Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thirty Days to 50,000 Word Novel... Okay?

So now that I was proved to myself that I could write a 50k word novel in 30 days, I have to ask myself this:  WTF did I write?  Don't get me wrong, when I did the practice run during the 30 days of September (and passed the 1,667 word per day goal), I was making it up as I was going along.  I had an idea of a beginning, an ending, protagonists and antagonists,  a mind-blowing climax, some of the obstacles, etc.  But for that book, I fleshed it out to 20 chapters in 304 pages.  Plus I added the 31 days of October to complete it to call it actually being finished at over 100k words.

This time around I was able to complete a outline (that I only started 6 days before the November 1 kick-off).  And I had a clearer idea of how the story would flow.  I decided that I would be able to do this in 15 chapters.  Okay, I don't know if other writer's out there have this problem, but everything was moving along smoothly until the characters started to take over.  They started taking left turns all over the place no matter how much I was in control of the actual writing.  I know this sounds like I've completely lost it, but nobody ever told me that once your characters begin to invade your brain that they never stop talking to you!  I was beginning to feel like I may require stronger medications.

Even thought I am, according to the rules of the National Novel Writer's Month contest, a winner,  I'm still feeling a bit dazed and confused.  True, I will continue to write until, I feel like it's at least finished.  For now, I think I will be able to get a good night sleep now that I don't have the pressure of making the required word count per day quota.

But I will say this, not only has this experience been responsible for lighting a fire under me creatively, it's like now that I started writing, I don't ever want to stop.  Even if no ever purchases a book written by me (nom de plume: B. Mars Thompson), then at least I can say I did it.  Hence the resurrection of this blog that nobody ever reads.  As long as I have a forum, I guess it will make sense to someone, someday.

At least now I have something to keep me busy until STAR WARS; THE FORCE AWAKENS and AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON open up next year!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Writer Writes... Again!

I haven't had much to write about since I last posted over three years now.  I only had one follower. (Thank you Laura!) It didn't seem like I was reaching as many folks as I'd hope I would when I decided to blog. Except something happened today that inspired me to want to write a post after all these years.  First I should say that in addition to turning half a century this year, I managed to write a novel.  I finished my first novel on Halloween of this year.  I got the idea to do it from reading this book called NO PLOT, NO PROBLEM by Chris Baty.  

In a nutshell, Baty goes into detail how you can make time to write a novel of 50k words in 30 days with the correct time managment.  If you're doing the math, that is roughly 1,667 words a day.  Baty is also one of the founders of National Novel Writer's Month (aka NaNoWriMo) that occurs yearly during the month of November.  I decided that I would participate this year (more on that later). 

I should say that there are some works of literature that are roughly 50k words - THE GREAT GATSBY, HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, BRAVE NEW WORLD* - just to name a few.  Now I'm not saying I'm anywhere near to being as talented a writer as Fitzgerald, Adams or Huxley have been.  But I like to think that after reading many books (ever since I learned how to read over forty-five years ago) I did pick up a few things here and there.  Not to mention that fact that I have written a screenplay for a feature film ten years ago.  Plus you don't get to be my age and not gain some wisdom from years of life experience.  Hopefully with practice I can become a better writer eventually.

To prepare for writing a novel this month, I read tons of books on writing structure, format, style. etc.  I even went over notes from previous creative writing courses that I took when I was in college.  Then I decided to write a "practice" novel during the month of September of this year.  My goal was this: I just wanted to see if I could discipline myself enough to put in the time to actually write something and stick to it.  Baty's book is perfect for busy folks who have grueling work schedules, children to raise, full-time students, whatever: busy people.  It's crafting the proper time management that can be applied to ANY situation.  Since I'm currently not working (it gets harder to find employment after turning 50-years-old even with a new media degree in Filmmaking and Multimedia, I have found out the hard way: "Over qualified" really means "you're too old bitch!").  So I needless to say, I have some time on my hands lately. It's also quite therapeutic mentally, I find.

