Recent Updates

Archives, Part Six (October 7, 2008 to October 28, 2008)

Ah, the Movies (Part 3: Baen+33, Cemetary+68, Strange+52) (October 7, 2008)

Well, the company conference has come and gone. There were some incredible contenders this year that far outshone the movie we produced, but I think that everyone had a good time making it and I especially learned a lot while editing in Windows Movie Maker. For one: Windows Movie Maker sucks. Either that, or my computer sucks. Maybe both. It crashed approximately every four minutes while editing. Whatever. Our New York office won the competition with a Shakespeare inspired rendition - I actually voted for the Rockville office because the poor editing made it hilarious - but only by 3 votes.

If you want a cheap laugh - I'm not entirely sure how well this works outside of the office, but it's worth a shot anyway - you can view the video on YouTube here . Hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to comment.

On the writing side of things (yes, I know this post is titled "Ah, the Movies" but I have more to discuss!), it's is incredibly frustrating how difficult it can be to find PUBLIC information. Government agencies and companies alike will often refer to this information, citing it all as available for viewing by the public. Well, it is only available if you can find it, because rarely do any of the contacts actually give you straight answers or provide you with what you would like to know, instead leaving the article, etc. buried in obscurity in the back of a Web site with a false title. I kid you not.

But, I have been looking for a few tidbits of information for my next novel and I have found a few. For one, I tried looking for the average price of movie tickets throughout history. No easy feat. Try Googling something and let me know what you find! I found this site, which, though doing much more than simply listing the prices, keeps a handy table on the right side of the page that goes back - albeit sporatically - to 1910. A very good find, and quite useful. I've also attempted to figure out the approximate New York lottery jackpot amounts over the years, but could not find this anywhere. I put in a request at the New York Lottery Web site under the "Freedom of Information Law" but have yet to be sent a response. I believe I sent it last Tuesday or Wednesday, so they're not the quickest bunch.

If anyone can find me the information - historical jackpots in New York City - please let me know where... I'll think of something to reward you (maybe naming a character afte ryou in the book?). I believe that that should be all for now. Until next time, then, good luck getting published!

Pages written since last update: 17
Pages written so far: 85

Before my Lunch Break is Over (Baen+35, Cemetary+70, Strange+54) (October 9, 2008)

In regard to what I mentioned on Tuesday about requesting information from the New York Lottery, I have to say that they actually got back to me today via e-mail. This is what I received:

Dear Mr. Pawlowski,

I am in receipt of your recent e-mail request for information (below) pursuant to Freedom of Information Law, N.Y. Public Officers Law Section 87.

Your request is not entirely clear as to what you are seeking for your book. Are you looking for jackpot prize amounts for that year or for all games and all prize amounts for each game? I am not sure how much information we have from that far back, but will await your clarification before proceeding with researching your request.

If I do not hear from you within two weeks from the date of this letter, I will assume you are no longer interested in the materials requested and will cancel your request.

Thank you for your interest in the New York Lottery.

Sincerely,

Michelle Barbetta
Records Access Officer
New York Lottery

I quickly, and kindly, replied to specify further, so hopefully I will have the facts shortly. I suppose the question remains then, how important are these "facts"? I've researched the weather for the particular year of the novel through the Web site referenced here - I had to use records from Newark, NY because a weather station wasn't operable at the specific time I'm referencing in New York City... it snowed on several occasions, but not a whole lot - and I've asked what the lottery was, while also referencing relevant films - albeit briefly - and attempting to use period related terms. But how important is that?

Do people even care anymore whether books are accurate? I suppose some do, but who would know? I would. That is true. Ah, the self-victimization of authors.


On a happier note, I learned yesterday that my younger cousin is interested in becoming a writer as well! I was very happy to hear that and, because of this, today's luck simply goes to her: good luck getting published, Rachel!


Novel #2 Progress:

Pages written since last update: 1
Pages written so far: 86

EDIT: I received the following a short while ago. I've gotta say, that's the quickest use of the Freedom of Information Act ever. Go go New York Lottery.

