Random Friday


I wanted to post a preview of the new strip, but it’s really not done yet, so maybe some other time. It was related to last Saturday, which for most of the so-called civilized world was Valentine’s Day or lovers’ day or whatever you want to call it. It never had any meaning for me, so I never bothered celebrating it.

But this year I sort of celebrated it, since I finally managed to get to the post office and retrieve the commission I requested to lovely Mrs Waffle! 🙂

IMG_9333Ain’t it neat? Now it’s on my wall, next to Colleen Doran, Sir Wendigo and a couple more (and there’s room for more… will have to stalk some other artist for an original sketch, LOL)…

IMG_9334See? And I know I don’t really look like that, but it’s close enough! 😉

My Facebook friends must have the default newsfeed of Top Stories, since I got plenty of comments and likes on the latest Happiness is… as if I never post anything else… And that picture is 1) two years old and 2) I had just come out of the hairdresser, which mean 48hours later it was all gone. You can see some of it in the above picture, and it obviously doesn’t look like in that Happiness is…! 😉

I’ll take it to my hairdresser tomorrow, with an idea I got about my next visit… in a couple of weeks. If it works out, I’ll post a picture. Maybe. I’m not very good at selfies, not even with a real camera and not a cell phone (did I mention I only have a stupid-phone?). Ah, well, we’ll see.

One last bit of randomness – 15 things that introverts would never tell you. I hotly subscribe to all of them, but mostly #7 and #8, and not because I’m a writer! But then, that’s probably why I don’t have that many offline friends… Which is fine, really. See #2! 😉 Have a great weekend!

 

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Random Friday


I was hoping to talk about a movie, but my DVD player got stuck soon after the intermission – I have 2 but one wouldn’t even read the DVD and the other… anyway, I’ll try to finish watching it on my mom’s DVD this afternoon, if that one works. Meh. It’s not even a pirate copy.

So, I’ll randomly ramble about… oh, look, it’s December already! Where did this year fly to? Since Serial Central has been dead for two or three years, I will be deleting it at the end of the year. I have written the other authors – except a couple who were not on the Yahoo mailing list, but then, I don’t know who is still receiving emails on that mailing list anyway – and I doubt any of them has objections. I’m tired of receiving WordPress fireworks for a blog I have long forgotten.

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving (if you’re American, that is!) and are ready for the December rush. This year it seems less daunting and depressing than usual, somehow – maybe because I haven’t realized it’s here yet. Or maybe because I’m busy with projects, inventory and whatnot.

Oh, boy, this is so hard, I’m just giving up. I have nothing to say. There. Have a great weekend! 🙂

Random Friday


Crazy days at DayJob and outside, since it’s raining so traffic is worse than ever and I’m oh-so-happy I go by bus, or I’d be stuck in that mess of flooded streets. No, it’s not as bad as in Sardinia, but people seem to forget how to drive when it rains + everybody takes the car so hundreds more in the streets = traffic jams a go-go. And the buses get caught in that mess, so the other day it took me 1hour and 10 minutes when it usually takes 40 minutes. Sigh.

My 18-year-old car needed some repairs this year, and I’m still using it sparsely. It has less than 65000km, but it’s falling apart anyway, LOL! Except I don’t use it enough to decide to buy a new car, so I’ll stick with it. So I paid those 650euros hoping it will go on for another ten years when I’ll either be able to move somewhere else, have a driver or buy an electric car.

I’m so busy translating, that I’m not even reading (okay, I read the magazines I bought in London, but this is no gossip blog, so mum’s the word). Tomorrow I will have to check the Italian version of Technological Angel before I give it to a beta on Sunday. I hope to read at least an e-book by a friend before the end of the month! 😉 The Italian POD will definitely be through Lulu, since ordering from Lulu is cheaper from Italy and since I really don’t get the guys at CreateSpace.