Anyway, writing the 50k words in 30 days was a breeze for me.  In fact I passed the 50k word count on the 25th day. Some days I was on fire writing pages and pages of text; while some days I was lucky if I could come up with two decent paragraphs.  But I persevered and kept on going until the 30 days of September was over. That being said, my 50k words didn't exactly make up a cohesive novel.  To tell the story I wanted to tell, I used the month of October to add an additional 50k words and voilĂ : My first novel.  Something that I can now check off of my bucket list.

So now that that was done, the hardest part is finding a publisher who would be interested in reading it, let alone decide to publish it.  You'd think that living in New York City, where  some of the biggest publishing houses on the country are located, this would be easy.  I can tell you it's not.  It's all about who you know.  And even though I did temp work in the mid '80's for Simon & Schuster, I regret now that I never bothered to cultivate any professional relationships with anyone over there.  My loss, I can assure you.  

But in the meantime, I am now working on my second novel for the NaNoWriMo contest.  Today I passed the 37,000 word count on this the 22nd say of the contest.  (It's a sequel.  I think I might try and write a trilogy like Stieg Larsson or Suzanne Collins.   I only hope that I live long enough to see them published unlike the late Larsson.)  As long as I'm writing everyday, I feel like that half of the battle is already won.  One of my favorite novels that I've read since the last time I posted here was Sara Gruen's WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.  When I found out it was one of the published novels that she wrote for the NaNoWriMo, it was incredibly inspiring to me to want to compete and write for the contest. Even if doesn't get published, at least I can say "I did it", right?  

Which brings me to why I decided to post on my blog again.  Today someone I've known for many, many years now.  Someone I that I've always consider a friend, said to me: "What's the point of writing if nobody will publish it?"  How's that for words of encouragement? With friends like that... but I digress.

I'm not going to let this person (whom shall remain nameless here) nor anyone else for that matter, stop me from creating stories and writing as much as I want until I can't do it anymore.  Even if they remain on my laptop long after I'm dead and gone, at least I know that I actually accomplished writing a novel or two or three.  In the meantime, it has also encouraged me to continue putting this blog out into the universe.  Even if I only have one follower, than at least I've reach someone out there.

So, I'm putting this out into the universe with the hope that there may be a publisher who would be interested in reading what I've written.  Feel free to forward this posting to your friends, family, colleagues, anybody, I don't care.  You never know: maybe somebody out there in the world knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody...you get the picture.  If you decide that this isn't something you want to forward to anyone, that's fine too.  Instead smile at a stranger or say a kind word to somebody you pass everyday but never spoken with.  A little act of kindness may not seem like much to you, but it sure couldn't hurt anyone to put some positive energy into the universe, could it?  (This is where I would put an emoticon of a smiling face if I figure out how to do that here or if this was a video this would be the part where I would say "Thompson Out!" and drop the microphone on the floor and exit the frame stage right.)     

*According to Wikipedia, so take it with grain of salt. You know what I'm talking about here. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why Papa John's Pizza will never see ANOTHER $$ from me!

It all began because I was hungry and didn't feel like cooking! It has been raining here all day (all week actually) and I really didn't feel like going back out in the rain to get dinner. You would think that living in Brooklyn (were you can get the best pizza in the USA) that I wouldn't bother ordering from a chain pizza joint. Since my favorite family own pizza shop only takes cash I had to find a place that took cards. I have never been a fan of Dominos so I figured I give Papa John's a try. I had seen their commercials and knew you could order online.

So I ordered 2 specials and a beverage, and a side! First time I put the order in (with a tip added to the total) I don't get any confirmation, so I decided to place the order again without a tip (I figured I pay the tip in cash). This one goes through. Luckily someone from the store calls me and tell me that two orders have been placed and wanted to know if this was a go. I tell the guy "no, I didn't get a confirmation with the first so I placed it again." I tell him I only wanted 1 order. Fine. He says "we'll cancel the first one!"

