Monday, November 30, 2009

It moves forward

I believe that by the end of next week I'll be able to start outlining my next book. While I am torn between writing a short story and the sequel to Defender of the Crown, I'm convinced that, for now at least, I need to get a full synopsis ready for the book so that when agents talk to me, I have more of a pitch than "well, I'm working on it, but I don't have anything concrete, yet."

Now, I do have two and a half complete plot arcs that I intend on squeezing into this book, and I have some great character development for the protagonist and his three friends, it's just not written down.

In other news, I'm not sure what direction I want to take my Flatiron City short story. You see, the Ellery Queen looks for mysteries that aren't necessarily who-done-it stories (which I don't quite understand, but am more than willing to learn about) and Fantasy and Science Fiction doesn't actually deal with fantasy...at least that's what their submission guidelines state. All stories must contain Sci-Fi elements to them. They don't have to be prevalent, but they must be in the background somewhere. That's not a direct quote, but it is a paraphrase. Anyway, that makes it all but impossible for me to publish short stories from my book series (which I would really like to do), but it DOES make it easier to get something for FC out there.

I'm rambling, I know.

Finally, this week I am going to sit down and give you that preview of FC that you all have been waiting for. As I said, I'm going to begin with the Hanaka Nippon Tea Gallery, and I'm going to start from scratch rather than pull pieces out of the other blog. I don't know how long it will be, but I am GOING to have it up before midnight MT on Saturday, even if I have to spend all day Saturday writing it.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm thankful for...

Sleep! And time off this week!

One of the reasons I moved to Portland was so that I wouldn't have to work shows anymore. I know it's part of my job, but it really makes me tired when I have to work a full day on my day off...especially when it runs late into the night.

Fortunately, they don't ask me to do shows very often, and when I do work them, I get paid pretty well!

Let's see, I'm also thankful for my wife, who I absolutely love!

I won't make this into a grocery list of the things I'm thankful for, though. Let's just say that I am extremely blessed, and of the things I could complain about, none of them are work mentioning.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

And remember, if you participated in NaNoWriMo, your time is almost up! I hope you get that first draft finished :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sanity

I think I read somewhere that if writers kept all of the rejection letters that they get over the course of any publishing attempt, they could wallpaper their office with them... I saw a TV show once (actually, I own it on DVD) called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. In this show about a late-night comedy, sketch show (yes, a show within a show), the head-writer has a clock on his wall, but it's not just any clock. No, this thing counts down from 7...7 days, 0 hours, and 0 minutes until the next show MUST be written and on the air.

And people think writing is an easy thing to do.

I decided late last week that I will graciously read every rejection letter I receive, and then throw them out. Not out of spite, not out of anger, not even because I don't want them to clutter up my inbox. It is simply because I know that if I hold on to them, eventually I'll snap! I don't know when I'll get that one, elusive "yes" from an agent, but the more "no's" I see in my email account, the crazier and more desperate I'll become. As you can imagine, this break in my sanity will not only cause my home-life to suffer, but my queries will turn into unprofessional pleas for help.

Okay, maybe not...

Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there for anyone interested in writing. Don't let the pile up too high, it's how you get trapped in the wasteland of rejections. Throw out the "no's" and keep seeking the elusive "yes"!

Oh yeah, and this is pretty funny.

Edit Monday 8:15: I fixed the link.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anniversary: 5 years

Five years ago today, I opened up my web browser, found this small site on the internet that I could use to rant about my life, and began my blog. I posted a short history of my life (it's still there if you want to click on the archives in the sidebar), and after that, I basically turned into a journaler (I know it's not a word, but work with me, here).

Today, on my five year anniversary with blogger, I want to do a bit of a retrospective, followed by a change of direction in this blog. But where to begin?

Back in November of 2004, I worked at Borders in Lakewood, CO after a thirteen month stint in Portland. My first girlfriend had just broken up with me, and I felt like I needed a place to write. This is where I ended up.

