Site Re-Branding

As you might have noticed, the blog has re-branded. This includes not only a new theme with feature photos (which I will need to post to older entries), but also a new name. While it might still be a “Great Day for America,” with Craig Ferguson leaving the Late Late Show, a number of my bucket list items (and the point of the blog) have been rendered impossible.

That said, I did still want to maintain a connection to Craig Ferguson as his comedy and work have been as much a inspiration as the music on my playlist. So I have stuck with a quote he gave during an interview on The View…

Writing a novel is like making love to a gorilla. You’re not done until the gorilla’s done.

Going forward, I will post my plans. I will also be updating my Bucket List to include these changes. For now, I am posting links to my new reviews in my reading challenge.

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NaNoWriMo Prep – Non-Gazebo Edition

This is the first in my “get your ass ready” series of posts for my own benefit. Listing out what I personally need as a writer. You can attempt to follow my example, but results may vary. Or as I hear often enough in writing conferences to make it mantra… damn near dogma…

This is what works for ME. Find what works for you and run with it.

Bug-Out-Bag-homeThe first step in preparing a NaNoWriMo Survival Kit is pretty similar to setting up a Bug Out Bag for the zombie apocalypse. Identify what you need and start gathering them together. At one point all the stuff for my BOB rested in a single place. That only lasts for so long. Stuff migrates in Casa de Zombie. Usually not by my doing. Sometimes, but not usually.

There are two quotes that I have yet to get stitched onto my shoulder bag that I use for NaNo. Both form the Double Rainbow that is the theme of my writing experience in either NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo. They are…

You don’t need Neil Gaiman’s Fucking Gazebo.

AND

Writing a novel is like making love to a gorilla. You’re not done until the gorilla’s done.

One was made PG in final edits (though the URL is still R), and the other is a quote from Craig Ferguson on novel writing. I am not PG, and I don’t choose who inspires me. So you get what you get.

neils-gazeboAs such, the two quotes present a dichotomy of sorts. Primarily, the act of preparing a Public Authorin’ Kit in itself is the definition of the gazebo. But at the same time is essential (for me) to succeed in the program. At least it isn’t building an actual gazebo. In additional, no matter what the challenge states, 50,000 words isn’t a full novel in my genre. Meaning that even once I hit that goal, “the gorilla isn’t finished.”

My plan is to get a nice bag set up with at least the gorilla quote after my first real sale. As I have a short story out there on submission, this could happen soon. But I won’t be holding my breath. For this year, I have my bag set out and ready to be stocked. I’ll be doing that this weekend since Halloween is pretty full this year.

After the pre-NaNo meet ups this week (also known as the Plotting Party), I’ll have an idea what I am writing. That means I will be able to load a playlist of music that will outline my story. Likely including the anthems for both the hero and the villain. Hell, in at least one of the ideas I am dancing with, those anthems may be the same songs.

I’m going out on a limb and will predict that the playlist for this project will contain at least one song from Wayland, one from Bobaflex, and probably one from Halestorm. In This Moment is a coin toss. Most of their music really needs a specific story or character to fit in. I’ve also been collecting up a lot of Nonpoint and Otep thanks to the influence of Biatch from the morning show. I may thank her by showing up at the station with donuts Halloween morning in my zombie clown getup.

So Step 1 is setting up the playlist, purchasing the music (if needed) and loading my iPod.  This is the kicking off point for all of my writing projects. At least the novel length ones. Poems and short stories are another issue entirely.

What music are you setting your story to? Or are you the kind of writer that needs quiet? Maybe experiment with it this NaNo.

Does Your Gorilla Scare the Neighbors?

So in keeping with the recent theme of referring to my novels as my gorillas (see previous blog on Craig Ferguson’s noveling quote), let’s explore the idea that your gorilla might be with you because it scares everyone else off. Allow me to explain. NaNoWriMo is coming up, which has me prepping what characters will be in my story. I am leaning towards a ghost or demon as the antagonist, but I wanted to bring in aspects of a serial killer to the character as well. To this point, I’ve dug out my reference books and have been researching serial killers and their characteristics the last couple days.

