Remodeling and Switching Gears

I haven’t been posting much. With work being almost nonstop, editing consuming time like Snoorlax eats berries, and Destiny declaring power over my fate, I just can’t post on a regular basis. I’m also sick right now, and that truly messes with things. So the deal is, posting every Friday. Today is an exception. Aren’t you all lucky.

I’m also changing up the site. You’ll notice two pages were removed. When books release, I’ll put pages up for the settings of those books. If I publish enough, I’ll condense it. The posts will also focus on writing, movies, thoughts, and the like. Very rarely will there be short stories, and I will be deleting some of them from my site.

That is all. Have a great day. Oh, and go see Edge of Tomorrow. Saw it this weekend at my brother’s. Brilliantly done. Lots of fun.

My Destiny Awaits

I’ve been more than a little AFK. Work has been incredibly busy, it has gone into dinners in the evening, and when I’m not working I’m editing and working out. The working out is going well. Left arm nearly as beastly as right arm. Those cool lines you get going down to the elbow when you’re toned are pretty visible on the right arm. It’s been epic.

But let’s look at another epic, another reason I will post most sparingly. It’s my destiny. While it arrived last night, I will be picking it up this afternoon, to unfortunately very likely not play tonight.

While I fell in love with the Warlock (her beautiful brown eyes, silky hair, and suicidal attitude in the face of death), I will be a Titan. What’s a Titan, you ask? They are the tanks, the warriors, the guys with big guns who charge into the heart of battle to show they are dominant, or die trying.

Hopefully they will have a set up that lets me go hard melee, as that’s what I want to do. Equipped with a shotgun for short range and a rocket launcher, I think I’ll be okay. In the beta I had to play pretty conservatively. So to running in front of things and being awesome. Likely Thursday. When it looks like I have the illusion of time. And then not again for another week since my life is all planned out until then.

Performing Rituals

I love rituals. Not religious ones (though I do appreciate a good litany), but life habits.

The human body works best with rituals. The mind knows what is about to happen, and prepares for it. It sets you up for success. My gym routine is a ritual, and like all rituals, you never want to rush. You take your time. Grab two towels going into the locker room. The act of undressing in the locker room is shoes, socks, shirt, pants. Put the swimsuit on. It’s the only part of the ritual I rush. I hang my pants and shirt up.

I go into the shower and let the water cascade over me, then I apply soap, head down, and rinse. Another thirty seconds just to feel nice. Dry with towel #1. Enter the pool area and pick out a lane. Hang my towels and locker key on the same peg every time. No one else uses the pegs right by the pool.

Jump in. Dunk myself underwater. Dip my goggles. Lick my thumb and rub the inside of my left then right lens. Put on my goggles and make sure suction takes (it sucks when the suction isn’t right, and it’s always the right side, a slow leaking which comes burdened with the knowledge of inevitability).

Swim 150m breast stroke. This is three full laps. Walk the lane. Ten seconds right arm across, ten seconds right arm up, turn around, ten seconds left arm across, ten seconds left arm up. Pull up left than right leg to stretch thigh. Against the wall stretch calves then hamstring. Swim 200m breast stroke, stretch again. Swim 200m breast stroke. 50m side stroke because my left arm is puny in comparison to the right. 100m freestyle. Stretch. Hot tub for five to ten minutes, shower, avoid naked old men, get dressed, and get a protein drink. I keep adding to the meters of the routine. I want to be at a thousand, or whatever I can swim in an hour. It takes around 45 minutes to complete the current routine.

This is my ritual, my holy rite of working out which has caused me to get very close to being where I was over a year ago. My gut is finally looking smaller, it jiggles more instead of being firm fat. Good times.

What rituals do you have? Do you take your time and does it frustrate you when they get interrupted?

Writing is Work

A man wrote on one of the Facebook groups I follow that he has recently taken up writing. He bought the how to write books, he’s been looking into what’s required, and he finally stated it’s frustratingly tedious. At that point, he just decided he was going to write and it’s been all gravy since then. The people in the group supported him, saying now he’s on the right track. I refrained from injecting my thoughts.

To illustrate my thoughts on this, let’s use an analogy! Successful sport players start at a young age, usually early elementary school. Fundamentals are key at this point, and they play. At this stage in life you are more easily capable of learning. In middle school and high school they drill. You don’t just learn what the fundamentals are, but you spend hours a day in a gym learning them. You go to the weight room and lift. You dedicate a significant portion of your life to the sport. It is no longer just a game, and you no longer simply walk out onto the court or field and wing it. The majority will get no further, and if they do it will be in casual leagues. If someone decides to start late, they have to work harder. They need to dedicate more time and practice to the game, because they are behind everyone else. It’s frustrating, but if you want it, you will strive for it.

