Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

      Well it's that time of year again, specifically, Christmas Day. No doubt you got that from the title of the post, or the time stamp on when it was done, but either way, Merry Christmas! I've always like the abbreviated styl of X-Mas because it looks close to X-Men and as we all know, anything comics-related is a good thing.

     The boys were up at a semi-resonable time today, just before 7, and managed to take their time opening their presents (although I've learnt to throw lots of little stuff at them or they'll be done in SECONDS) and seemed more or less pleased with what they got. I myself was the receipient of my very first pair of New Balance running shoes (SWEET! though I don't RUN, they will be awesome for walking) and a surprisingly cool Boston Bruins gnome. He looks like my kinda gnome. If I had a kind. Which I guess he is.

     It's always been an interesting time of year for me, giving gifts, amazingly, has always been my favourite part. I know alot of people SAY that but for me it's true. I like the challenge of finding something that they'd never thought of getting themselves or never knew was out there. It's fun. The kid in me though still likes to play at guessing what I'm getting though and, once again, I managed to predict at least one of my presents just by looking at the box (woo! After 8 chocolates! Mmmm...) and using my Captain Awesome psychic present-detecting powers.

     The part I liked the most this year though was having been able to spend time with some close friends during the hustle and bustle of the season. Good friends that made the time to see me and spend time enjoying each other's company. That, by far, was the best present I could have hoped for. Thank you to them for making the time.

     That's what this season is supposed to be about right? Spending time with people that matter to us? Not just the gifts. Actually... The gift of oneself, of friendship and love, is really the gift that matters. Think about it for a second. If someone stranger walked up and gave you a Ferrari that'd be pretty cool, right? But would that be AS COOL as your best friend handing you the keys to the blue and white 1957 four door Chevy Bel Air that you've wanted since junior high? (By the way anyone reading this that wants to buy me said car, I've since switched to wanting a '55 black and white 2 door hardtop Bel Air, thanks) A gift from someone who knows you and puts that effort of themselves into it is always the best. Because they cared. And that's the best thing of all.               

     Stay awesome my friends, and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Stuck! AKA Stuck Between a Block and a Hardcase

     If you have ever gotten into writing, at one point or another, unless you're some crazy-ass writing machine like Isaac Asimov was (read his stuff, it ROCKS), you've managed to find yourself at a dead end. Maybe you didn't plan ahead and wrote yourself into a corner or maybe you just lost steam and interest, either way it happens. That is where I have found myself for the past week. Difficult as it may be to accept, even I am sometimes at a loss for words. Or at least at a loss of words that make sense. Gibberish is always easy to come out with but people tend to expect better than that if they're going to spend their valuable time reading whatever it is that you wrote. (Ha! Joke's on you, you're reading THIS! But please, keep reading, I do have a point. Or something like that. It gets better anyhow. At least not AS bad. Please keep reading!)

     Ok, so as I established in the last paragraph, all of thirty seconds ago, unless your hooked on phonics course never paid off, I am in a bit of a writing rut. Writing rut. Say it out loud, it sounds funny. Yes, I am odd. SO WHAT? Where was I...oh yes! The rut! The last bit, say two weeks more or less, I have been working on a new comic script, this one being titled The Revenant. I started off well, had written up the character concept last year, sometime in October I think it was, and finally got around to plotting out what the initial story featuring him/her/it would be not that long ago. So here we are, pen to paper time. I immediately had a scene in mind, lifted from an ironically similar situation, story that I started years ago. We open on an alleyway at night time in a major city. It is dark, dirty and scary. A man, Japanese in ethnic origin, is running down the alley full-tilt, as though his life depends on it. It does. We see him glance up and over his shoulder to the rooftops above, searching desperately for something. He is terrified, with a capital T. His eyes widen, his fear increasing, as he spots the reason behind his fleeing. A shadowy figure with glowing red eyes jumps across the alley back and forth between the rooftops, stalking him. With the distance it covers with each leap it obviously is anything BUT human. It crisscrosses with each jump, seeming effortlessly and in no rush. Think a jungle cat chasing down it's prey. Graceful, powerful, confident in the inevitability of the result of its hunt.

     Sounds interesting so far? Sure hope so! I do have more to it but that's all I'm going to share detail-wise at the moment. For the purposes of this blog though, I will say that have the ending to that scene, the scene after that and one or two more. What I do NOT have though, is the scenes that come after those two or three others. middle and no ending. Do I have any idea what I want them to be? Sort of... Kinda. Ok I have a VAGUE idea for an ending. Now normally I wouldn't be TOO concerned about that. I've written myself into dead ends, corners, back tracked, flipped it around and done the standard, when in doubt add ninjas, kinda thing. But. I have never been on a deadline and had this happen. And therein, we come to the title for the blog. I hesitate to call it writer's block but I'm stuck and have yet to see any results of my slam-head-into-wall solution that usually works out well for him. As for the hardcase part, I now have an editor, one that not only has agreed to peruse my writings and critque them but to help me become (as close as I can get to being) more professional in my approach to my writing. That means deadlines. Deadlines that she harasses me about. Which is excellent, that's one of the many things an editor does. What they DON'T do, however, is tell you what to write. They may make suggestions, but at the end of the day it is the WRITER'S job to write, no one else's. 

