Friday, June 21, 2024

Not a Circus Act

I can’t juggle.  I’ve tried because it looks fun.  I have tossed a few balls in the air, then reached and grabbed helplessly as they fell to the ground and sometimes hit me on the way.  But this isn’t about my lack of coordination.  It’s about figurative juggling and how much harder it is to tell if I’m any good at it when I’m not accidentally pelting myself with anything. 

I feel as though I’m reaching and grabbing as I switch my time and effort between various projects, constantly tossing one thing up in the air to work on something else.

Book 2 in the More Love in Andauk series has a complete draft.  Most of it still needs to be typed.  If I don’t feel like typing, I can toss that up to work on my first book of puzzles.  All my playtesters agree it’s good but too difficult.  They don’t agree on which puzzles are the difficult ones.  Sometimes I don’t feel like trying to guess which puzzle to edit because they all seem super easy to me.  I already know the answers.  If I get frustrated, I can toss that up to work on Volume II.

I had so much fun inventing romantic comedy themed puzzles, I had to make two.  If fighting with Word to stop making automatic “corrections” to my designs doesn’t sound fun at the moment, there’s always some chore around the house that needs to be done.  Mowing the lawn has never sounded more fun than anything, but sometimes I have to snatch that ball out of the air just to keep it from hitting me. 

Annoying reminders from the HOA aside, it’s not clear to me if I’m doing a good job at my figurative juggling.  Sometimes it’s great because I’m always making progress on something.  Other times it’s not so great because I seem to always be distracted by something else.

A good juggler ends by catching everything, right?  I’ve never been to a show where a juggler throws all the balls at his audience.  I do want to throw everything at my audience.  I want to get all my projects to a state fit to share, which means my metaphor just died a horrible death.  I’ll focus on keeping the other projects alive, no matter how much time they spend in the air.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Sloth Denies Winter

The title got my attention, too. It’s not my title. More on that in a moment.

I recently blew my own mind. Or maybe I lost it. I don’t know yet how excited I should be about something I’m already very excited about. It started with that title.

Sloth Denies Winter is an escape game from Board Catholic. I played through it with my family a few months ago. First the good. We all really enjoyed the game. The puzzles were done well. They had just the right amount of difficulty where they are solvable but need some thought. I definitely recommend checking it out.

When I said the good was first, I implied there was also something not good. The problem is that it made me want to make an escape game, too. I can’t stop thinking about how much fun I’d have creating puzzles. But that’s not what I do. I write fiction, mostly romantic fiction. I’ve been trying and failing to get the idea out of my head. And then it hit me… I could combine a bunch of things I love. I could make a Catholic romantic comedy escape room puzzle game in a book!

Don’t decide if I’m nuts yet. Just think about it. It wouldn’t be a full novel, only a short story with puzzles scattered throughout that have clues in the story on how to solve them. I love this idea so much I wish someone would make a Catholic romantic comedy escape room puzzle game in a book for me to read and solve. That’s part of the reason I have to do it. The other part is that I think it’ll be just as much fun to write and design. The only not fun part will be figuring out what to call it because that word salad I’m tossing around won’t even fit on the cover.

Yes, I am aware that I just released the first book in a four-book series. I am not abandoning that project and hopefully not delaying it either. One blessing in life is that the more energy you bring to a project, the faster it goes. Generally. If I can keep the enthusiasm up, I should be able to make progress on both fronts and have a new book and a Catholic romantic comedy escape room puzzle game in a book before the end of the year. I’m not promising a catchy title though.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

That's Not Funny

I sat down to brainstorm a post for this month, and my brain failed to storm.  It drizzled out some of the least entertaining ideas I’ve ever had.  Here are a few of the topics I’m not going to use to try to make readers laugh.

1) A poem about my notebook.  Bad poetry can be mildly amusing in a groaning, if-you-like-puns sort of way.  The words mildly, groaning and puns should have stopped me.  I kept trying to imagine a poem that didn’t reveal what it was about until the end.  All the words used to describe a notebook (cover, pages, lines) are pretty obvious.  I thought about turning it into a metaphorical container for a story.  No one has ever laughed while picturing a box.  Also, I still don’t like poetry.

2) Digging up a tree stump.  I had an idea to compare and contrast writing a book with a project in my backyard.  Both are things I’ve been tempted to give up.  One requires mental stamina while the other is physical.  One brings me joy when I finally finish.  One frustrates me by refusing to budge no matter how many times I hit it with a shovel.  It had a snake by it one day and a gross spider another day and a cable tangled in the roots every day that I don’t think will electrocute me and won’t scurry away when I scream at it.  No one is allowed to find humor in any of that.

3) IRS form 2210.  I know someone somewhere just cringed reading that.  Look it up.  It’s possible to summon a sadistic laugh by picturing that really annoying guy you know trying to fill it out.  But that’s an ugly laugh.  I’m not encouraging it.  And no one is allowed to laugh at why I’m currently very familiar with that form.  Or how many times I started over. 

4) Advice for writers.  I’ve given tongue-in-cheek advice for fun.  I thought about offering a few tips that have actually helped me.  I couldn’t figure out how to do that in a light-hearted, non-big-headed way.  Also, I am not qualified to give advice because I considered trying to entertain people with a tax form.

5) A list.  I thought I could simply make a list of funny things.  What funny things?  Exactly.  That’s why I’m not doing this one either.

6) The bad stuff that wasn’t published.  I have a collection of projects that never saw the light of day, mostly abandoned faster than that tree stump I still intend to outwit.  I think I could find a few interesting paragraphs to share if I spent several hours reading through old papers.  I might spend as many hours sneezing at the dust I kicked up doing that.  Also, I don’t want to do that.

7) It did occur to me that I could write about how I never know what to write about.  That at least would be novel since I haven’t mentioned it before.  Maybe I’ll do that next month.