Still from Confessions of a Drunkard by Film By Democracy
So it’s the middle of NaNoWriMo, and Matthew has more or less left us to our own devices. We understand he’s passed the half way mark of 25,000 words, and is apparently four or five chapters away from finishing the draft of Prophecy, which will hopefully then make it into print after he finished editing it. Other than that, he says he’s struggling to make his word count targets and keep on top of everything else.
In more interesting news, Matthew is about to make his Big Screen debut in Film by Democracy‘s Confessions of a Drunkard, their entry into Melbourne’s 2012 48 Hour Film Festival. Matthew previously auditioned for a web series that never quite got off the ground, and was recently invited by director Monte Macpherson in the 48 Hour Film Project shoot. The Film By Democracy crew were given a film genre of Black Comedy, the character of an activist, the prop of a magnet, and the line “Let me tell you a secret,” all of which had to be included in the final film. Matthew played a largely improvised role of a partygoer–a metrosexual who was planning on being just gay enough to get the girl. He also possibly ended up murdered.
If you’d like to see him in all of his potential acting glory (we’re still dubious, but don’t tell him we said that, he won’t find out until he checks his website in December), you can come along to the second screening of 48 hour film festival entries:
Where: Cinema Nova, Lygon Street, Carlton When: Wednesday, November 14, 8:15 PM for an 8:30 PM start Tickets: General Admission $22, Concession $18.70, bookings here.
View Larger Map
In addition to Confessions of a Drunkard, you’ll also be able to see fifteen other short films. If Confessions of a Drunkard gets through to the top twelve, you can also come along to the Awards night on Friday the 16th of November. We can’t show you a video preview of the film, sadly, but we can show you film director Monte rushing to get the film finished and handed in on time.
We’ve also added the option for you to follow The Writing of Matthew Lang on Facebook via Networked Blogs–just click the follow button over on the right and you can access the latest from Matthew’s site directly from Facebook. Or you can just click here.
Matthew Lang’s short story Screens is now available on Amazon.com. We’ve convinced Matthew to do an experiment, and put it up on Kindle Select, and in celebration of National Novel Writing Month, we’re making it free for the next 3 days. That’s the 1st to the 3rd of November, and it’s available right now. To get your copy, just click the book cover on the left.
You can of course still purchase Screens as part of the banQuetpress 2012 men Anthology, which is available in print and ebook.
photo credit: a.drian via photopin cc
National Novel Writing Month sweeps around the globe and starts very close to me here in Australia. In some places, it’s already started, but here, it’s less than 1 hour away, and I’m wondering if I’m going to be staying up for a midnight start.
For anyone in the writing community who hasn’t stumbled across it yet, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is an event that, last year, was celebrated, participated in, dreaded and lauded across the globe by over 250,000 writers, myself included.
The basic tenet of NaNoWriMo is the attempt to write a novel, or perhaps more accurately a novella in the month of November. The suggested word target is 50,000 words, or 1667 a day for 30 days.
Personally, I throw the guidelines out the window and aim for 2000 words a day and plow on with whatever writing project I’m currently working on, and this year, for the third time, I will be working on Prophecy, in this case, on the third draft, which I am happy to report is the first draft I’m happy with.
Now if you’re like me, and would like some visual encouragement, I’ve put together a tracking sheet for NaNoWriMo 2012 for rebels like me. Of course, it’s pretty much just like my 2011 spreadsheet, but if you’d like ready made for you, you can download it via the link below.
As per my annual tradition, during November, word count comes first to just about everything. I apologise in advance if I’m unresponsive, and I will do my best to catch up when I slow down in December. Until then, see you on the other side, and if you’re being as crazy as I am and diving into the writing, feel free to add me as a buddy.
NaNoWriMo Rebel Report Card 2012
So I’m being a very bad NaNoer. In addition to jumping around to work on other projects (i.e. those with deadlines), I’ve also taken writing time out to organise some blog posts with some fantastic authors with Christmas (or other holiday of your choice) stories being released that would make the ideal Christmas present–along with my new story of course. However, I’ve recently received confirmation that I will be branching out into a new field for me–the field on non-fiction. Want to know more? Check out the details below:
True To Myself
Genre: Non Fiction / Inspirational Publisher: Chicken Soup for the Soul (Anthology: Tough Times for Teens) Expected Release Date: 7th February 2012
Synopsis: A look back at the road to happiness, as trod by me. Anything more than this would be a spoiler.
Also look out for a more writerly focused article coming out early next year (sorry, no cover art as of yet).
Minor Character Generation Tables (Geek)
Genre: Non Fiction / Writing tool Publisher: Vignette Press (Geek Mook) Expected Release Date: Early 2012
Synopsis: Sometimes you need a character. Sometimes you need a character right now. Sometimes, you need a character right now and you have no idea how to think one up. Enter the Minor Character Generation Tables. Simply take 2D10 (that’s two ten sided dice for you non-geeks) and start rolling. Who will you create today?
