Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, all.

I spent my Christmas with my parents and brother on Higgins Lake in northern Michigan. Presents were exchanged, and I now have a huge pile of books sure to keep me busy through much of 2013. Later I enjoyed a long walk with my mom along the edge of the partially-frozen lake and a great conversation with my dad.  A wonderful day and soon to be a wonderful memory. I hope, regardless of how each of you chose to spend your day, you found the same.

For today’s music video, one of my favorite songs of all time by one of my favorite bands of all time. It always brings a tear to my eye.

A Story About a Show About Stories

I’ve been thinking about stories a lot the past few years, ever since I decided I wanted to give writing a try. Not just about them, in an entertainment sense – that I’ve been doing my entire life – but deeper. What makes a story tick? What’s the difference between the stories I liked and the ones I loved? The ones I enjoyed and forgot and the ones I’ll remember for the rest of my life?

Fortunately, I’ve always had a great sounding board when it came to talking about stories – my friend Sean “Day[9]” Plott. From those first few scenes I tried (Remember Raven, Sean? And yes, I had a character named Raven and yes, he was a dark-haired mysterious sorcerer who, frankly, was probably a bit emo if you got to know him), Sean was there to bounce ideas off of, to let me know how things ‘felt’. Now, Sean might try to tell you he doesn’t read much and he doesn’t really know fantasy or some such nonsense, but I’ve never met anyone with a stronger intuition. His internal bar is set high and proper, and when he goes “I dunno,” even if I don’t get it, I listen to it.

Anyway, Sean did his own thing, which a few people have heard of, and I did mine, which, well, a few less people have heard of, and we kept talking about stories and generally having a good time. This year I really tried to up my game story-telling wise while trying to create my first publication-quality novel. That meant  attending a couple workshops, SuperStars and David Farland’s Novel Revision workshop. There, I got to hear about storytelling from some real masters. David Farland, in particular, could be the world’s fore-most expert on the subject. Check out my workshop trip report for more there.

David made a point that really stuck with me – there was plenty of materiel out there if you wanted to learn more about writing. But there was very, very little (he argued really only one text) if you wanted to learn about story-telling. ‘A-ha’, I think. A gap. But how to fill it? I didn’t really want to write a book on storytelling- nor, frankly, did I feel qualified to.

On the other hand, I really love talking about it. And I always thought, whenever Sean and I talked of the subject, I learned something new. Not to mention they were a lot of fun.

So I wrote up a proposal; a show. Sean and I talking stories. No pretentions, no “here’s the secret’, just two guys trying to figure out what the heck makes the stories we love so special.

And after a few months of planning, discussion, and working around Sean’s omg-wtf-crazy schedule, we produced our first episode.

I’m thrilled to announce the debut of that show, called Why We Like It.Each episode, Sean and I will pick a story from not only novels but film, television, video games, or graphic novels, and talk about it. In the first episode, we take on George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones.

Yeah, we try to analyze it a bit. But mostly, we have a lot of fun, and I bet you will too. If you have any feedback, thoughts, questions, accolades, or monetary awards you wish to shower up on us for our brilliance, shoot us an email at WhyWeLikeIt@gmail.com or even leave a comment here.

Hope you enjoy the show!  🙂

Another Quick Update

Apologies for the lack of recent updates – been a busy couple of weeks. I’ve got something exciting coming, though, I promise – Friday, my friend Sean and I recorded a pretty cool video that will hopefully be the first of many on storytelling. It should be available in the new few days, and when it’s up I’ll have a longer update to talk about it.

I’ve been working away at the second draft of the Wildfire Crown. Largely, it’s been going very well. I’m in the late middle right now, about 65,000 words in, which is where the first draft was the weakest; I’m making progress, but it’s tough. My goal was to have this draft done by Christmas. I might hit that, but unfortunately I think I’ll still need to do a third draft before I can give it to anyone for critique, to try to hammer out a couple rough spots.

In the meantime, please enjoy some Christmas cheer, served to you by the always-incredible voices of Pentatonix!