Photo work

I managed to finish the first book of Mistborn and completely neglect another deadline I had set for myself. I don’t know if I will have time to get to it tomorrow night or something, but today I know there won’t be a chance that I’ll have time. I’m going out for my first paid photo job and I’m hoping that all goes well. I’ve had pretty extensive practice over the last few months, but I didn’t really seek this job out as much as a friend gave it to me.

It’s a little bit nerve wrecking, but at the same time I’m growing confident in my work with pictures and the like.

So we’ll see how this goes.

Loot Only when Appropriate

Revised from July 16, 2009. There’s a popular trend in a lot of disaster films, but it’s one that people don’t usually talk about: people always loot. Now I get the appeal of looting: there’s free stuff, you’re out with friends or family, and you get to throw bricks through windows. Who doesn’t want to loot? And if you know that aliens will level the city, no one is going to miss a couple of wide screen Sony Bravia TVs and that Mac Book Pro (be careful with that TV though, a plasma can’t stay tilted for long and remember not to get too ambitious. Seventy inches won’t do you a damn bit of good if you’re too dead to watch it.).

The problem is that people in movies loot at the wrong time. Let’s break it down by the nature of the crisis:

Zombie Attack: Totally a looting occasion, Zombies are slow, they usually don’t understand doors and the cops will be busy fighting them off. One thing, don’t hold up inside of the mall. This idea might sound brilliant and original, but it’s not.

Giant Monster Attack: This is a no go on the looting, giant monsters cover too much ground too quickly and while you’re carrying out that Rubbermaid bin full of DVDs it could roll up on and give you a surprise at the door. Also too many giant monsters attract the military and other giant monsters. Some of them have beam weapons, best to steer clear of populated areas altogether.

Alien Attack: Aliens are smart and most often want to violently destroy us without reason. Since Alien weapons come in all kinds of varieties this is kind of up to you. The worst thing you can do usually is be in a crowd, they love that. So if the people are looting, don’t. But if everyone is running the other way, you are go for snatch and grab.

Super Volcano: What are you stupid? Haven’t you see how fast those things erupt?

Massive Global Warming/Cooling…whatever the fuck was happening in Day After Tomorrow: *shrug*

Super Earthquake: Only loot with a buddy, if possible wear a hard hat.

Nuclear Holocaust: You’re the last man on Earth? Your house better should look like a Best Buy show room. There should be more horsepower in your driveway and yard than a whole season of Top Gear has. This goes for any scenario where you’re the last person left…these are the holy grail of looting opportunities.

Super Solar Flare: Why are you stealing, you’re going to be dead in like a matter of hours? Seriously think when you loot, don’t take stuff you won’t ever get to use.

Some quick tips:
-Be courteous: don’t steal more than you need.
-Share: if someone needs to borrow a cinder block, let them. Then retrieve it.
-Recycle bricks and cinderblocks. Just because society is collapsing doesn’t mean we have to be wasteful.
-Don’t forget to steal weapons and ammunition when applicable.
Most importantly AIM HIGH: What are you driving? A Ford Focus? Put that back and find a nice Veyron or Bentley.

That’s all I can think of, happy looting.

baby Steps

Self publishing an e-book doesn’t mean that I want to be disrespectful and step on the toes of the industry. I’m not that angry writer who sees the traditional publishing as out to get them and I actually do plan to try to go through the agents and steps to get my actual novel published someday.

red08Still I want to do this e-book right. The title I have been eyeing Keep Austin Weird is a phrase coined by Red Wassenich. I looked up his contact information and website. There was a picture and frankly the guy looks like a cross between Mr. Feeny (from Boy Meets World) and Indiana Jones’s father—which automatically catapults him into the realm of the epic. On top of that he has a hand in publishing himself. I knew right away I was destined to e-mail him about this matter.

So here I am taking baby steps, trying to be professional and asking for permission to use someone else’s brainchild and slogan. Wish me luck.

Excuses For writing

I have been listening to a lot of the Writing Excuses podcasts which seem to have really inspired me into really looking at everything I did in different ways. There was a time when I looked at anyone trying to give advice about writing or the craft and I thought it was stupid to listen to them. There seems to be this phase a lot of writers, myself included, go through where they’re certain that none of the other real writers have ever needed help and we only feel like we do because we’re not as good or we’re weak.