A few minutes later the delivery guy calls and tells me he will be here in 4 mins. Cool, I tell him just bring it to my apartment door. Then he tells me that it's policy that they don't come into apartment buildings and that I would have to come to the front of the building. For a $35 order, I expect door-to-door service. Damn even Dominos does that! I tell him if he brings it to the door I will give him a nice tip. I'm figuring $10 is worth it. He tells me that I have to call his boss and okay it with him. So I call the place back and tell him I can't come to the front door and he says tell the driver its okay. I get back on the phone with the driver and relay this message. (Why couldn't the boss just do this himself?)

Okay, so the driver finally arrives to my apartment door and he doesn't have change for a $20 (all the small cash I have on me!) All he has is $3 on him, but he will go down into the car and bring back my change! I make a quick decision: if he didn't want to bring the pizzas up in the first place, he won't be back. Against my better judgement, I say "Fine, take the $20 and have a good night!"

So I go in and find that between the two boxes is a paper solicitation for an dog breeder of Siberian huskies! WTF? Who wants to find that WITH a food order. I'm thinking the delivery guy has a side job. But this is just tacky! It's reminds me of pet hospital next to a Chinese restaurant (see photo - yes it's real and it's located on East 14th Street between Aves A and B)! To a person with a vivid imagination, that is the last thing I want to see! It gets better: the receipt with the order is for the first order (yes the one that I put the tip on the card) So, if you are following me, this delivery guy has just made a $25 tip on a $35 pizza order!

Since I ordered online, I go to check both my bank to see if either of the orders have been cancelled. Neither order has been cancelled. So I go back to the phone and call Papa John's and find out what the deal is. The manager tells me, after putting me on hold for what seems like ages, that the first order was cancelled and it should show up on my account in 24 hours. Needless to say, this has been the most expensive pizza order I have ever placed thus far!

So, I do what any disgruntle customer would do, I fire off a letter to the company on their website! It funny that when you place an order the site runs fast and easy. But if you are trying to lodge a complaint... slow as all hell!

Its been raining all week here. Im getting over a bad cold I've had for the past 2 weeks. This pizza fiasco was the cherry on my day!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Catch Me If You Can: The Musical

I think this is turning out to be a great season for Broadway hits! Last night I the new musical "CATCH ME IF YOU CAN" at the Neil Simon Theatre! It has all the makings of what a Broadway musical should be: a great story, catchy songs, and an exceptionally dynamic cast!

If the title sounds familiar its because Steven Spielberg made a film version of the book by Frank W. Abagnale Jr. in 2002. If you don't know the story of Frank W. Abagnale Jr., its a fantastic true tale of a teenager who, by the age of 21, was a self-made millionaire. It was his way of making the money that makes the story all the more interesting: he forged millions of dollars of rubber checks. It was his illegal actions that led to the overhaul of how the banking industry now regulates the checking process. Along the way he successfully impersonates an airline pilot with PanAm, a doctor in an emergency room, and a legal processor. The FBI are hot on his trail when he evades capture by impersonating yet another government official! It isn't really that hard to believe that this is a true story! The story begins in 1964 when writing checks was a whole lot different than we do today. Doesn't anybody remember when it took 5 to 7 business days for an out-of-state check to clear?

Another reason why I LOVED this show was because the book (by Terrence McNally) totally flows cohesively with great tunes by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. I actually found myself singing along (to myself) to several of the songs while the performers sang them! It's a good feeling when you can walk out of a musical humming the tunes that you have just enjoyed on stage. They stay with you for a long time (and in a good way too)!

But what is a show without great performances? This one had TONS! Mostly broadway vets that, if you have seen Hairspray, Next to Normal or Wicked, are not hard to forget! The stand-out performance goes to Aaron Tveit as the very charismatic Frank Abagnale Jr.(played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film) What a VOICE this kid has on him! I wished I had seen him in Next to Normal when he was in it! Added to the mix are Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz as Agent
Carl Hanratty (played by Tom Hanks in the film), the still hot after all these years - Tom Wopat as Frank Sr. (Christopher Walken in film), and the always talented Kerry Butler as Frank's girlfriend, Brenda Strong (played by Amy Adams in the film). Great direction by Jack O'Brien and fantastic choreography by Jerry Mitchell! Dude, I really LOVED this show!