I’ll do a final edit to the files of Star Minds and Star Minds Snippets for CS and then I give up the whole matchbook thingy. I’d love to have a couple of books at Loncon next year, but if it’s only 2 or 3 titles (out of almost 20 PODs), I don’t care – I’ll have to carry them over there, so I don’t want too much weight anyway. I travel light with an empty trolley (so I can fill it with DVDs, LOL)! 😉

By the way, London will be filled by Italian fans. I’m in a group about the Italian Expedition Base Camp for Loncon, and there are already almost 40 people! 😉 I guess it won’t be less than 10 like at the Chicon, LOL! We’ll see who ends up actually coming and if we can set up a couple of panels, but I don’t know most of those people and what their English is like… I’m not an interpreter! 😉

The surprise Sunday is… no post. I already struggled to find something to say today, and I don’t have any guests stopping by until December. So no post this time. I’m blogging until I find it funny, and if it becomes a hassle, I’ll just dilute the posts even more – so I’m not crying for an empty Sunday morning. Unless something exceptional happens to blog about, but I doubt it! 🙂

Things are very quiet here, so that’s all for today – and this week… Have a wonderful weekend!

Random Friday


One of the reasons to go to London is to watch Krrish 3 coming out on Diwali (nov.4th) – but Hrithik has just been to London to promote it (or is it the videogame? What was he doing at an Apple Store anyway? *wonders the i-Nothing Gal*) already – way ahead of the release. Sigh. I’m always lucky with the movies stars I like – when Keanu was shooting 47 Ronin at the Shepperton Studios I didn’t manage to meet him (not to mention when I went to LA and he was in NY or I went to NY and he was in Europe – he has a knack for avoiding me!).

Anyhow, I’ve decided to continue a comic I did in 1998 and then a second (much shorter) part in 2000, which eventually will become a booklet about Superdeformed Barb which will include also Teen Barb and other vignettes I did – but not the Happiness Is… See the definition of Super deformed – although mine is a very personalized way of deforming people. It’s more Schulz than manga! 😉 But then, my drawing influences come from all over the world… I’ve never drawn True Manga style! 😀

I’m currently writing/sketching the beginning – and if you wonder why I’m saying this now, it’s not total randomness, it is related to the previous paragraph! 😉

SDfront_resizeSince I didn’t know what to talk about today, here’s the ramble. The 1998 comic was called “Superdeformed threesome”, starring me, Brad and Leo (my muses back then – do I need to specify their family names? ;)). I’m going to do “SD Threesome Millennium”, starring me and my two muses of today, Keanu and Hrithik (see how that ties to the first paragraph?)! 😀

A little bit of self-irony doesn’t hurt, even if I’m almost 50. I don’t care, life is beautiful with my imaginary friends! 😉 Anyhow, won’t be anything I’ll start working on until next year, since I want to finish SKYBAND first, and then I need to publish a B.G.Hope title which is referred to in one of the pages. But the London episode above might end up in it, like other real episodes ended up in the previous “SD” stories! 🙂

Speaking of Muses (since they both are) – I got a thumbnail of the cover of Star Minds Snippets (that’s Second Muse in case you were wondering. Is there still someone out there who doesn’t know what Ker-ris looks like?). Unfortunately the Cosmopolitan cover widget no longer works, so you’ll have to wait another couple of weeks… maybe I’ll do my first cover reveal, LOL! No, wait, that’s treating a book like traditional publishers… so no “cover reveal”, just straight to publication! 🙂

And that’s all for today… have a great weekend! 😀

Daily prompt?


Lately I’ve been scheduling posts very late, like at 9 or 10pm (Italy time) which means full daylight for you guys on the other side of the ocean: the WordPress servers were jammed, and I usually had to finish my drafts in the morning, before the alarm clock set off. So I don’t have posts in draft form anywhere, except when WordPress lets me down (but I love you anyway, guys! :-D). That’s why I’m writing this in the afternoon, so I won’t have to get up early tomorrow morning to finish scheduling this rambling post.

That’s also why I’m sort of improvising, jumping from one topic to the other. My brain is a little fried for the overworking of the past week. I still haven’t figured out a few things on GoodReads (why can’t they see my Lulu shop? Only because I don’t have ISBNs on the graphic novels? Tarun hasn’t an ISBN either, but it’s there…), and are still waiting for the final print cover (similar to the e-book one, but more square to fit the paperback) and printed copy.

