Fear, focus, and the future. Here, C.M. Humphries writes about whatever.
You Conquered the Challenge. Now What?
Right now there are dozens of writers with 50,000(+/-) - novels anxious to see their books in print (online, etc.). But I urge you not to immediately send out your manuscripts.
I stand as a hypocrite every time I give advice, because I feel free advice is simply free advice, but if I had to make an educated guess, I would say wait until after January to continue any further with your publishing dreams.
The first year I participated in National Novel Writing Month, I discovered dozens of other writers far too eager to turn their manuscript into a book. I'll be honest, I've gone to Barnes & Noble and imagined where my novels would wind up. It's a fun game, but don't let it wear your patience.
So many of the novels are in their first draft form. Not many people write a perfect first draft. As a matter of fact, most writers never write a perfect novel. While some may say, "Don't overdo it; you can't write a perfect novel," I would suggest writing several drafts of your novel.
This is tip one. Write it at least three more times. In fact, the book I wrote this time last year is the book I edited for this competition after writing three more drafts.
Tip two: Even if you have the best novel ever written by a human being, wait. November brings dozens of incomplete manuscripts to editors. You might be buried with the hacks of writing, and you don't want that.
And my final point: It's not just whipping out a novel and "selling" it. You need to know your selling point. To do business as an artist, you must understand you are creating a "product" which must have a "selling point". And you have to whisper all the sweet nothings to editors and agents that they want to hear. Take this advice from Jane Friedman on this stage.
In case you're interested, I finished NaNoWriMo with 60,000+ words edited and 11,000 more to go. So I failed my own personal goal, but completed the competition.
That's what she used to call [him] me — 'Target Boy.'"
I decided to do something different in the blog this time around.
In an effort to distract myself from finishing the most recent draft of His Daughter, I've decided it's been too long since I created an erasure.
Erasure: "the place or mark, as one a piece of paper, where something has been erased."
In literary terms, it means taking a pre-existing work and manipulating the text to create a new story, vignette, flash, poem, etc.
I couldn't come up with a good link to an example, so here's a cool poetry site using the word "erasure" in their site-name. (Feel free to suggest an erasure link.)
Here's a story about a bum and the man looking for him:
MSNBC-By Amanda Guerra
"A Bum Story"
A Hurst, Texas couple is getting married after meeting three years ago while waiting in a Black Friday line.
Trevor MacDonald and Jesse Pierfelice were looking for a lot of things while sitting in the rain outside of a Hurst SuperTarget three years ago. But the one thing they weren't expecting to find was each other.
"He had this hoodie tied tight, and my mom dropped me off, and I was like, 'You're not leaving me here with this guy. He looks like a bum,'" Pierfelice said.
After realizing the "bum" was actually a hard-working college student, Pierfelice decided to give him a chance. The pair found themselves wrapped up in conversation for the next several hours and, when the doors finally opened at 6 a.m. ,they exchanged numbers.
Story: They lined up for Black Friday — 9 days ahead of time"She text-messaged me the next day saying, 'Hey, Target Boy,'" MacDonald said. "That's what she used to call [him] me — 'Target Boy.'"
The couple's relationship began with casual phone calls and then a few dates. Two years later, MacDonald proposed.
See video, read original story at NBCDFW.com
"After I proposed to her, the first place we went was Target and took some pictures of our engagement," he said.
Video: Who made Consumer Reports’ naughty, nice list?MacDonald and Pierfelice said what they found that cold November morning was better than any bargain they could've asked for.
"Yes — the ultimate Black Friday present; I got a good deal," MacDonald said.
The Weird Things We Buy Into
It's gonna be risky for me to write this one out without sounding like I'm advertising, but I really wanna tackle this notion of Black Friday. I mean, if someone introduced you to his event for the very first time, wouldn't you at least scratch your head?
On Thanksgiving, we eat more food than our digestive systems were designed for, excrete a big ol' pile of it, and then feel like hibernating the rest of the upcoming winter.
Side subject: I think human beings were meant to hibernate. I mean, look at our rituals - We eat a bunch of food we've collected with friends (think nuts and squirrels) and devour it. Afterwards, we're really kind of bored, full, and cold, and a bit sleepy.
But maybe that's just American tradition, and not worldwide. If humans were meant to hibernate wouldn't nearly all of our cultures follow the same behaviors?
United States, Canada, Grenada, Japan, Liberia, The Netherlands, Norfolk Island - a handful of countries that celebrate traditions such as Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day, Labor Thanksgiving Day, and other harvest-based rituals.
Yes, we were meant to collect, eat, and sleep all winter. I think. Now back to the matter of Black Friday.
Without deciding whether we should be sleeping, think about the concept of spending a lot of money on food you're giving to others for free and then spending a ton more cash the very next day.
As a matter of fact, across the nation Best Buy camp-outs have already begun.
Let's absorb this. We spend a lot of money on food we give away, eat too much and feel sleepy, stand in the bitter weather for hours to days for a sale price, spend a bunch of money, nearly get pummeled, and nod off in our cars as we fight traffic on the way back home.
