Back in the Saddle

I have been waiting to use this expression for some time now. It first struck me as an utterly remarkable phrase while playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare II. You complete the opening mission and gain the in-game achievement “Back in the Saddle”.  The phrase came up again while I was playing Final Fantasy XIV, as the name of a particular mission when a once long gone character makes a rather grand return. (Notice an odd trend with me and video games…) In both instances this phrase struck a cord with me primarily because it brought on a feeling of familiarity with nothing more than a few simple words, and to initiate a feeling solely with the proper positioning of a few key words is writing in it most powerful form.

Enough stalling! I’ve been away for a little more than 12 months an entire year and now I’m back in the saddle! (of blogging and what have you) And now so are you, so buckle up cowboys and cowgirls we’re about to ROLL OUT! Get along little doggies! (Maybe I’ve taken the country western cowboy theme a bit far…)

Okay more writing about writing coming soon. Welcome Back!

See you soon,

Lefty

The Boy Who Cried…

I’m still working on Chapter 24 but I’ve decided to post an excerpt from the book. This is from early in the book and is the first appearance of the main protagonist. Comments are always welcome.

A key hung from a shoestring, and the shoestring hung loosely from the neck of a small boy. He fiddled with it, struggling to pull it from underneath his shirt and place it into the front door. He was sniveling; remnants of tears could be seen along either side of his face, along with a large welt stained across his right cheek, it would turn dark purple by tomorrow. A school yard fight, with a school yard bully was the source behind his unusually frantic disposition. He was usually a happy and joyful child, but this had been his first fight, ever. He was eight.
            He knew his mother would be upset that he had been fighting, but truthfully it wasn’t his fault. Nick Abernathy had followed him half-way home from school, teasing him about his father. He was dead. But Nick said he was probably just a “dead beat” who ran out on him and his mother, and she probably just made up the story about him being dead because it was better than admitting he and abandoned them. He tried explaining to Nick – along with the small group that had gathered to watch his persecution – that his father was a hero who had died bravely as a U.S. soldier. A hero who had died protecting everyone and everything that he loved. A hero like in his comic books, a hero like Powerman, or the Olympian. Nick and the other kids laughed at this explanation, then Nick pushed him… so he punched Nick, and our small boy fought for the first time, and he lost.
            The key served its purpose, there was a catch and a loud click as the door unlocked, and the sobbing young fighter made his way inside.
            “Mom!” he called out, but received no response. The house was dark, the curtains drawn over the windows, blocking out the afternoon sun. He darted to the bathroom, making a futile attempt to clean himself up. He splashed water on his face, ran a cold towel across his eyes and took a deep breath, all in the hopes the he could wipe away the smell, look and shaky nerves of a fresh fight. None of it worked, not even in the slightest.
            He crept slowly into his mother’s room, opting to get a jump on explaining himself first, before she found out what happened by some other ‘unscrupulous’ means. Her room was just as dark as the rest of the house, perhaps even more so.
            “Mom?” he called out again, his voice already prepped for pity. She still didn’t answer. She lay in her bed, her back to him, apparently sound asleep. It was odd, she never slept during the middle of the day, and her room – which usually carried the delicately sweet scent of roses and wildflowers – filled his small nose with the strong and pungent odor of what he thought to be rotten eggs, in actuality it was sulfur; specifically it was brimstone. He stepped forward, and at that moment a bright yellow butterfly fluttered from his mother’s bed, landed on his open, awaiting hand then floated silently out of the room. His heart sank and immediately he knew something was wrong. He ran to his mother’s side.
            “Mom? Mom wake up!” she didn’t respond.
            “Mom!” he shook her shoulder. “Mom wake up please!”
            Nothing.
            “Mom you have to wake up now! Please mom, wake up!” Hot, wet tears began to streak down his face once again. “Mom please wake up! Don’t – please I’m sorry, don’t leave me!” by now he was screaming his face wet with tears, his nose runny and red; he struggled to catch his breath between pleas of desperation.
            “Mom please, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m… so, so sorry.” He buried his face into her chest and neck, she was still warm, she stilled smelled of roses and wildflowers. He inhaled the sweet aroma, taking in long lungfuls, desperate to breathe in as much of her as he could before the rotten stench of sulfur and pain pushed her out of his memories.
            “Mom?” he called out again, this time more gently, less hysterically as if his overactive emotions were what kept her quite. But still she didn’t reply, she simply lay motionless, lifeless, her beautiful brown face frozen in the last expression she would ever wear, a peaceful and serene smile, now stained with his tears and phlegm.
            Nate,” whispered a hushed little voice from out of the darkness of the room. It sounded slightly like a small child, probably no older than the boy himself.Nate can you hear me?
            “Wh-Who is that, who’s there?” he sobbed.
           It’s ok, I’m a friend.”The voice replied.
            “Why can’t I see you?! Where are you?”
           There’s no need for you to see me, at least not right now, but I’m here, I’m with you now, that’s all that matter.
            “Well if you’re a friend then help me, my mom is hurt, o-o-or she’s sick, she needs to go to the hospital.”
           No Nate… she doesn’t, I’m sorry but it’s too late. She’s gone.
            “NO! You’re lying! She’s not gone, she’s not! She wouldn’t leave me here, she wouldn’t leave alone like this, she wouldn’t  I know she wouldn’t ..” Nate clenched tightly to his mother, crying frantically into her shoulder.
            Nate I’m sorry, it’s true. But you don’t have to be afraid, you’re not alone, you’ll never be alone. I’m here –
            “Shut up! Get away from me! Leave me alone! I don’t need you! I don’t need anybody… WE don’t need anybody, get away… get away.” Nate held on, sobbing and panting, determined not to let anyone pull him away.
            Nate… you have to leave… it’s time – it’s time for us to go.
            “No!” he sobbed.
           It’s too late, I’m sorry… we’re already gone… its already over… besides, you have a job interview in 3 hours.
            “What?!”
            Nate awoke covered in a cold damp sweat. Sunlight peered in through his bedroom window. He checked his alarm clock. 6:58 a.m. It was scheduled to go off in 2 minutes. He had his first job interview since graduating college at 10 a.m.
            “It’s going to be a long f***ing day.” He mumbled to himself, no one replied.
***

Back from The Land of No Return.

