Back to square one is not back to square one

The focus of my research has changed again — or more accurately, has refined itself even further, or become more fundamental. The upshot and downside is that the creative output for the research is now completely different (again). No game now, which is all right because I can put that together on my own once I’m finished with this research. Now I’m helping on a larger project. And I couldn’t be happier, to be honest. For someone who spends a lot of time writing, I spend a lot of that time in the company of others. Yeah, sure, I’ve got short stories that have been accepted, and I’ve got a couple of ideas for novels that are quietly keeping warm on the backburners of an extraordinarily large oven, but a lot of the making stuff I that I do is in the company of others. I spend at least one … Read on!

Sorry, been busy

I know, I know, I owe posts. My research has changed, I’m in the middle of revising a master document, and I was diagnosed with freaking diabetes so my brain hasn’t been firing on all cylinders. However, I have plans and things. I’ll enumerate those in a further post, but suffice to say I’m going to try to stick with a weekly schedule (so regular updates from here out, yay!) and definitely talk more about the work I’m doing toward my doctorate. In the meantime, however, there’s a rant that’s been building over the past week and I’ll be posting that shortly. Naughty language alert for that one. You’ve been warned. Like this:Like Loading…

Academic writing

Is it me, or is it like some perverse wrestling sculpture event? It’s like cooking, or carpentry. There’s heavy lifting and assembly and then disassembly when you inevitably get a joist wrong. And there’s a lot of staring. And pressure. And waiting. Scripts for me can grind, sure, but the grind is different, spooling too far too fast in a direction that I later realize doesn’t work. Lots of spooling. Tire smoke. But this theory thinky stuff is a different thing, like trying to walk through gel. Pushing through. Stopping for a breather. Is it always like this? Does it loosen up the more you get used to it? Or is it easier for some people? I can completely understand if it’s not the kind of thing I’ve got a knack for. I dunno. Like this:Like Loading…

Meanwhile, back in academia

One 24 hour plane trip and my white blood cells are all offended. I have come and gone to a fantastic conference (Rethinking Intermediality in the Digital Age), left with my head bursting with ideas and a notebook full of unbelievably smart and astonishing new contacts, and after landing in Brisbane one evening, heading to work the following morning, and then attending fellow DCI cohort presentations the day after that, I am fallen. Stupid cold. It’s not as bad as the lurgi before, but not for lack of trying. On the plus side, reading. On the minus side, poor reading comprehension. In early December I present a progress report of sorts for my research. There’s even a panel evaluation, so, like, no pressure or nothing. Really, I’m not terribly worried about talking. I can talk. Talking is fine. It’s putting this stuff down on paper that feels intimidating. That’s a funny … Read on!

Progress! Though it might not look like it.

I’ve managed a bit of a breakthrough, tightening the pacing on the story (improving the first episode significantly) and getting a much livelier sense of the characters, which is immeasurably valuable. I did it by eliminating/consolidating three characters. Reminds me of a phrase used when it comes to modern media technology: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Polyphonic stories require ensemble casts: it is the nature of the tale. But too many characters and you muddy and confuse everything, and no one remembers who anyone else is. Too few, and you have no tension at all. I’ve had to be mercenary about this story, looking at every scene from a screenwriting perspective: no wasted airtime. No wasted words, no wasted sound, no pointless scenes. But the difference here is that in a three-act film, every scene pushes the story forward on the shoulders of the main character (even though … Read on!

Crash (but no burn): prologue

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted here. That’s because I’ve been doing some hard thinking and scribbling in my story, and how I’m approaching it, and how I’m approaching the transmedia nature of it. And I have finally understood, as I stand at the accordioned hood (bonnet!) of this metaphorical car, that I’ve been barking up at least one wrong tree. I feel a bit foolish, but in research, being wrong isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as we learn from our mistakes and missteps. My real challenge now is documenting what went wrong, and why I think it peeled off the rails. That’s what my next post (or posts) will be about. Also coming up will possibly be a flash fiction entry spurred by Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog. If you’re not reading him, you should be. I’ll add him to my blogroll linkist whatever the heck that … Read on!

Critical Thinking and Immigration Policy

While my research centers on writing a transmedia story, the processes of it and how and why it works, there is also a social component to it. I deliberately chose to have my story be about the journey of a refugee girl escaping from war at home and trying to find a safe place to live. There are two main reasons for this: the first has to do with my experience as a Mexican-American growing up on the border of Texas and Mexico, and the second has to do with the appalling use of “boat people” as a political football by the government and the opposition here in Australia. Earlier this month, the Washington Post published an article about Jason Richwine, who co-authored a study commissioned by The Heritage Foundation indicating that immigration reform could cost the US trillions of dollars. The article in question, however, was written to put … Read on!