I wasn’t going to do this, but one of my friends inspired me to give it a shot this year. So here I am working on a novel… in a month. So far it’s been pretty liberating. I used to do snippets of prose in my journal all the time, but lately, my writing’s been tied up with tech documents and treatments and outlines and bibles. Even though some of it was fun, it had the crushing weight of work behind it. I don’t mind working at my craft, but sometimes, I just need to cut loose and play. To have some fun and some laughs. So this novel, it’s all play. I wanted to take a genre to extremes and put it so out there it became comedic. I had characters lying around to work with, and ideas weren’t difficult for me to track down. I just couldn’t decide on a genre.

So I went with two genres… horror (probably gonna be gorey horror) and romance novel. I haven’t really pushed any boundaries with those yet (as you’ll see below), but I’m getting back into the swing of prose writing… getting warmed up as I go.

Below is the first chapter of the story in all its unedited, non-proofed glory. With all the scary typos and all the cringe-worthy grammatical errors. Why am I sharing something this rough? Just crazy I guess (although it does give me extra motivation).

Dark Rhythms

Chapter One – The Cemetery Picnic

   Candi giggled as she felt a warm breath roll across her neck. Her ticklish response turned to anticipation as impassioned lips moved ever closer to her flesh. She closed her eyes eager for those lips to contact her flesh. They drew closer…and her muscles tensed.
   Closer still…and her heart skipped a beat.
   “I’m gonna beat that skinny ass of yours up-and-down this cemetery if you don’t stop teasing me like that,” said Candi as she peeked out of the corner of one eye.
   The lips stopped perched near enough to Candi’s skin to be felt. “Who’s being the tease now?” The tip of a tongue reached out landing lightly against Candi’s neck. Fingers slid their way gently through Candi’s short cropped hair as the tongue traced out the shape of a heart across heated skin. When lips finally pressed against her neck, Candi felt as if pins and needles danced across her body.
   The playful mouth worked up to the edge of Candi’s ear lobes and along a sharp jawline to the chin. The tip of a petite nose traced the outline of Candi’s lips as the kisses moved upward. One…soft…kiss…after…another.
   Candi glanced down at Simone. She soaked in her ivory skin, plum-colored lips, and the tattooed runes covering the outer edges of her ears. Candi couldn’t hold back any longer. She drove her fingers through Simone’s long raven hair and cupped the back of her head to pull the girl’s lips to hers. Her fingers then slid down through the long hair to the middle of her back where one hand stopped to pull their bodies close while the other gently teased its way down Simone’s back.
   Both girls’ hands explored and caressed as they continued their embrace. Simone let her nails scrape across Candi’s strong back muscles, and she dug her nails in as their bodies shifted on the blanket. They rolled to their sides knocking over a half empty bottle of wine and smashing what was left of assorted creme-filled pastries.
   Simone’s eyes sprung open…just in time to catch a dark silhouette dart behind the nearby tombstone. She kept her eyes open and alert as the girls continued their embrace. She watched the tombstone looking for any sign of movement. She stared at the tombstone so long, the epitaph kept rolling around in her head. Here lies Alex Tomari. 1983-2006 We’re just glad he actually died. It was the last bit that caught her attention. It always does. Lucky bast–
   The silhouette finally moved as it jumped onto the back of the tombstone revealing Osiris, Simone’s Siamese cat. He glared at the two girls and let out a hiss loud enough to reach the outer walls of the cemetery.
