Friday, December 2, 2011


WOW, it has been a long time since I have written anything on here.

I feel slightly ashamed of myself that I haven't kept up with this blog.  Anyway...

I have news for all the readers.  I actually found a job.  At writing!

I am currently a screenwriter for an up and coming production company called CFJ entertainment.  Yesterday, I dropped off the first script, a bio-pic about Buster Keaton.  It took about a month for me to write the whole thing, and I thought I would get it done sooner.  I do have a bit of an ego I guess.

I learned many things while writing it.  The firs one is I prefer fiction.  I mean REALLY prefer to write prose fiction.  Yet, that doesn't mean I will stop doing this job.  It is at least a way to get some of more media friendly ideas on paper--one thing I will be able to do is to put some of my own ideas into at least treatment format and attempt to get the production company to take a look at them.

Anyway, I have to go and attempt to get some sleep.  I will try to come back here and talk about the screenwriting process and writing in general more.  One thing I did, right after I was done with the bio-pic, was print out the first 50 pages of my sci-fi noir and I am going to go through it again.  Who knows, it might get some good editing with my new set of eyes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Writing and rewriting...again

An old adage states, "Writing is rewriting."

I have started working on an old novel I have tweaked and put away and tweaked.  It happens, though I wish I had more than the one novel to really work on.  Such is life...

This is a sci-fi noir set on Mars.  And, with this edit, I have to keep in mind nothing is sacred.  Everything can be cut.  Or, so I hope.

Anyway, that is all for now.  Hopefully I can start working on the blog a little more often.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New post, and mor writing

Finally, another post from yours truly.  One about writing this time.

According to my dshboard, I am writing my 13th post since I started this blog.  Maybe one reason why I haven't written in it.  Or it could be it has been awhile since I have actually tried to write something and had any kind of success!

You be the judge.

I have started on something new.  It is a western and a fantasy.  I came back from watching Cowboys and Aliens and it had my mind returning to a piece I had written and worked on, ever so briefly, months ago.  I have only just now started to work on it, so I am not sure where it will go.  However, I do know that it is time for me to put up or shut up.

This is going to be a piece I am working on and writing about in this blog.  I will hope to share my thoughts with you through it, and I know I will continue, or I will delete this blog.  That is something I feel is a good way for me to keep writing.  I need to write SOMETHING since I got out of grad school.  It is more than time to FINISH something.  Time to kick my ass in high gear and get something done!

Until I post again...may eveil be confused on its way to your door.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Writing and rewriting...

So, I thought I was ready to tackle this big fantasy piece that I have been working on, off an on, for ten years.  I get finished with the notes for the thing and ready for the re-write.

And, I stall.  I peck at the story, do a few pages, tell myself that it is ok, I can do more later, and do more later...Finally, I gave up.  I have put the story back into the drawer in my mind and started work on something else.  And, in that short time, I have been cranking out more than a few pages, so I am not completely pissed at myself for doing it.

Yet, there is that part of me that thinks, why did you let yourself be talked out of continuing with that other story?

I can't answer that.  All I do know is that I couldn't work on that other piece.  It is just how my mind works when it comes to writing.  There are things I have to work on and the last piece will get its time in the sun.

Currently I'm working on a sci-fi novel.  It is much like the other one I have worked on, which is making the rounds at publishers and I hope it is picked up by someone.  If it isn't, I might, just might, try and do the self-publishing thing again.  The last time, it tanked.  Yet, that was right before this giant explosion in e-books.  So, I might be able to get in on it.  OR, I will sink again without a ripple.

Anyway, back to the grindstone.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I have finished the first revision, one of MANY, for a fantasy novel I am working on.  And, I don't know if I am alone in this, but I can't work on something and then set it aside.  I have been focuse on writing as a career for awhile and I think that this work on it and then leave it alone after a revision isn't something I can do.  I think I need to do multiple revisions, then take a break.  Granted, it is possible that this is what people mean by work on for a bit and then stop.

Anyway, I am falling asleep and will be getting back to the revision when I get up.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nerd camp

So, I have almost finished up what a friend has dubbed, "Nerd camp."  It is the low residency program for UCR Palm Desert.  A low res program is instead of going to school week after week for ten or more weeks, depending on the quarter or semester system, you go for ten days of intense lecture and one-on-ones with teachers.  It is also an excuse to cut loose and just have fun with other people who are writers.  Also, there is work that some people bring that have worked on since they left, or they have set up something with professors before hand and that they work on during the six months between gatherings.

I was lucky enough to go to the traditional program out here in Palm Desert, before UCR realized that they had two MFA programs and only enough funding for one traditional program.

One thing I have already gotten out of it is several people have looked at something I have been working on, off and on, for awhile.  It was something I have revised, slashed and burned and resurrected.  It is a fantasy, quasi-steampunk novel.  One that I hope to finish up and start to send out in the near future.  I'm not going to keep a running total of how many words, but I might update the word count of the day or something.  I'll keep you informed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Haven't posted on this blog, and I should.

