This Creative Life

Welcome to the creative work of Alan White, head writer and producer of "FEEDBACK; A HERO'S CALLING," now at Broken Sea. The "Feedback" in question is Matthew Atherton, My Hero. He and other heroes of mine have links found down the left side of these pages. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 30 --With 2 Hrs. and 1 Min To Spare!!

Counting tool courtesy of Writertopia.

Can I get some Comment love, up in here?? Where my people at?
Come on Linn Creek, Mo & Edmonton, Alberta! How aboutcha Chapel Hill, NC and Grove City, PA!

I had frittered the whole day away having gone to work (there were actually end-of-the-month things I had to do, and a group home full of residents who I had to check on because their housemate died last week) and my mind kept trying to find ways to force another 3K out when the story was finished.

So when I got home today, I went to some of last year's chapters which didn't work at all last year, and plunked a chunk of one into the middle of a present chapter, then massaged it in, trimmed the fat, and found myself 38 words over 50K!

Yay me!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 29

Twenty-four hours from this moment, my 50K words are due and I'm going to spend 8 of them asleep. And in the morning, I might go to the gym again. And then I might call out sick from work and sit home all day and hammer out the last 3K words for this year's NaNoWriMo! WooT!

Yesterday my tale said, "Remember what I made you do 25K words back and it bummed you out, and you wanted to fix it and I wouldn't let you, and I told you to trust me, and you did, and you loved what happened?" And I said yes. And it said "Okay, now you can do what you wanted to then." And said, are you sure? And the tale said, "You'll see."

Now today, my tale turned around to me and said, "Guess what? I'm finished." And I said, but--there's only 3,000 words to go!

And it said, "I don't mind that. But this arc of my tale is done." and I said, No no no! I promised everyone that I would have much more than 50K. See look, we haven't resolved Plot C, and no one knows what happened to Character E yet...this can't be over now! And the story said, "Of course it isn't over. But this particular journey is done. Your protagonist is changed. His world is different. He survived what you did to his heart, his mind, and his body. This particular story is finished." But, I said, it isn't even a novella yet! My story said, "That's no concern of mine."

And there you have it. But I will find 3K more words tomorrow from somewhere if it kills me, even if it has to look like one of those "Preview Of The Next Installment..." things that publishers put in the back of trilogies instead of the authors' thanks.

NaNoWriMo Day 28

I know the folks at the gym just miss me terribly!
A chunked away another 2291 words today, taking my protagonist into the revelation that turns his world upside down. And I thought I had already put him through it, but no. Now all bets are off.

Again, when I finish 50K, I'll have the minimum count for a Novella, but I won't feel finished. If I do wrestle an ending for this chapter of my protagonist's life and limit it to a novella, then I could try to submit to F&SF or similar anthologies, but I feel greedy. I want a big novel! I want to do what Paolini did at nineteen! Sucker not only wrote a book, but now its going to be a movie next month and a video game. Is he hated, I wonder, by starving artists? What really made his work this mini-phenom? I read the first paragraph of this thing today and I saw what I thought was the writing of a nineteen-year old guy, bless his heart. If it's that easy to be published, why aren't more of us being done so? What is really going on here?

The story, according to Wiki:
"In 2002, Eragon was published privately by his parents through Paolini International, LLC. To promote the book, Paolini toured over 135 schools and libraries, discussing reading and writing, all the while dressed in "a medieval costume of red shirt, billowy black pants, lace-up boots, and a jaunty black cap." Paolini created the cover art for the first edition of Eragon, which featured Saphira's eye. He also drew the maps on the inside covers of his books."

Okay, that makes it clearer. He wasn't plucked out of a slush pile. It was self- published first and then brought to someone's attention.

Hmmmmm.... it actually is easy to get published, if I wanted to.

I wonder ....

Monday, November 27, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 25, 26 & 27 --Fatness Ensues!

At 7:37pm, I did a word count and found I was 161 words shy of 40K, so I forewent going to the gym, and I put my nose back to the grindstone. I'll check back in an hour and 15 minutes....

...whoopss! I'm an hour late! Well I had to see "Heroes" tonight. Oh it was good! Just choc-a-bloc full of answery goodness!!