Most of my connection with other writers has been through an online medium. It’s rare that I meet someone in person whom I share my writing with or can even talk to about what it is I do. The internet was the first place that I felt I could be artistic in the open in a way I wanted to. True, before I did this I was drawing a lot and people saw that. But they never saw the comic books for the most part and the other things I made. Before I even got to high school I had single handedly drawn and inked over 70 comic books in a series.

Almost all of them are long gone by now, but the point is that back then if anyone had found out they would have questioned me as to why. Maybe not to my face, but behind my back. On the internet people were writing and drawing and doing whatever all of the time. I honed my art skills there and later my writing ones.

Years later when I would talk to other aspiring writers about my research methods, about how much I read about the craft itself or how much I studied the methodology behind writing they would joke that I was not a real writer. I didn’t write from the heart and totally make things up, I researched them and I spent time developing how I could incorporate different methods into myself.

Part of the time I felt bad, like I was less than what I wanted to be. But when my results grew better with time and my characters had a solid footing to rest upon, not just feeble ones built upon someone trying to do everything in solidarity and ignoring all of those that came before, I realized I had been right.

Fiction has existed as long as language, but written fiction is much newer and even newer is the idea of a novel.In the scope of human history, the novel is only about one thousand years old. Over the years things have been added to it and taken away. Writing has grown into different genres with characteristics and some recognizable patterns. The way characters have been constructed has changed dramatically and we’ve seen the rise of different viewpoints, different voices, challenges to the idea of what a novel could be and what it should be—entire books written in the form of e-mails, text messages as a literary device and even a book written in chat speak.

There’s no requirement a writer study the work of those before, but completely writing off the study od it is dumb and I have come to see the overwhelming truth in this. Since starting Writing Excuses I have been challenged to analyze my own writing: plot, character, setting; and really decide what I wanted to do with these things. I have been forced to look for themes and remember that the amazing things that writers do in books are often not deliberate at first and when found in post writing revisal can be made to look more deliberate and sharpened for effect.

In general I’ve been made to discover my own excuses for writing. I’m not out because because I want to make a quick buck (because it’s not like that) and I don’t want to try to write some super original story that shakes up the literary world (because I think those kinds of people a generally not in it for the right thing either); I write because I love it, even when I hate it. I love to write.

Magic systems

I have been looking at the kind of magic system that I want to use with my stories. I was thinking about how I kept hearing that every book with magic needs to have rules or it gets out of hand, but then you think back on some of the great fiction out there like The Lord of the Rings and realize there isn’t very much you know about the magic sometimes.

That’s where this post came in from another blog on Sanderson’s First Law. The rule goes as follows: Sanderson’s First Law of Magics: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.

There is actually one other rule, but this is the very important one for what I am going to be talking about. This writer, the one who made this rule actually said that he thought the way that I did at first. He felt that all magic systems should have rules until he saw that some people actually like the mystery and mysticism in it. The thing is that I think I want to actually do something like this, I don’t want there to be a lot of rules.

What I want more is the main character to kind of be in awe of the magic and somewhat frightened by it. I’m still trying to work out a way to do this in an accurate fashion, but I at least have a starting point when it comes to what I need to work with in terms of the story planning.


One of the most important things, as I have been saying for a while, if I’m going to self-publish Keep Austin Weird is that I get it completely free of mistakes and continuity errors before I ever let one penny come in for the book itself. The best way to do that is to let a fresh pair of eyes look at it. Many of my friends around me here don’t read or have heard so much about this thing in the planning stage because it started off as more of a joke.

They’re not my ideal beta-reader. I’m stealing the phrase from Stephen King’s On Writing, though he used ideal reader. What I basically want is a person who knows either nothing at all about the story or who knows the bare minimum. Anyone who’s interested in reading and giving feedback would be greatly appreciated, though I’m kind of wary about letting this thing out on the internet so you might be met with some skepticism if I don’t know you personally.

To my friends elsewhere, in other countries or parts of the US: I would be happy to share my work with you when I am done if you’re so inclined to read it. As it gets closer to competition and once it gets completed I will be looking for people more aggressively.

Anyone have a good strategy for finding someone?