Monday, March 25, 2013

My War Against "Was".

'Was'.

This single word has caused me no end of grief.  I used to use it a lot.  Too much, in fact.  If you take a look at the first draft of BS, you'll see what I mean.  Thankfully, some very helpful people at Reviewfuse beat that nasty habit out of me.  Unfortunately, their lessons had another side effect: I cringe every time I see the word and gag whenever I'm forced to use it.

Yes, I know there are some instances where it can't be helped.  Crafting a narrative without using 'was' a single time would be extremely difficult.  The problem is, I've got such a personal stigma against its use that I'm having troubles writing transitions because my mind is now trained to explore every and any alternative to using it.  Simple setups such as "Her dress was red, and came up just over her bosom, exposing the smooth lines of her neck and shoulders, which offered a subtle tease of the treasures hidden beneath."  No, instead, my mind does this: Thinkthinkthinkthink(come up with that previous sentence) Bah!  I used 'was', eff that, rewrite...thinkthinkthinkthink...  And then I'd spew out something like "Her red, silk dress came up just enough to cover her bosom, exposing the smooth lines of her neck and shoulders, and offering a subtle tease of the treasures hidden beneath."

Actually, I like that second sentence better.  But I know there are instances where it's okay to use 'was'.  I'm just having so much trouble that it's extending my writing time.  I've become afraid of getting marked down for it in my writing group because, well, lets face it, I'm lazy.  If I could somehow transfer the entire saga of Jalen, Soren Somers, and Aron Brant into copy, I would!  But instead, physics has limited me to scrawling these stories down, one at a time, and in doing so, I can't even get the narratives right the first time.  Book 2 is still an incredible work in progress, and I must again thank AlexisLW for her patience and time.  I intend to prop her books whenever possible once she publishes.

What do you guys think?  When is it okay to use 'was'?  Are you like me and avoid it like the plague, or do you spread it liberally like salt on a bland dish?

If anybody reads this, I'd love to hear your answers.

FAEL FUN FACT OF THE DAY:
The version of the internal combustion engine used in Bastia was a joint venture between Lushanese alchemical engineering and Bastian researchers.  Despite this fact, more automobiles are in use in Chartres than either of the two countries responsible for their invention.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Influence of a Single Act.

Sometimes the simplest, stupidest things can change a person's life dramatically.

Years ago, when I went to Jefferson High in Portland, I was about one inch shorter, twenty pounds of fat lighter, and ten pounds of muscle heavier.  I also lived in a land of giants.  It's no joke!  As a teenaged half-asian islander, I grew up around amid a predominantly African-American population.  Most of my peers were (and still are) strong, proud, and extremely physically imposing compared to me.  In short, I was a sprout in a forest of redwoods.

In my freshman year, of course I had to take P.E.  Now, don't get me wrong, I was never picked last at sports but I was certainly never picked first.  Everybody knew me as the kid who sprinted like lightning but couldn't really excel at anything else.

Until one fateful day.

When it came time for Basketball to be the sport of the week, I knew one thing: this was where I was going to be among the last picked.  Not because of my shortcomings (pun intended), but because of everybody else's physical gifts.  Most everybody in that class stood at least five-eight.  I was five-three.  I remember the captains being picked.  Four of them.  One of them, I remember clear as day.  Eldrick Trevell Bolden.

I knew Eldrick from Middle School.  We'd been friends.  Not good or close friends, but friends enough to where we fed off each other whenever we goofed off in class.  He hung with his crew, and I hung with mine, but in the end, he and I knew we both had things in common.  We both loved basketball, pretty girls, and driving teachers nuts.

Eldrick had second pick that day.  The first captain, a talented athletic kid we called "Chach" took the tallest, strongest guy first.  It didn't surprise anybody.  Then came Eldrick's turn.  He had the pick of the litter.  Two guys at least a foot taller than I, another three who were undoubtedly stronger, my friend Ajay Hansraj who could drain threes with his eyes closed, and my other friend Rokie who was stronger, tougher, taller, and had an overall better game.

Eldrick wasted no time and picked me.

I couldn't believe my ears.  As I walked over, I couldn't help the smile on my face.  Not because I was feeling cocky, but because of the smile on his face.  He had complete confidence in his decision.  I'll never forget what he said to me as he reached out to slap my hand.