   At Simone’s command, the two girls rolled away from each other–hands reaching under the picnic blanket to pull forth hidden weapons. Candi tumbled forward onto her feet and a hatchet soared from her hand toward three figures charging out of the shadows. One was a giant of a man named Joey. He stood nearly a head and a half taller than Candi’s significant Amazonian frame. Aside from the skin showing the initial signs of rot and decay, he looked like he could play as a lineman for any professional football team. Beside him was Chandler who was more of the svelte athletic type. Your prototypical jock complete with varsity letter jacket, nice hair, and veins bulging from his muscles. Except these weren’t veins…they were ridges of bone scattered across his body–cavity-filled rivers of ivory oozing puss and gangrene. The last member of this trio was Ross. Thin, wiry, and nearly human in appearance. Well, as human as he could appear with jet black eyes, ancient runes tattooed all over his bald head, archaic piercings covering the the back of his neck, and 80s style yuppie clothing.
   Candi’s hatchet sunk deep into Ross’ chest. “You total bitch-freak. I just spent over two grand last week having my rib cage surgically reconstructed. I’m gonna–”
   A thud behind Candi caught everyone’s attention, and she spun to investigate only to find Simone lying face first in the grass. Her butt stuck up in the air covered only by a pair of plum-colored satin panties–her pants twisted up around her ankles. Candi’s lip nearly bled as she tried to refrain from laughing at the sight of her partner like that.
   “You undid my pants,” said Simone. “Why did you undo my pants when you knew we were out hunting?”
   “Sorry. Got carried away in the heat of the moment. I won’t let it–”
   Simone rolled over to a sitting position trying to kick off her pants as quickly as possible while Candi rose up off the ground lifted by Joey’s massive hand, which squeezed around her throat from behind. “Ya gots ta be kiddin’ me. These little B-movie girls are what everyone’s all worked up over? Hell, that one on da ground’s gonna die of shock and embarrassment before we even lay a hand on her.”
   Candi drove her elbow back into Joey’s arm to little effect. She kicked back into his gut to even less effect.
   “Living dead, remember? Without your weapons, you can’t do anything to hurt me.”
   Candi tucked herself up lifting her feet as high away from the ground as possible. “She…gak…can…urk.”
   A thunderous burst of sound echoed to the outer edges of the cemetery. Two large metal ball bearings connected by a strand of jagged piano wire exploded from the tip of Simone’s shotgun. The ball bearings spread apart flying past Joey’s knees. He looked down as the wire sunk into his shins. The bearings whipped around his legs digging the wire deeper and deeper into his legs until they cut through and popped the lower part of his legs out from under him. He fell forward dragged down by Candi as she twisted herself free. His massive frame crashed into the soft earth of the cemetery face first… with his butt sticking up in the air. He lifted his head spitting a mouthful of sod off to the side when something shimmering caught his eye. He glanced up and went cross-eyed staring at the barrel of the shotgun Simone aimed right at his nose.
   “I’ll guarantee you…it won’t be the embarrassment that kills you.”
   Joey’s friends turned their heads and cringed as another explosion rocked the chilled night air hanging over the cemetery. While Ross plucked bits of dead flesh off his shirt, noxious smoke drifted up from the rotted bones protruding from Chandler’s skin as deadly, vengeful thoughts lined up in his mind. Ripe with rage and diseased fumes, he charged the two girls.
   Candi stepped to the side as Simone took aim with the shotgun, but before she could pull the trigger, her eyes watered up and her face twitched up as she was bludgeoned a powerful scent like rotting corpses, six week old moldy dishes, never-washed socks belonging to a marathon runner, and baby diapers all rolled into one massive smell. She pushed through and focused on her target but couldn’t hold back the retching of her stomach, and soon found herself leaned over and vomiting.
