Friday, July 30, 2010

Vacation

I have exactly two months before I MUST finish with the first draft of the WIP.

And I'm on vacation. Great timing.

Of course, one could say, "you can still write while on vacation!" Of course, of course. No one is stopping me but myself, but here's the thing, I needed this vacation. It's good for my body, mind, and soul, and I don't want to sabotage that effort by shoehorning work into the schedule. It beats the purpose, I believe.

After about four days into my vacation, I do feel more relaxed, recharged, and a bit more focused. And I've had four days to think about how I'm going to approach the final act of the WIP. I already had part of it written. I was reading it again to prep myself, and I still liked what I'd written so far. In fact, at one point I got rather emotional and I had to close the file. It seems like an awfully egotistical thing to say... but you know what, if we don't like what we do, then we can't expect other people to like it either. I don't think it's about ego; it's more about have pride in our own accomplishments.  If the thing is crap, I'd be more than eager to own up to it. And trust me, as I re-read the WIP, I saw parts of it that really was crap, and I couldn't WAIT to go back and excise or rewrite them.

Right now, though, I need to regain my momentum and keep forging on. I have exactly two months to finish this darn thing, and I'm determined to do just that.

I've already self-banned myself from the writers' site I frequent. I'm also limiting my time on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. And my vacation will be over in just another few days. I'm eager to get back to "work."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Comic Con

I was going to write an extended post on Comic-Con 2010 as I did last year, but I haven't had the time or opportunity to gather all my material and photos yet, so more to come.

But as a geek-at-heart (with a movie star/model's face and body, mind you -- LOL. Just kidding), I always have mixed feelings about the con, and I surely did this time as well. As Christoph Waltz said at the Green Hornet panel, "I have a confession to make: I'm not really a comic book person." The only thing I was remotely interested in getting on the exhibit was a Transformer toy! :)  I don't read comic books or graphic novels, and I'm not really big fans of any of those shows.

Oh no, the truth is out.

I am, however, still a geek:  a movie geek. If you've read my movie reviews since 2004, you'd know that I'm a big movie buff. I see at least one or two movies a week, sometimes more. I've been involved with film productions (both in front of and behind the camera). I love movies.

And that's why I go to Comic-Con, which itself has turned into a big playground and marketing opportunities for studios and independent filmmakers alike.  Throughout the con, I attended mostly the TV and movie panels. I like hearing about the behind the scene stuff from the cast and crew. I love seeing my favorite actors and filmmakers (but no, I'm not really into this whole celebrity-worship thing; I just appreciate them as I appreciate their work). I suppose it's the same thing with writers who geek out on other writers. The only difference is, I didn't squeel (hi Sara!). I've worked with big-name actors and directors before so I've been desensitized. Still, it's a neat feeling.

Every time before I went to Comic-Con, I always became apprehensive. I honestly didn't enjoy the crowd, the pushing and shoving, and the incessant waiting in lines. This year I minimized the waiting by only focusing on one revenue: Hall H; that's kind of ironic, actually, since the line to Hall H is always the longest.

The thing is, I have a press pass, so I'm able to get right next to the stage to see and listen to the filmmakers, which is wonderful.  By the time I'm done with the four-day extravagance, I'm usually more excited than apprehensive about the experience... well, until the following year, of course.

The highlights of this year's Comic-Con, for me, include:

- hearing JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon talk about TV and films. I have a new appreciation for them, especially Whedon, who is incredibly funny in person.

- being a stone's throw away from the likes of Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Natalie Portman, Sigourney Weaver, Hugo Weaving, Richard Jenkins, Eva Mendes, Angelina Jolie, Will Ferrel, Tina Fey, Guillermo Del Toro, Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, Jeff Bridges, and the entire cast of The Avengers. Especially at the end of the Saturday panel then The Avengers (Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr. et al) came out for a rousing surprise appearance, I felt like I've just been invited to a Hollywood party. That was rather cool.

- getting to know the making of some of the more obscure independent films. For example, Del Toro's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, and a remake of Let Me In -- both looked really good. I like to discover independent films that I normally wouldn't have heard of.  (I met Guillermo last year at his book signing; he is an extraordinary visionary and extremely funny and candid.)

- the stabbing!  It happened about six rows behind where I was sitting. Granted, I was at the press area at the moment, and when I returned to my seat, I had no idea what exactly was going on. I think the Twitters from outside of Hall H had a better idea than those in the immediate vicinity. Still, it was cool to be near the heart of a "breaking news."

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's July Already

My goal was to have the first draft of The Terrapin's Trail finished by July. Well, it's already July 12 and that's not going to happen. Also, it seems like I've failed my own 500-day-a-week challenge. These days, I'd be lucky to write 1000 words a week.

Yeah, I've let myself down. But that's okay. Life is not a race, and while I'm not proud of missing my own goals, at least I'm not quite dead yet. Every writer has his or her own process, and mine happens to be a crock pot instead of a pressure cooker.

It's just that sometimes I do get frustrated, especially when I compare myself to other writers. Some of them write a million words, or 3 books, a year. Some of them have been getting 3 or 5-book deals lately.  While I applaud and cheer their successes, certainly they're giving me a complex. Sure, I can talk myself into believing that I'm writing the next To Kill a Mocking Bird -- and Harper Lee only needs one book!  Other times I think I'm just fooling myself. I'm no Harper Lee and TTT is not TKaMB.  Don't get me wrong -- I love my manuscript, and even though it's still in very rough form, I'm very excited about the story and, most important, the characters. Still, at this rate, my characters will be aging in real time (the story spans 40 years). I suppose by the time I'm 90 years old, the story will be ripe for the picking.

But that's not the important part. Even if TTT is never published, I've set a goal to finish it, and finish it I will. That was the same goal I set when I started writing The Pacific Between. I wanted to see if I could finish what I started -- and THAT is an important goal all by itself for any writer:  FINISH WHAT WE STARTED.  I did, not knowing whether it was good enough to ever get published. Then I set my next goal, dipping my cold feet in the icy water, to see if anyone would want to ever publish it. Behler did (bless them).

So, here is the reality of novel writing: it's work; it may not be smooth sailing every day, or even every week or year; and one step at a time. My biggest hurdle now is myself, trying to push myself to finish the darn thing. Once I'm done, I think I will feel better about it.

I'm probably about 4/5 done now. So close. So close.

OK, here's my new goal:  I'll finish the first draft by my birthday. I think it's very realistic, even considering how slowly I write.