Development Sun… Tuesday (Again)

Time flies.  When I look at my clock and see Sunday, I feel like I blink and it becomes Tuesday.

I thought I would post a bit of a ‘life update’.  As some readers know, I try to write a small prompt every day, while working on longer short stories come the weekend.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have become incredibly busy.  Even on days that are a bit slower, I find myself thinking so much about the future, and what I must do (tomorrow, the day after, next week) that by the time I can slow down and think a bit, it’s 10:00PM and all I want to do is curl up in bed and get some rest.

I’ve spent the majority of my day looking for work, and for anyone who is familiar with a job search you know just how taxing it can be.  Every job needs a new resume, and a cover letter that reflects said resume.  This in itself can take upwards of a couple of hours, just to apply for one job. Do 5 a day, and you’re exhausted.  I always throw an hour or so in there for myself to give my brain a break, and hit the gym.

Now that I have found work, I moved into phase 2.  I registered for my future career, something I intend to do for the next 30 years.  I’ve spent 15+ years trying to figure out what that was! Now that I have it sorted… I got wait listed.  Waitlisted for one year.  So, I decided to take something else while I wait.  I will be completing two trades, with a couple of weeks of over lap.  Three hours a day on the bus to campus, 8 hours of work, 1 hour of gym, 3-4 hours of homework, and somewhere in there I will be working at the job I just landed.

All of this was quite taxing on my brain, keeping me up at night, making decisions, filing paper work and taking assessment tests.  The last thing on my mind, was writing.

Over the next several months, there may only be one small story a week.  I would love to continue to write every day, but I simply do not have the time.  For me, thinking of a 500 word short story every day, takes time.  What only takes 15 minutes to write and revise, sometimes takes an hour of planning.

I hope all of you are well, are having continued success with your blogs and life, and I will do my best to continue posting when I can.

Jacobs, out.

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It’s Time: Mystery Blogger Award

As most people around the WP community know, I really enjoy engaging with other writers, readers, and photographers from our little corner for the blogosphere.  I have been nominated for this award three times now, so I guess I should put some fingers to keys and answer the nitty-gritty questions people have been asking me.

I will do my best to answer all three people with the questions they asked of me.

Thanks to those who nominated me over the past week:

My home girl Hanna, CEOLSIGE – She writes short stories, flash fiction and reviews.  An excellent writer with a vivid imagination, and a master of dialogue.  I learn a lot from her work.

Avid Observer – A long time follower with a niche blog that is a thrill to read.

cwhiteweb, Poetic Bliss – Poetry, flash fiction, and reviews.  cwhiteweb is an avid blogger with always something new up her sleeve.

THREE THINGS ABOUT MR. MARK JACOBS

  1. I only wear construction clothes.  I buy all of my clothing from two stores here in town, and refuse to go anywhere else.  They last forever and are crazy comfortable.  I am not one for trends or styles, so I just wear what feels good and lasts for years.  Best part, they double as work attire.
  2. I am Canadian, and in turn a very private person.  I do not have any form of social networking, never answer my door unless I am expecting a package, and prefer to read books by the fire than go to a restaurant.  Mark Jacobs is just my pen name 😉
  3. I write from both the male, and female perspective.  In my stories, I put myself into the shoes of the character, and sometimes a female suits the role much better than a male.  Sometimes, I don’t even designate a gender, the reader can view the story from a perspective they see fit.  Example, The Elusive Reaper Fish tells a short tale of a diving team and turmoil, but only one male character is announced as “Andy”.  The main character is never named or identified.

WHO IS YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE FICTIONAL CHARACTER, AND WHY?

Elliot Moore from The Happening (2008).

I’ll give Mark Wahlberg credit where credit is due.  He was handed a shitty script with a shitty director, told to play the part a certain way.  Wahlberg doesn’t play “an innocent Beta male afraid of wind” in his movies.  Never the less, the character was awful and took a dirty alley way movie, scooped it into a pile, and threw it into a dumpster.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST TALENT?

Even though I don’t write humour, I’m sure most who know me outside of the internet would say my comedy.  I don’t do stand up or anything, people just always tell me I’m a funny, care free guy.  As for a more physical talent, I would say 99% accuracy with a pistol from 20 yards.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO SOMEONE STARTING A BLOG LIKE YOURS?

Write for you, and no one else.  A lot of people become fixated on the social networking side of things.  They want to see huge likes, huge follows, and they end up writing content they don’t care about.  They want the glamour and the highlights, but this only leads to burn out and at the end of the day it feels like work.  And really, whether it’s 200 followers or 200,000 – it’s just a number.  I don’t monetize my blog (because I don’t drive a Prius and love the smell of my own farts) so I can only comment on the query that was posed to me.  “Writing a blog like yours…”

Quality over quantity, and in time followers and likes will come.  Bear in mind, that followers come and go. It’s the nature of the beast.  Be sure to stick to two or three topics per site.  If you want to do a myriad of topics, consider making a second or third blog.  If one week you write nothing but poetry, then the next post pictures, and after that start ranting about work – people who follow you for your poetry don’t want to hear about Debbie from accounting.  Don’t go too broad with it.

