Workbook 3 | July 19-25, 2015 – Late Vacation Edition

13611-snifty-spiral-notebook-clip-artAll current creative projects

The week that was . . .

  • Created redundant file backups in the cloud for a more flexible and seamless workflow (or so that’s the idea).
  • Reworked a couple of guitar riffs for a n/t/a song written back in March. Tried to fit new lyrics to it but the cadence isn’t quite right.
  • Made zero progress on novel work.
  • Had a serious bout of doubt about the prospects of novel writing given current conditions and lifestyle (but received counselling to the contrary from a writer friend to be named later in a separate post).
  • Contemplated ditching long fiction in favor of writing long nonfiction.
  • Went on a family vacation for an extended weekend on which naturally I did not write nor read.

The week to come . . .

  • Who the hell knows? Kids are still out of school for another week.  Much prep work to do.
  • Have neglect/the/alarm band practice scheduled for this Wednesday and maybe next Sunday as well, during which I will completely lose myself to my unbridled love of music.
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Workbook 2 | July 12-18, 2015

13611-snifty-spiral-notebook-clip-artCurrent Project: Blood-Borne (codename)

The week that was . . . 

  • Continued working loose details into the skeletal outline, adding structure to the spine of the plot.
  • Came to the sad realization that while the kids are out of school for the summer, and with a family vacation looming in a week, efforts on writing progress would largely be thwarted.
  • Also realized while at a local live show featuring members of my musical brotherhood that with music always being the first artistic love and primary means of artistic gratification,  writing will take the occasional backseat as my own band activities increases in the coming months.
  • That said, I aim to first-draft this puppy some time by year’s end to maybe February of the new year.

The week to come . . .

  • Document character motivations and resolutions.
  • Lay out character place positioning stating where the main characters are at, where they’ve been and where they’re going.
  • Create listening music soundtrack for the themes of Book One.
  • Take tablet PC on vacation so that more of this can be continued during down time.

Current Project: Operation Remember Me?

The week that, uh, wasn’t . . .

  • Did not choose one of the remaining pieces to dust off and upload.

The week to come . . .

  • Begin to re-read each remaining piece so that the natural, compulsive impulse to fix things kicks in.  That should guarantee more progress on this project.
  • Design new covers for digital upload.

Current Project: Neglect the Alarm (band)

The week to come . . .

  • While band is on a short break, continue to write new guitar riffs for future songs.
  • Rework what used to be designated as “Song #3” so that it starts out with more intensity.
  • Continue work on new lyrics and vocal patterns.

Workbook 1 | July 5-11, 2015

13611-snifty-spiral-notebook-clip-artCurrent Project: Blood-Borne (codename)

The week that was . . .

  • Re-engaged the “new” Book One on Sunday night, July 5th as planned.
  • Quickly realized I was coming back to the characters, their story and their world – on the page – almost cold turkey after having been away for so long, aside from brainstorming and rearranging things in my head the last couple of years.
  • Added previously written parts of Goran’s origin to the “Preamble”, the new world-building intro portion to open the book.
  • Did a quick research refresher on the historical timeline and the customs of the South Slavic region of Europe.
  • Re-purposed “pre-narrative” and supplemental material for the new narrative “Prelude” section, as well as actual chapter material.
  • Began to construct a new loose outline.

The week to come . . .

  • Continue loose plotting of new skeletal outline so I have a serviceable map.
  • Continue work on world-building intro “Prelude” and narrative “Prelude” intro sections.
  • Consider incorporating some of the “bible” material into a reader-friendly “glossary of terms”.
  • Take long scenic drive for mind-clearing and brainstorming.

Current Project: Operation Remember Me?

The week that was . . .

The week to come . . .

  • Possibly work on revising either “Call of Duty: A Cop’s Tale” or “All Things Considered.”
  • Brainstorm, design and create digital covers for remaining lineup of stories.

