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‘Writing’ Category

  1. Well, that was fun

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    August 26, 2008 by Dan

    Finished up the final edits on what I’m calling The Caper Story (yes, I need a title) tonight. Followed that up with dinner and some chocolate. I’m very exciting. Next step – re-do this website. See, I was serious about it, and it turns out that it’s hard to redo a site whilst doing other creative things. I’m going to take a little bit of time off from writing; perhaps two or three days. The process of rewriting seems to kill off some of the “go out and write stuff” energy. So…two years and three months in. That’s a good bit shorter than the first one took (yes, I know that the link to the right is broken. That’s why I’m redoing this site. Sometime in September, I think). That’s the big news – more posting will happen now here, and I guess I’ll try to detail the process of upgrading this site, and see if anyone reads here. Since this is going to become a writerly place, I suppose it would be a good idea to, you know, put some writing here.


  2. Greatness, or something

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    March 13, 2008 by Dan

    I took a look at the American Book Review’s 100 Greatest Last Lines to Novels and…well, there are probably many better last lines to novels, if the lines themselves were to be read individually. This is really more like a list of last lines to books that critics, in general, think everyone else should read.


  3. One more milestone

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    March 6, 2008 by Dan

    Second draft = done. 291 pages, 1.5 spacing, 11 point font, including chapter breaks. Nineteen chapters plus an intro and an epilogue, if you’re counting. And, I really wish that I had written it as well as the quotes from this John D. MacDonald archive. He could write, that man.


  4. Neglectful

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    March 3, 2008 by Dan

    Honestly, I’m not. I haven’t been writing here because I’ve been writing everywhere else, where “everywhere else” means into a Word file on my battered Ibook. I’m 15 chapters (out of 22) into a chapter map and timeline for the Toilet Story (that’s what I’m calling it – this is a working title) and am going to finish that timeline/map tomorrow. Once that’s done, the Official 2nd Draft is done, which means that a few people get to see it and tell me things like “Dan, that character was dead fifty pages ago!” and “what’s with all of the hipster-bashing?” Good times.


  5. Writing update

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    February 19, 2008 by Dan

    I revised and rewrote for a few hours today, getting through fifteen pages of what I am now comfortable calling The Toilet Caper Story. Great name, huh? When I started writing it, I called it New Story May 2006, but since that was nearly two years ago, I figured I’d pick something less demoralizing. Anyway, when I finish this re-writing round, it should be in a stage where it’s mostly coherent and the plot actually follows a line, as opposed to jumping hither, yon, and to all of the places in between without much rhyme or reason. There are still characters I’m having trouble with, but I should have them nailed down within a couple of weeks. In other words, my working plan is to finish this round of go-throughs by the first week of March (two weeks! Crap!), take a week to myself, then go for a third, polishing round and finish this sucker off. After that, I’ll go through the “trying to get it published” bit again, as well as submitting it as my master’s thesis. See, even if I can’t get this thing published, I’ll still have something physical as a reward!


  6. More writing notes

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    February 8, 2008 by Dan

    I’m on page 185 of the first draft as I go through and rewrite. It’s a slow slog right now, and I am working on it as I read through comments I’ve received from my Elite Ninja Writing Group as I go through. One thing that I’ve noticed about rewriting: cutting is much more fun than adding scenes. Writing new scenes actually involves work, while cutting just involves highlighting and hitting the delete key. And I just spent ten minutes randomly reading Internet junk…back to it.


  7. An ending

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    February 2, 2008 by Dan

    I finished the final graphic novel of Strangers In Paradise last night at 12:30 am, and found myself kind of wistful. I started reading SIP on the recommendation of my brother a couple of years ago, and was kind of surprised to find myself really liking it. What’s truly amazing is that Terry Moore started publishing the thing in 2003 – that’s fourteen years of Francine and Katchoo and David. And now we get no more of them, but it ended well. Thanks, Terry!


