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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beginning Again

Put in about six hours since my last update. Got super drunk Friday which meant no writing on Saturday. Put in my time today though.

Got another 5 book bloggers on my list to hit up when this book comes out. All I'm waiting on now is the cover. Really getting tired of waiting. Really getting tired of writing about getting tired of waiting. Just want it to be out.

I started a new book this past week, and I don't want to say this is the hardest beginning I've ever had, because I do remember deleting like 15,000 words in two different novels--but it is certainly tough. I stopped during my period of writing twice today, for like ten minutes, and thought whether or not I could write a book like this. I kept writing, but I'm still not sure. 

I'm about a thousand words in, and the book will be at least 70,000 words, with perhaps multiple volumes to complete it. This will probably be the biggest thing I've attempted yet, but that doesn't scare me. That's not why I'm doubting this.

I'm unsure how it's going to play out. The beginning and the end are solid in my mind, as they always are when I start a novel--but the whole middle piece is a cloud. The idea of being able to turn this into something exciting, because believe me--it seems like much of the middle has to be dull as of right now--is beyond daunting. 

I'm going to write on it some more this week. There's a character I'm developing that I think I've already fallen in love with, partly because he's the only character that is based largely off of me--or rather, what I wish I could be. I don't want to just give up on it, because I remember feeling much the same with the other three novels I wrote in the beginning. A vague uneasiness that there is no way I can put this all onto paper. Or the computer screen, I suppose.

I'm going to plug away, and hopefully my mind is able to grasp the words that will get this thing out of my head. If not, I'll be pretty disappointed.

I really like falling in love with myself, and such.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Importance of Connections

Four hours so far this week. I'm considering by the domain name Would revamp the site, and all that good stuff, but I think it might be necessary. Running this thing off blogspot is nice and easy, but I can't do everything I want with the site. Just a thought.

I'm a believer that connections are everything. They're at least as important as talent. More important than hard work. In life, when you break everything down to the fundamentals, all you really have is connections. Friendships, lovers, family, colleagues. Everything builds from that. 

Don't believe me? Piss off a teacher in school and see how much extra help you get. Become a teacher's pet and see how much you improve in a year. You're route in life, from a very early age, is determined by the relationships you form.

This is a problem for me. Two things bug me above all else: rudeness and stupidity. I'm not always the most tactful person, but I honestly try to treat people with respect. When someone doesn't do that though, either to me or to someone else that I know, it's hard for me to hold my tongue. It's hard for me not to snap back. 

A mid level exec once told me that if you want to move forward in business (or life), someone has to be able to come into your office, take a shit on your desk, and you have to be able to smile and say thanks. I'm working on this, but it's tough. I won't go into my horrible psychology that makes me nearly unable to tolerate that behavior, but it's important that I get rid of it. It's important that even when disrespected, I respond with respect and not anger.

Because, what we're talking about here, are relationships. We're talking about future friends and acquaintances. We're talking about book sales. We're talking about furthering ourselves in life. I'm 26, and I don't know much about the world, but I believe that to be true. 

You can do nothing without other's investment, and to get that investment, you have to build relationships. You have to deal with rude people; you have to deal with stupidity. This might seem a bit Randian, or Darwinistic, that I'm saying we build relationships to further ourselves--but if you don't think that's true, then I'm not sure you're thinking about this the right way. Even with love, we are trying to find happiness, so we build a world with someone else who will help fulfill this happiness. It's self interest that does it. 

Build relationships, do it genuinely whenever possible, and fake it if you have to. But build them. Have someone that you can call for any situation and know that they'll answer. Be the person that someone can call in any situation, and make sure you answer. It's the only way to move ahead.

And remember to smile.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How I Wrote It

Tomorrow the editing begins. I'm ready for it. Ready to be done with this, ready to be put it out into the world. Ready to hear some form of feedback. 

I have other book ideas, but pushing those out aren't really concerning me right now. Having this done, that is all that really matters. 

I'm trying to setup book tours right now. One author emailed over 500 book bloggers. I'm going through a company to do it--I'm going to outsource until it gets to expensive to do so.

Onto today's topic.

For writers, I think there is a certain uncertainty when it comes to the specific way they write. I know there was for me for a long time. Actually, up until this novel I did not figure out the way that I write best. I've been writing since I was nineteen and I wrote this novel at the ripe, old age of 25. That's six years of writing, plus serious studying of how other writers completed their works. 

