Monday, December 27, 2010

Vacation!

This week, I shall spend time recovering from this crud that's been in my system for the last six days. I'm going to make sure that my wife recovers from her crud (which she probably got because she insisted on kissing me). But we're going to have fun, too.

This evening, we're headed to the Springs for the All Service Academy Ball to celebrate my sister-in-law's senior year at the Merchant Marine Academy. Tomorrow, Emily and I will go see Voyage of the Dawn Treader, followed by dinner at the Elephant Bar because, hey, it's out third anniversary; we should do something fun. Of course Friday will be an awesome New Year's Eve party.

That's all I have for today. Have a great week. See you on Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Writing

Writing around Christmas time is always difficult for me. Not because I get depressed, or anything. It's just because my wife is around more often. And when she's sleeping next to me, it's so much easier to sleep in. I do have a lot of trouble getting up in the morning when the bed is so warm and I'm so comfortable next to my wife.

It also doesn't help that today I started getting sick.

All of that to say that my writing isn't going as well as I would like it to this week. Next week is vacation for me, so I don't expect to get much done then, either.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas

Christmas is nearly upon us. My wife and I just got our shopping finished yesterday, except for our shopping for each other. I'm really enjoying this season. Even more so than in years passed. There's nothing tangible that I can point my finger at and say, "That's what I'm looking forward to!" I'm just having a great time, and I'm excited for the events that I get attend. And I'm working this week!

This will be a Christmas themed week on my blog, and today I want you to go to Pandora and type in Vince Guaraldi (Holiday). It's a great station to listen to, especially if you want to just sit back and let music play in the background.

Oh, and go get some egg nog!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stay on Topic

I get really annoyed with the forums when I see a newbie post their very first query letter and all they get in return for putting their work out there is, "You're never going to be published. Throw it all out and start again."

I'll give you a specific example: there's a person (I think the poster is a guy, so we'll say he) who just posted his first query on the forum I visit. It was written in the first-person perspective, which is frowned upon by many-an-agent. I mentioned that to him, especially because he said he had a version of that query in third-person.

However, the next person who commented on the letter brought up the author's word-count: 169,000 words. That's a long book, especially for a mystery (fantasy novels are commonly this long...if you have clout behind your name). This commenter told the writer, "That word-count will get you an instant form rejection. Can you cut the word-count?" (He said some other stuff, too, but it's along those same lines.)

I had to ask myself (especially because similar things have happened to me): what does this have to do with my query letter? I'm not looking for a comment on the length of my book. I suck at writing query letters. I need help learning how to do this difficult, important task.

Sure, the word-count may hinder your chances of getting an agent (especially if it's long), but you don't know what's going to happen. And why does it matter to you if the word-count alone will get that writer an instant rejection from every agent he sends the letter to? If he's done the research, he'll know what the industry is looking for, he'll know what the "standard" is, and then he'll make his own decisions from there. In the mean time, let him write the best query possible. If the word-count is ALL he has going against him, then he's still way better off than I am, at least as far as querying goes. He needs to learn how to query, he needs to know what works and what doesn't as far as the letter-writing process goes. He may even get an agent or two to request pages. But even if he doesn't, who are we to rob him of a valuable learning experience?

So, when you're critiquing a query, please comment on the content of the letter, not the length of the novel. His core critique group can handle that bit. After all, this industry is discouraging enough. And as solitary creatures (which many writers are) we've already put ourselves out on a limb asking for help. In the long-run, it'll be more helpful to stay on topic because then he'll be more open to learning from the critiques you give.

Update: Kiersten White has a post that relates. It's all about how aspiring authors should behave in this community... and she tells her readers about some of the consequences of not behaving well.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More progress

I got my new query finished yesterday... kind of. I have it on the message boards now. I'm just waiting for feedback on whether or not it makes sense. Did I confuse anyone with the information that I have in the letter? Do I need to put more info in, take some out? I'll do a few revisions, and hopefully, when the agencies open after the holidays, I'll have a letter to send out again :D

Monday, December 13, 2010

Characters make the story

I know I've talked about this before, but I strongly believe that in any good story, it's the characters doing the work, not the narrator. Let's make a distinction here: narrator and writer are two different entities. While a writer's voice may be unique from other writers, and while their voice may be similar in all of their books, the writer is a real person and the narrator is another character in the story. A character, I might add, that should be all but invisible. Except in first-person POV. Of course there are a few exceptions where the narrator inserts his own voice into the narrative, breaking the fourth wall to talk to the reader, but that's the exception, not the rule.

Anyway, on to my actual topic: characters are what make a story. If those characters are flat, or if they simply sit around waiting for the narrator to tell the reader what they did, then the story is boring. As far as the writer is concerned, those characters that aren't doing something on the page should at least be doing something in the writer's mind. An easy example comes from mystery novels: just because we see the protagonist hunting down clues to prove that the murderer is the man we believe him to be, it doesn't mean that the antagonist is sitting around waiting for us to look at him. The protagonist is looking for clues on the page, but the murderer is across town, mucking around with another, possibly unrelated, crime-scene in an attempt to frame the protagonist's cousin in two separate crimes.

If planning an example out like that sounds like it takes a lot of work, that's because it does! I've tried to write a mystery in the past, and it's not easy. I hope to write one soon, but I do a lot of that kind of work in all of my stories. I may not know what each and every character is doing while they're not on the page, but if they're changing the story in any significant manner, I plan it out before I write it.

I even use that writing technique when I'm running a role-playing game. Just because my players don't see an NPC, it doesn't mean that a character isn't running around ready to send a plant-monster at them when they move on to the next scene. (And for those of my players who read this blog; that was not a clue.)

This is why characters must be thought out well. We need to know that they have depth because as readers, if we see that your characters do stuff (like shuffle their feet in a corner of the bar, drink coffee while the detective interrogates their sister, rolls their eyes at a corny joke, etc.) we'll assume that they have a life when they're not on the page. We don't always need to know what you intended them to do, but if you don't fill in those behind-the-scenes blanks, we'll do that for you...as long as the characters aren't set-pieces. If you plan out off-page actions, it will come through in your writing, and we'll love what we read.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Audio Books

Audio books are, in my opinion, are one of the best options for people who love books but have busy lives. I really love getting through books because I enjoy stories. But I don't have time to read all of the books that I want to read. Especially non-fiction books. In fact, I'm almost half way through the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris, and I haven't even picked up a solid copy of the book.

The only disappointment about my method for getting audio books is that the Library doesn't have all of the books I want to listen to, and I can't afford to buy them on CD or get legal downloads. And I REFUSE to pirate any form of media.

So, this weekend you should take the opportunity to check out an audio book from your library. Pick a book that you want to read but don't think you'll get to for a while. In fact, pick a book that you said you'll read but that you don't plan on moving higher on your stack of "stuff to read." Maybe it sounds a little boring, or perhaps you heard something negative about writing style... whatever the reason is, if the producers got a great reader, they can bring that book to life in a way that may not be possible when you read it.

I remember listening to a book on CD many years ago that actually made me laugh, kept me interested from beginning to end, and genuinely sparked my imagination. I can't remember the name of the book, but when I analyzed the book later, I came to the conclusion that, without that great reader, this story would be boring. I wouldn't even be interested in the outcome of the first chapter (which introduced some of the key plot points).

And then, when you get awesome writing with a great reader, you have a quality product that will make you laugh out loud, even if you read the book before. The proof? The Dresden Files. James Marsters does such a fantastic job that, despite knowing the jokes are coming, I still find myself laughing in the middle of the warehouse where I work... garnering several odd looks from my coworkers.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Keeping Notes

I've discovered that my brain is fantastic at storing useless information that I can call up without any notice or reason. When I try to do the same thing with knowledge that is important to me, my brain decides that it doesn't want to work.

So, like when I was in school, I take notes whenever I need to remember something important and I'm afraid that I'll forget it. I'm doing this more often with blog posts, too. I don't scribble anything down when I get post ideas, but with this post (and several others) I simply logged in to blogger, jotted a few words down, and then saved the post as a draft.

When I'm working on a book, especially in the early stages, I like to daydream to put together the plot, the character interactions, and many of the other parts of a book that are usually handled in the planning and outlining stage. I often have time for this on long car-rides or while I'm working since my brain is occupied with a menial task that requires little concentration. (And believe me, when I need to focus on something important, I stop thinking about my book and focus on my job!) I found that, unlike when I was 13, I forget these ideas quite easily. So I'm taking more notes and I puzzle out my plots.

My point, I guess, is that note-taking, while tedious and capable of making you feel old, is very useful, and even helpful. Sometimes, especially when you're playing RPGs, it'll save your life!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Christmas Music

I know a lot of people hate Christmas music, and when I worked at Borders, it drove me nuts. However, there are some music collections that I really enjoy! The Vince Guaraldi Trio (the guys who performed the Charlie Brown music) have some awesome Christmas stuff, and if you create a Pandora station based on Celtic Woman (holiday), you'll get some truly relaxing/festive music that's easy to listen to and enjoy. It's also great background music when you need to write a query (which I've been doing this morning, and with some success despite waking up late).

When I'm playing my music at work (which is an awesome perk!), I keep the Christmas stuff to a minimum. Usually, I pull up a Pandora Quick Mix with a handful of rock and/or ska stations, and then I add the Charlie Brown Christmas station. It's easy to enjoy that mix of music without my co-workers threatening to lynch me for over-indulging my perky Christmas Spirit!

