Archive for December, 2012

Writing Resolution

Posted: December 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

Alright I’ve been meaning to post much more often that I have, but lately I’ve found I’ve had little to say.

I’m surprised to find that my new novella is almost 15,000 words in. I’ve been trying to wake up in the mornings to write on it, but sometimes life gets in the way. My goal is to get up at 5:30 each morning, which gives me an hour before having to leave for work. I can get in maybe thirty minutes that way so when I get home there is not much to do writing-wise.

I write very fast. I can get 1,000 words in an hour, but usually after that I am spent. On very good days, I can get to 2,000 or even more.

Also, I am reformatting my first book, Night of the Necromancer. It’s almost two years old now. It’s crazy how time flies. I still love the book, but rereading I’ve noticed that I have become a better writer.

My co-author and I are completely revamping it. Better formatting, a professional look, and hopefully getting rid of the typos that seem to plague it.

This was something we should have done much earlier. I’m starting to recognize my chronic laziness for what it is. So far I’m very pleased with how it’s going. It’s been getting a lot of sales since Christmas, which is encouraging, and is all the more reason to get it done quickly.

Recent writing insight I’ve had: I’m not sure this is a hard and fast rule, but I’ve always thought the more skilled the writer, the more complicated their stories and plots. I’m not so sure of that anymore. Maybe it’s just a testament to my lack of skill, but any time the plot gets too complicated I start to lose control and the story bogs down. I’m trying to keep things simple.

I think the writer’s goal generally should be simplicity, not complexity. Complexity comes of its own accord.

Anyhow, 2012 was my best year for me, writing-wise. I finished writing two books. I could have done a lot more. I’m hoping for at least six this year.

Yes, you heard me. Six. Count that as my resolution.

I’d like to be completely done with this one, editing and formatting and all, by the end of January.

Anyway, here’s to a new year and SIX new books!

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Toughness

Posted: December 19, 2012 in Inspiration, Writing
Tags: , ,

Haven’t posted for a while. I want to post at least three to four times a week, but lately I really haven’t much to talk about.

Apocalypse is doing just fine, thank you. It’s actually doing slightly more than I expected to, which is great. It feels good. Lately, I’ve been feeling rather discouraged concerning my writing, but seeing the results is giving me a much needed push.

I’m 4,500 words into my next novella, a new series that has working title of Dark Prophecies. I got some cool ideas (I think). The trick is just weaving them together into a compelling yarn.

All that news aside…for those who follow my Facebook, you know I have taken up running lately. I’m sure you’ve noticed the inundation of running alerts that seem to fly at your stunned and disbelieving face approximately once every several hours. And I know you love them.

I took it up last year for a brief stint (about two months), but had no idea what I was doing. Curiously, I didn’t research it to find the most effective way to do it and improve.

I’ve been running since October, and I’m in much better shape than before. I’m on a 10K in 55 minutes training plan…not because there is a particular 10K I’m training for, but because I want to use that plan as launching pad to jump into a half-marathon training plan – probably two hours, which is very doable by late April. I may adjust for a faster time, depending on how training goes.

I write about running because I’m at a point where improving is starting to become increasingly difficult. I was amazed with my training plan that by week three I was running five miles (albeit at a very slow pace). Distance was no problem.

Going faster was the hard part.

I just got back from an almost seven mile run, where I had to do seven half mile stints at an 8:30/mile average pace. For a serious runner, this is a breeze. However, being a newbie meant this was the most difficult run I had to do.

I’ve never really been that physical of a person. I sucked at sports as a kid. I had a zero batting average one year in little league (no…I’m not joking. I was pretty pathetic). I was better at art and, yes, writing. And video games.

It never really occurred to me for most of my life that I might be able to do something physical, because I had failed at it so hard my whole life that had no success to reinforce me in that direction. In fact, the first time I ran I was embarrassed and thought I looked stupid. I guess I just didn’t see the point. But after graduating college, being inactive sitting 8+ hours a day at a desk, I knew something had to change. I didn’t really gain weight, but I still didn’t feel good about myself. I wanted to be in shape while I was still young, so I made a goal to make working out a priority.

I started running last October, and I don’t know why I didn’t start sooner. Those first runs were hard – even getting to two miles nonstop was very difficult. It took toughness, even if a little bit – the willing yourself to go on, despite pain. That is how we all grow, physically, mentally, spiritually.

