Dream State Release Trailer

Newly produced Dream State trailer.  Please take a look.

Thanks All.

Robert E

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The unthinkable has happened

I have been on a search for a while for that one specific twitter application that would make automated tweeting EASY. Something I could control, that would live right on my own computer and not be on some server farm somewhere out of my control.

You guessed it, I’m a bit of a control freak.

I looked at every tool Google would return to me, and finally got disgusted. So I dusted off my programming hat, put it on backwards, and went to work. Jesus, its been a long time since I coded anything, and the tools have changed significantly since the days I was coding.

I worked at it, played, had a little fun, then got disgusted. Not with the concept, but with myself for forgetting so much. I reached out to a friend, he had nothing. Talked to another guy and he wanted a design spec. Fuck, its not that hard I kept saying.

So I gave it another go, and got it to do all I wanted it to do in the way I wanted it to do it. I loaded up a bunch of messages, turned off the actually posting to twitter, and let it run through its paces for 12 hours to make sure it wouldn’t crash the machine I wanted to run it on. Everything worked as expected, no glitches, no crashes.

I thought I was good to go. So I added back in the goods to make the post to twitter, but used a bad password to keep it from sending a bunch of test trash to twitter.

Then set the timer to delay for 5 seconds and send the next message. Tested again.

Guess what… Twitter does not like multiple login attempts with bad passwords in a given timeframe.

So here I am sitting at my desk completely cut out of twitter.

I wont know what the latest from @sueannesjewlry is, or how @jesusWife is getting along amongst us mortals. Nor can I keep up with @ceebee308 to see the rocket ride he is on to a million followers. Gone is my ability to get the ever caring tweets from @WinslowEliot, or find out the latest intelligence coming from down under and @lukeromyn.

What the hell am I going to do for another 45 minutes.

 
 

Robert E

 
 

12/30/09 ~ Character Development

What do you want from your main character (MC)?

What things do they bring to the story? Do they rescue someone? Do they abuse some one? Are they good? Evil?

You may not know all the characteristics of your MC when you first start outlining, but you know the general direction you want them to take. In Dream State I wanted my MC, Drew Sovern, to be a monster. I wanted him to act and behave as though there were no ramifications for the things he did. I also wanted him to be mentally unstable, but appear to be completely normal. He was a tough guy to write, because on top of the things that he was doing, I wanted his actions, his day to day activities to be believable.

In my current WIP, I was introduced to an excellent tool, courtesy of Carol Valdez Miller, @cvaldezmiller. Her tip was to interview the character. Seemed a bit odd to me but it was a chance to stretch a little bit, so I tried it out. The results surprised me. I sat down and developed a series of questions, then assumed the persona of the character, and came up with some very interesting results.

So if you’re struggling with the finer points of your characters, try an interview. You’ll find more than you bargained for, and create a much more robust and interesting character.

Thanks Carol for the wonderful tip.

Happy new year, and Happy writing.

Robert E

 
 

12/29/09 Gratitude ~ Acquaintances

In today’s post I am choosing Gratitude as the topic, and this will be my topic for Tuesdays until I run out of things to be grateful for or available time does not allow me to post every day.

There are so many things I am grateful for that I could write or talk about these things for the next millennia. Today though I want to discuss acquaintances’. I view this as the people we run into on a day to day basis, maybe even going through periods where we speak to or hang out with a specific person or group daily or more frequently.

As a business and technology consultant, I have had met my fair share of people, more than I can count to be sure. With every location I visit, or am deployed to for a long term, there is always a connection with one or two people. You know the connection, there is an instant click. They’ll get the humor and I’ll get theirs, which is often tough for me.

Each person I have come in contact with has provided me the opportunity to learn something new. From my acquaintances I have learned many great things. One of the most memorable happened recently. I brought a man in his mid fifties onto a project. His resume had all the right qualifications, and the interview indicated he would be a technically competent addition to my team.

Three weeks of working with the client told a different story. He was viewed as a problematic person that would not complete tasks as requested within the given timelines. So I tried talking with him about the comments that were coming back, gave him a heads up on the perception he was creating, etc.

Another week went by and the client insisted he be replaced. Before I took that action I called the man’s manager to have discussion about previous assignments, ethic, previous evaluations, etc. I was told within three minutes of the conversation that if there was a problem it belonged to me.

Well, that was a complete shock. The manager had such a deep seeded trust in his employee that her view was that I was not a good manager. Another shock.

I stewed on this information for a couple days before I did anything drastic, and am thankful for that. We traveled to the client sites on Monday mornings, and when my guy arrived we went for coffee. Over a cup of Starbucks finest brewed coffee, I explained to the man my concerns and issues. I dislike confrontation of the personal nature at work and find it unnatural to have performance based discussions. But here I was having that exact conversation.

My guy listened to me, understood my point, then asked if I was done. Taking a drink I said “Sure I’m done”.

What came next was devastating. I was informed that my communication style left a lot to be desired. I assumed everyone I talked to carried the same fragmented knowledge in their head and could make the same informational connections I made. I sat there thinking “wow, the hits just keep on coming”.

He was right however, and taking his critique I changed the way I talked to him about project related information. Every issue that had been reported instantly went away and he was asked to stay for the better part of a year, based off a 60 day initial assignment.