Hi Warren,

Thank you for the clarification! Our “jackpot” game in xxxx was LOTTO. The following is a listing of the advertised LOTTO jackpot prizes for each drawing that took place in the months of November and December of xxxx.

11/xxxx

11/3 10 million

11/6 2.5

11/10 4.5

11/13 7.5

11/17 2.25

11/20 4.5

11/24 7

11/27 10

12/xxxx

12/01 14 million

12/4 18

12/8 2.25

12/11 4.5

12/15 7

12/18 2.5

12/22 4.5

12/24 7

12/29 2.25

Thank you again for your interest in the New York Lottery and the best of success to you in your new novel!

Michelle Barbetta
Records Access Officer
New York Lottery

Love it!

Another One... (Baen+39, Cemetary+74) (October 13, 2008)

Another day, another rejection. Got this in the mail this morning (at 3:58 AM no less):

Dear Warren Pawlowski,

Thank you for submitting "Addiction" to Strange Horizons, but we've decided not to accept it for publication.


We appreciate your interest in our magazine.


--Jed


Susan Marie Groppi, Jed Hartman, and Karen Meisner

Fiction Editors, Strange Horizons
fiction@strangehorizons.com
Submission guidelines:
http://www.strangehorizons.com/guidelines/fiction.shtml

Yeah, well, that sucks. I'm not entirely sure I want to bother submitting it further for now. I suppose I'll look into another place later this week, but not now. I'm too tired this morning.
 

Here's that federal minimum wage historical Web site I found that I mentioned last post. Hope it comes in handy for someone. By the way, 1968 was a good year.

Until next time... good luck getting published!

Pages written since last update: 0
Pages written so far: 86

Not a Whole Hell of A Lot to Write About, But Still (Baen+46, Cemetary+81) (October 20, 2008)

Well, it's been a slow week. Looking at my draft, it's only increased by two pages since the last update (although they are two really good pages) so there's not a whole hell of a lot to say on that front. One thing I did do, however, was create a character list.

Now, this is something that any copy editor will do when it comes down to it, but every author should make sure he/she keeps track of whatever and whoever you put into the story. My last novel, The Nobodies, was rather simple and focused on a relatively tight cast with a few supporting characters. This second one truly focuses on only two characters as their stories intertwine, but there are dozens of supporting characters that can be a pain to keep track of. So, in an effort to remember continuity and maintain my sanity, and before I make any kind of flaw, I made this list. So here's what I did:

Start off right from the beginning of the novel. The first sentence of the first page. Start going down from there. Whenever a character is introduced, I did the following:

Name: short description of the character, including age, marrital status, etc. as well as any special notes on how they speak, etc. The character's significance to the plot is also mentioned. Then (Chapter appearing: Page[s] appearing).

This simple format, which I continued to follow throughout the draft in order of appearance, will allow any author to keep track of characters easily and without any stress. This is especially important as the number of characters grow.

I currently have 30 characters on my list. Oy.

Before I go into my next little rant, I'd like to say that I hinted at the title of my next novel within this post. The title is two words, with the first in a possessive form, and within the post they are separated by 7 other words. Let's see if you can guess them (for the few of you who know the title, please don't spoil it at this point).

I'm not sure how many of you have been following the election - I'll tell you now that I will be voting for Obama/Biden - but I must say that, although I watched the first several debates including the VP bore, I decided to watch Project Runway and South Park last Wednesday instead. Let me explain.

For those of you who don't know what Project Runway is or don't currently watch the show, it's a reality program focused on fashion designers. They are presented with certain tasks that need to be completed within typically 24-48 hours, with the top 3 performing at Fashion Week at Bryant Park, and the winner receiving $10,000 and a new Saturn. While people may laugh that I watch this, it's quite fascinating to watch the designers create some beautiful pieces from absolutely nothing (the one that sticks out in my memory the most were the dresses made from candy now on display at the Hershey's store in Time Square). And while similar shows may offer similar fascinations, this is one that, while living within an hour or so from New York City, can actually be noted in short fashion by the style of dresses adorning our streets.

