Failure and rejection aren’t always that bad

Oh, hey. A second post today, and it’s not even Christmas. Conversely, I think this is a topic I’ve touched on in the past. It just won’t stop nagging me, so I wanted to give it some time anyway. It ties in with the earlier post, which you should definitely check out if you’ve not seen it. Possibly one of my best ones yet.

Before I dreamed of becoming a published writer, but after wanting to become a mad scientist and take over the world (yes, that was a thing that actually happened), I wanted to be an actor. That’s a bit of an understatement. I dreamed of being the next go-to actor for all of the best, most terrifying villains. Surprise. I wanted to play the role of the evil guy for a living, which was a step down from actually taking over the world and being a proper evil genius.

However, I had no idea where to start. How would I become the next big villain in the next big movie? Who would I have to contact to make this happen? I knew there would have to be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears shed, but I felt like had the necessary potential to make this dream a reality. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Eighteen

Today’s been a nice day, and I have to admit it was spent mostly discovering just how gluttonous I can be. That wasn’t actually the plan when I woke up, by the way. There was no conscious thought process that went, “Wonder how much food I can stuff down my face-hole before I need to trundle off to some distant cave and go into a deep hibernation”.

There was, however, a very nice lunch outing with my sister, step-father, mother, and the Grandmooses (grandparents on my father’s side of the family).

I feel like I could sleep for a couple weeks, but my writing schedule doesn’t permit such snoozing.

Day Eighteen – Focusing too much and accomplishing too little

I can be pretty focused at times, believe it or not. It’s rare, and usually leaves me a little surprised. Such creative tunnel-vision is usually a pretty good thing, as it has gotten me through plenty of projects (for college or otherwise) on time. In the case of school-related things, oftentimes it happened the day before a paper was due.

There’s clear and definite downsides to this focus. I’ve been churning out daily posts for One Hundred Days of Blogging, but not letting myself get to any creative writing or other projects. One one hand: hooray, I’m blogging very regularly. On the other hand: boo, I’ve not been writing very much otherwise. It becomes a weird, frustrating balancing act with my day-job, other personal obligations, and other leisure activities. Since I don’t believe I’ve admitted it on here yet: I’ve resurrected my WoW account. I feel no shame in this fact (I will forever be Kazadiel, the shittiest Warlock to ever kill things in Azeroth).

I do not have a brain fit for multitasking. That’s not to say I’m dumb (although I can be a touch obtuse from time to time) so much as merely acknowledging I’m better off when my attention is devoted to one task. My biggest problem isn’t trying to multitask, though. It’s when I get distracted by another something that needs my attention. My cleaning process from this past week, for instance, is a good example of that. I would be working on cleaning out the cabinets, and then I’d notice a dirty spot on the counter. I’d start scrubbing down the counters and then notice something else. And so on. I’m quick to bounce between multiple things at once, which probably accounts for why my posts take a little longer when made from my computers (I’m on my family’s home PC presently, free of most distraction and wondering why there’s a piece of electrical tape over the webcam). The writing process on Aperture Surface involves Microsoft Word, the Twitter app, the Facebook app, Facebook’s messenger service, my e-mail app (which is connected to my three Gmail accounts), and the occasional glance at the television. Can’t forget my phone, either. Good lord.

What I think I’m getting at here, since I’m still admittedly feeling like a great beast who is thoroughly prepared for a long winter’s nap, is that I need to get back to writing short stories or working on my novel projects while getting this done. And maybe I should learn to juggle better, while I’m at it (I don’t mean that in the literal sense, although this sentence started out with that intention for the sake of snarkiness).

I dare say there’s not much else to say on the subject, as I’m far from an expert on finding the right balance of focus on one thing versus focus on side-projects. There’s also the small matter of company arriving, and me wanting to not be an entirely rude, anti-social computer-hermit while they’re here.

Eighty-two days remaining.

PS: Today’s post was sponsored in part by parenthetical asides, which are my second favorite kind of asides. First place goes to a liberal use of dash-separated appositive phrases.

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Seventeen

After three hours of driving, one of which spent entirely on the Parkway, I am happy to report I arrived in Carnegie quite safely. I have a glass of Wigle rye whiskey (distilled in Pittsburgh) at the ready, and I’m prepared for a weekend of relaxation with my family. What more could a guy ask for, right?

Before I forget, and on one hell of a tangent: I really enjoy Coke’s Share a Coke with campaign. I feel like Pepsi is totally missing an ad opportunity, though. How many of you would buy a Pepsi with the tagline “Buy your own Pepsi, (name)”? It’s just the right amount of snarky humor, and it’s a great jab at Coke. Or maybe I’m just being ridiculous.

Now that I’m a bit more relaxed after the chaos of last night, it’s time to get to talking about the exciting stuff. There’s something really intoxicating about talking to people on the topics they’re most passionate about. The way a person’s eyes light up, their speech becomes more animated, and so on. I’ve been told, for instance, I’m a totally different person when I’m talking about writing, and some gaming, because it’s what really gets me going.

