I should be writing but…

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…I am not.

I am so close to the end of this draft. SO. CLOSE. Another day or two’s worth of work. I think maybe I’m afraid of finishing and sending it to betas? Or something? I also have to untangle the mess that is this chapter before I can keep going, and it is SUCH a MESS.

Somewhere, a tiny violin plays just for me.

all the things

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For like three days I “restarted” the comics blog I created last year—wrote a couple posts, spent some time prettying it up, had grand plans to rule the world. The usual. But I realized I just don’t have time. Like, seriously, I work 9-5 and I’m trying to write a novel or ten; I barely have time for sleeping, let alone for this blog, let alone for another blog.

Grace. Relax. Nobody cares what you think about Wonder Woman.

housekeeping

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Adding this here for people who may miss it on Twitter. Basically: my phone died, I have a new one, I have no numbers. If you think I should have your phone number, please email me or text me or some such. Thank you!

/housekeeping

John Carter OF MARS

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So, last weekend I went to see JOHN CARTER. Not many people did. It’s getting mediocre reviews and nobody really seems to know what it’s about. HOWEVER. It was totally worth it. If you want a beautiful, exciting sci-fi adventure story with a dash of steampunkery and a dash of Victoriana, you should go see it too. (I realize that I just described my dream movie, so I may be a little biased, but seriously. You should go.)

Also, Taylor Kitsch spends most of the movie shirtless.

The movie is not perfect. It gets a bit exposition-heavy, it takes a little while for all the different stories to wind together into the main narrative, the Big Bads are not as complex or interesting as one might hope. But the rest of the film is entertaining enough that I am willing to overlook some misses. The movie is just—fun. It is fun the way a pulpy book movie should be. It’s not dark and heavy and trying to be anything it’s not. It’s the story of a Hero with a capital H and a beautiful Science Princess Warrior and saving the world and an oversized six-legged dog who is cuter than he has any right to be. Overall it’s a great ride, an exciting journey that I’m excited to experience again and again.

So why is it doing so poorly in theaters? This article from the New York Times gives some very interesting background on the behind-the-scenes workings of the film’s production. After some false starts, it was finally produced by Disney and directed by long-time JC fan Andrew Stanton (you may have heard of two of his other films, Wall-E and Finding Nemo). What I find most fascinating is that Stanton had a heavy hand in how the movie was marketed, which is in my (humble) opinion the movie’s main misstep. I was only at JC because some friends of mine were like NO WE ARE GOING TRUST USSSSS. (Note to self: trust friends.) The previews made JC look like another Rock (sorry Dwayne Johnson) vehicle, or something akin to 300 or Clash of Titans or any other movie that is just half-dressed men swinging swords at each other. Which… isn’t completely accurate. Yes, there’s shirtless sword- and gun-fighting, but there’s a lot more, too. A few shots of Princess Dejah Thoris kicking ass with her sword or the steampunky machines that fly with solar power would have helped, or even just some shots of the cities to show how rich and gorgeous Mars/Barsoom is. You can tell watching the film that there is tons material supporting it (like, maybe, ten books), and that doesn’t come through in the previews. It’s just a desert.

Anyway, the marketing has been marketed and there’s not much to be done about that now. The upshot is, this movie is so much cooler than the previews make it look and you should totally give it a chance. Trust me. TRUST JOHN CARTER. Dejah Thoris trusts John Carter. You should too.

Frankly, lots of people don't wear shirts in this movie. Important facts brought to you by gracetopia.

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I hereby announce that the blog update is done. We’ll stick with this theme for a while.

a sunday decorating project

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The big blank wall in my living room has been bugging me for some time, but I haven’t found the right piece of art to take up the space. Also, I’m not sure how I feel about buying a big piece for a wall that I might not have for very much longer. So I decided, instead, to fill up the space with a bunch of smaller items I already had, and today I finally went to Michaels to get the necessary hanging/framing implements.

So behold! My new living room wall, a mix of Mike Maihack prints and comic book covers:

The Maihack prints were like $5-10 each, the comic books were $2.99 each, and the frames were either $1.50 or $10 depending on size. Totally budget-conscious decorating! When I can get my hands on some more frames, I’ll probably add more comic books. I can also switch them out if I get bored.

