Samoan Goodness

Posted March 14, 2010 by greatbigdog
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The Girl Scouts should be required by law to sell Samoas all year round.


First Draft

Posted December 21, 2009 by greatbigdog
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I finished the first draft of my next novel a few minutes ago. Everything is nicely in place, and I feel as if I’m getting something done.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s The Hookie-Pookie Man. His mother was an Earth woman, and his father was from another planet. And he, Dwight wanders the country in search of the Hookie-Pookie Woman (who has similar origins), knowing she’s his soul mate. It’s a story of love, hope and outsider-ness.


Posted December 4, 2009 by greatbigdog
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I’m on a Vonnegut spree. I’ve lined up all his novels, and I’m reading them in the order they were written. I’ve read them all before, each one at least three times and some as many as a dozen. But it’s particularly interesting to go through them this way, one right after another, because of all the connections between them and the characters who reappear. The problem is that I haven’t had much reading time in the last couple weeks, so I’ve been on page four of Breakfast of Champions for the last two weeks. It’s okay, though. There’s no hurry.

Open Stage

Posted November 24, 2009 by greatbigdog
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After neglecting this thing for… however many months it’s been, I think it’s time to come back and writing something here.

So I have new novel out, Open Stage. I’ve approved it for publication at CreateSpace, but it’s not yet shown up on Amazon. It should soon.

It’s an old-ish story. I wrote a screenplay called Blind Faith years ago, intending to recruit actors and shoot it on video. It was to be a sequel to a feature-length video I had made previously called Crosswalk, a story about a character named Gilbert Ragwater. Well, for better or worse, Blind Faith never got off the ground, and the screenplay sat in a file cabinet drawer.

I’m inclined to think it was for the better. For the novel, I reworked a number of things and added some material that (in my opinion) makes Ragwater’s world more vivid. Although it’s now bulkier, the overall effect is that it’s more streamlined and elegant. It’s meatier. It makes a stronger, more well-focused statement about love and fidelity. Well, okay, not a statement. It challenges the reader to think about what he/she expects of relationships.

Anyway, the novel is a far better presentation of the story. A novel can dig deeper into a character’s head than a movie can, and that’s where this story needs to be. Open Stage takes full advantage of the opportunity. Blind Faith was like a skinny little kid, awkward and unsure of himself. Open Stage (while I would never claim it to be flawless) is that kid after he’s grown up, filled out physically, gained some “life experience,” developed some self-confidence and decided what he wants to do with his life.

Big Relief

Posted February 9, 2009 by greatbigdog
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Well, it’s done.

I finished my final pass at copy editing Goliath yesterday, got all the elements of the cover art in place, and now the files are at CreateSpace waiting for approval. Being the obscure author that I am, I don’t imagine the world was breathlessly waiting for this announcement. I’m just sayin’. Okay, well, I’m going to say that maybe there’s a tiny bit of interest. Anyway…

The point is, I have to figure out what to do now. The sensible thing is to get some promotional ideas in place for the novel (and to get more promotional ideas in place for my previous novel, The Hermit.) My problem is that I don’t have the temperament to do that kind of thing. I want to move onto the next book and let the previous ones sell themselves. Yes, I know know it doesn’t work that way.

That’s why I have this blog. I don’t mind writing it, and I can feel I’m doing something positive to get the word out. (Yet it just moves the problem one step farther back. Now I have to promote the blog if it’s to do me any good!)


Posted February 1, 2009 by greatbigdog
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There’s a saying among painters that you never finish a picture. You just stop working on it.

The same is true of any creative work. I’ve been copy editing my upcoming novel Goliath for several weeks. I’ve taken pass after pass on it; the first couple times included some fairly drastic changes involving moving scenes around to improve the flow of the story. I’ve rewritten a lot of sentences, deleted paragraphs, and added a few things here and there to improve clarity and the overall flow of the story.

Now, I’m down to nitpicking over words, or, as I think of it, “taking sandpaper to the novel.” I’m smoothing it out. Yesterday I searched forĀ  the word “just” and deleted, I’m guessing, something on the order of thirty to forty instances of the word. It had struck me that it was in the novel too many times. I simply deleted many of them without any problem at all. In every instance, the deletion improved the sentence. In a few instances, I had to rewrite the sentence. I think I still have more “just”s than you’re likely to find in a randomly chosen novel, but at least now it’s within acceptable tolerances.

Novel Ideas

Posted January 12, 2009 by greatbigdog
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I have lots of ideas for novels. Ideas are cheap.

Going into the final copy-editing and book design stages of my second CreateSpace novel, Goliath, I’ve been spending some time scoping out ideas for the next one. The thing is, judging how viable an idea is can be difficult. In some cases, it’s apparent that an idea sucks after about thirty seconds of thought. In other cases, I might write ten to twenty pages and not like what I have. When that happens, I’ll usually plow ahead and see if I can get it to morph into something I like. That’s how Goliath got started — I threw out the original first two chapters long ago. Where it begins now, in the final version, was actually chapter three in the first draft.

And there are other times when I have fifty or sixty pages, and it’s just not happening. I look at it and say, “so what?” Still, I keep the pages. I might be able to make it work some time later.

So now, looking for the next novel, I’ve resurrected a screenplay I wrote years ago, a story called Blind Faith. Things are going well. In fact, it’s going so well that the screenplay seems as if it were written for no other reason than to serve as an outline for the novel. As Jim Cramer would say, boo-yah!