Nothing keeps people from sitting near you at the bagel shop more than you enjoying your pumpkin bagel with schmear, sipping your Autumn roast coffee and flipping through a book entitled The Serial Killer Files. In an effort of full disclosure, it actually disturbed me a bit that I could eat while reading some of those sections. Just a bit. Not enough to stop drinking my coffee. There ain’t much in this world that’ll make me turn my back on the magical bean.

My second scheduled stop (as I am getting into the NaNo schedule early to reduce the shock) was at The Victory – my normal local coffee shop. My reading material garnered less strange looks there as they are kind of used to that sort of thing. It really is one of the reasons why I like going there. Having the book out and reading it doesn’t immediately send up red flags. That level of comfort could only last for so long though.

Parking at work I had a decision to make. My choices were to leave the book out and hope nobody saw it in my truck, or bring it with me and deal with the looks personally. I chose to bring it with me. Which meant that of course someone would be walking into the Field House at the same time as me. They aren’t aware that I write in my personal time. That means I just look like the next person to be described on the news as being a “nice, but quiet guy.” At the same time I’ve been learning how to deal with those looks most of my life – before I even became a writer.

My family has learned to deal with my eccentricities. I’m pretty sure my father didn’t pause too much when I called him up and asked what would be the facilities contingencies at a hospital if the power was to suddenly go out and where would be the likely location for their backup generators. Honestly, I think that probably ranks pretty low on the weird-shit-o-meter readings he’s seen over the years. Which is a good thing.

My next step is to flesh out part of my living will. Which is to say, write up a set of instructions to be carried out in the event of my untimely demise. Or even in the event of my timely demise. Basically a list of “clean this shit up before strangers are let in through my things.”

In this electronic day and age, think about it. Who will close out your Facebook with one final post before deleting the account? Do you really want the account fully gone before backing up the good stuff? (Photos, etc.) Who will post something to Twitter and your blog to let people you interact with know? Mrs. Zombie isn’t really on the “tweetybox” so has no contact with my online friends. And that doesn’t even consider the stuff in your house.

My research shelf should be dealt with  by family. They will know I wasn’t a recluse serial killer planning one final spree before going down in a hail of gunfire. At least I hope they will know that. My shelf of goodies on psychological disorders, serial killers, weapons, martial arts, occult, mythology and historical battles/politics will paint quite the odd picture. Add that to my gun safe and collection of survival gear, knives and sword. Yeah, it just screams guy who should be mentioned using a three name string.

I’ll leave you with a final interaction I had on Twitter a year or two back. An author friend lamented about how her husband responded to her question about where the liver was with the answer of not telling her for his own safety (or something along those lines). I replied with a simple, “So he didn’t want to tell you it is about 2-3″ to the left as you are facing someone from the navel, just under the ribs and about 2-2.5″ deep to puncture and cause internal bleeding?” I had to respond with a quick, “Sorry, that was pretty creepy.” Not only did she claim she was used to getting “that look” from talking like that in public, but that was also just what she was looking for. Twisted minds think alike, and I had used the liver thing in the WIP I had been working on at the time.

What would the “normals” think of your gorilla? What parts of your story would seem strange if people came across it in your notes?

The Gorilla Factor

Over the last week or so, I’ve noticed something. I posted a blog referring to a quote from Craig Ferguson likening the writing of a novel to making love to a gorilla. I even posted a picture of a gorilla on the article itself. What did this mean for my blog? A spike in my hits.

In a similar method on the Late Late Show, Mr. Ferguson found that when he had his hair and makeup ladies on, his ratings spiked. This led to him having them on frequently. In costume. Marching with his “horse.”

I would assume there is a point of diminishing returns (which is why they aren’t on as much these days), but the fact was there was a spike. He answered it with more of the same.

For my part the spike was severe. We’re talking the hits tripled. All because there was a gorilla mentioned on my blog and a photo of gorillas was displayed here. I get it. Really I do. Because… you know… monkeys. Monkeys are cool and gorillas are the big, bad, simian daddies of the monkey world.

I wrote in the last blog about “getting to know your gorilla” and the way is clear. My gorilla is much more popular than I am. Or at least more interesting at a virtual level. To this point I will discuss my gorilla more, or at least find an excuse to include a  picture of a gorilla with more posts. Seriously, my gorilla’s gonna party like it’s 1999 – which is to say he will be dancing in the Purple Rain and worrying about if his computer will start the next morning.