C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

Filtering by Tag: Writing

How about I give you the finger...

...and you give me my phone call.

Apple released new emoji's today. Now you can give your friends the finger. Ladies, that jerk from college who to this day manages to drunk-dial you, can now be met with a close-to-real-life retort.

I watched that fanedit of the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies mentioned in my last post. I liked it. I feel it addressed some of the main complaints Samson and I had about those films. It certainly isn't perfect, but it may be my go-to when the Marathon Matrix bug hits me. For me the only way to watch The Matrix series (not the movie but the entire franchise as a whole) is to watch in this order:

1. The Second Renaissance

2. A Detective Story

3. The Matrix

4. Kid's Story (Optional)

5. Final Flight of the Osiris

6. The Matrix Revolutions: The Epic Edition by GeminiGod

Note: I have another fanedit that incorporates the the live action scenes from the Enter the Matrix video game into the 2nd and 3rd movies. I haven't watched it yet, though the gist of it is similar to the above fanedit. It's possible this version may be better and take the Number 6 spot. Only time will tell, though you should expect a rebuttal to this post either way.

The Editor will have my manuscript for Hidden Mountain by this time tomorrow. It goes without saying that I hope she likes it. But moreover, I hope she beats the hell out of it. I know it needs work. I've done all I can for it. It needs a fresh set of eyes and a head full of ideas.

I started reading, Gail Simone's Batgirl. It's dark and fits in well with Scott Snyder's Batman. Yeah, I know I'm a little late to the party. Sue me.

I'm not proud to admit this, but I never read V for Vendetta. This also goes without saying but it's so much better than the movie.



Current Enjoyment

What I enjoy:

1. The first cup of morning coffee

2. "Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut

3. The Fratellis latest album, "Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied"

4. My office

5. Bubba Burgers

Less Superficial Enjoyments:

1. The Wife. Because.

I Read Cat's Cradle again. It's a good book but you have to be into Vonnegut or else you're not going to get it. There was a lot more happening after the big thing that happens than I remembered. The audio version even had a nice interview with the late KV, which was also good. Totally different generation of writer. Very refreshing.

I have an Editor for the novella. I met her at the Author's Expo last month. Full disclosure: I saw her name on the list of editors at the expo and researched her with the All-Mighty Google to see if she was legit. Turns out, she is. So when the expo finally came around, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Tanya -her name is Tanya- seems really enthusiastic about the novella -a trait I associate more with agents than editors. I suspect this is a good thing though. Up until now, I and a select few were the only people who gave a damn about what the hell I've been doing with my meager free time. So it's really cool to have a professional editor get into it as much as I do.

I have some time before turning over the manuscript. I'm going over the notes from my beta-readers and putting together notes on the series, characters, plot -stuff she's going to need. This is more than just copy editing. When all is said and done I hope to see exactly what works and what doesn't.

Inside Baseball

I made a small outline of the series in its entirety. I don't have all the details. A lot of what I have planned in my head is subject to change as the characters develop. I'm not going to force my initial outcome if a particular character no longer feels or acts the way they did when I first came up with it.

That being said:

Anthology#1: 5 Novella's. By the end, all the main characters will be introduced and the reader should have a fairly good idea of the universe, its rules, etc.

The Novels: 3 Novels. The first one picks up right where the last novella ends. These 3 books will cover a specific story I've been wanting to tell for several years now. 

Anthology#2: The jury is still out on this one. I've got a great big world here and I want to be able to explore other areas that perhaps branch away from the main story. This 2nd collection will probably take place between the events of the novels, but again, nothing is set in stone just yet.

A lot of this probably sounds like something only I'd be interested in. But hey, this is the process, my process anyway.

Not since April

I'm still here.

The last post had some announcements. But I sorta jumped the gun.

I did some soul searching and decided to throw my hat into the ring of more 'traditional' publishing. I thought about self-pub. Self-pub may very well be in my future. But I want to explore all possible options. I think my work is good enough to be mainstream and the worst thing I can do is not make the attempt.

I'm going to be at the NE Authors Expo this week. It's a great community. I have no 'wears' to sell, but the goal is to support a friend and make some connections.

Finished my first novella while vacationing on the Cape. "Hidden Mountain" is the tale of a submarine captain and her first mate. It's the first story in a series of 5. All 5 tales make up the Ice Bible Anthology.

I've received some feedback from beta-readers on Hidden Mountain. Much of it has been positive. I have to make some of the concepts of the story more clear, and adjust the pacing. Several of the readers haven't had me talk to death the intricacies of the universe I've created. So it's been great to have an outsiders perspective on what the hell I'm trying to make here.

I've also begun work on the second novella, "Of Black and White Doors". It's still in 1st Draft form, so the overall story hasn't been completely fleshed out just yet.

Look for me at the New England Authors Expo. I'll be sharing a booth with Chris Samson.

Welcome to my lair...not that I'm some sort of animal...

...Or maybe I am...

Breaking the format for this entry as it's been a while and I need to get back into the swing of things. 

Books worth reading:

Master of Doom by David Kushner

Skip the audio version. All things nerd-culture have a raging hard-on for Wil Wheaton. I, thankfully, do not. Tips for reading a non-fiction book: No, it's not OK to put on a British accent when quoting something from the Guardian. Yes, I realize it's a British newspaper. It doesn't matter. Would you put on a stereotypical Japanese accent when quoting something out of Yomiuri Shimbun? No, no you wouldn't. Also, don't put on a Joseph Lieberman or Bill Clinton voice when quoting them either. It might also help not to sound like such a damn fanboy when reading the rest of the pros. Just few tips from me to you.

