Sunday, May 2, 2021

A couple of milestones

It's been busy here in the last month!  A ton of progress has been made on Old School Evil 2, the big thing being finishing the 3rd draft.  I guess I should go over what the actual drafts are at this point, so it makes sense what I've done.

  1. I wrote the first draft in November 2017, I think.  When it was over, it just tipped the scales at 50k words and it stunk like hot garbage.  I mean, it was terrible and I was pretty unhappy with it.  Everything I wanted was in there, but to make it meet the 50k words to win NaNoWriMo, I had to put in a ton of junk.
  2. I started the second draft a month or so after I finished the first one, which was to be a total rewrite.  While the story in the first draft was serviceable, the second POV was on the wrong character.  I went into this draft with a new villain as the second main and it worked out a lot better.
  3. My third draft started with a full read-through of the second draft, finding all the problems I could with missing character motivations, continuity errors, weird or lacking descriptions, and the like.  I made a ton of comments through it (mostly asking what the hell I meant by some things since I started the draft 4 years ago), and went back and addressed all of them, and I think in the end I addressed every problem I found.
So now I'm at the point where I need some outside sources for help.  First up, I'm going to get one of those editing programs.  I have used the free version of Grammarly before, but this time I'm going to try out the paid version of ProWritingAid.  My critique group swears by both paid programs, with the majority of them using both paid programs, but I can't afford that, so I'm just using PWA.  Once I've made all the suggested changes from that (and I can't say I'm looking forward to seeing how many there are), I'll start submitting it to other people, like my critique group.

I've made a post on Twitter about this as well, but if anyone that's read the first book wants to be a beta-reader for this one, let me know.  I would love as many eyes on this as I can before it goes live.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

An Unplanned Update?!

 As I sit here on April 6th, I feel I have made considerable progress on Old School Evil, both on the second book and just the brand as a whole.  When I say considerable, I do need to say that's compared to the last year where I hadn't been doing much at all with it, so keep that in mind.

A while ago I listened to Adam Savage's book Every Tool's a Hammer: Life is What You Make It. I am a big fan of his work on Mythbusters and his One Day Builds on his Tested YouTube channel, and I pretty often will put on a video just to listen to him talk through his crafting process while I'm washing dishes or something.  I love his enthusiasm for his craft and the subject of his work as well, so I thought his book, narrated by himself, would be pretty cool to listen to (I do audiobooks almost exclusively, with one recent exception, which I'll get to in a second).  

The book goes through a lot of his processes and it goes in-depth in the Makers' craft, but also goes into general tips that work for practically anyone doing creative work.  The part I caught on the most was how he builds lists and checks things off.  After finishing the audiobook, I returned it to the library and went on with my life, not really taking any of his advice in anything I was doing.

Months later, after languishing in procrastination, I thought back to Adam's book and decided I needed to actually digest everything he said.  I actually bought a copy of the book so I could go through the chapters on lists and checkboxes deadlines.  Oh those deadlines, my mortal enemy!  

I think I've cobbled a system together that's been working for me the last month or so.  I've got my massive list of everything I need to do for Old School Evil, the Retro Network, the Prototytan Project (an old 3D modeling and printing idea I was playing with a long time ago that I've been rethinking), and pretty much everything else in my life.

So the first thing that I've been doing is writing on the book again.  I've outlined the next major scene in Old School Evil 2 and I've started writing it out as well.  I have two big scenes left in the book, with some interconnecting bits and the epilogue and end parts to finish it up.  I've got reasonable deadlines for each of those parts and if everything goes right, I should be done with the 2nd draft by the end of the month.  I've got deadlines in place for the rest of the drafts and plan on having the book completed by the end of November.

Why November you ask?  Because one thing Adam says in his book is that deadlines should be relevant to what I'm doing.  I had tried doing deadlines before but I'd give arbitrary dates, the end of the year or my birthday or something and I'd blow through them because they didn't matter.  So I've decided what my relevant deadline would be - Emerald City Comic-Con!  Yeah, Seattle's not really close to me, and I've never been to a comic-con nearly this big, but I figure it would be a cool event to try to sell in, and my wife and I have been wanting to visit there for years.  And it's the only comic-con on the west coast that is in a timeframe that I could reasonably finish the book, so that works out perfectly.

I've also been working on the new cover for book 1 that could be updated to give book 2 a similar style.  I've contacted an artist online to start the commission process.  I need to update him on the whole order and get some process from him, but I'm super excited to get the ball rolling further.

