Sunday, December 27, 2009

Writing Goals


There isn’t that much time left until 2009 is over with and as it comes around there will be a chance for new resolutions, new promises, a fresh new start to get organized and be better than last year. I can’t imagine anything more powerful than the clean, polished to perfection, new slate and I am just motivated to state what I want and do it for a change.

For once I would love to see myself organized. I want to carve out a time niche of an hour everyday and just write in peace. I would need to learn to ignore the pestering Internet, which always is the greatest problem, when down and writing. Then there is the family problem as I have several members needing to interact with me, especially, when I am writing. So yeah, a big fat learn to steal time, when they are not there.

I would for once like to outline and research a novel, before sitting down and write, ’cause the results are horrifying, when I do it panster style. I admire all the people, who manage to do it without much preparation, but with my world building I would prefer to be on the safe side and not be lazy as hell.

I will revisit short projects ideas that have been dear to my heart, but have been conceived in my ‘I can’t finish anything’ era. There is a novella in there somewhere, which was radical for me and my style, because I let all the naughty words slip and I had really morally ambiguous characters. So that will be revisited along with other short stories.

The mountain goal will be in the novel writing category. I am determined to have a do-over with “Forged in Blood” and complete two other novels.

2010 has to be damn productive.


I am not in the Holiday mood as per se, so this is some character art work, which has me thinking about leather gangs meet medieval armor and giving birth to the woman’s mean outfit. Quite impressive work and I just love the overall vibe in this piece. The title is “The Sword Woman” by Tahra [which I am not sure whether it is the actual artist’s name, but she is from Korea, so I may be on to something].

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Revision Cave: The Labirynth


I have been busy catching up on major reading for the Comic Book Appreciation Month on my review blog “Temple Library Reviews” and I have been quite swallowed with Birds of Prey, which escalated from flat and not witty to enticing, witty and deep. Guess the author does make a difference and after Gail Simone took over everything went for the better, but I ignored everything else as I race with that series to the finish.

For instance I got lost on stage one as far as the Revision Cave goes and I say that this bad. I have read the early chapters and decided to discard them and start anew. I’ve started outlining chapter by chapter and things pop up that need to be researched and quite after they have been researched will I sit down to write the chapter. That is fine and dandy, but I am not sure on a few things.

Do I do this chapter by chapter? As in outline chapter, research aspects in chapter, note details and then add this to various arc schematics and then write it. This would mean to move at a slow pace, but would ensure that the story is perfectly tied. I sure hope that this strategy is good and I lean over to doing it this way, because with my scatterbrain tendencies I sense that the whole novel outline, research and then writing won’t contribute to much.

Research would need to be concise or perhaps I should cover more ground. I’m still working on this and good thing is that things shape up better than when I started this, so it’s good or maybe I am confusing myself again. Novel writing sure is tricky.


I feel a bit evil and in the mood for weird as I approach a new short story project, so here is something equally evil and weird. I am a sucker for something pure and good as an idea and concept and then twisted into the opposite. This Poison Heart Care Bear is the perfect art and is the work of Bobby Chiu

Friday, December 18, 2009

To arms, this WIP has no chance...


Yes, it is quite official. SMH has been shelved until the novel learns to behave and not turn into dozen things that I hadn’t intended on. As it cools I shall enter the revision cave as my friend and soon-to-be-published author Karen Mahoney refers to the process of revisions. I have decided to return to the first novel I have ever written in English: “Forged in Blood”.

Despite it being the only attempt at novel writing that’s been accomplished by my hands and by the rule of thumb, these attempts never reach a publication quality, I love the world, which has spawned seventy percent of any future series projects, I am contemplating, and I also love the story. I had some problems with it though.

The protagonist developed from the most incapable, reactive ugly duckling to a kick-ass black swan and she did so as a result of something that happened to her. Not so good, plus I am not into Ugly Betty type: nice, limited in ability, but with a big heart and moral compass, also an easy pick for a scheme. The novel itself starts as a sitcom, than goes into well tread waters in UF territory and then goes quite bizarre and macabre. I loved the last third and I want the whole novel to be like that, so here is what my muse did.

