Saturday, December 27, 2008

Longs for more Golden Compass movies...

Just rewatched the movie on HBO. I have the special DVDs and my ears are always pealed for news on the sequels.

Last critique group it was suggested that I broaden my YA reading. I was told there was a world outside Harry Potter and Twilight. She said that because I always cite those books when comparing mine. I do that for familiarity. The truth is, I have read other books. I've read Darren Shan's Cirque Du Freak series, the Spiderwick Chronicles series(although that was practically a picture book), Watership Down, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Work and the Glory series, most of the Tinnishoes Among the Nephites series and I'm in the middle of the second Fablehaven book.

I've also read the His Dark Materials trilogy. I read all three of these before the movie came out. My daughter has read them, too and like me she loves them. I like Harry more, but I this the Dark Materials books better than the Twilight series. I like Lyra a lot better than Bella and just as much as I like Hermonie.

I enjoyed the movie and after rewatching it on HBO I did a web surf on the sequels. Still nothing. is gone, Wikipedia and IMDB have nothing of real use in regard to new news on the sequels.

I long for them. I hunger. But alas, for so many different reasons, they are on hold. Dakota Blue Richards is getting older and before long it'll be too late.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Twitter links

Lot's of fake celebs on twitter...

And here are some real ones...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cut 20,000 words? "Kill" big bad at end?

The title of this post says my next big challenges in editing my novel. I found out it's Middle Grade and MG books run about 75,000 words. Mine is 92,000.
It's 92 because I cut the Kidnappers scene and the Festival scene. Both have been in since the rough draft but both can be safety removed.

I thought last night that besides the add on scene with Tom from book 2, there was nothing else I could cut. This morn while walking the dogs I thought of 2 others. If done right, I could cut both tavern scenes. This means editing the witch and final battle scenes so Dale never appears and that means a new beginning on book 2, but it would be worth it. After all, I need to get THIS book off the ground.

First I need to completely rewrite most of chap 31 (the final battle) and fake Dominic's death. The tools are already in place to set that up, just need to rework it. I'll do that, then if I need to cut the tavern scenes, all the better.

This is hard!

More details to follow.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ABC Family Sneak Peek: The Story

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Loved Twilight!

Thought it was a perfect representation of the book. I was OK with Patterson being Edward.
I actually liked the movie better than the book. But I always said books 1 and 2 had slow first halves.

Anyway, great movie. I would love to see it again. Can't wait for the DVD. And can't wait for New Moon!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

novel sigh

Yes, I know the kids talk too old. I know you doubt my historical stuff (and maybe you're right).
So what do I do? Chuck it?

I've been at this for too long. Harry was ripping up the charts and I was trying. Now Edward is ripping up the charts and I'm STILL trying. Heck, Edward is from a Mormon author. A Mormon writing vampires? Wait. I thought that was me. But no. She was already finished with her story while I was still writing the rough draft.

Do I hate Twilight? Nope. I've read them. I own them. I'm catching the movie this weekend and yes, I like them. Do I resent Stephenie Meyers? Nope. We each have our time. Her time is now. In fact maybe she's opened a door for me. Maybe people will want Annabelle.

This really has nothing to do with Twilight. I'm just angry. Around every printed, handwritten red lined page is more bloody ink, telling me how this version is flawed. It wouldn't be so bad if her mark up was one of the first ten betas. But this is two years later. Two years!

Will I ever get it right?
"Not so much italics, let the reader decide what is stressed."
"Jorgantown sounds awfully Norwegian for Connecticut".
"Glorianna should have her hair up, not down. Woman never had it down in those days."
"Children wouldn't know about fairy tails because this is before the Grimm brothers."
"The Dunston kids should talk in a uneducated way. They should be dumbed down."
"The Foresights come off as rich. If they were, they would settle in the cities like rich people of the time did. Not come to start a new life."
"The first name Paige wasn't used back then. Change it."
"Dominic is too tall at 7'. No men were that tall during those times."
"The children don't talk like kids. Annabelle talks too old."
"Annabelle shouldn't be able to read. Kids cant read back then."

That's why her dad's a bookbinder! It's all there in chap 2! And the Dunstons point out that she talks funny. And the raven states Annabelle is an old soul. Now should I say she grew up fast because she helped her dad with the bookbinding?

Face it. It sucks. I suck. I get a dream and it sucks.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Talking to the class III

Things have been crazy here so sometimes I forget to put down important events. The following is one of them. I'm typing in very basic sentences to just get this event written down.

A couple weeks ago (on Halloween morn, no less) I spoke to a class of 8th graders. It was very different from the two times I spoke to 6th graders. Some in the audience seems really interested while a few were bored. I suppose that's the nature of the age.

I showed up early so students thought I was a substitute. LOL. Nope. Not me. This was Laura's class and she hates being embarrassed so I didn't do anything to point her out. It seemed to go OK for her. I was a teen a thousand years ago so I remember the silly fears.

Katie and her friend Anna showed up before class. I had my own grown up fears, sitting at the front of the class, scared they'll think I'm a boring nerd. Katie's visit really helped. Of course Anna wanted to talk about Heroes so my guard came down and I could relax a bit. Once the bell rang they left and it was time for Mr. Bryant to do roll and introduce me.

I explained what the book was about and gave a lead in to the chapter bit I was to read from. I read it and then asked if they had questions. No questions! (Very different from the 6th graders. Almost the entire class raised their hands.)

I then explained why and how I decided to become a writer. They seemed very interested. I hope it went well.

I was pleasantly surprised that he had one of those things where his computer screen appears on a view screen. If I had known, I'd have brought some pics of Annabelle and her brother.

I'm very grateful to Mr. Garret Bryant for this opportunity.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm voting for Lando!

I've already voted, but this is so funny!

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Friday, October 31, 2008


Busy couple of days! I actually have it off for once and so I've been running like a mad dog.
This year I couldn't really afford to dress out and I don't like how make up makes my face itch so there you go.
BUT I do love the holiday. Soon we'll be taking our monsters out trick or treating. Then we'll watch old spooky movies and relax.

Here's some pics to celebrate.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008


The short story was rejected so Annabelle & Roland; Terror at Fun Land will not be in the anthology. They liked Ann and her brother, but felt Roxie was rushed.

I see their point. It was too rushed. I could build on it and add more meat but I'm currently working on the novel and honestly the short with Roxie could be folding into the novels.

So I'm shelving it for the moment. I can see my current goal finishing up. I'm almost done with edits. We're on chap 24. I have six more chaps to go then this round of edits will be done. I'll then go back and do some editing in the first few chaps to make sure it reads as well as the later chaps. Once that's done it'll be submission time.

So I'm disappointed but not depressed.

Onward and upward.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


If you look to the right you'll see my Twitter updates. Most days I'm busy and so I forget to do daily posts here. On Twitter they are quick brief messages so it's just simpler. Watch that space because even if my blog messages don't update, that will.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Annabelle Foresight went to Fun Land!

I'm excited! A few months ago I sent a short story in. I'm hoping it'll get picked for an anthology.

Well I heard back and I made it through Round One! I t may still get rejected, but it passed the first level. I'll know within 90 days if it passes the next elimination round. I'm very excited!

I just want to get her out there into the world. Maybe this is the way?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Caption the Pic… Donna Troy; Grave Robber!

Thanks for all the well wishes last week. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an on-coming train. Almost finished fixing my girls’ room and the bathroom, then we’ll finish my son’s room. Hopefully another week and our basement will be back!

Good news is I finished my Fin Fang Foom build a figure! This means quite a bit for the Parodyverse because “Finny” is one of their regular characters. Imagine the captions. If only I had a Visionary.
Of course Finny’s not just a star of fan-fan fiction (no that wasn’t a typo, Buzzers. It’s a Parodyverse thing). He’s a major and massive Marvel villain.
The regular hero captions are writing themselves!
*Rubs hands expectantly*

Anyway, CTP is back. Last captions were by; Wheelchair Rocker, mr Articulate, Gitwer, JoeAce, Kirby, Gernot, Spackling Compound, Brain, Falconhood, Curious Lurker, L! and Manga Shoggoth.

Thanks again everyone!

Here’s the caption site.

Don't forget to check out the RAVING TOY MANIAC Board to see the other captions posted for today's pic.

No obscene captions please, kids are reading.

Here's this one. Sorry it’s on my book shelf again. There are a couple more like that dispersed in the pics. I’ve moved onto better places so I’m trying to do different locations. Anyway, enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dang! Sci Fi cut it out (Turn Left spoilers)

I love alternate timelines. I've been waiting for this episode for three reasons.

1) The almost crossover that it provided, mentioning all those characters and showing all those events. Yum!

2)Seeing another fun timeline where things go wonky.

3)Because this was the sequel to that Sarah Jane episode where the Trickster said he wanted to erase the Doctor.

I loved it. I didn't care if any thing was wonky. I sat back and enjoyed it. Pretty much the same reason why I enjoyed Indiana Jones 4 and Independence Day. I just sat back and allowed myself to be entertained.

What bothered me was Sci Fi.

I know they cut things out, but I enjoy sharing it with my family. Well, Sci Fi cut out the part where Rose mentioned Torchwood. I guess they felt that since they don't air the show, they can cut any reference.

Does that mean Torchwood's parts in the next two episodes will be cut, too?

And they didn't show the preview that showed Rose, Martha, Sarah Jane, Luke, Torchwood and all the others in next weeks episode.

GRRRRR! I've been waiting three weeks to share that on my TV.

Go to the link below to see the scene.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I should say I'm finished

Last week I finished the short story for Bob's vampire anthology. It's raw but complete.

Now the hard part begins. I sent it to several betas from the last two years. I got my first line by line edit back.

It was from Chris Leeson, the Manga Shoggoth. Chris was one of the first beta readers to teach me to really think in my story. He showed me things I should've seen right there in front of my face. He's from England and I still can't get over the fact that I've got friends from over there. It's so great! The things he and Ian see day in and day out. Things that are normal for them and amazingly cool for me.

He has a good understanding of what should go into a book. I need to remember to ask him if he's tried to get into publishing or has gotten into it. His line by lines are just as professional and in depth as Michelle or Kim and they're published authors who also serve as editors.

Chris also adds great humor to his edits. I always look forward to them. The only problem is how red-faced I get afterward. Not mad, but embarrassed. How could I have sent it to others in that condition? Just how elementary do I write? I actually thought it was ready? Why didn't I see those things? After four years, how much of a newbie am I still? How far is my dream? Have I learned anything in the last four years or am I just a pretender?

It's not his fault. I cherish his edits. I need to bring my self out of the worry and fear quickly 'cause there just isn't time.

OK, plan time. I'm getting Caption the Pic up this morn, then I need to open his edits and start applying most of them. As the author, I have the right to reject and there are just a couple tiny things I plan to not change. I've got to hurry and try to get all of Chris' edits finished because I need to send it to my critique group before next Thursday.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I don't normally post my problems here. I talk them out with friends or during some very stressful moments, I type them up in a secret word document.

I don't really want to bring it here.

On second thought, I just typed up my marital stress into a doc and saved it. No since bothering you guys with it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indy 4, LOVED IT. Spoilers...

I saw it and I'm going to take a stand.

I am going to be unpopular right now. I realise it's popular to hate George Lucas. It's popular to go to certain movies super excited, sit there all pessimistic, judgemental with high expectations and expect perfection. It's popular to hate a movie and find fault, then join with everyone in bashing it.

I knew people would hate it. Did the movie suck? Sorry to disappoint you but it didn't. The movie was everything I wanted and more. The audience sucked. They didn't laugh at the funny parts or cheer at the cheering parts. They were all dead fish.

Sorry but I liked it.

High points...

1. Harrison back as Indy. Oh how great to see that again! In the warehouse, when he had to escape from the Russians and that Indy music started playing I realized something. A feeling erupted from my chest and grew out to fill my body. It was the suspense Indy watching feeling that I complete forgot. It's the feeling you get while watching one of his Indiana Jones films. Oh how great that was!

2. Shia as his son. I never would've thought the boy from Evens Stevens could do it but he can. I would love a series of Shia as the adventurer. I loved how he at first judged Indy then later looked at him in awe. I loved how he was scared and showed it but learned to use guts. I think it was very appropriate that at the end he did not take up the hat. It's like he's not ready but someday. I hope we see a couple more to show his learning curve.

3. Marion being back. She was the best leading lady and everything was appropriate for her return. I loved her attitude. She really portrayed the character realizing she missed Indy and loved being in another adventure with him. Everything she did made perfect since.

4. Lucas threw in the line! I cheered when Indy said "I've got a bad feeling about this." Indy did the Han Solo line! Sure, it's been in every Star Wars including the first 3, but it's special when Harrison says it. I loved the fact that now Indy said it, too!

There's just too much to say. Very good film. Sorry to disappoint the many pessimists, but I was OK with Shai's Tarzan bit. I was OK with everything.

It's OK. You pessimists will have plenty of people who over analyze and complain. You can lose one voice.

I liked it, I loved it, and the DVD and sequel cant come soon enough.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Finally! Twilight!

I'm looking forward for this movie.
Regarding the book:Dispite seeing things from Bella's perspective (which sometimes you just want to yell at her), the book really is good.

Plus I need to support a fellow Latter Day Saint vampire author. ;)

Mummy 3 preview, kinda fuzzy

I'm excited. I don't expect much from the film but it should still be enjoyable.

Perfect review of Iron Man from JustSomeRandomGuy

I loved the movie, but this is soooo perfect. Don't forget to wait for the surprise after the credits!

Of sleep overs and Narnians

Each kid in my house had a friend sleep over. It worked very well. Everyone got along.

We took the kids to a movie last night. Neen and I chose Prince Caspian as the annual multi-sleep over movie. Perfect choice.

The movie was very good. As I watched it I got so involved that I forgot how the book ended. That's saying something since I read the book only 2 months ago.

I don't think I ever did post about Ironman. Another great film. So far my favorite of the two (course I'm comparing apples and oranges). I should say more but I don't have a lot of time this morning. I'll just say that when Stan created Ironman back in the 60's, he must've been channeling Robert Downy Jr here in the future. He did THAT good a job.

Back to Narnia 2. I'm sure people who don't know the book might've gotten confused. Already I need to answer my in-law's questions. Course they'd get confused watching Sesame Street.
The movie threw a lot in and didn't waste time explaining things 3 times so people who can't catch plot in small dialogue and body/face actions could miss a thing or two. They altered the story and built more on Peter's messed up frame of mind. That made it easier to translate C.S. Lewis' story.

I liked it. It made me want to continue reading the Narnia books (I've read 1-4). At the moment I'm reading Fablehaven and after that I'll either read the last Twilight book by Meyer or reread HP 6 and 7.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Is traditional publishing in trouble? Nope.‏

Here is some good news from writer/editor Sean McLachlan. This is from his post on the Fantasy Writer group...

There’s a lot of talk on writing newgroups that the traditional print industry is in freefall, soon to be tossed into the scrapheap of history and replaced by ebooks or no books at all. The facts say otherwise.
According to the Association of American Publishers, net sales for 2007 were $25 billion, up 3.2% from 2006. Not a bad showing for a recession year. Not only that, but the New York Times reported that in 2007 there were an astonishing 400,000 books published in the United States alone. Many of these are self-published books that hardly sell any copies, others are reprints of older works, but a great deal of them were new titles by reputable publishers. The development of affordable print-on-demand technology has led to a boom in small presses, and university presses are thriving too.
Ebooks had a net profit of $67 million in 2007, a growth of 24% over the previous year. But as a total of all book sales they constituted less than one third of one percent. There are a lot of smaller epublishers out there that aren’t counted in the statistics, but even if the figures are off by a factor of ten, which they’re not, I don’t think print publishers have anything to worry about.
So it seems that while Americans are reading less, dedicated readers are actually reading more. That’s the only way I can account for these figures. Traditional publishers are doing OK. Long live the traditional print book!
For more of my thoughts on this issue, and links to the data, go to


Sean McLachlan

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I feel like my future is changing in a bad way.

It just feels like my dreams to get Annabelle out into the world is just that, dreams.

What's the point? Everything is passing me up. It's not as if I'm sitting around, stagnant. I have been working on it. But I feel like I'm spinning my tires while others go farther.

Maybe my dreams are wrong? Maybe I'm too foolish to achieve these goals. Did I reach too far, too fast?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

David Farland's Daily Kick in the Pants--April 19, 2008 Dealing with Criticism

I saw this on the Fantasy Writers group. It's very true and I wanted to share it with any potential or actual writers out there.


I got a note from a promising young writer yesterday who was wondering if he
should just hang it all up. The note, a rejection on a short story,
basically said that the story didn't work at all. So the author's confidence
was a bit shaken.

Now, I've mentioned a little bit about having courage in the face of
criticism, but I'd like to talk about it in more detail.

The truth is that no matter how good you are as a writer, not everyone is
going to like you. I can guarantee that there will be books and stories
that win awards this year that I will not like. It happens every year. I'm
sophisticated enough as a reader to recognize that just because I don't like
it, that doesn't mean that the story isn't good for its type. By that I
mean, you might write a wonderful tear-jerking romance novel that everyone
in the world loves, but I probably still won't read it. Similarly, you
might make the world's best asparagus casserole, but I won't eat it, either.

That's not a criticism so much as a difference in taste.

But as writers we have to face criticism. No matter what you write, you will
have to face criticism at some point in your life.

My first criticism came from my father. When I told him that I'd dropped
out of pre-med and that I wanted to be a writer, he lamented the fact that I
wanted to waste my life. He suggested that if I really had to be a writer,
that I find a writing job that actually paid. He knew that I was writing
poetry, so he got the address for Hallmark greeting cards and even offered
to help me pen a few sample greeting cards in the hope that I might become
gainfully employed. (Fortunately, my first novel got some nice reviews and
hit the bestseller lists, so that my father's concerns for me were eased a
bit before he died.)

Many of you either go to writing groups or should go to them. Facing a
writing group will help you learn to cope with negative criticism. It will
help toughen you up.

But you should beware of writing groups, too. I've been in writing group
where certain members of the group became hostile to one another, and thus
gave unfair critiques.

Cliques will sometimes form, and the criticism can become vicious. I recall
being in one group where a young lady was in tears. (Her story was quite
good by the way, nearly publishable.) But her attacker--a low-life scumbag
who hadn't written a word in five years--told her that "This story sucks."
Then with all of the sincerity that he could muster, he told her, "You
should give up writing . . . now. You should just walk out of this group
and never come back." She did, despite the fact that I and several other
people begged her to stay.

Unfortunately that group didn't have a mechanism for kicking out anyone who
acted like an ass. Every group should have such a mechanism, a
sergeant-at-arms. The attacker in this case needed to be thrown out.

Of course, there are other ways to waste people's time in writing groups.
If someone in a writing group always tells everyone how wonderful their
stories are and can't see anything wrong with any story, you have a person
who either has absolutely no critical facilities or who is just too
cowardly to say what they really think. That person also, needs to be
evicted from a writing group.

The purpose of a writing group is to give you helpful advice. Telling an
author what works is helpful, but one should also look for honest ways to
improve the work. Personally, I like getting criticism.

But once you become a professional writer, you'll have to face some real
criticism--from literary critics who actually get paid by newspapers and
magazines to read your books and offer honest opinions.

I have always had a policy that I never respond to such criticism, even when
the critics seem wrongheaded. I try to look at the columns, listen to their
comments, learn from them, and move on.

I'm aware that even good critics sometimes err. I've read articles from
people that I admire who sometimes get the facts of my books wrong. In one
case, I even got a glowing review--with some interesting errors.

I recall writing a negative review myself for a small magazine years ago, in
which I tore into a book by one of my favorite fantasy authors. I didn't
like it. The protagonist was too weak. She just stood around doing
nothing, too frightened to respond to the challenges in her life. But a
friend of mine pointed out that she identified strongly with that
protagonist simply because that was the way that she handled her life, too.
She was always too frightened to go out to look for jobs, or to seek a
better job, etc.

Mea culpa. I was wrong. The truth is that the book as fine, I just
couldn't identify with the protagonist. I like chocolate, and that novel
was very much vanilla. So I wrote a retraction.

And that's the way that it goes. Critics are nearly always wrong. Years
ago, I went into the library and spent a few hours looking up reviews that
came out when books that are now considered classics were first released.
Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea was considered trite by one reviewer who
noted that Hemingway hadn't dealt with a new theme in fifteen years. The
novel Dune was considered decent enough, but one reviewer wondered how in
the hell anyone ever got such a long novel published. And so it went. Not
a single one of those novels that are now considered classics got anything
other than a tepid review.

So don't expect your novel to get universally great reviews, either. The
truth is that the best novel written in the past ten years won't be
recognized as such until another forty years from now, when hindsight gives
us a clearer perspective.

Sometimes our personal tastes as readers and critics get in the way of sound
judgment. In science fiction, most polls will show that the novel Dune is
considered the best in the genre. Yet if you go onto and look at
reader reviews, you'll find people who will tell you that it's dreck. The
same goes with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, or with any other novel that is
a classic in any other genre.

So is your story really bad, or is it the critic? That's what you need to
determine. You have to look both at the criticism and at its source.

If your critics points seem valid, then all that you may need to do is
rewrite the story, get rid of the flaw. That doesn't seem so hard to me.
The truth is that every author at one time or another tends to write
something that doesn't seem worthy of them. Yep, some of my passages are
brilliant, and some of them are less so. Shakespeare wrote reams of crud,
but quite often he shows over and over that he can be the best of all time.

There are things that I purposely do in my writing don't always work for all
audience members. For example, in the novel Brotherhood of the Wolf, the
Earth King Gaborn Val Orden warns the folks of Castle Sylvarresta to flee,
for a monster is coming that could destroy them all. But do you know what?
People don't always do what they're told. Every time a volcano blows, it
kills someone. It doesn't matter what the geologists do, there's always
some old coot who refuses to leave. Hurricanes, same thing. All those
folks killed in Katrina were warned over and over again to leave, but they
stayed. One third of the city stayed. So I have some of my folks stay, and
I have Gaborn's new bride, Iome, sending troops through the castle in an
effort to force an evacuation. As a result, she's still there when the
monster comes.

Well, my editor hated it. He said that Iome was an idiot to risk her life,
and it would serve her right if she died. He felt that people who are
idiots deserve to die.

But I disagreed. I think that sometimes you need to put your life in
jeopardy to help another person who is acting foolishly. Even people who
are stupid and stubborn need to be rescued in spite of themselves sometimes.
So I kept the scenes in the book--though I know full well that by doing so,
I probably alienated many readers who felt as my editor did. Well, too bad.
I'm trying to make a statement in that book, one that has to do with showing
compassion, risking everything, when you feel like giving up on the world.
We are trained to love and look out for people who have the IQ of a dog. So
why shouldn't we love and look out for someone who's IQ is only a few points
lower than our own.

That's the way it is with every story. We struggle to convey our ideas and
emotions, and sometimes the story is just too big to handle in that medium.
At times, we may just be too weak to get our point across.

If you get criticism that seems wrongheaded to you, then realize that other
critics are human, too. Even a good critic will have lapses in judgment. A
few years ago there was a wonderful book published full of scathing reviews
on novels that went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, or where the author went
on to win a Nobel prize. The fact is that even great authors are often

Tomorrow, though, I will deal with some of the more subtle problems that
come with reviews. The fact is that there are indeed evil-minded critics
out there, people who will genuinely try to destroy you for their own profit
and amusement. I'll give some examples of what they do, and more
importantly why they do it.
Please feel free to share this email with friends. If you would like to be
added to this list, just email and say, "Kick me!"


Recently I joined Fantasy Writer.

It's a great writer's email group where I can connect with other writers. I'm hoping to organize a critique group and get other eyes to spot my "stilted/ stiff" writing. I need to get rid of the stiffness and smooth it out so it can finally be accepted.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Silly vid from The Onion, teasing about the Ironman trailer

Got this on MySpace from Gernot...

Wildly Popular 'Iron Man' Trailer To Be Adapted Into Full-Length Film

I love not just the main joke, but the little jokes on the bottom.

bad and good

I had to leave the critique group cause Sunday nights are insanely busy.

Michele pointed me towards the same writer's group that Willard has tried to get me to join. It sounds like there are a lot of published writers who could help me. I hope someone takes up my request for further one-lines and a critique group for Friday.

I'll keep you "faceless shadows" posted.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Ok, not so upset

In the immortal words of one of the peasants in Monty Python's Holy Grail, "I'm feeling much better."

I know I've over reacted. I just have such passion for this story.

Ah well. Just keep swimming.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


I'm feeling kind of depressed about my novel. Every time I think it's ready, I find obvious mistakes.

I feel pretty stupid at the moment. Things that I thought were great, weren't.

I don't know where to turn and quite frankly it's hard to be motivated on doing anything with it. I've lost my center.

I've even entertained thoughts that maybe I'm on a fool's quest. Maybe I don't have the stuff be be a writer.

I see positives, but I'm looking at them through a grey fog.

Sorry to be so down.

If I turn my back on that path, will another one come around to get me published? I would rather just walk right up to an agent or publisher, SHOW them why this is important.

But I still can't get me POV straight.

But I'm just a no-account wanna-be who can't even spell correctly without a spell checker.

Who am I kidding?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

California, here I am!

I'm posting from Sunny Cal. I'm here in Huntington Beach for more training in Micro Station. I'm using the hotel computer.

I sure miss the ocean. I want so bad to move to Central or Northern Cal. When I went on the pier yesterday and looked out at the ocean I just longed for it.


It's so expensive to Libbey out here. I can't ever imagine doing it. But I was born in this state, spent many years here. It's in my blood. If only my novel would sell and continue selling to the point where I could be a full time author living out here.

Will it ever come?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The critique group is smokin!

Ok, that's an old term, but it's the only thing to come to mind.

I resented my 6th revision version of chapter one. This was "the Eliza chapter", formally known as chapter 4 or 5 depending on the rev.
They wanted more on the how and who of Annabelle's world. The necessary stuff that just happened to be cut thanks to prior revs. I guess I cut it too soon.
I explained about the story behind the story. I told about the Falabranwyn and the true mission for Annabelle and Roland.
They said a simple thought that shocked me. Basically, instead of keeping those things secret, why not bring them up in a pre-scene?

I should say now that in the versions where I cut the Foresight's arrival and the intro of the Dunstons always fell short. Those events were very important so I had to TELL about them later instead of SHOWING them like I originally had done.

Now those scenes are back, with some simplifications, more showing things from Ann's perspective and best of all, a beginning scene from Eliza's abused, scared perspective. This scene stars Dominic in all his evil and after he leaves, Sybil the Falabranwyn with her brief foreshadowing on Ann and Roland. Also, Sybil explains why Annabelle acts and thinks older than her years.

I don't know where this scene was. Why didn't I come up with it before?

Anyway, they loved it.
I should say here that while they know their faults and shortcomings, the other members of the group are all published. They've done short stories and online stories. They also know all the rules and try to follow them in their stories.

I've learned a lot and hope to learn more. I really need to show vs tell and I'm still trying to soften the wording, use less of it and try to speak in my true voice. I only made it through a 4th of the manuscript in my last edits so I'll catch up when the critique group gets to that point.

So much to do and I'm scared that this version is no better than the others.

I do like this group though.

Grant and Jason added me as thier friend!

While I wasted time traveling through the net, looking over various sites on my favorite paranormal chasers, the Ghost Hunters, I discovered that they are on Myspace.

I requested that they add me as a friend and they did! I still can't get over how you can meet and talk casually with real celebrities on the web. It's amazingly cool.

So now they're on my friend list. It's great! I should send them a message, telling them about our ghost encounters.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Darren Shan's view" of the Cirque du Freak movie.

So I was trolling the net and found myself back at IMDB. ( )

I was reading on the anonced cast choices for the movie and people's reactions when I stumbled across the author's words on the subject.

Here they are...

I've been following the reactions of fans to the Cirque Du Freak movie with much amusement over the last couple of months. Each new cast announcement is met with a mix of indignation -- "How dare they even THINK of putting that person in the movie?!?" -- and OTT delight -- "That person is the best actor in the world -- this is going to be brilliant!!!!" The truth, of course, is that only time will tell. The movie-making process is a long, complicated affair. Great books, with great casts, have sometimes turned out to be stinkers, while in other cases less well known books, with dubious cast or crew choices, have become classics. I've no idea which way this one will go. I'm happy with the cast choices -- I can say that hand on heart. They might not be like how a lot of fans pictures the characters. Indeed, they're not all like how I pictured the characters. But the important thing is, they're how the MOVIE-MAKERS picture them. This is their baby now. The film will be a completely separate entity to the books. Different structure, different characters, different pace, different style. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. But I do think it's good that they're doing things THEIR way. I did everything that I wanted to do with the characters and stories when I wrote the books. What interests me now that I'm finished is what other people do with them. I love getting fan art, seeing how fans imagine Darren or Mr Crepsley or Harkat. I love the Japanese manga adaptation, seeing how they interpret the vampires and vampaneze. Nobody draws the characters exactly as I imagined them, but that's what I love. I've shown the world what *I* see in the Cirque Du Freak and those who populate it -- now it's a chance for you lot to reinterpret what I've given you and entertain ME in return!!! So Cormac Limbs becomes a woman -- great!! I'll get to see a different side of the character!!

The film WILL NOT be faithful to the books, and nor should it be. That doesn't bother me, and it shouldn't bother you lot either. It will stand or fall on its own terms, in its own way. If it succeeds and is good, we can all enjoy it as well as the books -- we'll have two different sources of entertainment to draw from. If it goes wrong and sucks, we can continue to draw comfort from the books -- they won't change, they'll still be there, the same as they were a few years ago, the same as they are now, the same as they always will be.

I sometimes get asked why I sold my books to Hollywood, and why I let them change them so much. Well, as for the second question, I haven't a choice -- when you sell the movie rights to your books, you surrender all control over it. The movie-makers can do whatever they like with your stories. That's just the way these things work. If you can't accept that, don't sell. If you do sell, you have to let them do as they please -- there's no point grumbling about it. I sold for a number of reasons. One, obviously, is money. I write because I love to write, but it's also my job, and while I write with total integrity, telling the stories I want to tell, the way I want to tell them, I always look to make the most amount of money out of them as I can once I'm finished. That's just common sense -- if you create something good, you deserve to profit from it. Money shouldn't be a writer's driving goal, but it shouldn't be spurned either. As with any other job in life, money can bring freedom -- a writer who has made a lot of money doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to; he doesn't have to take a commission just to support himself; he's free to follow his muse and create whatever he likes. (Of course, many lose themselves to the thrall of cold, hard cash and start to chase it, using their talents to try and make more money. But I haven't hit that point yet, and I hope I never do.) The money I get from the movie if it's successful will help ensure that I can continue to follow my dreams and write for myself, which is good news for all of YOU.

But I was also happy to sell the movie rights because movies are a great way of publicising your work. The worst thing about being a writer, especially a children's writer, is that very few people in the world ever get to hear about you. A hit movie makes headlines. Popular bands make headlines. Models make headlines. Writers almost never do. Even avid readers often struggle to keep up with what's hot in the world of books -- it's difficult to find out about new writers and novels. The internet has helped, more than anyone under the age of 20 can probably understand -- there was NO way of learning about new books when I was a kid!! But it's still a struggle to get your work noticed, to tempt readers to give your stories a try. Publishers have very limited funds to work with, and the opportunities to advertise books are also very limited. Films are one of the only tools we have to take our work to an even wider audience. Even if the movie sucks and doesn't do much business, it will still probably get quite a lot of people interested in the books. New readers will pick up Cirque Du Freak and give it a try -- then hopefully get hooked by it and join the rest of you in becoming true Shansters!!!

The thing any writer wants more than anything else is for people to actually READ their work. That's what I enjoy most about success -- not the money, but knowing so many people are enjoying my stories, following me into the weird, freakish worlds that I've created, trusting me to lead them on a journey worth taking. The film will help set more people on the path that you guys reading this have already taken. It's a path they probably wouldn't ever have heard about if I hadn't agreed to sell the rights and let a group of strangers do whatever they wanted with my stories.

Some readers are snobs -- they think that only those who actively seek out new writers are worthy of reading that writer's books. There are many Harry Potter fans who sneer at those who saw the films first. "What -- you only read the books because you liked the films? You're not a REAL fan!!!"

As I hope I make clear in my books, I've no time for snobs. My vampire generals accepted anyone who came to them. They didn't care how they turned to the creatures of the night -- they only cared about what they did once they'd made that choice. It's not how we come to a path that matters, but what we do once we're on it. If the film brings even a handful of new fans to this world that you and I have shared for however many weeks, months or years you've been with me, it will have been worth the giving away of rights. Even if it's a stinker, if it takes the books to just a few more people, it will be worth it. Obviously I hope it won't suck, that it'll rock righteously, that it will bring thousands of new fans our way. But even in the worse case scenario it can't help but be a winner. It will bring new readers to the stories, and that's what the stories crave more than anything else. It's why Stephen King has always been happy to sell his work to Hollywood. And it's why I'll probably be always happy to do it too.

So now you know.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Critique Group

I've joined a critique group. Hopfully there will be some forthcomming help on how to get this published.

Will this be helpful or send me into a depression. No clue.

Why is it I feel so close and so far away at the same time?

Friday, February 01, 2008

More writing update

Thanks to some fresh eyes I've tweaked it even more. I realize its silly but I've got to make this the best version I can.

Still no word on the other agent. I think he forgot. I'm not going to email him until the edits are finished, though.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Quick update

A lot has been going on, but I haven't been able to post due to time constraints.

The other month I finally heard back from Writer's House. They liked the manuscript and the characters but felt the story flowed unnaturally.
This goes with the rejection that said it read "stilted" and what Jeff told me long ago. He said it was stiff. I should've realized long ago what this meant.

The other month I realized how to fix it. I needed to find my "voice". Well it occurred just how I should do that and now I'm tweaking the manuscript, fixing things and reshaping it with my true voice. I feel really good about this.

Meanwhile, we've all been very sick. Hopefully this accursed flu will leave.

That's all for now. Talk to you faceless people later.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The new Star Trek Teaser Trailer

I'm starting to get excited about this.

Update, it's a fake. Ah well.