The Rucker Report: May 2015 – Forward and Backward

28368403-vector-silhouette-of-a-man-sitting-at-a-computer-on-a-white-backgroundA week and a couple of days late.  Why?  Because, as an “author’s update” there’s really not much to report, since little of what was detailed from the previous update in April has been progressed upon.  However, I’ve committed myself to these monthly updates from a devotional and routine standpoint, so I’m pushing through after taking some time to contemplate a few things in lieu of actual writing news.  So I’ll use headers this time and touch on a few things. Here I go.

Solitary Confinement

I’ve often said that writing is one of the most solitary occupations a person can undertake, particularly in terms of writing novels, which has been my goal since I was a 19 year-old hopeful in early 1993.  Well, it doesn’t have to be.  Sure, there’s the egocentric notion that one’s first published novel should contain only his byline, and there’s no way my 19-20 year-old self would even contemplate doing what I have decided to do this year. . .

Partnering for Help

I’ve written in previous updates about a secret long story/novella project with an author friend (codenamed: Project Eros).  That activity is still in play, but has recently changed a bit as we are going to go with a different idea, one larger in scope and duration.  The original project was going to involve our pseudonyms, and it’s possible this Plan B project may do the same, it just depends on a couple of things which we are ironing out in this early stage.  We’ll have to come up with a codename for it soon.  I’m excited about this partnership and am glad I finally realized I needed to make a necessary sacrifice of ego to better accomplish my writing goals.  I can’t wait to reveal my writing partner (of course it’s someone who has several completed/published novels in their resume).  I want to wait until we’ve made significant progress first.  I may even seek out another partner for a different novel project, but we’ll see. More on all this as it develops.

Nostalgia and Staying with Characters

As noted above, I’ve been doing this “serious writing” thing for the better part of two decades and so I have amassed a significant amount of writing work in that time, whether it’s poetry & lyrics, short fiction, attempts at long fiction like novels and serialized fiction, script work,  editorials and essays, etc.  Some of it published, much of it having never seen the light of day.  Recently I’ve gone through my old file folders to rediscover some old works.  What I’ve noticed a lot of times in my moments of reflection and review is that I tend to gravitate to a certain creative period of mine from which to draw inspiration.  That time period is predominantly 1996 thru 2001.  The characters I created during that time, and the stories I created for them, resonate the most with me for some reason.  I keep coming back to them, especially the ones which haven’t had their stories completed yet (practically all of them), because I tend to think in a broad, long term sense having grown up obsessed with serials (television and comic books) and novels, fiction forms in  which you stay with characters for a good while.  These characters have remained a permanent part of me since their inceptions so many years ago, so it’s no surprised that they often tap me and my muse on the shoulder to say “Hey, remember me?  We’ve still got my story to tell, you and I.”  So even as I creep forward toward new things, my past creations are never too far away.  The sad part of this could be that I don’t create as compelling characters and stories as I did in my twenties.  Eh, then again, maybe that’s just the nostalgia talking.

Legacy and The Vault (of Unfinished Things)

Been thinking a great deal about legacy lately.  And so, in consideration of legacy and my own longevity at this thing called writing, I’m seriously thinking about publishing here on this very site various unfinished (and likely never-to-be-finished) works here as both a bold reminder of what I failed to complete, but also as a representation of actual work produced.  Essentially it’s the In Case I Get Hit by a Bus Tomorrow approach I’ve been taking to my creative stuff in recent years.  Just getting it all out there, warts and all (well, within reason) so that these things can gain light and live in public while serving as actual artifacts of my having actually existed and done a thing or two with my time here. (Sidenote: I’ve done this with my music in recent years – Google me).

So, it’s very possible that soon there will be a category listing called VAULT in the sidebar menu.  After all, the whole purpose of something titled RUCKERPEDIA is for it to be THE source of most things Brandon L. Rucker related, no?

Quick Notes

Site reconfiguration points – The Sidebar: I recently updated the ABOUT page, which serves as a bio for yours truly.  Updated details and links and such. There’s a new page in the menu called BIBLIOGRAPHY which essentially serves as a cover gallery for the physical books that contain my work.  HELLO, JOURNAL is now where my ‘creative non-fiction’ or ‘notebook’ entries are housed. NEWS + UPDATES is now a handy category link to easily access monthly The Rucker Reports like this. The WORK SAMPLES category needs to be reworked, restocked, re-something.  I’ll get to it around the time I put the VAULT up.  Music widgets have been re-added to the sidebar, but eventually will be added to the menu under their own listing.  The work never ends here for this one-man monochromatic production.

