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Archives, Part Five (September 5, 2008 to September 29, 2008)

I'm sure someone will appreciate these things one day. Though it'll probably be me....

Baen (Baen+1, Cemetary+35, Strange+19) (September 5, 2008)

I submitted an electronic submission last night to Baen. It was relatively quick, and much easier than Tor since it was online and cost me absolutely nothing but time. It is the second publisher to require submissions in Rich Text Format. Looking at a Wikipedia entry on the format, I couldn't specifically settle as to why other than its universal compatibility. Perhaps they need something in the format that the casual writer does not need in his or her daily life.

Following the submission, I received this e-mail:

Baen Manuscript Submission   
Baen Books 
P.O. Box 1403 
Riverdale, NY 10471

Warren Pawlowski (e-mail deleted)
 
Manuscript number 3959 
To Check Status go to: 
(link deleted)

Dear Author,

Thank you for submitting your novel. Note that it takes 9-12 months to review your submission. Sorry but we get a lot of manuscripts. Please be patient. If you have questions please send them to

e-editors@baen.com
.

While you are waiting go write your next novel.

Sincerely,

The Editors

Baen Books

They seem very pleasant, especially the last sentence, which made me laugh rather loudly the first time I saw it. I have, of course, returned to writing my second novel. Since I was rewriting the beginning this week to correspond to new information learned from Practical Homicide Investigation, I am not certain how much new material was actually written. I am, however, up to 37 pages. Oh, very exciting.

Until next time, good luck getting published!

Ah, the Movies (Baen+5, Cemetary+40, Strange+24) (September 9, 2008)

For the last few years, I've had the desire to write, direct, and produce a series of films. These vary in scope, but are generally short movies based on different premises. For instance, without spoiling it or providing an idea for others, after hearing the song "Levon" by Elton John, a very distinctive music video came into my head. I have shared the idea with my former roommate, requesting his assistance in the endeavor, but I never actually filmed them like I wanted to. Perhaps I will someday, since the ideas are still very much fresh in my mind, but for now... my creative thoughts must focus on other things.

I haven't been working on my story this past week, due to both an opportunity to watch the very addictive Red vs. Blue, as well as having begun work on a film for my company's... get together? I can't particularly think of the exact phrase... but whatever. Last year, shortly after my company was purchased by our larger company, they were told that a movie about the company had to be completed and submitted to this pseudo contest. Apparently, since it was so last minute, the film was rather bad: from what I've been told, my boss, Linda, simply walked around with a camcorder asking every employee what they were doing at that specific moment (without any heads up).

So, this year, hoping to be much more impressive, we formed a small committee and came up with some ideas over a pizza lunch. Below is my initial draft, which, although a bit underdeveloped, was generally well appreciated and accepted. Before that, some head's up info: Tim is similar in personality to me, so into video games, The Dark Knight, etc.; Sean is typically very pleasant and quiet; Anna is joyful and fun; Dan has a quiet voice and says "No" in a way that simply makes me laugh; Michael is my pseudo boss for the most part and pretty into sports like biking and kayaking; Valerie... is quiet; Kathy takes some getting used to but is fairly nice; Karen I haven't really gotten to know but she was very sporting with the video today; Lori is nice and always smiling and gets the work done!; Linda is my actual boss and is really very nice; Dave, who I haven't yet worked with, was very helpful to me in the beginning with helping me figure out the bus system; and Steven is our larger boss who loves corporate lunch... and why shouldn't he? I do too. So... onto the draft. Oh, and we're also known as the "quiet office" due to our constant editorial-ness. Yeah.

“The Quiet Office”

[Start off in black with a phone ringing. Fade in to medium shot of a phone. Sean picks it up with his general pleasant demeanor. Close up of Sean. His face gets angry.]

Sean: Good morning, this is Sean. What? No. I told you before that that’s not how we do things around here! What the hell is your problem?

[His dialogue fades into hardcore music blasting from Tim’s cubicle. The camera pans over Sean’s shoulder toward Tim’s cubicle. Cut to Tim rocking out at his computer playing World of Warcraft. He looks toward Sean’s cubicle like he hears the yelling and stands up to look over it.]