I’m very excited, but also very exhausted – mentally, as I didn’t move around much. I tried to go for a walk every morning anyway, it’s good for my back, and Monday morning I really didn’t want to go back to DayJob. It felt like a waste of time after trying The Writing Life for only a week! 🙂

So, trying to follow the daily prompts from last week:

How do you find your muse?

Good question. I think he/they are always with me. Then I have to sit down and write their stories, of course. I don’t really have a ritual for that. When I was younger, I just started writing, and that was it – one-draft stories, some pretty awful, others not so bad. Then around the new millennium I started to ponder a little more before putting anything to paper. Even the graphic novels have a sort of script (BTW I found myself editing the last chapter of SKYBAND while I was drawing chapter 6 last weekend, because I had come up with a scene that was much better than what I had originally planned), although they’re sort of one-draft stories.

So, how do I find them. Well, I have my virtual cast (hence I don’t describe too much, and don’t forget the eye/hair color of a character, once I have decided who s/he is), and they usually act in my head… Sometimes my vision becomes fuzzy, so I just close my eyes and tell the story to myself (usually before falling asleep – that’s what I did with that SKYBAND scene), and then write it down. Am I making any sense here?

If I don’t, it’s because WE switched to Daylight Saving Time (or whatever it’s called) THIS weekend… so I missed one hour of sleep on Sunday and apparently I haven’t recovered yet! 😀 Sorry about that! 🙂

writers & editors


Because I still have limited internet access, I’m “recycling” old posts of the first month of this blog – I’m guessing it will be something new for all of us. The first comments were on November 28, 2009 (thanks to the Australian ladies Cassandra & Prue + Sevvy – where are you?) and these are all from October… if you already read them, forgive me. I’ll be back to full posting next week!

I like to think (and used to say) that I’m the World’s Humblest Author. I’m not, I guess. I mean, I don’t mind rewriting, adjusting plots and adding a few things here and there – helps me to think more about a story anyway, so it’s not wasted time – but some comments still drive me mad.

I had a reader/friend (who can’t read me anymore because she doesn’t speak English) who was very tough with her comments and after a number of years I already knew what she would say at some points, but wrote it down anyway… going “tee-hee, I knew it!” when I read the expected comment! ;-)

Now another friend (who is supposed to be a writer, but prefers to be an editor) criticized my choice of a title. I know “The Gathering” isn’t the most original title in the world, but it had its purpose (the same as another work of mine very similar, who took this title in 1998 from Magic-The gathering cards – ok, unoriginal of me back then, but now it makes sense). Is he trying to sell his editing abilities? Of course not, he’s a friend, not a pro-editor, but still… why doesn’t he do his writing instead of bothering with mine? :-)

That’s what friends are for, I guess. Why am I looking for an editor who would only check the grammar and style and that stuff? I probably wouldn’t listen to anyone if I were trying to publish the Italian version…  But English is my second language – well, third if you want to go in chronological learning order. I’ve been writing for over thirty years (in Italian only for the first 25)  and I’m quite confident with my style and everything, but I’m writing in a foreign language, so I need some native speaker to check me. But no comments? Mmm… the megalomania again… :-D

originally posted October 15, 2009

Halves


I’ve been thinking (too much!) lately, maybe it’s the summer heat that fries my brain, but well, here it is: I’m always half-something.

Barb the warrior woman ("The prince and the adventurer" graphic novel)

Half-lady (or half-princess) – I’m too old to be an adventurer and warrior woman, I want my comforts. But I’m not a full lady either, don’t care about my looks, don’t get most of other women’s behaviors, I like men but also being on my own. OK, I’m a Highly Sensitive Person of the socially inhibited kind (thanks, J, for the diagnosis!).

Half-artist – not good enough for mainstream comic books and illustration, not grungy enough for underground comics. Still not so good at anatomy, still going at it. Because, even if sometimes I wish I could be as good as some of my friends or artist heroes, I love it. But the artist in me clashes with the very logic of Virgo, sigh.

Half-genius – most geniuses are left-handed (most of the best artists too…), unfortunately I’m not. So I’m always halfway there. Yes, I’ve got talents, but something prevents me to reach the full potential ad perfection. Probably my own insecurity and humility (I call myself “World’s humblest author”, but I also have a big ego when it comes to writing and creating, how’s that for half-this/half-that?).

I’m also half-here/half-there, meaning half the time in reality, on this planet, observing people and doing things, the rest somewhere else far far away (spirit-land or with my characters, whatever you prefer). My spiritual teacher thinks I nurture the spirit too much, so sometimes I have to remind myself I have a body too, at least in this life! 😉

Eventually, with all those halves, I’ll make a complete human being… wait, I already am a human being! Guess we’re all half-something somehow, aren’t we?

Musings on The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood


I love how Joe (I’ll skip the Hungarian unwritable family name) talks about Mc Kee and other screenwriter gurus who have never written a screenplay in their lives. I like his humor, even if he obviously talks to male writers, as if he didn’t consider women writers at all… but whatever. He’s the screenwriter as God, so I’ll let him say what he wants. He made a lot of money and lost it all – just like Shane Black, I guess.

Age issue: I’m probably too old for this, luckily I don’t look my age! 😀 I’ll just have to hide my passport when I go to meetings, hahaha! 😉

“Artists spend all their time thinking about imaginary beauty” (Zsa Zsa Gabor) – I totally agree with this!

Oh, and I LOVE this:
“Most of what is written on how to write a screenplay is written by people who don’t know how… There aren’t that many who do know how, and those who do know how tend not to tell. For the very obvious reason: they don’t want to train their own competition. These are not unknowns, but it’s on the level of the mortuary trade – it’s passed on by word of mouth” (screenwriter Dan O’Bannon of Alien)…

I’ll update this while I read the book! 😉

One more pearl from the Eszterhas himself:
“Don’t be a screenwriter; be a writer who just happens to write for the screen. Don’t spend all of your time in dark theaters watching movies. Live. Love. Immerse yourself in the messy entanglements of the real, not reel life. Listen to human beings talk, not characters created by other screenwriters who spend all their time in dark movie theaters. (…)”

More (was before in the book, but I’m doing this at the office, so I’ve gone back for the purpose of this note – yes, I have a lot to do today):
Don’t live in L.A. (…) Forget everything you’ve heard about networking. It is not who you know in Hollywood. If you write a good, commercial script and start sending it out – someone will recognize that it is good and commercial. It is a town that runs on greed, filled with desperate people wo will do anything to make money. If they think your script will make them money, they will option or buy your script. You can write your script anywhere. I suggest that you write it anywhere but in L.A. You won’t be able to write real people if you stay in L.A. too long. L.A. has nothing to do with the rest of America. It is a place whose values are shaped by the movie business. It is my contention that it is not just a separate city, or even a separate state, but a separate country located within America. Real Americans live in Bainbridge Township, Ohio.”

******
OK, part 2 – more pearls of wisdom!
“Hollywood won’t corrupt you, but your family might. Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo: I begin to realize why people believe the legend that Hollywood corrupts writers. But they’re quite wrong. All Hollywood does is give them enough money so they can get married and have kids like normal people. But it’s the getting married and having kids that really corrupts them.”

“Keep your name out of the trades. Mike Medavoy: I told my writer clients to ignore the big splash announcements in the trades about some unknown writer getting big bucks for a script, because often these guys are never heard from again.”

I LOVE this one:
“Write original screenplays, not rewrites. Director David Lean: We want someone who has written original stories. We don’t want a scriptwriter who has spent his time embroidering on other people’s ideas.”

Don’t pitch a story; write it.. (…) Real writers sit down and write: wannabe writers sit around and talk. ”

“The greatest fun in screenwriting is not getting a lot of money… (…) the great fun in screenwriting is writing your first draft without anyone elses’s ideas cluttering or polluting it. Just you and your muse and the empty page or blank screen. Creating. Playing God.” That’s what I like about writing most – playing Goddess and creating worlds, characters and whatever…

Hedy Lamarr: “In my experience with writers, I found that those who talk less are more talented. I sat a whole evening with Otto Preminger and Tennessee Williams and Mr. Williams said just ten words.” I say – writers write, don’t talk! 😉