On the Retro Network front, I have posted a few new articles there - Toylines that Deserved a Cartoon and Ring Raiders: Crashing on Take-Off - and I have a new one coming out soon about Cartoon Reboots.  The second part of that about Cartoon Movies should be posted a week or so later, and I have a few more things planned afterward, so keep an eye out at the Retro Network.

That's about all the progress I've made lately.  I know it doesn't sound like much but compared to everything that's come before it since the whole Covid thing, I feel like a freaking whirlwind.  Expect more updates like this too, because it feels great having stuff to actually post here more than every six months.

Monday, February 8, 2021

One year update

I just randomly looked at my posts and tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of closing down the site.  I'm not sure why I'm posting anything here, but I figure it's a pretty good reason to give an update so why not?

I'm still not any closer to publishing Old School Evil 2. I keep trying to figure out when I can write, and I've done a little better at clearing time for creative endeavors at work.  However, editing the book has become extremely tedious and I'm not even sure why.  It was fine up to this point, but right now, I just can't do it.  Maybe I just need a change of scenery or something.

I have recently rejoined my old writing group and while I didn't submit anything for the last three or four meetings, I finally did send them something to critique.  It's the first section of my NaNo project from 2019, a spin-off standalone book in the Old School Evil universe.  I won't post anything here about it since I'm not sure I've ever even mentioned it online, but I'm getting feedback on it tomorrow, so I'm just going to say I'm excited about that.  

I have done a little writing lately though - I posted two Mega Construx-related articles on The Retro Network.  Yup, I finally posted something that wasn't holiday-related or a request from the management there!  I've got a few more lists I'm planning to write and post there and I'm hoping to get one of them done this week.  If you're interested in reading my stuff there, here's a link.

Lastly, I think I mentioned this before, but I'm planning to do a relaunch for the first Old School Evil novel.  I had originally planned to release it right before putting out book 2 just so I can ride that new book wave, but I'm wondering if I should just relaunch book 1 ASAP and not worry about matching the releases up at all.  I've finally figured out the artists I want working on it, and I think I've figured out the look well enough to try making it myself again.  I'd love to make some mock-ups and get some opinions on them here someday soon, but I have to wait until one of the artists is open to commissions again.

Anyway, that's it for me.  It's late, and I have a few minutes alone before going to bed, so maybe I'll try to write something.  Or then again, I might just watch an episode of Blood of Zeus instead.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Six month update

So, it's been about six months since I stopped writing in my blog, and like it has been for probably everyone in the world, it's been a pretty shitty time.  It hasn't been all terrible of course, but it's teetered more towards the bad than good.

First thing to mention, since this is my writing blog, after all, is my book.  I haven't made much progress on it at all during this whole time. I might have written a few chapters, maybe.  At the beginning of the year, I had hoped to be finished with my second and third draft by now, had it sent out to beta readers, and been working on a couple more drafts of it by now.  Right now, though, I still haven't finished the second draft.  I still hope to have it done by the end of the year, but it's going to be super tight.

It shouldn't need to be explained why I haven't been able to get any work done, but I just want to vent so here it goes.  I suppose I could be called one of the lucky ones that weren't laid off during the shut down as I have been working this whole time.  Unfortunately, the amount of work I've had to do since March has been doubled or maybe even tripled, especially in the first few months as I work in the healthcare industry.

Homelife hasn't been any easier since school's been closed.  I know it's been difficult for everyone but the combination of a 4-year-old child with autism and a wife with chronic fatigue has been even harder to survive.  I come home from a long, hard day at work to find my wife has had a worse day with our son and she immediately needs to take a nap.  As soon as she wakes up, I have to put him to bed.  So at home, when I've had at least an hour to myself to try to write before, I now have absolutely no time alone.

2020 didn't stop there though, as my grandma passed away on my son's 4th birthday, but for the last month, my wife has been dealing with some major medical issues that resulted in emergency surgery just last Thursday.  That's not to mention that massive fires in the next state over that have buried my home in smoke.

Luckily, my wife is feeling tons better now and it's got me hopeful that things will be getting better in the next few weeks.  My son's going back to school next Tuesday, assuming the smoke in the area doesn't shut the school down like it did a few days last week.  I know I'm going to sound like a complete ass hole for sending my son to school during the pandemic, but because of the program he's in, his class is the safest group of kids in school as he's completely isolated from the rest of the student body, located in a bungalow in the back of the campus.  He doesn't even need to go through the main building to get to his class!  Anyway, even if the school's shut down, I'm not worried about him catching anything.