I'm not going to bore anyone with a detailed list of what followed. Let's just remember that after a second girlfriend broke up with me, I decided to get back into my writing passion. Less than a year after starting this blog, I began a second site with my best friend. Flatiron City, the giant city in a building that sits just outside of Boulder, became an outlet for my desire to create stories and characters, and while I used that site to hone my abilities to craft good stories (don't read it lest I prove myself incapable of writing), I also sought an education at Red Rocks Community College.

After five semesters there, I dropped everything I was doing, except for my new job with my parents' company, to begin work on my third attempt at authorship. The mystery novel I'd thrown out after a very enjoyable vacation in London no longer weighed me down, and the process taught me how to create plots that would thrill readers for years to come. (Don't read too much into my words, I know I still have a long ways to go before I am a noteworthy author, I'm just detailing what I've learned for you.)

I'm married, now. I have a completed novel that I'm shopping around to one or two agents a day, though I refuse to have more than ten queries floating around at once (that means if I haven't heard back from any of them, then I'm waiting until I have received at least one response before sending out more queries).

There are a lot of things that have happened in the last five years, many of which I never thought would happen. Sure, I hoped to be published by now, and when I started this blog, I hadn't even met my wife, so I expected to marry someone else (and boy am I glad I met my wife! :D ). I'm definitely glad that I'm not working at Borders anymore, even though I miss working in a coffee shop.

As for the future, I'm still not sure of what this blog will be about. I plan on writing about my books, telling you about my passions, and commenting on random events in the world, but other than that, I don't know where we'll go.

One thing I know for sure: I refuse to let this site be my outlet for whining. It's called High Aspirations, and I aspire to great things. Therefore, if I do not reach the greatness I seek, I will, at the very least, aspire to inspire you, my readers, by sharing the lessons I learned from my experiences.

Onward we go, into the future!

Monday, November 16, 2009

No big post today

I know Monday is my big posting day, but I spent the entire morning trying to format my query letter correctly in my e-mail client. It took longer than I thought it would...and I only get to send one out today because of it.

I do, however, plan on making a big post this week, so look out for it on Wednesday (it may be late in the day, but I will have something up).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why am I writing this?

Because I hate writing synopses! It's one of the things I really DON'T miss about school. But why, you might ask, am I writing a synopsis? Because there are several agents who want to see the whole plot of my book one to three pages, rather than the entire 260. Understandable. And I dearly want to oblige them. After all, they already have a ton of authors sending stuff to them every day, so they don't have time to read through every book.

But still...I'd rather be playing video games, or writing my sequel, or a short story....or getting my teeth pulled.





Anyone want to write a synopsis for me?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Tuesday

I actually managed to get some work done on my query letter this morning, despite forgetting to reset my alarm last night. I didn't wake up until my wife came in to kiss me goodbye, but I hopped out of bed (okay, I slumped out of bed), and I sat down at my computer to write. Fingers crossed, but I think I actually have ALL of the pertinent information about the plot on the page, now. That doesn't mean I'm finished tweaking it, but it's way better than what I had yesterday.

At this time I'd like to talk briefly about something that bothers me about some writers who I've seen posting on the internet in recent weeks. At many times, I've fit into this category, but now that I'm trying to get away from it, the mindset kind of bothers me... and that is people who refuse to do their research. Of course, none of us can know everything there is to know about a topic that we talk about, but if we intend to comment on a subject, I think it's important to know at least a little bit about it.

Again, this is directed at me as much as anyone who may be reading this, and its intent is purely encouragement to validate your point of view, rather than point a finger at a problem. You see, in my experience, when I say something that is totally and provably false, it discredits a lot of what I may intend to say in the future. I am by no means an expert in any field (yet), but I do know that in the writing industry, doing research is really important, especially at the stage I'm at in the process. That's right, I have to do research on the agents I want to query!

You see, if I send my query letter out to ten agents who don't even want to represent my genre, not only have I wasted their time and mine, I've also put myself in danger of getting a bad reputation. That doesn't mean that I'll be blacklisted from the industry, but if those ten agents tell their associates about, "this guy who just doesn't get it," it makes my job harder.

My point is, do research. Sometimes it's boring, but you learn a lot of really cool things, and if you intend to be a writer, regardless of what you want to write, you must MUST know what you're talking about, or else no one will take you seriously.

Monday, November 09, 2009

He would you look at that...

I actually got two paragraphs into my query letter. Is it complete? Not by any means. But it's a place to start! Now I think I'll post it to my google wave account to see what other people think about it.

What a week ahead

I have to make three trips all the way to the opposite side of town for work...and one of those trips is on Saturday. At the same time, I still need to figure out what the heck I'm going to say in my Query Letter, and I have to finish the final read through. I'm glad I'm taking Wednesday off!

It looks like it's going to be a two small update day, though I may get another small one up later this evening...but right now my mind is actually working, so I'm going to hit up my word processor and try to get this query started.

The Weekend: Origins

Oh wait, I'm still stuck in a video game.

Over the weekend, I didn't get the final read through FINISHED, but I did make progress! I AM going to finish it this week while I work on my query letter, a project I'm less than an hour into and I'm already thinking that it's waaaayyyyy harder than it should be.

I'll try to post a real update on my lunch break, but with a query letter to write, I can make no promises.

Friday, November 06, 2009

I did it!

I finished editing my first novel! I'm finishing up the final read through this weekend, and I will begin writing Query Letters first thing next week! As I stated before, I won't bore you with the repetitive updates of "I sent out another letter," and "I got another rejection," and "I got a 'partial' request." However, I SHALL let everyone know if I get a full manuscript request from an agent, and if/when I sign on with an agent.

In three weeks (maybe sooner depending on how the short story comes along) I'm going to begin work on the outline for the sequel to Defender of the Crown (which is the title of my first book unless the publisher insists on changing it). I don't know what I'll call book 2, yet, but I do have two and a half plot arcs that I intend on squeezing between the pages.

As for Dragon Age, I'm hooked, even though I haven't had a chance to actually sit down and play it for any real length of time. That makes it kind of hard to form an informed opinion about how good the game is...but, again, I am enjoying what I HAVE played!

Time to finish lunch.

Monday, November 02, 2009

On Schedule and Doing fine...

That is, until Dragon Age: Origins comes out tomorrow. I must shake my fist at BioWare for releasing an anticipated game on the week that I'm scheduled to finish editing my book. For those of you who don't know, BioWare is the company that made Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect...games that have, to this point, eaten a good 80-120 hours of my life (not a complaint :D) This game is supposed to be big, too, and the replay value should be high...which means that when I have free time (and believe me, my book will take precedence), I'll be enjoying the heck out of that game. I apologize in advance to my VERY patient and loving wife who will have to put up with the left side of my face and periodic kisses when I remember not to neglect her...so, yeah.

As far as the book is concerned...read the last several posts and you'll see that I'm still doing well. Nothing's changed on that front.

In other news, the Dresden Files RPG announced Saturday that they are PLANNING on taking pre-orders for the actual book at Origins (a big Role Playing convention) next year. They are hoping for a solid product to hand to fans by June 23-27, but, as they have said, if thing go according to schedule, they will at least have a PDF to hand people who pre-order the book. That's awesome, in my eyes, because I've been looking forward to this game since early 2007.

Along the same lines, Jim Butcher, the author of the Dresden Files is releasing the final book in his Codex Alera series this month! So I'm super stoked about that, and then the next Dresden Files book, Changes, comes out next...April? Anyway...he's going to follow up that novel with a collection of Dresden Short Stories, which I'm excited about as well.

Do I have anything else to talk about? OH YEAH! My grandparents on my mom's side are in town and I get to see them tonight for supper! I saw them yesterday, which was AWESOME, but I'm still stoked to see them again. This is the first time that they've visited since my wedding nearly two years ago!

Speaking of anniversaries, I need to figure out what to get my wife without breaking the bank... hmm... and she keeps bugging me (and rightfully so) to tell her what I want... I should go figure something out.

Alright, enjoy that update, it's the last one you'll get until I get behind the computer for another one :D (Remember: Dragon Age comes out this week, so I'll be rather occupied, but I'll try to post another update on Wednesday or Friday, or both.)

Later...

I don't have time to write a full post this morning, but I'll try to get something up on my lunch break. Stay tuned for...an update.