I’M ALIIIIIIIIIIVE!
And i’m a horrible blogger! Yes, I have been missing for forever and no I haven’t did anything I said I would do up to this point. Thank you for reminding me.

But do you know what? I’m not going to make excuses, but I will apologize.

I’m sorry.

There. You happy? Well good. Now wipe that smug look off of your face and let’s get back to work. We have a book to finish.

Chapter 23 is done, we’re moving on to chapter 24!

Let’s do it,

Lefty

A Writer’s Greatest Foe

Self-doubt is the greatest enemy of any writer, greater than any critic, any naysayer, any editor, any nit-picky reader, any grammar fanatic, any Nazi spellchecker, any publisher, literary agent, or pessimistic friend. Self-doubt will crush an author before an author can even become an author.

Self-doubt is the mind-killer. Self-doubt is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my Self-doubt. I will permit it to pass over and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the self-doubt has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Okay so that last part is actually “The Litany against Fear” from Dune. I just took out the word fear and replaced it with the word Self-doubt. I stole it, so what. My point remains.

The biggest thing for any writer to overcome are his/her own doubts, fears and self imposed limitations. I know for me personally this hindrance has at times seemed insurmountable. “What you’re writing is no good, your plot is weak (full of holes) and your characters flat (not to mention dumb), you’d be better off stopping now and saving what little dignity you have left.” And yep I know what you’re thinking, my voice of doubt is a real dick, and your right, but that’s how Self-doubt rolls. It gets under your skin and its hard to shake, but you have to shake it, because the truth of the matter is you have nothing to lose.

Self-doubt is a defense mechanism, intended to save you from embarrassment or rejection or whatever you’re afraid will or won’t happen once you’re done, but what you have to realize, and what I have to constantly remind myself  is that no matter what happens once you’ve written the last word or punctuated the last mark, the sun is still going to come up the next day. The world is not going to end. Time is not going to stop. You are not going to die if you don’t get published.

Worst case scenario is you don’t get published, you don’t get the hundred thousand dollar book deal, you don’t get picked up by some big shot Hollywood producer, and you never get that million dollar movie deal. So what, in the end, IF the worst case scenario does happen, you’re no worse off than you are now, but at least you can say you wrote a book.

So keep writing, show self-doubt who’s boss!

Till next time,

Lefty

It’s a New Day! 2012

It’s a new year, which means new opportunities , new goals and a whole heap of work to do, both new and old.

Personally I’m excited about it. I have my current project to finish, and then I have two more waiting in the wings to get started, not to mention the long hard road of publishing my currently un finished project.

Whew! Even just thinking about the task ahead is overwhelming, but nothing worth accomplishing is ever easy. (what would be the fun in that.) Nope, it won’t be the easy route for me this year, setting some ambitious goals for myself.

First up, finish my current writing project (currently on chapter 19 of a projected 32) by April, and then move into the publishing phase.

Second, immediately upon finishing project 1, start project 2 and finish it by December 2012, (before the world ends) and then submit that to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Writers Competition.

Third, maintain and grow this blog by posting a unique writing short at least once a month. Aside from that I have a life outside of writing to maintain, like a wife, a job, something else that I have still yet to mention in specifics (Mhuahahahahahahaha) and a lot of Call of Duty Mordern Warfare 3 to play (I’m prestige 1 1, class 25) All in all, it’s looking like a good year ahead!

Till next time,

Lefty

P.S. what are some of your writing goals for 2012? Feel free to post them in the comment section.

Someday at Christmas there’ll be no Modern Warfare 3

It’s December! Actually half-way through December and I haven’t made a single post until now. I’m so sorry, not only have I not been working on the blog, but I’m still on chapter 19 of my novel as well. <insert-sad-face>

To be honest with you all I’ve been distracted, and I’d really like to tell you that’s its been serious adult life issues that have been keeping me from my work, but it’s not.

It’s been that darn Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3 [CODMW3], curse that delightfully addictive game. I’ve been playing almost non-stop since I got it, which is why is in less than 3 weeks I’m a level 77 Brigadier General in mulitplayer and well on my way to Prestige Mode! (Out of 3,468,992 players I’m ranked #135,514 In free-for-all combat!)< BOOyah!>

But I digress, after all, this isn’t a blog for gamer nerds (which I am) it’s a blog for writing nerds (which I also am). Aside from my unhealthy video game addiction I have also had some serious adult issues IRL (*irl = I.n R.eal L.ife) as well, but none that would stop me from writing, actually they are more inclined to make my writing better, but I’ll save that announcement till my next post. (Muhahahahahahaha!)

And now for something actually pertaining to my writing, I finally got one of my test readers to finish the first five chapters of my book…. and they loved it! They could name names, recall scenes and even repeat the story line exactly how I imagined it would be interpreted! It was a great feeling to know you’re on the right track and things are coming out on the page the same way you imagined them in your head.

It was an awesome feeling when my reader started trying to predict what was going to happen next and being able to actually see and hear the excitement they had about the story and the characters, it took everything I had not to spill all the beans and tell them how the story unfolds, but in the end I held it in.

But it definitely motivated me to write more and to keep getting better.

till next time,

Lefty

P.S. [DTRS] Clan forever!!!! HUAHH!