You can do that, or hibernate.
What started all this? Let's start with the name. A popular thought is Black Friday gained its name because it is day when sales in retail are extremely profitable - moving from the negative red to the positive black.
In 1966, the Philadelphia Police Department, as quoted by the The American Philatelist,called the day Black Friday due to the stuffed stores and streets.
Black Friday's haunted us since the 1930s. President Teddy Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week to give retail stores an extra week of sales, which pleased business yet angered consumers.
And no we love the notion of helping big cooperation. I say hit up some local Black Friday sales, if you can .
If you're not beginning hibernation, remember Black Friday is a dangerous day. In fact, check out the most gruesome Black Friday events in recent U.S. History.
As I combed through the blog archives, I almost convinced myself to say goodbye to the migraine topic. I wasn't keeping up on the T.H.E.M. page to well (mostly because it's difficult to write with a migraine and recalling them after-the-fact is rather pointless), and I wasn't sure if word was truly getting around.
But it made it's way to New York and back, which might indicate the potential for word-of-mouth awareness. Award-winning filmmaker and co-creator of The Migraine Project Jacki Ochs recently commented on one of the migraine blogs and had this to say:
"We are so grateful for your support !! Our film will reach millions of people who don't understand the true nature of, or suffering from, the disease Migraine. It's people power that compels increased research dollars, and a world class documentary can generate that momentum. Let us know you're out there, support us if you can, and help spread the word. TheMigraineProject.com."
Her comment served as a catalyst for my next contribution to migraine awareness. I spent a couple of days pondering what to say about migraines. They're potent. They're painful. So what?
Although my T.H.E.M. page is a bit behind, I still take notes of various migraine systems. My latest involves auras. Check out: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8327869.stm
Auras are essentially colorful blindspots. Ever see the rings around streetlamps and headlights? They resemble those light distortions, but often come prior or during a migraine. Now, mine don't resemble the grey spots you see in many illustrations. They are much smaller and stay colorful. They blind sections are relatively minute.
2. The Migraine Project
Never before have I demonstrated such candid behavior, but it's time to reveal my association with The Migraine Project, and it's not what you would fathom.
Let me digress for a moment to illuminate certain key areas of this conversation. First off, if you connect with me beyond this website, such as via Facebook or twitter, there's a fuller story to behold.
Which leads me to point two: C.M. Humphries was ready to <3 NYC. If you followed along, you learned there were a few key factors to my New York failure. What you need to know of this, is they all related to money.
Unfortunately, this wasn't one of those decisions leading to a pot of gold. Instead, it was because of college loans. I couldn't afford anymore debt. Brings a new meaning to Mark Twain's famous saying, "Don't let schooling interfere with your education." I can't use my degree until I pay off my degree, in the status-quo viewpoint. In truth, I am using that degree as I type and promote this blog.
And now we arrive more to the point.
Whilst in NYC, feeling the best I've felt about life in a long time,I embarked on a few interviews, one of which was with award-winning filmmaker Jachi Ochs.
I had a friend touring me around New York City, so he had to sit in on the interview. Already negative points for me.
Our conversation beings rough, and I can never answer the question, "Where do you see yourself in life?"
But then she introduces me to her latest project. You can guess which one.
Magically, the interview flips around, because she happens to bring up the subject of migraines. It's a completely unprofessional moment, in which I glance back at my friend and smirk.
Then, as she calls it, we had a serendipitous meeting. Our conversation draws long and excited as we both discover how we can help each other. She even brought new forms of treatment to my attention.
(I still say if she can swing an FMRI, I'm in for the film.)
Can't blame me for that little plug.
In conclusion, I met one of the geniuses behind THE MIGRAINE PROJECT and fully believe in what they are doing. Although I am in no way a member of the crew, interviewees, or other group associated with THE MIGRAINE PROJECT, I voluntarily support it and hope you do to.
Listen, attention means money. Money in migraine research means treating and/or curing migraines. Do what you can, or spread the word.
1. Neuroscience vs The Novel
OK, I'm checking around news sites, places like Big Think, and a few other blogs, and one of the popular topics is the affect neuroscience advancements could have on fiction novels.
See, no matter what you're reading, novels run on the idea of a character's psychological growth. Certain events trigger certain reactions, and a character either becomes better or worse of than he or she started at the early pages of the novels. Now, they are not necessarily linear as the aforementioned, but the cover the psychological and emotional grounds of a character.
Neuroscience explores the brain and pinpoints what chemical relates to which event relates to the psychological, emotional, and neurological change of an individual. The more we know, the less inventive fiction writers can be with characters, right?
I don't think so.
Writers like the late David Foster Wallace were quick to update their stories with all the latest science and jargon, but writers can still explore the brain. We are, after all, more likely to enjoy the adventure and the development of a story with the flowery words over scientifically breaking down every experience the character undergoes.
For this blog, I've decided to do something a little different. Since dates with 3 sets of matching numbers somehow intrigue people, I am going to list the 11 best events of 2011 on 11.11.11, not in order of importance.