So I figure, I'll lay out my path to completing a novel in case anyone is ever interested. It took two novels for me to get there, two novels and another writer beating the shit out of me every time I let him look at a piece of my work. All I cared about was pushing out ideas, getting them on paper as fast as I could, and moving onto next. This led to a prolific amount of words, but quite a few of them were horrible.

So when I sat down to write this novel, I said: Beers, you gotta slow down. How can you make yourself slow down? 

The answer was easy. Write with a blindfold over your eyes. 

I kid, I kid.

What I did was write two pages. Then I went back and hand wrote those two pages, then typed them back up. 

That didn't work either. It kept breaking the creative process, so by the time I finished rewriting, I had forgotten where in the hell the chapter was headed. So I needed a way to slow down and to keep the creativity flowing.

I decided to do the same thing, but with chapters. As I was writing, I read a book by Joe Hill, and at the end he said he had five drafts for the thing. The most I had ever done was two, and that's what I appeared to be doing now.

What did that tell me? I wasn't slowing down enough. 

Currently, I was typing out a chapter, handwriting, and then retyping it in. I decided to add two more steps to it. Once I had retyped the chapter, I printed it out, read it over and made corrections on paper. Then I put the corrections back in. Finally, I read the chapter aloud, making corrections there.

I did that through 70,000 words. Each chapter constructed by itself, my mind almost lost in it--but I think somewhere the rest of the story was working its way out in the back of my mind. Truly, it was the easiest plotting I ever did. Chapter after chapter just came next, without me actually sitting down and writing a single word of plot out (I don't care what anyone says, plotting is the devil). What's crazy, is that it didn't take much editing of the whole book to make the whole plot fit--the pieces just fell where they should, and I think that's because I immersed myself in each chapter and allowed my brain to work through the rest while I was focusing elsewhere.

It took a lot longer to write this one, but I think the end result is a lot better.

Oh yeah, once I finished it, I went back and edited it once more.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Two Reviews and a Quid Pro Quo

I'm looking for some help: I need some people to help me write the 'back of the book' or basically the blurb describing what the book is about. If you're interested in this, I'll buy you a paperback copy of the book and sign it--like that's worth something right? I'm not looking for tons of people, but perhaps two. The first two people to shoot me an email (, comment on here, or contact me in any other way will get the free signed copies, and then once I've made  a few mil, you can sell them for a couple grand. Sounds fair to everyone right? Okay, onto the blog.

Haven't written anything outside of this blog in two weeks. Will start the last round of edits on my novel, Dead Religion, Monday. Hopefully will be done in two weeks. Another week for formatting, then publishing.

A friend of mine that blogs at Meet My Husband told me she felt nervous about her first blog post. Nervous about reaction, about what people think. I'm fairly sure that every writer feels what they've written is excellent, perfecto, friendo. I've edited work that made me want to sand paper my eyeballs it was so bad, but the author thought it was good. Loved it, in fact. Still though, no matter how much we believe in our work--there's always that fear that others will hate it. That other's will think were a fraud, cheap, not worth the time. 

I told her it never left. I also told her that's how you know you care about your fans.

I had two reviews on my writing this past week. One was a comment on this blog: I wish you luck with the writing. You're going to need it. 

There are two ways that can be read: A) I'm horrible, and need a lot of luck, or B) it's a hard racket. I imagine the guy meant A, and honestly, it bothered me a bit. Not a whole lot, but it always makes you wonder--is he right? Am I that bad?

The next day my editor turned my book back into me. This was her comment on the novel: First, let me say that I enjoyed this very much. You are very good at anticipation and suspense. Even if I hadn’t been reading this as a proofreader, I would have to’ve finished just to see how it ends, how any of these people were going to make it out of this situation. Then, of course, [redacted]. WTF? You have a wicked clever imagination and can put down a good story. I was invested til the end.

That's a stronger reaction than I could hope for. So in under twenty four hours I was shit and good. I almost wrote that I'm not sure how to take that, but I am. Fuck that other guy.

The book though, I was worried, because it's tricky. The timeline in it doesn't follow chronologically. It switches back and forth between the present, the past, and the deep past--almost at whim. I don't 'time stamp' it, meaning give you a direct mention that says: HEY, THIS TAKES PLACE IN THIS PAST, or, THIS IS HAPPENING NOW. There's a subtle clue at the beginning of each switch, but that's it--the reader must keep two stories simulataneously in his mind. This worried me, whether I would lose the reader or not. 

The editor had this to say on it: Time stamps. I actually liked that you didn’t put dates for each scene that went to the past or the future, or [redacted] time that is future from [redacted{. That was part of the interesting part of trying to figure out what was going on. Some editors might insist on putting those in, since that’s the way it’s usually done. I hope you’re able to go with your gut on that.

