Posts Tagged ‘creative’

Writing a Book: Major Steps and Practical Concerns As Publishing Nears

Made a major step in preparing Blood & Soul for the final pass for my editor. He loved reading it the first time and with his suggestions and edits it improved even more. My yeahbabyb&Seditor and I are contemplating the services of a proof reader. The reason? The book is 160,000 words. We need another pair of eyes for a product that is so epic. Of course, looking for typos is a must but also things like consistency – is this east or west, is it cloudy or sunny, is the secret entrance on the west side or the east side of the wall, did he or she really say that earlier? You’d be surprised what you can forget about a book you wrote yourself.

When you change a character’s name in a 160k word manuscript you will inevitably miss a spot and leave the old name in somewhere. I typed the main character’s name 1256 times. But even a supporting “actor” gets a lot of space and the minor characters sprinkled throughout a 160k words can be missed very easily for a good reason. Even using the “find and replace” feature in MS Word won’t catch everything because you might have misspelled the name you’re replacing once or twice and the feature will miss those. That will derail the reader who’ll be trying to figure out what the heck happened. There’s a zillion little things like that. And, that’s why a fresh pair of eyes is NEEDED. It can become very tedious and fatigue can set in. It’s the difference between a Frankenstein and phenomenon.




Blood & Soul Progress and Trailer Promo in the Works

December 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Another week as passed and my editor has made lots of progress on Blood & Soul. Based on the conversations between us I’m glad I took this step. It’s been a valuable investment that I balked at initially. But, it’s been well worth the money. To think I almost decided to edit it myself! That’s performing surgery on yourself!

It’s been a grand experience having a professional go after it with a fine-toothed comb and give me his first, second and third impressions.

I have lots of little tweaks to fix – like mislabeling a bluff and spelling a character’s name different in the beginning of the book than at the end.

There’s big things like removing a character from a scene because I did not realize I had left him back in the city the hero had escaped from. LOL.

There’s some foreshadowing I need to place earlier so that an event at the midpoint will have more emotional impact.

I need to remove a scene from near the end and put it back in at the midpoint where I had it originally – basically, a plumbing and wiring job.

There’s a textual change that my editor is doing as he goes through the manuscript. You’ve seen where authors will put a character’s inner thoughts in italics, some do, some don’t. I did but then changed my mind. My editor thought it best to put the inner thoughts in italics. I agreed. It’s very tricky sometimes to figure out what are the character’s inner thoughts and what is simply narrative. He’s fixing that stuff, too.

I will have to devote a lot time to adjust things and get it just right.

Meanwhile, a teaser book trailer is in the works with some awesome original music from P. R. Music Productions (follow the link below and check out Patrick’s music). I hope have the trailer finished in early Jan. I’m working with Mark Skinner on the visuals and book cover.

Still hoping to publish Blood & Soul on multiple formats around Feb 2, 2014. When I do, I list all the ways that you can help me. P. S. I outlined the next book last week. It’s working title is “Out of Oblivion”. Yes … it’s EPIC!

The Twist #writers

April 27, 2013 2 comments

I proofread and edited to page 331 of a 530 page manuscript today.

According to Larry Brooks’ book Story Engineering, there needs to be a twist/context shift at the midpoint of a good story. My story is much more than a revenge story, but that is a major motivation of my main character – similar to Maximus in Gladiator.

Today I finished the section with the major twist. My hero’s goal has not changed but if he can’t modify his approach he will lose everything. But, now there is more purpose to his cause, a purpose he must bring into his motivation. He commits to a new way of getting it done and begins to take the path that will lead to the inevitable show down with the bad guys.

The Big Picture

It’s cliché but it fits. It’s a forest shrouded in mist when you set out to discover the story hidden in the fog. A year later you find your forehead buried in your palms as you hack at vines of story line tangled up in your imagination. “How’s the book going?” they ask. You dread telling them the truth, that you can’t see the forest for the trees and then you cringe at the overused phrase the masters warn you about. But, then, months later, you crawl out in the daylight and look back. You’ve produced a manuscript. You followed the outline, the North Star. It’s still full of worries and wonders. But, it’s there in all its glorious embarrassing contradictions and silly dialog. You want to lock it up and never show a soul.