With regards to the trilogy end, my protagonist needs a total make-over and I need to make her the vicious ice queen Cerberus. But this is just step one in this whole Odyssey. I’m amidst a battle plan on what to do:

- After rereading the ‘brilliance’, I will note down all the world building aspects that are not consistent and then develop a file with details on the world. This will involve research topics and a lot of non-fiction reading.

- When the world is done, it’s time to map out the revisited plot and taking into account that the protagonist is not to be messed with. Characters bios are to be handled here with needed research on certain medical aspects.

- Get the newest Google Earth and start mapping out actual places in America, even if I am as far away from there as I possibly can be. That done, it’s time for a scene by scene breakdown and redoing.

Sweet, huh? I reckon I will be done never with it, but I gotta try.

Another art inspiration for you guys. Since I am in the macabre mood with darkness spilling in the afternoon hours, I give you “Awakening” Part III by Becky Cloonan, who is talented and her art always speaks to the horror writer/fan persona inside of me. I find this to fit in to a point with the Cthulhu month is having, tentacles and all.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why go OCD with these Submission?


I am going to be pretty brief today and I think that I will be as brief the whole winter, because I feel like defrosting from the weather and the warmth from the heater lulls me to sleep. That scary fact about my body reactions to temperature changes poses a question on its own of how the heck am I going to be productive at all, but to be quite honest that is a mystery better left for a different post.

Now I shall answer the question/title for this post. It’s a fact; I have submitted “Lunar Hues” to targeted anthology with high hopes that Anthology Editor falls in love. Fairy tale sequence aside I had a small panic attack attached to this submission. It took ages to figure out how to tone my bio and how to shape my publishing credits, which by the way can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Most painful was how to approach the anthology editor, since research on the matter never revealed his/hers name. I guess I am doing the quest for name wrong, but I couldn’t find a thing.

I quadruple checked everything from formatting to headline, contact information and what not and in the end the mouse hung quite a few seconds over the “Send” button, before clicking. I had the feeling that I was Dexter Boy Genius, while experimenting with dangerous chemicals and awaiting something to go wrong, even though I have followed procedure.

Did I format the file accordingly? Did I miss something vital? Was it a slap in the face to clarify that although my full name is Haralambi, it’s better for everyone to be called Harry? I did this in the most well meaning tone without indulging in self-explanatory territories, but I am a slow writer, so the submission process is a new and I fear that I might have stampeded over a sacred unwritten law somewhere.

As you have noticed I turn into Monk, when it comes to submission, which got me thinking: Why the hell do we near heart failure every time we submit something, whether it be a short story for a magazine or anthology, pitching to an agent or editor and god knows what else, we as writers hyperventilate. I even got reassured that it is normal, which I know it is, but then again why is it so.

To me the gist of it lies that to make a good impression, a writer relies on too many variables that determine success. One would be following the guidelines, which is the most obvious of them all, but then there is the ability to slightly differ from all the other submissions without crossing a line, which has to happen within the submission text and doing that via e-mail is an art form within itself. Something that might seem acceptable to write, may irk off the editor and since the submission text is a lot like a novel’s cover [it aims to get a reaction from the one intended to see it] rubbing the editor the wrong way can be a very sloppy French kiss with death.

When someone is irritated the weaknesses or personal pet peeves stand out and scream for the work to be stacked in the rejected pile, while when one’s mood is perked up by the positive fuzziness conveyed in the submission along with flawlessly followed guidelines and manners to boot may result in a positive viewing of the work. This is not to say that editors are bunnies that one can manipulate so easily, but these fine, fine details determine one way or another the success of the submission at least as far as submission goes. A good submission tells the editor that the writer has professionalism, which is a valued quality, while bad submissions can make the editor doubt whether working with a writer, who can’t even handle the submission stage can be adequate, if published.

Would you trust a taxi driver, who would try to speed from the right lane? It’s the same here to a point.

That being said, I have to add one more thing. There are plenty of writers out there and the business is pretty competitive, so one needs to be stellar as far as submission goes. Precisely why I am going OCD when it comes down to submissions.

