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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/blimprider
Rated: 13+ · Book · Writing · #2258646
A tired old writer struggles for relevance
         I have been considering leaving WdC, and writing in general, for some time now, but it has been such a huge part of my life for so long that I couldn't leave without making one last attempt to kindle the fires. This blog is a chronicle of that attempt. The cover is from Upcoming Storm, an hour of Celtic Fantasy music which can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOWBM7Bid38

Enjoy the blog, enjoy the music, enjoy life!

*Hotair2* Blimprider
Previous ... -1- 2 ... Next
October 13, 2021 at 12:32pm
October 13, 2021 at 12:32pm
#1019268
         How very different the world looks after even a single turning. I've reconciled with my unintentional heckler, I've started reviewing again, and I've even started writing, and successfully, may I add. My new story, "The Breakdown, has received eleven reviews to date, all but one a 5, and that one was a 4.5. I'm known among my peers as the most detailed and meticulous outliner in the slush pile, actually in many cases outlining my outlines. For this story, I plopped a group of characters down in an isolated desert truck stop, and started writing about what they did as they went through their day. If the reviews are any indication, this is my best work yet. If only I'd tried this decades ago...

*Hotair2*          *Hotair2*          *Hotair2*

         But that's old news. We're halfway through October, and CW Hawes has begun a three part study of the horror stories that have had profound effects on his writing persona during his prolific career as an indie. By all means, horror fans should join the discussion at https://www.cwhawes.com/tales-of-terror-part-1/ You'll find me involved, and it's really worth a read... His stuff, not necessarily mine. Anyway, take a look. He's as good a blogger as he is an author, and I don't think you'll regret it!

Semper audax esse,
*Hotair2* Blimprider
October 10, 2021 at 1:00pm
October 10, 2021 at 1:00pm
#1019071
         "There may be no fire burning in your soul, but I believe there is still a glowing ember there. All it needs is a good concept to fan it into flames of passion, and you will write like no other."
                             ~ T.J.Gunn


         Have you ever watched a candle burn itself down to the end of its wick? The flame dies lower and lower until it finally goes out, but before that happens, there is an occasional flareup that burns brighter than when it was new. That's what has been happening to me as regards my writing. The flame has been flickering, and essentially dying, over the last couple of years. The flareups have produced a number of First Episodes of series that never continued; some of you may have read some of them. The latest is "The Breakdown, and more on that later.

         But after due consideration (I never take any large decisions without it), I've decided that I'm not going quietly into obscurity. The quote that begins this post is from an email I received last night from our good friend T.J.Gunn , who is a hell of a writer in his own right, and here's the thing. The fire had guttered so low that I was ready to hang it up over one heckler; shouldn't I be at least as responsive to support?

         Well, I'm going to, anyway. I choose to embrace the positive. I am opening up "The Legend of Dutchman's Flat, and keeping a fresh story under construction in the background. Whenever the flame flares up, that's what I will work on. Meanwhile, The Breakdown awaits your approval. Those who find my return to the page a positive thing can thank Mr. Gunn in person; those who don't... craft your own response.

         I invite you all to have a wonderful day. I certainly am. Be kind, be creative, look out for one another, and get home safe tonight!

Semper audax esse,
*Hotair2* Blimprider
October 8, 2021 at 4:03am
October 8, 2021 at 4:03am
#1018924
         Good morning. There's a lot to cover in this issue, so let me just jump right in. First and foremost, a huge Thank You to everyone who sent birthday gifts and wishes yesterday, which was my 73rd. This was pretty well unexpected, and it means a lot to me. So again, thanks!

*Hotair2*          *Hotair2*          *Hotair2*

         September's "Talk of the Flight Deck Award will be the last one voted on by the membership. It was a nail-biting, hair-pulling, neck-and-neck contest that came right down to the wire, and was ultimately decided by the narrow margin of... the only vote cast. Congratulations to

STATIC
Dr. Whoa-ha’s Spiritual Treatment  (13+)
A detective enlists help to sting a fraud on a train. First place in Twisted Tales.
#2257339 by Kotaro