   Seeing Simone incapacitated, he took a swing at Candi, but she stepped back into her defensive posture letting the punch fly harmlessly by before her eyes. She continued to evade his attacks while holding back the nausea from the fumes rolling out of the bone protruding from Chandler’s skin.
   “You’re some kind of stink demon, aren’t you?” Candi ducked another of Chandler’s punches and drove an elbow into his side… to little effect.
   Candi drove the steel toe of her leather combat boot into his shin. Still no effect. “Then, is there a reason for your smell?”
   “The demonic bones used to reanimate me produce that scent whenever they start purging my body of all the rot and decay associated with death. Sucks, but it keeps me going.”
   He finally connected with one of his punches sending Candi flying onto the picnic blanket Simone and her were sharing. She laid there unmoving with her back to everyone else. Chandler approached to deliver the finishing blow but stopped short as Candi speaks to him.
   “Did you ever stop to think about why I threw my only weapon away at the beginning of the fight?”
   “Nah, I just attributed it to stupidity.”
   Candi rolled over on the blanket holding a second axe in one hand. She carried the momentum of her spin into a strong swing of her axe connecting with Chandler’s crotch–tearing through clothing, slicing through flesh, and cracking through bones.
   “Well, now you can attribute it to me being prepared instead.” She pulled on the axe handle to lift herself up, and once she was upright again, she twisted the axe to the sound of hips cracking.
   But it didn’t come lose. “Stop… that… you… b–”
   She twisted again as Chandler’s eyes rolled back into his head, but the weapon still wouldn’t pull free. She placed her combat boot on his chest as she pulled with all her might. Chandler’s head lunged forward to the thud of metal on skull as Candi’s first hatchet bounced off to the side. She leaned to the side to glance around the unconscious creature to find Ross a dozen feet back with an empty hole in his chest. His eyes followed the hatchet as it ricocheted off a tombstone and fell limp to the ground.
   “That’s not as easy as it looks.”
   Candi tugged futiley at her axe to free it as Ross rushed toward her. She looked to Simone for help, but the poor girl was still bent over spilling the contents of her stomach onto the cemetery floor. Candi’s eyes found themselves drawn to Simone’s plum panties riding up on one side from all the fighting. Damn that girl. How can she make puking looks so adorable?
   Thoughts found a rude interruption as Ross’ forearm slammed into the side of Candi’s throat. Momentum carried Ross and Candi to the ground as they exchanged short, powerful blows with elbows, knees, and fists. They hit the ground grappling–legs intertwined, arms wrapped up, and each trying to get position on the other. A reflection in the corner of Candi’s eye drew her attention above them. Ross followed Candi’s eyes to where her now freed axe came spinning down toward them.
   They rolled off to the side as the edge of the weapon scraped along Candi’s back before sinking into the ground. Cloth tore as Candi continued the roll and slammed Ross’ back to the ground. Straddled over him, she pinned his arms down as they both eyed the nearby axe with a sigh of relief. Her eyes turned to his… but his seemed drawn to the cleavage revealed as the torn shirt hung loose off Candi’s body.
   She smashed her forehead into his and readied for a second headbutt when she paused… confused. She shifted her hips and curved her back up to look down to where their two bodies pressed together before looking back at him.
   “Are you getting–”
   “Yes. Yes, I am. Sorry… it’s the masochist in me.”
   The edge of Candi’s lips curled up into a grin… getting to tease, frustrate and inflict pain appealled to her inner dominatrix. “Try not to make too big of a mess then.”
