Still Excited

So today I was working my way through the outline for Cawdor and I was relieved to find that I am still excited for the project.  With all the interruptions and emotional turmoil of the last few months I had not been able to devote much time or energy to this project. Then the short story — A Song Of Silence — came along diverted me again.

After all that I was afraid that my passion for Cawdor had ebbed; not so.  Reading through the outline feeling the pulse of the story got me excited to get working on it. I hope to be turning out prose pages within a week or so. There is more spade work to be done. Mainly in area that were underdeveloped in the first version of my outline that I have a better understanding in how to develop.

I’m still hoping to bring this in for around 110,000 words.


Cawdor outline, version one, finished

So tonight I finished my outline for my next novel, Cawdor. This is version one of the outline as I will need to go through and tweek it a bit and flesh out things I had not expected. However that said I am very happy with the outline and where the story went. I started where I wanted to, I ended where I wanted to and I think the trip in between was interesting. Now a week or so of detail work and I can start writing the novel it self.


The Return Of The Sunday Night Movie: L.A. Confidential

I apologize for the long absence of my regular feature, Sunday Night Movie. The last several weeks have been filled with all sorts personal issue and drama leaving me too tired and and wrung out to watch movies, much less blog about them. I am happy to report that things seem to be getting back on an more even keel and life is slowly returning to normal.

Sunday afternoon I picked a copy of L.A. Confidential on blu-ray. I already owned the film in the DVD format, but the blu-ray was well prices and came with numerous new bonus features. I spent Sunday afternoon and evening digging through the bonus feature, before settling in to watch this film I love once more.

This is a sprawling complex character -driven movie and one that should have won Best Picture in 1997. (The nominees were As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, Titanic, and L.A. Confidential. Titanic won, but it did not deserve the prize in that line-up.) Based on the large — and many ways inferior — novel by James Ellroy, LA Confidential is the story crime, corruption, and illusion in L.A. in the 1950s.  The film had a modest budget for 1997 — 15 million dollars — and few stars. Kevin Spacey had just the year before won an Oscar for his role in The Usual Suspects (I another film I adore) Kim Basinger and Danny DeVito were well known, but cast here in supporting roles. (Kim Basinger went on to win an Oscar for her performance in L.A. Confidential.) The remaining lead actors in the films were at that time unknowns to the American Public, Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce. Two Aussie actors who have go one to be stars and leading men in their own rights.

L.A. Confidential is a rich and powerful period crime story that is clearly set in the 1950s, but without the saccharine sweetness of nostalgia.  It is a film that in many ways is a revival of Film Noir, but without looking like it was a revival. It is dense and complex and expect the viewer to be smart enough to follow along. It doesn’t backdown from racism and classism of the period without resorting to preachiness and lectures. It lets the characters be who they are true to their fault and their culture. Photographic with gorgeous colors and detail this film is a feast for the eye, told expertly and with stunningly powerful action it is a feast for the brain, the music, both period and original is pitch perfect.

I cannot recommend this film enough.


Been missing

Sorry I have been out of it for the last couple of days. Monday was sniffles and a regular headache and yesterday was fully clogged-up and a migraine headache. I stayed home from work yesterday and pretty much just whimpered in the dark.

I will have a new Sunday night movie posting for you tonight. While walking around Fry’s electronics on Sunday afternoon with a apl looking at LCD and LED Tvs, (For his house not mine, I already am very happy with my LCD 42″ set) I spotted a good deal on the movie L.A. Confidential . Truly it was the film that should have won best picture and not Titanic. Because it wasa good price and came loaded with new bonus features I had to buy it replacing my DVD of the movie. I also picked up for under $20 Inglorious Basterds another really good film.

Chat with you soon.


We got lucky

As you may have seen on the news winter storms swept through souther California this week. San Diego is not set-up for storm and never deals well with rain.

On the worst day of the storm we had winds gusting to nearly sixty miles per hour and heavy rainfall. Our freeways were congested and power was failing all over the county. Trees also fell with alarming regularity.  Below is a photo of just how lucky my sweetie-wife and I got on Thursday.

tThe building beyond the fallen tree is our condo building and our unit it just out of frame to the right.  thursday night I walked up th steps on the right side of the frame, turned and went inside and totally failed on my spot roll in that I did not notice the tree. (It was night, but still that’s a pretty massive spot fail don’t you think?

