Week 4, 2.18-2.24.19
This Weeknotes is written from a MSI GF63 15.6″ Gaming Laptop running Windows 10.
It was starting to look like maybe it was time for me to switch over.
I was working off a refurbished MacBook Pro for my word processing and basic website maintenance, while I used an Acer Aspire V for Adobe products (photo editing, video software) as well as a teensy, tiny bit of gaming. Nothing competitive, I just needed to sometimes play Magic Arena or get the next chapter of Bendy and the Ink Machine.
It was a hassle and a headache.
Any time I wanted to do something for my website, I’d need to sit around and make a cuppa’ tea while the Aspire booted up because the thing was 5 years old at this point, which makes it beyond ancient in technological terms. Meanwhile, the refurbished Mac was a good investment for all six month’s time before it started overheating and burning my hands before I needed to download a fan app to keep it in check.
It was time for a change.
Unfortunately, that meant I missed last week’s entry while I got all my stuff transferred over and started getting the new systems in place to work. Hard switching from the seamless flow of Apple’s control over your life to the puzzle-piece management of PC, Google, and a few other apps.
It’s all phone connected, now, and running my own small business means I need a Calendar at. My. Fingertips.
Let’s take a look at the week.
Finished transferring all my files over. What’s the first thing I do? Continue writing? Get to work?
Play Magic Arena for a few hours.
I’m finding it harder and harder to get actual, physical games of Magic the Gathering done in real life. The flip of a card, the smell of a deck, the wonder and excitement of watching your opponent lose and cry while you laugh maniacally.
That last one was more rare thank you think.
Still, it’s a fun itch-scratcher and I can play/lose as many games as I want.
I feel like I’ve entered into that zone. That wonderful zone writers want, where they care little about their writing and more about getting their job done.
Project: GREY 2nd Draft edits are coming along great. I feel like I’m closer and closer to finishing off this pen. Maybe that’s the trick to focus on for writers?
Less on making the story good and more on filling up notebooks and emptying pens.
It’s been a good week for writers. The rain comes down hard all over Phoenix, and I got word there might be snow in Tucson tomorrow, only 120 miles south. Here’s hoping we get some of that.
I spent most of my afternoon, post-morning students and pre-afternoon students, editing in a Starbucks. Would love to use more local spots, but they get harder to find the farther out of the city you go. Project: GREY is more than a ⅓ of the way edited, with Project: BIANCA’s story bible coming along nicely.
It’s gotten to the wonderful point in BIANCA where all the ideas I’ve had bouncing around in my head on walks, in the gym, and on long car trips finally start to convalesce, bonding, making a story that I think is worthwhile.
It’s a wonderful feeling.
EDIT: I was just informed by my student not 5 miles from where I was working that he got snow/hail at his school.
The desert is an awful, terrible place which should be burned to the ground.
I’ve just been informed the desert would probably appreciate that.
Finished a few books this week. Short ones, nothing lengthy. Since I’ve been playing around with a shorter book format, something similar to novellas, and writing for middle-grade, which are naturally in novella form, I checked out two this week. One for kids. One kids should stay away from.
Dragon Masters: Rise of the Earth Dragon (GoodReads) by Tracy West and Graham Howells
A beautifully simple chapter book for early readers (grades 1-3).
Drake starts with humble beginnings, as all good heroes do. Once an onion farmer with his family, he’s swept up by a knight serving the king and taken to the castle. There, he meets a mighty wizard who introduces him to 3 other kids just like him who were taken to the castle in order to control dragons. While Drake’s dragon, a lowly Earth-dragon he aptly names “Worm,” seems like nothing special at first, unable to breathe fire or shoot light beams out of his mouth, Drake begins to grow closer to him and learn dark secrets which could bring about changes to the whole world.
I delighted in each chapter of Tracy West’s clean writing, setting the next chapter up wonderfully, and not wasting any time. The art by Graham Howells delights every page, full of character and the right amount of shading for a black-and-white book. Kind of makes me yearn for a full-color version.
Loved it. Can’t wait to share it with my students.
Dead Pig Collecter (Subterranean) by Warren Ellis
A masterclass in the novella structure.
Mr. Sun, a man just off an airplane from England, is here to do a job. What is that job?
Kill and dispose of a human body. He’s already been paid, so there’s no issue there. When things on the job go awry, it’ll be fascinating to see how Mr. Sun uses his particular skills to wrong the rights and push the limits of caring about his fellow man. All the while, gruesome details of his job are highlighted on the page.
It’s wonderful to see a master use his craft in a such a unique format. I’m not familiar with the novella structure at the time of writing, but I can say that Ellis uses every page to bring out the full 40,000 second story of Mr. Sun. Detailed in all the right areas (particularly Mr. Sun’s job), with all the classic Ellis bits thrown in. Attention to small details, like examining a gifted lighter, letting the reader’s imagination punish themselves more than the author can, and all wrapped up nicely with a question to ponder about the hidden nature of humanity.
I loved it.
Can’t wait to read it again and steal its secrets.
*NOTE* While the version I read was a limited edition, signed paperback copy, you can most definitely still buy the e-book version on most platforms.
Edited another 4 pages.
Edited another 8.
Here’s a piece on Paul Klee’s old notebooks finally being opened.
Because that’s what we need more of in the world. Gazing portals to the past to learn from the masters.
And I’m out. Feels good to do another one of these. Getting the systems all lined up with how I’m working now is tough, but remember, if the system makes things harder, it’s not a good system.
Thanks for reading,
Check out mine and Arnie Bermudez’s webcomic, The Juan!