Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Write On: A Quick Update

I'm gearing up for my annual Mancation, that glorious time of the year where I get together with the guys I grew up with to drink, eat meat, play cards, talk trash, and drink. As I said, glorious.

This will be our eleven Mancation, earning it the tentative title of "Mancation 11: Roman Numerals are Soooo 400 A.D." Admittedly, that's not the most manly of titles, but I just made it up on the spot and I'm not going to change it now, what with all that tap-tap-tapping of the BACKSPACE button? Guh.

Point being, I'll be disappearing for a few days, my location and activities strictly confidential in accordance to the extensive non-disclosure agreements we all signed. But before I go, a quick update on my progress:

My 500 Words

Yes, I am still doing this -- hitting the home stretch, actually. And no, I'm nowhere near the target of 500 words a day. Whatever, I'm still counting this a victory:
  • I've just reached the end of Chapter 3 to Book #2, and I'm pretty happy with how it's coming along -- particularly for a first draft
  • Since my last update, I've written up an additional 3,718 words
  • While I'm not writing every day, I have been hitting around 500 words on the days I do write
  • Even if I stop right now, I'll have tripled the length of Book #2
  • (I hadn't gotten very far into Book #2 before this past month)

The Agent Hunt

It's now been a year since I first started querying agents. You'd think that would have been a soul-crushing realization. Hell, I thought that would have been a soul-crushing realization. Instead, I'm feeling really upbeat about my progress.

I've jettisoned the remainder of the agent list I put together last year (keeping a record of who I've already queried so as not to annoy them), and -- smarter, wiser -- put together a new list that's better targeted to my novel using other sites I've since discovered such as Manuscript Wish List.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Adventures in Leaving the House: Eat It

I work from home. I’ll never complain because there are more advantages to that arrangement than I can even count, but there is one down-side: I don’t get out much. So on those occasions where I do leave the house to visit people or get away for the weekend or pick up a loaf of bread, it opens the door for

Destination: Big Lots! in New Hartford, NY 

I hate to be the one to point this out, but our great nation has definitely entered the Vegas Elvis phase of its global dominance. Or, for the kids out there, the post-2014 Justin Bieber phase. Like Elvis during that time, we're becoming bloated and indulgent and gaudy and weird. So very weird.

Case in point: Our country's fascination with food innovation.

Yes, we have a proud history of innovating. We put a man on the moon! But we also put breakfast sausage on a stick and wrapped it with a pancake. We gave the world the Double Down sandwich.

The meat IS the bread!

And that... let's stick with "innovation," was on display when I found myself wandering around a Big Lots! one evening.

(Yes, the exclamation point is part of Big Lots! official name. I am aboslutely going to commit to it.)

By the way, what exactly is a Big Lots!? Yes, it's a retail store, thanks, but I mean, what is it? If it's a department store, where are the clothes? If it's a furniture store, then why do they have all this other stuff? And if it's a home good store, why does it have a whole grocery section?

It was that last revelation that really got me thinking. Has anyone in the history of ever said, "Honey, I'm running out to get some groceries from Big Lots! Be right back"? I think not.

So I went to investigate the grocery section of Big Lots! Here's what I found:

Right out of the gate, I'm alarmed. First off, in a world where Twinkes and Ho Hos and Ding Dogs exist, nobody is ever happy to be presented with Hostess Sno Balls. Hell, they even made a joke about it in Zombieland. Secondly, it may smell nice but coconut is just glorified tree shavings. Why would you want your coffee to taste like that? Why?

Speaking of people's last choice, pears. Between grape, orange and lemon-lime sodas, I can kinda see where someone was going with a pear soda. But there's a reason why pears are only used in dishes by high-end French chefs: pears just taste vaguely like other things you'd rather be eating.

Have you ever thought to yourself: Mmm! This hand lotion sure smells good! Wish I could drink it!

Yeah, me either.

Oh, hey, fruit cake on the go!

Okay, despite my disparaging remarks about coconut earlier, there's nothing inherently weird about coconut oil. But 102 fluid ounces of coconut oil is a LOT of coconut oil. If you've ever wondered, "How much coconut oil is too much?' here's your answer.

I have a daughter who can't eat gluten, so I appreciate the attempt to make food (in this case, penne) people actually want to eat out of items they can eat. However, this green lentil and beet hybrid sounds like it was consciously designed to repel people. What, no way to work prunes into the mix? "Tolerant" indeed.

What? What? Terrible, tooth-rotting candy has been turned into terrible, tooth-rotting breakfast cereal? This is the darkest timeline...

Friday, October 11, 2019

By Definition: A My 500 Words/Video Essay Two-Fer

By definition, I'm failing.

On its face, last week's number isn't that bad. I wrote 2,335 words, which is obviously below the 500-a-day goal. Worse, I only wrote on four of those days... and one of them was to write last week's blog post. That technically counts but, c'mon...

On the flip side, I'm really happy with the work I have put in, and I'm starting to clear up the soupiness that is the second act of Book #2. It's not completely ironed out and none of that add to my word count. But still, but definition that's PROGRESS!

Speaking of definitions, I'm featuring this video by Lessons from the Screenplay because it does a great job of calling out the difference between Story Premise versus Story Design as well as the protagonist's Desire versus Need, all things that are easy to get mixed up.

As a bonus, Michael explains what I've long considered one of the great movie mysteries: How did James Cameron pull off the change from the slow-burn horror of Alien to the pulse-pounding action of Aliens?

Thursday, October 3, 2019

My 500 Words: Moving Right Along

Okay, okay... At least on paper, it looks like I'm doing well.

Daily target: 500 words
Weekly target: 3,500 words
  • Week 1: 2,661 words 
  • Week 2: 3,196 words

So that's better, right? At least I'm heading in the right direction. We'll just side-step things such as "I really wrote the lion's share of that amount on two days" and "much of that writing wasn't for Book #2."

Still: I'm keeping in the habit and moving right along! If I can keep this up, I'll have finished the first draft of Book #2 by... (calculator, math, typing, equations, math) February or March?

First Post: The Story So Far

Hallo. I’m Scot Nolan, though you might know me from reviewing and discussing bad movies over the past ten years as “Nolahn.” But this ...