    Now that we've established who's job is who's, how do I go about doing mine? And on time? Easy! You plead the holidays and say that you'll be a bit late! Wait. That doesn't work. It may buy you some much needed time but it doesn't get it done. In this case I decided to take some time out and write this. It's like talking out a problem to yourself, though this way it's in print and your cat or the guy across from you on the bus doesn't look at you like you're nuts. For the record, Captain Awesome does NOT take the bus. That's what the Awesome-mobile is for. I changed the format of the plot too. Instead of a one page summary/overview, I started taking the scenes I had in mind and on paper, and broke them down into page by page guides. Not the the point of each panel, just a quick draft to get the pacing down. It turned out I had alot more done than I thought I did and suddenly the mountain I had ahead of me to write is...well it's still a mountain but not quite as big. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Until then... Stay awesome, my friends!  

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Better Late Than Never! Post Numero Deux!

   Well, here we are again! I know I said there would be a post up last weekend, and for that I do apologize! But fear not, gentle reader, this week will feature not one but TWO posts of wicked awesomeness! By the way, this one counts as one of them. If you want a third, you'll have to throw some money my way. ;)

   So....I have a topic! This time, anyhow!

   Today's topic is....creating ideas from damn near nothing, aka how I come up with most of my ideas. It's very simple in fact. You come up with the base idea, whether it be a name of a character, a title for a book, or just something you think sounds cool. Ok, got it? Then you run with it! As far and fast as you can and in every possible direction as you can think to go. Throw in some light researching to top it off,if you want! Let me give you a couple examples of how that can work.  

   Tonight when I was driving home I was thinking about what is truly permanent in life. The saying goes that the only two certain things in life are death and taxes. So that got me thinking... Day in and day out what we do really has little effect on the long term of life. Really. I don't mean to belittle anything that anyone does, but it's true. Whether I look up a part for someone's car or that doctor gives a patient medicine to stop some kind of disease, it all eventually has little overall effect on history or the world around us. In the course of human history there are probably 10,000 people who have left a legacy that has any kind of influence on our daily lives. Most of us will never be one of them. To me, that's ok. I'd rather have a deeper personal connection with a handful of people than to just be a name in a book somewhere, hundreds of years later. Don't get me wrong, I want to write books that will last hundreds of years that people will want to read, and if you're reading this, you sure as hell better be one of those people buying those books. You can read them if you want, as long as I get the cash it's all good.
   So, to how this has any relevance to what I'm writing today. What if you had that same thought but were a, we'll say. Ok more than a little off. Serial killer kinda crazy, that sounds more appropriate for what I ended up with. If you were THAT type of crazy you might reach that same conclusion, that death is one of the only things that has a lasting impression (ok except in comic books, and that IS where I was taking this character but hey, it's his motivation). In the end, I came up with a crazy dude who decides that the only way he can make a name for himself, his legacy, will be that of blood and death. He starts off with one kill. Then another. Soon he realizes that he will need more and more, like any other junkie the fix wears off and, in his mind, more people come into the world every day to replace the ones that he's...removed. Cheery? Hell no! But that was just an example of how one base idea and alot of random over thinking about an old adage can turn into a story idea. Or character.

   Example number two. Years ago I came up with a name for a superhero/villain character. Riptide. At the time all I had in mind was the name, which I thought sounded cool, and maybe, from the conotations of the name, that he would be a water-based hero, in the theme of Aquaman or the Sub-Mariner. Oh and that it was a he. Dunno why on that part, just because. Anyhow years go by and I start adding to it. I decided to go a little different with my version of Atlantis in my stories and decided that this character would be a bad guy. He would be the foil to the hero character, a large, powerful man who was the head of the Atlantean Royal Guard. My villain would be the opposite of that. He would be sneaky. He would be smart. Not too smart for my hero to overcome though, enough to challenge him at the least. Riptide though doesn't start off as a bad guy. The good ones rarely do. He needed motivation. I decided that he would, strongly, disagree with Atlantis opening up realtions with the "surface world" and would take steps to try to set back talks between the two peoples and revert things to "how they should be", according to him.

   This was all well and good but I wanted more. So I did some research. Turns out that rip tides are a misnomer (according to good ol' Wikipedia) and that they are called rip...something...I forget. Probably because it isn't relevant. Or that's what I'm saying to justify forgetting anyhow. What I DID learn however, is how they work. Winds hit the shore and, for lack of better wording, reflect back, pushing the water at great speeds, seawards. If that's a word. Towards the sea. Either way, it results in a sudden and violent movement in the water that can result in death. Hey, I thought to my wonderous self, that would be a cool character trait! Maybe this guy is, normally a cool and collected kind of guy but occassionaly can snap and loses control of his temper. Violence often ensues. This also works well for what will eventually push him over the edge from being an ok guy to a villain. Here's a look at him, just a beginning idea, still needs some polish though.