And, well, South Park is South Park. The show needs no explanations. Go watch it.

I watched these instead of the debate because, honestly, they were much more interesting. Sure, I could watch Obama and McCain tout off about the exact same things they have been hammering into the public for the past several months, but why should I? The persistant change that has occurred in this country over the last month, especially the economic downfall, has barely been addressed by either candidate, so any new shocks on that front are out the window, and really, at this point what else matters?

While I don't like McCain in any way shape or form, I do respect some of his ideas, but I find myself on Obama's side in nearly everything. He has, however, strayed from several issues and this will hurt his eventual presidency. Yes, he will likely get elected since the polls have been highlighting his face and stomping on McCain's for at least a month now. Looks like the environmental-less Palin wasn't the best choice after all.

By the way, last night's episode of Family Guy had one of the best McCain/Palin jokes I have seen yet. If you missed it, you can catch it here (although you have to download Fox's media player). Or, if you don't want to watch the whole episode, you can view the clip here. Enjoy.

Until next time - when I will be sure to offer you something more than ranting - good luck getting published!

Pages written since last time: 2
Pages written so far: 88

Another One Bites... (Baen+54) (October 28, 2008)

"Well, let's see what we've got here in the familiar Ivory envelope," I said as I walked in the door just before dinner. Ripping the son-of-a-bitch open with a smirk, I quickly scanned the first two lines, and then threw it back on the table before returning to it two days later. Here's what it says:

Visit our Writer's Corner at www.cemeterydance.com

Dear Author,

Thank you for submitting your work to Cemetery Dance Magazine.

We have taken the time to carefully read your submission and unfortunately it does not meet with our needs at this time. We do hope you will submit again soon. We have a very small backlog of stories on file for the magazine and are in constant need of more material to publish.

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of manuscripts we receive (more than 500 submissions each and every month), we are unable to answer each story submission with a personal note. Thanks again for sending us your work - we look forward to more in the future!

Richard Chizmar

Their submission guidelines, which I'm not going to bother to re-type or re-paste here (look at an earlier post if you want to check them out, it's down there somewhere, just follow the tags on the right), followed the short note, and the whole thing was capped by a rather interesting picture of a what appears to be a graveyard and a boar overshadowed by someone ominous shadow. Overall, one of the more entertaining rejections I've received so far. Oh, they also include my cover sheet as well.

So, that's two rejections in about two weeks. At this point, what I'm thinking is that it's time to look into the LMP to find an agent. They weed out the weak, make suggestions to improve works, and work a hundred times harder than any author to sell pieces of literature (or what passes as literature). I think I'll do it this weekend in between bouts of Halo 3. For those of you who play, it's Undead Double XP Weekend starting Friday, which just so happens to be my favorite gametype of them all. My gamertag is myakoopa, so if you're going to play, feel free to send me an invite and/or a friend request. I'll be posting my Bungie Card also as soon as I figure out how.

I worked on my story for a bit, though I've found myself disgustingly engrossed in the Harry Potter world. Almost finished with the fifth novel now, I've come to the conclusion that there is no way she wrote any after the third on her own. Reading them back to back, the evolution in the writing style, the advanced vocabulary, the decompressed narrative... it's as if there's a different writer simply slapping J.K. Rowling on the cover as a brand just like a James Patterson novel. However, they are quite entertaining and extremely addicting. I find myself hating the end of my lunch hour or my arrival at work or home because I only want to read the book. I can understand how so many copies sold initially.

That said, I will still not give her any money and will only buy the books used because I don't like her personality. It is one thing to defend your copyright from intrusions like those found on YouTube or anything else, but to do something like sue a group for producing a float based off of Hogwarts Castle... well... honestly, what a bitch.

Anyways. I wrote 10 pages since last update, and plan on writing much more soon (maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow). Soon, perhaps with a few weeks, I will start Stage 2 of my writing process, which will be fun as it is what I look forward to the most. Can't wait. I will update further as things change, but, until next time, good luck getting published!

Pages written since last time: 10
Pages written so far: 98 



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