Welcome to my living room!

And in case you’re curious, here’s the rundown L-R:

Batgirl/Supergirl cover by Maihack; Batgirl/Supergirl strip by Maihack; Flash #4 by Francis Manapul; Wonder Woman #2 by Cliff Chiang; Thor and Mjolnir by Maihack; Archie 3000 issue 2 by someone; and Batwoman #1 by JH Williams III.

just when I was getting comfortable

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So there I was, minding my owns, when I heard a scraping noise. Scraping noises in my home can usually be ascribed to the cat, but she happened to be sitting on the chair next to me, so I went to investigate. I found, sticking through my door, a notice from the landlord informing me that if I choose to renew my lease in August, they will be raising my rent by 10%. I have until the end of this month to resign or not.

I think Prince pretty well sums up my reaction:

So now I have to figure out wtf I’m doing. My preference would be to stay here, at the same rent or something close, so I’m going to call the landlord and see if that works out. I’m not hopeful, though, so it’s likely that I’m moving. Again.

And man, I really don’t want to go through the whole apartment-finding process for a second time in a year. But this place isn’t worth the extra 10%. It’s really not.

And I was so happy to move into my own place.

on writing, distracted

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Tomorrow is going to be a hardcore writing day (I mean, I will be hardcore about writing, not that the writing itself will be hardcore). This means you might see me online a bit more than usual, since a lot of “writing days” are also “tweeting days” and “blogging days” and “LOLcat days.”

Which, as I’m sure you know, is not how one is supposed to write. Distractions are the devil.

Distractions can also keep you sane. I consider them like quick stretches in the middle of a writing marathon, the way a jogger will stretch their calves while waiting for a light to change. It’s not like I’m spending half an hour agonizing over every tweet; they’re just quick bursts of thought. And when I’m hard at work, blogging is a good break, a different kind of writing requiring a different kind of brainpower. A good little stretch.

My biggest distraction, though, is television. I mean that in a good way, not in an “I don’t have time to write because I watch 40 hours of TV a week” way. If I were to guess, I’d say the TV is on 90% of the time I’m writing. Yeah. A lot. Not how you’re supposed to do it.

I watch TV the way some people listen to music while they write. It’s basically visual background noise. To hear me talk, it sounds like I spend my entire life watching reality TV and cartoons. What isn’t generally obvious in conversation is that I also wrote a chapter during that episode of Jersey Shore.

The key is that I’m pretty picky about what is on when I’m writing. The main rule: it’s either something I’ve seen many times before or something with no discernible plot. Some things that work especially well for me:

  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (I basically have this memorized)
  • Star Wars (see above)
  • The Avengers, Steed and Peel-style
  • Batman: The Animated Series
  • Justice League/Justice League Unlimited
  • Star Trek (original series)
  • Project Runway, especially the seasons I’ve seen a half dozen times
  • Real Housewives of Wherever the Hell

Things that do not work:

  • subtitles (which unfortunately rules out all Kurosawa and Miyazaki)
  • movies/TV shows I have not seen
  • movies/TV shows that are plot heavy (Babylon 5)

Of course, the question is: Could I be getting more work done if I were to just sit at my desk with the internet and TV off? The answer, honestly, is I don’t think so. I don’t think the distractions are detrimental. I don’t think I could write 6000 words in a weekend if I weren’t keeping myself sane with a few little sidesteps, and that’s my goal in the next two days.

When I’m in the zone it all just blurs out. I’ll look up and Snooki is in the middle of another hair-pulling fight and I have no idea why, or Batman has progressed 3 episodes and is trying to punch himself. I don’t need to know anything going on around the moment so I watch for a bit (a few seconds to a few minutes), loosen my brain up, and then I write more.

I’m not suggesting everyone who writes turn up the TV and bounce around the internet. It very obviously does not work for a lot of people. It doesn’t always work for me. But it’s my standard modus operandi, and it is how I will be spending a fair amount of the next 48 hours.

I love hearing about other writers and their techniques—so what about you? Do you need uninterrupted silence, or are you more like me?