I haven't written as much as I should have.  That is obvious.  Looking for work cuts into writing time.  Yet, I need something to pay bills and the like until I can sell something.  My other blog is going well, I am a big gamer geek and that blog gets more love I guess.

Anyway...soon I will be heading back to be with writer friends, back to Palm Desert with the low-res MFA program and hopefully that might shake loose something that has blocked me or kept me from writing.  I am sure it will.

Beyond that, nothing much to talk about, so it is gonna be a short post.  Goodnight all.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Working, working, working

Hey all, I've been doing a little work on a new radio thing involving a few favorite hobbies.  Role playing games and video games.  Link can be found here.  Look for Gamer Corps.

As far as fiction writing, I am doing a little bit of that.  Not much as I would like, yet there never seem to be enough hours in the day for it anyway.  I will say that it is shaping up very nicely.  Might even be able to share a little everyone here soon.  I will keep you posted on that.

And, i should get back to writing now.  Wanted to make a quick post, let you all know I'm not dead.  ;-P

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oooh, a new shiny...

So, again I have gone and started something else.  Well, more like started a project again.  It is a modern day fantasy, with mystery elements and a thrill or two.  Hard-boiled, yet not about a private eye.  Not a rip-off of Dresden Files, though I love the series and wait for the next book with bated breath.  And I will admit that this current project was inspired by Butcher, it is something that I believe is different enough to not be just a rehashing of those books.

Read an amazing article of the detective story, written many, many moons ago by Raymond Chadler.  He was arguing that the detective story IS worthy of being well written and respect from critics.  He goes into a short history of the genre as a whole.  I recommend it.  Called, A Simple Art of Murder and can be found here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A curse of the "Oh shiny..."

Well, I think I have a problem.

No, I DO have a problem.  The curse of the magpie's "Oh shiny," mentality.  While I was editing my fantasy novel, I started to read a noir sci-fi.  I picked it up after reading a list of sci-fi books and series that other sci-fi and fantasy writers said were good.  It has been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year and I just picked it up today.  When Gravity Fails is an amazing book so far, and I was sad to hear that the author, one George Alec Effinger, died many years ago and there are only two other books with  MarĂ®d Audran in it.

But, the problem is now I have started to go back and re-work a sci-fi noir piece of my own.  At the moment, this is a story based on a setting in my mind on the planet Mars.  Yes, Mars.  I have a real love of the red planet.  It has nothing to do with Heinlein's adventure stories or Burrough's.  Something in my mind has grasped Mars as the location for the desolate, the broken and castoffs of Earth.  I would love to share more yet it is my rile not to share to much, least I tell the story and don't want to sit down and write it.

I think I will continue this story for a time.  I do know that there is a real reason for the "Oh, shiny," mentality.  At least, it makes sense to me.  It is a way for my mind to get out from under the burden of failure.  You would think a writer wouldn't worry about that until later.  One of the biggest fears for many writers, me being one of them, is the feeling that if I don't finish anything then I won't fail at anything.  I can sit on half completed products and think that I will get to them in time.

There are two ways to deal with this, at least for me.  One is to push through when I have that magpie moment again.  Something I tried to do with this fantasy story that I think might languish a little longer on the back burner.  The other is to re-read the story Snows of Kilimanjaro.  It is all about a writer who gathers and gathers things together and NEVER writes anything and dies.

The idea that I could die before anything of mine gets published is something that will motivate me.  Though it is a very morbid way of thinking and looking at things.  But, that is jst how I am sometimes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


So, I have a about a hundred pages of this fantasy written.  It isn't complete, yet I find that most of me doesn't want to keep going with it and my mind keeps wondering to other projects.  I took some time and now I'm going to focus on the editing thing more!

I have to if I want this to be in any shape for publishing down the road.

I find that using another color pen is the best for me, since when I go to re-write it and I use a black pen, my mind skips over half the corrections.  And, using red is something I have always seen as the best thing to stand out on a black and white manuscript.

So far, I have 15 pages of the thing done.  I am just hoping that I don't have a "ohhh, shiny" moment and go off to start re-writing the story from the beginning once I hit page fifty or sixty.  I shall keep you all posted...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And, then I had a thought...

So, been working on the manuscript for a bit.  And, I think I have run out of steam a little.  I have a little over nine thousand words.  I had already added a little from a previous edition.  The big question is if I should add more and therefore, KNOW I will get over the eighty pages.  Or, keep going the way I am going and just write?

Friday, March 18, 2011


Been writing more of that story, which is good.  Yet, it makes me think about where I want to stop and let that editor go at it.  There are all kinds of advice that run through my head and there are two points that come close to it, I think.

