Tuesday; I'll get back to it then.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pushing my work

I started a FaceBook page for "The Lyons' Den" since I don't think the publisher's doing one damn bit of publicity on it. Seems I've locked myself in with companies using the self-publishing aspect of the internet to make it appear that they're really publishers.

I have no fault with that since they went through the trouble to make the books available, especially now that I know how much of a pain in the ass it can be, but I wish they'd done at least a little advertising. As it is, the books don't sell very well, and it's mainly because people don't know about them. At least, my author's ego says so.

I tried to get a couple of magazines to let me know their rates and requirements for a small ad in their on-line editions, but so far none of them have answered my queries.

I guess I'll have to find ways of doing it on my own. A friend of mine in advertising was telling me about how FaceBook's ad pages work, and it sounds like a good idea. Maybe she has more ways of making the books known without it costing me an arm and a leg.

I knowI won't make a lot of money off the books, if any, but I would like to know they're being read, at least.

Back to life...

Oh, man...this has not been an easy trip, so far. Working the book fair wasn't so bad, but scrambling to see what friends I could and making time to talk with a guy about writing a book for him and visiting my sister got me so keyed up, I got no writing done. I'm now fighting a nasty headache.

I've also come face-to-face with the fact that I'm a wuss. Case in point -- today before I drove back to LA, my sister in San Diego asked me if I wanted to go for a walk to a drug store and pick up some things she needed. I asked how far it was, and that wasn't but 5-6 blocks, so I said sure. Big mistake.

My sister lives in La Mesa, which has hills. And she took me up one of them. I had no real idea where we were going, so I followed along. Up and up around winding streets under a cloudless sky till we were at the top. She wanted to show me an historical house. Very nice. But by now I'm hot and sweating and my legs are aching, and we have to go down the hill.

Now normally that's not  big deal, but I now have to drive up to LA and hop on a plane to San Francisco, and already I'm not feeling at all clean and fresh. And I've got a headache building and I'm feeling weary and I can't concentrate on anything...and I finally figure out I've got a touch of heat stroke or something. Did I say anything to try and gain control of the situation? No. And I should have, even though said sister can be a pain when challenged.

Now I've got a ton of writing to catch up on and also have crappy WiFi in this Best Western. It keeps freezing up. I'm getting tired of this chain's cheap-assed crap, and tired of the nonsense I let myself put put up with.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Trying to read

I got a copy of "Blood's a Rover" by James Ellroy and do not like his style, at all. He hates to run compound sentences, and dislikes using third person anything. "Dwight did this. Dwight did that. Dwight did something else." It drives me nuts and keeps me from getting into the flow of the book. I thought my style might need simplifying for OT...but this ain't the way to go.

I'm reading it for a possible writing job in Palm Springs...but I don't think I'm right for this. We'll have to see.

I used my time on the plane to work on some plans for my writing. I'm applying to the NEA for a grant to stay in Ireland for 3-4 months and research "Place of Safety", which requires a writing sample as part of the massive number of documents they want. I seriously doubt I'll get it, and even if I do, it won't be usable for over a year, but it's best to start trying, again.

Of course, I'm hitting that at the last minute. The package is due before 28 February, and they strongly urge you submit everything by the 18th to overcome any problems that might pop up. sounds like experience talking here...and that makes me nervous.

I also added some bits to OT, but I didn't have room enough to really work on my laptop; the plane was packed and this was an older one that seemed tighter. I know it's not me because I've actually lost 7 pounds in the last 10 days. I found a version of Dr. Pepper that's low calorie but still tastes right. I can't handle the diet junk; it always leaves an aftertaste.

Got in really late, last night, so went straight to bed, almost. Wound up waking at 7am.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I don't mind influences...

...When it comes to film or TV projects. Lucille Ball stole like crazy for some of her bits in "I Love Lucy" -- like the "Slowly I turned" bit. I hadn't seen the 1944 version by The Three Stooges or Abbott and Costello's, from the same year, so when I first saw it on "...Lucy", I thought she'd made it up. And I nearly died laughing. Especially when she did it in pantomime. (It turned out to be a vaudeville bit appropriated by the Stooges and A&C.)

I've lifted bits, myself. I have a scene in a script I wrote,  "Delay En Route", where a man has to help the woman he loves face death. I got that from Hemingway's "A Farewell To Arms". And my script for "5 Dates" is a reworking of "Beauty and the Beast", albeit in a kinder gentler way.

