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.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Ran into a chapter that's a tangled mess today. Up to now, they've had pretty good form going into this editing phase, but this one had a section that was a dumpster fire. I sat there, looking at the words, thinking, I couldn't have possibly written this shit. The dog's must've been sniffing my crotch and distracted me or something. Well, at least I have plenty of words to cut.

Someone started a thread on KBoards, asking for recommendations for editors.,144480.0.html

Funny that everyone LOVES their editor. Testimonials are meaningless, I think. Same as reputation. The more I think about it, the more I think the sample should be the deciding factor. I can't go and read every book every editor I intend to solicit samples from edited and compare. In fact, even that wouldn't mean shit, because who knows what each one started out with, and which of their suggestions the author refused or accepted. This is definitely an intimate choice.

Friday, March 8, 2013

What are the chances?

The pike in the picture isn't all that big. I've caught bigger, and my friends have caught MUCH bigger. I love fishing, but I've never been all that good at it. Not really. I mean, I'm better than the wife, but she can't even put the bait on her own hook.

There's a skill and intuition that goes into fishing. Writing is much more skill than intuition. many of those of us who've decided to self-publish have taken Hugh Howey into our hearts. He is our inspiration, particularly those of us who write science fiction. He's a class act. he's a nice guy. And he's also very talented. Hence, the skill.

We all try to say things that are clever and profound. We all try to be as entertaining as we can be. We dance and juggle for the readers and hope they throw change at us. But. just like in every other field, there are those who rise above the rest. Those who seem to have the knack for saying the right thing at the right time. those who see the world and say new things about it that the rest of us hadn't thought of. Hugh looked into the future and saw a world that made sense if you followed the logical progression of his vision for what comes next. It's a remarkable piece of work. If you haven't read Wool, I recommend you read it.

My own book doesn't have that same clever peek into the future. Polarized is much more of a personal battle with some science fiction thrown in. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't try to throw in the sci-fi, it's just that it doesn't come to me the way it comes to Hugh, so I do what they tell you to do. I write what I know. So, what are the chances that a sci-fi that's more of a romance takes off and makes it big? Not too good. It's okay. You know what? I bet somebody likes it. I can live with that. I'm too old to envy a nice young man's success. I couldn't root for those who succeed any harder than I do now. Of course, I have a special place in my heart for the self-published types, but that's to be expected. there's a real camaraderie there. Yeah, there are those who seem to grow bitter over time, but there will always be a core of writers who make a few bucks at this. They'll hang out, laugh, have a drink now and then, and cheer each other on. And when one of us makes it big, the majority won't begrudge them their success, we'll cheer them on like the big Indian in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

That said, I've cut myself off from two message boards I like to frequent. I've blogged about this before, but I feel it needs repeating. There are authors out there acting like jerks. Mocking the accomplishments of people like Hugh, mocking his enthusiasm, and mocking others who market aggressively like Elle does. Usually, it's people who know a little something about writing, and have seen moderate enough success to feel as though they have "earned the right" to judge. They like to see themselves as the calm voice in the hysteria, the sage ones who look at the kids cheering at the feet of The Beatles. Rolling their eyes at the success of 50 Shades, because it's written so "poorly." Rolling their eyes at the Success of Wool because it's so "boring." In essence, calling the readers a bunch of morons who are too stupid to recognize good literature when they see it. If you're thinking of doing something like this, don't. You will look like a flaming fucking asshole. No, it's not cool. You may have some bootl ickers who like to see success attacked because it makes them feel a little better about the lack of their own, but you still look like a jerk. You look like a jerk whenever you attack or belittle ANYONE, fellow authors, editors, message board moderators, cover designers, trad publishers, etc...Just don't do it. You're not doing yourself any favors.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

So, I'm an ass

After my last post, I was contacted by three different editors, asking for a shot at editing the thing, which is surprising, considering what a condescending ass I was in the post. At least I don't have to worry that nobody will even want to touch the thing. I'm getting assurances that it won't cost as much as I was saying, but I'm not sure how anyone can say that without having seen the thing. For all anyone knows, every other sentence could be a crow's nest that needs untangling.

Got some good work done today. The later chapters are going a little easier because I'm not having to adjust for things I changed along the way. Can't wait to get this thing done with and out of my hands already.

Ever since my mother passed, I've found writing to be a nice catharsis. The only concern I have about it is that I may not be objective enough to edit the parts I once thought were funny, because I'm not finding much funny these days. Too damn melancholy. But we're all slowly snapping out of it, so I hope to be back to normal soon.