Image by Calamity Meg
Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words. Given the spirit of November and NaNoWriMo, I heartily recommend inventing your own, or using them in your novel. Let me know if you do! And many thanks to J.P. Bowie who first pointed me towards this list:
The winners are:
1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavoured mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n), Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
The Washington Post’s Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year’s winners:
1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.
8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. ( that one got extra credit)
9. Karmageddon (n): Its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
10. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.
12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form . . . → Read More: Community Wordage: NaNoChallenge Anyone?
Benjamin Solah Zombie! Photo by Quoll
I am sore today.
Sore as in pysically sore. In specific, my thighs feel like they’ve had more of a workout than they’ve got since…well, since the last Kick Off BBQ actually. One of the reasons I love NaNoWriMo is the writing community it brings together each year, or perhaps the writing community it specifically brings together in Melbourne. According to the goodie bag totals left after yesterday (i.e. none), over fifty people showed up to our NaNo 2011 kick off BBQ, bringing more sugar, sausages and crazy writing enthusiasm than is safe for the human mind to safely cope with. There was frying of foodstuffs, the eating of brownies (warning, contains nuts), and the now obligatory playground games that are also an incredibly effective form of exercise for sedentary writers more at home in a computer chair than the local gym.
I mean one of the joys of getting older, is the joys of realising that acting one’s age isn’t really as much fun as not acting ones age, and playground games are just one of the things that I highly recommend you embrace during the crazy that is NaNo. Officially, it now appears that Melbourne NaNo has two of them. Zombie Tag and Blink.
Zombie Tag at Melbourne NaNo Kickoff BBQ – Photo by Quoll
Zombie Tag Zombie Tag was a random idea I spouted off about 4 years back, mostly as a joke, which turned out to be a surprisingly good game in a confined space with dead ends–like an adventure playground. The basic idea of Zombie tag is that you start with one person, patient zero, who has to zombie shuffle and groan ‘braaaaains’ as s/he goes after the others. And once a person is caught, they too become a Zombie, and shuffles…and goes after the humans. And the plague grows until there are no humans left…and the last surviving human gets to be next game’s patient zero. Other rules: no leaving the boundaries of the adventure playground. Do not interfere with kids on the playground. If they block your way–tough.
Blink at the Melbourne NaNo Kickoff BBQ 2011 – Photo by Quoll
A variant of the ‘What’s the Time Mister Wolf’ game genre, this particular version was dreamt up by Misty, our resident creator of plotbunnies, and inspired by Doctor Who. In blink the aim is to steal an item (in this case, one of our resident mascots, Walter Wombat), from the feet of one player, who stands in the middle of a circle of people. The trick? The people in the circle can only move when the player in the middle can’t see them. If s/he catches them moving, s/he can point them out and they have to return to the outside of the circle. Once the item in the middle is nabbed by someone they have to run back out of the circle to a winning point (we used nearby . . . → Read More: The Games WriMos Play
In support of NaNoWriMo, Matthew Lang will be donating $1 from every Mr Perfect ebook sold via Smashwords to The Office of Letters and Light from now until the end of November!
So head over to Smashwords, get your copy today, and let’s raise some money for the novelling cause!
I’ve always been a bit of a rebel. Artsy, different, queer. It’s funny, but it’s taken ages for my father to accept that. For years he nagged me to either get published or go get a real career. Now that I am published, he recently said “I may not agree with you on topics, but I will support you however I can”. He was also quick to add “And I don’t need to agree with you on topics”. It’s funny, but part of me thinks that’s possibly as close as I’m ever going to get. And it might just be enough. Maybe. We’ll see.
Anyway, the point is, I’ve always walked a little on the wild side, and I’ve always been a little nonconformist. I don’t follow all the rules. I do what I feel is right and best, and forge towards my goal with the hope that no one will shift the goal posts before I get there. Typically, I’ve gone my own way and hoped the universe is kind, and so far, it seems to be working. Note I said so far.
Anyway the point is, I’ve almost never followed the rules for National Novel Writing Month either. Every year except last year, I started with a story already in progress, with no intention of finishing my novel in the bounds of November. The first year I kick started a joint novel sequel, to see where the story wanted to go (nowhere fast as it turns out), and that taught me a very valuable lesson about finishing up something before you start a new project. The second year I rebooted an existing work, with established characters and got it published, launching me into the scary world of being a (hopefully) career author. For everyone who doesn’t know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, or just NaNo), although more accurately interNational Novel Writing Month is a crazy attempt by crazy writers like me to write a 50,000 word novella in a month. The most amazing thing for me, being based in Melbourne, is the strength of the writing community here, and all of the fantastic events, write ins and socialising we have. It really does motivate you to write, write much and strive to write well. I’ve always viewed NaNo as an attempt to write 50,000 words, and despite the admonition that in NaNo, it’s quantity that matters, not quality, my aim has always been to write 50,000 quality words that I’m happy to keep going forward with, and if I look at a novel being somewhere between 90,000 and 120,000 odd words, one good November should, in theory, give me half of a novel draft.