Tim: Hey would you mind—

[Off camera, Sean gives Tim the finger.]

Tim: Alrighty.

[Tim sits back down at his desk. Cut to a shot of the aisle (camera would be near conference room door) to see Michael roll along on his foldable bike. He looks in at Tim and Sean and rolls around the corner to Warren’s cubicle. Cut to a shot from Warren’s desk facing the opening.]

Michael: Hey, you want to go grab a bagel or something from downstairs?

Warren: Um… no, I’m watching an Office marathon right now and probably for the rest of the day. Tomorrow though.

Michael: Okay, good.

[Michael rolls out on his bike. Cut to Dan’s office. He is sitting on the floor playing the guitar. There is a knock on the closed door.]

Dan: Yeah?

[Michael opens the door and rolls in.]

Michael: Bagel?

[Close up of Dan’s face. He pauses for a moment.]

Dan: No.

[Cut to Michael standing in the doorway.]

Michael: Okay, some other time.

[Lori comes into the door. She’s holding a pong ball. She looks at the two guys.]

Lori: You didn’t happen to see another ball come in here, did you?

[Close up of Dan’s face. He pauses for a moment.]

Dan: No.

[Cut to Lori.]

Lori: Oh, okay [smiling].

[Camera follows Lori out of the office to do a steady shot of the cubicles. We see: Valerie talking on the phone gossiping with someone while playing with her hair, and Karen throwing a ball against the wall of the cubicle steadily. The camera turns toward Dave’s office, where a television can be heard. Dave has his legs up on his desk and is laughing.]

Dave: Kathy! Kathy! You’ve got to come see this! Come here!

[Cut to behind Dave as Kathy walks in the door.]

Kathy: What is it?

[Cut to medium shot of Dave.]

Dave: Look!

[A laugh track plays on the television off screen. Kathy watches it and immediately starts to laugh. Cut to Linda’s office. Cut to over the shoulder shot of her computer as she plays solitaire. The phone rings. Cut to medium shot of Linda at her desk.]

Linda: Good morning, this is Linda Kopp. Oh, hi Steven, how’ve you been? What was that? [Calmly] You’re in Stamford?

[Cut to closer shot of Linda]

Linda: [A little more agitated] You’re coming here?

[Cut to slightly closer shot]

Linda: [Clearly surprised] You’re right down the street and you’ll be here in a few minutes?

[Cut to shot of Linda’s eyes going wide before cutting back to medium shot.]

Linda: [Calm, but shocked] That’s great, Steven See you soon.

[Cut to over the shoulder shot from Linda. At this point, Anna walks in.]

Anna: Hey, I really don’t know about this whole video thing. I mean… what’s with that theme?

[Cut to close up of Linda.]

Linda: Steven’s on his way.

[Cut to medium shot of Anna.]

Anna: What?

[Anna runs out of Linda’s office. Cut to shot from Valerie’s cubicle of Anna wide-eyed.]

Anna: [Screaming] Steven’s coming!

[Cut to shot of the top of the cubicles as Sean, Tim, Karen, and Lori pop their heads out like gophers, look around at each other in a panic and go back down. Linda runs out of the office toward the printer. Cut to Sean’s cubicle.]

Sean: [Agitated] I’ll deal with you later!

[Hangs up the phone and passes a hand over his face to be calm and happy again. Cut to Tim’s desk. He kills one more thing in World of Warcraft, and flips the window to a Word document. He turns to the camera and smiles. Cut to Warren’s desk. He looks around briefly and then just sticks his headphone adapter into the computer. Cut to Dan’s office as he is still sitting on the floor playing the guitar.]

Dan: Wait… what did she say?

[Cut to Linda. She is waiting at the printer as something prints out.]

Linda: Come on. Print faster!

[Cut to Michael’s office. Anna runs into the door.]

Anna: Michael, Steven is on his way over. You have to put your bike—

[Pan around the room looking for the bike. Stop at a bag (the folded bike) in the corner and zoom in and out on it. Cut to Michael turning toward his computer.]