   Candi arched back squeezing her hips together looking like she’s getting swept away in passion. She shifted her weight and drove her shoulder down into Ross’ chest grinding through skin, muscles and ribs torn open by her hatchet throw earlier. She pushed deep until she felt his heart splashing against her skin with each beat. She pushed further until she heard a gurgle in his throat as air raced out from one of his lungs.
   She pulled back as drops of blood, bits of muscle and chunks of bone plopped down onto Ross’ chin. She rubbed her pelvis against his examining his reaction. Judging the quality of her work by his growing excitement. Instead she felt something wet.
   The smell of smoldering denim attacked her nostrils as she jumped up off him. She grabbed the picnic blanket and rubbed furiously at the widening spot burning through her jeans underneath her zipper and down the inside of her leg… starting to sizzle away at her plum-colored spandex undershorts.
   Ross grinned as he lumbered to his feet. “I should have warned you about that.”
   “That you’re a premature ejaculator?”
   “No, that I have acid–
   Ross dived to tackle her, but Candi sidestepped him holding out the blanket to catch him across the neck and chest. She spun around to twist up the blanket and kicked him in the back driving him into the ground. She twirled up the blanket tightening it around his upper body–an impromptu vise compressing ribs and inflicting pain with each little turn.
   Holding onto the blanket and keeping him incapacitated, she leaned over to grab her hatchet.
   “This might take me a few chops.” Ross turned his head as far to the side as he could to see what she was doing. He squirmed and rolled trying to break free as the hatchet came flying down toward his neck.
   “But I know you’re gonna enjoy it. Hell, you might even have enough time to enjoy it twice.”
   Simone crawled up beside Candi as she hacked away at the demon’s neck.
   “Sorry, I wasn’t able to help. I was hitting the dry heave zone.”
   “No prob. I had fun with this one.”
   Simone noted the charred holes in Candi’s jeans and undershorts. “I don’t even want to know.”
   Simone’s eyes were drawn to the creature’s body as muscles tensed up. They held taut for a moment before convulsing–fleshy tremors rippling through its body. As the twitching muscles slowed their pace, Simone spotted smoke rising from his waist followed by an olfactory mix of burning grass and melting polyester.
   Candi looked back at the smoke. “Someone’s dying happy. You might want to back up a bit, sweetie… in case Mr. Acid Splurter here starts shooting wild.”
   Simone’s eyes widened as she scooched back from the body. She made it a few feet before the smell and realization of what’s happening sent her stomach into a relapse.
   Candi finally chopped her way through the neck and sat with a thump next to Simone who was on all fours spewing bile and stomach acid from her mouth.
   “It’s okay,” said Candi. “We’ll pick up some ginger ale on the way home and get that stomach all settled.”
   Candi reached over and slid a finger down the inside of Simone’s panties to straighten them out leaving a trail of smeared blood along the way. She paused to let her eyes caress Simone’s curves and let them slide their way down her strong, lean legs.
   “I think you should dress like this more often when we go hunting.”
   “I agree.”
   Candi turned to find Ross’ decapitated head eyeing Simone’s backside and licking his lips.
   “Shut up, you.” Candi smacked the demon head sending it rolling into a nearby tombstone. As its skull collided and sent chips of stone flying in all directions, Candi watched as its body came to life shuddering and spasming for just a second before going dead still again.
   More smoke rose from underneath its hips.
   “I think I’m in love,” said Ross.
   Candi jumped up with hatchet in hand and kicked the body over. She looked over at the head propped against the tombstone.
   “Sorry… already in a relationship.” Candi swung the hatchet with all her might at the body.
   Tears welled up in Ross’ eyes and his bottom lip quivered. “Not Mr. Wiggles.”

Posting from the airport since most of my day will get devoured by flying, layovers, and mystical time zone sharks. San Diego was fun…met some cool people, caught up with friends, and basked in the utter awesomeness of artwork (spent a lot of time wandering through artist alley and the fantasy illustrator area). I’ll post more about the show later, but to all the great people I met this week, thanks for the laughs… and the liver damage (but I know it’s liver damage of love).

A question about actor-in-waiting career choices…

As an actor waiting to hit the right audition at the right time, I’m working temp jobs to pay the bills. I was thinking of finding a better job to cover the rent and help with my acting career. Maybe some grunt work at a Hollywood studio or something like that. What jobs would you recommend for an actor-in-waiting to keep his dreams alive?

Mickey R., Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Dear Mickey,

Patience is tough when the universe won’t get off its lazy butt and line up everything for you when you want it to. Patience is even tougher when the landlord’s a paramilitary freak with access to anti-personnel mines and a Barrett M107 .50 caliber sniper rifle. But don’t worry, The Creative Adviser has ya covered. We scoured the country far-and-wide looking for the best stepping stone careers an actor could wish for.

And here they are, The Creative Adviser’s Ten Best Jobs For an Actor-in-Waiting…

I went to lunch yesterday, and it was a beautiful day in the Dallas area–temperature in the 90s, sunny, clear skies. A big change from what the weather’s been like recently. My first instinct was to grab lunch to go and sit poolside at the hotel soaking it up and killing off my programmer’s tan. But I had work that needed to get done and didn’t want to lose track of the time basking in the sun, so I decided to wait until after work to enjoy the weather just to be safe. Know what happens when you wait to take advantage of a gift like that?

Yep… you find yourself turning around to the sound of thunder and the sight of dark clouds blotting out the sky five minutes before work ends.

It felt like the status quo for me lately. Whenever something fun comes along, my instincts scream at me to take advantage of it, but the parts of my brain in charge of responsibility, commitments and consequences are really quick to step in with a gentle prod of the shotgun barrel to get me back in sync with my chain gang. I used to follow those instincts and have my fun, but it hasn’t been as easy to take those risks lately. Is it all part of growing older? Is it all a symptom of life conditioning me not to take as many risks? Is it an evil corporation’s ghost parrot sitting on my shoulder to make sure I stay on the path of the good little drone?

Maybe it’s time to hang out at the pool and have a little fun.

Since there are lots of theories roaming around the ether, and I was joking around about the Powerpuff Girls reference, I thought I’d take a more serious stab at theorizing. Or at least point out an interesting connection with another project. The thing that caught my attention through all this madness was the mention the creature in this possible giant monster flick was being referred to as “the parasite”. It got the wheels turning in my brain because it sounded so familiar… and it clicked this morning. A human astronaut taken over by a space parasite and upon returning to Earth goes into a feeding frenzy to become a…

A really fun comic book by Steve Niles and Nat Jones, but on the downside of this theory, I’ve never seen a mention of it being optioned (which is a shame actually).

Just catching up on some blogging now that I’ve gotten a chunk of writing and coding out of the way. For the coding, check my Comic Book Headlines website (looks mostly the same except WW Chicago and San Diego Comicon 2007 listings have been added… and there were lots of behind-the-scenes changes to set it up for adding some new features in the near future) and keep an eye out for some neat changes for the Brat-halla webcomic (new character pages and well… something special). For the writing I’ve been working on… it’s a secret, so you’ll just have to be patient. ^_^

Other things from this week: put together new t-shirt designs for Thor and Hod from Brat-halla (since we just hit 200 episodes of the webcomic this past week), researched lots (and lots) of mythological beings for the Pantheon Games arc of Brat-halla (for nearly 60 deities and creatures possibly making an appearance in the webcomic), added an extra 30 minutes to my workout routine, took my son to see Transformers, and met a waitress whose parents named her after the porn star featured in the movie they were watching the night she was conceived (sometimes I think writers project an aura capable of bringing weird stuff to them).

Rambly time…

• Cloverfield? Yeah, I saw the trailer before Transformers. Yeah, It’s gone viral. Yeah, the marketing is definitely ramping up the intrigue value. But why am I mentioning it? Cause after the trailer, my son looked at me and said, “That was scary, dad. And it was spooky.” In fact, I was chatting with my wife about it when I got home, and he jumped in with, “And it’s got a giant monster.” Never saw a monster in the trailer. Never mentioned a monster to him. But there was enough hints to make him think it was one. There’s all this conjecture of it being Gojira or Voltron (which hasn’t even started production yet… but it does have Robeasts) or some Lovecraftian inspired tale of Cthulu. But when my son mentioned a giant monster without seeing one in the movie, I tried to think of what he’s watched that has giant monsters in it. One show came to mind immediately, and thinking about it, the concept could really catch these Internet sleuths and theorists by surprise…

…live action Powerpuff Girls. ^_^

• Cool thing to note: Alamo Draft House (Lake Creek) playing clips from the original Transformers movie before the show started.

• Cool thing to note #2: My son reciting the lines being spoken in those clips from memory (he’s watched that movie a few dozen times at least).

