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Nanowrimo 2014

He we are, neat tune beginning of October. I’ve been giving lots of thought to that for two reasons. First, my birthday is in November, and I’m thinking about how to celebrate. Second, Nanowrimo is coming up.
For those of you who don’t know what Nanowrimo is, the best way I can describe it is to call it a challenge to write the first draft of a book in a month. For those of you who know exactly what Nanowrimo is, I welcome any better explanation.
Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it’s fun to say. Go on, say it. You know you want to. Nanowrimo.
“So what,” you may ask. “What dies it mean for me” Well, that depends. You may or may not be interested in writing a novel. It may have been a fleeting thought once upon a time, or it may be an obsession of which you feel unworthy. Or you may be a reader looking forward to the new books that will come out of this, many of which will be published either independently or by a traditional publisher. Not all Nanowrimo projects will be published. Some will do it just to see if they could. Some will, sadly, give up on the idea. All in all, I find the whole thing very exciting. That’s why I’ve decided to participate this year. This will push my limits to the extreme, and I give no guarantee of success. Still, I will try. I’m hoping that, whether I publish it or not, it will boost my creativity and give me the boost I need.
As I commit to this, I must admit that I’m a little intimidated. It’s a big deal. As part of my commitment, I will be posting my word count on Twitter, both daily and total. I look forward to seeing where this journey will lead me, and I encourage you, if you’ve ever thought about writing, to join the challenge.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Beauty Of Free

I love free stuff.  Free stuff is stuff that I didn’t have to buy with my own money, which means that said money can go to other things.  Let’s face facts: free is everybody’s friend.  I’m not to proud to admit it.

Still, sometimes it’s tough to know what free stuff is good, and what free stuff isn’t.  For example, I used to get free toys in my Happy Meals as a kid.  Those toys actually kind of sucked, but they were free.  There are other free things that I get now.  This blog is free.  I don’t pay a dime to wordpress to host my blog, and they get to have their name in my URL.  Well, technically it’s their URL.  But that’s just semantics.  Bottom line: free stuff.  I also use a free word processor.  That’s right, instead of paying good money to Microsoft, I downloaded something comparable for free.  I’m not dissing Microsoft – they make a quality product – but I’m tight with my money.

Some of you probably think I’m picking on Microsoft.  By no means.  I use a Windows PC.  I’m just pointing out how easy it is to save some dollars.  Self publishers should know how easy it is to spend thousands of dollars. If you don’t, you either haven’t done that research yet, or you got lucky and went straight to the free stuff.  I’m looking in the direction of Smashwords, Lulu and Createspace when I say that.  They may seem a little less than professional when you look at their websites, but they’re free.  That means that anybody can use them with no upfront cost. There is a downside to that, though.  Let’s face it, Publishers have editors, who act as gatekeepers to stop a publisher from losing money on a book that won’t sell.  A self published author doesn’t have that gatekeeper.  I can pay an editor out of my own pocket to improve my writing, but if I decide to just go ahead and publish, there’s nobody to stop me.
So, since I’m talking about free stuff, what about giving away some free stuff?  Most of you already know about my free short story, “The Immortal”. You can still get a free copy. In fact, if you haven’t, go ahead and do that now. I’ll wait. Got it? Good. Now let’s move on.
I hear of some authors giving away copies of their books for free. Sounds good. How many? Depends on the budget. Keep in mind, it’s promotional. Maybe your first book can be free, as Many Smashwords authors have been doing. Me? I haven’t figured it out yet. Print is part of my plan, and giving away a free print book to anyone who asks can get pretty pricey. 
Something else that’s been gaining popularity is artist patronage. This is actually an old idea, but it’s been given a new twist: fans can pay an amount of their choosing every time an artist produces art. That plan is used by certain podcasters to pay for the time used to create the podcast, while still keeping the podcast free. Would I use that method? I’m not sure. I kind of see books as a product, while writing is the process of developing that product. In the case of a podcast, I could certainly see a benefit. Podcasts cost money, but are usually free to the audience. Patronage presents an awesome way to cover the associated costs, keeping the podcast free to anyone who doesn’t want to pay. There may, indeed, be something to this idea. 
I’m going with a fee gift for those of you who have patiently staffed with me, but I’m not giving details just yet. Suffice to say I haven’t forgotten you.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in Update

 

When Life Attacks

Hi readers,
You may have noticed that I’ve been away for awhile. I have a pretty good reason for this, but it’s kind of personal, so I won’t be explaining in detail except to say that life has been tough recently. Unfortunately this has affected my writing as a whole, not just my blogging. I’m coming back to it, but for now I’d like to talk about when things get tough.
There are a good many things that can interfere with our ability to write: losing a job, facing the death of a loved one, starting a new relationship, ending a relationship, having a baby, or a new school year (or first year of school) for our children, just to name a few. I’m sure you can come up with other life events that can present a challenge. With all of these possible events coming at us it can be very difficult to focus on writing. It also means we need to try that much harder to press on. For me this means that I need to rethink my approach to life in general. For example, I like meeting friends for coffee, and it’s therapeutic for me, but I really need to occasionally say “thank you, but I need to make time for writing”. That doesn’t mean I can’t go out, it just means I need to consider how much time I’m spending doing so.
If you’re reading this and you know me personally please take it to heart. Know that I’m not turning you down personally, and maybe another time will work better. Therefore I will be moving to an appointment-based schedule. I will actually be scheduling time to write, blog, and socialise. Thank you, dear reader, for understanding.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Working Title

I’ve been through several titles for my upcoming book now, and nothing seems to quite have the right feel.  Now, an unpublished book doesn’t need to have those details figured out, so why does it matter?  Is it really important for me to have a title I like right now?  I’m not selling yet, so it’s kind of an unnecessary obsession for me.
This is a problem that I’m sure other writers have; we want everything to be perfect before we’re even ready to submit.  First drafts are no big deal add far as details go, add it doesn’t matter until the draft is actually done.  So why seat the small stuff?
It’s an easy trap to get caught up in,  wondering whether we should self-publish or traditionally publish, and looking into all the details for both options.  This obsession had stolen valuable writing time from me, as I’ve looked into all of these fine details without first having a book to actually sell.
I’m beating myself up a bit over this, as I see myself lagging way behind in my goals. I almost wonder if this is the kind of thing that holds up certain popular series for several years.  (I’m thinking of one in particular as I write this, but I’m not saying who, as he might kill off my favorite character in retaliation.)
This is the idea of the working title: Don’t worry about what you’re going to call it until you’re ready to stay marketing the particular book.  At this time, as I write,  I only need a title from which I can work.  For that matter, I could simply call it “Work in Progress”.
If love to hear what you have to say, dear reader.
Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in Advice, Rants, Update

 

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Rough Draft

Well, here I am again, trying to write.  I say trying because as I sit in front of my computer my inner editor is trying to make me crazy.  (In case you were wondering, he’s succeeding.)  He says to me “that looks terrible,” and “better go fix that line in chapter 3 to make this work.  He even criticizes my word count.  So here I am asking one simple question; how rough can my rough draft be?  I know that I’ll have to write more drafts, and there will be much editing.  On the other hand, I know from where I am right now that there are certain things that have to change.  So why not fix those things now?

It’s tough to silence the inner editor.  He never seems to let up.  Every time I stay to write, the he is with all sorts of nasty things to say. I know I shouldn’t listen to him, but he doesn’t care.

I wonder, could my rough draft be little more than “this happened, then that happened”? It’s not like anyone’s going to read it anyway. Thus is the nature of the though draft. I can sort out details later, and improve that pesky word count.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Drafts, Editing, Rants

 

Short Stories

It seems that the short story is back in style, at least for writers.  Every time I look at my Twitter feed I am bombarded with posts about the various short stories that people have written, and I’m just as guilty.  Why not?  Short stories are fun to write, quick to read, and can accumulate quickly.  All said, it seems like a great idea.  Of course, this is the writer in me speaking.  However, there are some distinct advantages to writing a short story or five.

1) Short stories can tie into larger works.

I’ve been enjoying The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  These stories are not only fun to read, but they also work to build up the characters first introduced in A Study in Scarlet.  They were also written in a time when there was big money in short fiction.  These days it isn’t as common to see such stories, though they do seem to be making a comeback thanks to the eBook.  For examples,  look up John Jackson Miller’s Lost Tribe of the Sith series of short stories, or Lindsay Buroker’s Shaped Over Innocence, which ties into her Emperor’s Edge series.

Another consideration: Even if your short story is never published, you can use it to gain some insight into the world that you’ve created.

2) Short stories are a cure for writers block.

You may have read my short story, The Immortal. If you haven’t, look for it at your favourite eBook retailer or download it at Smashwords. That particular project was a distraction from a larger work that I’m currently working on. I was suffering from a bad case of writers block, and decided to try writing something else to get the creative juices flowing. It worked. Add it turns out, my writers block was nothing more than intimidation related to writing a novel. A smaller project can help alleviate that intimidation.

3) Short stories make for some nice, light reading before bed.

Do I need to build on this? If you read before bed, short stories are great because one can finish the whole story before turning out the bedside lamp. Of course, this isn’t for everyone. Some of you may prefer to read a chapter or two from a medical thriller or fantasy adventure. On the other hand, if a short story is for you, you may have a collection of them on your night table already.

4) There’s no better way to test an author.

Authors and readers alike need to give this some thought. Books, even eBooks, can be expensive. You may not want to spend between $10-$20 on an author that you don’t know. Then there’s the investment in time. A cheap or free short story can solve this issue. I can think of a few books I would not have read of I had read some sort stories from those authors. For the sake of professionalism I won’t mention names, but I have a never-read-again list of authors, add I suspect most do. (In fairness, everyone has their own preferences, and the authors I dislike may be some of your favourites.)

Short stories may not be the master works that everybody wants, but they do serve an important role.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Advice, Rants

 

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New Years Blues

Happy New Year!  Okay, I’ll admit I’m a little late, but the wish still stands.  Why shouldn’t we be happy in the new year?  It’s a time of fresh starts and new beginnings, a time to make a positive change for the future.  Time to lose weight, eat healthier, and quit smoking/drinking/picking on your coworkers etc.  Time for the new you.
Every New Year people around the globe make resolutions regarding things they want to change.  That’s all well and good, but I hope you didn’t go and buy a three-year gym membership thinking it would motivate you, because it won’t.  And that e-cigarette?  You’ll lose it in a month and go back to the real thing.  And don’t get me started on choosing New Years Eve to quit drinking!  The biggest binge-drinking day of the year, and you think it’s going to inspire you to quit?  I don’t think so.
So now what?  Seems hopeless, right?  Bad habits die so hard, and good habits are so hard to develop.  Is there any hope?  Sure.  Don’t make resolutions.  Instead, try making goals that you can achieve.  Personally, I’m aiming for a finished book.  If I mead up by not writing anything for a week I can get back at it and call that week my personal indulgence.  Of course, that only works if I get back to writing, which is the entire point in the first place.
The fact is that anyone can make resolutions, and anyone can promptly break those resolutions.  Anyone can make smaller goals, too, but it’s harder to screw those up.  So, by all means, eat healthier and exorcise, cut back on smoking (or quit if you can), and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.  These are great plans, and anyone can do them.  Me?  I’m gonna get back to writing.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Rants

 
 
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