Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Happiness...

Sometimes it seems like the things that can make you happy are just strange.

I've found some reasons to feel pretty good over the past few days. In fact, I really haven't felt this good in a long while. What really trips me out to think about though, is the fact that I feel this way because of something that is just weird. I'm feeling good, because I've released 5 chapters of my first fan fiction story, and have gotten really, really good feedback from it so far.

It's a silly little thing, I guess. I've always thrived on other people's praise for my writing, only in the past its always been my friends and family that were the only one's reading and appreciating it. Now, however, the praise is coming from other people, many of whom are writers themselves, and who are complete strangers to me. It's different from any other responses I've ever gotten to my writing because these people are under no obligation to respond to it all. Yet they're taking time out of their busy schedules to let me know that they're enjoying the story I'm telling, and to encourage me to keep writing it.

To me that's nothing short of amazing. It gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, my long held desire to be a real author, just might come to pass.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Life is stranger with Fiction

Okay. I realize that the classic cliche' is that life is stranger THAN fiction, but I swear that in my case it's stranger with fiction.

You see, I recently gave in to a long time temptation of mine and began writing some fan fiction based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This was about 5 days ago and after a couple of false starts, and an enormous amount of research, I churned out the first 15 or so pages of a story. Now anyone who takes writing seriously has some appreciation for vast benefits offered by having someone else to help edit your work...and not just from a grammatical point of view, cause really, they have computer programs that are quite capable of helping with grammar and spelling. Especially in the case of fanfic, it's common to have a voluntary editor to help with storyline, continuity, characterizations and that sort of thing, largely because fanfic authors don't create the characters..they just use other people's creations. The wonderful folks who do this are called beta-readers (a la beta-testers) and I've come to the stunning realization that a good beta-reader is worth their weight in gold.

Well, when it comes to my writing, I've always been anal about wanting my stories to be the best they can possibly be. So I fished through a list of beta-reader profiles on a fanfic archive I've been frequenting and emailed a couple to see if they'd be interested in beta-reading for me. One of the two I contacted responded right off the bat and jumped in with both feet on the strength of the single chapter I'd sent him to preview (a whopping 2 and a half pages). So I took his advice and tuned a few things in the first chapter before dropping the first 3 full chapters I'd written on him this evening.

Then I turned around and spent the better part of 6 hours this evening, talking with him on MSN messenger. The part that really blew my mind is the fact that he's from Prague in the Czech republic. Yet here he is, helping me work through plotline and characterization in a piece of fanfic.

Now, I'll be the first to admit it, I am a bit old to really consider myself a true "child of the Internet". Hell, I'd been out of High School and into the real world before the internet started to become a part of common parlance, and I was in my mid-to-late 20's before broadband reached the part of the country I live in. But I am a programmer and a tech-guru. I *shouldn't* be surprised by things like this.

But I am.

I'm completely surprised that an 18 year old in the Czech republic has any interest whatsoever in helping a 31 year old American computer programmer improve his fiction writing. I'm utterly flabbergasted that the single longest conversation I've had this week was through a chat with someone who was very nearly a complete stranger at the start of the conversation. And I am totally stunned that it all happened because I wanted to write a story about a hand-full of characters I didn't even create.

How weird is that?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Something..

Right Where it Belongs
lyrics by Trent Reznor

See the animal in his cage that you built
Are you sure what side you're on?
Better not look him too closely in the eye
Are you sure what side of the glass you are on?
See the safety of the life you have built
Everything where it belongs
Feel the hollowness inside of your heart
and it's all right where it belongs

What if everything around you
isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know
is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection,
is that all you want it to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks?
Would you find yourself -
find yourself afraid to see?

What if all the world's inside of your head
just creations of your own?
Your devils and your gods
all the living and the dead
and you're really all alone?
You could live in this illusion
You can chose to believe
You keep looking but you can't find the woods
while you're hiding in the trees.

What if everything around you
isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you used to know
is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection,
is that all you want it to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks?
Would you find yourself -
find yourself afraid to see?