IT’S ALL OVER BUT THE ENDING!!

In my first blog post I mentioned “success” as it related to the various stages of completing a novel. It started when someone asked me at what point would I consider my book a “success”. Looking back and knowing how White Wolf Moon turned out I would consider it successful but not just because it paid for itself and even made me a little money.

I believe in celebrating the little successes along the way, from completion of that first draft through all the steps along the way to that first sale. I would guess that there are thousands of people that never finish that first draft because writing a novel, especially the first one, isn’t as easy a task as most think. Then there’s that unforgiving first read-through and edit. Some of those lines that felt so right at the time…well, they’re not quite so right on the read-through and suffer the wrath of the ‘delete’ key. It’s a lot of work this writing thing and the completion of each phase deserves a self-imposed pat on the back.

Here I am at pat number one. Yes I still need an ending (and I have three in mind) but as with the first book I’m leaving it until I’ve completed the reading. I’ve decided that there won’t be a third book, at least not along these lines. It’s time to try something different so the ending of this book will be, well…the end. I just want to make sure I tie up all the loose threads in this one.

I’ve started the read-through and so far haven’t made any major changes. I’ve changed a few lines due to the aforementioned “not quite so right” syndrome but overall I’m happy with the progress.

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Between wrap-up and reading I took a couple of days and laid a wolf-themed paint job on my RC truck with colors based on the cover of White Wolf Moon. By the way, the lupus in the photo is one of four toy wolves I found at a thrift shop and is the same scale (1/10) as the truck. I think it’s important to take little breaks like this as when I get back to the computer I see what I’ve done with fresher eyes.

Plus I allow myself a little time to celebrate success number one.

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IT WAS FIFTY-YEARS AGO TODAY….

It was a time of uncertainty. The Cold War lurked in the shadows and visions of ICBMs criss-crossing the globe were burned into our young minds. JFK was still more than fresh in our memory and in general the world around us seemed dark, cold, and bleak. Then came that Ed Sullivan show.

As White Wolf Moon is less about wolves and more about 60s music/culture and this is the 50th Anniversary of that Beatles appearance I thought I’d share a small bit of my Beatles collection. Working at CJCA radio in Edmonton, Alberta back in those days I was fortunate to get some of these 45s after they’d been replaced with new copies so they aren’t in great condition but it’s still cool to have them. By the way Del Shannon’s “From Me To You” is included as it was the first Lennon & McCartney (credited McCartney – Lennon) song played on North American radio, before the Beatles’ version.

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I remember that night so vividly. I even wired my reel-to-reel tape machine to the speaker on our television so I could record the audio and listen to it over and over…which I did.

I remember going to school the next day and everyone was singing Beatles songs and although I didn’t realize it at the time I know now that I was there for the ‘change’. The kids seemed happier and there was more activity in the halls. Scuffles broke out between the Beatles fans and those that pretended they weren’t Beatles fans just so they could scuffle in the halls. There was a different ‘feel’ that day…the day it all changed.

The Beatles changed me and the rest of the world. They inspired me to try to learn how to play guitar and, after 50 years, I’m still trying. John Lennon inspired me to write and to look at the world through different eyes although my visions were not necessarily welcomed by English teachers.

I also realize how fortunate I was to be around in those days although these damn birthdays that keep creeping up on me are a bit of a pain. I was there and part of the ‘mania’ and it’s something I won’t ever forget. I don’t think there’s been anything since then (except for perhaps Michael Jackson) that has impacted the music scene that much (oh puhleease don’t infer that Beiber is any more than a dust speck on my “White Album”).

I have every Beatles lp (12” round vinyl thingies in cardboard covers), their eps, (7” round vinyl thingies in picture covers), and most of the singles (7” round vinyl thingies in various covers). I have two and three copies of some of their albums but these duplicates are mostly European releases which were hard to get in those days. I didn’t get as much into the merchandising as to me it always will be about the music and the atmosphere of the times…something you can’t put into a book or a cd collection. Yes I have the anthologies and the re-mastered cds but honestly I listened to each of them once. You can take all your current audio technology and put it back on the shelf. I’ll drop “Meet The Beatles” or “Sergeant Pepper’s” on the turntable and crank it up and remember how I felt when I first heard both of these milestone albums.

Tonight I will watch the special. Tonight I’ll shed about fifty years and just let everything else go.

Tonight is for yesterday.

RE-READ? RE-SPEAK? BOB DYLAN?

Dilemmas have big horns.

When White Wolf Moon was released the majority of comments I received were about the dialogue and how realistic it was. I used a lot of off-hand “yeahs”, “uhs”, and “hmmnns” which is a no-no, apparently.  I’ve also been told that I used more than an acceptable number of ellipses “…” and too many contractions…“can’t”, “I’ll” etc..

What’s the dilemma? A year ago when I started to write the second book I was conscious of the rules. They state that I should use only a few, if any, “filler” words in my dialogue. I‘ve started my read-through. The dialogue sounds forced and almost sterile so, against all the ‘rules’, I’m humanizing it a bit more. I guess I’ll know soon enough if this is the right move but I have to feel comfortable with it.

On another note…Super Bowl, in particular the Bob Dylan Chrysler commercial. At the time of this writing there are close to 2,000 comments on a facebook page dedicated to this commercial. Most are critical for his American car company reference (Chrysler is owned by Fiat apparently), many are calling him down for “selling out”, and a few are even playing the old ‘what’s the hidden meaning’ game.

That spot along with the Bud puppy commercial were, to me, the highlights of the whole broadcast. Yes I was pulling for the Seahawks but the Broncs lost that game more than the Hawks won and it became a bit of a bore before the end of the first half.

Dylan

But back to Bob. I’ve been a fan since the beginning and from that beginning he has always built and taken his own road and you have to respect someone that after fifty years is still on that road. I caught him live on his last western tour and will never forget that experience. While I usually resist getting involved in this sort of nonsense this time I had to add a comment to the list:

“My God so Bob Dylan did a friggin’ television commercial…like there aren’t bigger issues in the world. Did he ‘sell out’? Who cares? Most say he sold out when he went electric and that hasn’t stopped him. Bob Dylan is going to do and say what Bob Dylan wants to do and say regardless of what anyone thinks. It’s always been that way and always will. If a few million other people had that kind of conviction, strength, and confidence it might be a better world. It’s just a commercial for crying out loud…not some over-the-top hidden-meaning social statement. All it’s designed to do is to get people talking about Chrysler and guess what???”