"You's my number 1 draft pick dawg..."

He had no reason to pick me.  No reason at all.  Out of everybody in that class, he chose the one person that made no sense for him to pick.  One thing was for damn sure.  I made sure he didn't regret his pick.  I don't think I've ever moved faster, pushed harder, or shot better than that week.  I drained threes, cut to the basket, rebounded, and played insane defense.  I made sure that this man who took a gamble on me would see his faith rewarded.  On that day, I discovered the first hero in my life who I wasn't related to.  He had the courage to defy the status quo.  He went against the grain.  Out of all the people that day who could have picked first, he chose me.  He believed in me when he had no reason to.  He gave me confidence during a dark time in my life.  He showed me just how kind people can be.  He gave me a reason to believe in myself.

After that week, I was invited to every pickup game in that gym whenever I was around.

Last week I found out that my good friend was murdered three years ago.

Apparently he was in Mississippi visiting family.  Some idiot took his life.  I had written in a part for Eldrick in my latest book.  I hadn't seen or heard from him since moving out of Portland and I wanted to know how he was doing.  When I found out, it felt like a knife stabbing my heart.  I wanted to cry.  I still want to.  I wasn't his best friend nor was he mine.  I won't pretend we were close.  But I will acknowledge that he was a hero to me.  He will be sorely missed, and I intend to ensure his name will live on.

Rest in peace, Eldrick.
I won't ever forget you.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I need that one-star review...

Doesn't that sound strange?

You're probably thinking I've gone insane (which translates well from my last entry, hah!) but I haven't.  After a month at my new job I've figured out something that I began to suspect awhile ago.

My writing thrives on negativity.

The creative juices flowed best when stuck in a situation I hated.  My first job at Chase was going nowhere, I saw no exit, and the monotony of the same old thing every single day had me ready to slam my face in the safebox vault door.

So I wrote.  And man, did I fire off those pages like lightning.  The premise, the plot, the scenes...everything came together with such clear vision that the dreaded writer's block never came close to infecting me.  I went to my breaks and lunches frothing with what I would type next.  I zoned out at my station, laying plans for upcoming scenes, setting up jokes, connecting the dots, and working like clockwork to get the first manuscript down.

Then the first reviews of the first draft came in.

It dragged.  Too many adverbs.  Too much exposition.  Grammatical errors.  Way short on the show, overdosed on the tell.  I was crushed...and motivated.

I dove back into the manuscript, obsessed like never before.  I had to fix it.  I love being tasked to fix broken things, and this was even better.  I had to fix my own creation.  So for another six months I hacked, slashed, and burned the manuscript until it resembled 99% of what it looks like today (I still make corrections as they find them.  I know, I know, I should get an editor.  If anybody wants to foot that bill for me, by all means...).

Then I got promoted at work.  Settled in with a great staff and on top of that, the first reviews of the finished book came in.

And...the opposite happened.  Sure, some fixing here and there needed (and still needs) to be done, but for the most part, I scored a small win.  Those who took their time to offer their opinion of the book have given mostly positive comments.  Even the negatives weren't really negative.  So I started book two and found my energy sadly lacking.  I struggled so much with the first eight chapters that I'm doing a complete revamp of everything between one and nine.  What makes chapter nine satisfactory to me?  I wrote it in misery.

I don't hate my new job, but it's not the same.  The people are good, but it's not the same filial atmosphere.  Everybody does their own thing and checks out.  I haven't sensed a brand loyalty.  The pride isn't there.  I'm staying strong, but at the cost of great personal stress.

Now my writing has come back as fierce as ever.  Chapters nine and ten FLEW out of my mind.  Eleven is nearing completion.  I've done more in the past three weeks than the past three months.  I needed to be miserable.

A one-star review will accomplish that.

I'm not a stickler for punishment.  In fact, a one star review will help beyond upsetting me, it would tell me what needs to be fixed!  I hate not knowing what people think of my story.  And don't think I wouldn't appreciate some more rave reviews, I'd be equally grateful for those, but man, if there's anything that drives me to start churning out the words, it's misery.

