Must..keep…momentum

Heading into the weekend, I am still excited about the project I started on Wednesday. My goal for the weekend is to somehow keep the momentum going and do some more work on this project. I have written some notes about the story, but I have not touched it since Wednesday. Tomorrow my father-in-law and parents and sister are visiting, so Saturday is pretty much out of the picture as far as writing goes. It will be great to see everyone, but there is no way I can break away for some writing. Sunday night I am playing in a hockey game.  I hope to get some writing done Sunday afernoon. Wish me luck!

On an unrelated note, check out Melly's blog. She has an interesting question of "What kind of character is hardest for you to write?" It is an intersesting question. At this point I would have to say villian, because I have not written any villians yet. This one really got me thinking, though.

My Next Project

I scheduled a vacation day yesterday and was lucky it happened to fall on one of the best weather days of the year so far. Living in Pennsylvania, it has been a long, cold, winter and any day above 50 degrees is greatly appreciated. I was able to spend some time outside planting flowers and getting rid of the dead flowers. I think the couple hours I spent in the sun really rejuvenated me.

Toward the end of the day I was able to start my next writing project, which I hope will develop into my first novel. As of now, the story could be best described as a super-hero comedy. I was able to write 300-500 words yesterday. It felt really good to start this project and I am actually enjoying writing this one. I’m writing this one for myself and for the experience of writing a novel, as I don’t know if there is a market for super-hero comedy. On the other hand, I don’t really care, and I don’t know if I really should care at this point. The great thing, though, is that I already care about the protagonist, which I think is a good thing. After all, how can I convince an audience to care about the main character in a story if I don’t care about him/her.

Zathura – Watch this Movie

Over the weekend, my wife and I had a few people over to watch a movie. It is pretty hard to choose a movie that everyone will enjoy. After much debate, we chose Zathura. Zathura is a film based on children's author Chris Van Allsburg's book of the same name. Zathura is considered to be a sequel to Van Allsburg's previous book, Jumanji, though none of the characters from Jumanji appear in the book or the movie. Before seeing this movie, I was expecting strictly a kid's movie and wasn't sure if everyone would enjoy the movie. Luckily it turned out to be a pretty decent film.

The director of the film was Jon Favreau, who you may remember directed The Elf and who also starred in the movie Swingers. What really made this movie, though, was the two main child actors, who had such a great chemistry and really sold the idea that they were inside a house that was floating in space near Saturn. The star of the movie, in my opinion, was Jonah Bobo, who played the youngest boy Danny. When he felt scared, we felt scared. When he was sad, we were sad. Dax, of Punk'd fame, also did a solid job as The Astronaut.

Though this was a sci-fi film, it had a retro feel to it. Most of the special effects in the movie were done using miniatures, rather than straight CGI. The makers of the film only used CGI when necessary. This gives the film a more solid feel than some of the films that rely solely on computer graphics.

In the special features of the DVD, there was an interesting interview with Chris Van Allsburg.  In the interview, he mentions that he states his view that when his books are turned into movies, he views his books as a roadmap for the filmmakers, rather than a literal source. 

All in all, I highly recommed this movie.  

What if Feels Like to be Published

This entry is going to pretty much be about me, which is the topic I least like to talk about, which may sound funny coming from someone who is writing on a blog and has made at least two posts in the past week about being published in his local newspaper. However, someone asked me to describe what it feels like to see your work in print, so I will answer that request.

The Negative:

I would first like to admit that I have not yet read my article since it was chosen by the Centre Daily Times. Since there is no way for me to edit the story as it has already been printed, I guess I'm scared that I will find some error or bad writing in my story that would be just too embarassing for me to discover. Luckily, the positive response I have received from everyone leads me to believe that my writing was at least OK.

The Positives

There are many positives to being printed in the newspaper. First of all, it is a nice ego boost to see your name, photograph, and work printed in the only newspaper in town. I am an avid reader of the newspaper and it is pretty crazy to be featured on the front page of one of the 4 sections of the paper. Being printed just this once will hopefully give me the fuel I need to cointinue to write.

The kind words from my friends and co-workers are also a big positive I have gotten out of this whole experience. I have received dozens of emails and congratulations from the people I work with on a daily basis. A number of people have told me that I need to start writing my own stories.

The best part of all of this, though, is the reaction of my family. My wife, who is also my #1 editor has told me many times how proud she is of me. This is a very cool thing. The reaction of my parents has been wonderful too because from the moment we are born I don't think we ever stop trying to impress our parents. Finally, my parents told me Sunday night that they showed my submission to my grandfather and he was really proud. Wow, talk about a good feeling.

Conclusion

This is the third time I have been published in this particular newspaper, and it is no less sweet this time. It has validated for me, at least a little bit, that I have some writing talent. The little voice in my head will still try to convince me that I am a no talent hack, but I have more ammunition to prove the little guy wrong.