Anyway, I broke 40K, but I need to get this fingers humming now. I'll upload and picture-word count at 11:50, then I'll keep hitting it afterwards to add towards tomorrow's count.

BuuhhGAHHH!! I got the word count in seconds after midnight. I shall not make that mistake Thursday night.

Well ... here's the progress.

Friday, November 24, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 24

Well I got 2,367 words in today but I would not have minded another 6K because the rest of my weekend is taken up with D&D. Tomorrow I run my Campaign and Sunday I play in someone elses. Fantasy, fantasy, and more fantasy. Works for me!

Yesterday writings took me into adult territory and I loved it. I think it was tasteful and stimulating. I gladly avoided using the word "manhood" which is like a Schlock Red Flag to my eyes. Up until then, the novel was reading like a Young Adult piece because it had no curses in it, and I did that because in this fantasy world of mine, their words are not the same as 21st Century Earth. But I hadn't planned on being Young Adult--I had planned on some sex! I didn't know when I'd use it, and then was surprised (once again) when the occasion lent itself. So bang bang bang!

I might not even come home tomorrow night if The Grim Jester lets me stay the night after the game, so my next word count will probably be Sunday night, and it probabably won't be much. Then I'll have to scratch up 12K words by Thursday Midnight.

I definitely have the content, I'll just need to get the time!

NaNoWriMo Day 23 --Happy Turkey Day

Yeah, that would be a grand leap of 6366 words today.

Why is this, you say?

Well, obviously I have no life. And I'm REALLY okay with that.

I purposefully forewent soliciting an invitation from friends to get invited to somebody's Thanksgiving, although as I type this, I recall I had hit up my Childhood Buds' Mom for an invite to Alabama, but I've not heard hide nor hair. I hope everything's okay in Yoursville!

Meanwhile, more about ME! So I started writing when I woke up, kept writing while my FakePod recharged, then hit the gym, got me a way too expensive plate of Thanksgiving food from Boston Market, and returned to commence to more writing. I finished and entered the word count at 11:59 PM, my time.

In the novel itself, I went to a weird place with the development that had bummed me out. So the story was right to tell me to trust it --it's done all SORTS of interesting things with the way I left it. Once elsewhere, I had read or heard an author say that if you want to make a story pop you have to take risks. Take your characters to the edge and them push them over (to paraphrase).

In other news, my Yahoo Mail main page tells me the following;

"NEW YORK - Gerald M. Boyd, who became the first black managing editor of The New York Times and was forced to resign two years later amid a reporter's plagiarism scandal, has died. He was 56.

Boyd had been diagnosed with lung cancer in February and died Thursday at his home, said his wife, Robin Stone. He had been sick for most of the year and had kept the condition private from most friends and colleagues, Stone said."

Now that's a real shame. Died on Thanksgiving Day. I didn't know when the black plaigiarist went down at the Times, he took down another brother. Crabs in a barrel. What a bastard. And now this poor dude, only 56 years old, gets no chance to salvage his reputation or defend his honor thanks to cancer. Despite all the other accomplishments he achieved (click on link, read the rest of the article please), is all he'll be known for is getting fired because of the way he managed a lying, sniveling little cheating weasel?

And now how this pertains to ME (yay me!) The article goes on to say that the man left a 10-year old son behind.

That means he was a pro writer, getting paid the ducats, and made a baby at 46 yrs old! THERE'S HOPE FOR ME YET!

RIP Mr. Boyd.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 22

I'm still mourning my decision. I keep telling myself that I can change events, dang it, I'm the author, after all!
But then the story responds by saying, "Let it be. I have more important things to say if you let it be."

But it broke my heart. And it still hurts.

"That's what makes me a good story. Just trust me."

Then I look at my word count for this day and I see it was more than 1,800 words. So I decide to trust it.

This might be The One.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 21

I know I said I had yuckiness planned for my heroes, but ... but ... I had no idea I was going to do this to them so soon. While I wrote, I saw it heading into a dreadful direction and it was too late to stop it. I tried -- I wrote them out of the corner, but when I turned back to the keyboard to conclude, it was already too late. I typed out the inevitable conclusion of the scene. And I can't go back and change it because as tragic as it is, it's also the only thing that should have happened.