Overall, things are looking brighter in the next few weeks.  I'm hoping to get back into writing soon and returning to my critiquing group.  I've even got some ideas for stuff to write for The Retro Network, who has been awesome enough to accept me even though I've offered nothing to them so far.

Oh and I'm finally getting a haircut tomorrow.  That's going to be weird.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Future of Old School Evil

It's been a while since I've posted any real update of what I'm working on now.  I meant to write one after November when I won NaNo, but it kept slipping by me.  In fact, the idea of posting any new content on here has been kinda daunting lately.  Having gone over two months since my last post here made posting again unappealing.  So I've decided to shudder my Old School Evil blog, at least for the time being.  Maybe I'll open it again later, but at this moment, I don't think it'll happen.

What I'm planning to do here is change my blogging focus to my writing and rebrand the site as a Brian Cave Author site.  I'm hoping to actually get some good website design and try to make it professional, considering Old School Evil is pretty generic looking.  I'm planning to post more updates on how my novels are going; writing, cover design (more on that later), advertising, marketing.  I'm not sure how often I'll post, but I'm definitely not trying to make it a weekly thing like I did before and it didn't last long.  I'm not planning to give up my Old School Evil twitter account or Facebook page.  Well, maybe I'll get a new Facebook page considering not many people even know I have one.  

I still do want to write some retro cartoon posts sometime, and to do so I've joined the Retro Network.  I've appeared on a podcast or two there and wrote a few pasts for them already, including an essay contest I entered where I reviewed the Go-Bots/Rock Lords movie.  I've got a few other things I want to write, some lists and movie reviews and I'll be posting them up there.  And this way they'll hopefully get a lot more eyes on them instead of me trying to promote them myself.

Since Old School Evil is closing down, I've decided not to do the rest of Bad Guy Beatdown.  I decided a while ago to throw up the first few battles on Wattpad, so I'm going to just post them all there. I do want to write up the last few battles, but I'm going to post them, sans analysis, on Wattpad as well.  I haven't gotten a lot of readers there, but considering I didn't get many on Twitter or Facebook, I don't see it as a loss.  I don't have any schedule for them, but it'll probably be a few months since I'm busy with the book at the moment.

Lastly, I did want to share some progress on the book.  I think I'm about halfway through the rewrite for Old School Evil 2.  I originally wanted to have it out by April 30th so it would be the second anniversary of the first book coming out, but it just ain't happening.  I don't have any deadline now, but I'm going to try to get through it as fast as possible. I've figured out a cool idea for the covers for the whole series that I'm super excited to show you all.  I think I can do some of it myself, but I'm definitely going to have to commission some artwork for some of it.

So that's what I've got going on right now.  I'm hoping this refocusing on the blog will help me spend more time writing and not worrying about anything else.  I really have enjoyed the time I've spent writing list content and some reviews, but I really am more of an author than a blogger.  I went into blogging to try to build interest in my book, and I think I've done everything I can do myself by now.  

I appreciate all of you that have stuck with me for so long.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Atlantis: The Lost Empire - James Garner Blogathon

Back in November, I wrote a series of posts about Disney villains called Disnovember about my favorite villain songs, deaths, and the like.  Only a few villains made more than one list, but there was one bad guy that showed up on three lists: Best villain death, best villain portrayal, and best overall villain and that was none other than Lyle Tiberius Rourke.  As the commander of the expedition to Atlantis, Rourke led two hundred men into the ocean depths with a cool and collected demeanor, even remaining calm when attacked by a giant mechanical leviathan. That composure didn’t falter, even in the second half of the film when his true nature as a plunderer came through and he was exposed as the film’s villain.

Rourke was played perfectly James Garner, being both the friendly commander watching over his crew and the back-stabbing thief throwing his second-in-command overboard.  I’m not too familiar with his work outside of the Rockford Files and Maverick (both of which I haven’t seen much of), but I only knew him as a good guy, so during his heel-turn after finding Atlantis’s treasure, I was pretty shocked.  After that point, his portrayal gets an almost excited energy, though I’d imagine it would be hard not to have that if you were about to become a millionaire.
Even at the very end, when he’s killing his lieutenant Audrey and trying to do the same to the hero Milo, Garner starts to have some real fun in the role, spouting off some of his best lines in the film.  In my best villain portrayal list, I state that his final lines in the movie are my absolute favorite – “I consider myself an even-tempered man. It takes a lot to get under my skin, but congratulations, you just won the solid-gold kewpie doll.” 

