Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And the answer is...

Matt Delman tagged me with a question and answer game about writing and I could not help but play along. It is worth noting that I am easily flattered. I'm not going to tag others, but if you want to play along you can pretend I just tagged everyone following this blog. It is also worth noting that I am lazy and easily distracted.

If anyone has additional questions and you are curious to see what kind of a smart-ass response they will yield, ask me in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?

The last thing I completed was a revision of RUDY TOOT-TOOT, which is now in my agent’s inbox awaiting its turn to be read. The last thing I wrote in general is this sentence.

The first thing I wrote that I still have is a short story called THE QUEST and its sequel called THE SEQUEL. I used to work at a restaurant and I used all of my co-workers as characters.

2. Write poetry?

Yes, but not for a while. Most of my poetry is in the form of song lyrics, which is frustrating because I can’t sing to save my life.

3. Angsty poetry?

On occasion.

4. Favorite genre of writing?

Humor. Cynical, satirical, smart-assed humor.

5. Most annoying character you've ever created?

Greg Simon’s wife in EARTH’S END. She’s a mean spirited shrew of a woman, spoiled rotten and ungrateful. But she’s hot. Greg constantly evaluates the difference between internal and external beauty. Greg is quite materialistic and vain in his own right, and external beauty usually wins.

6. Best Plot you've ever created?

Probably the plot for FATE’S GUARDIAN. It has an interesting theme at its core, and the characters and motivations span several lifetimes so the plot is the most intricate.

7. Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?

There’s a twist in FATE’S GUARDIAN where I reveal the relationships between the present life characters with their past life counterparts. If I play my cards right, most readers will be surprised.

8. How often do you get writer's block?

I don’t get writer’s block as much as I get lazy. It’s rare that I struggle to make something up. Sometimes the need to get out of bed early to crank away at the keyboard falls prey to the convenience of the snooze button.

9. Write fan fiction?

Nope. I started to write an X-Files episode once, but stopped when I read online that Chris Carter never accepts outside story ideas.

10. Do you type or write by hand?

Not if I want to be able to read it back. My penmanship is awful.

11. Do you save everything you write?

Yes. I have a junk folder on my computer with ideas that range from a sentence to a few pages.

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?

It depends on the idea. There are some I’ve abandoned that I may still come back to, and others that I pulled back out and reapplied.

13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?

EARTH’S END. I crack myself up with that one.

14. What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?

Can’t say. Very few people have read all of my stories. My wife is probably the only one. She likes FATE’S GUARDIAN best.

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

I tried to write romance once. Didn’t work. It started off as my regular smart-ass rant, and then when I amped it up it bypassed romance and went straight to Penthouse Letter. I haven’t tried angsty teen drama yet.

16. What's your favorite setting for your characters?


17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?


FATE’S GUARDIAN- status is 40k words in on a fuller-write. Was once 120k, but will be 80k when I’m done.

EARTH’S END- Status is only 16k words, will be around 60k when complete. Story line is mostly fleshed out, I just add things in as I go, but I know how it will unfold in a general sense.

RUDY TOOT-TOOT started as a 500-word picture book, and is now 17,500 word chapter book. Manuscript is finished and awaiting agent feedback.

THE CHRONICLES OF CHRISTMAS- a pre-history of Santa Clause. Targeting 30k words, middle-grade. Have some very fun ideas for it, haven’t done more than scratch the surface for the actual writing but I’ve outlined the story extensively.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Other than gratuitous blogging awards, no.

19. What are your five favorite words?

You won the lottery Rick.

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?

None of them and all of them.

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?

My characters come to me with ideas. I’d like to think I was in control of this process, but I’m not. They are. I just edit them.

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?

No. My dreams are waaaay to bizarre to write about.

23. Do you favor happy endings?

That’s a little personal, isn’t it? And besides, I never visit those kinds of establishments.

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

All too much.

25. Does music help you write?

Not particularly. If music is on I’ll usually tune it out. Same for TV most of the time.

26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.

This is from RUDY TOOT-TOOT. Most of RTT is light-hearted and fun, but this section is one of my favorite parts:

Late that night, while everyone was asleep, the wind pushed a thick cover of clouds in front of the moon and their shadow covered the land, blotting out the moonlight. There in the darkness a long rain fell. Without thunder or lightning the clouds released their contents onto the world below, the wind slowing and then stopping altogether as the earth drank deep.

The water gathered in small pools, looking for cracks in the ground and finding them. The water flowed down into the bigger cracks and found smaller cracks. The cracks got smaller and smaller, but they were still there, and the water worked its way down into them all, eventually making new cracks of its own and saturating the ground.