Current events – Authors: a few author friends of mine have books out or forthcoming, which I’ve written about here: Reggie Lutz, Jennifer Macaire and Nadine Darling.  And finally the great Clive Barker has returned this month with his new novel The Scarlet Gospels.

Maybe next time I write one of these updates I’ll have actual progress to report.  Until then, y’all be good out there.

– BLR
_____________________________________________________
Reading:  Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, various comics

Re-reading:  Galilee by Clive Barker

Watching:  Sons of Anarchy: Season 7, The Killing: Season 4

Playing:  Destiny (Bungie/Activision) – Xbox One

Listening:  Lamb of God

The Rucker Report: Week 16, 2015 – A State of Revision

28368403-vector-silhouette-of-a-man-sitting-at-a-computer-on-a-white-backgroundMost of my best writing occurs during the “Triple R” phase: re-writing, revision and refinement. I guess you could throw rereading in there too, but that’s a given. Ah, yes, the revision phase.  No matter how old the original draft was, the later draft will almost always be greatly improved.

Howdy, y’all.  I am returned.

So, yeah, I’m still in revisions with a handful of old stories.  I actually look forward to SMH moments when doing line-by-line revisions.  What can I say, I’m easily entertained.  What I find interesting about revising and refining old works is how often the Writer Me of Today vehemently disagrees with the Writer Me of Yesteryear.  Writer Me of Today is a great deal more picky and often dissatisfied with many initial word choices or turns of phrase.  Just as a point of distinction: The Writer Me of the 1990s had not yet read and reviewed hundreds of short stories in workshops, nor read, edited and selected for publication several dozen short stories for an online webzine, nor read, edited and selected from dozens of short stories to compile and publish an anthology.  Nor had he yet been schooled by the likes of stingy wordsmiths (and personal literary idols to boot) like Elmore Leonard or Bob Thurber.  In jive terms: 1990s Writer Me didn’t know shit!  Even early 2000s Writer Me was just starting to get a true education in fluid, hooky prose.  However, Writer Me of Yesteryear had far less demands of his time and attention.  In an apples-to-apples comparison, that’s what I call an unfair advantage.

However, in regards to some of my older works, published or otherwise, I am reluctant to touch them for ‘improvements’ because some older works are special snapshots in one’s life and journey as a developing writer.  For instance, there’s an old story of mine dating back to 1997 called “All Things Considered” which was finally published in 2010.  Sure, I spruced it up a great deal before submitting it, but if I am being honest I know it’s still the mark of a naïve storyteller because my emotional attachment to its original essence was not something I wanted to part with.  Even now as I contemplate republishing it, I am reluctant to significantly change it to improve it, short of line edits and deep proofing.  It’s a peculiar situation, I know.

It has recently occurred to me that should maybe start posting excerpts of various works, whether in-progress, sitting on-deck for submission or previously published.  I talk a lot about writing here (‘cuz, y’know, I’m a writer and stuff) so it’s probably high time some of it get featured here in this theater of text.

And now for the In Case You Missed It portion of the program. The previous two updates heralded the coming publication of a little crime story of mine called “Four Deep”.  It was accepted back in early February by Dead Guns Press and was supposed to be published March 29th.  Well, it didn’t quite make it that day, but it did finally go live on Wednesday, April 8th.  Have a read, though I should caution there’s a bit of mature (or immature) language in its contents.

In non-fiction writing news, I recently changed my mind and re-activated my little blog that’s dedicated to an old favorite pastime.  Yes, this is mere weeks after saying I’d simply just move that particular themed operation here for the convenience of consolidation.  However, for me, the very niche nature of graphic fiction, and the love and adulation for it, demands its own space and forum in which to be revered.  So, yeah, if you’re inclined you can check out Brandon Rucker’s Comic Book Fetish from time to time to see what’s got my mind going over there.  I actually have more comic book-y stuff to discuss, but that’s a whole other post of its own soon enough.