Yeah, it’s not that short, when I think about it and it’s kind of incoherent babbling, but it’s my logic on this anxiety when it comes to submissions.



I am also indulging in yet another mythological piece that has been re-imagined, because as far as I recall gorgons aren’t male or muscular, but it’s certainly a striking illustration, which I discovered on my DA hunts. The hand behind it belongs to Mushimaro Tachikawa, a very talented Japanese artist in my humble opinion. Now doesn’t this provoke an interesting story?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Chatty Muse


Word counts aren’t happening as well as I would like them to, which is a shame in on itself, but the very least my muse has been busy mixing one cauldron after the other and her efforts have given me two new series, which are pretty darn good in my opinion. While the ideas for both series have existed in my subconscious mind for some time, the muse decided to shape the first novels in each with too many details about the plots and the worlds. I rarely get that kind of show in my head, so I am diligently writing all this up, while it’s still fresh, awesome and not puzzling at all.

Both series give me something I love as topics, elemental spirits and superheroes. What’s not to like. While the zeal has been pumping the Muse has been crafting a few new projects that take place in the world of the elemental series as well as “Forged in Blood”, the urban fantasy I plan on revising in the near future. These are mostly standalones, but have a common theme, the characters represent a certain category in the magical society, so I might chain them into a series of standalones with a loose tie in between.

So far the stories range from Australian duo with weird powers on a road trip quest to an outsider being initiated and accepted within the Hawaiian paranormal society. I am in love with mythology, so it would be a blast to cover the myths and legends that makes Hawaii so special, especially Pele the volcano goddess. I am not so sure about the third novel, which is more gothic romance about a mysterious mansion, but the character is quite mystically well endowed and I am a sucker for concept, so I might take a stab at it, but it’s not as pressing as the four mentioned above.

As far as the current WIP, it is suffering in word count growth. The problem with this novel is that I didn’t let it boil and gurgle and mature into a finished concept, at least not seriously and in the details I need even with the outline. SMH is morphing and changing colors chameleon style, which is not bad, because it shows promise, but at the end these new variables setting in well after the middle bother me. I am seriously considering, leaving this novel rest until I am certain what it would look like or if it plans to stick with an identity and have any merit to be completed.


Once a long time ago, when I didn’t have such a disorderly collection on my computer I had this tradition to post amazing art that has made my day and inspired me to write or the very least envision and I am inclined with this one again. The piece is called “Forgiveness” and is the legend of the kelpie, drowning a girl, which in turn forgives the kelpie and becomes a swan. An interesting look. The talented artist is Jenna Vincent, an Aussie with a flair for dragons, but covers mythology as well.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Absence Week

Ignore the ghetto setting and focus on the start whiteness that has occupied the street behind my house. Yes, it’s December and it’s snowing and it’s doing so before Christmas. An event that hasn’t happen in a few years and a good omen for me and the following 2010, which is almost here.

But snow or no snow I went quite absent this week and here is what happened. I was on a trip outside the city, where we partied with fellow university students and celebrate December 8th, which is the national University Student Day. Naturally we had to get wasted, but then again almost all of our national holidays include binge drinking, which I think we stole from the Russians. Anyway back on getting wasted. We did it on the famed three day trip, I might’ve been bragging about on Twitter out in the mountains. The lodge we were at was positioned next to a famous landmark cave we visited and above a monastery, which sold the most delicious sweets I have eaten in a long time. So there was good food, cheap alcohol, nature trips and sweets.

Back on Wednesday we returned at night and the story jumps to an all-nighter, when everybody tried to finish their Accounting paper and give it in on Thursday. Mind you such a task is not easy, when the paper is almost 20 pages long, you have traveled around six hours on a train and you are under-slept from partying. I call this one a nightmare. Ironically our assistant was on sick-leave, the deadline was on the 10th and the main professor wouldn’t collect the papers, because he is an asshole. What makes this even more infuriating is that the professor won’t give credit for the papers, but will be taking for not giving in papers and having mistakes. I am in a lynching mood.

