Monday, April 19, 2004

Sunday, April 18, 2004
Dark of the Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Warm and sunny



Finally, a good writing day. I woke up eager to hit the desk.

Six episodes of the horror serial flowed easily. It felt absolutely right. I’m finally getting into the groove of the piece. There’s a lot of humour in it, too. It doesn’t fall into the traditional tenets of horror, but there’s some dark psychological and rather terrifying stuff happening. It just doesn’t happen relentlessly.

Hockey yesterday helped. I was sad to see Philadelphia eliminate New Jersey from the playoffs. But Robert Esche’s goaltending was outstanding. It’s always great to see a player hit his stride like that. He also seems to have a good head on his shoulders and not get caught up in the hype. Detroit eliminated Nashville. Except for Jordin Tootoo’s disappointment, I’m happy about that. Colorado eliminated Dallas. Because Colorado now has Kariya and Barnaby, and I like Aebischer, I’m happy for them. Vancouver and Calgary will go to game 7, as will Boston and Montreal. The Boston-Montreal series has been the most interesting and intense. They seem to be the two most evenly matched teams in the East.

I reread some old stories yesterday and have some new ideas for them. There are two, of which I’m particularly fond, that I will polish, put different pseudonyms on, and send out. Both are unusual and don’t really fit into any sort of category, so I need to find a more adventurous market for them. I also found fragments of two short stories that I really like and I want to finish.

I made a list of some ideas to play with and hope I can carve out the time to explore. I need to allow myself a period of time each day to “play” on a piece – not work on something that’s on deadline, but simply play with something to see where it leads. I don’t want ideas to get stale. I also don’t want to have a dozen unfinished projects sitting around, draining energy. There’s a constant scramble for balance.

I took another look at a short story which is having trouble finding a home. In writing group a few years back, I received the suggestion that it seemed like the beginning of something longer. So I wonder if perhaps I can open it out, to about 7000 words and submit it to a particular market which I want to crack.

If I really want to make money, I need to train myself to write romance. Romance that fits the market yet doesn’t annoy me with the clichés that the market seems to crave. I’m not sure I can walk that very fine filament of a line, but it would certainly boost my income and stretch my creative muscles.
And I want to do another rewrite of the first hockey book before I start the next round of submissions. I want to cut at least 100 pages. That will be a challenge. It keeps growing instead of diminishing. But if I cut the right stuff and leave in the right stuff, I’ll have an even stronger piece of work. Those books are my prizes, my babies, closest to my heart. They’re special books depicting a special passion and the amazing people involved with it. I need to do right by the sport.

Later:
Polished three short stories and submitted them. It felt good. I think – I hope – I’ve hit it right now.

Two episodes of Tapestry. I’m approaching a section in which I want to make some major changes from my original outline. That will be a challenge – it will ripple through the rest of the piece, but, in the long run, serve it well. What can I say? I’ve learned a lot, both in the life experience department and the craft department, since I originally worked on it.

More hockey: Ottawa won in the 2nd OT to force a game seven with Montreal. I love that the Maple Leafs have Leetch, Ron Francis, Tie Domi, and Gary Roberts now. That’s one heck of a team. And Belfour’s been amazing.

Sad news: Pat Burns has colon cancer. He’s one of my favorite coaches, and I wish him well. I wish there was something active that I could do to help him and his family.

Time to be a grown-up: I’m glad I didn’t get into a dispute with that e-writer who annoyed me yesterday. I received a very funny, good-humoured and well-meant post from the same person today. Sometimes, it pays to keep your damn mouth shut in the heat of the moment.

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