I read somewhere in one of my many books about writing that I should wait a month before revising. I don’t have that much time. I have a real job. Two weeks later I had walked around the forest and found the trail into the manuscript I had taken before. I was worried the frist plot point was coming too late, that the reader would get frustrated. I knew it had to come quicker. I scanned for a groove, a thread, a snag, anything to bring it closer. I found it! When I did it shifted the whole story into better balance, which felt like catching my breath.

I’ve still got a long way to go, but, because I had made it through the forest already I had the power of perspective, the big picture. I could not obtain that until I had traveled the distance. I improved the story because I knew the ending. In my limited experience and study of the art of story telling, I cannot stress this enough. Finish! Get to the end. Even if you are exhausted and your writing suffers. This is a fundamental truth in creating a story worth sharing and the biggest dragon I had to slay. Stephen R. Covey‘s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says habit two is begin with the end in mind. Have a goal in life as well as in the book you’re writing. Find the bullseye and aim and pull the trigger.

The Holy Chore

It’s driving me crazy, but like a functional alcoholic, I’m a functional nut. I wish! oh I wish I wish I wish time was something I could manage. God gave me slightly more than half a brain. And you, reader, can vouch for how stupid this world is. Even highly educated people these days are often full of flapdoodle. I’m only slightly smarter than average stupid, which often makes me look like a genius but it bugs me more than blesses me. Do you think it’s more painful to wander through the world stupid or smart? I’m just a little itsy bit better than average in most things…a Jack of all mediocrity and a master of reaching the wilted flower beyond the world’s craphill. I can kinda play guitar. I can fool around on a piano. I can carry a tune. I can throw a tight spiral. Flag football quarterback. I can kinda sorta sketch. I’m funny, sometimes on purpose. I’m refreshingly weird (in a pleasant way…I think). I can be witty. A good conversationalist. I know plaids don’t go with prints. I can say cool stuff once in a while at dinner with friends. I’m housebroke…I won’t go on the floor. I can do accents. Kids like me. Old people like me. I can get a bit unhinged sometimes doing personas I make up off the top of my head when a little group of old ladies is watching me perform. I’m thinking in my mind, no one will ever take me serious now! They say I’m crazy. But I have not one ounce of discipline to sustain writing. Zero! I’m either a blob of complacency or a burst of last-minute touchdowns. The only thing I can do consistently is show up on time to work. During the short breaks I read one of the 29 books I’ve started. This scatter brained life pisses me off! That’s why I had to get away from this blog and the internet for a while. I don’t have the discipline to achieve the holy chore of writing an epic book if I spend significant time here. I’m feeding the narcissism we are all cursed with.
I have always written. When I was kid, I wrote stupid lyrics and poems of teenage angst. I wanted to be in a rock and roll band and write lyrics like Neil Peartspeare (That’s RUSH for those poor ignorant young-uns)…something profound like “The Trees” in that last video I made. (A friend wants me to write some song lyrics for his daughter’s singing career. ) Then I wrote letters. Then I became a gut-spiller in my journals. And, then more poems…some pretty good ones. I wrote and write philosophical and theological entries in my journals and here. Why me? Well, where did Socrates go to college? Sometimes there’s a diamond but mostly drivel. I jostle between formal and slang here. It shows my moodiness. I’m black and white and multicolored and trans-dimensional. EMAIL came along in the ’90s. Everyone I sent. War and Peace. I could type something here and someone else could see it there? Amazing! He’s long-winded they’d say.
But guess what. Due to lack of paying attention in HS, my grammar was/is horrific. One merely has to read this blog to find mountains of evidence. It gives me fits. Discipline! Discipline! However, to the shock and awe of many, I did learn to type with all my fingers. I fold my arms and give a highly sophisticated

when I see the Neanderthal hunter-pecker desperate with his two fingers concentrating heavily ..shift, bink, bonk, curplunk, oopsy. So beneath me! I, who types with ten twitching at 35wpm about the universe!
Writing an epic fantasy fiction: something that requires discipline. Why did the muse strike me dumbfounded and say, “Here It’ll take more brains than you have, more talent than you have and more discipline …oh wait a second…you don’t have any discipline. Do you have any songs to be sung in my great halls? 35wpm? Get busy! Oh, by the way, have you met Goliath?”
Um…I have a sling shot…