         Appropriate rewards are on the way. Well done, Kotaro

*Hotair2*          *Hotair2*          *Hotair2*

         My writing life has been defined of late by confusion and frustration. I've known for a long time that my interest in writing had faded away to practically nothing. I had privately, for longer than any of you might imagine, questioned my purpose for being on a writing site. But I like being here, and it's frankly a nostalgia thing to log in every morning and see what everyone is up to. Then I lost a friend over a casual remark in a review, and that sort of pushed me in the direction of hanging it up.
         I blogged about it, and found myself inundated in an outpouring of support, pleas not to leave, and even some expensive gifts including a Premium Membership. Flattered and encouraged, I started a new series, The Legend of Dutchman's Flat, and began to set up some other activities. I thought I was back.
         Then, riding this wave of support, I asked my friends to join me in selecting the winner of a contest. I got one vote. That doesn't upset me. We're all busy in this hectic world, and asking you to read five stories to vote for one is a lot. But the other response I got was a blast of sarcasm, capped off with a smirk emoji. Encouraging? No. Supportive? No. Necessary? No. Does it make me want to stay here and be active? Hmm. Let me think...
         So I'm hanging on by my fingernails. I don't plan to write anymore; that ship has sailed. I will try to keep Flight Deck and the two anthologies going, but I won't be giving public reviews anymore, and I won't be imposing on anyone to vote on anything. Any reviews I write going forward will be by email. And in all likelihood, I won't be blogging much, either. I'll try to make once a month to announce the winners do 'er. And please, don't buy me anything else; in the immortal words of The Who, I Won't Get Fooled Again!

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Blimprider
October 3, 2021 at 12:10pm
October 3, 2021 at 12:10pm
#1018602
         Good morning, wonderful Friends. I've dropped in to keep you current on what your intervention hath wrought. At the last update I spoke of a series of novellas to go under the series title of The Society, and that I had begun organizing the ideas I had for the first story. This has not gone away, but has returned to the back burner, as a new idea for "The Legend of Dutchman's Flat has risen, and as these are often quick writes, it's a chance for me to grow that series. The working title is The Seeker, and it centers around a stranger who stops at the diner and shows a picture of Christine, who he's looking for. Wish me luck...

*Hotair2*          *Hotair2*          *Hotair2*

         And just a reminder: Midnight, October 7th, is the deadline for voting for your favorite for the "Talk of the Flight Deck Award. I've had one vote so far, but I expect a grand turnout from all the wonderful folks who convinced me to throw my plans in the bin and dig into WdC for another year. Sorry, I'm not good with subtlety. Get your heinies over there and start reading!

"The Flight Deck Contest, September, 2021

         See you at the polls...

Semper audax esse,
*Hotair2* Blimprider
October 1, 2021 at 12:03pm
October 1, 2021 at 12:03pm
#1018479
         Good morning, wonderful Friends, and welcome back to another round of the Talk of the Flight Deck Awards. Last month I found five 5-star items, at least by my lights. and now I'm asking the readership to vote for which is their favorite. You have until midnight, October 7th to let me know, by email or comment, which you consider to be the most polished among these five offerings. The winner will receive a steampunk-themed Merit Badge to go with the steampunk theme of the award itself, an AwardIcon attached to the winning story, and permanent enshrinement on my list of winners, "Talk of the Flight Deck. The last five winners are also highlighted on my Biography page. So, which one stokes your boiler?

 Catastrophe With A Capital Cog  (E)
Superhero versus villain, 18th century style
#2257751 by William J. Jackson

 Search Your Heart  (E)
A plea to a friend to not make a mistake by getting involved with the wrong person
#2249193 by RobPeters39

 I want to be somewhere  (E)
Describing about somewhere
#2257461 by SomaSilver

STATIC
Dr. Whoa-ha’s Spiritual Treatment  (13+)
A detective enlists help to sting a fraud on a train. First place in Twisted Tales.
#2257339 by Kotaro

 
STATIC
Newfield Pond  (E)
Only pictures and paintings to recall now.
#2258785 by LuniTic

*Hotair2*          *Hotair2*          *Hotair2*

         Regular readers will know that I've "promised" to not give reviews anymore. If you haven't been following the penny-dreadful melodrama, the basic conflicting factors using me for the rope in a tug-of-war were summarized in the previous post. My mantra for almost the whole month of September was "Don't review, don't get hurt." On the other side of that coin, if you don't review, it gravely limits the value that you bring to the site, or specifically, to the other members who are sharing their writing here in the hope that others will enjoy it.
         So I've decided to allow the pendulum to swing well back in the other direction, and take a hard tack on this reviewing business. I'm going to start reviewing again today. At first it will be reciprocal for members who have reviewed something of mine, and items from the "Please Review forum, where people ask for honest reviews. Also, I've posted new group-only contest prompts at "The Dreamweaver Lounge and "The Plot Room, both of which involve reviewing submissions. That should keep me busy for a while.
         And what, you may ask, is the hard tack? Well... My reviews are thorough and detailed. I give praise where it's due, and highlight aspects and passages that really move me, but the opposite side of that coin is that I also discuss the mistakes, the broken rules of grammar, plotting, and character creation, the plot holes, and the inconsistencies. I don't do this to lord it over anyone, or to make a backhanded personal attack. Most of us are here, I think, at least partially for the purpose of improving our writing, and if no one points out a shortcoming, how are you supposed to fix it?
         That's my rationale for reviewing, and if I spend a couple of hours out of the rather limited amount of life left ahead of me in an attempt to help you improve, and all you can see is a personal attack, then please, tell me how offended you are, and I'll take down the review. Then un-fan me and block me, because if all you can see in a detailed review is a personal attack, then I have no more time to waste on you.