Is that crazy? To mourn?

Yet, I realized the scene sets up the next direction of the novel, one which I had vaguely scoped out in my head, now is crystal clear.

And I'm remembering when I wrote my last novel, lo these many years ago, the same process was at work. The only difference, I think, is that I wrote it when I was in Missouri, and when everything was falling down around me. My faith was being shaken, key figures in my life were leaving, I had failed myself, my dreams were dissolving. I wrote the novel then (probably in record time) to save my mind. I was in Bible School, yet I wrote violence and had my characters screaming profanities. It was pouring out on page, everything that I felt. It was a psychotherapuetic process more than an attempt to create art. I finished the novel and saved it (just gave it another look). It's 342 pages of 10 pt double-spaced text. I broke it into six parts, so I can't do a word count right now, but vaguely I remember it being something in the range of 125K words. That ain't hay!

Anyway, I say all that to say, I am a writer. I don't know why I forgot that in Missouri, or why I didn't continue when I left. Derailed, I guess, to pursue the practicality of the need to 'make a living'. It worked out much better for My Friend The Doctor, but it's not too late for me!

So excited.

What will it be like at Thanksgiving, 2007?

Oh, speaking of Thanksgiving, I'd like to give a shout out again to my Other Hero. I'm just full of the warm fuzzies for that guy because it was his example of method and followthrough that has helped me get this far this time. Every time I come back to the blog and enter the new NaNo Day, I think of Alex Wilson. I sent him a manhug!

Peace and love, good people.

And I'm friends with Matt Atherton, so that's alright then!

NaNoWriMo Day 20

More typey-goodness! Past the halfway mark with a few days of planned nothing-but-writing ahead of me! And I even paused long enough to watch "Heroes". Oh, tonight's episode was GOOOD. Finally got some hero vs hero action! If you haven't been watching it, wait for the DVD boxed-set, or the mid-"season" reruns in January. You won't be sorry!

My own heroes in the novel? I've got more yuckiness planned for them. I'd hate to be in their boots and sandals right now!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 19

ROCK the Kasbah!

I did exactly as planned and took the creaky old Windows 98 to 'Bucks!

So I took my protagonist and the adventuring party into their first encounter and shocked myself. I have to learn to trust in my instincts, because that's what took over as I was writing today. As I mentioned, I want the encounters to be different, but I don't know how to make them exactly "different". After today's wordfest (2511 words! wOOp!) I realized I still can't predict what will make them different -- but I do know that as I'm writing, stuff will turn out differently. Instinct? My Muse? Inspiration? Genius? God? I don't know what to call the process but I love it. I love writing it and watching it unfold AS I'M WRITING. It's like a dream. While I'm dreaming, my brain is making up the details, but I still can't tell how it's going to turn out even though it's my own brain. It's a very real example of the difference between conscious and subconscious, and I gotta say -- I'm LOVING my subconscious right now.

This doesn't mean that I don't know how the story ends, because today I actually figured it out. But I'm excited to find out how we get there and I hope publishers will too!

And you what? I would be perfectly content this week to sit at the keyboard with a turkey microwave dinner on Thursday and Friday if it means I can have as much fun then as I had today.

The Alone Life. It's not so bad this week.

Sreaking of, here's the realtime catch-up;

My Benefactor never went to the month-long rehab. The insurance still won't pay and he talked himself out of cashing a stock and paying for it himself. I feel roughly nothing about it. The fact that he can pay still blows my mind and makes me a bit crazy, but frankly I don't care what he does with his money. It is, after all, HIS money.

All the same, I'm sure I saw him drunk a few days ago, but on Friday he insisted that today would be his 30-day sober anniversary and he wanted me to go to a Meeting with him to celebrate it. But Friday was the last time I saw him. He stays over his girlfriend's house and she drinks and pops. But he told me he doesn't partake with her.

I'm not believing. And I don't care.

And you know what else? I've realized I'm not a bad person for the way I feel. Know why? Because this dude is running the same game on me that my father used to run, and I've decided not to agonize over it. Addicts lie. I heard them tell it at their own meetings.

They LIE.

