Making More

I’m ready to come back to this blog, with a bit of a rejiggered focus.

The core of it is: I’m a writer. And yet, writing isn’t enough.

That sounds needlessly depressing, doesn’t it, like I’m about to jump off a bridge or something. Not the case.

For the past year most of my productive, non-job time has been dominated by Unicorn City, a musical that I wrote and that opens this Friday.

This is the biggest production I’ve ever been involved in. Working on it has driven home something that I knew without knowing: just how much bigger the project is than words. The script is important, maybe even most important, but every prop, or costume, or musical cue, or uncategorized adjunct piece can add to or detract from the awesome.

I’ve also realized that I have to take responsibility for these additional bits, something that I have been afraid of in the past. That’s obviously stupid—I’ve long known that the difference between a writer and a non-writer is simply the act of writing—but such is the power of self-definition.

I suspect that my dream job would be to make and share cool stuff by any means and technique appropriate. Publishing should be that, although it frequently isn’t—it is far too often self-shackled by its print roots, and far too often shackled by the whims of advertisers. Many other jobs could be that also, although I’m not sure how many actually are, or could be.

So to sum up: Writing remains my core, but other making can and should supplement. “Omnicreator” has a nice ring to it, no?

Well, I’ll think about it.

Bitchslapped by Burnout

Well, I’m back.

Not that I was gone, except for a 4-day period when I was technically in Boston (of which I saw the convention center, my hotel room, a couple of chain restaurants down the street from the hotel, and the fact that Sinbad apparently is still alive.)

But the three-week-or-so sabbatical from writing, a period of burnout triggered (though not caused) by some spectacularly bad laundry room techniques—I’m calling it done. I needed the break; things were getting UnFun, but now I need it to be in the past.

(This happens to me periodically. Not much to fear.)

February is shaping up to be, well, insanity. Most notably, FAWM, which I don’t have time for, but I am going to do anyway. But also, I’ve got rehearsals for Three Legged Race‘s new show After, Life starting on Saturday, and another show at Gorilla Tango, Improvised Joss Whedon, that opens in February. Much more about them later. Oh, yeah, and there’s also work, of which the fallout from those four days in Boston still needs to be dealt with, as well as a major project that has to be done by March. So for the next month, basically, I don’t get to sleep. Oh well.

Anyhow, this crappy little post is just here to get me to post again. I’ll be entertaining/funny/coherent/less whiny soon. See you then.

Monthly Metapost: Happy New Year Edition

Happy new year! Good bye and good riddance to 2009. Much better things are in store for 2010. (Including something that I’ll be announcing at the end of this post—but you’ll have to read on or else just master that little scroll button thingy in your mouse to find out!)

What’s this blog for? Self-promotion for me and entertainment for you.

My goal is to write novels for a living. Specifically, comedic novels with an occasional science fiction bent. So here I’m sharing my writing, in hopes that you’ll enjoy it so that when I do start to get books published, you’ll be interested in buying them.

I also perform improv comedy, write and perform in theater and on video, and write music*, so the blog will also contain samples and promotion in those fields, as well as occasional thoughts on the various crafts.

Like what you see? Wonderful! Like what you see and want to help me out? You can: subscribe to the blog (the RSS feed is at the end of the right-hand sidebar) or my Twitter feed (twitter.com/greglandgraf), which right now is pretty much filling the same function. You can also comment, and link to the site.

And if you see anything that you think friends would enjoy, send them over, won’t you? Word-of-mouth is awesome.

* “Write music” is perhaps a strong term. I’m an award-winning lyricist (which is less impressive than it sounds) but pretty much inept at the creating-the-music part. That’s something I’m planning to work on, and even “composed” a brief little 3-chord motif for a beginner’s contest on Ukulele Underground.

Introducing:

Project Optimism logo

Project Optimism is a new, well, thing that I’m doing. The basic concept? I’m going to work to keep a positive outlook through 2010. This is a big change for me.