This is interesting: “Don’t do an outline for yourself. It will lock the characters in step too much and not give them enough room to plot the course of their own actions in the script. Give them the freedom to tell you what it is they want to do or say. Do a character sketch for yourself instead. Spend a page on each character. His/her back story, background, physical descriptions, interests, relationships, dreams, failings. do it for all the major characters. Study it for a week, reread it and think about it as much as you can, and revise it as the week goes along. At the end of the week, do a final version of it, and start writing your script. Keep your character sketches handy and reread them as you continue to write your scritp.” This really sounds like writer’s advice – and I could do that (but I usually don’t outline, just start writing, and maybe do an ID sheet of the main characters… this way sounds good, though. I’ll try it and let you know after I write the next script!).

Oh, and can you believe he writes his first draft longhand? He uses a pencil, I use a pen, but for his same reason – it puts me more in touch with my characters!

****
Part 3 – this is getting more fun and interesting while I read! The first person who says don’t be too meek, don’t be open to too many ideas about changing your scripts, fight the morons if they want to change what you’ve written.

“Don’t let ’em convince you to rewrite it.”

“If your scripts gets butchered, Robert McKee may have done it. McKee told a reporter in Melbourne, Australia, that he works for studios sometimes as a “story doctor”. This is a doctor whose patients (his own scripts) have all died (unproduced) except for the one patient who lived and became a television movie. First he teaches you how to write and then he kills what you’ve written.”

****
Part 4 – the end
The rest is mostly Hollywood gossip and warnings, which is fun and entertaining and also sort of discouraging. He even suggests to write novels instead, with the pros and cons of publishing. And ends with the story of his script, the funniest anybody in Hollywood ever read, and that nobody made.

So I guess all you have to do is keep writing, and writing, and writing – a new script a year or two, maybe (I’m a fast writer, like William Goldman, but don’t show you’re too fast or they’ll think the script sucks to matter what. But don’t be to slow either…)

the traveling writer


I’ve been to London so often, I now almost call it home. I forget to bring maps and cameras (luckily the Tube maps are always free) and to check the engineering works on weekends. The first time I saw it was during my first trip to England back in 1981. I was 15 and Carnaby Street was colored with button-badges panels.

I came back in 1986, then since 1989 I go there almost every year, either to study English or shop for books, CDs and DVDs (the last trip costed me 14 DVDs…). Whenever I reach Charing Cross station, I look for my landmarks. I’m losing count of favorite shops disappearing suddenly.

The most shocking was the closing of Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus last year, now beaten by Piccadilly Circus’s Burger King dissolved into Barclays Bank. What’s going on in London? Fast foods give way to banks in a year of financial recession? What are they doing to “my” city?

Evolution, I guess. Nobody can stop changes, withing or outside ourselves. Sigh. Give me back the 80s, anytime! 😉

Just kidding. I know I can’t go back to that blissful, oblivious state ever again. Should teach me how to make my worlds evolve, I guess… mmm, interesting thought…

Improvising…


a nice thing to do on Saturday mornings! Today I meant to write whatever came up to my mind, maybe thinking back to this first month of blogging. I had said to myself  “Ignore those damn stats, it’s early, what do you expect!”, but a not-so-busy morning at the office (yesterday) made me notice a sudden bounce in those numbers, breaking all the records so far, and only because I named my Muse 3 times in a row in the post. Like his most notorious character says: “Whoa!”. If I had known, I’d have written his name every day!

Just kidding. But thinking back on my post about My Muse(s), at the time all un-named, why not naming them now, after all, starting from the latest, the one and only for the new Millennium, Keanu Reeves. The others were (in chronological order) – 80s: Matt Dillon, Duran Duran, Gari Tarn of Drum Theatre; 90s: Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, Mark Slaughter of Slaughter, Kim Rossi Stuart, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.

So if you read about a dark-haired, sometimes left-handed, usually a warrior bloke in my sword&sorcery stories, you know who to picture. Except I tend NOT to describe much, so you’re free to imagine anyone as you please! I have my “virtual cast” in mind, but it doesn’t always come ou on the page – unless it’s a graphic novel, of course…

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