I know it sounds weird, but I love Christmas. At least now that I'm not working in retail! I remember setting up our Christmas tree every year on the day after Thanksgiving, and we had the railing that we would put garland on, along with snow-flake ornaments that depicted each scene from the Twelve Days of Christmas. My twin and I (at ages 5-7 or 8) would then get the Christmas CD with that song, and we'd run up and down the stairs, singing along and pointing at each ornament as it's corresponding notes shrieked out of our lips.

I miss those decorations. And it bums me out that all I get to do at my apartment is one strip of garland with a handful of ornaments on it. If only my cat would leave a Christmas tree alone. Not that I have room for a tree in this tiny place.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Giles Hash's Guide to Christmas Shopping part 2

On Wednesday, I gave the fellas some advice on gift-shopping for women. Now, ladies, pay close attention because this is the moment you're waiting for. I will tell you the one secret you need to know to get the perfect gift for your man each and every time you go shopping!

Go ask him what he wants, then get it for him :) If he says he doesn't know what he wants, he means it. He won't give you covert hints about what he might like, but when he thinks of a present he would like, he'll point it out to you.

Two tips: get him what he asks for. If he wants a Black&Decker cordless drill, don't get him a DeWalt. If he tells you to get the newest Mario game for the Wii, make sure it's not Little Planet for the PS3. Now don't accuse me of condescension, here. I'm using rather basic examples just to make a point. And my point is: if you ask your boyfriend/husband for a very specific sapphire necklace that you know is in your price range and matches several outfits in your closet, you might be rather upset if he gets you pearl earrings that don't match any outfits that you own.

But in the end, shopping for a guy is just as much a hit-and-miss venture as is shopping for women. Get to know your significant other, and ask lots of questions. Then you'll be sure to get each other the perfect gifts this year!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Giles Hash's Guide to Christmas Shopping part 1

So it's that time of year again. Time to go buy gifts for the people in your life. Now, shopping for women is hard, guys, and each woman you know needs or wants something completely different. Many of them would get offended or even mad if you shop for them the same way that you would shop for the other women you know.

On top of that, when a guy asks his wife what she wants for Christmas, her answer may be direct, but too often she'll say something like, "Oh, just surprise me," or "I don't want anything, but go ahead and get me whatever you like." And then she expects you to get her exactly what she wants. She won't tell you what it is, though. You have to guess! Sure, she'll leave hints around house: pages from catalogs with a single item circled on it, or when you're watching TV together, or walking the mall, she'll point at a piece of clothing, jewelry, book, movie, or whatever, and then she'll say, "Oo! I like that." And what she means is, "If you don't get me that exact item, you'll sleep on the couch for a month."

What's a man to do? Well, nothing. It's like walking through a minefield. Men, I can't give you much advice, just get her something you think she wants, or get her a giftcard. If that doesn't work, I don't know you. You're on your own.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Re-writes

A couple of months ago, I started some minor re-writes in my book. Without any nibbles on the query, I decided to change the story itself so that I could change the elevator pitch. Because of schedule changes, surgery, and a sudden lack of motivation, it took me longer than I'd like.

However, I finished the re-writes today. The changes I made are small, but the overall effect to the story is drastic. It shifts the focus of the plot ever so slightly, but it creates so much more conflict that I wonder now why I didn't write it this way in the first place.

I have to go back and proofread my changes, but that won't take me more than two or three days, especially since this is going to be a slow week at work. By the end of this week or next, I should be able to start writing a new query.

See! This is why you stick with your writing, now matter how much you want to give up :D Results are inevitable if you just keep working.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Untitled

So, NaNoWriMo is coming to an end in a few days. How's everyone doing with their goals? Did Thanksgiving set you back at all? I hope not :)

I'm stoked for two more days of the holiday. And, of course, on Monday I will be back to my writing. Have a great weekend, enjoy the mall, and don't get trampled :D

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Give Thanks, and please give.

Well I had an interesting post planned for today, but my schedule didn't allow me to sit down and blog until just now. And that means I forgot what I was going to write about.

So all I have to say is, "Happy Thanksgiving." Go spend time with your family, play some games, eat, drink, and count your blessings.

And if you're thinking of ways to give this holiday season, please consider Compassion International. They do some great things for underprivileged children around the world, and they're always looking for donations for Christmas gifts to those children.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend Recap

So I saw Harry Potter twice this weekend, and I really liked it. The only parts that I didn't like were parts of the story that got changed due to liberties taken by previous filmmakers. If the 5th and 6th movies had been made properly (especially the 5th) then this movie would have been ten times better. But it didn't suck, by any stretch of the imagination.

I know some of the critics are blasting it because the movie just ends abruptly without any kind of climax or conclusion, but I only have one question for them: What part of "Part 1" don't you get? This is roughly half of the story. A story written into a single book that's been split into two movies. What else could you expect? No one complained when Pirates of the Caribbean did it with the second and third movies (and they REALLY should have because it was bad writing). And no one complained when they did it with the Matrix (okay, maybe everyone complained about the "sequels" to that epic film). All that to say: it was a great movie that the critics can just stop whining about.

If you like Harry Potter, go see it. It was awesome.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter Tonight!

I'm ready for the movie tonight...and tomorrow...and possibly next weekend. Don't worry, it's not because I'm obsessed, it's because I have several groups of friends who really want to see the movie with us.

I can tell you, I'm excited! Harry Potter is probably my favorite book series, and the only reason it might fall to second-place on my list of favorites is because Jim Butcher is still putting out Dresden books. But if Rowling ever decided to come out with more books in the HP universe, I would be completely on board!

Alrighty then, I'm going to finish my lunch and get back to work. Have a great weekend, go watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mistakes

Many people learn from their experiences. We learn from the good choices we make, but more often, the most important lessons we learn come from our mistakes. Of course, it is possible to learn from other people's mistakes, which is why it's important for fictional characters to make mistakes.

Personally, I don't like making my characters mess up. But that makes for a boring story. One of the easiest ways that I know of to get my characters into trouble is for me to look at the mistakes that I've made. Recently, I got pulled over for something really minor, something the officer probably shouldn't have even bothered with, but since I was doing something I shouldn't have, I'll take responsibility for it. However, I started thinking, how would my protagonists handle this situation?

One of them might act similarly to how I'm going to, but the one I'm working on right now? He would probably mouth off to the officer, maybe even aggravate the man enough to get himself arrested. His car would be impounded, and the police would find an assault rifle in his trunk. And that's a consequence I don't even have to think about. If I take enough time and put any amount of effort into it, I could come up with some SERIOUS problems for my protagonist.

So go out, learn from someone's mistakes (even your own), and use them to create real, flawed characters that readers can relate to.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Missed a day...woops!

Yesterday I spent an entire work-day fighting a jurisdiction battle with some lovely people downtown. You see, I needed to deliver some equipment to a local venue for a client of mine, but the people running the dock decided, for some reason unknown to me, that I didn't deserve to deliver my gear. So I spent more than an hour just waiting for people up the food chain to make decisions that would allow me to take care of my client.

The biggest problem, really, is the group running the event. The union hands gave me some grief, but most of the times that I deal with this particular union I'm treated well and it takes me less than five minutes to get in and out. I guess this particular event-organizing company just doesn't like letting the exhibitors do their job. As a result of their policies (and this is only my speculation based on the experiences I've had with this specific group) I assume the union is required to be rude, disrespectful, and overwhelmingly unhelpful unless the folks delivering gear are actually members of the union.

I never have trouble with this union, either. When other organizations put on events, the local hands are polite, easy to work with, incredibly fast, and if it's necessary, they let me load and unload my own gear... gear that my dad's company owns in a vehicle that we also own. If it's my gear, in my truck, and I'm not allowed to touch it, there's something wrong. Besides, I treat the equipment better than they do. I have the right to work and serve my client, and it just irritates me that I don't get to do my job because a few guys are afraid of losing their contract...or whatever the problem is.

Anyway, I didn't get to touch my computer yesterday, so I didn't get a post up. See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Writing is like a job

Looking back at this week I'm glad that I'm not a professional writer yet. Contrary to popular belief, professional authorship is not an easy job that lets you sleep late, pound away at the keyboard for two hours, and then go out on a bender for the rest of the night. It's a real job that requires a lot of work and effort.

This week, despite how little pain I was in, I could not bring myself to focus on my writing. Though my pain remained minimal, it was constant. That constant irritation got very distracting very quickly. Sure I could manage it with over-the-counter pills, but I couldn't ignore it. As a result, anything I tried to write turned out flat, boring, mediocre, and sometimes just awful.

On the bright side, I DID get some writing done, and while it's not perfect, I can work with it without starting over from scratch. I just didn't get nearly as much done as I would have liked on any other week where I had so much time off from work. To be fair, I didn't expect to get any writing done at all this week. I expected to be in too much pain.

So if you're still considering a career in writing, remember that, just like any other job, you can only take so many sick days before you start getting in trouble. Sometimes you just have to work through the pain.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interlude

I really didn't expect to get much work done yesterday, what with getting my teeth pulled and everything. However, I did get a great deal accomplished. Sure, it's not as much as I would have done if I could focus, if my brain worked, and if I didn't feel tired all the time. But on the bright side, I haven't needed to take any pain medication (aside from over-the-counter ibuprofen) since Monday.