The site isn’t going to be your bog-standard gassy inspiration tripe. It’s going to have creative swearing, for one thing. Intrigued? Head on over.

Monthly Metapost

Hey there! This is my once-a-month, “Who exactly is this Future Famous Author Greg Landgraf guy, anyway?” post.

This blog exists for me to share my writing, which is generally comedic fiction with some science fiction bent. So I hope you enjoy it. In the mid-term, I hope to publish a novel, and then a whole bunch more novels, such that I’m able to make a living at it. And so I’m hoping that this blog will serve a self-promotion function that will make the “making a living” goal ultimately achievable. I say that in the interest of full disclosure, not to imply any obligation on your part.

I also perform improv comedy, write and perform in theater and on video, and write music*, so the blog will also contain samples and promotion in those fields, as well as occasional thoughts on the various crafts.

Like what you see? Wonderful! Like what you see and want to help me out? You can: subscribe to the blog (the RSS feed is at the end of the right-hand sidebar) or my Twitter feed, which right now is pretty much filling the same function. You can also comment, and link to the site, and tell friends who might enjoy my work.

Hate what you see and want to tell me what an idiot I am? Don’t bother. I have a job where I have the joyous opportunity for that any time I want and then some. You don’t want to be redundant, do you?

* “Write music” is perhaps a strong term. I’m an award-winning lyricist (which is less impressive than it sounds) but pretty much inept at the creating-the-music part. That’s something I’m planning to work on, and even “composed” a brief little 3-chord motif for a beginner’s contest on Ukulele Underground.

Hypertattoo

You’re from another planet,” Carla declared, awed.

“Sort of,” Nathan acknowledged. “I guess. In a way. But not exactly.”

Carla harrumphed. “Do you live on a planet?” she barked.

“Yes.

“Is it this one?”

Nathan shook his head, no.

“Then you come from another planet.” Carla topped this statement off with a self-satisfied smile and nod.

“But that’s not precisely true,” Nathan protested. “It’s not so much that I come from another planet as it is that I come from another dimension.”

“You come from time?” Marty piped in, half-facetious and half-disbelieving. Nathan and Carla greeted the statement with their own mixture of confusion and anger, so he felt the need to explain. “The fourth dimension, you know? Time. Isn’t that what scientists say?”

“Scientists are wrong,” Nathan said, letting the words thud their way into the conversation.

“It’s a coexisting reality,” Carla offered. “They must be made of neutrinos or tachyons or something like that, right?”

Carla was, at least, closer. “It’s more that your three dimensions are a very small subset of ours,” Nathan explained. “We’re aware of you, even though you’re not aware of us.”

“You’re like a security guard at the mall,” Marty said. “You can see everyone, because you’ve got video monitors trained on everything, but we don’t know that you exist unless we see the big upside-down silver dome thing that looks like it’s supposed to be decorative and realize that there’s probably a camera inside it. Right?”

“Those upside-down silver domes have cameras inside them?” Nathan asked, shocked. “They are not very good, then. I steal from stores all the time. I guess it’s a fair metaphor, though. It’s easy—well, not that difficult, at least—to come here from Tivoli, because we know where we need to go. Getting back isn’t so easy, because my home lies in a direction that doesn’t so much exist. I mean, it sort of exists, because it must somehow, and I can almost even see it, sort of over there.” Nathan pointed to a space behind, above, and to the left of him, but to get there he twisted and coiled his arms enough to suggest it had at least two more joints than it actually did.

“So it’s a one-way trip,” Marty suggested.

“That’s not precisely true,” Nathan replied, with much the same inflection as before. “It’s more just that I can’t return. There is equipment that will sort of act as a tether to my dimension, or a guiderope, or something. I don’t know anything about how it actually works, just what it does. And that they were pretty clear that my ship wouldn’t have one.”

Marty figured this meant that Nathan was stuck on Earth and might as well just make the best of it, and was about to say so, but Carla was a bit quicker. “Another dimension. What’s it like?”