Here’s a close up of the roots of this tree.


War On Terror Rant

I am annoyed at the current state of thing in this ‘war on terror.’
First off I have never liked the idea of a war on a common noun. You can’t win that kind of war because the common noun will always be around. The wars on poverty and drugs are wonderful examples of that sort of stupidity. I am all for war on a named enemy, say Al Qaeda and it’s allies. You know when you’ve won that war. With they give up or cease to exit.
Besides that point I’m really fed-up with the stupid and pointless political crap that gotten in the way of pursuing our enemies.    The current state of affairs seems to be that on one side of argument you have to be for torture and going all Jack Bauer on their stupid medieval skulls, and the only other option is go full court ACLU with Miranda and layers of lawyers.
Continue reading War On Terror Rant


A movie I am salivating to see.

Now the trailer embedded below is for a german language film that was made in 2008, but I found the trailer first over at the Apple web site just last week. This is giving me hope that there is going to be an American release of the movie to theaters.
I really hope so, this is one film I would not miss.
Now I understand that film and history usually part ways and I expect the same here, but still this looks wicked cool.


Why I write with an outline

There is a saying in Hollywood, “Paper is cheaper than film.” That means it is always easier to experiment and work out story issues in the script before you start trying to film the movie. I find a similar thing is true of writing novels.

Outlines are faster than novels.

When I write I use an outline for anything larger than a short story. I find it is an essential part of my tool-kit in learning what my story really is and how to make it work to the best possible advantage. In the outline I can experiment with plot developments and twists. I can have a characters captured, killed, or ignored and see how that affects the overall plot and the other characters. If something doesn’t work, I have not wasted dozens of pages, perhaps thousands of words and who knows how many hours chasing down the wring path.

I understand not all writers can use the outline method. When I go to convention sometimes I feel like I am the token outline using author there and everyone else in the world simply fires up their favorite word-processors and the characters take off on adventures. I cannot do that. I have to know how my story is going to end. To get to that ending I have to have an outline. It’s like a map. I may go off the trail here and there exploring things as they pop-up, but the map lets me know which way is out.

I have had a major breakthrough in my understand of my next novel, ‘Cawdor.’ Because I am still in the outline stage it is easy for me to go back and incorporate all the new ideas and ramifications in the story without having to tear down and re-write most of a novel.

I cannot comprehend writing any other way.


A new short story

Okay I knew a few posts ago I said I was walking away form short stories, but this little diddy came to mind and I just had to write it.

It’s a zombie-apocalypse story and very small. Just over a thousand words. I’m going to had it over to my sweetie-wife tomorrow for her eagle eye in copy-editing. After that I don’t know. I didn’t write it with a market in mind. It was really just an exploration of one idea of atmospheric idea. I may never send it out, but I am happy I wrote it.

I also got use a one of my favorite words in it….moonglade.


Tomorrow’s Special Election

Tomorrow voters go to the polls to elect a senator to represent Massachusetts in the United States Senate seat vacated by the death of Senator Edward Kennedy and currently filled by an interim appointed Senator.

This is I think a critical election. The Democrats currently hold 60 seats and by the current pansy-assed rules for filibusters need all 60 to get their legislation through. (Filibusters have not been non-stop dramatic speeches on the floor of the Senate as seen in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington for years and years. They are now gentlemen’s’ agreements to require 60 votes, something very different.)

If the Democrats lose this 60th vote Health Care Reform is almost certainly dead.

Frankly if I was forced to place a bet tonight it would be that the Democrats will lose this election. The wind is at the Republicans’ back and even in this bluest of blue states victory is within their grasp. Unlike the special election in NY which was primary a local election, this is state-wide and with broad and clear national implications. A defeat here is a defeat for the liberal agenda and could possibly herald a voter wave that might crash against the party in power in November. (Though November is a long way off electorially speaking.)  Maybe even with enough anger and luck the Republicans can take control of the House of Representatives again.

If that happened it would not be the end of the world and the Republicans would have a chance to show that perhaps they have learned some lessons. (I harbor doubts on that front but would be delighted to be wrong.)