Monday, August 15, 2011

Announcement: Hiatus

So.  This has been a while coming.

I am officially on hiatus, and working on some other projects.  I have learned, above all, that I don't have anything to say here that will help anyone or assist anyone in any way, and I have found other outlets for these bursts of ideas and my undying need to express my feelings in words.  I made a promise to myself that I would start a blog once I finished a book, but nothing has come of either the book or the blog, and I have forgotten what it is I was trying to do here.  I have not run out of things to talk about, but I have come to the conclusion that there is no market or need for what I have to say.  I'm trying some other things in some other markets, and if I ever gain any attention in those fields or if I learn something that I want to share, I'll come back to blogging.  But until then, I'm going to focus on the craft, and not about spreading the word about a writer who doesn't even have any published works.

I'll still be updating my novel on Youpublish every Wednesday, and if you're interested you can still find my daily prompt on, /r/promptoftheday.  

I thank the few of you who have visited the site over the months, even as I have the feeling that these words will never actually be read.  The few comments I have received have really kept me going, and I appreciate the time invested by every single person who has stopped by.  I'll be back!  I just don't know when.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Patience.  Patience is never something I've been good at.  Especially when I have something to look forward to.

I'm writing two books right now, editing one, and putting the last one online, a chapter every week.  Of the novels I'm working on, one is being written directly in response to a 'calling for submissions' website that looked like something I could break into, and the other has been left hanging more than once because I have no solid plans for it after it's finished.

I feel like I'm being left behind.  I don't have any finished novels, nothing that I can take and show people that is my best, publishable work, and I feel that it's really working against me right now.  The rise of the e-book means that I don't need to go through a real publisher, and there are 'publishing houses' springing up everywhere for these kinds of things that I cannot be a part of just because I haven't finished anything yet.  I always promised myself that I would not publish anything that wasn't my best work, but here I am self publishing entire chapters of my novel that have only gone through one edit and forsaking the novel that I need to write in order to try and rush through a novel to get it published somewhere else.

What do I do about this?  I don't want to be left behind.  I don't want to be standing here next year, wishing that I had taken chances and put my work out there with confidence instead of waiting for it to be perfect and missing the boat.

I'm at an impasse, and it feels like most people are choosing the way that I am hesitant to take.  I have always wanted to be published traditionally.  I am not in this for the money.  If I was, I like to think that I could make it.  Maybe that's a lie, maybe I couldn't, but I would like to think so.  I'm in it because I want the recognition from my peers that I am worthy to be published.  Doing it myself is robbing of me of everything I ever wanted as a child, as a high-schooler, as a young adult.

So, what do you have to say?  Do you council patience?  Or should I try and get everything to an acceptable level so I can publish it as quickly as possible, and try to build up a base I have yet to have any luck with?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Surprise Vacation

I was away on vacation for a week in sunny Minnesota (just kidding... it wasn't sunny) and plum forgot to tell anyone that I was leaving.

So, oops!  Sorry!  I'm back now, and I'm back to my schedule of updating approximately three days a week.  I did publish a chapter of my novel while I was there, which you can find here if you so choose to check it out.  It's totally 100% free, so please, take a look.  This is my experiment with learning to edit, so I'm offering this book for free the entire way through the process.  After each of the chapters has been edited I'm going to offer the book for free on every platform I can, just to get it out there.

While on vacation, I read a book by John Truby called The Anatomy of Story, and I cannot recommend it enough for writers or screenwriters or playwrights or anyone else who needs to tell stories.  It's a book about formula, but formula that works because of the emotional highs and lows that are necessary to bring the audience closer to your story and your characters.  I've never been one to like tropes.  I despise cliches, and I try to never use them in my writing.  But there is a reason that there are cliches and tropes, and really, this book opened my eyes to the fact that the audience expects certain things, and the emotional points are set in a story in such a way as to maximize the audience participation.

I learned, also, that I have some natural talent as a writer, but no formal training.  No one ever taught me how to write novels, I taught myself.  I am also slowly teaching myself to edit.  The things in the book that he covers, like the three ways to begin a story, I was already aware of, but I didn't know their names.  A lot of the way I write is based on gut feelings and instincts, which are pretty good for someone with no training.  But they can be improved greatly.  The book also gives examples from books and movies to emphasize the lessons, and it's a huge help to read a section on say, character, and then to read about how a movie you're seen or a book you've read shows perfectly the lesson he's trying to teach.  It makes me want to watch The Godfather, even though it's a movie I don't know if I can stomach, just to see how excellently all the parts flow together.

I'm also reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce.  I've never read Joyce.  In fact, I've read very little of anyone from that time in history.  I've always seen that in order to write, you must read, and I never quite understood that.  I read.  I love to read, and I always have.  But Joyce is challenging my mind, and I've never quite read a book like it.  Ulysses is on my list eventually, but maybe after I read some Woolf or some Faulkner or both.  I need to read the books that have made an impact on literature, not just the stories in genres that I enjoy reading.  I've always read for pleasure, now I need to read to see how the masters of my craft do it, and to try and learn what they do so I can do it also.

I know, I know, these all seem like revelations that I should have had already, as a writer.  I've been writing my whole life, and just now I realize that I need to read the masters and learn why each part of a story matters?  It's silly to me too, but now that I know it's something that won't soon be forgotten.  I can't just write books, I need to work on my craft, and make my writing better.  I'm filled with a new desire and determination!  I will be the best I can be, and I am willing to put in the work to get there.

Sorry for dropping off the face of the earth for a week.  It wasn't intentional.  But it's not like it really matters anyway, right?  I'm talking to myself, here.