Update April 26, 2022: Notes on Incommunicado and The Chamber

A quick update on what I am doing these days.

Watch for the next issue of The Chamber coming out May 6. Great dark stories and poetry as always. I haven’t finished selecting all the material yet, but so far here are the contributors: Alan Catlin, James Mulhern, Peter Michael Bush, Janelle Chambers, Patrick R. Wilson, Hareendran Kallinkeel, Cecilia Kennedy, Kate Bergquist, Damir Salkovic, Jessica McGlyn, and Prithvijeet Sinha.

I estimated the number of pages I have for my play “Incommunicado” a few days and discovered there are only 45, which makes a performance of about 45 minutes. I want to do a full-length play of 90 minutes, which means I will need about 45 more pages. So, I am only halfway done. The real trick will be to add 45 pages of quality material vs. filler/crap. I believe in leaner, muscular writing, keeping the text to as few words as possible while giving as much meaning to each word as possible. This gives impact to the writing and makes it powerful. There are only three characters: Quinn, Cassie, and Ruth, but most of the dialogue is between Quinn and Cassie. There is not a lot of action in the play, so I am banking on having deep, fascinating characters, but I don’t want this to be overly intellectual. I want the average Joe in the street to appreciate what is going on. That makes the play more marketable and will attract a broader audience.

Quinn, by the way, is Quinn Gallagher, who is the protagonist in two of my short stories: “The Scent” and “The Slightest of Indiscretions”. I would post a link to “The Slightest…” but the website is down right now. You can find it along with several of my other stories on https://fictionontheweb.co.uk. Both of these are included in my short collection of relationship-based stories in The Scent and Other Stories.

Update April 13, 2022: Incommunicado

I am close to finishing the first draft of Incommunicado. The writing has gone well over the last few days. Hopefully, I will have it done by the end of this week…

I am close to finishing the first draft of Incommunicado. The writing has gone well over the last few days. Hopefully, I will have it done by the end of this week.

I want the play to be around ninety minutes, as this seems to be the average length for a modern, full-length play. To lengthen it, I took some notes in which the protagonist, Quinn, is speaking and molded them into a monologue. Originally, I think I had intended them to be the basis for dialogue between Quinn and the other characters, but I am not certain. They might have been intended to be used as short monologues to be placed at various points. It has been a while since I wrote them.

In any case, last night I was working on a scene in the dead center of the play, in which I wanted to show what was going through Quinn’s mind. I decided the center of the play would be the appropriate place for one long monologue. Now, I will go back and keep paring the monologue down to about five or so minutes in length and keep it relatively fast moving so the audience’s attention doesn’t wane. I will also give Quinn a few things to do that will have some symbolic meaning and will keep the motion/action going on the stage. It’s important for the audience to know what is going on in Quinn’s mind at this point, as I have already revealed what is going on in the head of the other main character, Cassie. Knowing these two things will be important for impact during the final scene between Quinn and Cassie.

As regards the draft poster used as a graphic below, there are only three characters in the play: Quinn, Cassie, and Ruth, a friend of Cassie’s. The poster below shows Quinn and Cassie (theoretically–the photo is from Pixabay and is in the public domain; I have no idea who the models are). I think I will develop an alternate poster that shows Ruth as well. The relationship between Quinn and Cassie is the focus of the play, but Ruth plays an important role as she helps provide background to the story and provides a different perspective.

The play is a complete departure from my original concept, which was to have only one character, Quinn, who would be in a room in a bed-and-breakfast struggling with whether to take up drinking again after having given it up for a year. That inner struggle within Quinn is still present, but is only a part of his background and is no longer the focus of the play.

That’s all for now. Hasta luego.

Hypothetical poster used as graphic for posts

Poster for Incommunicado

As you know, over the last few days I have been working on a play titled “Incommunicado” that I haven’t worked on in over a year. Yesterday, I was toying with an idea for a possible poster, should the play ever be produced. My draft is above. Let me know what you think. Does this poster tell you enough about the play that it would make you want to see it?

Possible Poster for “Incommunicado”

I am finding that toying with possible book covers for my works helps keep the writing fun and gives me a moment to contemplate the essence of the work.

As you know, over the last few days I have been working on a play titled “Incommunicado” that I haven’t worked on in over a year. Yesterday, I was toying with an idea for a possible poster, should the play ever be produced. My draft is above. Let me know what you think. Does this poster tell you enough about the play that it would make you want to see it? Are the colors bright enough and the design distinct enough to capture your attention should you pass it on a street?

I found that one unexpected benefit of drafting this poster is that it made me think about what exactly would be a good tagline for the play. To do that, I have to boil the play down to its essence, which I had not contemplated previously. So now, I have a core idea to which I can adhere to maintain the play’s focus and unity.

Let me know what you think.

Hasta luego.

Update: April 11, 2022 Working on Incommunicado

Just a quick note. Today, I have been working on a play I started a couple of years ago and put away when it started getting complex and I started to run out of ideas. Yesterday, I thought I needed a break from working on Lycanthrope and also that I need to publish something. I haven’t published anything of my own in a while. So, I recalled a few unfinished works and I remembered this one (I call Incommunicado) being close to being finished…

Just a quick note. Today, I have been working on a play I started a couple of years ago and put away when it started getting complex and I started to run out of ideas. Yesterday, I thought I needed a break from working on Lycanthrope and also that I need to publish something. I haven’t published anything of my own in a while. So, I recalled a few unfinished works and I remembered this one (I call Incommunicado) being close to being finished. So, I started working on it and the ideas started to come. I won’t say much about it other than it is a sort of dark romance/drama set in the present-day Gila Mountains of New Mexico. I finally have it sketched out from beginning to end. So now, I have to cut out some dialogue and mold it into shape.