Consequences from this week include:

1) insufficient amount of sleep [though the first two nights it was voluntary and the latter ones painfully obligatory]

2) high amount of stress, an even heightened animalistic hatred for bureaucracy [which has to do with the whole Accounting fiasco thing]

3) a phobia for traveling in trains, after we had to make a half an hour trek through the overcrowded train from the last wagon to the very first [mind you I was the gentleman and carried two suitcases as well],

4) 500 pages of reading behind schedule [which are manageable, now that academically my program is lighter]

5) God knows how many words behind on writing [also manageable, because of the same reason above. I plan on finishing that novel by the end of the year and it shall happen]

But I had a blast during the three days outside the city with no Internet, no books and no battle scenes with younger sibling from hell. I was goofy, yet quiet me along with friends in the great outdoors.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So, what's your Draft like?


This is the inspiration for this post as well as the weird dynamics, which have prevented me to type as much as I would like. While I scouted an actual café-bookstore, I think the only one in the city, I bought this notebook because of the covers, which had these authentic botanical illustrations. Since I am a sucker for well illustrated flora, I sacrificed the buck fifty to buy it and possibly write a neat first draft of a short story inside. I can’t imagine doing anything else to it other than writing a short story that fits the cover art and yes I do have some botanical ideas lurking inside.

As far as novels go I can’t go on writing on paper, because god it takes millions of years to type the first draft on the machine and then edit it accordingly, although with my debut novel I resorted to writing in a journal, when it had become clear I couldn’t stay focused. However with too many people with computer needs and one machine to accommodate all needs I am more or less pushed away from the computer in my prime time.

The next best thing was to write up the first draft to my story “From Behind Empty Eyes” on paper, while my schedule left no good lots to sit down on the keyboard and write during the day, which is my prime creative time. It goes slower for sure, but then again since my hand is slower with the pen, my mind is also not trying to rush way ahead with the story and leave my work underwritten, which is the case with most first drafts I get to complete. Sentences flow with certain pauses between each other, but the story coils and weaves elements easier and the voice builds in consistency. Yes, it’s slow and I hate having to read the first draft and then type it up and after which editing on MS Word, but I’m enabled to scribbled a line, paragraph or even a few words every now, when I am out. After all it doesn’t matter whether you write 1,000 words in one hour or in one day as long as you get something done and my daily quote is exactly that much, so I am quite happy.

As far as the progress goes I am on 4 out of 6 scenes in “From Behind Empty Eyes”, the two remaining scenes have to be inserted in the middle, but I enjoy how it turned out so far and I believe that there is some subliminal message encoded within and not just the zombies. I am optimistic to predict a late December final edit.

November’s been busy, but joyous for my mentor with her induction into motherhood, so I am forgoing any expectancy to receive any edits and just sucking it up, having a short once over and then wham hope "Lunar Hues" bedazzles the anthology people.

As far as the manuscript goes: SMH has proven to be quite the challenge around the middle and since I haven’t had a novel without something apocalyptic taking shape, I am even more in uncharted waters alongside my ‘middle part crisis’ problem. So far I am leaving the story distil until Saturday, when I can type on a more regular basis and with my academic schedule easing up I will force these hands to type 2,500 words a day until the exam session starts. But here is my updated progress.

29134 / 80000 words. 36% done!

While I am on the ways one can write drafts I have a question to those that might read and feel like commenting:


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Harry Markov has difficulties writing biographies in third person, but he follows this venerable, ancient tradition. What he has no difficulty is devouring written words, only to sit down and create some himself. He is a former child-author wannabe, who has settled for patience in order to gain at least a moderate understanding of the secret lives of novels and short stories.

A devoted (junior) connoisseur of the weird and the surreal, Harry Markov won’t judge a book just case it has a muddled genre genealogy. On the contrary, the Markov prefers a rich blend of genres. Fantasy, weird, horror, science fiction, fiction or fairy tales, everything works.

When not writing fiction, Harry Markov reviews and writes articles for Pornokitsch, The Portal, Beyond Victoriana, Innsmouth Free Press and World SF Blog among others.

Harry Markov has become publicist Jaym Gates' personal minion-assistant-apprentice.

You can reach Harry Markov at likenion [at] gmail [dot] com or Twitter: @harrymarkov