  8. More writing

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    January 8, 2008 by Dan

    Hey, I started to rewrite again today. Granted, it took me until three and I’ve barely spent an hour at it, but at least I’m back in the game after nearly a month of doing other junk. I often wonder how fast I could do this writing thing if I didn’t distract myself…


  9. A Play!

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    December 13, 2007 by Dan

    I’ve been whining and moaning quite a bit on this site about hwo hard it is to write a play. Well, rather than put you through that again, I went ahead and posted it here. Be forewarned: it’s weird. It came out of four unrelated exercises for a class, and I tied them together in a way that…well, I’m a hopeless romantic, right?


  10. Playing San Franciscan

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    February 2, 2007 by Dan

    At a cafe, doing homework, ramping up to do some writing.  Although I doubt I’ll get as much done as I’d like.  But at least I can link over to Penn Jillette, which makes me happy.


  11. Scaling back my commitments

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    January 29, 2007 by Dan

    After attending all of my classes today, I realized that I really need to mellow down on what I’m doing, so I’m putting off volunteer work until the end of March. There’s just no way I can work, schoolify, and be a good citizen for the next seven weeks.   Sorry, world. Wrote another big chunk today, and I’m making a conscious effort to make the plot go, based on an idea originally posited by a friend.  I’m hoping it works out, because right now I’ve got a whole lot of mess.  I’m glad to know, though, that even doctoral students have the same problems that I do…


  12. Funny scenes that don’t advance the plot

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    January 26, 2007 by Dan

    I think I’m going to title this story that.  I’m really good at writing (admittedly funny) scenes with the characters that do absolutely nothing  to move the story forward, mainly because I’m not feeling the story arc much after a month away from it.  Note to self – don’t stop writing for a month, ever again.  It screws things up. Or it could be because I’m writing in my favorite cafe, spinning a scene that takes place at one of San Francisco’s sex shops.  It’s very difficult to write something like this in a public place without becoming embarrassed, even though most people here have switched from coffee to wine and the conversations are mostly about light things.


  13. No progress today

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    January 25, 2007 by Dan

    And no, I’m not talking about our national political situation.  That joke is too easy.  I worked all day, went home and made dinner, then headed over to my first workshop class of the semester.  I had to bring a synopsis of my novel-in-progress, and so I did – going through it made me realize that I’m totally nuts and have no idea how to end this thing in any sort of rational manner. On the other hand, my literary gods don’t end things in a completely rational manner, ever.  So perhaps I’ll be ok. My goal tonight is to finish reading Holy Cow by Sarah McDonald, then get started on one of the five library books I have to read in the next three weeks (they’re all no-renews-allowed.  I’m in trouble).


  14. Slowly, slowly

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    January 24, 2007 by Dan

    That’s my favorite Magnapop song (and I saw them opening for Sugar in 1994, so sit on that one for a while.  Alternative rock, in the classic sense, is in my blood).  I’m writing again, and it’s going slowly, and as I was thinking about how slowly it was going, the song popped in my head, and I thought about the chorus, which is “I do it all the time” over and over. Kind of like writing – in order to do anything good, you have to do it all the time.  I’m writing an out-of-order scene right now, the kind of thing that develops characters and sets the place, and could literally go anywhere after page 20.  I’m doing it because I’m stuck on the plot, and I figure if I add more details about the people and the areas where they hang, I’ll eventually get to where I know how them bouncing off of each other will make more things happen. Some writers outline.  I vomit on the page and swirl it around until the barf looks like an apple.  Or something like that.  Warhol would be proud. Well, no.  Warhol would hate my guts.  But that’s ok; he had bad hair.