The down side? I'm well enough to work. Which means that, despite a night of borderline insomnia, I get to drive the box truck around town today. I'm not worried, I just want to sleep all day. Oh blessed sleep, how I miss thee. I also miss solid food like bacon, cheese, muffins, burritos, chicken and dumplings...you know, chewy stuff that gets stuck in your teeth! Salty, crumbly, flavorful foods that don't turn into liquid as soon as you put them in your mouth. (That's right, I'm already sick of jello, ice cream, and V8 juice.) I'm so desperate for meat that I'm heating up chicken broth to sip on for my "lunch".

There's even a stray thought in my head that's insisting I go get coffee on my way to work. Oh for calories! I miss food.

On Friday, I shall speak of writing once more. Hopefully.


If I haven't wasted away.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Someone tame my dragon

I have a dragon living in my home. His name is Edmund. He doesn't cause too much havoc. Most of the time he just lays around and sleeps. He's small enough to take up a corner of the couch, and he even curls up in my lap. Edmund is a adorable, and I'm pretty sure I could sue Dreamworks for basing their dragon, Toothless, off of him.

Sure, Toothless is just a cartoon, but he behaves exactly like Edmund. Edmund is mischievous, playful, and sometimes he gets protective of the people he cares for. Unlike Toothless, though, Edmund usually sleeps.

It's when he tears around the apartment that he resembles a dragon the most. I can hear his soft "roar" from atop the bedroom door, pleading for me to help him back down. I look at him and say, "You climbed up there, silly. Why should I get you down?"

He only looks and me and replies, "Meeooowww!" (Yes, my dragon is a cat.) And then I gently lift him off of the door.

Hopefully, as I try to recover from my upcoming wisdom-teeth-removal, my dragon will be a comfort, not a pest.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Randomness

I have a short weekend ahead, mostly because I'm working for three hours tomorrow, and I have to work quite a bit on Sunday. This means I don't get a day off before I get my wisdom teeth pulled on Monday.

Speaking of which, I'll get a blog post up on Monday, but I don't know if I'll be coherent enough to write something up on Wednesday. It'll be a loopy, painful couple of days for me, but I WILL have something up next Friday.

I'm still trucking ahead on my current project, and it's progress that I'm proud of. I like the direction my writing is taking right now, and I'm less depressed about it these days.

On that happy note, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Classics

I love books. I read many books, and I've gone out of my way to read some of the more popular classics. I read Uncle Tom's Cabin and Tom Sawyer in Jr. High, I intentionally read Shakespeare, and when I finish the handful of books in my "to read" pile, I plan on tackling Pride and Prejudice. Why do I do this? Is it because the books are so great? Are they "must reads?"

I have two answers to those questions, and those answers vary from book to book. One, I read them because I like to learn from books that were written in the past. I think reading older styles of writing is a great way to hone and shape my own craft. However, I would not say every classic is great in their own right. Uncle Tom's Cabin, Tom Sawyer, and much of Shakespeare's work are great reads, but man of the books that are considered "must reads" are just badly written when compared to modern authors.

I saw Citizen Kane a few years ago and walked away with the conclusion that it was the most boring movie I've ever seen... and I've seen MANY movies. Yes, it used some revolutionary techniques that changed the face of the filming industry forever, but that doesn't mean it's a great movie. I do think, however, that anyone interested in learning about filming should be required to watch it. It's the same with classic books. You don't have to read all of them, but pick out a few, learn from them, and use what you learn to shape your own style.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Go vote!

It's election day. It's a mid-term, too. Many folks out there don't vote in mid-terms, especially people my age and younger (I'm 25, for those of you wondering). I want you all to go vote anyway. This election is INCREDIBLY important, no matter which political party you associate yourself with. Again, I will refrain from getting specific on who I think you should vote for (even though I have STRONG opinions in that regard). I don't want this to be a political blog, so just GO VOTE!

In other news, the Supreme Court will rule on whether or not violent video games are protected by the first amendment. I know something under consideration is whether or not violent games (rated M for Mature) should require an ID for purchase. This is a big deal, but I've spoken of this subject at length. Just wanted everyone to be aware that there are some serious issues getting dealt with today.

GO VOTE!

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNoWriMo

It's NaNoWriMo again, and like last year, I'm not participating. As I've gotten more entrenched in this whole writing thing, though, my feelings toward November's writing challenge have changed somewhat. I do still see a large percentage of folks who use this month to "begin their writing career," thinking it'll be easy. They'll take a month, write a book, and then by the end of December, they'll have a contract for a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Less than a week in, however, they give up because, hey, writing's a lot harder than they thought it would be.

On the other hand, there are some folks out there who seem to be waiting to write their next novel just so that they CAN participate in NaNoWriMo. They're writers with a novel or two under their belt (most of them unpublished, but some of them agented), and the only reason they haven't written their novels until now is because November was just around the corner.

And now it's here. They can take their outlines, character drafts, setting details, and lofty dreams and start crafting their new book.

To those authors who think writing is easy, I want you to know that sometimes it is, but there are going to be times when you need to really put some work into your craft. Editing can be rough. Querying makes you want to start drinking like Wilde. If you start this, don't give up. And don't try to do it alone. Join a critique group, get your book edited by people who have been doing this for a while. And remember, when they tell you what could be done better, it's because they want to help you make your book great. It's not personal, it isn't an attack against YOU, it's a critique about your writing.

To those authors who are participating for fun, or because it's time to start another project, just remember how much work you put into the last book you wrote :) This may be easier than your last book, but it may be harder. Again, stick with it.

And everyone, have a blast! Maybe I'll join you next year.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Random Thoughts

So yesterday turned out to be an interesting day for me because I lost a coworker. I found out that my company let him go, which means that I will be working a lot more. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because my wife and I have bills to pay, and this will certainly help get those bills taken care of with a little money to spare.

On the other hand, I have to start getting up at 5 again if I want to get any writing done. I am making progress on my writing, though, and it's helping me to feel productive for the first time in weeks.

In other news, I'll be writing a special election-day post in honor of our freedom in this country to choose who gets to make our laws. That will be in addition to the regularly scheduled posts for next week.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Do something fun!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I broke, but I'm better now.

So for those of you reading this blog over the last two weeks, you've probably noticed that my confidence and energy to write have been waning. Well, yesterday I finally hit my first real breakdown since I started writing thirteen years ago. It was a pretty bad breakdown, but I immediately jumped onto the forums, asked for advice, ranted a bit, and the GREAT folks at Nathan Bransford's site gave me some great advice.

The result? I have a plan of action for fixing my query letter, and it involves very little work. I won't spoil it for any of you (I'm going to tell you about it when it's finished), but it's going to drastically change some of the things I'm already written. And I only have to change a few paragraphs here and there.

So, as I've said before, make sure you stay in touch with other writers. It's almost guaranteed that you will need their support at some point in the future. We know what you're going through, and many of us want to help.

Thank you, again, to the AWESOME folks at Nathan Bransford's message board!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where do I go from here?

When I got up this morning I intended on sending out another query letter. However, I have not seen any positive results from this letter. I didn't want to try again only to get ignored and/or rejected (a feeling I've been fighting for a while now). However, after looking into an agent's client list to see if my book would be a good fit for her, I discovered yet another blog with query advice.

Unlike all of the other pages I've read before, this site broke queries down to their basic elements and then gave a few examples of how to construct the letter from the building-blocks laid out before me. VERY helpful.

So today, instead of working on my short story or sending out another query letter, I'm writing a new query. I may even do this with Defender of the Crown and send IT out to a few more agents.

See, this all came about because I haven't seen any positive results, and I didn't know where else to look to learn how to improve my work. But I did some digging (which took some real effort) and didn't come up with anything helpful. Like I said, I stumbled across this tidbit by accident. I'm always willing to learn, the unfortunate circumstance that I'm in, though, is that I can't seem to find anyone who can really point me in the direction of good teaching. I just feel like I'm stumbling blindly through this submission process, and all of the other unpublished authors I run across seem to be in the same position.

So for those of you who need some query help, check out this site.

Friday, October 22, 2010

SYLA

Tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday, Todd Newton is going to be at Mile High Con promoting his book, speaking on panels, and even doing a partial reading and book-signing. So on that note I tell you: Support Your Local Authors!

When I worked at a bookstore, I always enjoyed selling books of authors who I had the opportunity to meet at the store. It's a big deal to me to support the local people, especially if they're on a smaller imprint. I truly want to see small-press authors hit it big, and one of the best ways to make that happen is to start grass-roots movement to support your locally published writers.

So go check out Todd's sit, look up his book, and if you're in town try to make it out to Mile High Con this weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How to Write a Page-Turner

This is a theory that every writer should know. It's not easy, and it's not necessarily something that every book should have, but I still think that every writer should know how to turn their book into a page-turner with this simple technique.

Let's start with a scene:

I stepped out of the Turbo-Lift and into the five-acre park that occupies the highest plateau of Flatiron City's South Tower. The moon shone overhead, but I didn't come here for night-times stroll. I dipped into the shadows behind tall maple tree, tucked in my long legs and crouched low to the ground. My canary told me something big would happen just after eleven tonight.

I glanced at my watch, saw that I only had five minutes to wait, and then looked around for suspicious characters. My canary usually gave me good tips on drug trade among the richest residents of my city, but this time he thought rare jewels were moving through town.

A park bench fifteen yards away creaked under the strain of a large man in a cheap suit. I held my breath, looking for second person involved int he deal. Suddenly, a twig cracked behind me, and then my head exploded and bright lights danced before my eyes.


That's it, that's all I'm giving you. Do you want more?

I know it's not perfect, but I hope it illustrates my point: people will stay up late reading your book if you end every chapter at its highest tension point. Make them turn the page to find out what happens next, build up the action. Make the characters engaging so that when they need to know what's going on, the reader needs to know. That way, when the reader doesn't find out at the end of chapter 7, they move on to chapter 8.

Make sure you satisfy the reader's curiosity, though. If you just string them along for several chapters without giving them some of the answers they're looking for, they'll get bored, fed up, or even mad (which is bad news for you), and then they'll toss your book, make a note not to buy anymore, and move on to an author that does fulfill their needs.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How do you regain confidence?

This question might have been more philosophical two or three months ago. Today, however, it's quite personal. Over the last few weeks, I've struggled with my writing goals and even questioned whether or not I should continue. I have gotten positive feedback from fellow writers, but as of yet have received nothing but negative responses from those in the industry who actually make the decisions. I've pressed forward as best as I can, but it's difficult to sell a product (even if that product is your own art) if you don't believe in that product.

So that brought me to ask myself, "How do I continue my work if I have no confidence in myself?" And my only answer is this: to regain my confidence I must push forward and create positive results. I must learn from every failure, continue sending out my work, and improve my writing every chance I get.

If anyone has advice on other ways to re-instill my confidence, I'm more than willing to hear them. Please share with my readers and me because I know all of us can, at one point or another, use the boost.

Friday, October 15, 2010

How to beat Writer's Block

There are many, MANY books out on the market that offer advice on how to get over writer's block. You've seen them: they're filled with writing exercises that you can sit down to work on when you get stuck on the project you want to work on. They have advice from successful authors, quotes from important figures in history, and many of them repeat the idea that the best way to overcome your block is to sit down and write.

Well, that's not necessarily true. Sometimes you need to get up and walk away from your work just to get your mind off of it for a moment. I'm not saying you should give up, and don't stay away too long. If you hit a roadblock and you're fighting to write something, get up walk around the room for a moment. Do you have laundry that needs to be done? Start a load. Any rooms in the house that need to be neatened? Again, don't take to long, but pick up a few things and put them away. Let that story marinate in your head, somewhere in the background, and then jump right back in.

I've found that this works for one simple reason: I get stuck on one point, I can't figure out how to make it work based on what I've already written, and then I freak out about forcing myself to write something that I'd end up throwing out when I edit the work. So I stand up, take a five-minute breather (sometimes it ends up being a thirty-minute lunch) and when I get back, I re-read what I've written, including a few paragraphs before the place I got stuck, and I have a relaxed, somewhat detached perspective. This new point of view on my work allows me to make easy decisions that I never would have figured out if I kept forcing my way through the writing.

Question of the day: How do you fight writer's block?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why you should write!

It's amazing how much I can accomplish when I just sit down and write.

Yesterday I got out of work early, so I decided to sit down and write some more. I only got 200 words written that morning, so I figured that would be a good goal for the afternoon as well. After-all, I didn't know how much time I would have to work on my project, and I couldn't assume that I wouldn't hit a few writer's blocks. I achieved over 800 words! And I had fun writing them. There's a good chance that I'll edit out a lot of what I wrote, but I made real, creative progress.

Just more proof that when a writer takes time to sit down and write, they can accomplish something! Keeping active helps, too. You know, because the brain is a muscle that grows stronger when used.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting on the horse

I'm writing again. It's only been about 200 words a day, but I've knuckled down to produce a good short story for you, my readers! I'm enjoying it, too. It's really different from writing a novel, and it's challenging me, especially because I haven't tried to write a short story in over two years.

One of the things a friend of mine told me, and I agree with him, is that with a short story, every word matters. Yes, that holds true for novels, but in a short story, like in my query letters, every unnecessary word could make the difference between a straightforward, concise piece of writing and a long, perhaps even dull exercise in futility.

I still outlined this work, and I'm going to revise it to the hilt. So in many aspects, I am treating this project like a novel. It'll just be shorter and filled with tension from beginning to end.

Question of the week: do you write short stories? If so, why do you write them, what kind do you like to read, and what's your process for writing them?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Restating my goals: Who is my audience?

I realized the other day that one of the reasons I'm getting so apathetic toward my writing is that I haven't been focusing on my goals as a writer. I've looked at other writers in my genre, and I want to congratulate Kiersten White for her success. I mean, three printings in less than two months? That's HUGE! Printings are supposed to last for at least a year...if not longer.

Personally, I would love to have that many readers. Especially if the majority of them are young adults. I've talked about this before. I want young adults to have options when they go to the bookstore. There's a lot of fiction out there for young adults, but a lot of it is either geared toward young women or it's filled with vampires. I have nothing against those books, but young men and readers who don't want to read about vampires are left with fewer options.

YA books for young men, especially, appear to be lacking these days, not in quality, but in quantity. My biggest goal as a writer is to help fill that need. If adults join in and read my books, great, but that's not where I want to focus.

This is my audience, and this is where I will focus my efforts.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

If not now, then soon!

Election day is only four weeks away. I know it's a mid-term, and I know a lot of people just don't care, but it's still important. Out here in Colorado, there are several propositions and amendments that I know I can't ignore. I urge all of my readers to go out, discover the issues, and educate yourselves so that you may make the right decisions when you go vote on November 2nd.

I'm only going to remind you one more time :)

Be ready to vote!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Running Out of Words

When I started this whole "I'm going to be consistent with my blogging" thing, I planned on writing a post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I thought, "Maybe if I write every day, I'll get more readers. You know, because consistency is one of the keys to getting and keeping readers." But I'm running out of important things to talk about. Partly because I'm kinda tired of the sound of my own voice, so to speak.

Also, I'm just getting tired all-together. I've been writing nearly every day for almost two years. And the only progress I've seen is that my writing has improved. It's wearing me out, though, that no one's reading my work. I know it takes time, and I'm putting in the effort to improve my queries and my writing style, but I've been working on my writing for a decade. I'm just getting tired.

I'm not sure where to go from here, but I don't know if I can write meaningful posts on this blog on a daily basis. I'm going to move back to the three times a week model, and I'm going to spend more time plugging my blog on forums. And I'm going to try to participate in forum critiques more. I just don't know what else I can do.

Any ideas? I don't know how else to go about getting an agent. I don't think agents owe me anything, I just don't know if I'm doing anything wrong, or if I'm just not doing any of it well enough. And with a tight income, I can't afford the admission for any conferences or conventions. I don't even know if there are any cons in my area... at least ones that agents attend. And I certainly can't afford to travel right now.

I really wanted to "attend" the online seminar that Kristen Nelson did last Wednesday about how to pitch SF and Fantasy, but my day job always interferes with those events.

That's enough rambling, I think. I should stop before this turns into a pity party. I'm not depressed, and I NOT giving up. I just don't know what else I can do. I feel stuck. That's all.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hard! Work!

Anything that's worth doing is worth working at. I've said it many times, and I'll say it again.

Yesterday I worked my day-job, and it took way longer than I expected. I worked hard, and today I'm exhausted, but it was satisfying! I accomplished something, and even though I didn't get any writing done, I still felt productive. I did something that matters to me.

Today I have to work the day job again...except it will be at night...at 9pm until I get done. Then I have to get up and start at 8:30 tomorrow morning. I KNOW I'm going to be exhausted by the end of this week, but this is one of the better weeks I've had in a long time.

I think this is something that aspiring writers need to keep in mind, especially if they're working another job. Take satisfaction in ALL of your accomplishments. Enjoy the moments when you do something well. That way, when you get a rejection letter, or go several weeks without hearing from the dozens of agents you've queries, you'll still have a reason to keep trying. And you won't get too depressed.

Now I'm off to watch Buffy while I work on writing stuff.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why I love murder mysteries

I love the battle between good and evil, and I enjoy seeing evil people brought to justice. It's different than epic fantasies where the good guy and bad guy are clearly portrayed and all we (the reader) need to do is follow the narrative through the mounting tension into the epic battle at the end of the book. For me, at least half of the fun in reading a mystery comes from trying to figure out who committed the murder.

It's not easy to fabricate one of these stories... at least not in my experience. But I really enjoy putting them together. All of the behind-the-scenes work; putting the pieces into place, building the mystery, gathering the evidence, and making sure it's hidden in a way that lets the reader see it without necessarily understanding what it means... that's a chore. But it's a fun chore.

I don't particularly enjoy making characters who murder, but in a story, there has to be a bad guy... and murder is one of the worst crimes a person can commit in this day and age.

So that's why I writing a short murder mystery. More details to come soon :D

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dear Dave Ursillo,

I'm excited for your e-book project, and I think it's great how many writers you managed to get involved with this book. When I first heard from you, I eagerly set out to write something outside of my comfort zone that would be appropriate. After all, I write genre fiction. Stories about heroes who risk their lives to save loved ones.

I wanted to write about my group of friends. People who encouraged me to break out of my personal bubble. People who, through their actions, taught me self-esteem, even to the point where I finally got the courage to ask my wife to marry me.

These people really care for each-other, and some of them have even used their military training (in legal ways) to protect members of our group from abusive ex-boyfriends.

But the detail involved in some of those stories feels tedious to me. I've lived through it, and I don't know how to tell your readers about my friends in a way that inspires them to get involved in their community. As I look back, it was incredibly easy for me to get together with these friends, but the bond we've built took more than half a decade to build. I'd give up my life for these people, and they've helped make my life as wonderful as it is today.

How does that relate to your readers, though? I think it's important for folks to surround themselves with the types of people I know, and I've even encouraged writers to get involved in role-playing groups for that very purpose.

But I don't know how to write a piece that's applicable to what I think you're looking for. When the book comes out, I'll certainly tell my readers about it, and I'll do everything I can to help market it. But beyond that I don't know how I can contribute. With work picking up again, I have very little spare time for my writing, and I need to use it as wisely as I can. I spent a week staring at a blank computer screen, wondering what to write.

Thank you for inviting me to help you reach out to my community. I will continue to do that in my small ways. If I can think of something to write in time for your deadline, I'll certainly submit it, but I'm falling behind in other work.

Sincerely,
Giles Hash

Monday, September 27, 2010

A little fact...

Every now and then I'll be watching a TV show or reading a book, and someone will start talking about sound waves and decibels. Invariably, someone will announce to the viewer/reader that the human ear can hear anything as quiet as a whisper (at a mere 5db) all the way up to the loudest rock concert (some concerts get as loud as 150db...which is REALLY painful, let me tell you).

That little tidbit as actually INACCURATE because the human ear can't hear anything quieter than 35ish decibels... I say 35ish because I can't remember the exact volume. Anyway, a human whisper, on average, is actually a "massive" 50-56 db.

In case you're wondering how I know all of this, at the age of 11 I started training as a sound engineer for an audio/visual company. The reason I brought this up is because so few people even mention it. So many books and science shows get it wrong. Although most of the books I've read lately don't bring it up at all...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Not much to say.

I don't really have anything to say today. It's been a busy week, and I haven't had the energy to do any kind of research on politics or other kinds of interesting topics to talk about. So go smile at someone, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happiness is my choice

The last two days have been pretty stressful at work. And most of that is because of one person who just doesn't do their work but expects my supervisor and me to triple our output just because there's more work coming in. So my supervisor and I are overworked, and this one person gets to sit behind a desk, and even when we ask for help in the shop, this person just ignores us and leaves ALL of the work for the two "shop" guys, even though this person is required to help us when we ask...because that's what all of his bosses (yes, plural, because there's three of them) have said.

Anyway, rather than griping and complaining about it all day, rather than letting my day get ruined by this one person, I'm simply going to get into work today, a smile on my face, and I'm going to work my butt off. I choose to be happy today, and even if it doesn't effect my coworkers in a positive way, I still refuse to drag them down with my bad attitude, no matter how I feel about my work situation.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Finally! An idea.

Stretching myself is always hard, especially when it comes to writing. I always stick to fiction because it's easier for me to make hard choices about what to write. But this project I'm working on right now, even though it's fiction (based on real events in my life), isn't anything like my previous work. I'm trying to come up with a story that is inspiring, centered around the idea of community.

I have a lot of great friends that I hang out with, and we're a tight-knit community, but the problem I kept running into was myself. I felt that if I talked about some of the most inspiring events of my life over the past five years I would be inflating myself too much. Even though I wasn't as involved in the events as my other friends were, my involvement didn't allow me to make an objective observation that I could turn into a story worth reading. At least, that's how I felt.

After a day of struggling with that and a morning of random plunkings on my keyboard, however, I have come up with a story to tell based on a good friend of mine. I'm going to change some of the facts (like his name), but the spirit of the story will remain the same. In the end, I know it will be a work of fiction, but that shouldn't make it any less inspiring.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Community

I'm preparing some work for a project that Dave Ursillo is putting together. I intend on submitting at least one piece to his project, and I only have a month to do it. The deadline is October 20th. That's totally doable, and I'm excited to get involved! The only thing that bums me out is that I can't give him a good photo for my bio (which will really only matter if my work is accepted).

When I got the e-mail from him this morning with all of the details, I almost freaked out at the deadline, but then I realized that all of my major school projects (which had to be a minimum of four times longer) were all due in the same amount of time, if not less. And since I don't have any classes anymore, this shouldn't be a problem. Once I have this project done, I'll jump into the contest I'm going to run.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the brainstorming that I get to do, especially because it gives me the opportunity to evaluate myself and the people who surround me to find inspiring stories about my community. I'm not sure what I'm going to write about yet, but I want to tie it into my previous posts about creating a solid group of friends who you can trust and who can trust you. I'd love to tell you more, but I'm running low on inspiration at the moment. I need to continue to exercise my brain, and I have a few chores to do, so enjoy your Tuesday!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Welcome to Monday

I have an idea that I need to plot out. It's something that I'm going to share with all of you and I'm going to turn it into a contest. I can't share any specifics right now, but it will come one of these days, and soon.

I actually wrote a full post detailing my plans, but because I don't know how long it'll take to pull this together, I'm going to step back and keep the details under wraps for a little while.

In other news: my Dresden Files RPG campaign will start up in only eight days. I'm excited because running this game is going to be great practice for my writing. I have to create scenarios for the characters (players) to work through, and then I have to adapt the events based on how the players act in the game. It keeps my brain flexible and makes me concentrate on creating engaging stories!

This is a new week. Go out and smile at someone, give them a kind word, and then enjoy your week :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Late post

Sorry...late post. Happy Friday everyone. Go spend time with friends and family over the weekend. I know I'm going to!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What keeps you going?

It's easy to burn out on anything that we do in life. Our jobs, hobbies, relationships can get discouraging, exhausting, or even just boring, and when that happens, many people decide to give up. My writing, at this point, has yet to show any kind of substantial results. Yes I've written two full novels and edited them as well as I can with the help of a few other writers. But that's as far as I've gotten.

What keeps me going? Many things. I love what I do, even though I'm not able to share my stories with people yet. At least not in the way that I want to share it. I love writing books that entertain people, especially my wife, and right now, I've been able to create characters and worlds that intrigue her and will capture her imagination. Some day, I know those same stories will go out into the world to entertain young students. At least that's my hope, and that's what I strive for.

Right now I'm not burning out because I'm not just writing for myself, and the people who enjoy what I write give me the energy to keep going. Despite the fact that I haven't gotten anyone in the publishing industry interested in my work.

Today, if you're feeling burned out on your job, look around you and see if you're having a positive impact on anyone. If you are, see if there's anything you can do to make that impact even better. Take heart in the fact that, even if YOU don't like what you're doing today, someone else really appreciates it. If changing your life is out of the question, then just concentrate on making lives better. Hopefully that will give you the strength to keep going!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Do you remember MUDs?

I just saw an ad for a text-based MUD. Does anyone remember those? I do... because I learned my typing skills in one of them. You see, in this game, one of your first tasks is to buy new clothes with what little money you start out with. I bought the clothes, the sales woman set the clothes on the counter, and then another player in the store STOLE THEM from me because I couldn't type quickly enough to beat him to the grab. So I practiced and practiced, and then the MUD went "pay only".

Shortly thereafter, I started writing my first novel (at the ripe old age of 12... yeah, that was almost 14 years ago). My typing skills drastically improved with my desire to get my thoughts on the screen before I forgot what I wanted to say. Of course, that was before I planned out any kind of plot, so I made everything up on the spot without brainstorming.

Man the times have changed... but I can't believe there are still MUDs out there. I think it's awesome!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mini-review: Gail Carriger's Soulless - Audio Book

For those of you who are interested, I've already reviewed the book Soulless. This particular review is for the book on CD.

Alright, I loved this book when I read it, and as soon as Ms. Carriger announced that publishers were doing an audio-book, I desperately hoped that they would get a good reader who would do the characters justice. They succeeded!

The wonderful Emily Gray lent her voice to the narration so well that listening to the story felt very much like experiencing the entire event for the very first time. She gave each character unique voices and vocal mannerisms that ensured each person stood out from each other AS WELL AS the narration itself. If you haven't read this book yet, I encourage you to go pick it up. If you don't have the time to read it, get a copy of the audio book and listen to it in your car or while you're out jogging. I even submitted track titles to the CDDB if you want to load the CDs onto your iPod.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Writing Exercise

Today I'm re-writing my query letter again. Well, I'm re-writing one of the paragraphs. The first one, as a matter of fact. I think it conveys all of the right information in a rather straightforward and concise manner, but not in a unique manner. Besides, I got three rejections out of this version and one unanswered (as of yet). I read an article a couple of weeks ago that insists that a properly written query letter would get 75% full requests. Since I'm not even close to that percentage, I've decided to make some small changes.

In other news, I picked up the Dresden Files RPG books on Friday, thanks to a friend of mine who works at a game store. They're a blast to read through, and I know that my friends and I are going to enjoy playing this system and this setting. Since I'm writing a mystery now, this will really help me develop the tools I need to write an engaging plot. Needless to say, I'm excited!

Friday, September 10, 2010

TGIF

Friday friday friday. It's the last day of the work week, for most. Tomorrow, I get to work for three hours in the morning, and then my wife and I are going to the harvest festival downtown! I've never been to this harvest festival, even though I've lived in this city for nearly twenty years. I'm really excited. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a blast!

I recommend that, no matter what else you have to do, try do something fun with someone you love this weekend. It's important! As a writer, I definitely need the time to let my mind relax, and getting out of the house is a great way to get new ideas.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Say "Hi"

The blogosphere (as well as just about any writing medium) can be quite lonely. My friends, readers, please take the time to go say, "Hi!" to Caroline. She's getting ready to query her first novel (a very intimidating task, I can tell you). Her blog is new, and it currently has very few readers. Let's welcome her to the community of authors who are working toward publication.

On that note, I received a rejection letter first thing this morning, so I need to send out another query. I get to work my day job today, which means I won't be working on much writing. Have a great day, and I'll see you all tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Working out the kinks

I knuckled down yesterday and put together some REAL problems for my new protagonist. At first (and this tends to be my problem with any plot) I had no real tension. More and more I'm realizing that the best way to motivate a character to involve themselves in the plot is to make sure that the only other option is death.

You see, I've always wanted to create a character who has NOOOO motivation whatsoever, and I finally did that. However, the events that happened around him only involve him by coincidence. The problem in the plot would have been completely avoided through the smallest amount of common sense, so this protagonist really didn't need to get involved.

But I threatened him with death. He won't be able to maintain the status quo of his life. In fact, by doing what it takes to keep himself alive, his very existence will drastically change. So I really put some tension in this previously troubled outline, all without having to delete what I've already written!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Skydiving

Ah coffee. This post is late because I went skydiving this morning...inside. That's right, I jumped into a massive wind tunnel. It was fun, but quite a workout. And I'm afraid of heights (irrational, I know) so it was hard to relax. By the end, though, I was enjoying myself. I don't know if/when I'll do it again, but that had to be the best Christmas present I got last year. (And mom, if you're reading this, thank you again...but I don't know if I would want that for Christmas this year.)

:D

Monday, September 06, 2010

Stories are like cake

They have layers... oh wait, that's not what I mean...

Oh yes, stories are like cake: for them to be great stories, they must not be lumpy! What does that mean, you ask? Well, lumpy cake happens for several reasons, you may not have mixed it properly, the wrong flour might have been... what? Oh! What do lumpy STORIES look like? I see now.

A lumpy story is where the writer divides up the sections of the narrative and writes them down one at a time. For instance, many new writers (myself included...at least in my early works that REALLY sucked) will talk about a character, describe that character, hint at their background, and then move on to describe another character, etc.. Then, before those characters interact, the author moves on to SCENE description, informing the reader about the color of the walls, the shape of the dresser, the weather outside the oak-framed window, the history behind why the room looks the way it does, maybe even comments about how uncharacteristic the rain is for this time of year. And then, finally, the scene starts to animate and the characters begin talking with each other.

Of course, that's an exaggerated example, but quite accurate to some of my early attempts at writing. There are more subtle forms of lumpiness in writing, and I've found one of the best ways to avoid it (or at least fool the reader into thinking that it doesn't exist) is to ALWAYS have a character interact with the scenery (by expressing the opinion about it), discuss the scene's history, or remember facts about the other person they are talking to. When readers who are engaged in a character see that the characters are engaged in the story, they don't notice when a transition from one scene to the next isn't as smooth as it could be, or that you (the writer) jumped from dialogue into a commentary on the ethics of gold chandeliers in a homeless shelter.

So go, look over your writing, and mix it up to get rid of those lumps!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Comments

Funny thing happened to me yesterday, someone commented on a Flatiron City post. That hasn't happened in quite some time, and it caught me off guard because I haven't posted anything there in about three years! It was cool, though. Especially because the comment wasn't in any way negative, and it wasn't spam.

Another comment from earlier this week, combined with what was said on FC yesterday, inspired me to write a post about writing. So I'll do that on Monday. Today, I get to drive to Beaver Creek for work. Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Car repair

I do hope you enjoyed the short story yesterday. I plan on writing more in the future, if only to practice writing stuff.

I'm sitting at Border Books today, toiling away while my car is getting worked on. Standard maintenance stuff... You know how it is. Since I have five queries out that are unanswered, I'm going to take the day off from that project and jump back into my WiP.

I've reached a dilemma, though: I want to write a supernatural/film noir style novel, but the only idea I've come up with kinda sucks. Okay, it's REALLY lame. However, the only reason this is a dilemma is because I haven't knuckled down to try to fix any of the problems I created in the two hours I spent formulating a plot. So when I say dilemma, what I really mean is that I have project to work on with plenty of opportunities to create an interesting, entertaining story.

I started reading a new book yesterday, and when I get farther along in it, I'll tell you about it. For now, I want to work my way into it and form a real opinion. I can already say that it's WAY better than the last book I read.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Inspiration

I've done a few posts on inspiration, but last week on twitter Nathan Fillion asked the question, "Who inspires you?" I didn't tweet back anything, but I did stop to think about it again.

I realized that, with all of the episodes of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly that I've been watching, Joss Wheden inspires me. As do the actors that play his parts. They convey great characters that make me want to sit down and write... and that's exactly what I do! I grab my computer, create characters, and then devise problems for them to overcome.

However, those actors don't stop inspiring me with those shows. I watch Castle and Bones as often as I can (thanks Hulu!) because of the great stories that are crafted by the writers. Castle, in particular, inspires me because I can appreciate the process of putting together a mystery novel. I know Nathan Fillion isn't a bestselling author, but his character is and I like watching the character because a couple of years ago, I tried to write a mystery novel. During that time, I studied the art as often as I could. I'm surprised and pleased with how authentic Castle's process is throughout the course of each episode. Yes, I know it's formulaic, but most stories are these days...regardless of their genre. Anyway, Castle makes me want to sit down and write a mystery, almost as much as Jim Butcher makes me want to write a mystery...so that's what I'm going to do. My next WiP is going to center around a murder investigation.

So now that I've talked about inspiration, I MUST ask the question: Who inspires you?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Confusing Pronouns

Last night I finished a book that, from beginning to end, filled its pages with confusing pronouns. This book was written in third-person, but it followed four or five different characters, most of them male.

In the course of the narrative, the author constantly spoke of one character by name (usually a male), and then referred to another character as "he" in the next paragraph. Here's an example (not taken from the book). This is Third-Person close. I'm following Tom, and Tom is interacting with Sam.



Tom walked into the cafeteria and set his tray down next to Sam's. "How's it going?" he asked.

"Not bad," Sam replied. "I aced all of my midterms. How 'bout you?"

"Cs and Bs," he replied, taking a seat and digging into his lunch. "I know I would have done a better job if I could have studied during my grandpa's funeral."...


Confusing, right? Believe me, the book itself was worse. It felt as if the author completely ignored the beta readers and the copy editor when they pointed out this problem. On the other hand, it shouldn't necessarily take a copy editor or a beta reader to prevent pronoun confusion.

Here's a tip: if you have two or more characters of the same gender interacting with each other, make sure that you refer to each of them by name any time their actions follow the action of the other character, especially if you begin a new paragraph. Does that make sense? Every time Sam performs an action that follows one of Tom's, my job as the writer is to make sure that I implicitly inform the reader that Sam is indeed the one who is acting.

Now I know readers are smart and capable of figuring out who's who, but when I read through the book that prompted this post, I found myself skipping ahead and backwards to figure out who the author was talking about. In fact the only reason I fought through this book, as bad as it is, was because I wanted to see how the story ended. If anyone ever asked me if the author is worth reading, though, I will give them an emphatic, "NO!"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Work Work Work

I get to go in to work today, which is great because I'm a little down on hours this period. As for querying, I'm going to take a breath and wait until Tuesday. I got one response, and since I have three unanswered letters out there, I want to get at least one more response before I start sending out more. That way I know whether or not I need to revise the query.

I'm also really hoping Query Shark looks over my letter to help me fix it. That would be awesome.

Ladies and Gentlemen, have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My thoughts on Queries

Yesterday, Nathan Bransford asked how people feel about this site. I was actually quite surprised at how many people oppose the very concept. Some of the folks who commented on Mr. Bransford's post seemed to be afraid that their query would end up getting one of the sites that makes fun of queries.

I don't worry about that, and here's why. After reading through the archives of Slush Pile Hell, I noticed that each and every letter that ended up there tried to be memorable in the wrong way. The authors presented themselves in an arrogant, self-important, and sometimes creepy manner, as if their personality, writing background, or any number of other reasons entitled them to landing an agent. They didn't let the writing speak for itself.

The most important part of a query is the writing. What's your story about? Let your story stand out, present it in a way that makes the agent want - or even need - to read more. And failing that, hope and pray that they forget you before the rejection hits your inbox. If your book (not you as a person) doesn't wow the agent, then letting the agent forget who you are is your best chance at getting them to represent you later on down the road.

You see, if you make a bad first impression, even if you're just weird and unprofessional, they're less likely to take any of your projects seriously. They'll remember you as that guy who "received this story from the alien Rotnek, and it's not really a novel, but we should present it to the waiting masses in that form so that they'll learn to trust me as their new spiritual guide."

I write my queries to let the writing speak for itself. So far, I haven't wowed any agents, but if they remember me, I'd be shocked. There's nothing about myself that would guarantee good sales of my book, so I let the book do the work. I just try to present it in a way that makes the agent want to read it and sell it. And if you do the same thing, then there's no reason to fear ending up in Slush Pile Hell.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Two down, many to go...