One goal while I was in school was to get to fifty pages by the end of the semester.  I was going to CSULB and taking a creative writing novel course.  The prevailing wisdom was that if you could get the story to fifty pages, then it had a chance to be a real and true novel.  Yes, the scenes might not all be there and the writing might be horrendous, yet it was a good goal for me.  (It was also a way to thin out some of those who thought that this would be an "easy" class.  I took the class many times, mostly because I had far to many units from previous schools and was trying to take advantage of working on a novel in these classes.)  It was pretty easy for me to get to fifty pages.  Yet, the semester would end and I would go off and forget my manuscript to work on something else or to knock off the writing for a few days.  (THAT is also the subject of another blog.  Hopefully I remember to come back to it.)  So, when school started up again, I would need to find a new project.

The other goal was from something I read by Terry Pratchett in The Writer's Guide to Fantasy Literature.  He talked about something called a "Draft Zero."  This was the draft no one saw, only he did.  And, the main goal of this was to get the manuscript to eighty pages.  Once again, not everything was where it should be or well written, but the meat of the story was there.  Once that was done, he could start in on a actual "First Draft" and start the editing process.

I think I might try for the full eighty pages.  Once that gets done, I can start at the beginning again and at least attempt to edit the thing.

There is one thing that does come to mind though.  Since I have been working on this for many years and the drafts have built up and built up, do I really need to get to that eighty?  Should I stop sooner?  Or should I even keep going longer?  What if I hit eighty pages and I don't want to stop?  What if I keep going and this "Draft Zero" is actually something like two hundred pages?  Granted, that might not happen, but I am a writer and love to play the what if game.

I suppose I will keep going until I think I have reached the end of the story.  Whether that is at fifty pages, eighty pages or even two hundred.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Word Count/Page count update and other randomness...

So, I started a new project a few days ago.  And, I already have 5,000 words of it done.  One reason it is coming so easy is that I have been working on this thing for a long time.  And, I think I have even taken the J.R.R. Tolkien approach to writing.  It has been written that he started the LotR novel--

(Yes novel, it was suppose to be one long book and not broken up into sections.  That is one reason why many find Two Towers and Return so hard to get into, the novel was chopped up by Ballentine because they thought no American reader would read a thousand page book about elves.  Oh well...)

--about four or five times.  And, each time he felt like he couldn't go forward any more, he scrapped the whole thing and started fresh.  Many writers I know would say this is insanity and would scream at Papa Tolkien and say, "You can re-write it man!  Just keep going forward.  Or revise, don't scrap it."  Yet, he was a linguist and not a creative writer.

Where am I going with this?  Well, I have been working on this for years and years.  For a long time, I just wrote and wrote and then re-wrote and re-wrote.  Yet, there came a time when I couldn't anymore.  I went on to other things, yet this story was in the back of my mind.  I also let some people read it and when I got their feedback, it helped.  Yet, I still felt like there was something missing.

So, I let it sit on the back burner and went to grad school.  Worked on a completely different novel and that one is now in a contest.  And, I feel that after having gotten into steampunk, I realized that was missing from the story.  So, I started again, last year.  And I got maybe fifty pages in and it stopped flowing.  So, I tried to revise and re-write.  Nothing.

And I shelved it and moved on to other things again.  Now, it burst back into my head while I stared at the blank page of my computer screen.  And, for the past few days I've been riding that wave.  I know that the dreaded fifty page mark is coming in...and with the way things are going, I might reach it soon.  The fifty page mark is something I learned in a writing class.  If you can get a novel to fifty pages, then you have something that can sustain itself.  I know it can sustain itself, I am simply hoping it will continue on past those fifty pages, even though I know what is suppose to happen in the story.

Only time will tell.

First post

Ah, the first post of a blog.  Always the best, and sometimes worst.  Well, I guess I should tell you a little about myself.

My name is Lon Varnadore.  I'm an amateur writer who is looking to break into science ficton and fantasy publishing.  I have written a sci-fi novel that is currently in a contest and I'm waiting for that to win or lose.  I might put up an excerpt from it in a future post.

Currently, I'm working on a steampunky fantasy novel.  I say steampunky because there are elements of it.  Yet, they won't dominate the novel.  The fantasy part does.  I have been working on this for a number of years.  Yet, I can never get the story to work out in my head.  It always slipped from my grasp and I have to work on something else.

The first incarnation of this story was written long ago in 2000.  It was a week after Christmas and I was in need of something to work on.  I had recently seen the LotR:Fellowship of the Ring, and having finished rereading it already a few days before seeing the movie itself, I reached out for a concept.  The idea of healing the world was in the back of my head and I went about writing something along those lines.

Ten years down the line, that idea is buried somewhere in the story.  However, so much more has changed.  I will get into more of that when there is more of the story written.  A large part of why many writers don't discuss--or at least the ones I've read about and some I know--is that if we discuss the story in to great a detail, we lose that want to write it down.

I will end this by saying thank you for reading this and I hope you shall follow this blog.