This year, I’m doing more than a reboot. I’m actually starting my NaNo novel early. I can’t afford not to. I also don’t think I’ll finish it in November, but that’s what December is for. Since 2008, I’ve used a nifty little spreadsheet to track my progress, . . . → Read More: NaNo Rebel
Better late than never, and as a kind of anniversary thing, I went to see Hairspray the Musical today (well, technically last night, but whatevs, I’m still really happy and pumped), with my partner and my NaNo friend Mousie. And it was fantastic. Worth the wait, given I was working through the entire summer, and I now want that set. I am seriously in love with the Hairspray set. I want those amazing, amazing screens that they used for animated backgrounds. If you haven’t seen it, go see it. It’s about to head to Sydney, but is around for another three days in Melbourne, and I’m sure it’ll tour Australia eventually, so make sure you catch it. Interestingly, I think Heath Keating from So You Think You Can Dance Australia has joined the cast. Last time I checked he was doing dance shows at ARQ in Sydney for the gay boys. Possibly they did some recasting for the Sydney season.
I have to say, after the movie, well, I wish they’d been able to work in ‘Ladies’ Choice’, because it’s an awesome song, but seeing the theatrical version… I now want the Broadway soundtrack, and I can see how the songs fit together on stage. If nothing else, see this show before Trevor Ashley leaves the cast, because he is amazing as Edna Turnblad.
We also had NotNaNo drinks which was attended by quite a few people who I haven’t seen since the end of November, and I am so missing them right now. Need to do some more catch ups. Maybe not every week, but every month or so would be nice. Bring on November already, I want more NaNo!
In other interesting news, I’ve opened talks with the Melbourne Rainbow Band about having some music available at my book launch. I’m hoping to turn it into a bit of a community fundraiser, possibly for the ALSO Foundation, and I’ve already got one visual artist on board for a charity auction, and hopefully I can get at least one more. I’ll post more once I get some more details nailed down, but that’s going to have to wait until after the weekend…I’ve got the Williamstown Literary Festival to get through first! Fingers crossed it all goes well!
I posted last year about a letter I sent to Laura Miller in response to her Salon.com op ed piece where she (in my opinion) blasted the participants of NaNoWriMo and attacked the Office of Letters and Light. (NaNoWriMo’s parent company). This is her response to me. I have yet to send one back. In other news, Salon.com has put itself up for sale.
Thanks for writing. I think in your anticipation of being slapped down, you leap to some unjustified conclusions about what I said.
Although I hoped to respond to every email I received about my NaNoWriMo piece, it turns out I just can’t scrape together the time, so I’m going to attach a comprehensive response that I hope will address your remarks, whether positive or negative. (The email I got was about half and half, by the way, and I’m not any happier about the positive ones that willfully misinterpret what I said than I am about the negative ones.)
Here is what I did NOT say:
I did NOT say that *writing a NaNoWriMo novel* is a waste of time.
I did NOT object to people writing novels, whether they do it in 30 days or more.
I did NOT say that NaNoWriMo novels are “a lot of crap.”
I did NOT say that NaNoWriMo contestants do not read.
How can the above statements possibly be true? I think if you go back and pay attention to what I actually wrote instead of what you assumed I wrote or what other people told you I wrote, you will see that it is so. (Yes, the headline for the piece is not as clear as it could be, but like most journalists, I do not determine the headlines attached to my articles. That’s up to the cover editor.)
My complaint is not with anyone who writes any kind of novel. Let me repeat: I have no objection to anyone writing a novel in 30 (or more) days, any more than I object to people making scrapbooks or perfecting their gelato recipe or doing anything else that satisfies their creative impulses and it makes them happy.
My complaint is with the investment of public time, energy and money in a program that promotes novel-writing. The *apparatus* of NaNoWriMo — nonprofit status, fundraising ($300K+ this year, according to the website), paid staff, volunteers, website, press campaigns — strike me as squandered. For the same reason, I would also call it a waste for someone to solicit donations for a nonprofit organization urging more people to knit or play championship Scrabble. These are harmless and agreeable pastimes, it’s true, but do we really need to invest scarce resources in boosting them?
I DO put the event in the context of a culture where 81% of people say they plan to write a book (reported by the New York Times) yet only 57% report having read a SINGLE book for pleasure . . . → Read More: A Response From Laura Miller