Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Carnival Moves On

From his IMDB entry. Thank you
for all your stories, Ray. 
Ray Bradbury has died.

This makes me sad. The only other author whose passing has affected me as much was Robert Heinlein's and I was much younger when he passed and I knew far less about him. Bradbury has been as much teacher as he was entertainer for me. His influence on me came from reading about how he approached his work and then reading those works knowing how he did it. I understood his sense of wonder and I have tried to hold on to my own as I've aged.

He didn't make writing a mystery. He celebrated it, told those of us so inclined to tell stories that we should go for it. Every interview on TV he always had this look of "I'm having the time of my life and don't you wish you were, too?"

I realize this sounds like I knew the man, but I didn't. I was never fortunate enough to meet him, or correspond with him, nor even see him speak in public. Instead I read his books and stories and watched his TV shows and learned about capital-S Story. Dandelion Wine, The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, all the radio plays he wrote, everything had an effect on me. I had a Bradbury phase that lasted a lifetime. I watched the NBC miniseries of Chronicles (starring Rock Hudson and featuring Nicholas [Spider-Man] Hammond and Darren McGavin and so many other quintessentially 70s stars) as a child and then again recently as an adult. The story is still great even if the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

His other TV work, the Ray Bradbury Theatre, was a child of its time and missed as often as it hit.

After reading, watching or listening to one of his stories, I wanted to write.

That's what I'm going to do now. I'm going to tell a story that I hope would make Ray proud.

I'm going to miss him but having his stories to read will help.

A little.

Believing is Seeing

A couple of quick notes:

I really have to remember that when I update the site's look, I need to ensure that my analytics code is installed, too.. I hope you're finding the site a little easier to read. I know I am.  Sigh The life of a self-promoting writer...

I'm really back at The Confabulator Cafe, too, on Fridays. Please do go over and see what all my cohorts there are talking about every week. If you're a writer or even tangentially interested in writing you'll find one of us saying something that will inspire you.

***

There's a lot going on in my world these days and so when I've been able to think about things I have to be sure that I'm really thinking about them and not just spewing out babble. The far-away stare that writers get while they're thinking can be scary to anyone who doesn't do it. The cats are comfortable with the stare as long as they can get my attention when they're hungry, but my wife just shakes her head and waits for me to come out of it.

Anyway, to take my last post a little farther, I was wondering this morning if I have always written Space Opera (when I write SF) or if my awareness of the subgenre nudged me into the writing of it. Was it conscious or unconscious? Is the act of becoming aware the cause of a definition? I mean, if I was just writing to write before, will every SF story I write just fit into the one subgenre?

I don't know the answer. I don't have the education to ponder the philosophy of that idea. What I do know is that it becomes something to explore in my writing. I will have to test through observation, but if the act of observing creates the desired result what then?

I don't know.

I'm confused.

What I'm really wondering is if I'm sticking myself into a box by acknowledging that my most recent big story is what it is. Is that revelation the one I need? Am I just looking to the horizon and beyond without realizing all the obstacles in between? In other words - am I getting ahead of myself?

Yeah. I can make myself crazy with overthinking things. Prior to the revelation that the novel is really a space opera, I hadn't really concerned myself with genre other than in the most broad-based terms. I think I will happily go back to being unconcerned with genre going forward and just writing stories.

Except, that if I'm going to be submitting things (the novel, short stories) then I need to know what my target markets are. What I want to avoid, I think, is writing for a particular market. While that may seem counterintuitive, it's how I think I need to work. Without concern for genre but with a great deal of concern for story.

It's a plan anyway.

Meanwhile, progress is slow on editing the novel, but I'm in it for the long haul. I'll crunch some numbers to share with you once I've completed the edits on Part Two though I can say that I've added well over 9,000 words so far in expanding the worlds and the interactions. Lots of words have been taken out, too. I'm curious what the swapout ratio is. I'll get back to you on that one.