Another Year is Ending + Opening Paragraphs

It just hit me today that I’ll be traveling home on Sunday and my winter break will begin, and when I return to work, it will be 2011, a whole new year. This year has had its ups and down, but overall it’s been a good one. I’m enjoying life in LA, I’ve made an effort to continue my writing and to read the works of others, but I’m looking forward to doing more of that next year, and to continue doing my favorite things: reading, writing and running. (p.s. this random logline generator is great)

To sum up feelings on this past year, I will say that I’m pleased with the feedback I’ve gotten, but I still don’t share my writing often enough. It’s something I’ve gotten better about over the years, but there’s still room for improvement. Writing is a solitary activity, but the process of revision doesn’t have to be. College helped a lot on this front. You can’t get around writing workshops and they have helped me become a more experienced writer. I have a few projects in the works, but they remain un-finished, or at least, un-polished. They aren’t quite ready to be slipped into a physical or metaphorical portfolio. Here’s the jist of what I have–

-A Dexter spec in its second draft that needs to be sent to a friend or two who have been waiting to read.

-A pilot halfway outlined and a list of characters and character descriptions. Notes on half of the Roswell pilot that I need to finish watching and dissecting.

-Three projected 1,200 word shorts in various stages of completion.

-A first draft of a novelette. Word count about 13,500.

-The first act of a YA novel, basically the first 6 chapters, currently totaling about 13,800 words.

-A finished thriller script that could use a complete re-write

-A first-act outline of a sci-fi thriller script and a first chapter fiction adaptation of the same story

In the new year I’d like to complete some of these projects sooner than others. I’d also like to get more feedback and read more. And perhaps in the new year, it would be beneficial to have an increase in discussions with writing colleagues and friends on the subject of reading and writing.

Goals for the new year: Get my work out there! Whether it’s to friends, online magazines, print magazines, agents or the like. Write more. Be more disciplined. See the big picture, not the short term.

Lastly, I haven’t put excerpts of my writing up before. I don’t think writers do that too often on public forums, but for today I will, if only to feel like I’m making an effort to open the door a crack to what I spend so much time doing.

Here are the opening paragraphs to a few of my projects:

A 1,200 word short:

“I hate everyone here,” he tells her. His voice is regular, not tinny, even though there’s over two thousand miles between them. When they talk, they have to stop at all the regular rest stops, like their road trips to RIT. There’s Bingington, Hartford, the coffee place right outside Rochester.

A non-fiction piece:

My brother had been a panicky boy who had an acute sensitivity to life. He hated the lawn mower story when my dad forgot there was a blue bird nest full of pale spotted eggs sitting in the middle of the backyard and accidentally mowed over it. Also, when my parents talked about our old house, the house I don’t remember, in Columbus, Ohio, they’d bring up the time Paul was playing on a playground. He climbed a metal slide and gripped the side of it before sliding down, slitting the underside of eight of his ten fingers.

“Why weren’t you watching me?” He would say whenever my mom brought the story up.

The YA Novel:

Mrs. Lippet was making tea. It was decaf, due to the late hour. She had her porcelain tea cup, the one with the blue paisley design, waiting on its creamy saucer. Her wrinkled, polished hand placed the muslin tea pouch down inside of it and she listened. She was listening for the familiar low hum that came from her stove’s hot coils right before the pot started screaming, but as was habit with her, Mrs. Lippet was listening for something else too. Anything really. She would report any kind of suspicious sound to the authorities, believe me, without a second’s hesitation. She rocked back on her sandpaper heels and watched the teapot with a judgmental gaze that would have unsettled even the most pompous New Manswick citizen. She sniffed in disapproval at the simmering pot and left the kitchen, stepping into her dining room.

The Novelette:

The blackness spiked with flickering light looked like a constellation, a small collection of stars in a smoky, sticky galaxy. Every time the portal opened up, God-like light streamed forth into the cosmos, reminding its inhabitants that there was still more universe out there. There was still some mystery in the unknown. When the portal closed another token of that outside world infiltrated this one, and it brought with it the promise of secrets and change. The unfamiliar intelligent life could rock this small community sitting amongst its scattered collection of stars. Anything was possible. That’s how he liked to think of it. Otherwise this was just another windowless dive bar on a weekday evening with too many melted candles and not enough hanging lamps.

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