Thursday, January 31, 2013

Appearances

I think I always feel like since very few people read this blog (if any?) that I don't really cae if it falls out of date. I should care, and I should update it more if only to make sure that anyone who does care gets what they came for. You know, appearances.

Current Projects : Mynfield Mysteries: Story Boarding, Mirror Mirror editing, Saara's Avengers Fanfict: writing. Seems like enough, right? I'm keeping busy :) Between school and work and life (and video games) writing is taking a bit of a back seat. Though a trying www.wattpad.com a bit to see if I can get some fans or a following. Not putting Mynfield up there as I'd like to submit it at some point. Some odds and ends YA stuff though, that seems well received at least.

You can read them here : http://www.wattpad.com/user/JohnGunningham

For now, thats it. Just a little something for appearances.

John.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Took alot of Cold Hard Want to get what I got...

I was looking for a book to read about a week ago and picked James Frey's 'How to Write a Damn Good Mystery' off my book shelf. I friend had given it to me quite a few Christmas's ago and I never really read it. Likely because I figured I knew everything already. Hah. HAHAHAHAHA... hrm. I don't. No, oh my no.

James has some really, really good points on creating a story written by your characters. He stresses really good character development to the point that when situations arise you can ask the question 'what would this character do in this situation?' and you can answer yourself clearly. He also stresses making sure that there are lots of characters in opposition to each other. This ensures a couple things: first your plot will make sense, since characters are doing what makes sense for them to do. Secondly your plot will have conflict and excitement and action since you have carefully set up characters that will be naturally opposed to each other.

Simple stuff right? It is, really, but man... basics. I've never been formally taught in creative writing, unfortunately, and maybe that's part of why I struggle so much with getting projects finished. Frey also stresses step sheets and planning out your whole novel start to finish before writing. Thats including parts that are happening 'behind the scenes' and things that the reader sees and are actually written. All these events are brought back to the question of what would your characters be doing at any given time. That way the story has a fluidity and things are moving of their own accord as characters go about their lives perscribed by you, the writer.

Using this process a little more and getting some more planning done before hand so that Mynfield Mysteries has some direction seems to be helping. Just starting chapter six and the first five chapters seem to jive with each other and the larger story. I'm calling it act one for now as I jump from the wilderness to Arconis between chap 5 and six, we'll see how it works out in the end.

Anyway, just posting in order to post something.

Another note, www.radiou.com is just a fantasitc online radio station and House of Heroes new cd 'COLD HARD WANT' is simply amazing. They have the whole deal up on youtube, you can check the official links here : http://www.coldhardwant.com/

John, the writer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Process...

I've read alot of hints and tricks to writing over the years. Above all I feel that several elements of story done well can carry a story. I'm feeling that way about 'Name of the Wind' right now. He has a good world, is an excellent story teller and knows how to weave an entertaining series of events. Somehow his story at times lacks what I feel is the right atmosphere, but it doesn't matter, really. The story is firm and engaging. I'm having trouble putting it down.

The more I write the more I realize that the details are things you learn and the guts, the main things you're writing you have to win. I used to write to my '2 of 4' rule: have at least 2 of the following 4 things in each chapter; action, a question, an answer or information. I've discovered now that this doesn't really work as it doesn't inheritally promote flow and pacing. With any entertainment media, I've begun to think of pacing as king (I've likely mentioned this before). Pacing requires a continuity of events and relationships between characters. To this end I've adopted the simpler model of Reaction and Action. If all events (actions, dialogue etc etc) are either actions or reactions, then by default you're bound to create chains. Chains have flow. So long as every action produces a reaction and the chains are designed to grow, a certain pacing is established that can be maintained relatively easily as long you don't have errant links.

Anyway, I thought I'd post this to keep something up here. It's a good trick for anyone having trouble piecing plot together.

On another note; Avengers. I'd just like to say that all special effects and big names aside, pretty well made movie. An interview with Joss gave an interesting insight; he wanted to have each character have equal time in the spotlight, something I think they did really well considering that all Avengers aren't created equal. Thor, Cap, Hulk and Iron man are kind of on their own level leaving Hawk Eye and Black widow behind. During the movie it flet that each Avenger had their uses, even if their strengths weren't on par. Except at the end. I really don't see how Black Widow and Hawk eye survived that last battle, even with their more extraordinary friends to bail them out. At any rate, that's nict picking. When SHIELD aircraft carrier lifted off for the first time, I got goose bunps.

John, the Writer.

Friday, May 11, 2012

We all Fall Down

I've been listening to ForthAngel on repeat for the last few days. Their latest release "London Bridges" resonates. Check these lyrics: "I'm standing right here / Right here on the edge / of a beautiful life" and this gem "but we all fall down."

