Ex Machina

While Interstellar looks to be my go-to sci-fi film for 2014, the upcoming Ex Machina might take the crown for 2015 if these trailers are anything to go. Penned by Alex Garland, who did the screenplays for Sunshine and 28 Days Later, Ex Machina marks his directorial debut and looks to be a pretty taut, creepy thriller. Look for it in April.

Ex Machina

Writing is Rewriting

The old adage – writing is rewriting – is a small and wise nugget, but inside this little phrase is a whole world of magic. Maybe that’s a bit too much wide-eyed mysticism, but, damn it, there is power in the rewrite. Old world hoodoo. I’m a believer.

Writing isn’t easy. It’s not working in a mineshaft or being a grave-digger or garbage man difficult, but it can be incredibly frustrating, exhausting, and mind-numbing. The act of carving loose a story is tricky business. Stories, you see, they lurk. They hide and cower, shriveling away in stubborn obstinance, and sometimes they require a tremendous amount of coaxing to do with it what you will.

Not all stories are like this. Not all of them, and not all the time. But sometimes you get a good idea that you just cannot get a solid grip on. It’s an idea that wants to be a story, but which is slimy and feisty and refuses to be pinned down in a corner. That’s when you have to go at it from a different angle. That’s when you rewrite and trap it.

Convergence came somewhat easily, but that second draft…man, that was full of rewriting, trying to get those ideas lined up right and flowing sensibly.

I wanted to follow it up with a horror novel whose idea has been percolating in my head for about six years. I couldn’t even get through the first chapter. It was awful. I had no idea how to start it. Or, at least, I did have an idea but not a proper way of executing it. The idea still lingers, and I’m working on a new approach now. We’ll see if I can nail it down or not.

I shelved it for a while and tackled Emergence, a sequel to Convergence. Again, it came easily. Three months of solid writing and I produced a first draft I was really happy with. I sent it off to my editors at Red Adept. There’s a lot of rewriting in store for me again. I spent this past weekend rewriting and rearranging an entire chapter early on in the book’s going. I’ll be rewriting the ending and expanding it. There’s a whole litany of notes from my content editor, and a heck of a lot of work ahead before it’s publishable. But it’s all doable. I already did a lot of the heavy lifting. Now it’s just finessing and modifying and cleaning shit up.

Consumption came easy, fired out after three days of frenetic writing. That one bled out of me, and took on a life of its own. I wanted to follow it up with another short story for an anthology I’ll be taking part in next year. The first idea I had was solid, but again, the execution was a failure. Just couldn’t figure it out.

I came up with a new idea. It’s called Revolver. It wasn’t always called that, but it is now. I sat down to write it and got about three thousand words in. I was not feeling it at all. There was no direction. There was too much infodump. I had the big idea of splitting the narrative into present day with flashbacks to flesh out the character. It drained the story of any energy, robbed it of any sense of necessity, and felt a lot like chasing after myself in a big damn circle, getting nowhere.

I started over. Not right away, no. I let the ideas run free and waited for the story to come to me. I couldn’t force it, not this time. Trying to deliberately write Revolver was trying to hold onto a fistful of water. No matter how hard I tried, it just kept running away from me, leaking away. I waited and waited, until the story came and told me how to tell it.

Every story is a lesson. There’s always something new to learn, a new approach, a new mechanism. The imp inside Revolver wanted to change everything – narrative choices, point of view, characters, everything that surrounded the core concept of that small, initial kernel of an idea.

Sometimes, you just have to wait and listen hard. And rewrite.

Writing is Rewriting

Reblog: Marvel Studios Announces “Captain Marvel,” “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War” – Comic Book Resources

Avengers

Excuse me while I freak the fuck out!

I am absolutely amazed and astonished by this uncanny news report of all-new Marvel movies coming up over the next few years.

Check out Comic Book Resources full report:

Marvel Studios Announces “Captain Marvel,” “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War” – Comic Book Resources.