So to those people who felt ripped off for downloading my ebook, who are upset that they took time out of their lives to read my worthless waste of e-space, to those people who can't stand the sight of my amateurish prose; lay it on me!  I can take it!  Tell me how much you hated my plot holes or weak premise or lack of characterization.  Bemoan the forced  humor and point out every typo or grammatical error you can find!

Gimme those one-stars.  I can take it.

Focker, OUT!

Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm beginning to think I'm weird.

Seriously.

I'm from the pacific northwest, I've never been to New York, but I'm a huge Knicks, Jets, and Yankees fan. 

On top of that, my political views are all over the spectrum.

And then there's my writing habits.  Minimum 1-hour a day, with varying genres of music playing during the process.  By far, classical dominates the playlist, but it's followed in close second by...Rob Zombie.  Yep, he of the original White Zombie.  Dragula, Superbeast, Meet the Creeper and Living Dead Girl usually get the noggin flowing for me.  When I'm not in the mood for the fast paced riffs, I go for nineties New Jack.  Boyz II Men, Bobby Brown, the good ol' days of R&B.  I also have an incredible weakness for 80's hair bands. 

When all else fails.  I turn to Michael.

Yep, I'm weird.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sony Patents New Anti-Resell Tech (Supposedly)

In an interesting article I read at IGN- Here's the article (I know, I know, *groan*) it seems that Sony has filed a patent application which will prevent games from being resold through a contactless chip which emits a signal to the console.  This signal embeds a "code" within the console, thus allowing content on the disc to be played/installed/whatever.  Read the article for details, I'm just glossing over here.

Of course, the flame wars immediately begun, with Xboxers vs. the Playboys not only swearing off PS4 (which I think is stupid in many ways) but threatening to jump to different consoles and slamming Sony.

I find it ironic that nobody addressed the real problem though: Piracy.

Simply put, NONE of these draconic measures would even be necessary if people simply didn't steal software.

I'll admit first off, that yes, I have downloaded software in the past without paying for it.  Initially.  If I found I liked the software, I purchased it in full and made sure I gave my share to the devs.  But this was usually only when demo versions of said software are unavailable.  I generally distrust torrent and torrent sites (you can only get STD's if you sleep with potentially infected people right?) so I avoid them like the plague these days and have such been burned a couple times after purchasing something only to find it was a piece of crap afterwards, but hey, at least I'm honest.

But back to the point, if people would just STOP STEALING GAMES, then crap like this wouldn't even need to be implemented.  Although there is still one problem.

Reselling.

The devs make no money of resold games.  Which is a shame.  Personally, I buy 70% of my games used.  Mostly because nobody buys my books and my day job pays crap lol.  What needs to happen here, is the big 3 need to establish some sort of infrastructure for resellers to report sales of used games.  While the demographics would be incredibly useful to marketing, finding a way to track used sales would be a  good start to finding a way to profit of said sales, even if it's only a fraction of what they would get from the sale of a new game.  Hell, I'd rather make 1 cent off every book I sold than nothing at all, and for the devs, every little bit helps.

If only all gamers could get on the no piracy, no hax bandwagon...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why Chael?

First, let's get one thing straight: I am a HUGE Chael Sonnen fan. And yes, it's because he has a loud mouth. Truth be told, I think his in-fight ability leaves a lot to be desired once he takes somebody to the ground. In his last two fights, he displayed a lack of urgency in harrassing Anderson Silva on the ground, and was viciously outworked by a seemingly more motivated Michael Bisping (who I will talk about more later on).
Right now, my problem is with Joe Silva and Dana White. Their latest decision to cast Sonnen and Jones as opposing TUF coaches may make fiscal sense, but come on! Chael has spent the greater part of his middleweight career picking apart the LH division as nothing more than a curious joke, where cowards shy away from the top in order to protect their pride. To allow Chael a free pass to the top spits in the face of men like Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, and Tito Ortiz (and people who know me should know I'm not the biggest tito fan). I can name a couple of hard workers who I would love to see get a shot at ol' Jonesy. Gustafsson, Hendo, and Evans come to mind, but the one person I'd LOVE to see take on the Bones is Mr. Wonderful - Phil Davis.
 
