Life Of A Thousand Cuts

Had a moment where I considered cutting quite a big point. I don’t disregard it so much as it fades into the background. If it takes you out of the story then I need to get rid of it, don’t I? It establishes a value in what you would call in Joseph Campbell’s vernacular, the call to adventure. Plus it’s a good scene and I like how it flows, it’s spare and yet visceral, both in what happens and what I hope are the reactions to it. 

I’m still thinking about what to cut, although I do like the tone of the piece. I feel that I have the voice of Caitlin down and I am looking to avoid having her spend too much time alone in the book. That will mean cutting, but I will keep what I take away. I am beginning to think that the trick to this will be reordering some of the scenes as well as cutting some conversations that don’t go anywhere. Every scene should move the story forward. At some point, I will revisit Robert McKee. I view his work as principles rather than rules, it’s been a massive help to me in terms of understanding what a story is, and how to structure them.  I want to tell stories and stories are things that move, not stay in one place. First drafts are where you let the story grow, this is where I start trimming the branches and moving things forward. You hope that the soil is good and you keep turning over the earth, helping things grow and you look for things to prune, or where you need to plant new things. 

Or as I put it, sit down and write. Get it done and get it finished. Even if no one reads it, they might want to but first you have to write it. We are waiting for your voice on the page. Yes, there’s probably more writing available to us, more knowledge than at any point in human history, think of all the things that we know and we can do. Think of the things we accomplished. 

Now think of all the things that make you sad. 

Only you will ever experience that set of emotions and experiences directly, and if you have the discipline and the intention, then you can write about it, using story and metaphor and words to share that with us. You might save someone’s life, you might entertain someone on a boring train journey. You might be the subject of a conversation that leads to people falling desperately and madly in love, moving in together, having children and growing old together. 

You might be hated. Some people are, and that’s an expression of pain. You can heal people with your words, simply by taking them away to your experience. If you keep going, and you breathe through that sadness, then you can share yourself with everyone who reads your work. Do it for that if nothing else. 

Has a tweet changed someone’s life? Probably but a good book saves more, I am sure of it. I want to get the work out to as many people as possible, because I love it and I want to offer it up to you.

 

What is so special about the Conscious Masculine?

Originally posted on Conscious Masculinity Coach:

InfinitySeries13-BA few years ago, I associated The Masculine as he is often portrayed in this culture. The macho athlete, tall, handsome, opening the door of his red sports car for his beautiful woman, a few hours after he had saved her from a ferocious monster of some sort. He didn’t talk about feelings, he was strong, he drank beer with his buddies at the pub, maybe he got in a fight. When I really got imaginative – I even noticed how Buildings seemed Masculine, or bridges, but that was about as far as I got. And putting the words conscious and masculine in the same sentence was the ultimate oxymoron…

Today, Conscious Masculinity is a big part of my life (after all, I call my self a Conscious Masculinity Coach)…I associate conscious masculinity with words like: presence, direction, boundaries, authenticity, integrity, protection and emotionally connected/aware.

I am a Masculine male…

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Discussing the confines of masculinity

Originally posted on Magnificent Musing:

I know this is something spoken of sparingly but as life goes on, I am becoming more and more aware of all the female voices complaining of the confines they are put under and less of the male’s, which I consider completely unreasonable. Yes there are obvious influences on females, I wouldn’t deny that, we should wear make up, we should stay slim, deter wrinkles, have a baby, get married and be a career woman blah blah the list goes on. But what about the male confines? I feel sorry for the silences around them, having to appear strong at all times (no crying) also having to keep up the endless promise that your penis is in fact larger than anyone else’s through words and actions, it does keep life somewhat limited for many. The constant male bravado when around other males, no ‘oh she looks pretty’… are you gay…

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Two Pages (Includes a NSFW excerpt)

Today, being a first draft, I tend to just go for it and work through the page count. When I am pursuing an idea, what fascinates me tends to be what sustains me. So for this scene, I am working with a BDSM dynamic, the negotiation of limits and safe words, securing enthusiastic consent is fascinating as a dynamic. Here I am showing a strong woman as a submissive, and how that feeds into who she is outside of the space she creates in the scene. 

There is a power in letting go, but it lies with the submissive and not the dominant. To them, that power is lent and I want to honour that. Healthy is sexy and I resent the idea that different methods of sexual expression are somehow aberrant. If it’s consensual and safe, then it’s good and there is also great energy in writing about it. 

I’m not much on props although I understand the appeal and the thrill especially if you are finding out about your limits. There should be humour in sex too, some of the most sensual moments in your life can come from a shared smile, a private joke that makes you blush when you recall it. 

Here is an excerpt. 

I awoke to her touch on my shoulder.

‘Hey.’

Her whisper was loud in the darkness of the room.

I swallowed and I felt her pull the covers back. Her skin was bare and chilly at her calves and warm on her tight, lean thigh.  The fingers of her right hand grazed up to the side of my face and she moved my head.

‘I want to know where your mouth is, Max.’

I took her fingers between my teeth and lightly bit her index finger.

‘Oh you fucking bastard.’ she said

There was surprise in how she sang the words and I went to move more fully onto my back but she squeezed me between her thighs and held me still.

‘No, I won already. I want to show my appreciation for you coming all this way.’

I let go of her finger and she ran her fingers over my scalp.

‘You shaved.’

I felt her lean down and kiss me on the mouth before she took my bottom lip between her teeth and she bit me. She groaned and I felt her press her pussy against my thigh.

I looked at her where she was and I felt her breath on my face as she pulled back. My lip throbbed from where she had bitten me and I felt nothing but a deep burn spreading through my veins from where I had begun to wake up to the sensation of her on top of me.

I went to put hands on her hips but she stopped me and pushed me to the sheets.

‘Shouldn’t we have a safe word?’

She chuckled in my ear. I felt her lips open against my thigh and I felt the warmth of her there.

‘Sure, what did you have in mind?’

I swallowed as I struggled to think in the face of the lust that was racing through me as she ground herself against me.

‘Hanuman.’ I said.

‘Then that’s our safe word. Now listen to me.’

She leaned back and whispered again. Continue reading

Just because you give your gift doesn’t mean it will be appreciated or even received. You have to find the love within it, it’s as much about finding that as it is about having the ethic of showing up and doing the work each day. I seldom post about writer’s block or any of the issues that some others have because I work past them.  

I used to correspond with writers who would talk about starting this or that then never finishing any of it. They would then tweet about working their way through box sets of Dexter when they could have been writing instead. I don’t know what will work for you, I only know what works for me presently and even that is subject to change. 

I suppose I would boil it down to the essential points

1. Make the writing a practice that is separate from the need for inspiration. A degree of detachment allows you to produce when you feel inspired and more importantly when you don’t. Make it small and manageable. I write two pages a day, every day. I am also editing at a rate of five pages a day of a first draft. These are, for the most part, small and manageable tasks and on the days when they are neither small nor manageable then I experience that resistance and keep working anyway. 

2. Finish things that you start. Starting is easier than finishing and hence why there are innumerable pieces with strong beginnings and no endings to them. Once you have finished something, no matter how small, then you have written something complete. Good or bad, it’s yours and you can rework it if it’s not all that it could be or you can share it and accept the criticism that might come your way. 

3.  Worry about the things that you can control and only those things.  I don’t hear a lot from my agent but I know it’s a slow process getting a book accepted and published. I can’t worry about that side of things, all I can do is make sure that my writing is as good as it can be and I have more work in the pipeline. I would consider that I have more than one book in me, more than one story to tell and if the first book doesn’t go over, then a later one might. I can keep writing and working on the books until something happens. The rest is academic to me. I write books and I will do that for the love of it. I don’t write for the marketplace but for an audience and I have already written for the love rather than the money, and it’s the love that sustains me now.

4.  We all worry whether we are good enough. You have to decide to appoint yourself to that position. No one else can do it for you.

Write because you love it then everything else will be what it will be.  I turn 38 in about an hour, and the only regret thus far has been that I didn’t start sooner but I figure that everything was preparation for getting to this point. 

 

Life Of A Thousand Cuts

Listening to something indirect tonight. I really like Childish Gambino, as much for the beats he uses as for his lyrical flow. Hopsin is a recent discovery but I love this song for the chorus and his lyrics. He communicates pain really well. 