And always remember: write for you, and no one else.

A LESSON YOU LEARNED THAT YOU CAN NEVER FORGET?

It’s never too late, until it is.  Take care of each other, make up with friends or loved ones, visit your grandparents more than once a year.  After you’re gone, you can’t come back and do it again.

ONE HUMAN TRAIT THAT YOU HATE?

Jealousy.

ARE YOUR STORIES HAPPY OR SAD, PREDOMINANTLY? DO YOU THINK IT TELLS SOMETHING ABOUT THE EMOTIONS YOU ARE GOING THROUGH?

I tend to write about an idea I have, or the word of the day merged into an idea, not so much about how I am feeling that day, or the weather.  My stories are predominantly sad (at least at the time of this writing) as it simply comes easier to me than writing a happy ending.  I enjoy writing that way, leaving myself wanting more, or wondering what comes next.  It usually helps develop additional stories, and I sometimes tie characters together from previous posts.

MY QUESTION TO THE NOMINEES ARE:

  • What does writing do you for you, as far as your day-to-day mood?
  • Do you believe that one does not need to read, in order to write?
  • Do you have a personal favourite blog post you have read in the past month?

NOMINEES:

Lisa Ralph (Cries from an Unkempt Garden)

Nemo (Beautiful Mind)

Nel (Reactionary Tales)

Jade (The Ü)

Xceptional43 (Four Unanswered Prayers)

Kent Wayne (Dirty Sci Fi Buddha)

Mr. Anonymous (Project: Heard)

Sherina Harris (Sherina Speaks)

Maria (On Becoming Maria)

One of Those Days

I’m pretty sure everyone here can relate.

I got so much on my plate right now since returning to Canada, that by the time I actually find a minute to write – I got nothing.  It’s not a lack of inspiration, I just have no idea what to put to paper.  I’m not giving up yet…

Development Sund… Monday

This time change is brutal.  I have an early bird special then its lights out.

I picked up a lot of books this week, but haven’t had much time to read them yet.  Now that I am settled back in North America, I’ve been busy ‘being an adult’.  Nevertheless, I sat down the morning and have been writing most of the day.  Some prompts, some short stories, and some point form ideas.

I decided today is the day I will finish Retribution, and get it online probably around the same time as Frailty (May 3rd).  I’ve had the idea on paper for so long, its time I take the time and pound it out.  Even though I know what I want to write, ever have those days where 3,000 words just seems daunting?

Upon returning home, I picked up one of those latest and greatest smart phones, which is more powerful than my damn computer. I admit, I got sucked into the mobile games for a couple days as I recovered from jet lag.  It was bad though.  I sat in bed for legit 12 hours playing Dungeon Hunter 5.  I think I need to uninstall that bastard…

  • Writing this week, all week (Fuck, I love writing)
  • Reading books
  • Uninstalling crack-like cell phone games
  • Photography

The Amazon Fairy

A little bird brought me some new bookage!  I’m in the process of reviewing all of my past reads (well, most) so here are 5 new ones that will be coming to A3 over the next couple months.

I’m excited to start Brain On Fire, as I know most of us WP readers have thought it was intriguing.  Its also a continuation from my psychology phase (I have 2 psych. reviews scheduled for next week).

What are you reading this week?

Brain On Fire —

When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?

In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.

You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty! Water: for Health, for Living, for Life —

Asthma, allergies, arthritis, hypertension, depression, headaches, diabetes, obesity, and MS. These are just some of the conditions and diseases that are caused by persistent dehydration. But there is a miracle solution that is readily available, all natural, and free: water.

My Stroke of Insight —

Jill Taylor was a 37-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist when a blood vessel exploded in her brain. Through the eyes of a curious scientist, she watched her mind deteriorate whereby she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Because of her understanding of the brain, her respect for the cells in her body, and an amazing mother, Jill completely recovered. In My Stroke of Insight, she shares her recommendations for recovery and the insight she gained into the unique functions of the two halves of her brain. When she lost the skills of her left brain, her consciousness shifted away from normal reality where she felt “at one with the universe.” Taylor helps others not only rebuild their brains from trauma, but helps those of us with normal brains better understand how we can consciously influence the neural circuitry underlying what we think, how we feel and how we react to life’s circumstances.

Outliers —

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladamir Putin —

The Man Without a Face is the chilling account of how a low- level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to her own people and to the world.

Handpicked as a successor by the “family” surrounding an ailing and increasingly unpopular Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin seemed like a perfect choice for the oligarchy to shape according to its own designs. Suddenly the boy who had stood in the shadows, dreaming of ruling the world, was a public figure, and his popularity soared. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see the progressive leader of their dreams, even as he seized control of media, sent political rivals and critics into exile or to the grave, and smashed the country’s fragile electoral system, concentrating power in the hands of his cronies.