And finally, since the last Rucker Report update here, on March 15th I wrote the music for the third song in my new band’s catalogue.  A few weeks ago my co-guitarist B.J. Walker came over to add his embellishments to it so that we’re not both playing the same thing the whole time.  I can’t wait to see how the rhythm section reacts musically to this rockin’ little number, that’s probably influenced by bands such as Refused, Fugazi and Jawbox.  I’m quite stoked for band practice this coming Wednesday as we will be breaking in our new bassist.  Hopefully by summer’s end I’ll have some recorded music to share, or at the very least a raw video from a rehearsal session.  We should probably take a band photo soon too.  And finally decide on a band name.

Well, that’s all the news that fits.

Y’all be good each other and stuff.

-BLR

The Rucker Report: Week 10, 2015 – Back from Blah

28368403-vector-silhouette-of-a-man-sitting-at-a-computer-on-a-white-backgroundAfter a month of snowpocalypse and general winter frigidity, a musical rollercoaster with band shenanigans, bouts of frustration and depression (nothing too serious), minor health concerns and a brief automobile recall scare…

Hello from the gutter!  I am returned.  

This little online journal-that-could now has garnered 284 followers since December.  For those of you new to the program, these writer updates, which tend to be biweekly, monthly or just plain sporadic, are typically to report on the writing life of yours most true (and I usually squeeze in some musical news too).  A self-summarizing glance of aft and fore.  It’s an old tradition that goes back to the golden age of my blogging that started with Brandon Rucker Writes over on Blogger some five years ago.

Not much has occurred on the writing of fiction front the past month.  As mentioned in the last update, my short story “Four Deep” will see publication at the end of the month over on Dead Guns Press.  It’s a slightly different take on the hardboiled crime story, featuring some low-rent scumbag antiheroes I’ve been carrying around with me for nearly two decades.  Look for it on the 29th.  I’ll post a link here when I have it.

Forging ahead with other unpublished stuff, I decided to commit to a Duotrope subscription because I was having such a hard time finding potential bizarro fiction venues online, let alone in print.  I’ve found two and will send the unpublished “The Other Roommate” to one, and – as part of Operation: Remember Me? – I might send the previously published “All in a Day’s Work” to the other, that is if I go away from my plan to simply put it up on Smashwords as an e-book ‘reprint’, which happens to be the plan for my other bizarro story “The Underneath”.  I doctored up a cover for it a few months back.

In other O: RM? news, Shard: A Bloody Microfiction” is now back up live on Smashwords.  It’s an expanded version of the original (which was only 200 words, the revised one is double that).  It’s got one review so far from a guy who obviously didn’t get the purpose of that kind of story nor was he privy to the purpose of the anthology in which it was originally published.  Can’t please’em all, right?

As for new fiction, there’s the story I’m code-naming Project: Eros – the collaboration between my pen name with another author’s pen name – that’s still gestating in the murky depths of my wayward mind.  I usually get new ideas for it just before sleep claims me or in the morning when I’m shaking off the ghostly residue of dreams.  I’m the lead-off writer for that, so I really need to get my ass in gear.

What else is there?  I have much revising of old stuff to do to shape them up for re-publication, or in some cases, their first light of public scrutiny.  More on that stubborn lot next time.

On the music front, the new band is experiencing growing pains, but nothing that won’t be manageable.  I am moving from bass over to guitar.  We have a nice list of potential bassists to fill that vacated spot.  However, after reluctantly parting ways with our vocalist last week, the list of potential free agents to fill that roster spot is a bit smaller.  I remain optimistic and stoked to see this new entity and musical marriage blossom and grow.  We’ve even started a short list of potential band names.

Also, this happened here.  Other than that, I think that’s all I have right now.  If this week is as productive as I anticipate, I should have more details to note.

Until then, and even after, be good to one another.

– BLR


Recently

LISTENED: These Arms Are Snakes

READ: Descender #1, Rat Queens #9, Saga #26

WATCHED: The Walking Dead, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham

The Rucker Report: Week 6, 2015 – Back on the Scenes

28368403-vector-silhouette-of-a-man-sitting-at-a-computer-on-a-white-backgroundAfter recently receiving very awful news concerning some loved ones and then mourning with them the kind of loss that no parent ever wants to experience, the universe has managed to shine some glory my way and I’m happy to share the good news in this update.

