Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Post of the Year

Well, we're all about to say goodbye to 2010 and welcome in 2011, so I thought I'd do the obligatory post to wrap-up this year and welcome the next.

So what did I accomplish this year? Let's see:

1. I continued to write.

I've written at least three original stories this year, and one was even a novella (which I really should look into getting published). I've also started writing my first novel, and as of today I have completed over 24, 000 words on it. Also, my week of writing a bare minimum of 2000 words a day has gone smashing so far, as I've been able to make my goal each day, or at the very least made up the shortfall the very next day. This proves to me that I can do this. I can write, and each day it gets a little bit easier as I continue to stretch my mental muscles. I've spent this entire year proving to myself that I can be a writer, even with everything else that's going on in my life.

2. I got out to conventions.

This may not sound like much, but I've never been a terrible social person and I hate being in crowds where I don't know anyone else. So of course I ended up going to two different conventions all by myself without any of my friends, and one of them being an eight-hour bus trip away from home. Oi! But it all worked out in the end. I met a lot of great people at both and had my eyes opened in a whole new way. Going to conventions is part of being a science fiction/fantasy author, so if I want to succeed I'll need to go. The funny thing is, I found that I actually enjoyed going and look forward to going again to see all the people I've met before and I look forward to meeting new people. I can't wait to go as a published author and be on the other side instead of being just a fan, yet at the same time I also really do enjoy the fan experience.

I've already booked my two conventions for this year. My plan is to hit Ad Astra and SFContario. While I really enjoyed ConCept, I really didn't like the hotel it was at and this year I think I'll stay closer to home. Who knows, I may also get out to Anime North with a bunch of sword nuts I know who put on a demonstration.

3. I started working out and joined a kendo dojo.

Kendo is something I've always wanted to do. I love swordplay and have a fascination with Japenese culture, and luckily there is a great club in my city. All the members are very supportive, the training is fun, and I'm actually doing quite well at it. Also, I found a gym I like with an owner that offers free training advice. Heck, I even bought an exercise bike for home and have been using it. I still need to work on my eating habits, but I'm a long way from where I started a couple years ago. I'm in much better shape, I'm much healthier, and I intend to keep it that way and keep improving in the future.

So where do I go from here? Well, I'm going to try to get my novel in shape for March so that I can submit it to Angry Robot books while they have their open submissions period. Aside from that, after I'm going to start putting the stories I have sitting around out there to see if I can get them published, and after I finish writing my current novel I'm going to start on the next.

Look out 2011, here I come!

Oh, and before I forget, Happy New year. May you and yours be safe and happy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Dork Review: Tron Legacy

I'm just going to come out and say it, this was an awesome popcorn flick.

The visuals were stunning. It probably helped that my friends and I went and viewed it in IMAX 3D instead of going to a local theater. Thank you time off for Christmas!

The story was, well, let's say at parts it was telegraphed and you knew exactly what was going to happen. It wasn't ground breaking by any means, but this movie was more about the spectacle rather than the writing. That being said, the story wasn't a solid steaming lump of excrement like say, oh I don't know, Avatar.

All in all I enjoyed it and would recommend you go and see this one in the theater.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Angry Robots and the 2000 Word a Day Week

So, first I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. My friends and family were brilliant this year and got me Chapters gift cards which I've converted very handily to books.

So, you're probably wondering about the title of this post and what it all means. Let me explain.

First item, Angry Robot books is having an open submissions month in March of this year. This means then will take in unagented, unrequested manuscripts, read them, and possibly offer to publish them. If you know anything about the publishing world then you know this is almost unheard of, and could be a great opportunity. I've already got a book in the works, so my hope is to get the first draft completed and get it self-edited to the point I'm not embarrassed by it in time to submit it by the end of March.

This leads to the second part of this blog post. December kicked my butt writing wise. Before today I'd completed 14 and a half thousand words on my novel after starting at the beginning of November, and the majority of that was actually in November. With the holidays and other things happening, December was just a really bad month for writing. Well, ok, it was a bad month. Right now is the week between Christmas and New Years. Right now, with the time off I normally get and the vacation days I decided to take, I have from today until next Tuesday free. Oh, there are some plans in place for New Years and to see the new Tron movie, but aside from that I'm free. So with that in mind, I've decided to shackle myself to my desk each day until I've produced two thousand words worth of writing.

And today was the first day.

And I did it, with a whole word to spare.

This may not sound like much, and compared to some writers it isn't, but it's what I can do and what I need to do. I need to write more, I need to stretch my mental muscles and get more done. I know I can do this. By the end of this week I will have written at least two thousand words per day, and doubled the word count of my book.

After that, the goal is to be finished and edited to a submission point by the end of March.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Since I probably won't get another chance before the actual day, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

(Note, please feel free to substitute the appropriate holiday greeting for Merry Christmas, as my intention is not to exclude but to wish everyone well. And if you feel the need to be a Grinch, please feel free to kiss my butt)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Balaclava/Baklava Confusion

OK, so it has been freaking cold where I live, and I take the bus to work so most mornings I'm standing out in the cold waiting for it and after work I like to walk home. Naturally I did the smart thing and purchased the appropriate winter wear, known as a balaclava or a face-mask or ski-mask. I got it at a local army surplus store and it's all black with two eye holes and a mouth hole. I look like a terrorist wearing it, but it keeps me warm so who cares.

Problem is, I keep wanting to call it a baklava, which is a type of honey sweetened pastry. Each time I go to tell someone what I bought or what I'm wearing I have to stop and correct myself. I know I'm saying it wrong when I start, I know I'll have to stop and correct myself, yet it still comes out.

Have you ever had something like that happen to you?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Very Much A Moment of Squee!

So you might be wondering what I'm talking about with that title. Well, the truth is last night I got to see Jeff Dunham perform live in Hamilton! Yay!

What's even better is I got to share this experience with my dad. I see my parents often, about once a week for dinner, so it's not like I don't get to spend time with him, but last night was different. Last night, I was the one who came up with the idea to go and I was the one who bought the tickets. Last night was my dad's Christmas gift and I got to be there and watch him enjoy it. It was great.

Now about the show. If you've never seen Jeff Dunham's work, which is hard to believe as the guy is freaking famous, he's a very skilled ventriloquist and a superb performer. He was on stage for nearly two hours but we didn't even notice the time pass as there wasn't a single moment that was boring. And it's amazing how much life Jeff can get out of those puppets. I mean, his oldest puppet Peanut has very little articulation, basically just a hand puppet with an arm that is moved via a stick, but Jeff can make it seem that Peanut's face is full if different expressions, make him smile, make him give a wild-eyed looked. It's great.

If you ever, ever get the chance go see him live. It was awesome!