So why should I invest and go round and round again? His addiction is a stone wall that exists between us, one who's foundation was laid by my father, and I'm not interested in spending the energy it takes to break it down. Let him break it down. Let his children and his father break it down.

I can be grateful to him for giving me this year, and however else longer it will take to get me out of here, just like I'm grateful to my father for planting the seed in Mom and making me, but I can't chase people around out of gratitude. I can't give my life in pursuit of no one. It's a senseless waste of the gift they gave me.

So when I'm gone, I will be GONE, jack. I'll leave my number and forwarding address, and he will never use them to contact me and I will not care. He's ten years older than me and he's got family.

Whew! Thank you, blog!

Okay, 'nuff said about that for now.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 18

Much less progress than I planned. I need to take my old comp to a Starbucks tomorrow and write like its 1999.

Friday, November 17, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 17

As promised, late night last night. Now, I'll go to work and leave from work to go into the city to meet My Friend The Doctor and bop around the Big Apple Con, then after leaving that, go to my D&D funtime, which is turning out to be weekly, to my great delight. So I will not be writing anything unless I do it at work, and actually today I think I won't be able to.

But ah, tomorrow. All day. And Ahhhh Sunday. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 16

I'll be out late tonight, but I managed to bang out a few more words. I got my protagonist and his cohorts together and ready to take up the quest. From here on out it's a matter of following leads, surviving encounters, learning more about each other, settling interpersonal conflicts, and overcoming the final obstacle.

Here's the rub--Day 16 means I should have 25K words or more. I do not. But I do have mountains of inspiration. My protagonist has a lot to learn about his hero and about himself. It's all in place. I just need, like, a 16-hour marathon of writing and I'm sure I'd make the daily total goal.

One thing I am trying to capture--the encounters cannot be boring or rote. They have to be different for me to be satisfied with them. And I want to be able to use each encounter to advance my characters' goals.

The other thing is, the place I want to submit first to asks for 100K words, not 50K. So even when I meet the goal and "win" my place in NaNoWriMo 2006, I still want/need to have more to say. I don't want there to be a bunch of useless words on a page to make me reach that goal.

One more thing is, I double-spaced the words and put them in a single document. I have 68 pages of stuff so far! Woo!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 15

My Other Hero has sconced the torch and I feel bound by my affection for him to hold it aloft once again and re-enter the race. He met his goal already, even if not at 50K words. I have not.

The novel that I'm working on is set in my fantasy gameworld, which I conceived about five or six years ago. The premise is still alluring to me -- what does it look like to build a nation from scratch? My problem was, I had asked myself that question and then I jumped ahead hundreds of years to start telling my tales in that world. Last year I decided to start at the near-beginning, since that was where it was most exciting for me. Now,I'm not an actual scientist or archeologist so I had no intentions to evolve life on a landmass (as IF) and retell A Space Odyssey, so I had to bring a civilized population to a virgin landmass and thus begin. And so I did.

That premise set up a completely independent set of questions that I had to answer, and thus the ability to complete at least one novel. Then of course, there are stories I want to tell in that world, and stories in this world that I also want to tell. I floundered for the past couple of years until some time in mid-October. Real life inspiring art and setting my creativity afire.

And the devil of it is, I have a novel already on my harddrive that I could enter into NaNoWriMo today and meet my 50K word goal, but that's not what I want. I want to finish the one I'm working on now.

So here I go. AND I'm a friend of Matt Atherton's. So how alright is that then?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The News Spreads!

Slice of SciFi ran an article (at my behest) to bring to its' subscribers' attentions. That's awesome. They have reams of listeners. Hopefully people who never even heard of the TV show will enjoy the drama. (Happy to say I've had them linked already for better part of a year. The universes have met).

And we are listed at a podcast catalogue site.

Let the noise be spread abroad!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Black-Eyed Pea Fergie; The Wonder Years

There's this one, where she a cutie;

And then there's THIS one, where she apparently hit puberty! (Or just began wearing make-up!)

And now, she's blown puberty into orbit.

Today I Are A Writer

I went into the city today because I had a D&D date in the evening, but I wanted out of the house early. Upon return from the gym, I packed up my old Windows 98, two-ton Compaq laptop and jumped in the car I drive. I went to Neutral Ground and for a buck, was able to camp out for a few hours and write.

