What Am I Working On? February 26th

It’s been a while since I made one of these update posts, haven’t it? Most of it has to do with me not going on vacation for a while, but some of it has to do with it not having a lot of inspiration to sit down and write. I’m not sure if that’s worth apologizing for. If anything, I won’t talk about the stuff I have written or anything, but I will say this: I’ll be going away, and I think that a change of scenery will help me out.

I have some good stuff going for me right now, although I’m at the point where I need to ask others about where to take my stories. That’s one of the things I’m worried about as I’m worried about my shortcomings being completely exposed and I’m seen as a hack who has no idea what I’m doing. I’m seeing somebody about this predicament about my mindset.

Another thing I’m working to get over is that it’s okay to be a guy who makes meaningless fluff, like the Michael Bay Transformers movies. I think part of that comes from watching movie reviews on YouTube where they always talk about things like cinematography, character motivation, themes, and that fun stuff. And here I am thinking I don’t have any of those things to begin with. To anyone reading, I ask you: Am I overthinking it? Am I looking at the finished product the wrong way? I really think if I can get to the bottom of this, I could make a breakthrough.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of concrete updates as I wanted to get some things off of my chest. I hope I have some better news for you soon.

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What Am I Working On? August 24th, 2017

It’s time for another one of these updates where I talk about what I’m doing in the world of writing. It’s time for another edition of What Am I Working On?. So, Welcome to Life in California has seven of a planned thirteen chapters written. While the future of that may change given I haven’t really shown it to an editor yet or pretty much any eyes aside from mine, who knows if it’ll be something resembling good to someone else? However, the big thing is that I’m over halfway done with the writing for that. Sure by “over half” I mean just 53 percent, but you know, I can say that things aren’t too bad.

Also, according to FilmFreeway, I only have notification dates for September when it comes to how Wrath has done in the screenplay contests I’ve entered. This to me means two things once September ends:

  1. Prepare the script I’ve had sitting on my hard drive for months for submission to contents.
  2. Get Wrath edited again to where I’ll be able to either submit it and do better than I’ve done in the contests I’ve entered previously, or publish again. If I do that, I’ll need to find an illustrator. It sucks not knowing anyone.

Finally, now that football season has arrived at last, I’ll be in the mood to write a short story I’ve been wanting to write for a while now. Speaking of short stories, I’m probably going to look into my inventory of stories and see how many short stories I’ve written, mainly because A) I’ve said once I’ve had five or so done, I would look into selling them, and B) Once I have twenty good ones written, I’m probably going to publish them as an anthology or a series, even though they aren’t connected. At least not intentionally.  I even have a name for this.

So that’s what I’ve been doing and I thought that’s what you would want to know before I go on vacation. Where I’m going I’m not sure if it’s good Internet form to divulge that to strangers, but writing will probably be not my priority for the next week or so.

Here’s hoping I have more news and stuff like that soon.

The Past

As I write, I find myself thinking of something that’s been on my mind for weeks now: backstory. Or more specifically, what should I include and not include.

Let me explain it to you this way: You know the Star Wars prequels? A series of movies that I consider the most hated things on the Internet from what I’ve seen? I think that the reason that they’re hated is, among other reasons, they gave an explanation to The Force and gave Darth Vader a backstory. The Midichlorians destroyed any mysticism The Force had to some people, and Darth Vader wasn’t the mysterious badass people had come to love for decades. Personally, I haven’t seen the prequels, but I know enough Star Wars to understand where the anger was coming from. George Lucas messed with perfection according to some people, and two of the greatest things in science fiction lost their luster to them.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to the point where I’m that big, but I hope to get something resembling a following. When that happens, I may get questions about my inspirations or something resembling sequels…or prequels. I’ve thought of this when thinking about my screenplay Wrath and while writing my book Welcome to Life in California (a writing process I can say is going pretty well at the moment), and I think that the idea of a backstory could make me think that too much stuff explained could ruin anything. I’m a guy that likes to read fanfiction and look at good fan art on occasion, and I think for some fans, the fun is creating their own lore. I’m not good enough to create headcanons as intricate like that (such as explaining why one character is actually another character’s father), and I think that destroying that possibility could hurt my work in the long run.

I guess the main point of what I’m trying to say is that the idea of explaining and giving a backstory is a tool for a writer, just like whatever a writer writes on, be it a laptop or a typewriter. And while the questions and fan community may not come anytime soon, I’m just thinking that maybe a sense of mystery could help my characters and my worlds (that’ll probably be set in something resembling reality) resonate and make people think “hey, this story by this Martin White II guy is pretty awesome.” Let’s hope there are people that think the same.

What Am I Working On? July 12, 2017

Welcome to another edition of What Am I Working On? which will probably end up being the only thing resembling a recurring thing on this blog. Anyway, I just finished writing the latest chapter of Welcome to Life in California, which I talked about in the last time I did this kind of thing. Aside from this post, I’m not going to work on any writing for today, mainly because I feel the need to spend a day off for a breather and spending time recharging before I tackle some more writing. (Isn’t it great not to have any deadlines?) Anyway, I’ll throw you all a bone and show you what I’m going to try and accomplish in the next few months.