  15. Back in the saddle again

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    January 22, 2007 by Dan

    I started working on the novel again just now, and wrote for about an hour.  “Wrote” meaning “typed some words, frantically opened and closed windows on my computer and contemplated IMing people I don’t know so I could type without having to write something just made up out of my own head.”  Terrified that nothing would good would come out (this always happens), hesitant, barely remembering my own plot… Yep, that’s about what happens when you start up again.  I’m not too happy with the scene that I just wrote, mainly because it’s kind of a crappy device that I’m using to set up a love triangle thingy that really makes no sense.  I’m worried that I haven’t given Our Hero a reason to really be into the Femme Fatale…ah well.  It’ll come out in the workshop or the rewrite. That said, I had a couple of good images (“Two guys on BMX bikes  were circling around at the corner, standing up on their pedals as they rode, their baggy pants touching the crossbars of their bikes at the crotch.”) and a bit of good dialogue.  And I know what scene I want to write next.  Off we go.  Hope anyone who reads this enjoys the ride as much as I’m going to.


  16. 2007!

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    January 1, 2007 by Dan

    Well, I rang in the new year with a sore throat and a bit of a cold.  Not exactly the rock and roll time that some people had on the turn of the annum, but it worked for me.  I spent it with good friends, talking. New Year’s resolutions?  I don’t really do them.  However, I will say that this year, I’ll write something cool. Easy to keep?  Perhaps.  We’ll see what comes of it.


  17. Literary thoughts

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    December 28, 2006 by Dan

    I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading over the past few days. I read The Shadow of the Torturer  and The Claw of the Conciliator, both by Gene Wolfe, and will finish the quartet at some point in the next couple of weeks.  I finished Christopher Moore’s latest (A Dirty Job) and just now, read my way through Into My Own, Roger Kahn’s memoir. Kahn is a very good writer, bordering on great.  I think that his greatest talent is of character illustration – and in this memoir what is most interesting is his lack of direct illustration of himself.   He illustrates what he thinks by talking about the people who have influenced him.  Of those, the most famous is Jackie Robinson. Of course, I knew who Jackie Robinson was, but before reading this book I had no idea how unbelievably cool  the guy was. Sure, he was a four-sport athlete at UCLA, a lethal player, a man strong enough not to fight back when that was required, and smart enough to lend his considerable name to ahead-of-their-time housing ideas in depressed areas.  In the ’70s, when he was nearly blind and dying from diabetes. Most impressive to me, though, is the epigraph on his gravestone: “A life is not important, except in the impact it has on other lives.” Amen to that.  I love reading things like this.


  18. Sigh…

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    December 18, 2006 by Dan

    I know I’m a sucker for all things Gaiman, but this image from the upcoming Stardust film made me really happy.  I hope they do a good job with it…


  19. The best non-fiction book I’ve read this year

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    December 15, 2006 by Dan

    And, how appropriate that it’s at the end of the year that I found it (via World Hum, which everyone should read).  A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler by Jason Roberts.  It’s rare that I read a nonfiction book that leaves me equal parts thrilled, sad, and optimistic. I won’t reveal much of the book (the title alone should be enough to make any sane person want to read it), but…well, trying to write about this book is pointless.  Go read it.  It’s that good.


  20. Final writing

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    December 10, 2006 by Dan

    Scared you, didn’t I?  No, this is not the final writing for this site, but merely a commentary on writing the first final paper I’ve written in nearly ten years.  It’s not easy.  I spent about three hours tonight working on the sucker – writing, rewriting, re-looking things up, double-checking sources, etc.  I think I’ve got several rewrites to go, and it’s due on Tuesday at noon.  So, I am taking the rest of the night to sleep, then I’ll wake up, read through it, go running, do some more rewriting, go to work, come back, do more rewriting until I sleep, sleep on it, then wake up on Tuesday and do final tweaks. Making stuff up is easier, I think.  I’m trying to go by the rules of Strunk and White – omit needless words, omit needless words, and (while I’m at it) omit some needless words.  It’s shrunk from ten pages to eight at this point, and there are a few sections I need to add.  But…wow.  I have more respect for academic writing than at any other time in my life – this stuff is hard to get right.