The Novel is Complete

Well, it’s finally done. I finished my second novel, Turn Left at the Blacktop, this evening, crossing the 50,000-word mark and writing a mere 200 words more and calling it good. Whew.

I finished a day early, but it was a brutal end. I think I probably could have wrapped it up 5,000 words ago, so the end felt painfully stretched out. I guess that’s the downside of setting an arbitrary word count goal. I guess that’s also what editing is for.

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Church Marketing Sucks T-shirts!

Church Marketing Sucks T-shirts: That's How We've Always Done It!Ever since I started working on Church Marketing Sucks I thought it would be so cool to have CMS T-shirts.

Well, that day has arrived.

We’re selling Church Marketing Sucks T-shirts. There are five unique designs (I love the dinosaur), but we’re only taking orders until December 4 (so act quickly, after that it’s too bad for you). All the profits go to support the Center for Church Communication and the work we do on sites like CMS, so even if you scoff at the $18 price tag, know that it’s helping a good cause–helping churches not suck.

Now you know what to get your pastor for Christmas.

NaNoWriMo Day 11

So it’s Saturday, around 5:30 p.m. Lexi is sleeping. Abby is sick and sleeping. Speak and Mazie are sleeping. The sun has gone down while I’ve been in front of the computer typing chapter 12 and my 1,667 words for today (which was actually closer to 2,100), which means the house is completely dark. Not a single light is on.

Looking outside it’s pitch black and all I can see is the light from the school across the street. It could be 9:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. or 1:00 a.m. Who knows. Weird feeling.

The novel, Turn Left at the Blacktop, is coming along. I’m a few days ahead of schedule on the word count, but I don’t have the commanding and reaffirming lead I’d like to have. Writing 1,667 words every day is a lot, and missing a single day can put you pretty far behind, thus the need to build up a lead.

The past couple days have been hard to write, though today finally broke through and got a little easier. My main problem is I don’t know where my story is going. I keep waiting for it to tell me, and maybe it is (today gave me a hint), but it’s not telling me fast enough. So far I’ve discovered that my story lives and breathes in the flashbacks. That’s when it usually clicks for me. That’s what I wrote today.

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NaNoWriMo Day 1

Well, I started the novel today. Let me just tell you: this morning sucked. Hammering out that first 700 words was painful. It didn’t come easily. My characters felt stiff. Too many unanswered questions kept coming to mind and I didn’t seem able to answer them on the fly.

When I read it over it read like crap. It should read like crap because it’s a first draft, but it felt especially bad.

I hit it again later in the day, adding a few forgotten details to the opening and correcting a few things, and then kept moving forward. I was able to brainstorm today and firm some things up. Tonight I managed to write 500 more words than I needed to and it feels better. It’s still difficult, but it feels a lot better than it did this morning.

It’s amazing how much stuff you have to make up. My usual fear of having to change what I create is slowing my down, but I’m starting to decide on things and stick with it.

And the support has been great. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to include the requested ninjas, but we’ll see. Thanks.

Novel in a Month, Round Two

Two years ago I spent the month of November hammering away at my computer, eventually cranking out 50,000 words and my first novel, Downtown Dandelions. It was all a part of National Novel Writing Month.

This year I’m doing it again.

Starting tomorrow I’ll be trying to write 1,667 words per day of my new novel, Turn Left at the Blacktop (that’s my working title). You can follow along online if you like, though I don’t expect the read-as-I-go experience to be brilliant reading. But there will probably be more updates over there than over here, so that’s something.

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I Get Kind of Weird

When my wife goes out of town I get kind of weird. I work too hard. I watch too much TV. I eat too much junk. I stay up too late.

It’s a window into an alternate universe where I never got married and I never became a father and I just became more and more introverted, typing these incoherent ramblings into a machine so late at night.

Let me tell you. That’s one path I’m glad I didn’t take.

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Online Video, Podcasting & Copyrights

So I was pondering some copyright issues. With the proliferation of user-created content there is all sorts of potential copyright infringement going on. The most obvious use (or misuse) seems to be music. So if I’ve got a podcast and I want to play a U2 song to open it, can I do that? Or do I need to track down the appropriate permissions or pay for the appropriate licenses? Or is that only necessary if I’m making money off the podcast? Same goes for online video. Let’s say I make a video of my daughter, and run a song in the background. Do I need permissions or liceneses for that? Does it matter if it’s for personal use or if I put it online? Does it matter if I’m making money it?

And it seems like everybody’s doing it. That doesn’t make it OK, but it does mean there’s a need for some helpful answers.

But I can never find those answers–at least not basic answers. Creative Commons has a Podcasting Legal Guide that may have the answer, but I got lost and bored before I found it.

So does anybody have the answer? Or are all the podcasters and online video people just infringing left and right and inviting lawsuits?