Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's Tough Waiting - Meanwhile

I'm in the queue for the editor I picked to begin work on REDEMPTION ON THE RIVER; she told me she expects to begin working on it in November.  In the meantime, I've been doing a number of things.

First, I entered a contest at Red Adept Reviews, namely their Worst Ending to a Novel contest.  I'm proud (?) to report that my entry in the horror genre garnered second place, and my entry in the Romance Category earned a fourth.  That and $5 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, but it was fun.

Second, I've been editing an old short story of mine called IAN'S MINE, which is encouraging from the fact that it appears, at least to me, that my writing is much improved from when I wrote it.  I may offer it up for free if & when REDEMPTION ON THE RIVER launches.

Third,  I've been toying with a new novel concept.  With a working title of KANSAS, it will be set in—wait for it—Kansas, in the 1850's.  It's a very dynamic and bloody period in US history and I have the two main characters in my head, but no semblance of a plot as yet.  I have vague ideas, but thus far they take up less than a page in my Moleskine notebook.  Inspiration has yet to strike in a major way.

I think a big reason for lack of motivation for Novel #2 is the hiatus that REDEMPTION ON THE RIVER is currently in.  Laurie Rosin, my editor, advised me to not begin another book as she wishes me to save all my creative energy for rewriting RotR once her edit is finished and returned to me.  She also tells me to only look at Redemption when I want to, as opposed to when I feel like I must, and this is resulting in a very spotty self-edit of version 10.3.  It also causes guilt when I consider Kansas.

Sigh.  As the title of this post states— it's tough waiting.

Here's a picture of the sunrise that I took yesterday from the cockpit on descent into Miami after an all-nighter from Seattle:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

eBook Review - THE JACKPOT

I've recently been exploring the world of inexpensive, self-published eBooks, and while for the most part they have been better than expected, none have measured up to what one expects from a traditionally published novel that has made it through the filtering process of agents, publishers, editors, etc.  Happily, I just read one that does measure up.

THE JACKPOT by David Kazzie  is a first-rate contemporary thriller.  A janitor wins a $450 million dollar lottery, goes to a prestigious law firm for legal advice, and everyone from his 'friends' to his enemies to his lawyers begin to realize just how much money that is and what they could do with it.  Plot twists keep coming and I never was able to predict the ending.

I couldn't find a single flaw so endemic of self-pubbed ebooks—no typos, formatting errors, misspellings, etc.  The author has written an excellent novel and presented it in a thoroughly professional manner.  

I gave THE JACKPOT five stars at Apple's iBook Store; my first five star eBook review.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Funny - So You Want To Write a Novel?

This video hits so close to home it hurts:  So You Want to Write a Novel?

Yes, I wanted to write a novel and I have done so, but I hope it's been with a little more awareness than the wannabe in the video.  Gotta love his optimism, though.

It's interesting also in that the video was uploaded in November of 2010 and is obviously oriented towards traditional publishing as the knowledgable character refers to query letters, agents, and Big 6 publishers.  Now, less than a year later, the video's creator has epublished his first novel.  The times are a'changin'—fast.

At David Kazzie's blog he announces the availability of his new book, THE JACKPOT.  I just happened to have finished my last ebook and figured I would support Mr. Kazzie in return for the great video, so I bought it for my iPad from the iBook store.

With regard to the self-published, low-price ebooks that I've been reading lately, I have to say that on the whole they've been better than expected, but I have yet to come across one that I would heartily recommend.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

1,000 Miles on My Bike

Okay, this is off of the usual writing topics, but today I passed the 1,000 mile mark on my bike.

I got it last August for exercise because my right knee is pretty rickety, and I enjoy it far more than I expected.  Now I ride it more for errands and practical use than just riding it to ride it.  For example, I rode it this morning for a blood test then this afternoon to the shooting range, then to stop off at the local brewpub to have our growler refilled.

More on the local brewpub later, it's definitely worth a post, but for now here's a link to a bicycle blog that I like:  Lovely Bicycle.

Also, my daughter and her best friend are eating crow (whether they know it or not) because of their predictions that I would buy the bike, ride it for a few weeks, and park it in the garage to gather dust.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Flash Fiction Contest

I came across a Flash Fiction Writing contest the other day, which is something I'd not heard about before.  (There are many things I've not heard about.)  Austin Briggs offers a monthly contest where entrants respond to a prompt with a 55-word-maximum story.  Yes, 55 words max.  It intrigued me, and on a deadhead leg from Las Vegas home to Seattle I wrote two.

Mr. Briggs further requires a setting,  one or more characters, some conflict, and a resolution.  Oh yes, the title can be no more than seven words, and it does not count toward the 55 word maximum.