Korn are a mixed bag, this is one of their best songs. Something atonal is at play here and there’s a brutal swagger to the work. 

( the way he says gorgeous, is quite lovely. It’s both sweet and disgusting, in an adolescent way that manages to be almost endearing)

 

 

(I love this song, the chorus is fantastic and I love the melodic elements over the relentless rhythms. 

OK, so I cut away the abandoned subplot, which would have been a vengeful ex girlfriend but it did not fit into what was happening in the book and so it’s going into the idea folder for a possible later project. I am finding that there is less to cut here than I thought at this stage. Later on, I will once I have the overall gestalt, begin to reorder and lay in some foreshadowing as well as unpack any exposition.  So far, this part works quite well, I’m not in Caitlin’s head so much and it’s telling a story with enough shading to show that it’s someone speaking but as I said, I like to stay out of the way and let the story tell itself. 

There will be points that I will read this and want to go back in time and punch my self in the head for even writing this bilge, but perhaps not. Each time out will be a different journey but I carry whatever I learned from the last one along with me and that seems to make for a better level of basic competency for me. I always carry that doubt with me but I learn to work through, and ultimately past it. 

Main thing is, it’s done and it looks better than it did. I talk about pushing through first drafts and any resistance, not being afraid of writing lesser work, not as a cop out but because later on, if you have a bit of discipline and take a longer view, then you can go in and fix it. Sometimes that might take longer than it did to write the original thing but that’s where you cash in the discipline and the practices you have already built. All that reading you’re doing, that intuition and detachment, that is as much a part of the writing as the initial burst of enthused passion that gets you writing in the first place. 

 

 

 

Two Pages

It didn’t take long today. I enjoy writing in the quiet of the morning because I am awake and alert. I usually walk the dog first to wake myself up and get my blood flowing but then I sit down and get to work. Later on, I will edit another five pages of The Wounds She Wanted.

I’m gauging roughly 100 pages to get the Queen and Warrior segments completed. Next up will be the Magician and the Lover ( archetypally speaking, all four of the women he meets become his lovers) I won’t share the broad strokes of what comes next because I am not certain of it myself as I continue. 

The work gets done and I keep going. The more work that I have available to show publishers, the higher a likelihood exists that someone will take a chance on me and get my work out to an audience. I know who they are, and I contemplate that there is no separation between myself and my goals. 

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If i were to do a comic book project for a major publisher (work for hire) I would want to revamp a property that was either ridiculous or moribund. 

My choices would be:

THE GREAT LAKES AVENGERS (Marvel)

LEGION OF SUPERHEROES (DC)

My choices are reflected in the fact that there is strange history within them. I am not a massive fan of grim and gritty as it actually lacks authenticity. I would want to aim for particular approaches with each book. One of my favourite comics is Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol as well as his run on JLA but I wouldn’t necessarily be interested in aping his approach. No, I would want to renew these characters, have a sense of their history but not be beholden to continuity, but rather a superconsistency that allows for new interpretations around the characters and their place in the world. 

Comics are words and pictures. Ultimately I would enjoy writing something that I created, but with comics it would be fun to work on something old as a challenge. This is just free associating as a way of winding down after writing and editing. 

Life Of A Thousand Cuts

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Laid in some foreshadowing that needs to set up what comes later. Otherwise, some nice descriptive work that I intend to keep. I’m not being obvious hopefully and changed up some dialogue as well as restructured some sentences. Aiming for show rather than tell hopefully.  Also will need to cut out an abortive subplot that I never went with. I enjoy paring things back to the essentials and polishing the themes up into something tangible and enjoyable to read. I want to be invisible when I write, so the voice of the character comes through and the story that they tell. 

This process is educational for me and it is colouring the first draft. One of my goals is to produce more work, have a shorter turnaround from first to last draft and to get more work out to publishers. As I write more books, I feel that I am responding to this and producing better work each time out. I am terse on the page, I write as the characters think and I know that I need to continue having a degree of detachment as well as a state of beginner’s mind in what I do. I will retain the practice of coming to the page whether it is to cut or create, it’s still making something of joy and value to me. 

 

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