It’s hard to believe that Avengers: Age of Ultron is coming out soon, and yet it still feels so far away… That trailer blew me away and has become a frequent source of viewing since it released last week. I’m definitely looking forward to more footage during tonight’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s coming up, according to CBR, with Ant-Man official kicking off Phase III.

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron – May 1, 2015
  • Ant-Man – July 17, 2015
  • Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016
  • Doctor Strange – Nov. 4, 2016
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok – July 28, 2017
  • Black Panther – Nov. 3, 2017
  • Captain Marvel – July 6, 2018
  • Inhumans – Nov. 2, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity Wars (Part I – May 2018) (Part II – May 2019)

black-panther-concept-8a438

I really cannot express how tremendously excited I am by all of this. I’m ridiculously happy to see Carol Danvers finally getting her big-screen dues in the Captain Marvel movie, but, damn it, not until 2018.

I’m also really curious to see how Infinity War plays out. Captain Marvel could be the bridge that helps connect the intergalactic adventures from the Guardians movies to the rest of the Earth-based MCU. And with Marvel’s propensity to borrow from recent story-lines, as with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I’m wondering how much Hickman’s epic war story, Infinity, will serve as a basis for the Avengers two-parter. Especially given the prominence of Black Panther in that comic’s pages and as a member of the New Avengers. And, can I just say, an Avengers two-parter?!?!?!?!?! Wow. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes to all of this.

There’s just so much to absorb here, and even more to speculate, wonder, and day-dream about. Maybe even a little too much.

Reblog: Marvel Studios Announces “Captain Marvel,” “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War” – Comic Book Resources

Reblog: New Release: The Indie Author Power Pack: How To Write, Publish & Market Your Book

Michael Patrick Hicks:

Great deal, and some great resources too!

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

indie-power-pack-blogFor the last few months I have been secretly planning an assault on the New York Times bestseller list. Today, I can finally announce the release of the book I’m hoping will do the trick.

The IndieAuthorPowerPack: How To Write, Publish & Market Your Book contains three top-rated guides:

  • Write. Publish. Repeat by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
  • Let’s Get Digital (2nd ed.) by me
  • How To Market A Book (2nd ed.) by Joanna Penn
  • + Bonus Content!

It’s only available for a limited time, and you can pre-order it now for just 99c at:

Amazon|Apple|B&N|Kobo|$0.99

The box will launch on Monday, November 3, but if you pre-order now the book will automatically download to your device next Monday.

I took great care in selecting the books for this box set. I wanted to present the very…

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Reblog: New Release: The Indie Author Power Pack: How To Write, Publish & Market Your Book

AsapSCIENCE: Can You Erase Bad Memories?

AsapSCIENCE recently released the following video, “Can You Erase Bad Memories?”

It’s a poignant question, and certainly possible given our real-world science. A larger question was at the root of my sci-fi thriller, Convergence, and it’s 2015 follow-up, Emergence.

Perhaps the bigger question is, would you want to?

AsapSCIENCE: Can You Erase Bad Memories?

Reblog: Amazon’s Kindle Scout Crowdsourced Publishing Platform Goes Live

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Amazon wants to take some of the mystery out of predicting what books will sell with its new Kindle Scout publishing program, which lets readers vote on their favourite excerpts from unreleased books to determine what does (and what doesn’t) get published. Welcome to the court to common opinion, aspiring authors.

In exchange for their participation in the program, Kindle Scout users will get free book credits, based on their ability to successfully pick winners. Those who nominate books that eventually get published will get a free Kindle version of the e-book a full week before publication day.

Readers will determine which books rise to the top of the voting pool, but a dedicated Kindle Scout team will have the final say, choosing from a selection of the most popular titles after a 30-day open voting period to determine which ones get the final publication nod. The whole process…

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Reblog: Amazon’s Kindle Scout Crowdsourced Publishing Platform Goes Live