Development Sunday

This week is a continuation of last weeks Development Sunday.  There is a TL;DNR at the bottom for those interested.  Lots going on this week!

I’ve made progress regarding imagery and plot for another short story, Retribution.  I believe I will keep that title, the alternative was “Crusader”.  I think Retribution will have more pull when I begin to write it.

I started writing some prompts earlier this week, that ended up turning into two short stories instead! “Santino’s with a Bed of Roses” will be auto published on the 27th.  “Frailty” will be soon after.

I began experimenting with what works, and what doesn’t work, as far as story development.  Whether it be prompts or short story ideas.  I found I really struggled when staring with a blank page, as most of us do.  More so, the block seemed to come more frequently when using the computer.  I switched to pen and paper, and began throwing random ideas together in point form.  Seeing what I could use, and what was garbage.

Since I started the blog, I have been writing solely on the actual WordPress website, but now I have taken to OSX Notes which I quite prefer.  Actual word documents felt too clumsy, even in a smaller window.  With Notes, I can manage all of my work from a tab, without having to fumble around with a new .docx every time I have an idea on a piece.

When writing prompts, I write down 1 or two words of anything I can think of that may be pertinent to the story.  These little reminders are very helpful as I don’t have to expand on them right at this instant.  For one of my prompts coming up next week (which I prescheduled as I will be travelling) had about 30 words at the top of the document.  Leaving little mental notes where I can scroll up and add to the list, or remember that I wanted to add that in.  It’s been most helpful.

I mentioned in my last post that I would be working on a 3 part series regarding the Alien franchise.  After doing several hours of research, the work I had produced did not impress me.  Moreover, there is a plethora of information the topic already, and because of this I felt like I was simply re-wording everything I read or watched, instead of creating my own theories.  I may work on it again in the future, but for now its on the back burner.

The Artificial Intelligence article will be posted however, I am finishing up some final revisions and should get those parts online shortly.

As I mentioned I will be travelling and away from the internet for 3 days, so I have wrote a couple reviews and a short story, which will be posted on those days.

I started a new section called Foto Friday, where I take one of my favourite photos from over the years and post it every Friday.  This works well in conjunction with the Weekly Photo Challenge from the Daily Post.

  • Short story “Retribution” has imagery and plot set, working on characters
  • Short story “Santino’s with a Bed of Roses” coming on the 27th
  • Another, “Frailty” soon after
  • Found new writing tips that work well for me, making it a lot easier to get words to screen.
  • Alien franchise series got shelved
  • Artificial Intelligence series still a go.  Working on consolidation.
  • Away from WordPress for 3 days due to travel, posts automatically scheduled across those 3 days.
  • New section under Photography called Foto Friday, where every Friday I post one of my favourite shots.

As always I hope you all have an excellent week, and happy blogging.

Development Sunday

My drafts folder grows ever larger with ideas, but I find myself stopping on one project, and beginning another.  Nothing wrong with that, my train of thought was clearly lost on the former so may as well hash out some new stuff.

Mini Series

“Artificial Intelligence – Where Are We Heading?” will have 2, maybe 3 parts.  It is already 90% done and quite lengthy (haven’t split the parts yet). Posted under Articles.

“Alien (franchise)” will have 3 parts. Posted as a Review.

I’m quite excited about doing the research and writing a mini series.  My family and I get into lengthy discussions over AI, as we find the whole premise fascinating.

“Alien” has a special place in my heart as the first film that made me fall in love with science fiction.  The whole franchise only gets better with time.  Yes, Prometheus included.  More on that later, obviously.

Prompts

I find prompts the perfect challenge.  You can write about anything you choose with the given subject.  I love the freedom, and the practice.  I always wake up energetic (I lied, I need 9 pots of green tea to get going) to see what today’s prompt will be.

Short Stories

I’m also finishing a read through on my first short story, “Skyward Field”.  After reading countless posts by other readers, I am getting more inspired to simply mash the “Publish” button.  I know I’ve already spent too long on it, and it’s time to move on to the next idea.  I am doing it simply for pleasure and practice, after all.  Not a writing contest.

My second short story is entitled “Retribution” and so far, I only have a setting setup and an opening scene.  Still discovering the plot.

Reading

This week, and for the next few consecutive weeks, I am reading the uncut edition of Stephen King’s classic “The Stand”.  King said that in 1978, when “The Stand” was published, it was cut of 150,000 words at the publishers request.  King has since re-released the full book, as it was intended.

Also I am finishing, is “Echo Vol.1 ” by Kent “Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha” Wayne.

As always, more movie and book reviews on the way.  For every book I read, 3 seem to take its place.  I can’t keep up.  In fact, I just mashed “Check Out” on Amazon for another bundle.

Pages

I’m playing with the theme this week, seeing if I can condense my pages into a more organized fashion.

And of course, I hope all have a Happy Easter.

Featured image courtesy of Raf Garcia