Saturday, July 19, 2008

Daring to be a rock star

I am going to give it a shot sending the sample portion of my book to that senior agent with the excellent track record. You have to believe you are a winner if you want to win, you know?

The first chapter is tight, I think. I just need to write a KILLER query letter to make this agent want to read my material.

I am not one for self-promotion but this is how you open the door . . . and I best hurry up if I want this to go out in today's mail!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Social Networking Must Evolve or Dissolve

Playing on the Web has never been so fun. The gods of the Internet continue to create new distractions to keep you clicking and staring ceaselessly at your screen. You load the latest applications on to your Facebook page and leave cute messages for all your friends.

Then why am I so bored?

Probably because we are not taking full advantage of these resources.

Services like Dodgeball and Twitter tie together wireless phones and social networking but in small ways. You still have to type in what you are doing and where you are going.

Let's eliminate that extra step.

How about automatically letting your GPS-enabled phone alert others in your network to your current position?

How about scanning a certain physical radius for friends who may be doing a bar crawl within the same city?

I would love to get a message on my cell phone that says a buddy is stuck in traffic on the Turnpike without them needing to call or text me.

When out business networking, getting a list on my phone of what professionals are in the same room with me would be a great tool.

While these ideas are possible, the plausibility is slim at least for now. Many users would fear exposing too much information to others. In my opinion though, social networking doesn't really DO anything.

Get these services more actively wired into mobile devices and THAT is how Facebook and the rest will evolve into tangle services everyone will use to make life more interactive.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Movie Review: Hellboy II The Golden Army

I like Guillermo del Toro, I really do. He is a competent and visionary director with a vivid imagination.

Too bad his style and dynamics outstrip Hellboy and company.

Hellboy II is a decent sequel but it showed me the limited range the primary characters can offer the audience compared with the new ideas the director introduced.

This felt like two different stories spliced together that ultimately did not require the presence of the title character at all.

When Hellboy and his sidekicks appeared onscreen, I lost interest in the movie. Their dialogue and characterizations felt forced and unnatural.

Prince Nuada and Princess Nuala, new characters introduced by del Toro, were far more compelling by comparison. I wanted to see more of those two and hear more of their story.

And that's the problem with this movie. While it does a decent job, it doesn't come across as anything more than a sequel featuring the latest romp with a set of characters who are not all that endearing.

I want Hellboy to be funnier or Abe Sapien to come across as too intelligent for the beer-swilling company he keeps. Selma Blair as Liz Sherman had a cute hair cut but then I always had a weakness for her. The rest of Hellboy's compadres are as forgettable as the wisps of air that surround them.

Del Toro is best served by working with his own material free of the trappings imposed on him by working in someone else's franchise.

He did an admirable job with Blade II but AGAIN you see del Toro introduce antagonists that are more intriguing than our 2-Dimensional hero.

Incidentally, Blade II and Hellboy II BOTH follow a story structure of the prodigal son returning to cause havoc and challenge his father's authority while the sister laments for her brother's course of action. Both movies feature Luke Goss in the role of the "misunderstood" antagonist and he thrives on these types of roles.

Hellboy II makes me a little concerned about the way del Toro will approach The Hobbit and its untitled sequel. Peter Jackson set a solid tone for movies adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's works that the audience will expect to see continued. I fear del Toro will desire to shape the stories to his own vision which departs from what the audience is expecting and thereby alienate the very people he needs to win over the most.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Decision time...

I need an agent...

Let's be real, magic only happens within the pages of a book or on screen. There will be no magic in my attempts at getting published.

Chance, fortune and persistence are part of this endeavor. But I want to stack the damn deck in my favor.

So do I approach a lesser known agent who is eager for new material or do I try to worm my way into the august presence of a confirmed winner with clients who top the bestsellers lists?

The problem is you really only get one shot per agency with a specific manuscript.

Let's look at The Writers House: I found two different agents, one senior and one junior, who make sense for me to approach.

The senior agent in question handled Stephanie Meyer's book deal for the "Twilight" series. If you're not a teenage girl who loves reading about romances with vampires, you never heard of it. Meyer found commercial success with her debut novel, landing at No. 5 on the bestsellers list for young adult fiction. The first movie adaptation is due for release in December of this year.

Meyer had no other writing credentials I am aware of before the first book went to press.

Meyer is six months younger than me.

This single line from her Web site turned the screws of envy even deeper into my spine: "And that's how, in the course of six months, Twilight was dreamed, written, and accepted for publication."

Her agent is very experienced in the market whose other clients include BRUCE CAMPBELL, you know, Ashe from the "Evil Dead" movies. How cool is that? This agent is a rock star in my eyes.

But off course this agent is very, very busy. Counting money. On an island in Fiji. I exaggerate of course but you see where I am going.

Then there is a fresher face at the agency who sounds eager with her own respectable stable of clients under her belt. A junior agent may be more inclined to at least look at my work. And regardless of the individual clout of the agents, The Writers House has a great reputation.

Each agent handles submissions differently: The senior agent wants a query and the first 10 pages via snail mail. Response time: up to eight weeks

The junior agent wants a query and just the first page via email. Response time: up to three weeks.

So do I launch a "Hail Mary" pass at the senior agent in the end zone or do I go for the running play with the junior agent and hope to gain a little bit of yardage and maybe break through to daylight?

Either way, I can fumble the play and get nowhere. They both might think I stink.

Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away