From the dead of winter in Indiana: Hello, friends and curious followers.

After a week of snowfall and great frigidity, we recently experienced The Great Thaw. Of course, that was only temporary, because, you know, Winter is a mad and persistent bastard and he returned pissed as ever today. According to that grumpy groundhog, we’re going the full long, cold distance with this thing, which should be a surprise to absolutely no one.

Before I get to writing and publishing news, I first must share the good news that I am again a member of a band of musicians. It’s been since, oh my, winter of 2009 because that’s when my last band Motosota called it quits. This new band (currently unnamed), which I take full responsibility for having formed, was first seeded last December when I approached punk rock veteran Sammy Clevenger (ex-About the Fire), one of the Indianapolis local music scene’s most legendary front men whom I’ve known for overa a decade, about the need for both of us dinosaurs to get back to making music because our poor damaged souls depend on it. I never in a millions years thought this opportunity would arrive, but he was game. Knowing painfully well that no band can really do much without a drummer, I approached Tom Roosa (ex-Majhas), whom I’ve known since our days as puppies playing thrash metal in my first band together in 1991. He’s one of the best drummers in the state (and a hell of a studio engineer) and he was game. Holy shit, my luck doesn’t often work like that. Next, since I decided for this project I would play bass instead of guitar, I decided to hit up old high school mate and fellow guitarist B.J. Walker (ex-Ramirez) because I knew he was available with no conflicts; that we liked a lot of the same bands; we had also jammed once previously in the Fall of 2013, and I knew he was rather unsung in terms of profile in our scene, just like me. He needs to be heard, and he’s got a lot to say through his guitar. Our first meet n’ greet was on January 22nd. This past week on February 5th was our first practice. Turned out better than we could have hoped – technical difficulties aside. We even wrote our first song. Always a good sign when you write an actual song at your first practice. More details (and hopefully some pictures) on this developing news story as it progresses.

Now, the writing. Remember last update I mentioned submitting a story? Well, Sunday afternoon I was informed that the short story I submitted to Dead Guns Press a couple weeks ago has just been accepted for publication in their e-zine, which is perfect and all according to plan because, as I stated some updates back, most of my publications over the years have been in print, which makes it a lot harder to share and promote one’s meager talents and output with interested parties when the work is exclusively in a physical form  that’s generally for sale (even worse when that form is out-of-print). This story, “Four Deep” was originally written in 2010 as just an exercise in rediscovering a handful of characters I had created in my mid-20s (yes, the mid-1990s for those keeping score of my age at home). As I started revising it some and line-editing it, I discovered it was fun revisiting their hardboiled world of low-rent crime. This particular misadventure is not your standard crime story fare, which is an aspect I had figured would sink the story’s chances at getting accepted. But, what do I know? I am told “Four Deep” will be published on March 29th. Linkage to follow afterward.

Last week I brainstormed and hashed out a collaborative story with an old writer friend with whom I’d recently reconnected. She and I will write the story in a relay kind of manner, and it looks like I get to lead off. No pressure, right? Given the particular genre, the plan is for both of us to use our pseudonyms on this short story’s byline. Which means I should probably launch that pen name sooner rather than later. It is for the more feminine leanings of my writing persona. It’s a necessary experiment, I think, for a number of reasons. I’ll get into those reasons at a later date.

Operation: Remember Me?, which is specifically for my usual byline, has had a hiccup since I’ve been working on works geared specifically for the pen name. But over the next couple of weeks I will be submitting more works out under my name as well as getting e-stories re-established on Smashwords. That means more cover design work by yours truly, who is much better at putting words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs and turning paragraphs into pages. You get the idea.

If you’ve made it this far you’ve probably noticed that this is update is somewhere around 900 words. Hopefully it read like a breeze. But I will close it here and get back to things.

Until next time…Be well. Be merry. Be better. Stay warm. Love be with you all.

– BLR