What this leads up to is, I got off work early and did laundry and ironing for my trip, tomorrow, and watched the second season of "Downton Abbey"...and I saw a dozen different plot points lifted straight out of "Mrs. Miniver", "Upstairs, Downstairs", "Pride and Prejudice" (an elopement that even referenced Gretnor Green as a place to be married), "Rules of the Game", jeez, you name it and it's in there. I even caught a point that may have come straight out of "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls".

Here I am trying like crazy to make something original out of my writing, and "Downton Abbey" is getting praise left and right for grand larceny of other people's ideas. I mean, come on -- a pregnant maid and a lady conveniently dying of the Spanish flu? "Upstairs. Downstairs" did that 40 years ago. Same with another lady having an affair with a foreign gentleman.

I'm not saying I'm the most original writer in the world; I'm not. Fact is, my projects based on other people's works are probably my strongest -- like "The Lyons' Den" and "The Cowboy King of Texas".  And I have to fight to wring any sort of originality out of the stories I come up with on my own.

OT is proving to be one like that, as is POS. And it's taking me forever to get them to settle down. I want A65 to be that, too, even though I am referencing movies like "Bringing Up Baby" and  "The Court Jester". But now I wonder if I should bother.

I guess I'm a bit jealous. It is a well-made series. Beautiful production values. Decent acting. But does the only gay character have to be such a conniving asshole? Does Lady Mary have to be such a bitch? Must Matthew be such a prig? Anyone who says this is a good representation of the rich and noble isn't paying attention to what the characters really are...or else, is just plain corrupt.

Wish I was part of it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

How do they find the time?

Am I slow? It seems like it, sometimes. It seems like other people are able to get so much done so quickly and succinctly, while I plod through. I leave work between 5 and 5:30, come home, make dinner, answer e-mails, write, and suddenly it's time to get ready for sleep. And I don't feel like I've achieved anything other than a few words input into a computer. Nothing else, not really.

I can't work in time to push my writing while I'm writing. I don't check out Mandy or update my Linked-In page. I don't work on proposals for grants or fellowships. When I'm writing, I focus on just that. Don't even read much. And things pile up.

Tonight, I spent the evening catching up on bills and just setting up LD with a page on Facebook...and got no writing done. And tomorrow will be getting read to head to LA.

How do people do it?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writed out for the night

Just added 10 pages to OT as Jake starts setting up the end and making plans for how he'll reveal what really happened. He knows...but I'm not sure if it's properly laid out, yet. But this has put me up to 342 typed pages, and 73,000+ words. And still "miles to go before I sleep."

What's fun is, Lemm's peeled back another layer of his personality and he's still someone not even Jake can figure out. Good guy? Bad guy? Both? Neither? I don't think even he knows, yet.

But then, Jake has problems figuring out Tone, to put it mildly. However, he's got a blind spot there -- his love and loyalty to the little maniac.

Wow...I hope I'm not making Lemm and Tone too much alike. I'll need to be careful about that.

This photo is of Tiago Botega, a Brazilian model who's my image of Antony, mainly because of his eyes. Unlike Bernardo Velasco (who's my image for Lemm) he's one of those people who have a good side for photographs and a bad side. It's interesting to see; shooting him from the right, he looks good, but shoot him from the left and he's plain.

Claudette Colbert was like that (at least, she thought so), and even had it written into her contract her close-ups would be on her right side instead of her left.

Me...I break the camera no matter which side you shoot me from.

Plotting and turning

I think it's going to take another 2 drafts of OT before it even begins to make sense to anyone...even me. It's funny how a simple little mystery has turned into something as complex as a Swiss watch. But Jake won't let me back down. He's pushing forward with a plan and a need I can't quite grasp. I don't think he'll reveal all until the first draft is done.

I find Jake's whole image is altering as this story goes along. Will Fennell was a good visual for him in the RIHC6 books because he has a gentle aura to him...but now? Now Jake's sharper. Less like a hound and more and more like a wolf. More like Aiden Turner's look from "Being Human". He's driving the story, now, and I'm along for the ride.

It's funny how I can't keep to a schedule on my writing. I planned to use a few weeks to at least get one draft done of this book, and I'm still tangling with it a couple days before my deadline.