His death is one of my favorites as he effectively suffers two of them. Sliced by the magic-infused glass encasing the treasure of Atlantis, his body is transformers into crystal. Even still, he survives the transformation, only to be shattered to pieces by the rotor of his hot air balloon.  Heck, if Atlantis was a musical, I bet his signature song would have been my favorite as well.
Overall, I placed Rourke as my number 1 Disney villain and it’s in no small part that James Garner brought him up that high.  The slow hinting of Rourke’s ulterior motives, his willingness to abandon his former colleagues underground, to attack Atlantis’s king which led to his death, and then to turn against his most trusted partner is a thrill to watch.
"I love it when I win," indeed.
This post was written as part of the Realweegiemidget Reviews's James Garner Blogathon. Makes sure to visit the site and read the rest of the entries here.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Disnovember 2019 - Top 5 Disney Movie Villains

Well, here we are at the end of the inaugural Disnovember on Old School Evil and there’s just one more question I bet you’re asking – who are my favorite Disney movie villains?  With so many to choose from, this list was easily the hardest to write.  Do I pick the evilest or the most cunning or even the funniest ones? I tried to pick ones from across the board, like the one that made me laugh the most or made me outright hate them for the stuff they did.  I think I’ve got a great group here to fill your every need.  So let’s take a look at the worst of the worst!

Madam Mim – Sword in the Stone

There’s something incredibly gratifying when you have a villain who’s just crazy, who doesn’t have an evil plan, but just likes raising mischief wherever she goes.  When Arthur is turned into a bird and inadvertently makes his way into her cabin, she sings him a song about her powers and ow she plans to use them to kill him.  Merlin shows up to save him and gets caught in a magical duel with Mim, which she cheats in, of course.  I just like how she wasn’t even doing anything when Arthur shows up – she wasn’t planning an attack or anything.  She’s just hanging out, sees an opportunity to piss off her nemesis, Merlin, and takes it.  She’s just a simple, yet mad villain.

Judge Doom – Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Yeah, I’m probably riding the line including him in a list of cartoon villains, but when it’s spelled out in the movie that he is one, it counts.  Christopher Lloyd does such an incredible job spending most of the movie as the straightest of villains.  No sense of humor, not even a hint of a smile.  And then at the end of the movie, after surviving getting run over by a steamroller, he’s revealed to be a Toon himself and hams it up.  It’s such a huge turn, he would have easily gotten a spot on my Top 5 Villain Portrayals if only he’d actually said more once he starts trying to kill Valiant in earnest.

John Silver – Treasure Planet

I talked about this guy in the last list where he goes back and forth being a mentor to Jim Hawkins, then an enemy, and finally redeems himself at the end to save him.  Part of the reason I like him so much is that change, but the other part is how cool he looks.  The way they were able to combine the 2d and 3d animation in his arm and leg looked incredible.  I would still like the character if he was fully 2d, but he wouldn’t be this high on the list without it.

The Horned King – Black Cauldron

John Hurt does a fantastic job bringing to life the most grotesque villain has put out to date.  The Horned King is like nothing before or after it – a truly terrifying monster, his flesh mottled and rotten, his face constantly in a sneer.  Not to mention his plan to bring to life an army of undead warriors to take over the kingdom.  Like I said in previous list, there’s no wonder it took Disney so long to bring this out on home video.  It’s the first Disney feature to be rated PG-13 and most of that falls squarely on the Horned King’s ghoulish shoulders.

Lyle Tiberius Rourke – Atlantis

It’s no wonder that Atlantis is my favorite Disney movie.  Forgoing the songs and cutesy design of many of Disney’s previous movies, we’re presented with a story that has one of Disney’s highest body counts, with almost the whole crew of a massive sub dying on screen, not to mention most of Atlantis being destroyed in the first few minutes of the movie.
We’re introduced to Rourke as the commander of the ill-fated expedition, all business, barking orders all the time, but still taking time to show respect to his lost crew.  Only once they find Atlantis still living underground do we get a hint at his nefarious plan.  “This changes nothing.”  Finally stealing the crystal-infused princess at the end, he dooms all of Atlantis to death.  He turns on his second-in-command and tries to kill her.  And like he deserves, Rourke suffers two deaths at the end, turned into the monster he really is.  

So who are your favorite villains?  Do you like normal human villains like Cruella De Vil?  Magic-users like Jafar?  Or just crazy monsters like Chernobog?  Speak up and let me know!