So what’s the moral of the story?

Our opportunities to improve can come from damn near anywhere.

My guy and I have moved from a professional acquaintance to a personal one. We have spent hours talking about belief systems, coping mechanisms, and all sorts of other ethereal topics. Its truly rewarding, and had I gone with the direction I was given I would never of had the chance to get to learn from this terminally patient man.

Have patience in your conversations, smile at the newly introduced for you have no idea what they can help you learn.

 
 

I forgot to tell the story I promised to tell

My wife, the awesome woman she is, treated me to one of the best things on the planet yesterday morning, and I was so happy I told her I would blog about it.

Get yer head out of the gutter.

She made the most amazing breakfast I have ever had.

Here’s the menu:

Fresh baked buttermilk biscuits

Fried Hog Jowl ( I’m told that is poor mans bacon)

Scrambled eggs

Seasoned and Cubed home fries

Sausage Gravy with bacon

It was a heart attack on a plate and I loved every minute of it. I am thinking of requiring (ok that’s way to strong, more like pleading like a little bitch) that she make it once a month. My overly inactive lifestyle won’t allow me to eat it more often than that or I would need a wheelbarrow and two hired hands to wheel me down the stairs to get coffee.

12/28/09 – Scene Development

I have seen a lot written about scene development from numerous authors. If you have been fortunate enough to have attained an education in writing or taken creative writing classes, I recommend that you review again the lessons taught there.

What I write here is my process and like everything else I do, it is my own, and could be viewed as a blasphemous method to the purest.

That said here is how I do it.

First I have to have a reason for the scene. I generally sit down and draw out a rough outline for how the story should flow. The high points nothing more. As I write in the general direction of the outline I develop the scenes my characters will live in.

In my current WIP, I needed a place for my MC to start showing off some of his talents. I chose to create a club scene in NYC for him to stretch his legs, find out all he was capable of.

Once the scene location was set, I started drawing off personal experiences to set the specifics. Though I have never been to a club in NYC, I have been to a club, I have witnessed first hand the effects of alcohol and drugs on humans packed into small spaces. Lifting my own experience and shifting into my characters world works well for me.

As you think about your scene, don’t underestimate your own experiences. You can draw from the vast amount of living you have done, change the names or situations to disguise any possible secrets getting out, and wa-la you have a scene that is believable by your readers.

This method obviously will not work if you are creating fantasy or sci-fi, unless of course your meds are better than mine.

Wishing you all productive writing and a Happy New Year.

Robert E

 
 

 
 

Drew Sovern and Friend Interview

I conducted a bit of an interview with Drew Sovern a couple weeks ago and thought you all might be interested in reading the results of that session.

Robert Crull:    Good evening Drew.

Drew Sovern:    Good evening, I see you are well.

RC:    Yeah thanks. I would like to talk to you about Melinda Dodge Drew, will you tell me about her.

DS:    Ah yes, Melinda, number one. She was so beautiful.

RC:    I thought as much.

DS:    I had this major crush on her from the time I first saw her in middle school. She was pretty popular, so I kept my distance at the time. That night she came to see me was the beginning of a dream for me.

RC:    Tell me about the night

DS:    It was an amazing night. My dad had been pissing me off to no end and I was determined to live my life. Out of frustration, I went for a late night bike ride to the small park in the middle of town. I was sitting there on the picnic table when she walked up. I could barely speak I was so stunned.

RC:    If you had all these feelings of attraction for her what happened to make you do what you did?

[Drew tilts his head to the side and looks to the ceiling on his right]

DS:    To this day, I don’t really know why.

DS(alter ego):    Do you really want to know?

RC:    Yes I really do.

DS:    Can I not do a simple interview without you budging your way in, trying to control it all?

DS(alter ego):    Apparently not or I wouldn’t be here you putz.

RC:    Do the two of you need to be alone?

DS(alter ego):    I’m ready if the idiot would shut up.

RC:    Drew, are you ready for your friend to tell me the story.

DS:    Go ahead, he won’t leave me alone anyway.

RC:     Alright then, what happened that night.

DS(alter ego):    It’s simple really. She made Drew feel things he had never felt before and he was not capable of dealing with it. He was too immature, too childish to know how that all was supposed to end. So I helped him out. I took away from him the humanity he would have shown her at the moment she bit him.

RC:    But it was just teasing, teenage making out. Why did you step in?

DS(alter ego):    If he had not retaliated he would have wound up being the same pussy whipped man his father had become. He would have traded his sack for a purse to carry his testicles in. There was no way I would allow him to fall into that trap. If I had not taken over, he would have spent his years as a gelding wondering the field eating grass. Such a waste.

RC:    Very harsh words, Drew what do you think?

DS:    
There is truth in those words, unfortunately. I have come to realize that my friend is normally right, and is so in this situation. That night I learned of what I was really capable of, how far I could go to get what I wanted, what we needed. Had it not been for Melinda and the events of that night, I would not be the man I am today.

RC:    Thanks to you both for coming in today. I appreciate it and I am sure my readers will enjoy a look into the inner workings of Drew. Thank you again.

Drew, and his friend can be further explored in Dream State available now at http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/DreamState.html