But I never have been a very disciplined writer, not when it comes to that aspect of it. I ramble. I back away. I shift my focus to other projects. I let my mind wander. And sometimes I just plain do not sit down to face the keyboard. But somehow...step by step...I'm getting close to the end. It takes time, but I'm usually happy with the outcome.

Until I'm not.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Adjustments done, for now

I've reworked the 280 pages I have of the story, so far, and I'm back to a point where I need to connect the ending I developed to the opening part. Jake's got a plan, and part of that plan is to let things happen, for a while. It means him being cruel. He's now a wolf on the scent of that night's dinner, and even if it's a cute little chipmunk, what matters most is filling his belly and the bellies of his pack.

Jake's analogy, not mine. But apt. He told Antony what he was in RIHC6v2, and now he's about to prove it.

I have no leash on Jake. It's better if he roams. The hunter after his prey, but in no real hurry to take it down. It may lead him to even better fields to forage.

One of the problems I have with most crime stories is, the villains do stupid things and wind up getting caught. Even when the bad guy's supposed to be brilliant. Hell, isn't he almost always "brilliant?" I think that's one of the reasons I didn't go for "Silence of the Lambs" as a great horror movie. Hannibal Lechter is just too unbelievable for me.

I also think that's why I like the French version of "The Vanishing" so much. The man who winds up the bad guy is normal, has a wife and children, saves a child from drowning, and holds a nice job. He's like your neighbor. Only he very methodically plots to kidnap and kill a young woman, any young woman, just to see if he can commit an evil act.

To me, making the villains unbelievable and preposterous lessens the story, so I'm trying to be very careful about that with OT. Of course, I went off the deep end with RIHC6 and Jake's father. But even then, it was all about the mechanics. Not this story. This is based in deep emotion. I think.

I hope.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Back to one...

Meaning I returned to the beginning of OT and dug through it and found that is is a mystery story...and that half the mystery is wondering why Jake tolerates Antony. The other half is finding out what happened to Owen Taylor.

Themes have begun to show up in the story, some of which I hadn't noticed until now -- like how one builds a family when you blood relatives turn their backs on you. And how much alike people are, at times. And how even those who are discriminated against can discriminate. And how consistent parts of society are in their hates and preferences.

The last one interests me a lot, because to me...when you stop growing and changing with the times, you stop living. And I'm seeing a hint of that in Jake and how he's refused to deal with his own past, even as he snarls about Antony not really dealing with his. And mingled all through this is the idea of trust being essential to love and an honest relationship.

This won't be an Agatha Christie style mystery, that's for damn sure -- where you get no character development or understanding beyond the clues and explanation. It's becoming a very emotionally-driven work, to me.

What's even more fun is, I'm now up over 70,000 words. Who knows, I may actually get this done, some day.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Wrong Genre?

I'm beginning to wonder if "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor" really is a mystery story. It seems determined to undermine the conventions of the genre. It starts slowly, sort of backing into Owen's disappearance as Jake tries to navigate Antony's legal troubles. And the events that happen on even Jake's first day in California take him back to his own time in jail and prison. Force him to face the fact that he hasn't honestly dealt with what happened and some of the things he did.

There are parts of the story that make me unsure, and nervous. And the timing of events seem to get tighter and faster as the story goes along...but it's like they're happening too quickly.

Maybe I'm pushing too hard to get it done. All without much thought. I slash through and then have to do a lot of rewriting. Which is what I'm doing it now. I'm stuck in the space between pages 200 and 250, trying to get it set up correctly.

Typical of me. Redo what I've done to death. Typical.

Tired blanketie blank...

Getting ready for Santa Monica and San Francisco wore me out, I crashed when I got home and did nothing but watch the first season of "Downton Abbey". I was lent the BBC edition DVD by someone at work. Nice show. I like it...and I liked it when I saw the exact same scenes in "MRs. Miniver" and "Gosford Park" and "My Man Godfrey" and "Upstairs Downstairs" and a hundred other movies and TV programs.

Nothing wrong with being unoriginal, so long as it's done well. And it pretty much was. Maggie Smith steals the show, just like she did in "Gosford Park". I can see what the fuss is over.

I was avoiding "The Hobbit" because I really don't like the book, but I just realized Aidan Turner is in it. So maybe I'll force myself to go...maybe. But until then...I want this poster!

I wonder if I've found the personification of Thomas in "Darian's Point"? I could see an early 20th Century woman of class and breeding, a true Boston-Brahmin, falling for him based on looks and Irish charm. Both of which he's got in major abundance.