So here’s to passion.
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The Maskmaker’s Apprentice

This short story popped into my head a couple nights ago, and demanded attention when I was too tired to provide such thought-requiring things. I started working on it last night, and continued on it most of today. I’m very happy with the end product. I considered sending it out for publication consideration, but I’m instead opting to be a story-dragon and keep it in my hoard. That is to say that I wanted to share it with those of you who misadventure alongside me at Misadventures in Fiction. I really hope you all enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Without further rambling, I present “The Maskmaker’s Apprentice”.

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An unusually sentimental post

Or “Sometimes my little, frozen black heart does things that require being broadcast, especially since I write about ending the world a whole lot”.

A writer, I think, can only be as good as their support system. Like any other art-form, it’s a grueling, time-consuming labor of love, and there are days when I, like many, many others, would be all right with saying “Fuck it, I’m done,” (special apologies to my mother, grandmother, and any other relatives who maintain the belief I don’t use that word and its various conjugations) and closing up the proverbial shop for good. Staring at a blank document, an idea in my mind, and being unable to produce anything of substance is extremely stressful.

Thank god for my iPod in those situations, or I’d probably have gone mad by now. Continue reading

This Week in Misadventures

Or “This week in not really accomplishing a whole lot.”

I’ve got plenty of inner turmoil going on right now in regards to writing (I almost put “write now” by complete accident, and the self-loathing I feel is incredible). Joshua’s Nightmares, book one, is still hanging out on my laptop. It’s just kind of sitting there presently, a nearly three hundred page blob of potential that’s got nowhere to go just yet, and it’s a little vexing. Maybe a lot vexing. A lottle vexing? If I ever use that word again, someone please call me out on it in the comments because that’s just awful.

My conundrum is now the mix of “I have no idea how publishing works and how do I reach out to publishers to try getting this published” versus “Is self-publishing really so bad in this case or is it really just lazy, quick self-gratification”. Both of those thoughts have effectively prevented me from actually accomplishing much (we’ll get to what I did accomplish this week, which is a whole lot of nothing, shortly). If nothing else, I’ve reached a point where I would just like to make this story available for other people to enjoy (or hate, to be fair, because even if someone hates it they still ended up having to read a bit of it, and that’s okay with me). However, I also know that self-publishing is still sort of looked down upon these days, and I’d rather not be burned as a heretic or whatever actual, legitimate authors do to self-published sorts. Continue reading

The Old Castle on Meridan Street

This short story was, in some way or another, a-brewin’ in the depths of my brain, and possibly somewhere deep down in that little, cranky dark place I occasionally refer to as my heart. My recent trip home for Easter, a short story my friend Lindsey had me read, and my own recent reflecting on the Pittsburgh area were apparently the necessary catalysts to bring this out.

I’ve not seen my grandmother’s house since the last time my family was there to pack things up and move her in with us. A lovely family moved in, and apparently it’s changed quite a bit. There’s something about that I can’t actually cope with, so I’ve stayed away.

Anyway, I’ll stop lollygagging and get to the important part: the story, which is titled “The Old Castle on Meridan Street”. This story took several emotionally-draining hours to write, and it made me feel a curious mix of nostalgic joy and sadness. I hope it translated into some good writing. Enjoy, and feel free to share similar locations from your past that have left permanent impressions on your heart in the comments.

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Short Story a Week #1: Grandpa Pembroke’s Greatest Treasure

A little pre-story reading, first.  Yes, I’m totally almost two days behind.  Yes, I’m still also two weeks behind, more or less.  No, I did not account for how stressful these past two weeks would be; what, do you think I have a crystal ball or something?  I’d have won the lottery if that were the case (and totally made it so the people who matter to me are debt-free and living comfortably, as well as making my life a little less crazy).  However, because of that I have two stories (the second one will be arriving tomorrow, during the day), and a bonus something-or-other because I still feel guilty for some reason.  Maybe because I’m already well on my way as a writer to ignoring deadlines as they fly past, glaring at me for my lack of good work ethic.

This first short story, titled Grandpa Pembroke’s Greatest Treasure, started off as an idea about a chess set.  It gradually evolved into what it is, and it has become rather dear to me.  I’m fairly certain the inspiration is my stepmother’s father, Tibor Zalavary (whose name I hope I’ve not butchered, since I only really knew him as Mr. Zalavary).  He was one of the first people I ever played chess with, and I still remember how he schooled me every single time.  He also introduced me to The Pink Panther, as portrayed by Peter Sellers, and I will always treasure the memory of sitting in his living room, the smell of cigarette ash in the air, laughing to the point of tears with someone I wish I could have gotten to know better.  As such, I hope this story does his memory justice. Continue reading