I think they got it. I think that there is the answer. We are all of us, each and every one on the edge of a beautiful life. Do we fall? Oh man yes. Bad stuff happens. Terrible stuff happens and it rips your heart out of your chest and you stand there watching the life ebb from you and you wonder how you can take another step for fear of greater disaster. THAT is life. It's a war of attrition meant to change us from who we were to who we're going to be. You choose who you will become. Sure we fall. Sometimes it's our fault, sometimes it's other people who push us and sometimes it's events completely out of our control. But always, ALWAYS we have the option to step into that beautiful life. Everyone falls, its how you get up that makes you who you are. Makes you think.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Life Lessons the Hard Way

I like this site : http://www.sfwa.org/  It always seems to be filled with realistic people as far as Science Fiction and Fantasy writers go. Since using wattpad hasn't garnered me any real attention, this article struck home as a good reflective piece of advice. It follows along the same path of that fatherly advice I received when I was young : Anything worth having is worth working for. The question the blogger asks is whether authors or would be authors should try to self publish. His answer is no, not unless you've been proven good enough to do so. The rejection letters and editing etc etc are a learning process that are part of a writer's trials. Yes there's fire. Yes there are tears. Yes you will be a better writer at the end of it. I guess each person needs to decide what they want out of the expierence and determine the amount of sweat and rejection they're willing to spend to get there.

School is nearly finished for the summer, I'm litterally days away from my last exam. I haven't written on Mynfield Mysteries for a while; it's been on hiatus until I can get school over with. I haven't not been writing, however. Years ago a friend and I worked on a game design document that was mothballed for a while. My brother recently got the idea to design some sort of tower defense game and was asking me for advice on how to go about it. His project prompted me to dust off 'Dungeon Mercenaries' and work on the design document. It's fun because it's easier than trying to write characters and story, kind of a break is as good as a rest. It might even turn into a story someday since game design, rpg game design specifically, is basically world building.

I have another post in Draft talking about my impressions of the newest movie crazy "The Hunger Games" and how it compares to other recent pop culture phenomena. I didn't post it because I'm not sure I've formed a complete opinion yet. I am facinated by something that can resonate with so many people. It speaks loudly that there is something missing in this culture that people are trying to find and that one place their search takes them is the theatre. They must think that they're finding what they're looking for, as insubstancial as it is, and are eager to escape to that world for a little while.

Hopefully more Mynfield Mysteries as time allows and soon!

John, The Writer.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Mynfield Mysteries - The Long Road Home

I'm proud of Mynfield Mysteries. It is my best work to date. Most of the plot is clear and the pacing is decent. The characters are the types of people that I've always wanted to read about. All of them are flawed, which I like. Characters in a story have to grow and, above all, they need to behave according to thie virtues and their vices. The growing, however, takes time. I'm hoping this story allows me the time to see them grow. Jonas is the Catalyst for this growth. He, himself, may not change much but I'm hoping he will effect change around him. That would be the theme, I think. One man acting can change the world simply by changing himself.

I've always envisioned Jonas as a Doctor Who type hero, but I know this isn't entirely true. Although not violent by nature, Jonas' mysterious past (so cliche, I know!) has been very difficult. His greatest trait is that he hasn't been utterly broken by this past, becoming strong because of it. He's already had to change and the reader doesn't get to see what he was before, but they have to know this man is better for it.

If Mynfield Mysteries has a theme, that is it.

I've posted the first chapter here:

http://www.wattpad.com/3597823-mynfield-mysteries-the-long-road-home

I hope it comes as an enjoyment.

John.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Pray for the Rain, May it Redeem Their Eyes

Putting in an effort to get something in this blog once or twice a month, even if it's just fortune cookie philosophy tempered with theology. I've been writing, but I think I'm going to expand my wattpad page instead of here. 14 views on Life Plus, no comments. I think I'll post some Mynfield Mysteries up there. I know it's different from alot of the popular stories that are front page right now, but at least it's a different style than Life Plus. More character and story and less dark at least, right now it's less dark. Brings to mind the question I've had before, if an artist creates with no audience... what is his motivation? To what end does he struggle? Maybe it's moot, but I still feel I need to get these stories out. They may consume me otherwise, flesh, bone and marrow.

I've been giving some thought about the casual state of morality in local society. I doubt it is any worse than in many other ages, but maybe it is. There isn't a metric for this, no gauge that can really be used to measure how defunct society has become at any given time. Generally, though, there is a moral defficency that I feel is getting worse, at least in the younger generations. Traditionally the church has been responsible for the moral fiber of a community, but is it an absense of 'church'? Air1's Brant Hansen has a great interview with author and researcher David Kinnamon about youth leaving the church here : http://soundcloud.com/air1radio/nsff-2-3-12-fin If this topic interests, I recommend listening. Within they discuss the church's relavancy in todays culture and, specifically, why young people are leaving the church.

I think it's more than an absense of religion (Christian or otherwise). I think it's an acceptance and even a tendancy to reward unethical behavior. Walking the halls of the University, I overhear a lot (I'm not nosey, just observant). Should a story of binge drinking leading to blacking out be accepted? Should a one night stand be rewarded with a fist bump? These are, unfortunately, as close to many people get to adventure these days and people are generally bored. It's everywhere because it's easy to do. There's a general acceptance that these things happens. It seems generally this is considered not excellent behavior but not exactly terrible. After all, who's being hurt? Unfortunately the answer is likely themselves; it's self destruction wether they see it as that or not. I could argue pretty successfully that any selfish behavior is ultimately self destructive. It cheapens the soul or if 'soul' is too heavy a word, it deadens ones sense of morality.

I don't have a close for these thoughts, which isn't fair. Problems should have solutions. I'll end with some bible that should be obvious but doesn't seem to sink into the minds of 'safe' men. Psalm 15:4 "Despise the Despicable". Hard words, but I think easy going is killing us all. Wisdom and courage are needed by those with concern.

I'll post some wattpad links later, cheer this place up a bit.

John, The Writer.