Sign up for The JA Pitts Newsletter for upcoming events and special offers

Archive for June, 2009

Twitter, LiveJournal, Facebook, et. al.

Seems I’ve been having a touch of trouble with my blog updating my LiveJournal.  Silly plug-in issue.

I’m hoping this one makes it through the gauntlet.

|

Novel Research, Father’s Day and Cool Stuff

Sunday was father’s day.  My family treated me to a visit to a local black smithy — Ballard ForgeSteve at workThe smith, Steve Howell, spent two hours talking about everything from technique and tool choice, to legend and lore.  It was fascinating.  As part of the visit, he made us a bottle opener.  That allowed him the opportunity to show us various techniques from drawing out the steel, using a metal punch, and the various uses of an anvil.

I loved that he made all his own tongs, and could tell us the history of all three of his anvils.  He had quite the collection of hammers.  hammers

forge1His forge was considerably smaller than I’d anticipated, but it proved to be both powerful and economical. It could heat steel hot enough to shape as he saw fit.

All in all, I think this was one of the coolest gifts my family have given me, and that’s with some pretty steep competition. I especially love how they know I’ve been doing all the black smithing research the novel series, and just took it upon themselves to get me some live action knowledge.  Next time, I want to mash some metal myself, but as first lessons go, this one was pretty amazing.

|

Synopsis building – a lesson in minamalism

Creating a decent synopsis of a full novel is odd.  It’s like shoving a 747 into a breadbox.  I would think it would be fairly easy, since the novel is completely done, but it is proving to be a bit of a bug-a-boo.

At the pace I’m writing and condensing, I’ll have one page of synopsis for every fifty pages of text.  That would bring me in around ten pages.

As far as writing processes go, I’m an adder-inner.  I tend to write thin in places, and go back and flesh out sections.  Reducing what I’ve already written is counter-intuitive.  But, it’s a wonderful learning experience. 

Plowing ahead, hoping to finish tonight, so I can review it tomorrow and send up to New York.

Fun times.

|

Wrapped Black Blade Blues edits

Completed my final read through on the novel (this round).  After running through the changes the editor asked for, and adding the new scenes, lines, etc. it was critical that I just read the novel again from beginning to end.

Good thing, too.  Found one place where I had a character interjecting into an ongoing conversation, after he had left the scene.  That would have been embarrassing. 

Still love the book, which is good after six or more read throughs by this point.  Now, I’m off to market my short fiction.  I’ve neglected that lot recently, in favor of finishing the edits on the novel.

Now I’ll, hopefully, clear my backlog of shorts and let them dance on editor’s desks for a while.

|

Web Site Goes Live

New Beginnings

Being a writer is a funny thing. We obsess over the silliest nuances of commentary and struggle along in a vacuum of rejection and ambiguity. That’s how it feels a lot of days. But there are moments, when you are putting words down, that everything fades into the ether and the story grabs you by the throat and drags you along, fingers flying across the keyboard, until you have purged the most recent fit of creativity. I love those moments — looking around, wondering what day it is, where you are, if you are still wearing pants.

Not all days are like that, but there are enough of them to convince me to keep me coming back. Now that I’ve been doing this a while, I find it’s in my blood. If I’m not writing, I’m grumpy and prone to anti-social behavior. Those who know me best can point out those moments and ask pointedly, “why don’t you go write something?” So I crawl to my keyboard — and it’s always the keyboard for me — and I commit words.

I once thought writing long-hand would be romantic, but I can barely read my handwriting on a good day. Long hours of feverish creativity does horrid things to my penmanship. I can’t write fast enough for my brain, so it’s the keyboard that’s best capable of capturing the speed of my thoughts, but just slow enough for me to organize the words in a coherent fashion.

zen_writing_cover1If you’ve not read ZEN AND THE ART OF WRITING, by Ray Bradbury you should. The opening introduction is the most salient description of how writing keeps me sane as I’ve ever read.  Writing keeps the world balanced for me.  Check out what Mr. Bradbury has to say.

Writing short has always been a challenge for me, but it’s a labor of love, with a constant struggle for brevity.  I write long.  Always have.  But the short story has so much to offer by way of honing your craft, that I have learned the form and continue to practice it with wide-eyed awe. 

The long form, the novel — that’s my comfort zone.  Having the wide-open canvas to explore ideas, get to know characters, discover new places… that’s where the juice lies for me.  Now that I’ve signed a three-book deal with Tor Books, things are starting to change.

I’m finding more comfort, more grace in the overall process.  I don’t feel as frenetic as I do when I’m writing shorts.  With the novel, I know I’m in for a long stroll in the garden of my imagination and it’s just fine with me.

This site is the launch of something big for me.  I hope you want to come here and share the worlds I build.  I see this as a forum for conversation and the sharing of ideas.

Give me your opinion.  Let me know what you think.

Afterall, we grow by sharing experiences.  Welcome!

|

Green (Lantern!)

Well, I’ve done it. I have completed the perfect collection of Green Lantern paraphernalia in existence. It spans a wide range of historical context and cultural diversity.

I was most excited to see the novelization of the upcoming GL movie by my friend .

Check it out.

Green (Lantern!)

Green (Lantern!)

|

Uruz

The wild ox; strength and power.

Ansuz

Creativity; words, music, and art.

Othala

The troll cross; wealth and prosperity.

Sowilo

The sun; energy, honor, guidance.

Fehu

Personally earned or lucky wealth and prosperity.

Jera

The harvest; patience and promise.

Raidho

The chariot; journey and travel.

Note: This is not the real book cover.