Problem is, Bonesy is hurt and some may doubt the validity of a Davis-Jones fight. Honestly, I'm one of those people. I see the POTENTIAL in Davis and his last showing against Wagner Prado was nothing short of awesomeness. BUT, before that Rashad Evans dominated the larger competitor in a tune-up fight leading to Evans' futile octagon showing against Jones. In order to see if Davis is ready for the championship rounds, this is what I propose:
 
December '12 - Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida - Why? Because Chael could and would talk up a storm about "the karate guy" who once dominated the division. And after turning down the match with Jones at UFC 151, Lyoto needs to prove to me that he wants to go head to head with Jones. The heat Chael could generate from this could transcend the heights established against Anderson Silva. And the best part? Lyoto is Brazilian. Go to town with that, Chael. Go to town.
 
December '12 - Phil Davis vs. M. Shogun Rua - Why? Here's your test Phil Davis. Shogun has the credentials as one of the best on the octagon right now and is a legitimate contender to the belt. However, him shying away from Jones at UFC 151 left a bitter taste about his desire for the gold, especially after his disgruntled reaction to Lyoto being named #1 contender following their dual main events against Bader and Vera, respectively. If Phil can get past Shogun, it would send a clear signal that he's ready for a shot at the big time.
 
TUF Coaches - Well, Bones is hurt, so this is the perfect opportunity for him to take some time off to mentor young (or old, depending on the format) talent. We'd need to find an opponent for him though, and one who could draw interest, and in turn ratings. Without Chael, we need some form of drama. I think that void is filled by the one-time friend and training partner (and ex-TUF coach), Rashad Evans. Rashad's been quiet ever since his loss to Bones, and since we're catapulting people to the top regardless of their last few fights, why not toss Rashad in there?
 
UFC TBD - Jones vs. Rashad Co-Main Event along with (winner of Chael vs. Lyoto) vs. (winner of Davis vs. Shogun).
 
UFC TBD - (Winner of Jones vs. Rashad) vs. the last man standing out of Chael, Lyoto, Davis, and Shogun.
The time frame is much longer, but it gives Jones time to heal and properly prepare, and lets us legitimately see if either Sonnen or Davis is the contender we've been looking for.
 
Bleh, too bad I'm not Joe Silva.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Phew! Its been awhile!

So sorry for the absence!  Needless to say, I've been very, very indisposed at my day job!  Having several people move on to different ventures in life has put an incredible strain on our personnel, which in turn has cut my lunches to half an hour.  And as anybody knows, my lunch is when I write, and with only half the time, I can barely do a tenth of the work.

Progress on book 2 has been for lack of a better term; disappointing.  Chapter 5 has finally been ironed out in terms of scenes, but getting it down has been tough.  Between marketing B.S. and writing this, I've stretched myself quite thin and often wonder if every indie author went through this.  For me, the most frustrating part is the overall sense that my day job has become a waste of time when compared to what I need to do to get Betrayer's Sigil done.

That's right :)  I've finally got a title for the second book.  Betrayer's Sigil it is, beating out Magister's Sigil and Shattered Sigil.  I'm really looking forward to getting this one out to my beta reader, but I want to make sure its a little more refined.

In addition to BS2, I've taken up the Rushfit program!  That's right, the fat new me is going on a venture to get the fit old me back!  Starting up was nothing less than excruciating.  I nearly heaved halfway through the first day's workout and barely scraped through the second day (which was only cardio).  So far I've made it through the first week and I'm already seeing the following results:

-My bad knee doesn't hurt as much anymore.

-Vast improvement in posture.  No, not kidding, I sit, stand, and move in a much more economical way.

-I'm falling asleep at my old bedtime.  Not sure if this is bad or good, but hey, more sleep isn't bad right?

-I'm waking up at 6 in the morning, yet feeling no sluggishness or fatigue later in the day.  Honestly, my goal is to shoot for 5:30.

Again, I apologize for the massive absence, but I promise to be more active!  It's taken awhile for me to really nail what I want to put on this blog.  Screw "All Writing, All Day, Every Week", this is going to be my thoughts and reviews on all things.

Speaking of which, my next entry will be about: The Transformers Movies, Kids, and Criticisms -- Why I Think the Adults Have Got It All Wrong.

Have a good night everybody!