I’ve been an avid reader and writer since second grade. Maybe first grade, but I can’t remember. Those kids who were reading 400 pages a day were focusing on fundamentals. The writers who spend hours researching before putting a single word down, the ones who daydream and throw away a thousand concepts before finding a polished gem, the author who continues to read and study the craft are all going through the fundamentals, like the basketball player. It’s fun. It’s tedious. It’s frustrating. We do not research for the sake of research (actually I do, but not all the time). We research so our book doesn’t suck.

Why do you focus on the fundamentals? So you avoid plot holes, boring stories, massive inaccuracies, and the like. There was one book I read where the war consisted of one army marching across a vast country to the other army’s castle, and then they fought. A war is not one battle at the capital’s gates. It’s skirmishes, attacks and counter attacks, sieges, and siege weapons. Even if it only receives a paragraph. I get it. There weren’t even siege weapons. They went up to the door, broke a spell, and opened them. No bolts. No locks. No steel reinforcement. It was more or less, “Hey guys, we need to pick a lock using magic, and then we win.”

I am always learning the trade and refining my abilities, just as currently I’m refining my chapters and story to make it more cohesive, have fewer plot holes (with any luck none), and create something readers really enjoy. It irks me as much to hear someone say it’s a hobby as for someone to say this doesn’t take work and it should be all fun. Writing my two novels was a lot of fun. Editing them has not been.

So if you’re getting into writing, that’s awesome. If you’re doing it entirely for the pleasure, I think that’s great. Don’t listen to me. If you’re doing it because you want to make it a career and you’re just starting, remember there are a lot of people who sacrificed at a young age to start on this track. It’s not an easy one.

A Day in the Park

Jimmy strutted down the park, humming some tune or another which played on the radio that morning. He was clean cut, fresh from the barber, with some product in his onyx hair to make it shine and bounce, while staying in place. He wore a suit and button up shirt, with the top opened wide to show his manly chest, hair and all. It was a good day to be Jimmy.

Birds chirped, flying in and out of beautiful trees filled with lush green leaves. The smell of freshly cut grass put Jimmy at ease, until he heard his phone ring. He always wanted one of those fancy ring tones the kids were using, but he just couldn’t figure the damned thing out, and like hell he’d ask one. Didn’t want to inflate their ego.

“Tony,” the phone said. Tony was rarely good news. He flipped open the phone, “Sup, Tones.”

“Jimmy, that you Jimmy?”

“Christ, Tones, yeah, s’me, who the hell else’d have this phone?” A headache set in and he walked off the path to a tree.

“Well fuck, Jimmy, called Andy five minutes go, and know what?”

“What, Tones? You gots a point to this, cuz get to it. Got a meeting, ya know?”

“Yeah, yeah, sorry. Just, Jimmy, Andy ain’t answerin’ his phone.”

“Caught that, smart ass. You wanna tell me what’d make you thinks I ain’t the one answerin’ my phone?” The people walking by didn’t even notice Jimmy, which pissed him off. Everyone was supposed to be noticing him. The women were supposed to be begging to get in his ride, to get taken home with him, to get romanced. Not that Jimmy really romanced, but it’d be a fun five minutes before he kicked them out of the apartment. But no, he had to talk to Tony, who couldn’t speak coherently. Normally couldn’t speak too well, but this was ridiculous.

“Look, Jimmy, someone answered his phone.”

“Prolly his punk kid, what was it? Bill? William? Same name, right? I gotta be close.” He squinted up at the skyscrapers downtown, surrounding the park. They were a beautiful monument of glass and steel, and that was where his meeting was, way up top, overlooking the gorgeous park. He’d just be an ant to the folks if they were already up there.

“Jimmy, some spook answered. Julius, he said.”

Tony was screwing with him, just wanted to grab his balls and yank a little. Had to be it. It was getting hot out, too. He was sweating, even in the shade of the tree, and it was becoming difficult to breathe. “Tones, no one calls their kid Julius. Not since Caesar. That was what, five hundred years ago? I’m hangin’ up. Gots this meeting.”

“I ain’t nutting you. Watch your back. I think they’re coming for us.”

“They? Who, might I ask, is they? You havin’ them dreams again, Tones?” Jimmy started walking. He couldn’t be late. The boss was going to meet with him, give him a promotion.

“The other family, Jimmy. You know. They say we don’t belong.”

“Everyone says we don’t belong. We say everyone don’t belong. It’s the circle of life, Tones. Dip your stick in some ice to cool off. I’m going.”

