Friday, February 13, 2015

Lullaby First Draft Progress: 25 scenes to go

I'm using Scrivener to write Lullaby (software I highly recommend to anyone doing any sort of creative writing). In the program, I first outlined my manuscript-in-progress into five parts - five Issues, if you will, as though the novel were a season or an arc of a television series. Each of these issues is then broken down into three or four acts (a beginning, middle and end and sometimes a forward or afterward, depending on the issue). Each of these acts is then broken down into different scenes, which I write one at a time. I haven't decided precisely where my chapter breaks will fall yet; since this story is told entirely from one person's perspective I have a little bit more wiggle room than I do in, say, Noose. Lullaby has nearly one hundred scenes in my outline, though the number has fluctuated to accommodate changes in the story. Currently I have twenty-five scenes to write first drafts of by the end of February. It will be a challenge, but I'm confidant that I will be able to meet the challenge and I'm looking forward to have a full first-draft manuscript to begin revising in March!

In the meantime, enjoy this screencapture of the manuscript-in-progress. I hope that it will give you a general sort of idea about the process I'm using to write. I've blurred/censored out some spoilery bits and highlighted where some of the Issues are in my outline to give you an idea of how it works.

I'm having fun with the writing again! Hooray! Now I just need to buckle down and finish this draft. Two weeks to go!

Media Review: "An Unwelcome Quest"

This is my review of the third "Magic 2.0" novel from the series by Scott Meyer (best known for his webcomic "Basic Instructions"). If you haven't read the series, I highly recommend that you do so, starting with the excellent "Off to be the Wizard." The books are extremely clever science-fiction comedy in the vein of Douglas Adams, and should be read by everyone.

An Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0 #3)An Unwelcome Quest by Scott Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first two novels in the Magic 2.0 series were fantastic, and while I feel that "An Unwelcome Quest" did not quite measure up to the first two books, it was still an excellent read. Meyer is writing some of the cleverest, most underappreciated stuff currently in print (certainly the best current works in the niche genre of Sci-fi Comedy) and he continues to deftly build his world and characters in creative and entertaining ways. It was extremely rewarding to have a whole novels' worth of the Phillip/Jimmy dynamic that we've only gotten tantalizing glimpses of in the past, and the characters of Tyler, Gary and Roy are far more compelling now that I've gone on this journey with them. Todd was an entertaining villain, though I had a somewhat hard time adjusting from "surly teenager" Todd (that we saw in Spell or High Water and the prologue) to the "surly adult" Todd that tormented the wizards through the story. That said, Todd's interactions with Tyler were some of the best moments of the novel, and I was definitely fully on-board with adult Todd by the end.

Now for some of the issues I had: I really missed the Martin/Phillip interactions that I've grown to love over the course of the series. Splitting the characters into two groups did let us see some fun character interactions that we might not have been able to see otherwise, but I always felt that Martin/Phillip interactions were the highlights of the series, and I feel like this book suffers somewhat from their separation. I also felt like having the second group follow more-or-less in the footsteps of the first group made their journey feel a little tedious. I felt that reading the descriptions of places we've already seen and the dialog of NPCs we've already met made their story drag a bit. Finally, I was disappointed by the lack of Murphy and Miller. They were some of my favorite characters in the series, and they were sorely missed in this volume.

I really liked the ending of this book. Jimmy has become one of my favorite characters, and I especially loved the conclusion to his part of the story. I enjoyed the book overall, and I really hope that we will see more in the series.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Building with Friends (Lego Tower Bridge)

Those of you who know me well will be aware of my long and storied relationship with the best toy in history: Lego bricks. Last night my wife and I went to help my best friend Jesse and his wife in building one of the biggest, most iconic Lego sets in the modern age: The Tower Bridge (10214, 4287 pieces)

It was a very daunting task, made more so by the fact that the set was developed before Lego instituted the use of numbered bags for their larger sets. However, working in two teams to build the towers simultaneously, we ultimately succeeded in finishing our portion of the build. It was a lot of fun to watch the towers slowly take shape. I would definitely recommend this set to people who are interested in building Lego as a group project, as it is very large and has the two elements that can be worked on at the same time, which helps to cut down on waiting around for it to be your turn to build.