Michael: I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

[Cut to the hallway in front of the door where Steven is about to enter. Cut to Valerie’s desk where she is still on the phone.]

Valerie: Damn, I’ve gotta go. We’ll talk later.

[She hangs up the phone. Cut to Karen’s cubicle. She throws the ball back toward Lori’s desk and turns toward the computer. Cut to Lori’s cubicle. She catches the ball and throws it into a drawer along with the pong balls and a few Solo cups. Cut to Dave’s office where he turns off the television and sits down. Kathy, sighing, walks out of the office.]

Kathy: I hate Mondays.

[Cut to Steven walking in the doorway.]

Steven: Hi Anna. Hi Sean. Hey Tim.

[As he says the names, a quick cut of each person shows how docile they look. They all either wave or say a greeting in return. Cut to Warren’s desk, where Steven pops his head in around the corner.]

Steven: Hi Warren.

[Warren waves without taking off his headphones. Cut to Dan’s office. He is still sitting on the floor playing the guitar.]

Steven: Hi Dan.

[Dan waves and Steven moves on. He goes on to say greetings to all of the employees by name, all of whom look completely docile. On his way back from Lori’s desk, he sees a pong ball and picks it up, looking at it questioningly. Cut to Linda’s office, where he walks in the door. Linda stands up to greet him.]

Linda: Steven, hi! How was the drive?

[Cut to medium shot of Steven.]

Steven: It was great. How’s that report going that I asked you about on the phone?

[Cut to over the shoulder shot of Linda. She hands him the freshly printed pages. Cut to side shot of Steven looking at the pages then medium shot of Linda.]

Linda: [Smiling] Consider it done.

<The End>

The theme of our video, by the way, is "Consider it Done." A final draft, a compilation of this draft and Sean's, was the final result. I will post that draft - which I rewrote - and describe the ad-libs accompanying the video, soon because it's awesome.

So yeah, not anything about books today, but writing is writing. Until next time, good luck getting published!  

Ah, The Movies (Part 2: Baen+11, Cemetary+46, Strange+30) (September 15, 2008)

Firstly, while updating the title dates, it occurred to me that Cemetary Dance Magazine has yet to reply to my submission after 46 days. Looking back... I just realized that the original post about the magazine was never published. How odd. I'll have to fix that. But, hopefully, they should be replying shortly, otherwise I may have to resubmit and that in and of itself is never fun.

I've returned to work on my next novel, and I must say that progress is good. After working on my company's video for about a week or so and doing other creative things - more on that later, when they are completed - I found myself simply salivating this weekend because I wanted to write so badly. I sat down, on my laptop, and began to do so. Unfortunately, my laptop's battery has long been dead and the power cord/internal power adapter seems like it wants to join its fallen brethren. I lost about 15 minutes of work - about three pages or so - to a shut down computer before I figured out the problem. That is, of course, on top of the already problematic notion of Auto Save crashing Microsoft Word. Oh, that computer is just peachy. NEVER BUY A DELL.

Since the movie is nearing completion, I've decided to post the semi-final script here. The semi-final product came out of a joint meeting of seven people around the office and is mainly a collaboration of my script, Sean's script, and Tim's oddly amusing ideas. Of course, the actual end product is itself quite different from this - hence the "semi-final" nomenclature - and I will be posting it on YouTube and providing a link soon, as well as discussing the final product much further in "Ah, The Movies (Part 3)."

So, enjoy it, and please refer to the previous post for any clarifications. Until next time, good luck getting published!

Pages written so far: 44

"Stamford Works... Silently/The Quiet Office"

[In old movie format, cut to shaky shot of a “Stamford Works” sign. The word “Silently” is quickly imposed beneath it. Cut to Anna and Linda speaking to each other in Linda’s office. (This whole scene is silent and in 1.5x speed, so exaggerated movements and faces would be the most entertaining.) Linda hands Anna a folder, who then holds up a sign that says “Consider it done.” Linda gives her an exaggerated thumbs up and Anna leave Linda’s office.]