With that echoing…
During my hiatus, I lit the candles at night. I didn’t shave much. I drank coffee and green tea. I got up early. I read huge chunks of the Bible. I watched an epic Russian made movie based in 1610. I walked. I jotted down notes. I pounded the keys. I tinkered and tinkered and then tweaked and tweaked what I’ve already written in Part II (I’ve left Part I alone but have some wrinkles to put in and others to smooth out) I had/have lots of problems with Part II of the book, good problems. A traffic jam of ideas. Now, I have them in a semblance of order like a buffet line. I have a track/outline to follow. But, it’s like following a road on a foggy night. The headlights are dim, Hans Zimmer is in my mp3 player and I’m checking the map. That’s one thing that describes writing my book. There’s a myriad of wisdom I’ve read about writing. I used to think it was like trudging up a hill or mountain and I’d be finished at the top. Nope. Not really. What I’m doing is more like crossing the Serengeti and Himalayas…on foot…with a flint rock…dried meat, and a spear. Checking now for sabre tooth wolf-lions and lurkadons. My characters are with me in this darkness, searching for the light just like you are: The oracle, the temple whore, the weapons master, the old sage (master of the creed), the lion killer etc. and so is every lily pad of the influence in my mind like the lily pads floating on the Mississippi. I cannot for the life of me tell which influence has the most control but that mystery is what writes the story. My job is to sell it. Not to make you adore it, but believe it. It’s all there floating on the dip and swell of the flow in my undisciplined bewildered mind. It’s the reason you roam the bookstore. It’s the reason you go to the movies. Escape and find truth.
Tis why I must stay away from here and get this Ring at least halfway to Mount Doom.

Tis my holy chore to make that escape and that truth worth your time.

Major Milestone

March 14, 2013 2 comments

Monday night March 11, 2013 at 11:19 p.m. I finished the sixth draft of Blood & Soul two days passed my revised goal. Using Goudy Old Style font 12 double spaced, it’s 530 pages and 143,000 words.

This is a huge step for me as a writer. This is the most complete manuscript I’ve ever had. The drafts before this were like the Florida Keys, detached swaths of story islands, ideas, hybrid synopsis, and character notes. There’s still a tiny fraction of that in this manuscript but if you read it, you would definitely see a story, plot, and character arc. All the “islands” are connected now. Being exhausted near the end of the manuscript, writing quality suffers a bit at the end, but I got all the foundational stuff in or at least represented.

Next I’ll put it in a spiral binding and read it and make notes about the story structure. Then I’ll read it for sentences and wording, as in, can I make the dialogue snappier, the setting more alive, descriptions better. Also, decide if I want to write the narrative with or without contractions i.e. “do not” as opposed to “don’t.”

Late summer of ’12 was the original finish line for this draft, but, alas, some things happened that I had no control over that had a major impact on my time and peace of mind. Having learned not to predict when I’ll be done, I type this will fear and trembling that I hope to publish on Kindle, Nook, and other outlets before the end of the year. That publication of Blood & Soul will kick-off the Creed of King’s Saga.

P.S. I have my eye on NaNoWriMo this year.

To The Moon & Back

 Ares I-X launches from Kennedy Space Center la...


Compared to the overall page length, I’m in the last few pages of writing the 6th draft of Blood & Soul. I left the launch pad like an Apollo rocket blazing into the blue. Most of the energy for going to the moon is used in the launch. In this last stage, I feel like I’m parachuting in from orbit for a splash-down in the ocean. I’m mentally exhausted. I need a rest when I finish this draft!