The remains of the corn that had been in the field the year before – now broken up and tilled into the ground – kept the rich topsoil from washing away in the rain. As the water went through the topsoil, it picked up tiny minerals – much smaller than anyone could see without a microscope – and carried them underground.

The water passed the soybean seeds, wetting their outer husks and loosening the dirt around them. The beans swelled as they got wet and they snuggled into their soft earthen beds for the rest of the night.

The clouds emptied out just before dawn, and without the weight of the water to keep them in place they blew away in the breeze. The sun rose over the nicely soaked farmland and started the day with a clear blue sky.


Matthew Delman said...

I'm with you on the "easily distracted" bit. I love the section from Rudy Toot-Toot ... very well done.

Laurel said...

LOL on the "happy endings" response! Thanks for the Rudy Toot-Toot excerpt. By the time it hits my little man should be able to read it!

jbchicoine said...

Thanks for sharing, Rick. I especially like your excerpt of RUDY TOOT-TOOT. That's a nice bit of descriptive prose!

Kristi said...

I love your excerpt from Rudy. You should post these questions on the All Things Procrastination forum on Nathan's blog - it'd keep people distracted for hours :)

L. T. Host said...

Thanks for making me giggle this early in the morning. Cool excerpt, I'm excited for you :)

Bane of Anubis said...

Wow -- 500 to 17,500... that's quite the expansion. Color me impressed.

TCoC sounds like a pretty slick idea.

As for genres of writing -- smart-assed humor? Really? You?

Rick Daley said...

Matt- Thanks for the nod that inspired this post. I'm glad you liked the RTT excerpt.

Laurel- If there's a way to twist a word, I'm usually pretty good at picking up on it. Most of the time the end result is me confusing the bejezus out of somebody. My references aren't as obscure as someone like Dennis Miller (many people have told me I sound just like him over the years) but they can be out there.

Bridget- Thanks, that's about half of that chapter. The rest follow suit, but it was too long to post the whole thing. I'll post the rest in a fresh comment for anyone who is interested.

Kristi- Nathan's blog alone is enough to keep most of us distracted for hours without the addition of forums! He rocks.

LT- I can count this day a success, I made someone laugh!

Bane- I'm impressed, too. I'm lucky that I found an agent that saw the potential at 500 words and encouraged me to work on it an re-submit. I resubmitted at 4,000 and she agreed to take me on. A few more revisions and I'm curious to know what she thinks now.

If I do it right, TCoC will do for Christmas what Shrek did for fairy tales and Toy Story did for toys. Included in the backstory:

- The origin of the name Santa Clause
- Why he wears red
- His weight gain
- Why he uses reindeer to pull his sleigh (the sled dogs didn't work out, kept stopping to pee on things and messed up the timing of his practice runs)
- The first Christmas trees and stockings
- The first lump of coal as a present (this will actually be a very endearing sub-plot)

Rick Daley said...

Here's the rest of the RTT excerpt:

The puddles glistened in the morning light, and the ground started to warm. Under the ground, the soybean seeds came alive. Tiny little roots called radicles broke through the softened outer husks like a little beak breaking out of an eggshell.

The fledgling roots wriggled downward through the soil, to hold the seeds in place while a shoot worked its way up.

The roots, finding the cracks in the soil, also found the water and started to soak it up, along with the minerals in it. The minerals in the water fed the young plants and helped the shoots climb up through the topsoil, reaching toward the warmth of the sun.

Days passed, and the hungry little shoots finally emerged from the ground to be greeted by the warm sunshine. They unfolded their tiny leaves and turned them toward the light. The green leaves absorbed the sun’s warm rays, and using the light’s energy they converted the water and the minerals it carried into food. The plants released what they didn’t need back into the air as oxygen for people to breathe.

The soybeans came up in straight, even rows. Each day that passed saw the brown field turn green as the canopy of soybean plants grew higher and each plant grew more leaves to catch the light. It was definitely going to be a bumper crop.

Davin Malasarn said...

Cool answers! I remember reading a plot summary for Fate's Guardian, and I agree that it is an awesome plot, Rick.

Phillipia said...

TCoC sounds right up my alley.

The happy ending comment cracked me up:)

Interesting and informative post...has me wanting to read your other stuff that I did not realize you wrote.

I used to write technical manuals, but no one ever wanted to read them, so I quit.

Rick Daley said...

Davin- one day it will be an awesome novel. Thanks!

Phillipia- no one ever reads the manuals.

Susan Quinn said...

Good luck with getting a contract for your MS! Your writing rocks - I love the funny, which is so hard to do, at least for me. My writing is more serious, although I've been trying to amp up the funny - mostly it comes out cringe-worthy. Le Sigh.