Skinwalkers. Whether they be Norse skinwalkers or Native American ones… they’re technically not werewolves. I’ll go into more detail on that subject here on the blog later (I have a lengthy yet half-written post about the subject from when I first heard about this movie over a year ago).

• Cool thing to note #3: San Diego Comicon… less than three weeks away.

I may or may not be slightly offline for a bit depending on my schedule during the last part of my vacation here and unfortunately, it looks like my blogging will suffer the most. Don’t worry, you’ll get by fine without me. I have faith in ya. But before I disappear for a few days, I just wanted to toss a few quick thoughts into the ether…

Monster Squad. Nostalgia. Pure, simple, werewolf nut-kicking, fun-loving nostalgia… in a shiny DVD wrapper. I haven’t seen this movie in forever, and even though I have fond memories of it from my youthful days, I wonder what I’d think of it now. What if it doesn’t live up to the magical memories I have of it? I guess I’ll have to put the money down and find out. It’ll be a good excuse to kick back one night with extreme-buttered popcorn and chocolatey snacks.

Cowboy abductions. From the writers of Children of Men and Iron Man, comes the script to the movie adaptation of the graphic novel, Cowboys & Aliens. What’s that? Haven’t seen even seen a trailer for Iron Man yet? Haven’t heard of Children of Men? Don’t sweat it, you’re definitely not alone. But hey, how could anyone mess up a cowboy story with aliens in it? Will they go all spaghetti Western? Will they run with a lovely dark comedy like Mars Attacks!? I don’t know. I didn’t even realize the graphic novel had finally been published back in December (and I have been keeping up with one of Platinum Studios other books, Hero By Night and still somehow missed the release of the GN). Guess I’ll need to check this book out now.

Funtastic Four. I went in expecting a fun yet not too cerebrally-challenging flick and got my money’s worth out of the weekday matinee showing. Some cheesy bits, some corny lines here and there, but there was enough entertainment value to overcome all that. It probably won’t pull in any Oscar nods or rave reviews from the serious comic geeks, but for me, an entertaining movie is all I really need sometimes. Probably won’t make it back to the movies until the Transformers movie. Another one that looks fun. And considering my son’s eyes lit up when the trailer for it started before Shrek the Third, I don’t really think I have much of a choice with that particular movie (I was a proud geek parent when he recognized the Autobot emblem on the steering wheel at the beginning of the trailer).

The young detective syndrome. Following more of the nostalgia trail, I’ll eventually check out the Nancy Drew movie. I remember growing up with my ink-smelling, papery friends… Nancy, those trouble-finding Hardy boys, and Encyclopedia Brown. When I was young, the library was my babysitter after school for a couple years, and those books all made my reading list (along with books on mythology, science, archeology, and psychic phenomenon). One of the nice side effects of a movie like Nancy Drew hitting theaters is the reruns of Nancy’s old TV show reappearing on TV for a little while.

I have more I’d like to ramble on about (that’s the theme of the blog after all), but I’ve glimpsed into the future where I see a very, long travel day ahead of me (and trust me, I’m not looking forward to eight hours in a car with a sunburn on my back from trying to eliminate my programmer’s tan too quickly).

I was playing around with my daily writing exercises (gotta keep those writing chops in shape) recently, and since this month I’ve been playing around with charging up my creativity, I started putting together a list of questions to push the brain cells into overload. One of the questions that really fascinated me dealt with looking backwards at your life… “If you could give one piece of advice to yourself in high school, what tip would you share?”

Coming up with advice is pretty easy in itself…

• Invest in Microsoft.
• Don’t wait so long before trying to get your writing published.
• Don’t let the doctors miss the tiny tear in your meniscus that led to the current condition of your knee.

Etc., etc., etc.

What really gets interesting with this question as a creativity drill is to think about what happens to your life if your younger self follows through on this advice. How does your life change? How does it affect the mish-mash of experiences that contribute to your personality? Who won’t you meet because of these changes? What won’t you learn because of this?

Simple actions take on a whole life of their own as they take your life for a spin down new paths. Take for instance a simple thought like, “What if I never joined the military?”

• Never would have gained the tons of confidence I earned in combat control and survival instructor training.
• Wouldn’t have a firsthand vantage point of the workings of the military… the knowledge of which opened the door to my first big writing project.
• Wouldn’t have met my wife.
• My job in computers could have developed differently and might not have put me in a position to ride out the bursting of the tech bubble.
• Wouldn’t have met the friends that put me in a position to meet and date (for a short while) a Victoria’s Secret model.
• Wouldn’t have gotten all the extra fiction writing experience from assisting my supervisor with writing performance evaluations.

And hundreds of other things also change. Some small, some big. But all of them because of that one choice. Gets kind of crazy when you think about it, but crazy’s good. Crazy gets you some fun material to work with in your writing. Crazy makes life a bit less boring.

Lessons learned from various eras of my life…

Drama kills. On the inside. It eats away at you until you’re all chocolate Easter bunny hollow inside. And look at what drama does to people in soap operas. It kills there, too. Sure, they come back, but as soon as the drama ramps up again, they die. It’s the classic drama infinite loop. Character dies and turns out they were just lost for 5 years? Bring on the drama. Character gets reincarnated as an albino meerkat? Drama. Character dies but it turns out to be his twin brother who was actually bitten by vampires and destined to rise again as a blood-guzzling playah of the night. Yep, drama. You’ve been warned… drama kills.

Breathing = teh good. Don’t bet someone you can hold your breath until you pass out. I’ve seen someone foolish enough to try this… and succeed. He woke up tied to a flagpole wearing nothing but shaving cream.

Caffeine cocktails are counter-productive. We had projects that needed to get done overnight and one of my friends whipped up a concoction of No-Doz and coffee to help keep him awake. He was awake all right. Awake with hands shaking so bad, he couldn’t control his manual dexterity long enough to get his work done. Plus, every time I walked by his open dorm room door with shiny objects (which I did frequently that night for fun), he’d stop what he was doing and poke his head out into the hallway. “Ooh! What’s that?”

Regret outlasts rejection. Sure, the rejection stings a bit worse upfront, but the pain of regret lingers for quite a while. It’s the whole, “I’d rather have tried and failed than never to have tried at all” kind of thing. I was out at a club once and there was this beautiful girl sitting by her lonesome to the side. I looked over there and got a smile from her, but never mustered the courage to go talk to her or ask her to dance (I was a shy one back in the day). So, I try to mooch a little confidence from my friend by pointing her out and asking what my chances are. “Zilch,” he said.

Because he then went over there and asked her out… and they dated for a while… and I became friends with her through him… and they got married… and about an hour or so into the reception, she’s sitting all by her lonesome because my friend’s dealing with some family drama (see above). So I go chat with her and eventually ask her if she’d like to dance. As we’re dancing, she whispers to me, “if you’d done this all those months ago, it could have been us at the altar today.” That thought… that regret stuck with me for a while since I saw her all the time (until I moved away), and thinking back, the pain of the rejection would have only lasted one night or maybe two at most.

A question about learning how others broke into writing…

I’d like to know how famous writers like William Goldman, Stephen King, and Joss Whedon got their big break. Ya know, learn by example and see how the famous writers did it.

Josh Joshington, Turnpike, NJ

There’s a saying out there when it comes to breaking in… “if you find a way in, they’ll patch it up the second you get through.”

What works for one person doesn’t always work for someone else. But failure… well, failure is pretty universal. Learning to avoid failure means learning from mistakes. I’ve always found it’s better to let other people make those mistakes, and after you’ve finished laughing at their misfortune, you can analyze their approach to determine better ways of reaching your goal. To show how this principle works, The Creative Adviser worked around the clock (okay, you got me–it actually took a couple minutes on Google) to track down someone complaining about their failed writing career for this special interview.

Read the rest over at PopSyndicate’s The Creative Adviser.