*Hotair2*          *Hotair2*          *Hotair2*

         This concludes today's rant. I am returning to reviewing because a lot of wonderful Friends asked me to reconsider. I don't plan on being hurt again by this. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to rekindle my reviewing skills. Don't forget to vote!

Semper audax esse,
*Hotair2* Blimprider
September 30, 2021 at 1:03am
September 30, 2021 at 1:03am
#1018369
         Good evening, wonderful Friends, and I hope it finds you well. WdC runs on Eastern Time, so to be precise, this isn't my eleventh consecutive day to post, but I'm on Pacific Time, which makes this day eleven. So there.

         On my new paranormal series, I have a good start on the outline of The Bayou Incident. More on that as it begins to get momentum going. But that isn't why I'm here.

         I've waxed long and profoundly on my reluctance to review, how all that I see when I open my review template is the email from my lost friend, and how I'm never going through that again. Placed on the scales opposite that is this email I received this evening from a member whose story I reviewed a couple of weeks before that happened:

         I have to apologize to you. I have not been back to this website in some time and I realize that I owe you a response for such a thought-out, beautiful review. I am honestly so honored that you would go through all the trouble to break it down in such a way. I truly appreciate it and thank you. I wish I had come back here to read it sooner, for it was eye-opening and revitalizing. I must say the compliments made my heart swell, but the constructive criticism that you provided is something I see as invaluable. I can't thank you enough for finding all the subtle mistakes my own eyes couldn't see. I can't believe I accidentally changed the narrators viewpoint in the middle of the story! Oh jeez, haha, I laughed at that one. Only because it is something I realize I do often. Maybe because I attempt to put myself into one of the characters. It is definitely something I have begun to pay closer attention to. I wouldn't have even noticed it here if not for your review. Once again, thank you for this. It felt like the first real review I've ever gotten.

         How to reconcile that with my reluctance to lose another friend is a conundrum I'll be puzzling at for a while. A decision may be forthcoming soon; it will have to be. I will either be a reviewer, or I won't. There is no answer that is both yes and no. So, watch the blog for updates. Talk to me if you think it worthwhile. Any thoughts are appreciated.

Semper audax esse,
*Hotair2* Blimprider
September 28, 2021 at 12:20pm
September 28, 2021 at 12:20pm
#1018211
         Good morning, wonderful Friends, and I hope it finds you well. Here it is the tenth day since I was dragooned convinced to stay and participate, and I've found something to blog about every single day. That in itself is quite an accomplishment, and I have you to thank for it.

         I began this new journey with two ideas, "The Legend of Dutchman's Flat and The Society. "The Breakdown, the first story from Dutchman's Flat, flew to a conclusion, and is currently carrying a five-star rating with five reviews. Good job, Me! The Society has proven another story.

         I laid out the premise of The Society in all the detail I had in yesterday's post, so I won't go back and recap. Basically, it's about a team of monster-hunters. This is what I'm here to update, and I'm sad to say that it is not going anywhere near as smoothly as Dutchman's Flat. The Society was conceived as a series of novellas, so it is naturally going to require considerably more thought than a collection of unconnected short stories. I began in earnest the day before yesterday by laying out the basic premise and fleshing out the three main characters, the monster hunters if you like. Yesterday morning I posted what I had created in that flush of new-project enthusiasm that we're all so familiar with, and set about building a story.

         To that end, I laid out a grid of 24 story blocks, each representing a scene; twelve for the protagonists, eight for the victims, and four for the villains. The first scene is obvious, it's a monster attack, the initiating event. The second scene is equally obvious, the arrival and introduction of the monster hunters. The last scene can only be the team reporting back to higher authority, and laying the groundwork for the second book. And then I hit The Snag. All day yesterday, I wracked my brain for inspiration, sometimes as I did other things, sometimes hunched over the storyboard almost willing words to appear on the page. Nothing. I couldn't come up with one meaningful scene.

