Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Podcast Episode - Flash Fiction By Brett Williams And More Podcast News

After a quasi-hiatus, Fear on Demand is back for July with a new episode.

Brett Williams aka @crucify_brett on Twitter contributed the brief and chilling flash piece, Cambion, that's now live at Fear on Demand. Check out more about Brett on his website,

Brett's story is read by Julie Hoverson a writer and actress who is the creator of the fabulous and award-winning audiodrama podcast 19 Nocturne Boulevard.

Julie and I met online because she heard my Southern accent on a FOD introduction and asked me to play a gambler in a weird Western installment of her show.

Age of the Zombies
The second episode of Age of the Zombies is currently live, featuring me wearing a different hat. I'm the voice of Jake, ex-Master Sergeant and current and future zombie-fighter. Again, the Southern accent is serving me well.

I've just learned AOTZ is a finalist for a Parsec Award for speculative fiction in podcasting, which is kind of exciting.

You can listen to any and all of the stuff mentioned above online without an MP3 player though it's also fun to download them and take them with you.

Necropolis Studio Productions, producers of AOTZ, also have a new podcast coming soon, Call Me Jack, a show about THAT Jack.

Check them all out and enjoy, but be warned, they're not for the squeamish.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm Back

Great week at grad school last week. Came home yesterday. Will probably write more, but for now, let me say it was all fabulous overall.

Walked the beach listening to Sting's Songs from the Labyrinth, watching waves pitch and gulls sail.

Attended great seminars, joined friends for the workshopping of two different plays--read in one because a Southern voice was needed.

Met my new advisor, Ryan Boudinot and participated in the examination of three short stories, element by element in our advising group.

Great conversations, great ideas, loads of fun. Inspiring as always.

Worked out a couple of plot problems on my thesis novel while sipping chai.

Wonderful week. Wonderful world.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Art of Revision

My MFA advisor and I have had a mini-debate about revision. Nothing serious. It's been intriguing.

As roughly the midpoint of the book I'm working on as a master's thesis made its way down my fingertips, some epiphanies about the main character occurred that meant some changes would be required earlier in the narrative.

He's in the midst of solving a mystery while trying to pick himself up from a failure and cope with what prove to be strange surroundings, secrets and ghosts.

My advisor and I have agreed a slightly different approach in how he goes about things will strengthen the narrative. It's not drastic, but it means some manuscript surgery, and all surgery is major isn't it?

For the defense
My thought was that I should push to the end of the manuscript, solve the mystery, then work on the changes. Both practical and philosophical considerations led my advisor to disagree.

My advisor promised to fight whatever prevailing opinions might arise in faculty meetings on my behalf, but urged that I think about reworking now. The program I'm in requires a change of advisor after two semesters in order to get a fresh set of eyes on a work.

The rebuttal
Practically, the change in advisor without change in manuscript would mean a reader coming to the material cold without a full understanding about how it was "gonna" change, save with a lot of talking to him or her.

On the philosophical front, my advisor felt the final stretch of the work whether sprint, hike or long haul, would benefit from adjustments made earlier in the tale.

I resisted because I've always written first and revised later. A first draft for me is like a minutely detailed outline. (I heard Joe Lansdale say something like that once, but I agree with it.)

After a while, I relented, though. From a pragmatic standpoint, it makes sense to hone now so that over the next several months as I approach a finish, if the universe is willing, the manuscript will be closer to complete and ready for the second reading to really fine tune.

My advisor was right, in part about the benefit.

It's a bit exhilarating, I must admit, to be making some of the surgery now. It's not as easy as having the whole piece to hammer and carve, but, as always with revision, I'm finding small tidbits in the narrative that I can utilize in later chapters. A wink here, a twist there.

In a way, it's like creating an alternate reality or a parallel timeline to the original vision, but that's not so bad. Eventually I should be able to pick and choose the recast scenes, hopefully crafting a stronger and more meaningful work.

It's also a little terrifying. A work of fiction is after all a house of cards. A millimeter change at one point could throw something off at another. To mix in another meataphor, the flapping of a butterfly wing....

Happily that only means more revision, and since "more meaningful" has been a key goal for me in this endeavor, the experimentation is worthwhile. It also demands a little more devotion from me, and challenges additional commitment.

That's a little angst inducing, but, as Christine notes, good things, and creative growth, don't come easy, so a little more commitment from me, meh, couldn't hurt.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Checking In

My writing energy has been focused on the MFA novel/thesis of late, hence the dearth of blog posts.

Sometimes there are just so many words in the fingertips, and writing with the help and attention of mentors makes for a different experience than working alone under contract or not.

I'm mainly endeavoring to weave in a significant character thread that's come up as part of the crafting of the work, while moving forward as well. I probably have another 30,000 words of new material or so to finalize the first draft. Piece of cake, right?

Just means staying focused on writing and away from anything other than 140 Tweets to expel random bits of material in my brain that don't really go anywhere else.

The benefit of the revise and move forward method at the same time should mean the manuscript should wrap up around the time that it needs to, if all goes well, knock wood.

Happy Fourth Everyone. Stay tuned to the Tweet column at right for the random expulsions of thought plus the occasional interpretations of what my cats are thinking.

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