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So what is this you’re looking at? Well, I’ve already talked about Welcome to Life in California enough already. Daggerhead is a western story I’m working on and is still in the VERY EARLY stages. The “Ice Princess” refers to a story that I thought of after thinking about what I did with The Swordfight In The Snow. I’ve written the first chapter already, but that’ll also take some time. Steve and Sakura refers to the bigger story I want to do featuring those I featured in Sirens and Answers. I haven’t started planning that out but the thing I CAN tell you is that my ideas for that are very different from those two stories, at least to me at this moment. “Funeral” and “Stars” are a short story and short script I’m thinking of for those two respective things, and those words are the keywords from some prompts I found on Tumblr. The chapter length you see is more for me. I’m not going to strictly adhere to those lengths if I feel like it’ll just lead to padding, but if anything they’ll help me to adhere to something that can be called a three act structure and tell me to hurry up and advance the story if I’m staying in a specific spot for what could be perceived for too long. Also, mainly because I’m not having to worry about a deadline, I can actually have the luxury of not telling anyone when a story’s going to be one so I won’t have to rush, and like I said earlier in this post, I can spend the day after finishing a chapter away from writing so I can have a breather, do things other than writing, and plan out what I want to write next.

Let me know if you want this to be a recurring thing. At the moment, I’m thinking that this’ll be done whenever I’m going to be gone for a while and writing won’t be one of the things on my mind, such as a vacation.

On another note, that photo? I honestly thought I could do all of that in one month. Yeah, I have a lot of things I want to do, and apparently not enough time to do it. The month isn’t over yet so there may still be a chance.

I get a win in Vegas!

So, it finally took a while for me to post about this after it was announced, but I’m happy to report it now. My screenplay Wrath has been named as one of the top 100 screenplays at the Las Vegas International Screenwriting Competition. I am so happy right now. It feels really amazing that somebody actually thinks my work is some of the best out of God knows how many entries is pretty freaking awesome. What happens next? Well, at the end of this month, they’re going to name the top entries out of every category, but just making it this far is a win in my opinion.

If you want to support Wrath, you can buy it on Amazon. 

 

And to everyone who’s supported me: THANK YOU!

My Thoughts On Ready Player One

Ready Player One is a 2011 science fiction novel written by Ernest Cline. I read it my senior year of college as it was one of the required books for one of my classes. The particular class was called Literature for Screenwriters. I’m not making that name up and here is the description of the class on the academic calendar:

This course provides exposure to literary traditions from the classics to pop culture, analyzing how the selected books have affected the film industry, both in terms of direct adaptations and by influencing generations of filmmakers and screenwriters.

And I’m glad to say that I got a chance to read this story. Because it’s really freaking good.

What is this about?

In the year 2044, the world is gripped by an energy crisis and mankind escapes this Hell by immersing themselves in a virtual world called the OASIS, which is best described as having an intense rooting in the pop culture of the 1980s. The main story is that OASIS creator James Halliday has died and he has left an Easter egg somewhere in the OASIS and whoever finds it first will inherit his fortune. Five years after the hunt for the Easter egg begins, our hero Wade Watts has made a huge breakthrough in the hunt, and the adventure goes on from there.

Why should you read this?

This story is really interesting. The book itself is actually a pretty quick read, and I finished in a few hours, though I was listening to the music on my phone as I was reading so it may have felt faster for me. Reading the story, I thought that the world was really cool and the plot was something that I didn’t see that often. As an anime fan, I think the best way to describe the story is “Sword Art Online meets One Piece“, which is surprising considering I’m not a big fan of Sword Art Online. I’m also reminded about the Animaniacs film Wakko’s Wish, which was about the entire Animaniacs cast racing to get a wish granted by being the first one to touch a wishing star that had fallen to Earth. The other thing I thought was cool and what I think sets it apart from anything else is just how much the 80s pop culture oozes out of every chapter. You can tell it was done by a guy who loves this decade.

The other thing I thought was cool and what I think sets it apart from anything else is just how much the 80s pop culture oozes out of every chapter. You can tell it was done by a guy who loves this decade. And the one thing I took away from this was if it was possible to do this for other decades. I can see this being done for the 90s or even the 2000s. So, in a way not only is this book really good but it has the possibility to be influential as well.

On another note, as I work on my writing, I find this to be a helpful guide on how to format my work because I can see how well a published book is put together, so I have a bigger appreciation for this book now than what I had a year ago. And that’s something I feel is something you could consider special.

Ready Player One is a book is a story that you don’t want to put down until you’re finished once you pick it up for the first time. It’s widely available on Amazon and in bookstores all over the country, so do yourself a favor and pick up Ready Player One, put on some 80s songs, and start reading. I recommend that “Africa” by Toto be in your playlist.

Getting Personal

See that picture? That’s me on my high school’s Senior Night after we beat our rival Palm Desert. Why am I showing you a picture of me as a high school senior? Because I think it’s relevant to this post.

Remember when I showed you the first paragraph of what I’m calling Welcome to Life in California? Well, the reason I’m doing it is because that story is based on something that I went through: moving to California from Virginia with my sister and my mother in 2002. I’m not going to say that everything that’ll go down in the final product is based on that move because it isn’t. I also won’t say WHEN the story takes place because I feel that if I put it to a specific date I’ll probably run the risk of limiting myself and I never considered myself to be the best when it comes to references or the technology of a specific era of time. So, there’s a sense of having some freedom to write. In addition, my experiences in those ten years is helping out a lot when it comes to writing things out; for example, I went to my high school’s website for help in figuring out how to write a scene and to see if there were any specifics I needed to mention.

And for the big thing: No, I probably won’t be “opening old wounds” or however the cliche goes. I don’t have the skill nor anything resembling intimate knowledge to justify putting that kind of stuff in. I will say that the fact that I’m doing something kind of personal and creating a story that the anime community would probably classify as “slice of life” means that it’s pretty easy to write and I can just knock it out of the park sooner rather than later and get it to editors and hopefully publish soon.

And then I can say something I never thought I think I’d do when I was in California.