The one thing that confounded me when I last worked on this was that I couldn’t come up with a good ending. The one I had for it was too similar to the ending of another play that I am working on (called Centaurs), but I couldn’t come up with anything else.

I finally realized that one major problem I had was that their characters were too similar. Now, I have found a way to vary them and have the entire play basic conflict arise out of their inner natures. Now things are flowing. Hopefully, I will finish this soon and can start submitting it.

That’s all for now.

Hasta luego.

Connie Nielsen as Karen Blixen in Upcoming Danish Mini-Series”The Dreamer”

A quick post on Connie Nielsen portraying Karen Blixen in an upcoming Danish mini-series.

Karen Blixen and (possibly) Denys Finch-Hatton in the 1920’s

If you are a fan of the Danish actress Connie Nielsen or the Danish writer Karen Blixen (on whose experiences the movie Out of Africa was based, follow this link to an article, “MIPTV: Connie Nielsen on Becoming Karen Blixen in ‘The Dreamer'” by Scott Roxborough. The article discusses the challenges Nielsen faced in portraying Karen Blixen and how her portrayal differs radically from that by Meryl Streep in Out of Africa. Streep’s portrayal was of a young woman engaged in a passionate love affair, whereas Nielsen’s is that of a broken woman who has returned to Denmark penniless having lost her farm and her lover.

One note about the photo above: in trying to find a photo to accompany this article, I ran across this one. There are two copies of this photo on Wikimedia Commons. One identifies the man as Denys Finch-Hatton, (Blixen’s lover portrayed by Robert Redford in Out of Africa). Another identifies the man as Thomas Dinesen, Karen’s brother. Its source is supposed to be the Danish Royal Library. The source of the first is not identified. However, a quick search on Google resulted in a lot of photos of Denys Finch-Hatton, most of which (in my opinion) look like the man above. If you enjoy detective work, do the research and let me know what you come up with.

Hasta luego.

Lycanthrope: Update of April 5, 2022

An update on my progress with Lycanthrope.

One theoretical cover

I have finally broken through the barrier that has kept me from adding more to Lycanthrope. I still have more to go, but I am probably at about 67,000 of a desired 80,000+ words. I am coming up with some good ideas, but I must jot them down quickly or I forget them. Hopefully, I will be finished before long. I am focused on finishing this finally. It has been a long journey and the storyline is radically different from the original I imagined nearly thirty years ago when I was in the Navy and living in Bremerton, Washington.

I find that the best way to come up with ideas is by sitting down in the chair at the computer and just staring into the distance until an idea surfaces. A lot of times though, the trick seems to be to go to bed after having thought about the story throughout the day or at least just before going to bed. The ideas seem to just leap into my head at moments like those. Then I scrounge up some scrap paper or an old envelope on the shelves next to the bed and jot down all I can. Sometimes, to get paper and pen, I have to go into the adjacent living room. A lot of times, this seems to happen when I am tired. Sometimes, I just act out what the character is doing or maybe I just take a break and do something out of the norm and then I can imagine the character doing the same. For example, I took a break from writing late one night and, after grabbing a bottle of vodka, walked out to the empty highway running through the woods in front of my house. I live in a remote area, so I didn’t have to worry about any traffic at all. I then walked up and down the centerline looking at the moon and stars and sometimes going into the pitch dark section of the road running under the canopy of the woods. I had one or two swigs out of the bottle, but nothing to even give me a buzz. It was a neat moment and I did see a few shooting stars. However, when I got back to the house, I had the protagonist do the same, but I embellished it considerably as he thought of the nature of the world and universe while getting quite drunk. Trying to find his way back to his house, he bumps into a tree and falls to the ground, where he sleeps until his girlfriend comes looking for him and drags him back to the house, scolding him all the way. I think this scene turned out to be a very nice passage and I think I wrote it quite beautifully and poignantly.

When I first started writing the story in Bremerton, I envisioned the story as something much more conventional than I have now. Set in the forests and hamlets surrounding Bremerton, the idea was about a man who had become a werewolf and was the narrator as he watched the police get ever closer to finding out who he was. There is a lot of magick and fantasy added to the current story and it is set in another state. I am hoping the story ends up a lot more intense than my original concept.

I will write more updates as time permits. Now, I need to go grab some supper and get to writing again.

Hasta luego.

My Interview with Duotrope is Now Live!

My interview with Duotrope is now live!

At Arkansas Post National Memorial near Gillett, Arkansas, 2020

I was recently interviewed by Duotrope about my work on The Chamber Magazine. That interview is now live. Follow this link to read it.

If you are not familiar with Duotrope, they are a submission engine, i.e. they aid writers in finding magazines, book publishers, and agents to print their stories and poetry. The way they do this is by listing important data on magazines, which their subscribers can search. I have used them for several years and they are a very useful tool in finding publishers. They do charge a nominal fee of about $5/month. What you get out of the website is well worth that $5 many times over. If you are a writer, I recommend them highly. Even if don’t write and only read, they will still be very useful in finding the right magazines for you.

While you are there, check out The Chamber’s listing. It is a good example of how they run their website/database.