2012 in Retrospect

The fact that we survived the apocalypse is a great thing in and of itself. *rim shot*

The obligatory joke out of the way, this has to be the most insane year I’ve experienced so far. Really.

I’ve done the impossible: resigned the full-time post at my old job. I never in my life thought that I would do that. I never even realized just how much pressure I had been under. I never even imagined that I could sleep through the night and not dread waking up in the morning. How could I not have known that?

I’ve done the even more impossible: made money off my photography. What had started as just shooting my own stock photos for graphic design had taken on an entirely new direction. Kudos to my first photo customer, Matt Marshak, for helping me see what I am capable of doing. And kudos times two to Chieli Minucci, who had seen this in me even before I could’ve even thought of it.

And more than ever, I’ve grown into myself in 2012, apart from all of this. I had a chance to travel, to think about what I am and what I’m not, and to define and redefine certain parts of myself. My very strong liberal viewpoints are something I’m no longer going to be apologetic for, ashamed of, or compelled to hide; this election had put us all through the wringer in various ways. I have no belief in the Bible or the Christian God, but I feel that the universe works in odd and mysterious ways, in its own chaotic order, and that order needs to be trusted for it to work. I also feel that there is a lot more to what I can do creatively, and whether it will ever make me money or not, I feel that I need to keep doing it.

2012 has been strange like that. So many changes, some of which I’m still trying to analyze, and most of those in myself. I’m not incapable of feeling certain things, as I found out. I am not yet capable, though, of letting go and just doing something without first mapping its consequences. It’s something I doubt I’ll ever be able to do, but I got a lot better at being adventurous.

Most of all, I managed to see myself in an author framework and think it serious. Releasing Book 4 has been a very interesting event for me; closing out one arc and starting work on another has been a game-changer. If I had never thought of myself as a Serious Author before, presenting someone with a full set of books as opposed to just the unfinished collection has done it for me. It definitely confirmed a lot of things for me.

In all, has this been a good year?

Oh, yes, and verily.

Will 2013 be better?

Damn tootin’. I cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for me, apart from Capital Jazz Supercruise (where would I be without my annual jaunt?). There’s a whole world to explore out there, and I’m hoping that I will get the chance to explore it with enthusiasm and my rig.

Happy 2013, all. Be safe, pop the corks, and smile.


Whew. Now what?

So. The screenplay is finished.

*sigh of relief*

I’m a little surprised at how it turned out. This is still the first draft; I’ve not subjected it to an editor, and I’ve written the entire thing in shooting style, which is only permissible if you’re going to direct. Which I’m not. But it makes for very good reading; it’s very visual, especially considering that the camera angles effectively tell you how to see a scene.

This is, in a certain sense, the key difference between the novel version and the screen version: a screenplay doesn’t give you as much flex of imagination as the novel. Screenplays are much more direct.

Now, of course, this begs the question of how I feel now that I’ve done a new style of writing that I was, prior thereto, unfamiliar with.

And you know what, I’m not sure how I feel now that I’ve finished a full-scale feature-length screenplay. Good, yes. I am now familiar with a new writing form, and it’s a completed challenge. Will I do this again? Definitely. I’ll be transforming my books into screenplays, for sure. But now I need to go forward with marketing them, and marketing is going to be the weird bit. I have never done film marketing, never took a course on it, and have little idea as to where to start. I do know a film agent, though, and I may have a chat with him. I also know more than a few authors who have film and agent connections, so I may well be able to go from there.

It’s a now what? sort of a feeling.

I’ll figure that out as I go along, and if I happen to get something started up for the film version of the series, then we’re in business.


Blog Tour!

My first one, I might add. I’m excited!

This is what the schedule looks like. I’ll update the links as they become available, and add tour dates as those too become available.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25th: With Raymond Frazee, discussing screenwriting and selling the screenplay as reading material.

FRIDAY, APRIL 27th: With Julie Campbell, discussing writing  as a business.

SUNDAY, APRIL 29th: At Amelia Curzon’s, talking about Amazon.

MONDAY, APRIL 30th: An interview with D. Von Thaer

THIS JUST IN: Interview with S.R. Torris.

Happy touring!


On Screenwriting vs. Novel-writing

So, because tax deadline kills the sleep and stokes the muse, I started working on the script counterpart to Book 1. Yep, I’m writing a movie. No, not for Script Frenzy – because tax season will eat me if I try that, and I’m actually about to head to work as I’m writing this – but because, frankly, it’s fun, and I want to pitchThe Index as a film series.

And I am slowly getting really, really into it.

I will admit this: when I first started laying down The Index, back in 2006, I had every intention of writing it so that it could translate to the screen easily. I can see this being a great series in film; I wouldn’t put my work on the same scale of potential that Harry Potter had ended up with, but I definitely think that my work has a certain visual appeal. At least to the nerds who ended up loving it so far (yes, I’m looking at you, and you know who you are!!!).

With all the difficulties and travails that I’ve had with the first book of this series – for the details on that, everything with the Book 1 category on this blog that dates back to 2009 will tell you exactly what was going on – I’ve had a surprisingly easy time so far templating out the first few scenes of the book in screen format. While in the first book I had the challenge of layout, conventions, scenery, and the general flow of the book, right now the challenge has shifted to having an effective portrayal of that same text. There is much less focus on the writing details when you’re working in screen form. It becomes all about the visual, all about how the characters will be seen, and all about how to see everything effectively. i.e. soundtrack cues, potential actors, etc.

This also brings an entirely new dimension to the process: I have to actually think of this in visual terms. I will admit shamelessly that I thought of anime noir at the time I was writing the story in the first place, but right now, and especially right now, I”m thinking of it as a live-action endeavor. Yes, might cost more, but it will work better this way. I have to actually consider who will play whom in the film. I can’t cast Shou and Kian, for the life of me, but I’ve earlier mentioned that Arriella would be best played by Serinda Swan (you may know her as Erica Reed if you’re a fan of Breakout Kings). Shourron I, both sides of him, would be best done with Liam Neeson. Rena would have a worthy portrayal in the hands of Annabelle Wallis (Jane Seymour from The Tudors, season 3). Arriella’s scheming mother, Morrhia, would go to Catherine Zeta-Jones. Lord Kirare, the Viceroy of the Underworld, will go to the actor whose presence inspired his creation to begin with: Chris Noth. And Jason Watson, the redheaded, lovable-little-shit bon vivant based on one of my dearest friends, will be played by the most versatile redhead there is….Damian Lewis. Whom you may have seen in Homeland.

Hey, dream big, right?

But in reality, all this is helping me put the movie into motion, so to speak. Now that there are flesh-and-blood people representing the people whom I’ve written into existence, writing the screen form suddenly becomes that much easier. Same for soundtrack: no movie is complete without sound, and now I have to dig at my collection of jazz, rock, Celtic, and everything else to start matching scenes to songs.

In other words, the story hasn’t changed, but the presentation is wildly different. And considering that I spent the past six years heavily entrenched in and perfecting the noveling side of writing, to switch gears like that is quite the lulu. I won’t deny one thing, though: I rather like it.

To note, I will put up Mages on TriggerStreet.com, which is a great hosting site for indie scripts, and I will also make a PDF of it available in e-book format. Print will be entirely too clunky…or not, I don’t know. Still thinking about it.

And, to note, if Mages does get picked up for production? Well…then let’s just say it. My life will be changing very fast.


Slight addendum: Book 1 can be found here, and is free for Kindle on April 17th. Yes, a slightly shameless plug. :)