May 29, 2014

Beginning a Writer's Life

The Scan That Started
It All
To think that this all started with a Facebook post...

As part of the "Throwback Thursday" hashtag on Facebook (otherwise known as #tbt, I had posted some photos and documents that I had scanned, but never had done anything with. One of them - you'll find it on the left - was a rejection letter for a Columbo proposal that I had submitted back in my college days....and it not only got some great comments (including pal Jeff's "All the cool kids were writing Murder She Wrote", but it also got me thinking about my current writing "career"....

(Just thank God I couldn't find my long-lost Doctor Who pitch from high school, which involved the Fifth Doctor, Ice Warriors, and crystallized uranium)

One of the reasons I started this blog ten years ago was to keep my writing skills up to scratch (as well as - let's face it - have some kind of presence online). It's faltered in the past year due to other issues, but ironically, one of those issues has been an increase in other forms of writing...the kinds of writing that can potentially pay bills, or - more realistically - grab me an extra-large coffee from Dunkin' Donuts.

It's a challenge trying to balance both blogging and writing fiction - in fact, that'sChicago Now and Comic Related. Yet, since I began writing the Wonderman webcomic for Excelsior (check out Siskoid's great blog breakdown/shout-out), things have been busy. (One note - I've actually written three scripts for Wonderman, due to my not reading e-mails properly...and yes, my comic script is a little wordy, why do you ask?)
part of the reason why I've given myself a bit of a break when it comes to blogging. (Although I've worked hard to maintain my regular work for both

But creative/fiction writing has been a challenge - partially, it's about carving out an appropriate amount of time. (Meaning that I am learning the hard way that insomnia can be a writer's best friend). Mostly, it's the cliche of perfectionism, and my desire to have my characters to seem real, even if I'm "only" writing pulp.

(First big news - I'm stating, for the record, that I'm a pulp writer. There may be some that will complain that I'm "better" than that, or that I may be wasting my talents....but have you read any Raymond Chandler? Dashiell Hammett? Jim Thompson? I'll wager that some of my favorite authors like Jonathan Kellerman and Sara Paretsky are pulp. But I also like the fact that pulp is the ultimate democratic art form, and that with an increased call for a diverse range of characters in more literary aspects, pulp seems a natural choice. Plus, I happen to like writing stories that are a bit escapist - as a child, I would be off in a corner drawing superhero stories as I recited the dialogue; it only makes sense that I want to continue that in my adulthood)

It also means that, within the next few months, I'll have some works coming out that I'll definitely promote here - stories that were written late last year, and which kept me from writing the blog. Details are forthcoming, but expect to see me in several Pro Se Productions anthologies. (Oh, and by the way? Tommy Hancock, impresario of Pro Se, is a gentleman and a scholar, and knows how to rock a fedora). I will also have a story published in Dreamer's Syndicate: New World Navigation, an anthology assembled by a great blogger/writer named Mark Bousquet. (Read his blog - you'll like it, trust me). And in my "free" time, I'm crafting a tale of a "classic" pulp character for Airship 27 (which will be everything you've come to expect from me....and which I'd better get back to writing at some point...)

Writing has been a welcome relief from some of my other, more down-to-earth pursuits. (Plus, writing fiction is more enjoyable than revising and editing cover letters). But when I look at the scope of my life - how creativity has driven much of what I've done - I realize that right now, on some level, I'm only just starting....and at an age where I'm wondering if many other chances have passed me by, at least I can take advantage of one opportunity that makes me feel less obsolete.

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