[Cut to Michael’s office where he and Warren are meeting. They briefly silently converse and then

Warren gets up. He stops and holds up a sign that says “Consider it done” while laughing toward Michael. Cut to a shot of Michael waving him away with a smile.]

[Cut to a shot of Dan’s desk. He is slamming his fist against his desk and gesturing toward a copy of BIM in his other hand. Cut to a shot of Sean and Tim sitting across from him and looking mildly shocked/scared. They hug each other and then slowly hold up two signs that say “Consider it done.” In the corner is a smaller sign that gets pushed into the screen that says “We think.”]

[Cut to Valerie’s cubicle, where she is typing away. Someone taps her on the shoulder. Without turning around, she holds up a sign that says “Consider it done” toward the camera.]

[Pan over to Karen’s cubicle where Kathy and her are meeting. After a moment, Karen quickly flashes a sign that says “Consider it done” before dropping it on the floor and returning to her work.”

[Cut to a shot of Lori’s desk where everyone is gathered around her. Dave is in the forefront appearing to be in a panic. Cut to a shot of the group all panicking around her. Cut to a shot of Lori smiling and holding up a huge “Consider it done” sign. Cut to a shot of the group laughing and sighing in relief. This lasts a few seconds and then fade to black.]

Intertitle: That’s how it could have happened… But here’s what really happened.

[Start off from intertitle screen with a phone ringing. Fade in to medium shot of a phone. Sean picks it up with his general pleasant demeanor. Close up of Sean. His face gets angry.]

Sean: I told you before that that’s not how we do things around here! What the hell is your problem?

[His dialogue fades into hardcore music blasting from Tim’s cubicle. The camera pans over Sean’s shoulder toward Tim’s cubicle. A hand (Lori’s) reaches over and grabs the coat hanger from the top of Sean’s cubicle. Cut to Tim listening to iTunes through his computer while playing his X-Box on a flat screen television sitting on his desk. Dan is not in the cubicle. He looks toward Sean’s cubicle like he hears the yelling and stands up to look over it.]

Tim: Hey would you mind—

[Off camera, Sean gives Tim the finger. While Tim isn’t looking, a hand comes out (Lori’s) and grabs the Spamalot plush from Tim’s shelf.]

Tim: Alrighty.

[Tim sits back down at his desk. Cut to a shot of the aisle (camera would be near conference room door) to see Michael roll along on his foldable bike. He looks in at Tim and Sean and rolls around the corner to Warren’s cubicle. Cut to a shot from Warren’s desk facing the opening. Warren is on the phone.]

Michael: Hey, you want to go grab a bagel or something from downstairs?

[Warren waves at him gesturing no.]

Warren: [On the phone and talking quickly] Look, you’ve got to buy this right now, right this instant, or you’re gonna regret it later. I’m telling you, it’s a great deal, you buy 5,000 shares now you sell it later for double the price and you make a fortune. Trust me, it’s the best thing… excellent. [Covers the phone] No, I’m good. [Goes back to phone with the same chatter.]

Michael: [While rolling out] Okay, next time then.

[Michael rolls out on his bike, and before camera cuts from Warren’s office, a hand (Lori’s) grabs the picture frame on his shelf. Cut to Dan’s office. He is playing his electric guitar along to Led Zeppelin. Cut to show Dan’s door and it opening to reveal Michael.]

Dan: Yeah?

Michael: Bagel?

[Close up of Dan’s face. He pauses for a moment.]

Dan: No.

[Cut to Michael standing in the doorway.]

Michael: Alright.

[Lori comes into the door. She’s holding something from Michael’s desk in her hands.]

Michael: What’s that?

Lori: Oh, nothing.

[Lori puts her hands behind her back.]
 
Lori: Got to go.

[Camera follows Lori out of the office to do a steady shot of the cubicles. We see: Valerie talking on the phone gossiping with someone while playing with her hair, and Karen throwing a ball against the wall of the cubicle steadily. Lori places the thing from Michael’s desk onto her shelf (which is crowded with other objects). Cut back to Dan’s office, where Anna walks (interrupting air guitar again) in looking around.]