And that applies to my query AND my book. Today I begin another WiP. This one, while modern fantasy, will be more on the paranormal side than THE WYRM FIEND is. Chris Drake is definitely a true hero, but my new protagonist isn't going to be as strong. I'm thinking of following the classic film noir style while modernizing/personalizing it to my story. It's going to be gritty, but witty. At least that's my plan.

I'm really looking forward to this, too. It shows that when I finish one book, I can jump in and start again. This, I know, will be helpful when an agent starts pitching me to publishers. It shows that I have follow-through, and that I can produce a product.

As for querying, I'm going to take it slowly. At least for a little while. I sent out one yesterday, and I sent out another one just a few minutes ago. I want to see what kind of reaction I get before I send them out en mass, so one a day will work for now.

Now, I have work to do. Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The big day

Karate Kid part II is on in the background today. Such a great movie...way better than part III...and don't get me started on the joke-of-a-movie with Hillary Swank.

Today is the day: the day that I send out my new query letter to that first agent. Yesterday I said I'm nervous. The reason I'm nervous is because I'm not sending this letter out to some random agent that I expect and/or hope to get a rejection from. I'm sending it to one of the agents at the top of my list. However, even with all of the great feedback I've received, I'm not an expert in writing queries. Since I have yet to succeed, this is still a venture into the unknown for me.

I don't know how it's going to turn out, and that winds me up pretty tight. But this is how I feel pretty much any time I take a risk. On the other hand, when I asked my wife to marry me, it turned out well! :D

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm sitting here, bored again, wondering what I should work on. I've gone through my synopsis and query, I can't think of ways to improve either of them (I'm not giving up on revisions, I just need to look at them from a different angle, I think), so tomorrow I'm going to send out my query letter to ONE agent. Just to see what kind of response I get.

I have the newest revisions of my query up on the forums, and I'm waiting for some more feedback, but I think it's time to take the plunge. I'm confident, yet nervous.

Monday

Ahh...Firefly! I love this show. I think I'm going to keep this on in the background while I work on my query letter and synopsis today.

I really hope I'm done with these documents. I took a week off to let them percolate in my brain, and in that week, no new critiques popped up on the forums where I had them posted.

I had a very relaxing, yet boring week last week, and now I'm excited to get back to work on my WiP...which is no longer in progress :)

Anyway, I have very little to talk about today, so go check out my excerpt (lower down on the page). See you tomorrow!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Work!

The other day, I got a call to go into work. So I get to drive ALL around the Denver Metro area today, beginning with a trip to Red Rocks! For those of you not in the know, Red Rocks is quite a famous amphitheater in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It's a great place to see a show, and really easy to drive in and park... if you're in a car. I won't be. I get to drive a box truck in there which, while it's something I CAN do, is something that makes me nervous.

You see, while driving on narrow roads in the city (like down-town) the worst thing that can happen if I don't line the truck up is maybe hitting a wall with my mirrors. In the mountains, if I don't get the truck JUST right, I can roll over the edge of a cliff.

It's not THAT dangerous, partly because I know what I'm doing, and partly because the roads have plenty of room up at Red Rocks, but it still makes me pretty nervous. I mean, I'm a writer, for crying out loud. Not a truck driver. But I'm also a truck driver, so watch out!

Happy Friday, have a good weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Game On!

You know how I recommended playing games to help you get creative? Well, if that didn't convince you, watch this video, and then go find people to play with!




And, of course, watch The Guild! First three seasons are on Netflix instant watch, and the fourth season (the first five episodes) are available on MSN.com.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

RPGs are good for writing.

As many of you already know, I am a gamer. I play video games and table-top RPGs. However, when my gaming friends and I get together, most of the time we talk about OTHER things. We never talk about what our characters did in the game last night, we never marvel over how cool or how painful a win or loss might have been. We simply use the game as a venue to spend time together as friends. It's like Monopoly, only...you know...fun.

It's also a great exercise in writing. Especially if you run a game. I'm really looking forward to running a game some time in the future (not sure when that will happen, though) because when I'm not working on a novel, it gives me a great opportunity to hone my story-telling skills. If anyone is interested in this particular past-time, I encourage you to find a good gaming group. Fear not: if you don't want to spend time with nerds who are obsessed with nothing but the game, just be picky. There are plenty of us out there who go see movies, go to concerts, hike, camp, and so on.

But group activities that hone your writing skills are good for you. They help you relax, and those people will (usually) keep you from losing your mind...especially when you're ready to pull out your hair because your story isn't behaving.

Monday, August 16, 2010

One of THOSE days...

I have a lot going on today, and I'm not even at my day-job. There's a great deal of things to do around the apartment, things that COULD wait, but probably won't simply because I don't know what to do next in my writing.

I still have to fix my synopsis, but based on feedback I've received, it looks like my query letter is complete. I'm no fool, though, so I'm sitting on it for a while, and I'll come back to it to make ABSOLUTELY SURE that it's ready to go. I also sent it to Query Shark for review, and I'm REALLY hoping she reviews it.

Last night, I saw Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and I think that was one of the best movies I've seen all year. It's funny, entertaining, and I got most of the jokes/culture references. I highly recommend you see it.

Also, if you're newish to this whole writing thing, and even if you're not, go check out Todd's blog for his first of (hopefully) many "Pitfalls of Writing" posts.

So, I'm off to start cleaning my kitchen. I'll probably sit down to look over my synopsis a bit later, and then it's off to game night with the guys. Tomorrow I'll put together a real excerpt from my newest book.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Stick to it!

Perseverance is key. No matter what you want to accomplish, stick to it. When things get tough, fight back and work harder to succeed.

That's the best advice I can give, and since my body decided to try to kill me today, that's all you get. Have a great weekend. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sleep Deprived and Needing to Edit

Yesterday I did a little bit of work on my synopsis, but what I spent most of the day on was my QUERY LETTER! I've gotten some great feedback on it so far, and while I'm tempted to send it out today, I'm going to wait until I have my synopsis closer to completion. And I want to triple check to make sure the query letter is ready to go.

I don't know where I'm going to work on my stuff today, but I know I NEED to get out of the house. I didn't get enough sleep last night, and unless I intend on napping on the couch all day, I need to go somewhere.

Soon I'll put together an excerpt for all of you to read, and when the query is done, I'll post that, too.

Oh yeah, yesterday I formatted the book! (I write it on my Mac, but since Pages doesn't export well, I always do the final format in Word on my PC. It's a lengthy process that needed to be done, so I did it!)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

POV Why you should write in First Person

First person is a great way to make the reader really connect with the protagonist. If you, the writer, have a great character with a unique perspective on the world around him that just wouldn't come out in third person, then FP is the way to go.

I've read several books in FP that were done really well, like the Sookie Stackhouse books and the Dresden Files. Both protagonists are very different from the people they spend their time with, and while, in my opinion, Sookie Stackhouse could have been written in third person just as well as it was in first, I do think Harris did a great job with her series. (To be fair, I'm only up to the second book. So right now, the stories might have been DIFFERENT in third person, but not better or worse. I don't know how later books in the series turned out.)

The Dresden Files is an example of a series that would not have worked in TP. A lot of Dresden's personality comes through the narration, his inner thoughts, and sidebars to the reader. The books wouldn't be as engaging or entertaining in a different POV.

An example of a book that SHOULD have been written in FP but was written in TP instead? The Dexter books. The author wrote them as if he can see inside Dexter's head, but he tells the reader what's going on from the perspective of an observer, rather than letting Dexter tell the story himself. I believe the books would have been more engaging and I would be more sympathetic toward the protagonist if the books were written in FP.

So when you're getting ready to choose one POV over the other, ask yourself a couple questions: which perspective will make this book better? Will it enhance or get in the way of the story? and is the reader going to connect to the protagonist?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday update.

I got the entire plot of my book written down in my synopsis yesterday. It's WAY too long. I have it posted on a couple of forums, but I think the length is intimidating people. Not that I'm in too much of a rush. I learned a lot about writing synopses with my last book, and even more with this attempt yesterday.

I only have seven more chapters to enter into the computer, and then all of my proofreads are done! By the end of the week I plan on starting work on my query.

Tomorrow I'll get that first-person post up.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 09, 2010

In Wich I Don't Make Friends:

Yesterday, I thought about Twilight again. I said before that I listened to the audio book, and I didn't particularly enjoy it. But I pretty much left it there. These days, though, it seems to be a trend among aspiring writers to trash Twilight.

On the other hand, I have not seen this trend extend to veteran authors or agents who blog. The only author whose opinion I HAVE heard is Stephen King. And he wasn't generous.

I don't understand why this trend is so prevalent, though. I know many people can get jealous, and that could be part of it, but I think it's too late to convince people NOT to read the book. The critics have spoken, the fans have gathered, and Stephanie Meyer is a successful writer. (Notice how I didn't use quotes there? That's because she IS a success. She wrote books and millions of people read them. And millions of people also saw the movies.)

Anyway, I think it's high time we move on. Striving to be the NEXT big thing is great, but we can't change how successful Twilight is. And, as for me, I know ripping into the book won't help me get published. I have my opinion, I've been as fair as I can on this blog, and I'll be INCREDIBLY vocal around my close friends, but not online.

Friday, August 06, 2010

POV: Why you should write in the Third Person.

POV is an interesting topic, especially since so many people have widely different ideas on why a writer should use one perspective over another. As writers, I'm certain you've heard all of the arguments, and if you've taken ANY writing classes, I can assume that you know the various levels of third-person narrative. I'm not going to talk about all of the artistic purposes of third-person POV today, I'm simply going to tell you why I think you should pick third-person over first-person in your novel.

Third-person offers many advantages over first, regardless of how close you stick to the protagonist. My personal favorite is that, if the story calls for it, the author can switch to a new perspective.

There are several examples that can be made, such as Butcher's CODEX ALERA where he follows three or four protagonists (depending on the novel) and gives the reader brief flashes of the characters' thoughts. At times, he'll even step back to give the reader an view of the scene from an eagle's eyes.

Third-person can make it easier to draft a story, too. At least in my opinion. I've found that when I write in first-person, I need to keep myself in the protagonist's brain the entire way through the story. But in third-person, I have no trouble writing scenes the way I want them to be written. Going through and editing/revising is easier because I only have to tweak a few things before it's finished, rather than making sure that the protagonist's opinions and past experiences color the scene for the reader.

There are probably hundreds of other reasons to write in third-person, and I would LOVE to hear them. Please feel free to comment.

Some time next week we'll discuss first-person.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Almost done. Almost done!

I just finished my proofreads... a day ahead of schedule! Now all I need to do is enter the changes into my computer, which I shall do as I write my synopsis.

I promise, I'll have some teasers up soon, so stay tuned. And tomorrow, I'm going to discuss POV and my thoughts on why third person should be used over first person in certain situations. Oh, and don't fret, next week I'll discuss the advantages of first person over third :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Update, update, update!

I only have thirty-seven more pages to proofread! I got over fifty done today, and I'm not even exhausted. If I didn't have other things to do this afternoon, I would still be working on them.

I have a couple of writing-related posts in mind to work on once I'm finished with my proofreads, but for now, I'll just keep my updates short.

Go write something!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Smile

I just had a very long, frustrating afternoon. It didn't ruin my day, and I got through it by being friendly to the people who were making it difficult. As a result, I made it through with very little difficulty. I just took a very long time.

With that in mind, as an aspiring author, I always strive to treat other writers, agents, and editors well. I may not make their day better, but I refuse to be the person who could make it worse.

So go smile at someone today. Be friendly. You may find that it will keep your day from getting bad :)

Monday, August 02, 2010

More and more progress!

I'm GOING to start writing my synopsis next Monday. I worked this weekend on reaching my half-way mark on my proofreads, and I intend on finishing those proofs this week.

I'm also super stoked because the Colorado Primaries are this month, and I actually get to participate in this election. I know it's not the mid-term yet, but some of the people running in my party aren't the people I want to get elected. I'm quite excited about some of the others who are running, and I REALLY want to see them on the November ballot.

Again, please vote!

I'm at my day job today, and it's my lunch break. So this is about all I have for the day.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Almost half way there! I slept in a little, but that won't get in the way of productivity today. I'm ready to get to work, so I'll keep this post characteristically short for Friday.

Have a great weekend, go do something fun. I know I'm going to! ...not sure what it'll be, though.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Politics?

As I've said earlier, I don't want to make my blog political. However, regardless of where you stand on the issues, this election (in the US) is going to be very important. I know voting isn't until November, but now is the time to start looking over the issues and learning where your candidates stand.

I'm going to post this a couple more times before voting day because I know a lot of people (especially in my generation) don't really care. I just want every citizen to take this responsibility seriously. Don't just vote on one issue, don't just go down party lines. Please look at what matters to you, look at it closely, and then vote.

That's all I have to say today :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tired and Busy.

I'm ankle deep in proofreads today. I'm about to take off for a coffee shop so that I'm not distracted by things at home. That's important because Emily and I are making pizza for supper, and I know the dough takes a while to make. I don't want to start making it too early just because I'm impatient.

That's about all I have today. I'm thinking through a few scenes that I may post up here as an excerpt from my book, and I'm kinda mulling over a query. I'm almost ready to send this thing out!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pirates waste your time!

I want to tell you a story: the story of my brother and his experience with a pirated copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, we all know the major reasons not to pirate e-books: it hurts the author, keeps them from making a decent living, etc..

Today I want to tell you a lesser known reason to download (buy) legitimate copies of e-books. You see, my brother read almost the entire book before he told me that he finally got around to reading the "final Harry Potter book." I started asking him questions about the book, what he liked about it, how he felt about this event or that one, and then I got a confused look from him.

"That never happened," he insisted with disbelief.

"Um, yes it did," I replied. "I've read the book twice!"

"But I'm reading it right now. You must be remembering it incorrectly."

"Where are you now?" I asked.

"Well, they're all on their way to visit Tonk's mother in Spain after Harry gets out of St. Mungo's," he told me.

I laughed. "They never left the UK throughout the entire series. You got a forged book."

He proceeded to get depressed that he'd wasted his time on stupid fan-fiction posing as an early draft. (At least he didn't waste any money on it.) He deleted the book from his phone and started to make plans to find the audio books at the library.

So, aside from the moral reasons not to steal e-books, you should always get legitimate copies so that you get the real story. And if you don't want to pay for a book, borrow it from your library!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Proofreads, finally!

This morning, I started my proofreading. I don't have much time before work, and I don't know how long I'll be at work today, so I'm doing a short post before I jump back in.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about lesser known evils of pirating e-books.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday

It's Friday, I'm working today, and I won't be taking my computer with me. There's just no point. I won't have time to use it. Unfortunately, I'm on the verge of being late, so I don't have enough time to write a really long post.

I loved the responses I got yesterday! For those of you who are curious, the two books that I want to read because I loved the movies so much are About a Boy and High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. I have to say, High Fidelity is my favorite movie. I haven't watched it in a while (I started to earlier this week, but never got around to finishing it), and I really want to.

Anyhoo, I must finish my breakfast and then rush out to door so I'm not late to the day job. Proofreads begin first thing on Monday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bad movies can ruin books!

This is something I realized when I saw Eragon with my little brother. My best friend absolutely loved the book, and I'd read an article about the author years before, so Eragon was high on my list of books that I wanted to read. But then I saw the movie. Due to the length of the book, the film obviously had to cut several things out, but the screenwriters and director, in my opinion, made some bad choices in that department. As a result, I took my little brother to see a movie filled with plot holes, poor characterization, and overly contrived circumstances intended to move the story forward. I was so disappointed that it turned me off to the book.

I think it's great when a book can get made into a movie that inspires fans to read more. Harry Potter did a GREAT job with that, but the biggest advantage Rowling had with those movies is that every change to the story had to be approved by her. As a result, the core of the story remained in tact, and anything unimportant could be cut to preserve the spirit of the books.

Not every author has that option, but it seems like so many writers want their books turned into movies that they're willing to sell the film rights to anyone who's willing to put it on the silver screen. Regardless of how good or bad the movie might be.

I don't know how many people decided not to read a book based on how bad the movie was, but I do know that a great movie will inspire me to pick up anything the author might have written.

What are your thoughts? Do you read books that were made into movies?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back in town!

Camping was great! I mean, so what if I had a headache for half the trip...I still had a blast!

I may start my proofreads today, but first I need to find out what my wife's plans are for the day. I may have some chores to do... or something. I'm definitely printing up the book, though! If I don't get started on proofs today, then it will be tomorrow for sure.

So, thought of the day... what is your favorite movie based off of a book? And why?

Don't worry, this will lead into tomorrow's post!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Camping trip!

I get to go camping, for sure, on Sunday! First time I've been camping in six years :) First I'll have to pick up gear for work, but that won't take too long. Unfortunately for my bosses, I'll be getting overtime this week.

That's what happens when you don't plan ahead!

That's about all, though. Emily's sister is in town for a couple more days, so the three of us are going to try to do some stuff over the weekend while I'm not working. My phone has some dead pixels, too. I'm getting it replaced (warranty) tomorrow.

Have a great weekend. I'll see you all on Wednesday!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Off and On

I worked a bit yesterday, and then I spent some quality time with my wife. Today I get to work again, but only for a little while. My plan is to get home and print up my book. I'll start going through it over the weekend, or maybe on Monday while I'm camping.

I don't have much to talk about today, so why not check out a blog or two by someone else who writes: Lydia Kang, J.L. Jackson, Todd Newton.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Long day, short post.

I'm really glad I finished my book LAST week, instead of planning it for this week. Otherwise I'd be really frustrated today. My supervisor's nephew (who he has custody of) is sick. That means my supervisor can't work today, which in turn means I'm working today. So I'm hot, tired, and on lunch.

Tomorrow, I'll be working again, so I won't have much of an update then, either. But find a way to stay cool today.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Proofread!

Okay, not really. I'm going to start proofreading next week. This week I'll be working a lot, and Emily and I need to finish cleaning up the apartment on the days I have off. I was supposed to go camping this week, but the guy I was going to go with had to work. We're delaying the trip to next week... assuming I'm not working, which is a distinct possibility with how much I'm working this week.

I'm pretty annoyed at the Netherlands for losing the world cup. Stupid Spain. But I'll get over it. My favored teams were the US and England, anyway.

I just can't get over how excited I am to be finished with my book, though. I'm surprised at how little my beta readers thought I needed change. And I made some improvements from my own perspective, too. I'm looking forward to writing the synopsis and query letter soon!

That's about all I have today.