Saturday, December 17, 2011

Busy Reinventing

Amazing how much can happen in a few weeks -- all because I decided that changing my job wasn't enough for the Year of Reinvention.

So, I hired a personal trainer. For the past 4 weeks, I've been meeting with him 3 times a week for 45 minute sessions. I've also been working on my own 3 other days of the week.

The progress I've made is noticeable. I feel more energized, I am stronger, and I am starting to gain a little bit of muscle. I wouldn't say I am "in shape" yet, but I am on the right path. My trainer has dared me to run in a 10 KM race in May (not really racing, just finishing) -- and at this rate, maybe I really can do it. I had my doubts 4 weeks ago.

I'm also eating better (I've brought my lunch almost every day for the past few weeks, I've been eating breakfast at home, and I've even used my stove). I'm not dieting, just eating more of the right food and less of the rest.

In terms of my writing world, my writing partner yelled at me for starting the new book without finishing and sending out the first -- so I've spent the time to rewrite my first few chapters, and done a final read through. Today it goes off to my final batch of test readers.

On that note, I've also redone my agent research since what I did a few years ago is wildly out of date. So, I now have a list of 20 or so agents to query.

I've also renamed the book (for now)....since Summer of Flight doesn't work for what the book is. The new title is "Whirlwind" -- but we'll see what the test readers think before the name gets locked in.

There's even been a hint of movement on the screenwriting side of my life. Someone actually asked about one of my scripts -- so there's going to be a bit of a meeting in January. Nothing formal, but there is potential there.

So, the Year of Reinvention is going to go out with a solid swell of reinvention and a lot of hope for the new year. I think I've chosen what next year will be, but there will be no telling until January 1st, just in case I change my mind!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Start of Something New

Yes indeed, today I wrote the first 1,136 words of my Napoleonic sea adventure set in a world of magic novel. I was pleasantly surprised with how easily it started out. Obviously going on the research trip in September (er, not to mention loving the thought of writing a sea adventure novel) helped tremendously.

I am sure the writing won't be this easy for long, so I plan to just enjoy it while I can. It's like I'm setting off on a grand adventure.

For future reference, the working title is "Call of the Sea".

It's obviously not long enough to snippet from yet -- but if progress goes well, I'll post a wee bit before Christmas.

Wish me clear sailing. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Second Small Birthday Snippet - the Scary One

Since I couldn't decide what snippet to post, here is the second one. It's from the scary story ... Everlasting.


Her name was lost when the stars were lost. When the shroud covered the sky with the screaming souls of the dead.

She is not who she was, but she remembers. She will always remember. Remember the city that was.


Approaching dusk brings waves of worker bees out of the skyscrapers, cascading toward the entrances of the subway and Union Station, stopping cars by their flood. They are a tide rippling out to the suburbs and back in. Out and in, out and in, out and in: an unending cycle -- or so she thinks.


It rises between one breath and the next, one blink and the next – unexpected, unknown. A translucent tapestry of grey and pink and white, it stretches over houses and buildings, part of the lake. It covers hospitals, theatres, parks. Queen’s Park.

No time to run, to scream, to weep; to see the sun, the sky or the stars one last time.

No time. Too much time.

One Small Birthday Snippet: Summer of Flight

Okay – since it’s my birthday and I can’t decide whether to post from the novel or the scary short story...I figured I could post them both. After all, I only post snippets once a year.
Here’s the first one - From Summer of Flight...

“Thanks.” Her mother swept a dark curl over her ear and took the bottle Casey offered. After a quick swig, she looked up. “So, what do you think? Have I captured it?”

Casey turned to the half-finished piece spread out on the easel. Her mother had a tiny studio on Queen Street, her nature paintings earning enough money to pay the rent on the studio and the occasional bill. Usually, the paintings were perfect mirrors of reality. This time though… “What did you do to the island?”

Her mother gave a nervous laugh. “Um...well, I admit the painting is more fall than summer. I wanted the trees to have a golden tint to their leaves.”

Casey looked closer. Sure enough, the two trees on the rocky island were tinged with fall color. “Isn’t it a bit small?” Casey said, comparing the painted island to the real thing. The one on the canvas wouldn’t hold a shack much less the buildings she’d seen the day before.

“Now that you mention it, I do remember thinking it was much bigger when I was a girl. I always wanted to go over and explore. Your grandmother was insistent that we stay on the mainland. Something about an early experience Violet had with bears.” Her mother sighed, somewhat wistfully. “It’s sad really what erosion can do. There’s not much left.”

Casey followed her mother’s gaze to the enormous granite cliff arcing out of the water. She knew the rock continued around the island because the building she had been near yesterday used part of it for a wall. But if her view was correct, the island couldn’t have changed all that much since her mother was small.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Writing Retreat -- and Summer of Flight Update

I just got back from a three-day writing retreat in Windsor to work on the book.

