Welcome to the (un)official site for science-fiction and fantasy writer Bryan R. Durkin!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Slow Summer, Slower Writing

Sometimes sitting around and doing nothing is fun. It can be a much needed break from a hectic life, a chance to clear your mind and relax. But sometimes, it really gets on your nerves - especially if sitting around and doing nothing is ALL you ever do. Such has been my life this summer. I have had absolutely no fires to fight this summer, and while that's good for the forests and grazing lands - I'm a firefighter. If I'm not fighting fire, I'm sitting around doing nothing, essentially. For me, doing nothing tends to kill my motivation for doing anything at all. Thus, it's been hard to sit down and write, even when I do have some spare time.You may have noticed I didn't even get up the motivation to post for the last two weeks.

That's not to say that I don't want to write. It's just that, well, objects at rest tend to stay at rest. Equally, it's hard to get my brain in gear and start writing when all I've been doing is staring at the forest all day thinking "Why won't you catch fire already!?" (I jest...mostly.)

Kricket's Song finally made some progress this last week. I would say "good progress," although that won't be entirely evident in the word count. A lot of the progress was in finally resolving some of the planning and visualization issues I was having with later parts of the book, particularly around the climax and the events leading up to it. While listening to the "soundtrack" I've selected for the book, I got some good brainstorming done. Hopefully, that will translate to faster typing during those times when I can convince myself to sit down and write.

I've also been thinking on The Serenity Solution and what I want to do with the rewrite, but I don't have anything definite there yet. Short stories are pretty much on hold right now, though I have been thinking about finally finishing that rough draft of "The Abyss" and maybe revising "The Wall" again. "Exequies" is on hold as far as submissions go, simply because I'm out of touch with the entire world - internet included - while I'm out at the remote guard station. That doesn't make for prompt communication. When I'm finally relocated to my new job and have consistent internet again, I'll try to get moving on that again.

And that's about it for now. Stunning revelations I know. This is the hard part about being a writer. It's all about that grinder...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Marching on the Grinder

When I was in Navy Boot Camp in 2005, our Recruit Commanders referred to the parking lots outside the barracks as the "Grinders." For the first couple weeks, I always wondered why that was. Perhaps it was because they were in poor repair, and the gravel ground up tires? I soon learned they were so named because they actually ground down recruits' morale. The Grinders were where the divisions of recruits practiced their marching skills. Over and over and over again. It didn't matter how hard we practiced or how well we did, it was never quite good enough.

Working a full time job that keeps me away from home five days out of the week (sometimes more if days off are cancelled) is kind of like the Grinder. It doesn't matter how hard I try or how determined I am to get some writing time in, it's just not going to happen as often as I'd like. And even if I do get a chance to sit down and start up the laptop, I'm constantly interrupted and distracted, and the writing I do get done is usually sub par.

But the secret to success on the Grinder in Great Lakes was to not let the less-than-perfect performance get you down. You just had to keep marching, work on making that about-face smoother, practice the left and right faces until they were sharp enough to make civilians think you knew what you were doing. And then, at the end of the day, you got the satisfaction of knowing you were going to beat the socks off the divisions who didn't practice on the Grinder every day.

Writing is kind of like that. Sometimes, I'm not going to write as well as I want to. Sometimes I'm not going to be able to write as long as I want to. Sometimes I won't be able to write at all. But that's not the point. The point is to keep doing my best to make the time, and when I write, to write as well as I can. At the end of the day, I'll have the satisfaction of knowing I made some progress and that my writing will benefit because of it. And that's about the best a writer can hope for anyway.

Over the past week, I made some more progress on Kricket's Song. Chapter 12 is done, and Chapter 13 will see our characters leaving Gryphon's Reach and heading for Amberford - the Headquarters of the Guv Navy. Yes - it's about to get crazy.

I also did an hour-long brainstorming session for The Serenity Solution. That proved to be a bit more complicated than I'd originally planned. Mostly I was focused on the motivations of the shadowy group of bad guys who wanted to take over Serenity. The original draft of the manuscript gave the indication that they wanted power over Serenity for the sake of power. That's all well and good, and indeed, real life often happens that way. But it honestly doesn't make for a very interesting story. So I was working on the motivations for such a hostile takeover, and with every idea I came up with for that, I was forced to consider and modify major plot elements and motivations for the individual characters. Definitely tricky business. But, I think I've come up with some fresh ideas that will prove interesting and possibly very far-reaching for any books that come after the first one. Time will tell.

That's about all for now. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Challenge Continues

Unfortunately, there's not very much new to report this week. I am happy to say that I made a bit more progress on Kricket's Song this last week while out at the guard station than I did last week. I was only able to sit down and work on it one evening, but I wrote a little over twice as much as I did last time.

Working as a wildland firefighter is a time consuming and tiring job, even when I'm not actually fighting fires. Even on days that I just spend driving around, I'm usually pretty tired when my shift is up, and all I feel like doing is sitting around doing nothing. Of course, for a serious writer, that's not really a valid excuse. And so, I'll keep taking my laptop out there and I'll keep making myself sit down and write. I know I can do it at least once a week, so this time I'll try to write at least two of the evenings.

I did finish Chapter 11 last weekend while I was home, and now I'm well in to Chapter 12. Jonah and his companions are confronting a female crime boss known as "The Matushka." Jonah discovered in Chapter 10 that she has information regarding Katerina's whereabouts, but now, he realizes that Matroyna Demochev's connection with Katerina is far more complicated than he previously understood. The Matushka is no friend of the Guv, but will she be willing to help a ragtag band of would-be heroes and opportunists?

That's it for now.