Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Writing excuses and a sneek peek

A wise man speaks because he has something to say.
A fool speaks because he has to say something.
I put my spin on that little nugget. It goes something like this:
I don't mind if you talk, as long as you have some thing to say.

Part of the plan in writing these little ditties, is deciding what to say and when to say it. I don't want to be one of those writers who puts drivel out at every post. Instead, I want to put some food for thought in your mind... oh say every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That seems fair.

Our writing group met and we talked about plagiarism. Putting your spin on Romeo and Juliet is one thing. Crossing off William Shakespere's name and passing his work of as your own is completely unacceptable. I mean really, who talks like that nowadays?
Aside from the obvious lack of morality and decency, the chances of you getting caught in this day and age are extremely good. People will call you out. Count on it.
A few years back, an essay circulated on the internet of a commencement speech given to the graduates of a college that I can't recall the name of. The last line of this speech indicated it was written by Kurt Vonnegut, but there was one problem: 

He didn't write it. 

Upon hearing that he was being credited for someone else's work, Mr. Vonnegut called his agent and took to the airwaves that evening on Nightline.
As an observer, and a recipient, of the forwarded chain e-mail, I witnessed the rumor go full circle. From meme to publicly being disavowed on national television. All that in under 24 hours.
So you want to lift a line from a favorite book and pass it off as your own? Good luck with that one. 

Which brings me to a question that I get about once a week. 
'Aren't you worried about someone stealing your work if you post it online?'

In a word: no.
As soon as I put fingers to keyboard, Pen to paper. Those thoughts and words are mine. If you don't believe me, go ask Art Bushwald and Eddie Murphy.
Some of you won't recall that incident or those names, but if you trouble yourself to look up those people and their connection, you should have some light reading on the subject of plagiarism.

A couple of you dear readers have gotten so bold as to ask me, 'When is the next one coming out?' Well folks, as soon as it's done.
In a perfect world I would write 8 to 10 hours a day, stopping for a quick bite to eat and a bathroom break every so often tossed in for good measure.
I work my Clark Kent job, driving a forklift and receiving inventory 5 days a week. I treat writing as a second job. I do it on weekends and on my lunch break at Lowe's. I can't wait for some grand high pubah to come up to me and say; 'Since you wrote that at Lowe's, it belongs to us and is our intellectual property.'
I really want some genius to come up to me and say that. I could use something to laugh about while at work. While they're at it, they could look up that whole Eddie Murphy/ Art Bushwald thing.
Anyway, I'm about 20K words into the beast. Not that I'm paying attention to the size of the book. When the story is done, it'll let me know.
Here's a sneek peek at what I got brewing.

Daniel,” Charlotte whispered in the darkness. “I heard a noise.”
Sure it wasn't me snoring?” I managed to say through a yawn. Charlotte gently slapped my shoulder.
“I'm not talking about an animal outside, I heard someone try the lock downstairs.”
A surge of adrenaline chased the cobwebs out of my brain. When we moved into the Wallace house I took a little ribbing from my wife because I locked the doors and did a perimeter check before retiring to bed. Old habits die hard. Silently standing, I listened intently for any tell tale signs of an intruder. Salt had not sounded off any warning signals from his stall. No creaks, bumps or shatters that one would associate with a break in. Not bothering with a light or a bathrobe, I crept down the stairs to see if things were indeed okay. First place I inspected, the door, held no signs of forced entry. I knew where the oil lamp and matches were located and silently debated doing this in the faint moonlight. Striking a match instantly threw a feeble light around me. I learned the hard way not to stare at where the match ignites. A momentary blindness happens as the pupils adjust to the sudden new light source. It's also the perfect time to attack someone. No one charged out of the darkness, which was good. Bringing the flame to the wick, I allowed the lamp light to spill into the entire room.
An elderly man sat in the overstuffed chair trying not to look too out of place in my living room. Quickly I glanced over at the front door again. Sliding lock still in place on the door and my window still intact.
“How in the hell did you get in here old man?”
Running a hand through his wispy gray hair, the man just smiled.
“You know,” I admitted, “I don't care how you got in, you're leaving now.”
The man made no effort to move as I reached for his arm. “I wouldn't be doin that laddie,” the man said with a chuckle.
Grasping fingers closed around... nothing. The sensation reminded me of a Halloween party when all of my friends stuck our hands in a bowl of jello after being told it was brains. Fingers closing around semi solid liquid goop. Nothing remaining in my grip to get out of the chair.
“Satisfied?” the old man asked.
“Who are you?”
“Ahh,” the man sighed. “Right to the point. Well, suffice to say I'm the previous resident of this house. I'm your father-in-law.”
With everything else that had been happening to me so far, I shouldn't be surprised. Yet, my face must have given something away. Connor Wallace smiled mischievously.
“I've been talking to a few people about you Daniel,” he sighed. “I had some misgivings about this whole affair, but you mean to do right by my daughter. You captured the man responsible for killing Dona and I. Now you've gone off and made an honest woman of her. Married and living in our house. You're a lawman and you go to church. Not as often as I'd like, mind you... For what it's worth, you have my blessing on marrying my daughter.”
“Well, thank you sir.” I kept my voice even. “Would you like me to get your daughter so you can speak to her?”
Connor shook his head decisively. “Nay, my business is with you tonight. I came to warn you. That evil beastie is coming for you. He lands on these shores tonight.”
“Crap.” I muttered.
“Oh, you can use stronger language than that, sonny boy.”


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