Anna: There’s the paper cutter! Remember what happened last time?

[Close up of Dan’s face. He pauses for a moment.]

Dan: No.

[Cut back to Anna.]

Anna: Well, whatever, I’m taking it back.

[Cut to Anna walking into the back storage cubicles. She places the cutter down on the shelf and starts cutting vegetables with it while laughing and smiling. Cut to Dave’s office, where a television can be heard. Cut to a shot of Kathy, Linda, and Dave watching a television while eating popcorn.]

Linda: I’ve got five bucks says Lady Prancer wins by two paces.

Dave: I’ll take that bet.

Kathy: [Reaching for popcorn] I’ve got you beat. I’ll bet you twenty Black Mumbasa beats Lady Prancer by half a mile easy.

Linda and Dave: I’ll take that bet!

[A beeping noise cuts into their chatter. Cut to Anna walking out of the cubicles she entered with a bowl of salad in her hand. Michael rolls by on his bike.]

Michael: Anna, bagel?

[She gestures toward the salad while looking around at the beeping.]

Anna: No, I’m good.

[Cut to a shot of Sean and Time (on the phone and playing X-Box, respectively) looking up at the beeping. They both simultaneously start running out of their cubicles toward the conference room. Cut to the conference room door as everyone runs toward the entrance. Cut to a back shot of everyone gathered in front of the window. The beeping grows louder and then stops. Cut to a cheesy scene of a huge explosion then cut back to a side shot of the group looking out the window.

Dan: Nice.

[Cut to side shot of the group.]

Linda: Well, I guess that’s done.

Karen: I guess we go back to work.

[Collective group laugh as everyone walks away from the window. Fade to black.]

Point of View (Baen+19, Cemetary+54, Strange+38) (September 23, 2008)

The one thing that every person can positively say that differentiates themselves from everyone else is their point of view. A point of view can never be quite repeated, and it is always tainted ever so slightly be previous events in a given person's lifetime. For instance, watching an event unfold from afar will yield a vastly different perspective on said event than if one were to actually be taking part in the event. Likewise, attempting to piece together the event from other point of views while maintaining your own - as a detective might - may prove much more difficult.

Thus, it becomes, especially for a writer, extremely important to master a point of view. Let's see an example.

A car crashes into a telephone pole.

Now that sentence alone can easily describe a scene. What happened? A car crashed into a telephone pole. Whoopee. Big deal, happens all the time. Alright, let's see it from a different point of view.

Greg, fumbling with the hot coffee, accidentally dropped the bagel onto his lap. Quickly picking it up, but taking his eyes off the road for the briefest instant, he failed to notice his sharp angle and creamed into the telephone pole, spilling the coffee over his lap as the airbag exploded before him.

Much different, no? Instead of a pale, onlooking point of view, we have a third-person perspective from inside the car. How about this:

I barely had enough time when it happened, but I did it, I really did. I saw that car coming, and, you know, I just leapt in for that old lady like it was God telling me exactly what to do and where to go. I still don't know how I did it, but she's alright, isn't she? You know, they say that's what heroes are made out of.

A first person point of view from just inside the crash area. I think the point is made by now, but I just want to do one more.

A man drops a bagel. A horn is honked. A bird, lonely and hungry, flies away knowingly. A man tackles an old lady to safety. An onlooker with a child clutches him within her arms. A car crashes into a telephone pole. Thus is life.
Not sure where I was going with that one, but I'm having too much fun with this post. Anyway, back to the original thought: point of view is so incredibly important to a narrative that even the slightest foul could absolutely ruin a story. But, should an author try to write the point of view of different individuals, who all have had different experiences and who have all looked upon a scene differently, each point of view should be treated with a different writing style. That is the main argument. Notice above that with each different perspective there is a different style. Though there are only a few examples here, that is what I wanted to discuss today.

Please, if you have any thoughts on the subject, feel free to leave a comment. I'll most assuredly respond.

Until next time, good luck getting published!
 