   Anyhow I hope that this was, slightly entertaining at least, or informative as to how my writing ideas work, if it seems a bit disjointed well, get used to it, shiny things distract me. And moving pictures. Damn you, television! I'm hoping to get at least a bit of a comic script together for saturday's post or if not, get a MUCH more polished version of my novel's first chapter up for your enjoyment. All depends on what the week brings! Until then, stay awesome, my friends!
                                               Captain Awesome

Saturday, 19 November 2011

First Blog! (on the new blog)

     So! Finally here we are, the very first post! About time considering this blog was made about a month ago. Well not THIS blog, but this blog. Like this post wasn't written a month ago...unless somehow I've unknowingly travelled back in time. That'd be pretty sweet actually, I'd be able to pick the winning lottery ticket numbers or something equally cool, like telling my past self to not wait another month to write my first post. But good things, apparently, come to those who wait (not that I would know as patience is FAR from beingone of my strong points) so rejoice, fair reader, here is what you've been after for so long now! Well, let's be honest here, since this is the first blog, odds are you don't even know that this thing exists! But that's ok! For now that you DO know you can say to yourself, "Oh my god! Here it is! I never even knew that I was waiting for it but now that I know it exists, it's like I've been waiting my whole life for it!"
     Yes, my friend, this blog is just THAT DAMN GOOD. Why, you ask? Beyond the basic reason that is I, the one, the only, the amazing, spectacular, incredible, fantastic and all around super-cool Captain Awesome writing it, ummm.. Really do you NEED any other reason? I mean that should be more than enough. Like seriously, when you stop and think about it, don't you feel lucky that you get to read all this wicked-awesomeness written by me, for FREE? Free entertainment. From me, Captain Awesome. You are one lucky S.O.B. Well now that I have regaled you with my uncomparable wit, charm and all-around smoothness, I suppose that I should get on-topic.
     Hmm. What is the topic?
     Well to be honest, I never really thought that far ahead. I kinda figured that I'd just spend a couple paragraphs talking about how great this whole me blogging thing was and...ya not too much of a plan, but there it is! And what an epic plan it was! Until it all came crashing down. Kinda like Roberto Luongo's dreams of winning a Stanley Cup last year (Go Bruins!). My apologies to any Vancouver Canucks fans- if it makes you feel better it was because the had a local boy leading the charge (Lucic) and I've always thought Trevor Linden was a super classy dude. So...anyhow...where was I? Oh yes! Topic! Every good blog should have one! And ya ok there Mr. or Ms. Smarty Pants, just because I DON'T have one doesn't mean that this is not a good blog. Nice try. Leave the funny comments to the expert (Dr. Captain Awesome).
     Onwards! So not too long ago, actually at the begining of this month (that being November although I assume this thing comes with a date stamp on it, though one can never be too sure...damn you technology...foiling so many of my plans...secret plans so don't even ask what they were, or maybe ask but don't expect and answer until another blog, ha! made you come back!) I decided to enter the NaNoWriMo contest thingy. That stands for National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write 50,000 words by midnight, Nov.30. I decided to accept this challenge with all the forethought I usually put in on any challenge presented to me. Just in case you hadn't noticed by this blog not having a topic, forethought is ALSO not always a character trait I possess. Where was I? Oh ya, the novel. Well, let me tell you something, it started off GREAT! Maybe the content needed a fair bit of work but the idea was to just write and not worry about what needed to be fixed, and write I did. For approximately the first week and a half.
    Then, life caught up.
    Putting aside a couple hours out of every day to focus on one thing is EXTREMELY hard to do. Try it sometime, you'll see what I mean. So much happens in the day to day grind that can get in the way or even worse, distract you. Hell, my phone just beeped with about six text messages as I sat here writing THIS. So anyhow, long story short, I stopped. I didn't quit, I stopped. To me the distinction is very important. I managed to work on several other projects in the time inbetween, including now this very blog entry that had so long been put off. If I learnt anything from that week and a half and 14,542 words that I wrote, is that you can do anything, if you out your mind to it and are willing to take the time. And if you don't quit. Never give up, never surrender! (If you got the reference on that last bit, good on you!) So I took a break, I did other things, I watched my beloved Boston Bruins go on, so far, an eight game win streak, and now I'll sit myself down and keep plugging away at it, because in the end only you can prevent forest fires. No wait, that wasn't the moral, was it? Crap. I think there was going to be some kind of deep meaningful thought at the end. Hm. Don't let the bastards win, give something back to the people that support you in your efforts at whatever it is you are passionate about and above all else... KEEP READING THIS BLOG.   Thank you and good night!

                                                           Captain Awesome
                                                                                                 (aka Andrew Lorenz)