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

It was on sale so I picked it up cheap. I'm a fan of the Dark Tower series, especially the first 4 books. King went back and updated the Gunslinger in 2003 and the end result was a really polished piece of work. I read an interview with him not long ago. Turns out the Dark Tower books were never edited. O.o I know, right! If you're looking for something from King that isn't hard horror, and more dark fantasy/sci-fi, then give this one a solid read.

3 books by JD Robb

Ok, so the Wife got me into this. I didn't think I'd like them, but they're pretty damn good. For those of you who don't know, JD Robb and Nora Roberts are the same person. No, I haven't started reading romance books, at least, not yet. The "In Death" series takes place in a Blade Runner-esk future New York City where drugs and prostitution are both legal and corporations buy planets and build fancy space station resorts. The main character is a detective. The books are mysteries. Since the author got her success in romance, the sex scenes are well done and pull no punches. Where some authors might 'fade to black' or gloss over the sex, Robb/Roberts dives right in, and it makes for both good storytelling and something different in what can be a formulaic genre.


What else is going on:

Got one of the main characters from my novel preserved for posterity. Here's another great piece drawn by Ben Dunn. He did a great job! I really like how the pic came out. He'll have my business for quite a while and if he's up for it, there are 10-plus characters in the novel who would look great next to this one, in my office.

And speaking of my office

Here's mine!

Here's mine!

My Father-In-Law is the best. He realizes that sometime I just need to get away from the Wife, and now I can! (However, what you don't see in the picture is that the wall behind me is only half-finished, so I won't be doing much hiding).

Seriously though, it's good to have my own space, for writing, for gaming, to just chill. When the computer was in the living room, it was easy for both me and the Wife to zone out on the computer/tv. With the office, it helps us appreciate the time we spend together, in-part, because there's a clearly defined border for the time spent apart. I don't know if I'm making much sense, but, bottom line: it's a good thing.

Look alive, Sunshine.

The editing and revision process of the "Dream" story is going very well. Considering the sheer amount of work that is need to turn the 1st Draft into something ready for prime time, my awesome beta readers are more like alpha readers with what they've had to deal with.

They've been kicking my ass though and that's a good thing. When this is all over I think I'm going to have to 'make [them] a cake or something'. Perhaps subscribe them all to Omaha Steaks.

Since I discover while I write the 1st Draft, I basically told myself the story. The  plot comes out in an out-of-order way, characters are either really well thought out or cardboard cutouts, and settings are either over or under developed. But by the end I have a better idea of the story then I did before this all began.

I kinda feel that the revision process is where the most grueling work begins. Writing a story is easy, presenting it in a way that doesn't sound like the ramblings of a lunatic is hard.

To give you an idea of how it's going. In the 1st Draft, Chapter 1 was 2,803 words. In the revision it is just under 4000 words. That was the result of listening to my beta readers and establishing plot points right at the beginning that weren't fully realized until much later in the writing of the 1st Draft.

I always knew this story would be a series. By this point I know that it will probably end up being 3 books. Together the series will resemble a 3 Act play...or the original Star Wars movies. 

Finally, I resubscribed to Audible. I've never been a fast reader but I greatly enjoy books. Might as well listen to them. With my 1st two credits I got "Ready Player One" and "Snow Crash".

RP1 got good about halfway through, after the author stopped 'telling' me what his story is about, instead of showing me scenes and character interactions.

And maybe casting Wil Wheaton as the voice of the novel was ultimately not the best choice. I'd like to think he'd be a pretty cool guy to hang out with, but he's typecast as somewhat of a conceited prick. Again, he's probably cool in real life, but seriously, he 'sounds' like a high and mighty douche-bag. So when he, as the voice of the narrator-protagonist bestows upon me the virtues of the nihilistic mindset of Internet subcultures, popular in the comment section of Gawker, and splattered across the walls of Reddit, it comes across as sounding preachy. And, staying true to form, any opposing viewpoint is instantly dismissed by the hive-mind by labeling it: Bullshit.

To me this flaw in the book relates back to 'show' vs 'tell'. I, the reader was being told how it is. Period. Were I shown the culture of this polluted dystopian society on the edge of annihilation, where a 3D graphically intensive virtual reality version of the Internet is somehow able to run on solar energy, maybe just maybe I wouldn't have felt as though the author had an agenda. (On a side note, I wonder how much electricity is required to run just one of Google's data-centers, and could it run consistently on solar power?).

Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Again, it wasn't a lousy book. The story, once it got going was good. By the end I really felt for the characters. Setting the scene needed work. And I feel that I can say this because it's what needs the most work in my owe story.

Snow Crash, on the other hand was awesome for 99% of the book. I felt the ending was too sudden. Where the ending worked was that it was very open-ended. I, the reader had the responsibility to determine what happened next, who lived and who died. This was fine. I don't know how I'd have ended it. But it felt incomplete to me, from the final line of the story to the sound of a different narrator informing me that, "This has been an Audible Production of, Snow Crash, but Neil Stephenson..." I was like, "That's it!" and then after a moment I thought, "well, OK, it works."

And today I began 1Q84 which is over 40 hours long! You would do well to expect another book review from me, 40+ hours from now, staggered between commutes to and from work.