Monday Update

Just a quick update for the time being as I just had a root canal
done (so far, it was not painful at all, though the novocaine has not
yet worn off). I need to write here about how it felt to have my
submission published in the newspaper. The short answer is that
it was pretty cool.

In the meantime, here is the link to the entire novel and here
is the link to my Chapter 5.

Short Story Contest Update

As I mentioned in this post, I entered a contest with my local newspaper.  I just got a phone call from a reporter there and I was informed that my submission was picked!  I’m pretty excited about this.  It will be pretty cool to see my work in print.  This will be the third time one of my submissions was picked, but the first time for this particular contest.  Maybe I will scan the section of the newspaper that my work appears on and post it here.

About Me

Since I have been getting a few new visitors here the past few days, I thought I would share a little about myself.  I am 28+ years old.  I work as a computer programmer during the day.  In my spare time I play hockey in the winter and softball in the summer.  I also love to read.  What I have been reading currently is anything by Terry Pratchett, especially the hilarious Discworld novels.  I don’t have any formal writing training other than the required Creative Writing class in college.  I have picked up fiction writing in the past year or so as a hobby and hope to someday finish a novel.  I would like to someday be publishe and get paid for it, but that isn’t my determining factor for success.  I call myself The Struggling Writer because I have a bit of a procrastination problem.  Welcome to my blog.

Short Story Contest – Chapter 5

I have completed my submission for my local newspaper’s collaborative short story contest. We were to write Chapter 5 of the seven part story. A link to Chapter 4 (the previous chapter) is here: Link . In Chapter 4, the two main characters, Scott and Johnny discover that Scott’s brother Sam has been murdered. I have posted my submission below.

Here is my Chapter 5:

Scott pushed the black bag away from him and quickly backpedaled away from his brother’s makeshift grave, eventually tripping over a fallen tree and landing on his back. Suddenly the summer air felt so cold to Scott and he began to feel very much alone.

“Who is it?” asked Johnny, seemingly unable to bring himself to look into the body bag. Hearing Johnny’s voice reminded Scott that at least his good friend was still with him.

“It..it’s Sam,” responded Scott barely able to believe his brother was really dead. Scott would never have the chance to tell his brother how much he looked up to him. He would never truly know the reason Sam arrested Johnny, either.

“Scott, I say you put him back in the ground and leave him here,” said Johnny as he struggled to remove the bear trap from his leg. “Maybe we should get out of here in case whoever did this returns.” While Johnny said this Scott noticed he kept glancing at his watch and looking up the road.

“We can’t just leave him here,” answered Scott his whisper becoming a yell. “He’s still my brother and he should be in a cemetery, not in some hole in the ground in the middle of the woods I’ll never find again. He deserves better than that.”

“You have no idea who you’re dealing with,” said Johnny as two headlights came bouncing toward them. Whoever was driving the old flare side pickup was in quite a hurry.

The pickup truck stopped inches from the boys and the driver’s side door flew open. A tall man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt stepped out of the truck sizing up the boys. “Why don’t you put that bag in the ground and patch up that hole,” said the man as he pointing a gun at Scott. Though Scott was sure he recognized the voice, he could not remember who it belonged to and was unable to see his assailant’s face with the truck’s blinding headlights in his face.

Scott seemed to hesitate, looking toward Johnny for reassurance. “Start digging,” said the mysterious man as he pointed his shotgun at Scott. Scott began to sob deeply as he poured the dirt back onto Sam’s body. Scott threw the last bit of earth on his brother’s grave and said a little prayer, hoping his brother was in a better place. He also tried desperately to visualize his surroundings in the hope he could some day find his brother again.

“This wasn’t a good move for you Scotty boy,” said the stranger. “We have your prints on the body and now on the shovel used to hide the body. All we have to do now is turn you in. Johnny, why don’t you get some rope out of the back of the truck and tie him up.” Until that moment Scott had been oblivious to the lack of attention the man gave Johnny, but now it was all painfully clear.

“How could you Johnny?” said Scott with tears rolling down his cheeks. “You were my friend.”

Johnny walked over to Scott and began tying his hands behind his back. As Johnny bound Scott’s hands, Scott made sure to hide a little slack from the rope in his palm as he had seen in the movies. Johnny, unaware of Scott’s craftiness continued his work by tying his feet and placing a bandanna in his mouth.

”I’m so sorry Scott. I had to do it,” said Johnny as he climbed into the passenger’s seat of the pickup.

“Just get in the truck Johnny,” interrupted the man as he threw Scott in the bed of the truck. As the truck drove away, Scott fidgeted with his ropes as Johnny wondered what he had done.