Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Crazy Author Self Doubt: Take Two

So, it took me 3 hours before I forgot about how much I liked what I just wrote and started to think that it sucks. Well, it's not that it sucks, because it does achieve all of the goals I set for it. It's funny. It's exciting. It's emotional deep. It has flushed-out characters.

Those aren't the problems. It's that it probably references sex way too much for network TV. Hmm, well, I just watched the pilot of 'How to Live with your Parents'. So maybe it's possible that it doesn't mention sex too much for a network show. But maybe it mentions sex too much for a show about zombies. Or more precisely,  maybe there are too many jokes about sex in a show about zombies. And to think that I cut back on the sexual references from the novel... or did I?

I have to say that this is really feeling more like Buffy the Vampire slayer than The Walking Dead. I think that is a huge mistake. I guess it isn't quite like Buffy, but it has a hint of it. It's more like 'Royal Pains' with zombies and samurai swords. Or 'Bones' with zombies and samurai swords. It's kind of like a hybrid of drama and comedy.

Normally I would say that that's great. I love those types of shows. But 'know thy audience'. It's more like 'Smallville' with humor and sex or hmm... I'm not sure.

Maybe I shouldn't be the one to write the pilot. All I did was turn the book into a pilot. Ok, maybe that's what I was supposed to do, but I'm not sure if that was the correct decision. Maybe I should do a pass on it where I strip out all of the sexual references and most of the humor. Maybe I should just try to keep it at one joke per episode.

You know what channels would like this the way I wrote it? MTV. It would fit perfectly with Teen Wolf. Man it would fit well. Or maybe BBC America. USA or TNT might go for it as well. They all love those dramedies. This is absolutely a dramedy.

As I think about it, 'Brothers and Sisters' and GCB were dramedies on ABC Sunday night. Both had a lot of sexual references. Once Upon a Time is a fantasy show on Sunday night and could possibly have similar audiences as SZH... maybe.

Or maybe I'm over thinking this. What I wrote is absolutely an adaption of the novel into a procedural  It's well written and exciting. It sets up a series well and has interesting plot possibilities. I did what I was supposed to do.

Ah screw it. I need to re-read this. Maybe there isn't as much sex and I'm thinking there is.

Maybe I should just stick to Romance where I just got the most awesome reviews recently. The review I got yesterday said "I loved it. I went on an emotional journey. I felt the story was a bit fantasy, reality and love." A review I got last week said " It was amazing! It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it! I just hope that there will be a part two to their story! Love his books!" And these are for erotica! I'll repeat that, they're for EROTICA!

Hmm, Ok, so maybe I'm sounding a little desperate quoting my reviews to make myself feel better. Man up, Cristian! They all can't be winners. We all fail. I guess it's just tough when you feel that you are doing something that you yourself would advise someone not to do, because you actually know better.

Crap! I'm gonna put in my audiobook and go to bed. That's enough obsessing for one night. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

How Writers go Insane

I think that anyone who really knows me would say that I'm not the model of sanity. And I'm sure that anyone who has read a couple of my books could probably pick that out as well. Thinking about in now, I can't tell you if I went out to have a pretty insane life, or if this just happened. I do remember thinking that I didn't ever want to be boring. So maybe this is all by choice.

But this weekend was pretty friggin' wild. I definitely had a memory that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. And it's one of those things that makes me question how good of a person I am. I'm hoping that I still count as a good person, but really, who knows at this point.

Anyway, I think that I have been put in a introspective mood because of 2 reasons: I'm writing the pilot for Samurai Zombie Hunter on Monday and writing my thought provoking stories always makes me a little introspective. And secondly, I had to re read that book of mine for the first time in 2 years. I really didn't want to, but I did.

Boy, there's no need to wonder whether or not I have a writers voice. Damn! So passive aggressive that voice is. There's so much anger hidden under a thin veil of wit. And certainly I know why it reads so bitterly. I was experiencing thinly veiled anger when I wrote it. I lashed out as so many groups under the guise of humor so often in that book.

And even as I read it and knew that I could probably never match that voice again, I knew that I would be again revisiting that story. Certainly a TV pilot doesn't have to be so full of feeling as a book does. But I feel like I should do justice to the original story because the sentiment behind that book is genuine and pure.

Examining this whole thing makes me think about all of the crazy that I've experienced in my life and how it feeds my writing. Seriously, I wrote a book called Happiness Thru the Art of Penis Enlargement and yes on the surface it was broad humor, but it contained so much heart felt pain. Samurai Zombie Hunter was at times laugh out loud funny, but god damn if it didn't contain pain.

That type of pain doesn't just appear out of thin air. The author has to live it and then digest it and then regurgitate it. I read the stories that I write and I really don't like what it says about my life. But on the other hand, how does a person write anything worth reading if it doesn't have that level of emotional depth. Must writers suffer so that everyone else can have a few hours of entertainment?

Well, my life is officially insane. Yes, in someone ways, my life is more amazing that anyone can imagine. I am not overstating it when I say that I have been the subject of miracles. And not spiritual/psychic ones either, although I've had my share of cool things on that topic too. My life is just insane and it doesn't seem to be wanting to level out.

And then on the other hand, how is my life this insane and my non-erotica books not tremendously better sellers. The quality of emotional experiences that I have to draw from are far more than any writer needs to write a great book. Why have I been unable to write that hit?

I have to admit that a part of this tirade comes out of my experience reading Samurai. After the second chapter I remembered a review that I got for it. The person said that I was clearly a talented writer, but SZH wasn't "it". He finished the review by saying "Maybe the next one, Mr Young Miller."

It wasn't a mean review, but it was definitely... hmmm... it's hard to put it into words. But I kept thinking, wait, he's saying that I'm talented, which is an incredibly huge compliment, but he's saying that this book didn't hit the mark. So how does he know I'm talented if this is the only book of mine that he's read, but he didn't think that this one hit the mark? That review surfaces to my consciousness often, actually.

But after reading the first 2 chapters of SZH, I understood it. It's been 2 years since I've read it, so although I know where the story's going, I can't completely remember the details of how I got there. And at one point I pulled the book away from my face and just allowed a thought to flow through me. I was a little blown away by how well I had told a huge chunk of the story. It flowed perfectly. It flowed in a way that can't be taught, and I'm not sure if I could replicate it. It was really good. But I read further and although it was still good, it wasn't at the same level as that section.

I finally understood that review. In fact, as I read further, I began to understand all of my reviews. I could see how some could love and some could hate the book. It is so stylized. I didn't mean for it to be that stylized. In fact, I've read so little fiction that I wouldn't know to try to make it that stylized. I just felt the turmoil I was feeling and let loose. And now, here I am trying to do that again, but this time being conscious of what I've done before.

On a good note though, I am a much better technical writer than I was back then. I've read and edited about 55 short stories since I wrote SZH. I did things in that book that I now chastise my ghostwriters for doing. My erotica boot camp seems to have worked tremendously well.

Anyway, to sum up, my life is insane. I'm a crazy writer that has no control over that thing that seems to make my writing the most interesting. But over all, I do currently possess one of the greatest lives I could imagine. Will I one day be found dead in the back woods somewhere? I would take those odds. But god damn, I will have truly lived by the time that happens.

Now, tomorrow, I put my head down, and I write again. I wonder what will come out of me this time.