There will be many left out involuntary, but I think those I have chosen are real winners. Let's kick it off with number 11. And feel free to contribute what you thought were the highlights of 2011.
11. Pakistan and India Play Nice
Enemies for as long as we can remember and nuclear threats to each other, Pakistan and India work to improve ties, with India as the "most favored nation."
This of course will build economies across the pond and change the structure of the region. Expect economic growth and two sets of curious eyes on Afghanistan.
Maybe 9 and 10 aren't necessarily good things, but they do bring out some points. Robots prove we can accomplish almost anything. However, they may kill us all. Thank you, Honda. Or should I say, Sky Net.
As far as this sperm hunter thing goes, I would suggest click the headline and visiting the link. It explains all. It brings up some good points:
1. Don't trust women. I know many men felt this way long ago, but now there is a document you can site when you feel like being misogynistic.
2. If your sperm is stolen from a condom and self-inseminated, don't worry, it has a low chance of working. Note: Never give anyone your bag of splooge and you might be O.K.
3. True love can happen . . . after you ex- steals your semen, impregnates herself, asks for a favor, sues for money, gets back with you, and you are able to see your offspring before you agree to be in its life.
This one is going to piss a lot of people off, I'm sure. Nevertheless, studies show that places like Hollywood aren't the only single neighborhoods. In fact, as we approach 2012, studies show marriage rates are declining. Don't worry if you're "middle class" and living the "American Dream", though, for this mostly applies to the rich and the dirt poor.
NewScientist released an article today about certain games to help symptoms of depression. Click the link, check it out, and know that this is a major step in psychotherapy.
Today I woke up and glanced at my twitter account (which is atypical) and @sandylunyc tweeted about this researcher who "dug" history a bit too far.
To sum it up, this guy named Anatoly Moskvin dug up young adult bodies, mummified them, and dressed them up like dolls.
As it turns out, Moskvin isn't alone. George Karl Tanzler (his German birth name) did a similiar thing, but not with so many bodies. This German was also an intellectual who became obsessed with Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos and kept her body, mummified, in his house. Of course, by house, I mean one of his houses.Interesting note: Tanzler's tale didn't go without speculation. Necrophilia was the gossip of the land.
It was also speculated the body in his house, upon his own death, was not the true body of Milagro de Hoyos, and was nothing more than a wax encasing. The real body is supposedly buried with Tanzler. Read the Tanzler story; it's a real page-turner. I won't spoil anymore.With Moskvin, the speculation comes from Fox News. I won't link them. Sorry.Fox's article on the Moskvin case is much more macabre.
The article agrees with most, stating Moskvin was a genius and a historian and dug up female bodies. However, a Fox reporter (for whatever reason Fox doesn't state their AP findings, reporters, particular persons, investigator names, or sources), writes Moskvin became obsessed with female corpses after her was forced to kiss one at a funeral.
The Fox report also states Moskvin inserted music boxes into some of the women's bosoms. Keep thinking antique dolls and you'll understand why.But how does a genius became a grave robber who uses bodies as human music dolls? I'm really tempted to take the creative approach to the missing data.
NaNo WriMo, Day Seven.
Yeah, I'm a little bit behind.
As it turns out, it is much easier for me to write a draft than edit one. And another one.
But I feel like it's not a lack of enthusiasm on my part. Instead it has a lot to do with working full time. I'm not one to say academia isn't the real world and boring-ass shift-jobs are, but there certainly are differences.
See, in the real world, many things are oppressive Juggernauts which cannot be controlled, where as academia is the ideal picture of the real world with a system people influence to maintain all the benefits of their hard work.
It looks like I'll be able to catch up and improve by tomorrow, anyhow.
I'm near 14,000 words in. How about you?
How to Get It Done: The Novel
Day One of NaNoWriMO '11 was successful for me. I totaled in at 3,500+ edited words today, which is about twelve pages, and in my case, four chapters.
I am drafting His Daughter for the third time and really starting to see things shape up. The most difficult part about the edits, though, are when I want to rewrite an entire section or omit it. Now, I don't have an issue with word count - as some might saw, if you focus on word count to the exact number, you're siding on being a hack. The issue is keeping my plot together. His Daughter is sort of a plot experiment.
I am weaving three stories into one larger picture by developing the story of the protagonist as she discovers it. To arrive at her future, she needs to comprehend her present and remember her past. This is called a bildungsroman.
Bildungsroman (Marriam-Webster): a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character.
The main distraction with editing this novel is a day job. I'm there 40 hours a week, it's shift work, and it's not the most stimulating. Not to mention eating, sleeping, working out, and keeping a minimal social life.
In college, even with class, I found I was able to dedicate more time to the novel, especially since one of my classes allowed for designated novel writing time. And I could always wait in between classes and during any other free time I had. Editing on a laptop during breaks just doesn't cut it.
I would be interested to know how everybody else is doing either here, facebook, of @1cmhumphries on twitter.
Keep at it.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.