If you recall, I fell off the planet last year -- so the book I wrote kind of got side-lined. Truth be told, I hadn't done more than look at it in just over a year. (I know, sad and pathetic is me).

But, as part of the year of reinvention, I am getting all aspects of my life back in order. Once the pilot was submitted to the contest (no word yet), my eyes turned back to the book.

Now -- I've kind of been afraid (no, terrified) to even look at it. After all, it's been a year. It was pretty much ready to go last summer (or so I thought last August). If I read it now and hated it -- I'd be really in a bind.

So, I finally bit the bullet and blocked three full days to read the book beginning to end and to make edits.

I just got home, and I can report the retreat was a wild success. I am also happy to report several things I realized while away:

  1. I am obviously a better writer now than I was last year. It was amazing how many minor edits I noticed. They were glaringly obvious as I read it over. Chalk one up to taking a break before reading it.

  2. I still really like the story (thank goodness!).

  3. The beginning is too slow (which I already knew). I've made a bunch of edits to it (i.e., I canned most of the first two chapters). I need a bit more time to fix this part up. But it shouldn't be too bad.

  4. I really do need a new title. Summer of Flight -- much as I love it, doesn't actually fit the book.
I made all my notes on paper -- and now I am keying the changes in backwards (so I end with the re-write of the beginning). I'm about half-way through keying in the edits.

Once this is done, I'll likely look for a final test reader or two just to be safe. Then, finally -- I can get it properly out the door (the five query emails last year notwithstanding).

Which is good, because I am kind of going on an unexpected research trip in late August for the Napoleonic sea adventure (with magic) novel. It would be nice not to have to worry about Casey and Company when I set off on that adventure!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pilot Submitted

Despite a crazy few weeks, I managed to get the pilot submitted to the Austin Film Festival contest. I almost forgot about the deadline, but fortunately I remembered just in time to sneak in under the wire.

I'd be pretty thrilled if it made it into the second round, but who knows. Either way - I met a deadline.

Now, I just need to focus on the book...which means I need a writing retreat!


Friday, May 13, 2011

Update on life...

With respect to the awesome opportunity -- I actually did get a call back and two follow-up calls. The final verdict was that I don't quite have the expertise needed.

Ah well. Not unexpected -- I am more amazed at just how close I came.

On the writing front - I got some excellent feedback on the pilot. What it mostly amounted to was this: Great writing...but it's written too much like a book.

Hmm. It makes sense when I look at it that way. I've written it far too much from one perspective for television. Also, while it is a serial drama, there still needs to be a single story arc for the episode (rather than having it as part-1 of a 12 part series).

Both eminently fixable now I know what the issues are. There were other things too - but nothing devastating.

Which is good, since I found out the deadline for the contest I want to enter is actually June 1st...not July 1st. Whoops!

So this weekend's plan? Writing!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

When it Rains...

Yes, this past week another opportunity dropped onto my desk - this one big. Really big (and not at all writing related). The fact it showed up unexpectedly -- kind of awesome.

Now, truth be told -- this opportunity is totally coming to me at the wrong time. It's not really something I should even be contemplating...but it's just too neat not to try. Sure, the chances are pretty minuscule -- but the opportunity is too awesome for me not to give it a shot.

Anyways, I've sent off what I need to send off. I don't expect to hear more, but hey -- I've given it a good go.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When did I open the floodgates?

Still waiting to get comments on the pilot back.

Interestingly, finishing the draft of the pilot appears to mean that I have now opened the floodgates to all the other ideas I have had in the last couple of years.

The one yesterday? An anthology pitch.

I've had an idea for another anthology since not long after editing UNDER COVER. I haven't gotten around to writing it up, because I wasn't sure of the angle I wanted to take. Well, that and I had no time to even breathe, much less think about editing.

Yesterday? Well, I got the first draft of the pitch down.

Funny how life works. I do nothing last year...and am now well on the way toward making up for it!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Does it ever get easier?

I mean, seriously. The sheer terror I get when I have to show something I’ve written to another person – it’s kind of crazy. Multiply that panic by a thousand... and that’s the feeling I get when I am writing something entirely new – no matter how much I want to write it.

Take yesterday. I finished my first set of edits on my pilot script.

Brief Aside

One of the outcomes of my three forays at pitching a television show – was the realization that many production companies have no clue what they want. Better to just show them something and let them make a decision based on an actual example (i.e., proof of concept) rather than a pitch. Yes, you need the pitch to get in the door – but offering an example provides a better “visual”.

At the same time, by writing the pilot – I create an example of my own television writing. This gives me more credibility (assuming it’s not awful). So, all in all, a good decision all around.

End Aside

So, back to the pilot. It’s finished and I am now showing it to someone. Fortunately for me, I have a perfect first reader in my brother. He’s been working for a development company for several years. Their current show just got renewed for a second season. He knows what the market wants.

