certainlyshort

Old Habits

Alright people. I’m officially a creature of habit. And that might not be a good thing. I’ll tell you why.

Yesterday I broke my hair dryer. It was a sad sad moment because we’ve enjoyed a happy four years as constant partners. It’s hard to let any relationship go but I sorrowfully trooped off to Walmart to find a rebound dryer. And guess what!!! They had the exact same one! So I bought it and came back home, content with being back in the same kind of relationship that I was comfortable with. But then this morning, when I was pulling my new squeeze out of the box to use for the first time, I had a thought. What if I was wrong to go for the same kind of dryer? What if there was something new and different and (wonder of wonders) better out there? What if I’m missing out on a dryer that fills me with a soul-mate-status feeling every time I put it to use?

I know, I know. It’s a bit of a stretch, but the next time I have to purchase a hair dryer I’m going to deliberately choose something different. Hell, I may go with an entirely different brand, people. AND THAT’S SERIOUS!!!! I’m having little bursts of stress just thinking about it :)

P.S. In the very same trip to the Mart of Wal, I picked up my very first automatic coffee-maker! And guess what!!!! It’s programmable!!!!! That means that I can set it to have coffee ready and waiting for me when I get up in the morning! Isn’t that fantastic?!?!?!?!?

P.P.S. I know, I know. Too many punctuation marks. I’ve got to tone it down, but I can’t help it! I’m so excited!

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Lenny Schultz: Genre Creep

That’s right. That’s what they call me. My characters, that is. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been called that.

I feel bad for my book, people. Really, really bad. Mostly because I came down with a double case of Idea Syndrome and Genres Creeperitis while I was writing it. That means that not only is the world I wrote up drastically different at the end of the book than it is at the beginning but the characters ages jumped from 12 to 17. That’s a big difference in how they behave and think. What started out as a light MG fantasy has morphed into a YA/borderline adult novel.

Bad, Lenny. Bad.

The good news is that I’ve only trashed the first three chapters. The bad news is I’ve only edited the first three chapters so far.

Okay, it’s not really as bad as it sounds. I’m keeping the basic structure of what I’ve written and the notes I’m taking along the way will do wonders for the plot flow.

Recap: Page count for the novel is at 254. I’ve only discarded absolutely ten of those pages. The rest is going to go through a painful metamorphosis but will probably (maybe) last through to the next draft. It’s likely that I’ll end up adding around a hundred pages to the project before I’m done with the first draft edit, even with all the cutting I’m doing.

Good luck, Lenny!!!

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Robocop: Large on Action, Lacking in Science

As a disclaimer right at the start: I did like the movie. The special effects were great and the action was intense without being overwhelming. That’s what I look for in an action movie. But I have to say that I was distracted to say the least by the implausibility of the science behind the creation of Robocop.

Now I’m no great student of medical science, but I’m no fool either. I work in the medical field, albeit as a desk jockey. I’m the person who interprets charts for the insurance companies so that they don’t have to train their personnel to understand the nuances of human anatomy and all of the jargon that goes along with it. That being said, there are a few things that really stood out to me about the whole heart and lung in a basket thing.

For those of you who haven’t seen the film (and this is in no way a spoiler) the main character is turned into a living machine of sorts. After the procedure that turns Murphy into a machine we see that all they retained of the original human flesh is his head and his lungs and heart. There are a few problems with this. In order to maintain the proper brain chemistry of a functioning human being you need all of those pesky intra abdominal organs. Most people associate all of the abdominal organs with digestion and reproduction but the fact is that most of them have dual purposes. You didn’t think that you brain processes and regulates all of those hormones and stuff, did you? Did you? It doesn’t. You can live without a few of them (i.e. gallbladder) but certainly not all of them.

Sure they have this machine that cleanses and replenishes the blood supply. But that wouldn’t really work unless he was hooked up to it twenty-four seven because your organs are constantly working to filter out the toxins that build up. It isn’t something that happens once a day and then you’re good to go.

Still, once again. I liked the movie but the science was shaky and distracting. Surely you can do better than that, MGM.

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BTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my God, people. I’m so excited. I just found out that my friend Val is finally going to start putting her comic on the web. I’ve seen some of the early art for it (the penciled stuff) and it’s going to be awesome. I have to say that I’m surprised she’s finally buckled down to do the inking and all that technical stuff. AHHHHHH!! I really can’t wait. I’m going to have a really hard time keeping my mouth shut about the plot. She’d completely kill me if I ruined the surprise.

Not just a little bit. I’d be entirely dead. Keep under lock, Lenny.