With the exception of "Shindler's List", "The Color Purple", "Jaws" and the Indiana Jones films - I'm not a super big fan of Spielberg movies. His film version of "Catch Me If You Can" isn't even in my video library. I can honestly say that this new musical adaptation is exponentially better than the film! It takes you on a journey that you can never forget!

If you want to see a great old-fashion musical, treat yourself to CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!

Be warned however: the Neil Simon theatre is an old Broadway theatre. Old, as in, when they put the seats in there originally, theater-goers were are lot smaller than we are today! But if you are like me, it's a pleasurable pain being squeezed for 2 1/2 hours!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Wendy Williams Show & Crazy Aunt Mildred!

Wendy Williams just read my letter on her show this morning!

Last week I was home and a get a phone call from someone at THE WENDY WILLIAMS SHOW telling me that they are going to read my letter and show a photo that I sent them. The photo I took one day a few months back while walking down 14th Street. Once I saw I this image, I knew I just had to take a photo of this.

Now if you aren't a regular view of Wendy (and I don't know why you wouldn't be), here is a little backstory: Its no secret that Wendy Williams wears wigs on her show. She even has a wig-stand that she calls "Shakeetha". Shakeetha even has a backstory: she's 25yo, she only dates ballers, likes the clubs, etc. She even has been going on a city-by-city tour to visit viewers. Ok, back to my photo: I'm walking down 14th Street in NYC and in the window of a wig shop I spot "Shakeetha's Crazy Aunt Mildred" and I know I just have to share this image with Wendy Williams viewers! So here it is if you missed it!

Also tonight on Dancing With The Stars one couple will be eliminated. Last night Wendy and her dance partner Tony Dovolani did a "Quick Step" and it was a great comeback from last weeks low scores! They did an AMAZING job! I hope you had the chance to vote for them? I had never been into DWTS before. I started watching it last season when Margaret Cho was on it, but after she got eliminated. I stopped watching. This season it's really exciting! Just like Celebrity Apprentice this year is really good too! I'm rooting for Wendy to bring home the Mirrored Ball! GO WENDY!! Thanks again for introducing "Crazy Aunt Mildred" to America! Now could someone get back to me about getting tickets for a taping?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Don't Wanna be an AMERICAN IDIOT! Vote TEAM WENDY on DWTS 1-800-868-3402

I went to the theater on Friday to see another show on Broadway: AMERICAN IDIOT. If it sounds familiar its because it's also a Grammy winning album by the alternative rock band Green Day. If you haven't seen the show - then RUN down the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" to the St. James Theatre to see it before it closes. Rumor has it that its closing at the end of April!

Don't expect to see a show like Phantom of the Opera or Wicked here. It's the closet thing to a musical without being all "musically". If you know what a mean. It's gritty, it's honest, and it totally rocks!

I wasn't a big fan of Green Day prior to seeing the show, but I am now. Some of the music I'd heard before but didn't know it was Green Day! I honestly have to say I liked this musical better than I thought I was going to like it! Granted, its not a musical for everyone. But teenagers will love it! The MTV generation and maybe the VH-1 generation will love it. However there were some seniors there who didn't seem to be enjoying it. They had that "turn-that-nois
e-down-I'm-trying-to-iron-in-here" look on their faces. So if you want to take the grandparents to a show, don't take them to this one (unless they went to Woodstock).

I hate to make comparisons to other shows but this show reminded me of "Rent" and "Hair" and "Tommy". And I LOVED all those shows! I think if you liked any of those shows, than you will love American Idiot! With the exception of the FABULOUS Rebecca Naomi Jones, all of the original cast has moved on. However the show is still as fresh as ever! Most of the ensemble cast has moved into lead roles. They are PHENOMENAL singers!!!! Ironically, in a show that pokes fun at American consumerism, the show now stars former American Idol runner-up, Justin Guarini. Justin, who was in the recently closed Broadway show Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (a show that had all the makings of a great show like Spider-Man but failed miserable) , plays Will. He sounds better than ever too!