He can give me real feedback on whether it’s any good – and strategic thoughts on how to make it better (assuming it’s not truly awful).

So, why am I nervous?

I wish I knew.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Off it goes...

I finished the first draft edits of my TV series pilot episode tonight.

I feel pretty good about it. I am sure it's going to need a ton of work (assuming it's not awful) -- but I think it's a pretty respectable first draft. Final page count was 56.

We'll see what my brother thinks.

As to what it's about...well, I am still not ready to say what the premise is. But I can give you a hint...

To a degree, this story is my take on the secret societies theme of UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS, although the series (in the very unlikely event it ever actually got made) would be purely mainstream.

I'll let you know what my brother's verdict is.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The first 10 pages

A cold kicked me in the butt this weekend. Despite that, I wanted to keep the momentum going so managed a bit of work.

I didn't do much -- but I did print out the pilot and read/edit the first 10 pages. Doesn't sound like a lot, but hey -- it's one-fifth of the entire show (doesn't that sound better?).

I fully expect the cold to be gone within the next few days, so will hopefully get the rest done next weekend!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Done the First Draft of the Pilot!


I feel like I’ve said nothing of importance for months on here ... oh, right – I haven’t.

But, after several weeks of settling into the new job, I’ve finally started to pick up the pieces of my creativity – and to get back to work on projects that matter! And I’m starting off with a bang.

In two weeks, I’ve:

  • Finished the weird Toronto Story (first envisioned several years ago). Currently, the title is “The Everlasting”. It’s a disturbing little thing that gives me the willies just thinking about it.
  • Finished the first draft of the pilot episode of my television show. It’s a serial drama with a fair bit of action set in modern day Toronto.
Needless to say, the second is the more important. After all, I wanted to write it over Labour Day weekend and then got sick. Then I got swallowed by work.

Now, I have a life again – which is a good thing. After all, it means this weekend I will be able to write again. Gad, three weekends in a row. What a crazy thought!

So, what’s on the plate for this weekend? Well, my brother is itching to read the pilot -- so I plan to print it out and make any immediate edits that come to mind.

Top of the list is a minor fix of sub way station names (Castle Frank -- not Donlands).

Second is consolidating a couple of minor characters to reduce the number of people in the episode. Originally, I kept adding new people – but in hind-sight, several could actually be the same.

Third is to fix any other bits and pieces – general editing of scenes, etc.

Finally, I’ll check the act breaks to make sure they work with my brother’s comments/suggestions.

Once that’s done, I’ll send my brother the first draft. This first pass is just to see if it’s not awful.

Assuming that to be the case, he’ll give it a good review and start making comments. At the same time, I’ll work on the rest of the package (i.e., series outline, character sketches, etc.).

We’ll trade off until everything is good – then he’ll get me feedback from a couple of industry folks. I’ll then do another pass at everything.

From there – well, who knows? I’ll worry about that once I know whether it’s not awful!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Job

I did say that the Year of Reinvention has started with a bang. The bang being a completely new job.

I love consulting, but when the opportunity for a role in our communications group came up -- I couldn't say no. This position will give me the chance to take all the stuff I like about consulting and apply them in an area where I can do good for the entire firm, working to ensure communications and marketing are responsive to client needs. At the same time I hope to have a more balanced life.

My role will be Manager - Client Communications and Marketing.

It should be a lot of fun -- a new challenge, and one that leverages my existing experience and my interest in writing. I think this could be a very good opportunity for me.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Finally. I have a meeting at 11:00am to confirm it. Then I can spill.

I really can't wait.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Still Waiting!

I hate waiting.

I also hate keeping secrets -- although this is a loosely kept one.

Still, I can't say it here until it's official.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Starting on the Right Foot

Yes, stuff is happening.

It isn't quite official yet, so I can't say what the news is -- but sufficed to say, my Year of Reinvention is starting off with a bang.

A good bang, that is.

More in a few days.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Year of Reinvention

So, with the dawning of a new year, comes a new motivation for all my life's choices.

2010 was the Year of Discovery...and I did. If you count raising $2500 in 10 days for Right to Play, rappelling down Toronto City Hall, snorkeling with Stingrays, submitting my first novel, and zip-lining for the first time. Sure, there was more -- but those were my favourite highlights.

If you've been noticing my dreadful absence here, you might understand my name for 2011.

2011: The Year of Reinvention.

For me, reinvention is about rethinking the way I think about life. It's about trying to maximize all the parts of my life I love, while reinventing the parts I am not so fond of. I want to find a balance that allows me to have time to do all I want to do, without having to be a ping-pong ball that goes from one extreme to another.

Reinvention. It's a good word. A great word. A timely word.

Reinvention. It starts now.