He hung up. Why would they tail him? He walked towards the building, crossing a street and entering the heated blacktop of the city again, leaving the peaceful green of the park. There was a pop and glass shattered. Everything stopped for a second, before people started screaming. Jimmy looked up, and the glass which shattered would be where his meeting was, or close enough. Was Tony right? If Tony was right….

There was another pop.

This is for the writer group’s prompt to write a story from the perspective of the prey. Hope you enjoyed.

It’s a Bright Sunny Day

It started yesterday, and while there were a few down moments, overall I’m sunshine and rainbows right now.

It felt like I haven’t been losing weight. My gut still looks as big as it was, my neck is thick under the chin, and self loathing was setting in. Not a lack of determination, mind you, but self loathing, nonetheless. That was until yesterday in the shower.

The majority of my weight loss realizations come while standing under the shower head, lathering up. I found my butt was significantly smaller and tighter, but still with that nice jiggle. It’s sexist to think men don’t think about this. Do most men? I can’t speak for them. I can only speak for me. Considering my eyes and butt are the two best qualities I have going on physically, it was a nice lift to realize how toned it became.

I also noted my moobs are now smaller than every woman I’ve dated, and I’ve dated some small chested women. It brings joy when the seat belt doesn’t naturally rest in the noticeable valley of my chest. On top of all this, my arms grew. They are visibly larger and firmer. This is from the swimming, which my youngest brother, who is an avid swimmer, said, “You mean toned, right?” I replied to him, “No. They’re larger. Like a lot larger. You don’t understand. They were rubber pencils. They’re now steel girders.”

Today I found my belt is looping where it was over a year ago, which is great. My pants are also coming significantly higher, which means despite my gut looking pathetic, the chunky fat part is higher than it previously was. Swimming is on hold until next Monday due to their annual deep cleaning, but hitting the elliptical and treadmill. Might do some weights, if this elbow heals. I hurt it bad two days ago and it’s still tender enough that the slightest movement wakes me up at night.

Between this, editing going very well, and joining Praise Team at church, the hot woman in front of me at the bank wearing nearly see through white short-shorts, life is okay. I’m getting to where I was a year and a half ago. It all works out, right?

I also decided my NaNo! I’m excited, so excited a part of me wanted to just take off and start writing. But I refrained. It will take place in the Russian Industrial Revolution inspired land of Ylinski. A woman going to university in order to get her degree in microbiology discovers three epidemics which seem isolated are not, though her professors and the government refuse to believe her. An inventor inherits his father’s workshop before he’s ready and questions the guilds which control production. Both are on a crash course for some pretty exciting times and awkward moments as they try to save the country from a supernatural contagion.

Hope things are rocking on your end! Have a beautiful day.

The Power of Words – Today’s Pet Peeves

There is a writer trend that gets under my skin. This trend is “MC”. It stands for main character. Which ultimately means protagonist. They created a word for it in literary terminology. I get it might seem a little stuck up, but when practicing my craft, I want to practice it as close to what it should be as possible.

Why? Why would someone wish to be so rigid?

First, MC, WIP, etc., is basically text talk. Guess who spells out everything and does his best to use correct punctuation while texting? This guy. Even more so when he has a full keyboard at his fingertips? This guy. So when people misuse MC and then short cut WIP (work in progress), it gets under my skin.

But main character gets under my skin the most. First, generally this role is called a protagonist. It bothers me as much as everyone asking how to create a villain when they mean an antagonist. A protagonist is whoever we’re seeing through. An antagonist is whoever is attempting to stop them from reaching their goal. It doesn’t have to be a malicious entity, or even a sentient one. It could be a river keeping the protagonist from getting across the river.

A main character, if one insists on using it, should be the mover of story. They should be the person everything revolves around. Jay Gatsby, Darth Vader, Robb Stark, so on and so forth. I could only imagine using main character for a character without a a POV (yeah, hypocrisy runs rampant, I’m okay with POV because it was taught that way in books) who is the major mover of mountains.

On top of that, what happened to the dutiful man? Why does everyone need to be liked? That’s a weak character. A man with a duty will sideline being liked for the greater good. But no, people can’t comprehend this. The man obviously needs to be liked by this girl that’s ultimately an end to a mean. I’ve had numerous times where, though I may have cared, I stood my ground. To loved ones. Because I knew the path was not a good one and there were better ones, and I would not relent. What’s wrong with those characters?

I’m good now. I actually don’t care about WIP. It makes sense. I loathe MC, I saw FMC used (Female Main Character), and I flipped a little. But we’re good now. Also the dutiful man. That part too. I’m off to edit, play Diablo III, and then run three miles.