Pages written since last update: 18
Pages written so far: 62

Politics (Baen+25, Cemetary+60, Strange+44) (September 29, 2008)

Not sure how many of you actually watched the first presidential debate on Friday night - I did - but I'm sure most of you have at least heard mention of McCain's earlier decision to postpone his campaign in order to concentrate on the imposing financial crisis. Granted, the financial "meltdown" is an important issue - as witnessed by the debate's first question focusing entirely on it - but the reactions to McCain's announcement were very mixed.

Some have agreed with the decision, saying that the senators should be where we elected them to be. Of course, this also brings up the issue: as only two senators who have not particularly held a leading role yet, how important would they be in solving the crisis? I suppose relatively so, considering they were both part of the negotiations attempting to resolve the conflict the other day, but that was based on the fact that one of them would be the next president and as a result would bear witness to the fallout from this decision. As senators, they are next to nothing in importance at this point, especially since Congress has continued in their absence. Here's a good outline of what occurred over the past week, although it is perhaps a bit biased (most of the problems stemmed from the Right this week, so a bias is presumed in one form or another).

And, to make things worse, some have actually argued that McCain attempted to stall the financial bill!

Oy. Politicians are so... is there a better word to describe them than selfish, arrogant, or stupid? Each person wants what they want for themselves as representatives of the country, but never do they think that, as representatives, they should do what the country wants rather than what they think is "best for the United States of America." Who decides what is best? If the argument that an elected official truly represents a country is used by anyone, surely that cannot be now used for "this administration" (did anyone else notice that McCain refused to say President Bush throughout the debate?). Also, many times the one elected is simply the one with the most money to publicize because the general public is so uninformed and sheep-like that to win them over, politicians can simply yell at each other louder until one seems ready to break.

An example could be Hillary versus Obama. The tide really only turned against her when she seemed to break from the pressure of the campaign. Remember when she seemed on the verge of tears? I'm sure many have pointed at that and said "That's why we can't have a woman president!" but could you really imagine the stress she must have been under and the name-calling that was surely occurring everywhere she went?

I know who I'm voting for so far in this election, though he was not my first choice. I had originally supported Dennis Kucinich (D) of Ohio, but he was off the ballot almost as soon as he brought up impeaching Dick and Bush. As a socialist (before anyone gets on my case about this now, I do not support the type of socialism employed by any current or past socialist states, as, in my opinion, true socialism has never been achieved and could likely never be achieved as long as the human desire for selfish behavior continues to exist) I now, of course, support Barack Obama. John McCain, while possessing some interesting ideas, simply does not share enough of my same morals.

Besides the typical things - I tend to care for the lower class, which has been largely ignored by both parties at present, though much moreso by McCain - I also cannot agree with McCain's energy policy. For those of you not aware of each candidate's position on other scientific issues, click here. To build so many nuclear reactors, considering there is currently nothing to do with the waste but store it away and forget about it for many, many, many years, is simply a terrible decision, as is drilling off the coast of our country. Though both parties now support this idea, it further shows what lengths the politicians will go to to appease their voters. Although that many contradict what I said earlier, all politicians, whether right or left, simply want one thing: to get re-elected.

I know this has nothing to do with writing, persay, but with everyone and his brother and his cousin's sister addressing the issue, I felt it needed to be done. Writing is, of course, continuing well. I was in Williamsburg last week for a company conference and for most of the time spent there we were hit by an awful lot of rain. For some time there was no wind, however, so I went for a nice, leisurely stroll through the rain in order to relax and collect my thoughts. After about 40 minutes or so - enough time for my fingers and toes to just get cold - I went back to my room, took a nice long bath, and then sat down to write.

I believe I wrote about 10-12 legal pad pages, but I have yet to rewrite them onto my computer so they have not been factored into the total below. I really like how this book is coming along, but since my first book has still yet to be published and any sampling of text will likely be from that in the near future, rest assured that you WILL see it eventually.

Anyway. If you've got any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. I'll get back to them eventually! Or maybe answer them in a future post. Next time: Ah, the Movies (Part 3). Until then, good luck getting published!

Pages written since last update: 6

Pages written so far: 68

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