Also, song I’m listening to right now: I Can’t Hear You by The Dead Weather. Go listen. It makes me happy.

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Lenny Walks Places and Sees Stuff

bird in the morning

This is the cutie I saw on the way to work this morning. He/she/it/hermaphrodite-alien-creature was just sitting there begging me to take a picture of… him. I’m going with him. Pooor baaaaaby! Seriously, this bird is either really sick or just hasn’t figured out what to do with his wings yet. How do I know this? Because I had my phone literally about two inches away from him when I snapped this photo. He’s a sweetie pie, but I wouldn’t touch him.

A better person would have picked him up and bounced him a bit until he flew off. Or taken him to a vet. Or something. But you know what, people? I was late. And being late makes Lenny an evil evil person. The kind of person who would take the time to stop and take a picture but not, for example, save a little bird from hungry cats. That’s just who I am.

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Lenny Schultz and the Fun-Loving Flesh-Eating Chemicals

Because if there’s one thing I love its fast acting biodegradables. And you thought things couldn’t get anymore exciting in the Casa de Lenny. Oh but they can.

Confession: the drain in my tub is possessed by demons of the let’s-mess-with-Lenny variety. They love me. You know they do.

This morning I may have noticed that my tub was draining way slower than usual. I chalked it up to karmic repercussions and left for work thinking that all the water would be gone by the time I came home. I was wrong. That’s something that doesn’t happen very often, as you’re no doubt aware. I came home to a tub that was STILL FULL OF WATER AFTER EIGHT HOURS. That’s a long time, people.

So I did what any sane person would do. I dumped in half a bottle of Drano and waited. I waited for like fifteen seconds before I poured in the other half of the bottle. And then I left it where it was to go do more important stuff. Like play Dragon Age, for example. By the time I went back to check it was almost an hour later. AND THE WATER WAS STILL THERE!!!!

Horror of horrors. It was like that moment in Carrie at the prom when everyone was running around screaming and getting electrocuted and stuff. Seriously, I’m not equipped to deal with things of the thriller variety. For a minute I thought I was going to be defeated by the demons in the drain. But then I had one of those flash genius moments and I rolled up my sleeves to deal with the problem like a heroine facing her final moments in life.

No really. I rolled up my sleeves. And I stuck my arm into water so chock full of flesh-eating chemicals that it could desolve a body in at least fifty years. The plan was to pull out the drain cover so that I could stick something down in there and break up the clog. It didn’t work out that way.

I’m not proud to admit that what probably happened was: me stepping on the drain plug this morning and depressing it enough to block off the water. I pulled the plug up by a centimeter at most and there was a satisfying glug. The drain demons have been fed, people. And apparently they enjoyed the meal because the water disappeared in thirty seconds flat.

Recap: Drano will not unclog a drain that isn’t actually clogged.

Also, I think I rinsed all the chemicals off. If I wake up tomorrow absent a right arm, I may not have.

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Procrastination is the Name of the Game

So I should probably be editing right now, but instead I’m throwing up some pictures for you people. This is the kind of thing that I work on in my Down Time.

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Here we have the bare basic tools of the bookbinding trade. Needle. Thread. Bone folder. Ruler. E-Xacto knife. Self-healing cutting mat. And a thimble. I forgot to put the thimble in the frame.

Below we have a close up of the little holes you punch along the fold to bind the spine with. I usually put mine a half-inch apart.

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Ta Da!!!! Presto bind-o.

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And next up is the fabric I’m using for the cover.

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Last but not least, the veeeeery beginning of the pattern I came up with for the cover.

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I’ll post more pictures of the finished product later. After I’ve finished it… Maybe Monday, but that’s a lot of embroidery between now and then.

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The Joke’s On You Lenny!

Yes, yes, I know. You thought I was dead, but I was just playing. And I was good at it. But now I’m back amongst the seriously living folks and I’ve got some news. You remember that super secret writing project that I’ve been working on? I finished it! It was epic! It’s got everything that a middle grade fantasy fiction should have! It’s brilliant, I say! Brilliant!

At least… it was a week ago when I typed the words “The End” at the end of it all. But guess what. Go on. You’ll never guess. Okay, I’ll tell you. I put it down for a week, worked on something else, and didn’t look at it once. Yesterday I pulled it out and did a reread to start the editing process and I found something out. It sucks. I’ll tell you a tale.

Once upon a time I read middle grade fiction because I was a middle grader. Granted, that was quite a few years ago but I still remember what kinds of things I liked to read and what kinds of things I didn’t. What I read yesterday was the kind of thing that I didn’t like to read. Why? Because it didn’t make sense to me. If you take a look at my writing process you’ll understand why my first draft will go through two more revisions before I’m ready to let anyone look at it.

Lenny Writes Stuff One Draft at a Time:

Draft #1: Usually written late at night after a full day of work which includes three cups of coffee, one Rockstar, and a bottle of Coca Cola (no one ever accused me of being healthy, people). By the time I sit down to fulfill my daily writing goal I’m running on pure adrenaline and am not responsible for forgetting to type words, phrases, and/or entire sentences. Also (even though I did plot this one out before I started writing) I tend to change my mind on plot points suddenly as I go along. I call this the Shiny New Idea Syndrome and it has never been my friend while working with a first draft. Recap: Draft #1 inevitably ends in lots of red ink, the filling in of forgotten words, and approximately 60% of crap. Which leads us to…

Draft #2: Fortunately the 40% of stuff I have left over is pretty good (in my opinion, any way… for now). I tend to view all of my writing with an extremely critical eye because I don’t have any writerly friends around at the moment to critique for me. That being said, I’ll use what I have right now to build the framework for the rest of the project. Going along with the first draft (and all its many confusing plot revisions) I figured out how I actually wanted the story to end. Draft #2 is all about changing the rest of the story to match the final outcome.

Draft #3: This part is all about tweaking details until I’m satisfied with what I have. Mainly this will be revising bits of dialogue, making sure that I haven’t used overly repetitive language (ex: I use the word “froze” way to often. So I go through looking for moments when a character “freezes” and take them out wherever they’re not actually necessary), correcting grammar issues, etc.

And that’s how everything will move forward from this point. Once I’ve printed everything out and start editing, I’ll let you know the true percentages of what is getting scrapped and what stays. Until then, happy writing people.

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If I Didn’t Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Before…

I will by the end of the night. That’s right, people, I bought Microsoft Office for my new computer and I’m going to spend the rest of the night transcribing all of that stuff I’ve been writing for the past couple of months. And what’s fun about typing up handwritten pages? Well for starters I get to edit as I go. I’ve already got the main idea down so now its time to revise and refine a few things.

Ha! Tricked you! And you thought I was going to give away details about my super secret MG fantasy fiction novel! Shame on you.

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Nightmares Season 1 Episode 2

***Note: This Nightmare has been highly condensed for your reading pleasure. Any similarity to any person, living or dead, (or event) is either a complete coincidence or proof of my budding talent as a clairvoyant.***

It’s been a while since I posted one of these, mainly because I haven’t had any truly interesting nightmares recently. This one could be classified as fun though, so here it is.

This lovely installment in the Nightmares series started out normally enough. It was my apartment (except there were a lot more rooms in it than my actual apartment has) and it was messy. I’m talking you-cannot-see-the-floor-for-the-mess messy. I spent a good five minutes picking my way to through the mess, trying not to fall over, before my siblings showed up. And then things got awkward. Mostly because they were making fun of my homemaking skills.

Hey, is it my fault that I live in a fire hazard? I’d say no but I’m the only one living here so it’s hard to pin the blame on anyone else. Not that my floor is ever as unattainable as it was at this point.

So I’m joking along, pretending that their jibes aren’t starting to bother me, when I see the first mouse. And I’m like, “Holy shit, I hope no one else notices that.” Except of course, they do as soon as I think this. And then we notice that there’s not just one mouse. Nope. The apartment is teeming with them. The problem is that we can’t tell how many there are because they’re running around under all of the stuff on the floor.

What does any sane person do at this point? Call Pest Control? Evacuate the building and leave all of the mice behind for your friendly folks in the Hazmat suits? Nope. We start catching them in jars.

Of course, this just makes the mice angry. And why wouldn’t it? No one likes being put in a jar. But see, what we didn’t know is that these aren’t just your ordinary adorable mice. These are mice of the ninja flesh-eating variety. MICE, if you will. So while we’re busy catching one or two of the Mice in mason jars, the rest of them are mounting an attack from under the clothes and stuff. Where we CAN’T SEE THEM. What started out as a regular day quickly turned into Attack of the Killer Mice. Yeah. Think on that. Killer. Mice.

Pretty soon we’re all under storm, shaking Mice off when they latch on. The trouble is that every time one of them gets a bite they get a little bigger. And a little bigger. Until they’re all looking more like german shepards than Mice. Things were getting pretty hairy by the time I woke up.

Clearly it’s time to clean the apartment.

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