Other news is that tonight I will be watching DANCING WITH THE STARS! As many of you know, I am a big fan of talk-show hostess, Wendy Williams. (I'm still waiting to get confirmation on tickets to see a taping next week) Wendy is one of the contestants on DWTS this evening. We wish her well! To vote for her call 1-800-868-3402! Support Wendy!

Also if you are a fan of Philip K. Dick's stories than you will love the new film THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU. I saw it last weekend and really was blown away with it. If you aren't familiar with PKD, then you should check out his work. It's sci-fi bordering on metaphysical. His stories have been turned in to films before: Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, etc. The Adjustment Bureau is based on Dick's short story The Adjustment Team. It's directed by George Nofli and stars Matt Damon, Anthony Mackey, Emily Blunt, John Slattery and the legendary Terence Stamp.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Today I was bummed out (does anyone even use that term anymore?) by all the images and information coming in about the earthquake in Japan. Don't get me wrong, I really feel for those people over there and I just hope that they can rebuild soon and stay safe. But after having lived through 9/11 here, I have become a bit neurotic - I'm a New Yorker, thats how we are. I think what really got me was all the information in the media about the nuclear plants and the possibility of a meltdown and what that could mean for the people of Japan. This on top of all the fears that the media has been feeding us with the various "what if" scenarios of it what it would mean if such catastrophes happened here. INFORMATION OVERLOAD!

So I turned off the television and went to pay my gas bill. The payment center for National Grid just so happens to be located next to the TKTS office at MetroTech Center here in Brooklyn. Much to my delight, they had a show that I've been dying to see, KATHY GRIFFIN WANTS A TONY! So, as an early birthday gift to myself, I got a ticket, and by 7pm I was sitting in the mezzanine as the curtain rose! Actually it's not really a rising curtain but that sounded more poetic, didn't it?

First let me begin by saying I am a big Kathy Griffin fan! She is a icon! And she simply put, is gosh darn funny! Okay, I really didn't mean to say "gosh darn" but I'm trying to keep this blog "clean" - but you know what I really meant to say anyway? She even allowed folks to take photos of her on stage - something that is very often prohibited at any Broadway show (see photo below -I had the flash off my camera, sorry). I didn't realize until after I had purchased the ticket that I would miss my two favorite shows on Tuesday night:GLEE and V. It was worth missing both of those television shows!

As a matter of fact, Kathy Griffin told the audience that she did an episode of GLEE that was broadcast tonight! If you don't know Kathy Griffin, than you really have been living under a rock! She is one of my very favorite 4 female comics working today (the others being Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, and the legendary Sandra Bernhard). Now Kathy is best known to American audiences from the series "Suddenly Susan" and her Emmy-winning reality show "My Life on the D-List". She is also the author of "Kathy Griffin: Official Book Club Selection" a memoir that is both funny and heart-warming! So if you know

who she is, then you know she doesn't hold ANYTHING back! That's why we love her!

Since I don't have cable I've only seen her show on Bravo when I'm visiting my mom. I did read her book when it first came out and was quite surprise with how open she was with the highs and lows in her life. Tonight at the Belasco Theatre she did not disappoint. No one was saved from the chopping block: Charlie Sheen, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Palin, Justin Beiber, Uma Thurman, Bill O'Reilly, Scientology, basically any "hot mess". At one point I found myself in tears from laughing so hard! Like Margaret Cho often speaks about in her show of her family, Kathy Griffin had tales of her beloved 90-year-old mom, Maggie! At one point Kathy even shared with the audience "notes" her mother gave her on how to do her show on Broadway! If anything, this would be the reason why she should win a Tony award: she did just the opposite of what the elder Mrs. Griffin suggested in her notes! TOO FUNNY!

My only problem with the show is that there are only 10 performances and then the show will be gone. I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to see this show before it closes. If you are lucky enough to get a ticket to see this show before it closes on Saturday you won't be disappointed!

My "note" to Kathy Griffin: I'm so glad you didn't listen to Maggie's notes! Thanks for making my birthday a little more special for me!