Friday 9th May 2017

Some days are just unproductive, even though want of trying.
Today’s plan was to get the ball scene done.  In many ways it’s a simple change.  Currently hero stumbles across information at the ball.  Instead, he has to go seek it out.
It should be a simple change but it’s going slow and taking some time.
Part of the delay is that I’m on 24/7 support for the day job and I got a call out tonight that, when coupled with an IT issue with my day job laptop, meant it took me 3-4 hours to resolve.  All the fallout from the General Election didn’t help my concentration either.  But there’s another part of me where my subconscious is pulling back.  There’s a gut feeling there, but I don’t know what it is.  It’s a bit like waking up one morning, feeling out of sorts, but not knowing whether you just didn’t get a good night’s sleep or you’re about to come down with something.
I’ve not yet been able to accurately tell the difference between procrastination and my gut feeling.  The only way I know how to deal with it is to pretty much walk away and do something else and see if I keep returning to the manuscript (in which case it’s something in my gut that’s telling me something is wrong) or if I just keep doing ‘other’ things (in which case I’m just procrastinating).
Tonight, my procrastination activity was to read G. I. Joe comics.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe series.  What should have just been a crappy toy tie-in became this wonderful saga that was such a HUGE influence on me.  It taught me so much about writing.
Going back over early issues tonight I can see where some of my character work comes from, as well as my action and humour.
The series ran from 1982 until 1994, although I really only came onboard around the late #20s when the series was serialised in the UK’s weekly Action Force comic around 85/86.  As a teenager I used to go up to London and hunt down the US editions and then when the series was in the early #60s actually take out a subscription with Marvel in the US.
Whilst I grew out of playing with the toys  (I still bought them though!), I never grew out of the story.  Every 25 issues there seemed to be some huge reveal that had its origins in something planted as far back as 100 issues ago.  I loved that set up and it gave me my love for stories where things are hidden in plain sight way in advance of them ever being unveiled.
The series finished with #155 but such was its popularity that it came back in 2010 with IDW picking the series up from where it left of, with Larry Hama back as writer.
Now, the real crime here is that I’ve not read all the issues.  There are a number of issues around #20 that I’ve never read, and I’ve not read any of the IDW issues due to wanting to read the 155 issues prior before starting on it.  I’ve started a few times, but then I get distracted by writing and never finish it.
But I read 20 issues today.  It was really interesting to see how the series really starts off as stand-alone stories.  It has none of the charm that characterises the series.  In fact, I suspect the reason I have had to restart this reread so many times is because those first few issues have none of the magic.  Like so many things, it takes a while to find its feet.
And then you see around issue 10 that things change.  You start to get multi-issue arcs, you start to get reoccurring secondary characters.  Around issue 15 you start to see the humour creep in (and can I recognise some of my own humour in this!).
I’ve definitely got past the bad issues and I’m in a section where these are all issues I’ve never read before.  Soon I’ll get to the Drednoks and the ninja masters and stories I remember.
But that didn’t help me with my scene at the ball.  And in the end I’ve decided to leave it for tonight.  It also didn’t help that there were good storm chasing conditions near Winnipeg and all I could think of were my friends going off chasing.  Hope they got something!
As I see it, I have 2 major bits to do on this edit: this ball scene and then combining 3 chapters into 1.  I’d like to have both of those done by the end of the weekend so I can go onto the line edits next week.  That’s perhaps being a little ambitious (especially as I think the merging of 3 chapters could be a bit scary).  I’ve also got a couple of things on this weekend including a games night and sparring.
But… I’m making good progress so I’m not too worried just yet.  I just need to figure out if my subconscious is trying to tell me something about the changes I’m making to the ball scene or whether it’s just a combination of fear and procrastination.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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