         I think what's blocking me is the fact that these people have no authority to do the things I envision them doing, they have no reason to show up where they do, and the locals have no reason to accept them. They're like the Winchester brothers from Supernatural. That's a great show with edge-of-your-seat thrills, nail-biting suspense, action, drama, everything you could want in a spooker, but it's very chaotic, and I need discipline for my writing to be effective. I need to believe it. Don't misunderstand, I don't believe that monsters cross into our world from another dimension to sow terror, harvest brains, or whatever the latest crop is doing, but when I say that these people from Chicago arrive in New Orleans in response to an outbreak of supernatural activity, I have to believe the premise that brought them there, I have to believe the locals' response to them, I have to believe everything, and with the initial setup of The Society, I just don't.

         When I started this, I initially said that one of these premises might fall by the wayside. The Society still might, but I'm not going to give it up without putting an honest effort into it. Now, today I have a ton of donkey work to do — we're cleaning out our storage shed — and that's time I can use to mentally tinker with the premise while I hump boxes to and from the car. I may write another Dutchman's Flat story before I return to it, but I'm not going down without a fight. If you don't see a story beginning here by the end of October, you'll at least see a detailed explanation of what happened.

         And that where it stands on Tuesday, September 28th, 2021. I'm off to spend a day in mind-numbing labor. Think of me as you enjoy yourselves, and look for more creations in the days ahead!

Semper audax esse,
*Hotair2* Blimprider
September 27, 2021 at 12:52pm
September 27, 2021 at 12:52pm
#1018136
         Good morning, wonderful Friends, and let me welcome you all back for my ninth consecutive day of blogging. Maybe this is what I'm going to be doing instead of writing fiction... Or maybe this is fiction; you decide.

         So, today I'm here to talk about the new story I alluded to yesterday. I've worked out some details and in keeping with my policy of transparency, am here to share. It's format is envisioned as a series of novellas, 10-15,000 words. Short enough to manage all the aspects, yet long enough to allow for plot twists, false leads, and story development, this is the same format I used for "Beyond the Rails. I'm very comfortable working in this format, in fact, it is my preferred form of storytelling. It concerns a team of "ghostbuster" types who arrive unannounced when a community is having difficulty with supernatural infestations, said infestation providing the driving force of the plot. The group will have a name, some "Society," something like The Darklighters, only not that, as I used that in Beyond the Rails III.

         I've pretty much decided that it will be set in the 1920s, with all the attendant technology and shortcomings thereof. Right now I envision them working under the direction of a secret committee of the American Catholic Church, and I see them reporting to, though not necessarily directed by, Edward Francis Hoban, a Bishop who ascended in Chicago as an auxiliary (I'll have to research the exact meaning of that term) in 1921.

         Their nominal leader, though he's more a loremaster than a taskmaster, is 26-year old Philip Victor Wiley, a Connecticut native who was studying for the priesthood when the committee noticed his dedication to the eradication of evil and sent him out on his new mission. Disgruntled at first, he has embraced the society because of its practical results.

         The team's muscle is provided by 33-year old Dillon Byrne, a big Irish immigrant who first arrived in New York as a teenager, and immediately began getting into trouble. Drafted in 1917, Byrne was a lousy soldier who spent much of his time in minor trouble, and saw only little action on a quiet part of the front, but he does have military training, and thoroughly enjoys lending his knowledge to the team and employing violence against the creatures they encounter.

         The third member is 24-year old eastern European Gypsy Tomica Kozic. A beautiful young woman with a fiery disposition, she's their expert on minor crime and subterfuge. Whether there's a lock to be picked, a cop to be distracted, or a man of power to be seduced and misled, she's their go-to member. Exiled by her clan, who believes that she was the cause of the curse brought down on them, she first encountered the Society in Germany, and was then sent to Hoban's chapter after evaluation suggested that she would fill a number of missing needs on Wiley's team. She has done so admirably, being accepted as their "little sister," and affectionately nicknamed Tommy.

         I envision setting the first story in Louisiana, home of Voodoo, among other things. Who knows what those priestesses and witch doctors get up to out on the bayou? So, thoughts, ideas, suggestions? I'd love to hear from you!

Semper audax esse,
*Hotair2* Blimprider
September 26, 2021 at 12:07pm
September 26, 2021 at 12:07pm
#1018084
         Good morning, Friends, and welcome to Day Eight of my hitting streak! How long can I keep this up? Well, how long can I find new things to tell you? Today, as the title might suggest, I'm here about my Other Project.