“It’s like…” Nathan’s brows furrowed and he scratched his cheek in consideration of how to boil the enormity of the question down to a concept that words could possibly convey. “It’s like if you had a tattoo that was of yourself on yourself, but the tattoo was a hundred and twenty-five percent scale.”

Carla gestured with her fingers in an attempt to work out the spatial relations of this declaration. She eventually managed to, in her mind at least. “Hypertattoo,” she intoned, as reverently as a bishop might discuss the Shroud of Turin.

“All very well,” interrupted Marty, significantly less reverently. “But if you can’t get back, then exactly what is it that you want us to do?”

*****

This is something I’ve worked up for Exile Issues, although I’m not sure that I’m going to be using it in anything resembling this form.

The basic story of the book is that Nathan, a man from another dimension, is exiled to ours, and attempts to get back to his. His dimension has four, uh, spatial dimensions, and while it’s relatively simple to get from his to ours, getting back is much harder. This is a first attempt to explain how that works.

Apart from the tattoo line and the security guard line, though, I suspect this won’t make the final cut. I’ve got an idea of how I want to do it; the information will come from the narrator and discuss all of the known dimensions and their attitudes toward those below them.

*****

Also, in metaposty-news: I’ve added a list of links and added a section to announce what I’m reading. The first is because I like them, and the second is mostly to hold myself accountable to constantly be reading. It’s fundamental, right? Both are in the right-hand sidebar.

Monthly Metapost: “What’s this, then?”

My goal is to write novels for a living. Specifically, comedic novels with an occasional science fiction bent. This blog exists primarily for me to share my writing in a fairly shameless act of self-promotion. But hopefully you’ll enjoy the writing, so it will really be a symbiotic thing. Fair enough?

I also perform improv comedy, write and perform in theater and on video, and write music*, so the blog will also contain samples and promotion in those fields, as well as occasional thoughts on the various crafts.

Like what you see? Wonderful! Like what you see and want to help me out? You can: subscribe to the blog (the RSS feed is at the end of the right-hand sidebar) or my Twitter feed (twitter.com/greglandgraf), which right now is pretty much filling the same function. You can also comment, and link to the site, and tell friends who might enjoy my work.

Hate what you see and want to tell me what an idiot I am? Don’t bother. I have a job where I have the joyous opportunity for that any time I want and then some. You don’t want to be redundant, do you?

* “Write music” is perhaps a strong term. I’m an award-winning lyricist (it’s not quite as impressive as it sounds) but pretty much inept at the creating-the-music part. I do plan a heavy push to work on that early in 2010, so perhaps this asterisk will go away in future metaposts.

Can I Call It A Book Yet?

Well, no, not really. But I can call it something, because today I finished the first draft of the novel.

Is it good? Of course not.

That’s not even a self-dig. When I started the book (in March, if you count the very first words I wrote on it, or about six weeks ago, if you count when I started working on it in earnest) I had absolutely nothing planned. So the fact that this first draft has a bunch of things that change names, and a number of places where I’m just treading water figuring out what to write next, and a bunch of cool stuff that’s seeded but which never truly develops into anything, isn’t really a problem. The purpose of the draft was to get it out so that I can see what’s there and start shaping it in the next draft.

There are solid accomplishments in this draft beyond simply completing it, too. I’m pretty much satisfied with the overall plot, and there are a number of sections that just work. (Most recently, a survey on the effectiveness of a community policing effort.)

I’m calling it Exile Issues for now, which is getting closer to the right title, although I don’t think it’s right yet.

And enough of that for now. I’m going to spend some time (roughly a month) not thinking about the book before starting on the second draft. During that time, I’ll be working on Tales from Aathenaar, a sketch comedy show. I can tell you that that one will be set in a fantasy realm, where not nearly enough sketch comedy is set, and it’s going to have some decidedly militaristic unicorns, which also don’t show up nearly enough. (The unicorns may use the Meow Mix theme as their battle cry, but I’m not sure if that will work out.)