Hipsters are Trendy

The most predictable people in the world are those desperate to be like no one else. They confuse separateness with originality. I was watching the hipsters gather at the coffee shop tonight. They were bringing their instruments and wearing vans, and t-shirts with ironic statements—I don’t think a one of them weighed over 180, thrift wear, tight pants, and tight jackets included sopping wet. One guy had a short hairstyle reminiscent of a sixties supermodel – you know… the silhouette of his head would look like a light bulb. Most of the hairstyles worn seemed to consider grooming too trendy.

I guess the whole idea of the hipster’s outfit and hair is to show solidarity with the homeless while paying $6.95 for a latte. It’s too mainstream to pay that much at Starbucks.

I’ve been haunting this downtown area for a while now. I’ve noticed a couple of retro looking SUV‘s. One has a Che Guevara bumper sticker; the other has a Darwin sticker—the one where the fish has legs. Wow, that is so avant-garde. Each of these hipster haulers has the assorted and very typical array of leftist bumper stickers—so original.

I pack up my laptop and I leave. As I walk out the door, I begin to connect the dots. There on the road are these two SUV’s with these skinny young men trying to haul pieces of their disassembled drum set into the coffee shop. I gazed at the stickers and gazed at the hipsters.



As you can see down there over to the right, I had a goal. This is not a complaint or a pity party, just reality. Since becoming a full-time employee on Aug. 2nd, my writing time has been utterly demolished. My peak time, most creative time, is in the morning. from about 6AM to 1PM. I guess it’s…the coffee, the relaxed energy, yet coziness of those hours. The day feels new and blooming.

I’m trying to cope with the loss of that time slot and trying to reset my creative clock. So far it’s been brutal. I’ve accomplished NOTHING in the last three weeks after a great surge from April to mid July. Looks like I will need to reset my clock for 3:45PM to 9PM. I hate writing during that time. I’m quite dull by that time of day.
My goal is/was to finish the first complete installment/novel of the epic series by November. I don’t know how I’m going to do that given the monumental task of writing and the almost equally monumental task of marketing and artwork etc…the list seems endless of things unknown authors MUST do. So, I’ve kinda retreated a bit to gather my internal forces while I figure out another strategy.
It’s very costly for a writer to back off of the story when in the middle of it. Returning is like visiting long-lost friends or relatives. One has to reacquaint with the heroes and villains, plots and twists, scenes and themes, dialog and action. And, when spinning as many plates as I am in this story and life that is extremely challenging.
  CLICK the image below to see the sequence books I have planned for the saga.

No Other Greatness

July 3, 2012 2 comments

This entry’s last line reminded me of the title of the book I’m working on. So, I thought I would, just for fun, throw in revision one of the visual concept, that is, the logo.

I’m getting older, which means I need to get over vanity and the insanity of impulses. I need to move from the blind side of sought and the wrong side of is to ought. I’m on a journey out of the naivete of youth into the youth of my old age. But wonder resides and spills from the cloven seasons of my heart, even as I laugh, life moves in for the kill.

What was the future is beyond my furrowed brow, but somehow, brightness shines in the valleys between far away thrills, bridging the distance of that old resistance in an instance, to other hidden fields. The wonders of pain and stain, of sunshine and gain are all in the palm of my gazing mind, reshaping, improving thoughts that were blind or unkind. With a thought quick as a glance, smooth as a changing stance, leaping on the tip of icebergs galore, foundations of floating depth explored.

I’m not what I pretended, less than I intended and far less than I apprehended. There is grander I cannot grasp, a pleasant and powerful undercurrent to life parallels its misery, sensed only with my meager knack to detect wonder, I stand astride two destinies still, one good, one nil.

I believe Truth is more ancient than light and rolls out through the ephemeral world like waves with such force I crouch to the deck on my squeaky little life ship. There is more air than I can ever breathe more sun than I can ever soak up or see.

Think of no other riches than those of the heart. Life takes its toll but strive for no other greatness than that of soul.

%d bloggers like this: