Sunday, October 20, 2013

Adding words

I use a description of the mask in the picture in my WIP. The MC's love interest is wearing it when he first lays eyes on her. The masquerade ball scene. In that scene, I felt it was important to paint as vivid a visual picture as I could, so I splurged a bit on the words and it ended up splitting into two chapters.

I'm regularly exchanging critiques with ten or fifteen fellow authors, and that scene had the most positive reaction so far. people dig it when boy meets girl. The most common complaint on the other end of the spectrum are the scenes that need some additional introspection from the MC, and a bit more setting.

I know why that happened, there's nothing in those scenes that's visually stimulating. I'm cutting words, but the reader still wants the setting, even if it's some dingy hole. More importantly, the reader needs hints from the POV character as to how to frame the whole story. I can only go so far. Bolstering certain scenes with too much introspection would act as a spoiler. there's a tight rope to walk, but I know I have some room in those scenes to take it closer and reveal more. that, of course, will add words. I'm not sure what mood I was in last time I spoke about word count, so I don't remember if I was on an anti-increase in word count kick, or a who gives a fuck about the word count kick. At this point, I'm reiterating that I don't give a fuck about word count. So don't let the fact that I'm writing about it AGAIN fool you. it's just not that important.

There's an author I'm exchanging critiques with. She writes fantasy and cracks me up. It's got me thinking about fantasy. That was my first love. If I could come up with something that wasn't a slight variation on Tolkien, Eddings, and Brooks, I'd be all over it, but so far, nothing.

Anyway, it's late and I'm drunk again, so I'll bid this adieu.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Dog Days

That's my buddy, Cowboy. He's the only one of our three dogs I can rely upon to keep me warm at night. He waddles over to the bed, puts his forepaws up and waits for me to come over and give his back end a lift onto the bed. Then he rolls around and plops himself down right in the middle so I have to lay one the edge of the mattress. But it's okay. He rolls on me to make himself comfortable, licks himself a few times, tries to give me a kiss, then goes to sleep. He's really a marvel of consistency, reliability, love and really soft fur. I even like the way he smells.

The WIP is in critique right now. Well into the book. I love the feedback I'm getting. Helpful, I think. Much of it reinforcing the things I suspected may not be working, and the rest of it opening my eyes. I thought it would be hard, waiting again, waiting while people publish book after book. Some of my friends have published 10 books in the last year. That's 10 as in ten as in X. So many times I've been tempted to take short cuts. To bypass crits. To bypass that extra round of edits. I'm sure there are authors out there who can go that and still put out work they like. I can't. And the closer I get to the end, the better I feel about it. Not because I like the WIP more, but because I realize that the problems I'm being made aware of are very solvable, and believe it or not, I think I can solve them.

Again, it's a very lonely time. Once I come home, it's all I want to think about. Conversations that aren't about my WIP, or about someone else's WIP seen tedious. I've even got the wife involved. Not in this book, but in the next one. I've got 20K written on that one, and the middle 40 are going to go much faster than the first 20. (Yeah, this one's gonna be a lot shorter than the first. I think I've learned to keep them more focused.) Anyway, the wife brings me lines she hears that amuse her. Lines I can use. I'm no longer too proud to take lines from wherever I can find them. I. like my WIP, am evolving. A writer has no choice but to do that. It is a war of attrition, writing. Fight through it.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cover reveal

The chick I was waiting for was taking too long and making too many excuses, so I parted ways with her. I got a couple more estimates from artists I like for cover art, but they wanted $,2000-$3000. I'd like to see whether or not my writing interests anyone before I spend that kind of money on a cover. Bought this one for $35 from James over at I like the color scheme, and I think it captures the theme and soul of the book.
Getting good feedback on Polarized. None of the criticisms I agree with are anything I can't fix in revision. The predominant feeling I'm getting is, "good writing, descriptive, but I don't know how this ties into the plot." That's fine. It's a mystery in many ways. I'll let them know how it ties in when they see the end.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Telling the World to Fuck Off

We all get input when we're writing our books. We get it from friends and family, and perfect strangers we never met. But a good writer gives equal weight to every word that's said about his work, whether encouraging, or harsh. Ultimately, the decision is ours. Can't blame the friends for not saying the right things in their critiques. Can't blame family for not rooting hard enough. We own the story. We the writers own the story.
I've added a new beginning. A 2000 word first chapter just finished that'll make it easier to sequence the parts I already had finished, and it'll add a little spark to the opening. It's a perfect catalyst for events that follow. I'd been keeping it as back story, but the great thing about self-publishing is that I really don't have to worry about word count. yeah, I worked hard to cut 20K words from the WIP, but I don't feel guilty for adding 2K back, because I don't have to convince any agent that the thing will be commercially viable. No agent has to worry about selling my book. That's a wonderfully liberating feeling. I own it. I'll live with the consequences of what happens if the thing is 2K words too long.
Probably meaningless to most people, but i think there will be authors out there who know what I'm talking about. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Debut Book Blues

Nothing says Easter like an engine!

So I'm getting closer to finishing my edits and as I close this thing out, I've come to the realization that it's not the book I set out to write. I guess I'll chalk it up to being a learning experience. It's lacking some of the umph I prefer to read, and that means it's not the book I'd really like to write.

Looking back, I can see how it happened. I thought about re-working some sections and sticking some faster moving scenes in there, but it wouldn't be true to THIS book. It would probably feel forced. So, I'm resigned to finishing this one as it is, and making the next one the way I like it.

I got so caught up in characterization and motive, that I fell short in the zing department. Those kinds of books have a place, especially in the sci-fi genre, but it's not what I wanted. Funny that it took me this long to see it for what it is. I wonder if I was so determined not to make it the popcorn sci-fi, those books with explosion after explosion and chase scene after chase scene, that I went too far in the opposite direction. Oh well, live and learn.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Going down to see Hugh Howey Tomorrow

Okay, so maybe I don't know how to capitalize a blog post.

The wife and I are going down to the Virginia Book Festival in Charlottesville tomorrow. I wish I could've gone Friday because a bunch of people from Kindleboards were meeting with Hugh Howey, my favorite new author, for dinner. I hope they had fun. They're good people. So are the people at Writer's Pub (link in the side bar). It's a cozy new site for writers set up by my friend Suzanne O'Leary. Some good authors visit the site. it's a LOT less uptight than most of the author boards I've frequented before. There's nobody trying to establish that they rule the roost. It's just fun talk about writing.

We had our own version of Asimov's the Mule when someone who'd been banned on KindleBoards showed up, defending himself. He's a controversial author who has posted things on other sites which would lead one to believe that he has a fetish for getting off on the thought of women on the ground, beaten and bleeding, typically impaled, and often in their sexual areas like the crotch and breasts. Caused quite a stir. Suzy wanted to ban him right away, but I begged her to give me a chance to try to talk him into getting some help. He, of course, denied any such fetish, except for one post early on when his guard was down in which he admitted a sexual attraction to to it. He has since been banned.

Meanwhile, I've had some critters look at my prologue and first chapter. So far, there don't seem to be many complaints, and the ones I hear are legitimate, and fixable. One critter called it a masterpiece, while another said it was fine except the writing was bad. Such is the life of a writer. I imagine the real world will look the same. Some will like it, and others will bash.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to simply being in the presence of someone like Hugh who personifies the indie author. Someone who managed to drive off the negative reviews and foster the positive. I know there's a tendency by a lot of the veterans of the indie world to scoff at Hugh because they are tired of hearing about him and his success, but I can't tire of it. it is fresh. It is cool. I really think he's a historic figure.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Another drunken post at 1 a.m.

One of my buddies recently took up guitar after having put it down for years. He was talking about the marvel of Jimi Hendrix, and the difficulty of trying to recreate his chords. Writers don't have the luxury of recreating one of the master's works. i guess fanfic is a form of that, but not really. At this point, I'm so far out in the weeds, that I have no fucking clue if my words resemble someone else. They don't need to.

Rock on. Don't worry about what others have done. Play your own tune.