         Early after the Intervention, I announced a bit of indecision about which way to go. I have since completed "The Breakdown, which a number of you were kind enough to review. It was an enjoyable story to write in an interesting little off-the-grid community, and I plan to return to it frequently. But there is a second story percolating, and I don't want to abandon it without giving it a fair trial, so that will be my next activity. I hasn't left my mind for a notebook page yet, so there's no item number I can send you to to see what's going on, but here's the general plot.

         A community somewhere, usually a small one, has a problem with supernatural effects; ghouls, goblins, vampires, demons, interdimensional beings; there's just no end to the possibilities. The small town's local law enforcement can't deal with it. Imagine Andy and Barney trying to come to terms with some of the things we saw on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and you'll have the gist of it. But into the community, like the Lone Ranger, arrives a group of people — I'm thinking three right now — whose profession is dealing with these outbreaks, which are apparently more common than people might think. They are the stars, and these are the stories.

         Right now I'm flip-flopping around with a time period. I love writing period stuff, and both Victorian and Roaring Twenties have their attractions. Victorian, of course, opens the door to steampunk, though I'm not inclined to step through for this particular venture. Their technology is black powder, galvanic batteries, telegraph, travel mainly by rail, you know the rest. Roaring Twenties opens the door to radio, more or less modern weaponry, telephones, automobiles, air travel, and that there stuff. Modern, which is the least attractive to me as a writer, gives them cell phones, computers, Google, a technology that is almost magical in its capability. The only reason I'm even considering modern is that they arrive unbidden to infestations that they've heard about somehow, and news in Victorian times, and even in the twenties, traveled much more slowly than today's texts and internet posts. I should also point out that given the requirements of mystery and suspense, this will of necessity be of novella length, so don't expect to see a finished story in three days, as happened with The Breakdown. So, any opinions? I'd love to hear them. What would you like to read?

         And that's 30 for today, folks. Play nice, look out for one another, and above all else, read well, and write better!

Semper audax esse,
*Hotair2* Blimprider
September 25, 2021 at 12:07pm
September 25, 2021 at 12:07pm
#1018038
         Will you look at that calendar? A full week with a post every day... and two yesterday! I know people who blog every day, but that's never been my way until right now. It isn't likely to be my way going forward, either, so you'd best mark your calendars for posterity.

         So, getting down to business, what is it that brings the blimp out of the hangar for seven days in a row? Just passing along a little more information to the folks who brought me back to the Craft. First, I attempted to review today. It ain't happening. I thought about going to the Newbies page, but then visualized a new member, enthusiastic, proud, who posts a story, and the first thing he gets back is some old git pointing out a bunch of mistakes; "Welcome to the fold, kid. We're here to belittle your efforts."

         Then I went over to look at the offerings on the Please Review forum. You know, that page where people post their poems and stories with their pleas to be brutally honest, to point out the mistakes, to help them polish their work prior to publication. Can't do it, and that's odd, because if there's anything I can call myself an authority on, it's how to avoid being published. I've been polishing that particular aspect of the Craft for longer than most of this membership has been alive. Can't. Won't. When I bring up my review template, all I can see is that accusing email filled with hurt and disappointment. And then the follow-on emails: "Member@writing-dot-com has self-deleted from your group." And then your Fan list shrinks almost imperceptibly, except it's very perceptible when the missing fan is someone whose comments and conversation you miss every day. No, it's going to be a while... Maybe forever.

*Hotair2*          *Hotair2*          *Hotair2*

         On the positive side, everyone who's been reading here is well aware that I finished the first story in "The Legend of Dutchman's Flat series. I talked of another possibility, that of a supernatural detective series. The key word in both proposed series seems to be Supernatural; I like that element of the weirdly impossible lurking in the background. Not necessarily the raging monster or the sudden jump-scare (which I regard as a lazy movie technique anyway), but a festering sense of unease in the reader where he knows that anything can happen, and probably will.

         So my next project is to put that story together. It will take a bit longer than the Dutchman story because to achieve the slow burn needed for effective suspense and mystery, you need at least the framework of a novella to work within. So that's what I'll be doing for the next, well, who knows? I'll be choosing a situation — modern, period, fixed or moving, and so on — then creating a cast of characters who will hopefully lead me along the path the way Christine and Douglas did when I visited Dutchman's Flat. I won't be a stranger, but you won't see any new production for a while, so bear with me. I'll be blogging and chatting, and maybe dropping a secret here and there, and you need to do your part, as well. Remember, if it hadn't been for your intervention, I'd be laid out on the big, comfy couch in front of my big-screen, hunting down zombies right now, so keep those bread crumbs coming and I'll do the same.

         Well, that's all the news that's fit to print. All y'all read well and write better, and I'll see you around the stacks!

Semper audax esse,
*Hotair2* Blimprider

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