It certainly causes one to focus on what's important and agonize over each word chosen or struck out.  In that way it reminds me of my 10+ drafts of Redemption on the River, and the word count reduction from 220,000+ to the current 155,000.  Yes, I've agonized over each and every word of the whole manuscript over and over again.

My entries are The Red Balloon and Kick Me, but rather than show them here I'll link to the Mr. Briggs' September Flash Fiction Contest.  Oh, yes, he also offers a cash prize to the winner.

P.S.  One more thing:  I like the looks of his book Five Dances With Death, and have added it to my eBook List.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bucket List Items - One & Done, or New Vocation?

I've never had a bucket list, at least in the sense of actually writing things down.  That said, there are certainly things that I’ve always wanted to do and rather assumed that someday I'd get around to them.  Come to think of it, maybe I have had a bucket list, just in nebulous form.
Why bring this up?
I’m wondering how often a bucket list item, once accomplished, leads to a new hobby, a new job, or a new way of life.
For example, I’ve always had a vague desire to climb Mt Rainier, and I may do so some day.  If I do, I really doubt that it will lead me to take up mountain climbing.  In this particular case it is due to advancing middle age, accumulating nagging injuries, and the suspicion that I won’t enjoy it all that much.  Still, the mountain is there so I’d like to climb it, and if I do accomplish the feat I will likely just check it off the list, start pounding ibuprofen, and never do the like again.
My bucket-list writing of a novel, however, has the potential to be a game-changer.  I’ve always liked to write, and over the years I mustered the motivation to write and sell a few magazine articles as well as crank out an annual Christmas letter.  But, in the back of my mind lurked the thought that I should bestir myself and write a novel, and in 2007 I actually began.  I gave myself one year to write it, the first draft was complete after 14 months (not bad, really), I revised up to a third draft, then let it simmer for over a year, and took it up again in the summer of 2010.
I really, really like working on it.  So much so that, although it’s an extremely intimidating thought to think of writing another, I may do so.  Writing is at the very least a new hobby and could very will morph into something bigger.
How often do bucket-list items, once accomplished, become life changers?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Impotence of Proofreading

As posted earlier I've hired an editor, but Laurie is a developmental editor who I hope and expect will do great things to improve my book in terms of the telling-of-the-tale.  She's not a proofreader, which I expect to need once I've produced my best self-polished revision based on Laurie's inputs.

As I understand it, a poofreader is a poison who catches catches misteaks in a banuscript.

So, without further ado, a YouTube video that I discovered via a KindleBoards Author's Cafe post, The Impotence of Proofreading:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blog as Journal

This blog is going to move beyond its original purpose, which was to act as a kind of journal of the gestation of my work in progress, Redemption on the River (former working title:  Overboard).  Now I'm going to use it as my general write-about-what's-interesting to me build-it-and-they-will-come (maybe) blog, which will be focused mainly on books and writing, but will have plentiful dollops of other stuff thrown in.  We'll see how it goes.

So, what is the status of the (formerly) Secret Project?

First, the title is almost certainly finalized as Redemption on the River.  It's fairly short, rolls off the tongue reasonably well, and I believe it makes for a good four-word representation of the story.

Second,  I will almost certainly pursue electronic rather than traditional publishing.  There are many reasons for this, and I plan to discuss them in a future postt.

Third, I just completed incorporating the red-ink changes that resulted from three complete, beginning-to-end self-edits of version 10.0.  The changes are not significant to the story, but Chapter 2 is tightened up, some redundancies are gone, and a number of pesky adverbs no longer clutter things up.  The word count dropped from 156,408 to 154,867, a reduction of 1,541.

I have christened the new draft as version 10.3.  Although the changes make the book incrementally better, they are not really significant.  I have been through it so many times the words are starting to wear grooves in my brain.  I am going to do my best to leave it alone for a while, although it will be hard to wait until editor Laurie Rosin gets to it in November.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shifting Gears

I've given myself a new title - Author.  Given that I consider that I've written a book I consider myself worthy to assume the mantle.  Of course, said mantle has nothing to do with the quality of said book - folks who produce crap as still authors.

I'm also planning to shift the orientation of the blog to focus more on writing about and discussing things that interest me.  It reflects the fact the my book is no longer a Secret Project, and the blog is no longer primarily to document its long gestation.

After some thought I decided to keep the backlog of posts that go back to—gulp—2007.  Many of them cause my toes to curl, but they do give a history of my big project.  I've learned a ton since then, my writing is much better (I think), and I hope that this blog grows from its original very narrow focus.

So, changes in format and subject matter are forthcoming, but right now son Spence is Skyping me and I have to go.