Archive for the ‘Writing Workshop’ Category

I think step #1 is the most important. You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t have a map and a plan.

Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors

So I was gone for a while and then came across some stuff that’s been going on and realized I needed to come back.  🙂

I’m not sure where to start.  I have a lot of things on my mind, and it’s been (what feels to me) a long time.  Probably, the most pressing thing on my mind is what’s been happening to a few authors I know.  Some authors who did well in 2012 have seen a drop in income this year.  I’m not one of them, but I have noticed my new releases don’t sell as well as they used to.  The only thing that might be buffering me is the fact that I am able to write fast.  But that doesn’t mean writing fast will always mean that income will continue to go up, or even that income will stay steady.

Writing books is one of those…

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Good article for you writers out there.

I haven’t written anything in months, I think it’s time to start writing again. “Rookie Case”, the novelette prequel to Rock Bottom, is about 1/3 done; “Warrior Dad”, my short story, is about 1/2 done; and the first few chapters of “Road of Revenge”, the sequel to “Rock Bottom”, have been written for almost a year. Trying to figure out what to get back on first. Any suggestions?

My wife asked me once, “who are you writing for?” it became a hard question to answer. I didn’t start off writing “Rock Bottom” to publish, I wrote it because the story drove me nuts. The more I wrote the more that filled my brain and I had to get it out, I wanted to know how the story ended after all.

When I finished the first section, I handed it to my son to read. He is an avid reader, who has read more books by the age of 18 then anyone else I know and I figured he would make a good judge of what I had just written. He loved it! “Dad are you writing a book?” I shrugged off the question, telling him that I was just writing for fun but in the back of my mind I began to wonder if I could.

As I worked through the first chapters, I shared it with a few other friends. Their encouragement spurred me on to write at a faster pace. By the time I reached the half way point my son stopped referring to it as my “book” and started calling it my “novel”. My wife began asking me at that point how I was going to publish it. Never being trained in the art of fiction writing I didn’t feel I had the talent to be published, so I blew off the question and began looking for ways to self-publish so at least my children would have a copy of my book. Not intending to profit from the book I self edited (a blog subject of its own for another time) and used a print on demand publisher, who release it on Amazon. In less than a month we had skyrocketed in ranking on Amazon to 41,893 out of the millions of books available. That’s when I decided I had better look at making the finished product more professional. Typos were acceptable when it was just going to family, but paying customers deserve a better product.Over the months that followed I learned a great deal about writing, editing, typesetting, formatting and publishing.

I have come to the realization that I write for me, I publish that other might enjoy what I have written and I market the book in hopes that I might earn from my work. I now have a professional fiction editor re-editing “Rock Bottom” and will be rereleasing it soon.

Who are you writing for?

After writing my post the other day- “Finish What You Start!” -my daughter made the statement, “I have a hard time starting a story.” her complaint wasn’t that she didn’t have good story ideas or characters, but that she couldn’t come up with that perfect opening line. The question became “How do you start writing a new story?”

My answer is, you type. I know, I know, one of the most important parts of any story is the opening line or the first paragraph. It needs to catch the readers attention and draw them into the story, making them feel a connection with the characters and build a desire to know where it’s going. But waiting around for the perfect line to pop into your head is like waiting on the Lotto check to magically appear in your mail box. Most of the time it’s not going to happen.

When I wrote Rock Bottom, I came up with my opening line and the story formed from it– Life! That’s what it is, just life. When I started the prequel, Rookie Case, I didn’t have a great opening, but I started writing. As I’ve worked on the project, I’ve slowly refined the beginning and now have it almost where I want it. The important thing is I wrote. Getting something down to work with is crucial. Just like a potter can’t form anything until he has a lump of clay, a writer can’t edit, fix or adjust his work if he hasn’t written anything.

I had this conversation with my son the other day. His mind is full of great story ideas, they seem to just flow from him like a well spring of fiction water. He has started several stories, but as of yet not finished any. He works on one for awhile then comes up with a new story line, setting the first one aside to work on the new one. He works on that one for a bit then another new one pops in that talented head of his and the process repeats itself. Truth be told, he comes by it naturally. I tend to do the same thing. While writing “Rock Bottom”, I had the idea for a sequel and wrote the first few pages. I had to force myself to set it aside so I could finish the first book. Now I have three stories started including the sequel and am finding it hard to work on any of them.

When writing, my mind becomes fully immersed in the world of my story to the point I find it hard to participate in real life. I have to set time aside to spend in that world or I wont accomplish anything. Switching between that world and reality becomes frustrating add in multiple worlds of different stories and I’m the literary equivalent of a vegetable.

Let’s face it. We all like to tell stories, that’s why we write after all, but putting that story down on paper in a way that other people will read and enjoy, is the hard part. It takes work to gut out the middle of story. Writing the beginning is exciting. Exploring a new world or new idea, building the foundation. As I journey into that story I become impatient, I want to get to my destination, I want to get to the end. The finale is what we are all after. Our good guy won, our bad guy lost and the world is a better place because of it. The tough part is building all the roads in the middle to get your reader, and your characters, from that great beginning to your fabulous ending. Human nature is to avoid what is hard. I think that is why it is so tempting to jump to a new project in the middle of another.

I have made the commitment this week to set two of the stories aside and focus on one until it’s finished. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying to ignore new story ideas. By all means write them down, make good notes to come back to at a later date, but don’t start a new project until you finish the last one. I understand that every writer is different and I will concede that there could be some writers out there that can multitask well enough to be able to write more than one story at a time, but for the majority of us it just isn’t possible.

If you are like me and have more than one project started, pick one and finish it. I’m choosing to finish the shortest one first, then move on to the second shortest. That way I can see progress and keep myself motivated.