Normally on my speed work (runs designed to help you increase your speed), I haven’t been able to maintain the target speed for the speedy stretches. Tonight was different, because I actually succeeded. In fact, for the first two stints I ran faster than I was supposed to (averaging 7:45/mile and 8:00/mile for both of them. I started to realize a lot of my limitations weren’t physical – they were mental. I did have the strength to push myself on if I willed myself.

I’m also realizing that if you want to improve at running, you have to be consistent. Thanksgiving week, I didn’t run once, and I paid for it. My average pace dropped almost by a full minute per mile.

I’m thinking a lot of disciplines are the same way – repeating a discipline builds a habit, be it a sport, martial arts, or…you guessed it…writing.

Every successful writer I’ve ever read says if you’re serious about writing, you do it everyday…not just everyday, but at least 1,000 words a day. I missed yesterday, but I intend to get my words done today. Not counting this post, of course. I’m talking fiction.

There’s a lot of toughness to writing, too. Like running, you can always improve. You can never just coast along, write the same book twice. I mean, you could, but you wouldn’t be getting better. I feel like I’m in a period of growth, writing-wise. A year ago, I would have said quality of writing, not quantity, matters. Now, I think it’s the opposite when you are starting out. Someone who’s learning, like me, needs to learn to write a lot. The more you write, the more mistakes you make. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn.

It takes toughness to sit down everyday and type words, especially when the Muse doesn’t want to show up. The Muse is a flighty thing – it’s your job to show up as the writer, but the Muse can do whatever the hell she wants. Sometimes, she’ll show up when you’re nowhere near a computer, and the words she whispers in your ear are lost. Sorry if that analogy was weird, it felt weird and creepy writing it.

Anyway, point is, this is something I want to show up to every day. I’m learning. I’m glad my new novella is doing better than I expected. I hope more people get to read it. I’m excited to write more on that series, as I really like the world. But I’m also very excited by this new series I’ve started. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to write in, if not my favorite. And it’s also exciting to not to do something medievally and cliche.

This has been a long post/rant. I apologize; I really didn’t have the time to write a shorter one.

I am in no way saying that I’m tough; I’m just saying we all have the potential to be. I’m just saying I’m starting to get it.

Don’t really want to spend much time on a post today, but I heard something that’s gotten me thinking: “Giving up is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

I’ve been thinking that as far as my writing. I came home, feeling pretty down. I don’t know why. I think it comes from the fact that I know I won’t ever be happy having a quote/unquote real job. I’ve always wanted to work/write for myself, and that’s it. Not that a real job is bad; maybe I’m disillusioned by the whole thing.

I’m getting better at not letting things get to me. It’s important to try and stay consistent and get things done, even when you’re not feeling up to it.

I started writing on my new story, getting about 1,500 words in. All in all, I really like it. I don’t know if any of it will remain in the final product, but it’s good to be writing and getting it out. This story has me excited.

As far as the quote, I think hard times, for the most part, are temporary. After one set of them, you’re onto another. And sometimes, feeling down for no reason just happens and you have to roll with it. Some days are just better than others, and oftentimes there’s no rhyme or reason to it.

It’s encouraging to see that my book is doing better than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not quitting my job anytime soon. But it gives me hope that things might get better for me. I think, writing-wise, I want to stick with doing novellas on Kindle for a while. I do want to submit stuff to agents, someday, but for now at least this seems like the course for me. It gets me practice and I’m still in the learning phase.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but it is taking a really long time to figure out what that looks like. I finally feel like I’m going down the track and making progress. I’m working on it every day. I’m always thinking about my next story. I get excited when I sit down to write, and I feel encouraged by everyone’s support. In the end, you can’t do it just for others; on some level, you have to it for yourself, because it’s what you really want, just like any other thing – or you won’t be happy.

I’ve doubted lots of things in my life. Nothing has been off the table. But rarely have I doubted that writing is what I want to do with my life. As I said, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and the pieces are coming together, slowly, and I’m starting to see a picture. I’m realizing the picture is me, in a way.

Before that sounds too narcissistic  I just meant it in this way; I think when you know yourself, the rest comes a lot easier. Knowing yourself is one of the hardest things ever, and something I’ve been trying to figure out for a while. Then again, it’s a balance, and you don’t want to over-analyze, which is probably my cardinal sin. I think I’m getting better with that, too. Writing helps.

Anyway, I think what I’m working on now has a shot to be really good. It has darker themes, but in a good way. It’s still in its infancy, but this “figuring out the story” part is my favorite part of writing – when the possibilities seem endless and you write and experiment and fail until you find what works. You just dive in, trying new things, and pray that it works. Like life.

I said short post, but this is turning into one of my longest so far. So…yeah. That’s all I have to say about that.

I am glad to be home and doing what I like to do – sitting in front of a computer, and happily plotting and outlining my next story.

This one seems a bit interesting. It is a dark fantasy (not horror, but dealing with some darker elements and moods), with a female protagonist. That in itself might prove to be a challenge, but I like a challenge.

I always like stories and books with darker themes, so I guess that’s what I like to write.

This one will be a novella as well – 30,000-40,000 words is my goal. I enjoy writing novellas. Not as long, not as much pressure, and still enough space to craft a compelling yarn. Well, hopefully compelling.

What I want in this book:

-flawed, complex characters (at least the main ones)

-dark themes

-moral ambiguity

-a rich, vibrant world that feels very real to the reader; NOT medievally, NOT European/Celtic/English. I’m thinking perhaps a slightly Byzantine air (yes, I know that’s European), with a dash of something else that is its own. I imagine a populous, advanced city, like Constantinople. There is also plenty of magic, though its use is rare and controlled by a powerful religion that permeates all of society. Magic is very dangerous, and can easily get out of control, which is why it is regulated as much as possible. There is also a party (maybe political) that wants to restrict its use even further, and some who even want all magic-users dead.

-a maritime setting; I envision a city set on the sea at the north of a wild, fantastical, and almost prehistoric continent (in an alternate universe – no Earthlings here, though the characters will be human). Also, two moons. Because why not.

-there is magic; but only a few people have it, and it costs them dearly to use it. The main character has magic, but she cannot control it, and it causes her to kill people unintentionally (oh noes!). Her magic is unleashed whenever she loses control of her emotions, namely in high stress situations, or situations that have a very powerful impact on her. Sort of like Carrie, in a way, though she can’t really direct her power.

That’s all I have for now. All of that is subject to change. I kinda envision two or three books in this series. It will be a challenge, to find out what it is and put it to page. But that’s the fun part of first drafting.

Also, reading this for inspiration…Jemisin rocks.

killing-moon2

Book-Cover-Photo

I’m very excited to say that my new book, The Wasteland Chronicles: Apocalypse, will be going live in twelve hours!

I worked really hard, and, fun fact, this is the first book I wrote without an overall plan of where it was going to go. We’ll see how that ends up, heehee.

Like my other book, it’s equally exciting and nerve-wracking to release it, but I’m VERY excited to move forward with it and try to get it out there. I like the story, and am excited at the potential to see the series grow in future installments.

All you guys should TOTALLY buy and support your favorite author, yours truly.

I was going to include a blurb here, but Amazon isn’t letting access my book page at the moment, so I’ll have to post it later. Truly, tis a work of art.

Also, mad props to Luke Atkinson for the amazing cover.

Writing is Hard

Posted: December 2, 2012 in Editing

My head is spinning and feels like jello…

Last night, I finished up the first round of edits of my book. It was quite painful. I’d been doing that for the last four weeks or so, and it’s good to finally have a (almost) final product done.

This morning up to 2:30 in the afternoon, I read through the whole thing, doing some minor edits.

This whole writing thing is kinda hard.

I have no idea if what I’ve written is good enough. I think I’m too close to it to look at it objectively. Overall, I like it and feel like it’s better than my last effort.

There don’t seem to be that many typos. I fixed only a few on my read-through. There are probably more, but my mind is protesting the thought of going over it again. At least, for now.

It’s only a 40,000 word novella, but for some reason it feels like a full book. Still, it’s good to feel like I’m mostly done with it.

I just need a break before going back to it. I’ve been working really hard on it and haven’t taken much time to relax.

More or less, I think what I have now is the final product that will go into print. I hope to have it published within a week or two. We’ll see. I need to find some beta readers, but don’t really know who to ask. It’s a lot to ask of a person. My dad’s read it, and seems to be a fan. We’ll see.

Now, my head hurts. Time for a glass of wine.