A New Life in Seattle

A New Life in Seattle
August, 2018

Sunday, December 30, 2018

See 20-20 Now for 2020!

I've lost track of the number of planners I've tried since I first started to plan. Monthly, weekly, daily...Shirt-pocket, coat pocket, attache size...Planners with far too much room for appointments and too little space for To Do's...I've loved them all in my fashion but found myself starting to drift within months.

If only, I'd think, I could find one that was a sort of all-in-one. A monthly/weekly/daily tool to help me get into, and stay, in high gear.

Amazon Basics has just come to the rescue.

The Moleskine-quality journal comes in two sizes, each priced at $9.99:  5"x8.25"  hardcover (shown) and 8"x11" softcover

Monthly pages: 6 months on 12 pages

Number of weekly pages: 26 weeks on 52 pages

Number of daily pages: 186 days on 186 pages 

The undated pages are a boon, enabling you to begin any time. I started mid-December. And both layout and design are terrific, with space not just for appointments and notes but priorities, habits to learn and reviews.

Two last things:
1) The just slightly oversized 5x 8.25" hardcover version is about the same size as some new hardback books. This reinforces the sense of this being a bonafide book of life. 
2) The 3 in 1 format may take a bit of work at first, but the habit is well worth acquiring. 

I keep my mine with one strict rule: if I write something down, then I do it!

Here's the link, if you're inclined:

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Post-Producers Bring Home the Bacon

Get this: Quentin Tarantino has begun post-production on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, for which he wrote the screenplay in 2017. Principal photography began in June of this year and the release date is scheduled for July 26, 2019. So the actual shooting time was 5-6 months, book-ended by long periods of preparation and post-production.

This process is much on my mind nowadays, for there's been a change in my thinking about the writing process. Instead of seeing a work in progress as a long, brutal sequence of drafts, I'v come to see it as a lot like filming:
--Months of outlining, research and 'location' work: scouting the book's best settings etc.
--First draft, the literary equal of principal photography--with all the out-takes, bloopers and footage bound for the cutting room floor.
--Post-production. Anywhere from three to six more months of work.

What does that entail? The second draft becomes my starting point. After this initial cleanup, I have a better idea of the novel's 'running time' and can see if the structure is sound. If a three-part book, for example, clocks in at 300 pages and the first part takes up half of those, I've got a problem to fix.

Once upon a time I would have jumped right on that, jumping into the third draft. Not now. No, now for me is not the time to fix stuff or prettify the prose. Page by page, I'm making way like a post-producer with multi-colored Post-it notes:

Lots of these are filled with questions:
--What is the difference in class schedules between Groups A and B?
--What telling details can bring this character to life?
--What are the size and layout of this room?

Other sticky notes are nudgers:
--Flesh this out.
--More crackle in the dialogue,
--Too soon (or too late) for this clue.
--Maybe this should go.
--This isn't quite clear or quite there.

And still other stickies are fillers for blanks in the first draft:
--Quote on insurance frauds.
--Stats on bad faith insurance lawsuits..
--Menu for high-class cuisine.


So what's the difference, some may ask? Grooving on all three parts of the creative process energies and uplifts me. And I'd feel cheapened if  I cheated on any of the three. By the same token, I'd feel cheated if I cheapened any part, cutting it short because 'writing' is more fun.

Post-production, for me, is a theme park of fun. And it's at the heart of what I do.

If you haven't already, do give it a try. When you're in the post-production zone your brain looks a little like this: