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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Greetings, Bearers!

Check it out!  The background image on the blog is one of  nine preliminary sketches sent my way courtesy of Sanjana!  She sent them to me yesterday, and I was so excited that I had to put one up and show you guys a sneak peek of what’s to come! 

I’m still fooling around with how I want the sketch to look in the blog background, so it might look different than it does now if you come back in the near future.  It’ll stay there until the official cover is finished up, at which point I intend to replace the sketch with the true cover.  But for the time being, this sketch will occupy the spot.  I’m very pleased with the artwork, and I hope to hear your thoughts about it as well!

Wow… this must be what it’s like to feel like a real writer 😉

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

 

Greetings, Bearers!

An exhausting stretch for me today.  I had a little bit of a scare this morning that stressed me out (not a medical one mind you) and had me praying to God for help.  Thankfully He seems to have set things in the right direction, and I’m feeling a whole lot better now (although being “out of the woods” with regard to my predicament isn’t quite right).  

But the side effect to this is that I’ve learned something about myself that I’ve not paid that much attention to in the past, and maybe some of you have this same affliction.

I rarely stress out about anything; thank God in heaven that I don’t really have a whole lot to be stressed about.  But when I do stress out (like I did this morning), I find that soon afterward I’m completely exhausted, and by that I mean exhausted in the sense that I was ready at three in the afternoon in the middle of my niece’s birthday party (which introduced me to some of the best cupcakes in the world), I could have found a corner, curled up into a cat-like ball (like my cat is doing right now outside my window), and crash for an hour or two.  

Not fun.  Not fun at all.

I wonder if this is the same for all people who stress out, whether or not they have this “crash” afterward that results in so heavy a fatigue.  If you’re somebody who stresses out easily, or often, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about this one, because like I said, a serious “stress out” is a rare thing for me to go through, and it left me ready to do a Rip Van Winkle impersonation at the drop of a hat.

Odd.

Anyway, I hope that all of you plan on enjoying your Memorial Day weekend.  Remember what it’s about as well while you enjoy that BBQ and that day off; a number of good men who served on front lines in many battles died for our country and deserve our thoughts and remembrance.  

As for me, I hope next week to have ready for you a little excerpt from another short story I’m working on, as well as another entry into the Vein omnibus for your study.  And as soon as I get word from her, I hope to show you the artwork that Sanjana is prepping for me. Hopefully she’s not getting the same grief from her computer as I get from mine (the PC, not the Mac… you’re such a good computer, Mac-baby 😀 )

So eat those burgers and hot dogs, thank the living soldiers while remembering the ones passed on, and remember to not be like me and stress out.  Stress isn’t fun.

But a nap sure sounds like fun right now…

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

While in the middle of continuing my writing, I’d like to share this little blurb about something I contributed to in a town not too far away from me: http://www.mlive.com/flushing/index.ssf/2012/05/record_breaking_star_power_ral.html

I’m somewhere in the tip of the back right arm of the star. Wouldn’t quite label myself an activist, per se, but I do like helping out in little things like this.

Plus.. it helped that my wife prodded me a bit 😉

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Go see it.

Nuff said

😀

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

Thanks to my  family (and my inquisitive daughter in particular), I am returning to that island of mystery via the wonderful world of Blu-Ray; back to Dharma, to the Others, and othe survivors of Oceanic flight 815; back to the forward, backward, and sideways flashes; back to time paradoxes and smoke monsters.

That’s right, I’m going back to the world of Lost

But this time, I’m approaching it from a different perspective.  When I watched the show the first time, it was as a television viewer, a fan wanting to see where Jack Shepard, John Locke, and the other people were taking us.  Now, I’m watching the show as a writer, and while we’re only up to the end of the second season (“I crashed your plane, brotha!”), there are a couple of nuggets about writing that I’ve unearthed in the time spent back on the island that I’d like to share with you.  Keep in mind, too, that even though my observations are drawn from television-based writing, the observations apply for the most part to novel and short story writing as well. 

A GOOD NUGGET: One of the things that Lost does well is character development.  Using both the “flash” sequences and the “here and now” cuts on the island, the characters are fleshed out, essentially “baiting” the audience, in particular through evoking sympathy with people who may not be what they seem (Remember the nice twist with Sawyer regarding his identity? 😉 ).    The better the  connection that a writer can establish with his/her audience through the character, the longer the audience will be engaged, even if the plot itself is weakened.  More mature writers know that identification with characters is key to engaging the readers and drawing them into whatever the world may be, whether historical fiction, romance, fantasy, scifi, horror, etc.; so long as characters exist that are made flesh and blood through description and tone, the readers will be attracted.

When a writer can flesh out one central character, the story will be good.  When a writer can flesh out multiple characters, the story will be great, and  Lost does this on a large scale.  Now, obviously this is a bit more difficult to do in a novel as opposed to a multi-season television series (unless you’re doing the epic novel series… like me 😀 ), in part because a television series is scripted by more than one writer, meaning that different perspectives can be brought to different characters-something more difficult for a single author to accomplish.  Nevertheless it’s a worthwhile endeavor to undertake, and well worth the extra effort spent.  A diverse array of fleshed-out characters broadens the scope of attraction for the audience:  some prefer Hurley over Jack; some prefer Claire tover Kate, Eko over Charlie, etc.  Like a restaurant with a larger range of choices on its menu, the story with a broader spectrum of well-written characters will whet the appetites of the masses.

A BAD NUGGET: Unfortunately, just as good lessons can be learned, so can bad ones.  One of the errors made in Lost by the writers was the “spreading thin” of the plot at various times.  Complexity in a plot is a good thing, and when added to the mix of well-developed characters it can make for some fantastic storytelling.  But a temptation in writing-especially in writing science fiction and fantasy-is to overload a reader with too much, either in the form of infodumps (Michael Crichton was notorious for doing this), or in the form of plot elements that are never followed through. 

While I’ve no intention of revealing any spoilers for Lost, I do have to say that at times the show was guilty of the second form of overload at times, where a plotline would either be started or hinted at, and then not fully developed. This can be a great frustration to many a reader/viewer, and to be honest it shows that the writer did not think through the process of developing the plot in advance.  A plot has to make sense; it has to be coherent, and too many unanswered questions can turn into a distracting enough element for an audience to turn them off from the work.  We might think that unanswered questions to the plot may give our work a more “mysterious” and “grey” element, but to do so at the expense of internal logic is a risky leap to take.  What we may think is “clever” may come across to our audience as “sloppy,” so use unfinished and unanswered plot deviances with care.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’ve rambled enough.  Time for me to finish up the day and get psyched up to assemble with The Avengers! Joss Whedon is doing this one, so it’s going to be a good one 😀

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean