*about magic

*about magic

about magic

“About magic,” I type into Google’s search bar.

Certainly sir,” it seems to reply as it presents a list of  subjects it presumes I’m looking for.

Magic:

  • Fun and Easy Card Tricks
  • 10 Facts About Magic
  • What Does The Bible Say About Magic?
  • Deals On Your Next Las Vegas Trip
  • Magic: The Gathering

“No, Google. You’re misunderstanding me.”

Forgive me, sir. Am I?

“Yes, I was looking for something along the line of essays, thoughts, arguments from hopefully credited sources? Something like that?”

Certainly sir. My apologies,” it replies again as it reshuffles and refreshes new parameters.

Magic:

  • More Interesting Facts About Magic The Magic Academy of Australia
  • The 10 Greatest Movies about Magicians
  • MAGIC from UNICEF.org
  • Wikipedia says…

“No, Google. You still don’t get it.” I lean on one hand and type lazily with the other.

What is there not to get, sir?” Google staring blankly at me.

This is where Google sets me straight. Google doesn’t know what I’m looking for. And that’s okay. Ninety-Nine percent of the time, I expect Google to know exactly what I’m thinking and usually, scarily enough, it does. There are times, however, when its Intuition Application v 2.o is on the fritz, and it feels something akin to the honeymoon coming to an abrupt halt.

“The history of the submarine,” I would type researching something.

SUBWAY was started in 1968… make SUBMARINE sandwiches…” Google would put at the top of the list with the enthusiasm of a slow-news day.

“…damnit, Google!”

 

Since reluctantly picking up the mantle of  “writer” recently, I discovered that the ways that I have been going about things in the past were actually working against me. No longer could I just glare at a blank page and have stuff magically appear on it. I have to retrain myself to crafting as a plotter… or planner… whatever the opposite of “Pantser” is.

This is especially true for projects that I have very little knowledge of, i.e. every short story or piece of flash fiction that I have wrote and have yet written. Writing a story relying on anecdotal evidence can only take you so far.

For example, I know there are volunteer firemen in the world. But I cannot completely fathom the training and sacrifice it takes to be one. I have no idea what it’s like to walk a mile in their fireproof boots. The biggest problem I have recognized in my writing is that the story seems to begin and end in that one moment in time. The cardinal rule that I never seem to regard is that a story about firemen shouldn’t exist just because we see them putting out fires, the real story exists on the days where there isn’t a fire.

That the everyday life of a volunteer fireman is something that I can only speculate about for so long on paper before it sounds ham-handed and contrived, I consider not knowing a weakness that needs to be strengthened. Hence, the need and newfound respect for researching everything thoroughly.

Researching something real and concrete like the life of a fireman is fairly easy. It’s a subject matter that exists in the real world with real people doing real things, and can be presented in realistic terms and actions. Something that is ethereal and as open to interpretation, like the subject of magic, isn’t so much. I theorize that since magic itself isn’t considered “real” as far as a common search engine goes, it therefore cannot be quantified into things that can be bought and sold.

 

Then again… maybe I should learn how to refine my searches.

 

I’m currently fleshing out a short story that’s been in my head for a long time. It’s a story that has to lot to do with root vegetables… no, MAGIC! Magic, that’s what I meant to say.

Since it is a short story, I don’t have to worry that much about chapters and what should be placed where. I will, however, think of it in terms of action, of beats. Whenever I start a story, the action always seems to dictate what the words will be. In a usual three act structure, there’s always room to move around with and explore the action and dialogue. In a short story, there isn’t that much space and your darlings will have to suffer. So, the best place to start is close to the climax of the story.

In this case, the climax a dissertation a college professor give to his colleagues.

I know! Exciting, right?

Calm down, it’s not what you think.

Weird and horrific things happen while the professor is talking, so that means the story revolves around this one scene.

The action in this scenario breaks up what would normally be a very dry monologue. My first inclination would be to stitch together poorly conceived and well-worn clichés a la old comic book banter, or the entire script for “Return of the Jedi”. But, I don’t want that. I want the words to be powerful and meaningful enough to stand on their own, like, ya know, a real speech.  If it were a speech about firemen or Subway Sandwiches, then I could throw together something relatively quickly, refining as I go, and sure enough, tah-dah! A perfectly acceptable presentation regarding firemen who eat sandwiches.

But the subject is about magic. Not so easily thrown together.

Perhaps I’m thinking about this all wrong. Perhaps I should thumb my nose at what Google thinks is and is not real, and regard magic as real and as tangible as a street sign or a bowl of potato salad.

I know I’m not alone in this certain type of frustration I’m experiencing, but I’m not sure if this is something that would get easier over time. “Write what you know” is the yardstick that gets wrapped across your knuckles while you’re just a wee thing learning the ropes in novel writing grammar school. Then as you get older and get into novel writing high-school. It becomes the first rule you break. I know I’m stretching an analogy a little too thin at this point, but you get the idea. (by the way, Novel Writing High School? Trademarked! Phhthththththttt!!)

Since magic  is indeed open to interpretation and could in fact be anything, I think that what I was looking for from Google, was the most obvious. The world that I create is ultimately a sandbox, and Google can’t tell you how to make it. If there’s one piece of advice that I should absolutely carry with me is this: Never forget to play, to explore, to take chances. In your world that you create, everything is tangible, everything is real, even ideas.

 

…even magic.

quote on magic

Nothing Gets Done on Friday

A lesson learned from trying to keep a three day a week blogging schedule.

 

Based on previous experience, nobody reads things on a Friday.

At least, not my stuff anyway.

It’s not a hard and fast fact. I’m sure that there are Friday post-a-rama’s out there that cap off the end of the week to a bajillion views.

For me, I try and finish up any project by Thursday morning so it could be posted later that day, that way all of us can enjoy the weekend together. And at the end of the week, that’s all that counts. Right, Mousketeers?

As a general rule, nothing gets done on a Friday. By that I mean, nothing gets posted on Friday…nothing important gets posted on Friday.

But seeing that is indeed Friday, and this week has been taken up with mapping out a decent website, hosting for said website, rebranding my name (clearing the deck over on Twitter and my other social media sites), and merchandising options among other things, it seems like a good time to point out that nothing was completed today. Except for lunch. And dishes. And a load or two of laundry.

Today was a day for gathering resources and ideas. Resources and ideas for merchandise. Merchandise that will one day be sold on this site. I won’t bother with the details this time around. Perhaps later, as things come together, I’ll post a nice tl;dr backstory.

A hint of what I have planned: it has to do with a style of book cover. And in my search of getting what I need, I stumbled across this site. An hour or so later, this is what I came away with…

Pulp-O-Mizer_Cover_Image

Now, I’ve resigned myself to Friday’s being a wash. And this little distraction was done at the end of the day, so no harm done. If anything, this was a study in crafting an attention grabbing headline. So, in the process of getting distracted, I ended up cultivating new ideas for future projects.

A new lesson learned. Inspiration comes from unlikely places.

The First Rule in Talking About New Projects Is…

The First Rule in Talking About New Projects Is…

amwritingThe first rule of talking about the Holidays after the Holidays is: You do not talk about the Holidays after the Holidays.

Of course, it’s an unwritten and unspoken rule amongst most of us, right? Like, the guy in your office who gleefully walks around to each cubicle and reminds you on December 26th that there are only 364 shopping days ’til Christmas.

Then the office beat down happens in the breakroom.

Then they tell you to clean out your desk.

Then comes the restraining order…

January 1st rolls around, and the well-wishing is officially over. You do not talk about the Holidays after the Holidays.

Same with NaNoWriMo.

Writers, at least the ones that I follow, have no time to dwell on something that happened months ago, because some of them are in the midst of tidying up the manuscript they just cranked out in 30 days.

I am no different. Even though I didn’t win NaNo (next year, I’m DEFINITELY getting the t-shirt), I have no plans on abandoning this project because out of the previous attempts at trying to hammer out a story, this is the one has greased the wheels of my storytelling machine long enough to get the bugs out, and make it purr like it just came off the assembly line. I’m not walking away from this one.

Still, the first week in January found me staring at my first draft and all my notes like Jack Torrance closely inspecting his Adler typewriter to make sure it doesn’t change color on him… again. This was the time where I should have wiped the deck clean, rearranged things, beefed it up, trimmed it down, played with it. Instead, and I hate myself for thinking it, I kept looking at it as if it were 5 day old leftovers.

Oh no…Meatloaf again?

Meatloaf
“Is it Saturday Night yet?”

I wouldn’t call it a block. My intention is in full swing, and when that happens, all it takes is one word, one phrase, a picture, something that happened on the way to the grocery store, and I’m back on the horse. I wouldn’t call it a block, it was more like a pit stop. I needed some perspective.

I read somewhere recently that one of the best ways to overcome getting stuck in your manuscript was to start another project, see it through as far as you can take it, then revisit your original manuscript. A fresh perspective might be just the thing to clear the logjam and get moving.

As fate would have it, around the same time that I should have been adding more chapters, fixing dialog and tinkering with sub-plots, an invitation was extended by fellow blogger about writery stuff, Chris Graham, to participate in a short story contest. The tl;dr version is 1500 words, 30 days to write, based on a picture chosen by the contest provider.

Now, like wishing someone a Happy Holiday in late January, I’m not supposed to talk about it to a certain extent. I can’t write it, post it and link to it here where it can shine in all it’s hastily-put-together glory¹ (e.g. the occasional Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig). Nope, this time it’s fo’ realizies. Grand Prize winner will get published across a number of publications, name and brand recognition will become more concrete, mana will rain from the sky and European lingerie models will throw themselves at my feet.

…well, not really. But I will chalk it up as actual experience; something to add to a resumé. Being published in any capacity at this point would be most welcome. My horoscope has been stuck on repeat for months. It just keeps repeating, “Good things are going to happen, good things are going to happen…”

I sincerely hope so…

Upcoming Projects

  • As I started to say before I got sidetracked, I’m not allowed to discuss or share a copy of my  entry until later on this year. However, that doesn’t preclude me from two things. 1.) It doesn’t mean that I can’t share a little snippet of it in a future post, and 2.) who’s to say that I should stop there? Who’s to say that I should be solely reliant on random opportunities to come my way so that I could find an excuse to make more content? My noggin is full to capacity with story ideas. I collect writing prompts for fun. I kinda, sorta know how to make a decent book cover. Inspiration is all around me and all I have to do is interpret its language. This is the mission statement of this blog to begin with. Yes, my NaNo Novel will be worked on this year, and perhaps might be entered again as soon as November comes around again. In the meantime, expect smaller projects to bubble to the surface. I’ll still be throwing up Flash Fiction, but if something slightly heavier needs to be fleshed out, like say a novella, you can be rest assured that you will know about it. So, lot’s of writing this year… but first…
  • My ultimate goal is to make this website self-substantial. Along with a sturdy final draft of my manuscript that is set for publication, a well deserved t-shirt from NaNoWrimo as my prize for finishing, I would like to see “aapayson.com” become a reality. In order to do that, I need money. And, in order to get that, I would like to direct you to my Pay Pal donation button on the right hand side of the page. Now, as much as all donations great and small will be most welcome, begging was never my strong suit. So therefore, a new page on this blog will be in development over the coming weeks. Prepare for the swag.

That’s it, very excited and enthused this year. I got a lot of great ideas and I can’t wait to make them happen. Thanks  for reading.

How about you? What’s your big project this year? Are you finishing a book too? Starting one? Let me know in the comments.

¹I forgot to mention that I should have proofread my submission a little better. Looking over it the day after I sent it, small mistakes were glaring at me. Meh.