Friday, November 2, 2018

#OctWritingChallenge Final Report!

Hello all Halloween survivors!

Welcome to the #OctWritingChallenge final report!

After all the hours I put in with this WIP/comic script, I would like to say...It's done! Finished the fifth issue of my comic min-series, friends. But first let's take a look at the progress.

Day 22-1 hour & 30 minutes.

Day 23-1 hour

Day 24-No writing

Day 25-1 hour & 45 minutes

Day 26 thru 28-No writing.

Day 29-1 hour

Day 30-1 hour & 8 minutes

Day 31-2,871. The final word count.

The past month was a grueling one here but my peers in the Twitter Monthly Writing Challenge motivated me to see the project through. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be this close to wrapping up my story.

Day 26-28 was hard. The city of Pittsburgh was struck with tragedy when a synagogue was attacked by an active shooter. My heart went out to the Jewish community as I took those days off.

In these these turbulent times it's more important for us as a whole to come together and comfort each other, and begin with the healing process.

That's my writing progress for the month of October, friends. I'll see you soon.

Monday, October 22, 2018

#OctWritingChallenge Weekly Report #3: Late Edition!

Hi, all!

I welcome you to the Late Edition of my #OctWritingChallenge Weekly Report!

The past weekend was a bit of a drag since I wasn't in the groove like I was, then things got crazy on the normal side of my life. Now with it all settled I got down to business the past week and here's what I came up with.

No writing on Day 14-16

Day 17- 1 hour

Day 18- 1,464 words

Day 19- No writing. Took the day off to check the all new Halloween! Should be a treat for old and fans of John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Day 20- 1 hour

Day 21- 1 hour & 25 minutes.

After the three days of no writing I had reevaluate myself on time management. The key here is to not find the time to write but to make the time. This is my take away from this past week.

Until next time!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

#OctWritingChallenge Weekly Report #2

Hello! Welcome to the Week 2 of my #OctWritingChallenge Weekly Report.

My progress is not too shabby but I can't argue with the results. Let's see how we did!

Day 8-9: No writing.

Day 10-1 hour & 25 minutes.

Day 11-1 hour.

Day 12-1 hour.

Day 13-1 hour & 40 minutes.

The story, so far, is progressing as I hoped for after I trashed it to oblivion. It was a painful choice to make but from what another set of eyes told me, this (character) was useless because (his critique on the character), the illustrator could use something that can tell him who the characters are so insert a character sheet.

The two cents given to me were insightful. I didn't think to come up with a character sheet that can give me an idea of who my characters are and how they function in my story. It's another lesson in writing I learned along the way as I prepared my pitch to a comics publisher.

1. Have a character sheet ready.

2. Give thanks to your support group, folks! I know I did.

That's it for my #OctWritingChallenge Weekly report. There's more to come. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

#OctWritingChallenge Weekly Report

Hello. Welcome to my #OctWritingChallenge Weekly Report!

Throughout the month of October I will report my progress with my WIP on the Twitter Monthly Writing Challenge.

Let's begin with my Week 1 progress.

Day 1-No writing

Day 2-1 hour & 5 minutes

Day 3-1 hour & 45 minutes

Day 4-1 hour

Day 5-No writing

Day 6-1 hour & 45 minutes. I kinda messed around for a few minutes so I added 15 minutes to make up for the time lost on social media. That's holding yourself accountable when writing, friend.

That's all for my weekly Writing Challenge report, guys. Be there as my progress for #OctWritingChallenge continues! Til next time!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Big Brawl

The following post contains strong language and spoilers to a motion picture.

Conflict-(noun) a serious disagreement or arguement, typically a protracted one. (Verb) Be incompatible or at variance; clash.

Batman vs Predator by Andy Kubert
Conflict can come in many different forms. From Michael Keaton battling his substance abuse in Clean and Sober to the battle between the Caped Crusader and the Ultimate Hunter in the DC Comics/Dark Horse Comics crossover Batman vs Predator. Whichever way you put it all drama is conflict, it stands in the way of the protagonist accomplishing his goal. But it doesn't have to be limited to a single conflict: it comes from within and without. The protagonist might have to face obstacles that are arranged for him by his opponent and from within himself.

Conflict is boiled down to these three variations:

  • Man vs Himself
  • Man vs Man
  • Man vs Nature

  • Parental Conflict- *Comics' writer Peter David states that a staggering amount of literature focuses on the themes-and conflicts-stemming from father/son or mother/daugther relationships. That, or a substitute dynamic like teacher/pupil or master/apprentice. The Star Wars franchise focuses on such relationships: Obi-wan/Anakin, Luke/Obi-wan, Luke/Yoda, Luke/Anakin (Darth Vader), Luke/Rey, and finally Luke/Ben (Kylo Ren).
When dabbling in parental conflict one has to think that parent/child relationships are the most important aspect of our lives, be it ourselves to our parents or parents to their own children. We writers find new ways to tap into this emotional vein, and connect with readers on some levels.

*On the matter of conflict, it helps to clue the reader early on what the main character is dealing with. Wait halfway through your story to give readers at least a sense what challenges await the hero and they're going to get impatient.

*Another thing to keep in mind is to keep the conflicts small. Anyone who's read team books like Thunderbolts and Young Justice can tell you about how the writers kept the conflicts as small as possible. Mr. David points out that small equals real because the conflicts most people have to face on a daily basis involve family, friends and the like. These are the conflicts that have meaning to readers. The closer to home you can make your conflict, the more resonance it's going to have.

Now... for the Three Basic Conflicts!

Man vs Man- Ain't nothing like a good ol' fashion one-on-one between two individuals in the squared circle. In the words of Optimus Prime: "One shall stand, one shall fall." Two men in opposition to the other for the same goal, but only one can get it. So they duke it out! This can be told in a lot of ways.

Highlander starring Christopher Lambert and Clancey Brown is a prime example of Man vs Man. They've fought and struggled throughout history to reach the time of the Gathering, where the few who are left will fight to be the last. Now Connor Macleod and The Kurgan face off in a battle in which there can be only one! Y'know, because there can be only one?

Man vs Himself- In some stories, a hero's greatest opponent can often be himself. Overcoming a weakness, an addiction, or a traumatic experience. In order to fulfill his/her destiny, the main character must battle internal forces that plague them in their quest. What's tricky about internal conflict is that it has to be handled carefully when showing the hero's weakness so the reader doesn't get the impression that he or she is a total whiner.

Recalling the novel Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca, it addressed the main character's sexual assault that was the catalyst for her internal conflict. As she and other survivors ward off a viral epidemic, she must deal with the emotional scars left from the assault.

Man vs Nature- Humans have always been at odds with the great forces of nature. Like say, a volcano, a tornado, tidal wave, you name it, we would come face-to-face with nature and lose. And all we can do is stay the hell out the way or survive. Herman Melville's Moby Dick is an illustration of it.

The Shallows starring Blake Lively is another fine example of man vs nature. The protagonist (Lively) is out enjoying a peaceful time at a private beach in Latin America. It's all sun and surf until she gets bitten by a great white shark. Stranded only 200 yards away from shore, her survival depends on her resourcefulness, ingenuity, and fortitude. After swimming to a buoy and getting stung by a jellyfish, it comes down to the final showdown between the main character and the shark.

With all the basic conflicts addressed, let's move on to conflict in teams.

What spawns this kinda conflict are mutual frustrations, arguments, and friction. *Mr. David points out that the essence of drama is conflict which is essential to story telling. Looking at the original Thunderbolts, let's consider that the entire group is made up of opposites. Each person has someone who's a polar opposite. Citizen V (Baron Zemo) who's the leader of the group and strategist vs Meteorite (Moonstone) the second-in-command who's psychology expertise allows her to keep the team down on an emotional/psychological scale, although she has betrayed him a time or two. M.A.C.H. 1 (Beetle) whose confidence is an opposite of Songbird's (Screaming Mimi) timid approach and trust issues. Atlas (Goliath) who can grow to a colossal size in action as Techno (The Fixer) battles with his tech-pack. There's also the "Outsider" of the team. The youngest member Jolt who doesn't have a criminal past but she's been the "heart" of the 'Bolts.

There are two things to keep in mind about creating conflict in teams. One is to look for real differences and the other is to keep it simple. The Fantastic Four are an example of differences. Mr. Fantastic uses his intellect to solve problems vs. Thing's solving them with his fists. Invisible Woman is the nurturing mother type of the group as her brother Human Torch is fiery and takes point in every dangerous situation.

Also when creating conflict in teams, start small and keep it simple with whoever you write into your team. Have their personal traits, tics, way of thinking be a polar opposite to the other person. Tea drinker vs Coffee drinker. Patient vs impatient. Rich vocabulary vs slang.

Happy Creations!

*Writing for Comics & Graphic Novels with Peter David pg. 62-82. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Book Thoughts: Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca

Last year I set a goal to read comics & graphic novels and YA fiction and I have to say there were some very fine reads. The one book that was entertaining was Pandemic by my Writing Challenge companion Yvonne Ventresca.

Recalling how Kristy Acevedo's the Holo series opened me up to young adult stories I took the challenge to read Ventresca's debut and I will say it really blew me away. The story touched on the human conditions of the protagonist dealing with a viral epidemic in her community and her own demons.

Like Acevedo, Ventresca touched on the humanity of the characters and their struggles of facing a natural disaster but she's touched another matter affecting people: Sexual assault.

Therein lies the true conflict, friends. The character of the story is dealing with a traumatic experience of the assault which left her emotionally weary of the outcome of everything and everyone around her. It also has a negative affect on her loved ones.

To me as a reader, it's rich in all its honesty because it had the same affect on me and that made me think about how issues such as what the main character went though can happen to anyone, and how damaging it can be to others as to the survivor, even as to blaming the victim.

    Another aspect to address is how a group of teenagers had come together in a time of crisis and helped others overcome which carried the story.

I highly recommend anyone looking for a new read for grades 8-12.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Back for the First Time!

Hey! How's it going everyone?

Wow! Is it really 2018? Wait, where did the time go?

So what's everyone doing for this year? What are your goals/resolutions? I'll tell you what I'm doing this year.

Learn sign language. I'm thinking about adding something else to my forte as the year was coming up so I thought to learn a new language. You ask me, it's good way to expand oneself. 

Publish poetry. Believe it or not. I have one piece of poetry published in a lit magazine two years ago. Now I'm going to take another shot at publishing more of my poetry in a book or another lit mag.

Publish comic book series. This is something I hope to accomplish. After all the researching and contacting an artist, I haven't hit gold in finding a home for a comic book project I planned on pitching. Good vibes here, people.

Write to ten people. In the age of social media, one can only wonder: Who sends letters and postcards? To me it's something that's lost in this digital fishbowl. A handwritten correspondence is a simple way to communicate with people without logging online to say "Hello" to somebody on social media platforms and it's much better to say something in a letter than on the internet.

Sorry, internet.

Read the books on my bookshelf. I might as well say it, I'm a book hoarder. Being a big reader I buy books a lot more than I read the ones on my shelf. Admitting this to myself, I donated some books to a local library so they'd serve the community.

And that's all for you on the ninth day of 2k18, cats! Happy Resolutions!