After having the audio produced, and having Matt be continually enthusiastic about making more of them, I found myself confident. Faith in my ability. My Oldest Friend told me I was an INCREDIBLE writer. (Is that the word she used?) I had answered flippantly, but I took it to heart.


So here I am in NaNoWriMo and I'm am confidently hammering out the novel I've been working on since last NaNoWriMo. Or possibly I've been working on it since 2004's NaNoWriMo. I have at least two drafts of two or three chapters in my Novel folders on my harddrive. They each feature different characters and a different direction for each set, but for me the theme is still the same. This latest version has the staying power that I think I need to complete it this time. Plus, NaNoWriMo only wants us to do a 50K-word novel. Baen Books is looking for a 100K-word submission, (but will consider less if we think our work is "really wonderful".

I'm confident, but will it be "really wonderful"? I do plan on it.

Tonight (this morning) I entered the additional writing from today's session and find I accomplished 1619 words today. I make note of this because My Other Hero is Journaling his word count every day -- (I have him as a Writing Buddy and can see his progress, but reading him is so much better) and his gains are too sexy for me. But he says this about his work;

"If the neighbors ask: "What's that awful smell?" Just say: "Alex's novel. He refuses to flush it."

Yesterday, the longest single work of fiction I'd ever created was called "Outgoing," which clocks in at 13,862 words and which will be published in the February 2007 issue of Asimov's.

Today, at 14,766 words and counting, we have a new champion: an ugly, ugly draft of a young adult novel.

That's right, lovely people. 1912 words for chapter nine. One chapter to go. Suck it, second-week-slump."

See what a sexy beast he is?

And when I previously said to him;
"Alex, this is torture. Not the writing--the reading about the writing without reading the writing. Please, upload an excerpt or SOMETHING. I'm starving, sir ... can you not spare a few crumbs?"

He replied;
"Find yerself a set of magnetic poetry. Throw fifty words against a fridge from a distance of ten feet. Whatever sticks, sticks.

Now read what you've got. That's about how my novel's going, though magnetic poetry's probably got a better vocabulary than I do."

So ... should I believe him? Is he just doing that 'Yes I'm published in Asimov's, but really, I'm not a good writer' humility stuff? Or does he just know that at this early stage, his stuff stinks, but he will be working and massaging it until he stops saying bad things about it, and then it'll be obviously good because, hey, he DID write something publishable by Asimov's after all.

And should I be slurping up that same humble pie too? Should I be feeling this confident? Am I even spelling 'confident' correctly?

For the answer to these and other of life's questions, stay tuned. All I know right now is that I'm having a blast. Let's see how much I do tomorrow ...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I've Done This Before

I have to do a training today. I have a partner who is more experienced at it, so hopefully, she will take the lead. But I found out last night, late, when I thought I was only going to be observing.

Ah well, I slept anyway, but my appetite is gone. I'm going to force a breakfast down of cottage cheese and an banana.

I've done this before. And was nervous then too. And I think I stunk.

But again, I do this every time I'm the Dungeon Master at a game of D&D. There's lots riding on me to help the others enjoy the game, and yeah, I feel nervous beforehand, but I'm with friends and we do have fun. And sometimes a game doesn't come off the way I'd wish it to, and sometimes one of my less socially-advanced players might say, "I'm bored!" as opposed to being less offensive, but the reward there is greater than the risk.

Here, at the job, the risk seems a shade greater than the reward.

Ah well.

When am I going to post about NaNoWriMo? My Other Hero posts about it everyday. He's such a powerhouse. There's a graphic I can use and everything, and I haven't done it yet. Lemme see if I can get it real quick...

...okay found it!

I'll go post that in the corner, under my heroic pose.

And I'm a friend of Matt Atherton's, so that's all right then.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Here now it is the happy, happy time.

Our audio drama has gone live and I am commencing to tell everybody everywhere. So of course, I must tell my own blog too.

Here is where you can listen to the show.

Here is where you can read the blog for the production.

Here is where you will be able to participate in the message board for the show.

Here is where the podcast feed is for the podcast.