Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My First Novel - Mechanical Demons

During the summer of 2003, as a lad of seventeen, I furiously worked on a science fiction novel which sprang forth from inspiration brought on mainly by late-night viewings of imported Japanese anime.  It was a tale of two cybernetic-humans created in a government lab, free from their keepers and on the run, eking out a living through robbery while leaving a trail of bloody destruction in their wake.  Possessing super-human strength and speed, near-invulnerability to gunfire, and an utter disregard for the sanctity of life, the duo came to be known only as Mechanical Demons.

Cyber Ninja from the Playstation game Metal Gear Solid was a definite influence though my cyborgs were less ninja-y and more mass murder-y.

What amazes me today is that I actually completed this work and it came out to a sizable chunk of writing (about 150-200 pages).  I can still remember sitting at the family computer (an ancient Dell desktop circa 2000) religiously each and every day to dutifully tap out another gory fight scene or a dramatic conclusion to a chapter.  Even when I caught a bad flu, I continued to write through the sickness, my fever-fueled hallucinations only adding to the ever-growing flow of creativity.

Set on a future earth locked in some sort of global conflict (I'm pulling this all from memory), where cybernetic implants were acceptable as both replacements for damaged body parts and enhancements for the rich, the novel attempted to ask and answer the question: What truly makes us human?

Heavy stuff.

 
Sadly I was not able to fit lightsabers into the novel


More of a patchwork of homages to scenes, characters, and set-pieces from my favorite works of media and literature than an actual work of original fiction, this first attempt was, well, pretty terrible, as I'm sure you can imagine.  Of course, at the time, I thought it was beyond amazing.  I thought that this would be my big break into the world of published fiction.

Unfortunately for you, nothing remains of this cybernetic epic (read: I don't want to look for and find the buried away floppy disk containing the novel) so I cannot post an excerpt.  Just imagine the worst piece of pretentious, over-wrought, childish sci-fi/fantasy fan-fiction that you can and that's pretty much it.  All I can think of right now is that one of the chapters involved smoking pot, gang violence, and of course, robots kicking ass.  Also a chapter on the absurdity of religion... 

Yeah.  It was that bad.  So here's hoping my next completed novel (coming to a electronic bookstore near you in the fall of 2042) will be a)complete and b)something that I won't push away to the darkest recesses of my desk drawers.




UPDATE:

I completely forgot one of the key agencies that helped me on my journey.  Nothing short of the heart-pumping and head-thumping beatz of Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory and Meteora would work to propel me through an intense combat passage or chase scene.  I know for a fact that I listened to both of those albums on repeat at least twenty times each during the process.  They were my screaming, disc-scratching, guitar-riffing muses and I'll never forget (forgive?) them for it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sanitarium

This spot of verse today is brought to you by the talented Laura of Literary Legs.  Visit her site for excellent articles of literary insight along with selections of her poetry and prose.  Enjoy!

I think I’m almost healthy now.
I broke into the new year of 2007 as a terminal patient,
Through the clean-hedged doors of January,
The reception area of a quiet hospice home.

I did what the other patients did. I sat up,
Rocked and murmured at the blank walls of my reason,
Screamed and cried and died a little with each
Surreal attempt to define all things in essentials.

Mother--

I think I’m almost healthy now.
I had almost internalized your verbosity
Of stringent epithets. Your shabby reproofs.
I learnt your brocards well-- too well.

Now I walk the halls of 2009,
I rock and smile. I giggle at the wallpapered
Walls of this, my Summer. My sanitarium.
I’ve learned to draw and play a chord or two on the dulcet.

Ma--

I’m sure I’m healthy now.
I see the glossy calendar pictures, not the black
And white cells. I live in the scenes, not the digits.
I live in the world, not a Styrofoam model City of God.

Nothing is essential in this century.
Motifs of error and an onerous dowry is what we inherit
And pass on. The only pristine logic left to us
Is the beautiful absurdity of compassion.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest - Rotting Banana Bowl

I believe this counts as my first blogfest.  This one revolves around poetry so it's a good fit.

Many thanks to Shelly for hosting this shin-dig.  I'm not much of a poet but I do dabble a bit.  Here goes....




Rotting Banana Bowl

Too soft to eat.
Make bread she says, but you're not a baker
No not at all, but something needs to be done.

In a wide bowl with painted fruit at its bottom
Idealistic setting for the fresh and yet unripened.

Soft and too sweet, a color like disintegrating cream underneath
The darkening, spotted skin.
Don't eat it, don't waste it, save it for bread, I'll make some.

It grew in a place hot and wet,
A seed for a new life.

89 cents a pound at the grocery store.
Throw it in with the rest, someone will eat it,
Not me but someone. 

Black little husks of what was,
Putrid and mushed brown inside,

Can't cook with, too disgusting to look at,
To smell like flowery vomit
Is what I'll do if you try to eat that
Just throw it out with the rest and throw it out in the alley so the whole house doesn't stink up.

We'll get some more tomorrow.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Write EVERY Day

It's a challenge to do and it's something that, while I know I should do, I have never been able to do successfully.  You'll hear from countless sources that writing every single day, whether you have anything worth writing about or not, is the best way to go about creating a flow of ideas as well as acting as a daily exercise designed to continually improve your writing skill.  As you know and, as I have learned over the years, the only way to truly improve that writing skill is through actually writing.  No amount of literature or instruction on the topic will inform you, a writer, better than taking part in the act itself.

by Smile
So ideally, to be a better writer, I need to write everyday, no exceptions.  As I said, this is something that I've struggled with for years, never able to establish an ongoing routine.  Well, that's all about to change.

Thanks to Nina, I have happened upon this very cool site which encourages writers and gives them an outlet to write words every day, at least 750 of them to be exact.  The site tracks each day and how many words you write, compiling a number of interesting/funny stats based on the words written (though no human eyes other than yours can actually read them) as well as handing out badges to those that keep a consecutive streak of 750 word days going.

As it stands, I've only completed one day.  But it was actually pretty helpful.  Having that set goal to reach really pushes you to power through and put some text down no matter the quality.

And that really is the problem.  Even with a notebook, I find myself constantly filtering myself, scratching out more story than I put in.  This compulsive need to create perfection during a first draft rather simply focusing on laying down a basic plot structure and getting ideas out into the open has always inhibited me.  Since the site provides you with only a blank computer screen and a word counter, I don't feel so pressured to create something of literary merit every time my hands touch the keyboard.

It might be too early to tell, but I'm thinking this might be the start of a new early morning routine.  Check out the site for yourself and give it a try, let me know what you think.