My favorite writing program, Scrivener, is one of the most powerful tools in my arsenal. But it’s a little daunting. If you look at it without knowing what to expect it’s actually quite scary and, because of that, many people think they have to “learn” it.
“[When Vonnegut tells his wife he’s going out to buy an envelope] Oh, she says, well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is, is we’re here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore.” — Interview by David Brancaccio, NOW (PBS) (7 October 2005). Kurt Vonnegut
OK, not really, by my buddy Bret Ioli wrote an amazing script based on Mytro and I’d love to share it with you all. You can read it on Scribd or simply click through to read it in your browser.
Turning my book into a script was an amazing gift and Bret is a great writer. He’s on Black List if you’re interested in talking to him about the script or about his other work.
An excerpt from my upcoming book, Marie Antoinette’s Watch. Sign up for more information here.
A walker in 18th-century Paris, his boots caked with mud and much worse, would not come upon the Place Dauphine by chance. To find the quiet triangle one has to traverse Pont Neuf, or the New Bridge (this, the oldest bridge in the city, was also the first one not covered in houses and shops) onto the island where Paris began: the Île de la Cité. A jog to the left, between two four-story buildings, brings him to a small park with a few stunted trees and perhaps a bench or two where men spoke furiously over plans and scraps of polished metal. The walker, however, could do no better than to sit listening to the quiet susurration of the the trees and the gentle ting-ting of jewelers hammers. It was in this courtyard, he would quickly discover, where the mechanical heart of Paris ticked. It was, in fact, the home to most of France’s most illustrious horologers.
I haven’t been sleeping well lately – the heat and allergies have conspired together to wake me every few hours and I’ve had some strange dreams that were quickly cut off by a sneeze or an inability to breathe.
But I had a fascinating dream last night that I wanted to share, if only to express the imagery of it and how deeply ingrained some writing has gotten into my unconscious. I’ve dreamt of my grandmother’s old house in Martins Ferry – the house my father grew up in – for a decade now. It was a one-story post-war brick ranch salt box with green carpeting and white walls. It was two hours from my home in Columbus and we spent entire summers there, leaving my parents to their own devices. The kitchen floor was linoleum and there were wooden floors in the bedrooms. I remember staying up late to watch Saturday Night Live re-runs, the 1980s episodes, and listening to the house creak and settle in the heat and bottles shatter on the street outside as kids rode through the night in American muscle cars. This was 1980s rural Ohio and there wasn’t much else to do besides watch classic comedy, play Nintendo games, and drive around in the dark. I was too young to drive.
So there you have it. I expected it to take six months, but it took me three years to finish plus another year to release. There were many weeks and even a few months when I didn’t have the time or energy to work on the book at all, but finishing is worth it. If you take one thing away from this post, I want it to be: whatever your dream is, don’t give up. Even if it takes you years instead of months, don’t give up. Even if you realize the only way your work will reach your audience is if you put it out there yourself, don’t give up.From How Long Does It Take To Write A Novel
One of my favorite stories from School Police, Star Star Narayan, is on BoingBoing. It’s one of the oddest ones of the bunch and I remember writing it in Warsaw about a decade ago, back when I was a consultant. It’s about feeling weird in a new country and it involves ice skating, bugs, and an idling Volvo.
Read it here!
The paperback version of School Police just arrived and they’re beautiful. Sonia Budner’s excellent cover really brings the little book together and I’m acceptably pleased with the inside design (I did it myself). If you’d like a free copy, simply email me at email@example.com but the ebook is free with Kindle Unlimited and it’s a fun little read. Let me know what you think!
I was ready to come to Amazon’s defense (and I will, eventually). In their long letter to the writing community, they made some excellent points. They inflamed our passions, gave us historical context for our discontent, and then quoted none other than George Orwell on the disruptive nature of paperbacks and the need for evil publishers to crack down on upstart, low-priced alternatives.