Memorial Day weekend

Hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend (or regular weekend). I spent the three-day weekend sleeping in, watching movies, reading, and working on a new piece of music. This is so far the only piece I’ve had time to write this year of 2011. Feels great to write some music again. After I write music, I sort of become obsessed with it and listen to it over and over a bazillion times…

Movies watched include: The Roommate (creepy and ultimately kinda pointless, but a good movie to make fun of while watching with others), The Fighter, Momento (a fun movie, but not as amazing as everyone says… kinda gimmicky… still a good movie, but all of Christopher Nolan’s later movies are better in my opinion), Gnomeo and Juliette (what producers thought this was a good idea?), Despicable Me, and Kung Fu Panda (hilarious film… will probably go see Kung Fu Panda 2 sometime soon… great 2D animation at the beginning and end as well).

Yeah, that was pretty much the weekend. Movies and music. Went by way too fast. Later today, I’m going to let the rest of my frogs go.

Roll of queries, hear my cry

Last night I sent out another small batch of query letters to producers regarding my screenplay The Melody Box, only this time I made mention of my small new site, showing off my attempt at programming a program that does what the melody box in the screenplay does: generates melodies. I’m hoping the potential software-movie tie-in will appeal to someone out there. It’s a bit of a long shot, but any attempt to break into the film business from the outside is probably a long shot. But it would probably be the most rewarding, I imagine. So we’ll see what happens. I hope to send out some more query letters over the weekend, and a friend suggested making a YouTube video with some of the melodies arranged into a more orchestrated piece, which I also hope to do over the weekend. Luck, be a lady…

Novel progress…

I’m about 5,200 words into my novel Atarius Destroy This World. Overall, it’s going well; the beginning always seems the most exciting. I’m coming up on the “catalyst” scene, the scene in which the main character walks out of his home to go on his adventure. It’s interesting to see the characters take shape in ways I didn’t plan in the outline. I actually changed one of the viewpoint characters from male to female; for some reason it just seems to make the character dynamics more interesting. It was originally going to be a guy named Riklorien, father of the main character Atarius, but now it is Rillorien, mother of Atarius. The plot will stay the same, just writing from Rillorien’s point of view seems more interesting, I guess because a mother figure will feel more nurturing or something. Another non-viewpoint character named Toller is turning into a sort of a comic-relief character (if you can call my corny humor comic-relief), which I didn’t quite expect, but it works. In the outline he seems more like a dark almost semi-evil character, but having him be more comical makes him more likeable. After all, he’s not supposed to be evil, he can just be a bit manipulative and determined at times. Anyway, all the characters are still taking shape, so I expect their personalities will continue to grow.

I’ve also got some query letters for film producers to send out regarding my screenplay The Melody Box, queries that mention my in-development melody composing software. I just want to create a little website showcasing some of the program’s output first so producers can take a listen if they have the time and actually read my letter before tossing it. I was going to work on the site yesterday, but lost track of time novel-writing.

Homepage redesign

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve redesigned my main site. It is now extremely simple, mostly just a collection of links. That’s really the only purpose it was serving before, but it was much more cluttered and clunky, and the CMS I was using (called “Dragonfly”) was out-of-date and had some problems rejecting certain IPs and newer browsers. I did have some forums there which had about 35 members, but I doubt many will miss it; most people registered, posted a few questions to me, then left forever. In case any future visitors want to do the same, I created a new forum with phpBB, though until I become rich and famous, I know that it won’t get much traffic. Now I just need to recreate a “links” section for it…

What do you think of the redesign?

  • I have never seen true beauty until this day (67%, 2 Votes)
  • It's just OK, and I don't really care (33%, 1 Votes)
  • It's pretty good, but not great (0%, 0 Votes)
  • It's kinda lame (0%, 0 Votes)
  • I have never felt so sick from just a website (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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Death to high school English… ?

My friend Scott posted this article on Facebook: Death to high school English.

My reply:

It’s funny (in the ironic sense) that the author of the article complains so much about how bad her students’ writing is, yet she never actually defends its importance. Her reasoning behind why writing is important seems to be: “It just is.” This prevents her from seeing the heart of the problem: No one cares how they communicate subjects that bore them. Writing is not just about coherent communication, it’s about communicating something that’s important to the communicator. And that’s not something a teacher can ever decide.

I like how her friend says in reply to the question of importance: “No one asks this question about calculus, but who uses calculus besides math majors? If the question’s going to be asked about writing it should be asked about every subject.” She should read this blog! I certainly ask the question of every subject. Unfortunately she seems to have no reply for it, other than she hates it. That’s a pretty poorly reasoned argument.

New podcast up

The first episode of my new podcast is now up at Wish I Could Write Fantasy.

Um… it’s not very good. Especially near the end, you can probably tell that I was getting somewhat tired. But it was fun. And how about that webdesign?!

Anyway, I’m hoping to keep recording to, as I say in the podcast, chronicle my attempted novel-writing progress. I’m hoping it will keep me in the writing mood, even when progress is slow.

Melody project – update 8

I was too tired to podcast yesterday; maybe I will today. But I’m still really tired due to my sleep schedule being awfully messed up, so who knows.

So… about my Android melody generator project… Part of me really wants to maximize profits for this thing, so, as mentioned before I am preparing to query producers about my screenplay yet again, this time mentioning that a music box that writes infinite melodies is a true possibility. (At least, to the extent that my program can do it.) Part of me also wants to focus on the algorithmic programming of this generator, and not worry so much about creating a user interface for it, for Android or anything else. So, if a movie deal doesn’t work out (it would be a miracle if it did), I’m seriously considering just hiring / outsourcing some other person or company to program the interface. It would be less work for me, and, with experience, they’d probably do a better job than me anyway. Problem is I’m not sure how much that would cost… anyway, the point is that an actual Android app is still at least months away, because I want to give the movie idea a chance, as to me that seems like the most lucrative (though least likely) path.

Podcast coming soon…

I was up late last night creating a site for my future podcast on writing fantasy. I’ll post a link when I record the first episode, which will probably be either later today or tomorrow. It will be very informal; it’s just so that I have something to look forward to as I attempt to write another novel; I’m not trying to build an online community or anything. Hopefully it will help prevent me from giving up, as I’ve done with all my other previous novel attempts. Of course, there’s always the possibility that I’ll give up podcasting too…

Also, if anyone out there ever wants to co-host some episodes, let me know; conversations can be more interesting than my one-sided blathering, and who doesn’t love the art of writing fantasy? But I am certainly capable of listening to myself talk for hours; that is an essential skill of a writer.

(And podcasting will also help me practice my talking and presenting skills, which I will need when my book sells and I have to give talks and interviews, right?)

Zombie ants

According to this article:

Research in a Thai rain forest has shown the fungi, a species of Ophiocordyceps, forces an infected ant to wander drunkenly over the forest’s low leaves before clamping its jaws around the main vein on the underside of a leaf in an ant zombie graveyard.

How pleasant.