I'm going to go with my gut and leave it the way it is. There's no real reason for it other than it feels right--it gives the story more of an 'epic' feeling, I think. 

I have no idea if this thing is going to sell beyond my friends. I'm going to bust my ass, have busted my ass, but that might not mean much. Luck comes into play--people's willingness to spread the word as well. All in all though, I feel pretty good about what I've heard so far.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Where has PhilaLawyer Gone?

This is an angry, pissed off letter to a man I do not know, nor will ever know, and morally have no right to be mad at. In fact, my moral compass says I have no place to tell him what to do at all, and am an asshole for doing this. What's more, I'm poking a stick at a lion, someone that could wipe me up with his shoes if he wanted. But Fuck It. He's slacked for too goddamn long.

A few times in life you come across someone's writing that means something. Someone that has something to say, and can say it so powerfully, it should be criminal for his words not to be forced into everyone's hands. That's not enough though. He has to come around at a time when he is needed. When society is ripe and ready to hear his words, to take them to heart, to change.

I thought I had found this man with PhilaLawyer. He writes an anonymity because of his scouring remarks on the legal profession, and as far as I know, there aren't even any pictures of him. I read his blog around 2006/7ish. Got his book in 2008. Based LIFE-FUCKING-DECISIONS off his book. Don't regret them in the slightest; the words he wrote were able to steer me through some decisions and I would never be where I am right now without having read Happy Hour is for Amateurs: A Lost Decade in the World's Worst Profession. If you haven't read that book yet, do it. Order it now (hence the link). It will change your life, or it should--and if it doesn't, you have some serious work to do.

So this guy writes a good amount on his blog. Puts out a book that deeply impacted a good number of people.

Then...he's put out about 29 blog posts since 2010.

A good many of them are humor pieces--such as The Bush Deficit.While this is more clever than most comics on Comedy Central; it is, in the end, somewhat a waste of his time. I wouldn't even give a shit, honestly, if he was producing material that was changing the world--as he is certainly capable of doing. He could talk about anything he fucking wanted as long as he put a book out more than once a decade. I might even let the man sleep with my future wife.

PhilaLawyer has a purpose here, and while I don't know this man's personal schedule, nor the constraints on his time--I do know that in no way should it take someone that has his gift of words this long to string together 70,000 of them. This is a time where we need thinkers, leaders, and people that get it to fucking step up and begin demanding that someone notice.

I'm an ideologue, and PhilaLawyer would most likely say something to the tune of: "wanting the perfect keeps us from ever even getting to the good." Fine. Fine. Fine. Then help us get to the goddamn good. Help us do something besides your once a month posts on a law website. 

Wherever this guy is, and whatever he's doing: HE NEEDS TO PICK IT THE FUCK UP. Start writing. Start changing things. Whatever is making you wait, put it aside, so that you can help this shitty place move forward.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Where Ideas Come From

So there's not much to write at the moment. I'm spending a lot of time scouring the internet, finding forums, and the like. Obviously much of this to build a platform, but I'm finding I actually enjoy it. Reading what others have to say on literature, or interacting with strangers on twitter, or asking questions that haven't been thought of yet all have their own satisfaction. I'm enjoying it and don't mind it one bit at all. 

I wanted to write a post on something I've been asked about a few times, and something that I don't really have to think about much--it just happens: where the stories come from. For the past fourteen months or so I have very few ideas for new novels. By very few, I mean I've had three. In the past week though, since I've known I was wrapping up Dead Religion, I've had maybe five ideas. 

It's like my mind knows where the creative energy needs to be going and when it needs to be going there. When I'm writing on a large piece, virtually nothing comes to me in the form of ideas for new work. When I'm done, everything I look at becomes a story. I was walking through the Air and Space Museum, and saw some of the old WWII uniforms. A story hit me at the site of them.

I think, though, that the most important--the strongest stories, for me at least--come from songs. Dead Religion was inspired from Hotel California. The line that says "you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave." That one line spawned a 71,000 word novel. Things changed, and the story expanded in ways I never knew when I heard that line, but the basic story is still here. 

Regina Spektor's Samson is definitely a novel that I'm going to write. It's one of the most beautiful and powerful songs I've ever heard, and made me think about Delilah, the biblical character, in a much different fashion.

My next book came from one line from AWOLNATION: kill your heroes. I'm still working out a lot of shit in my mind about it, but the underlying meaning of those words has a really good story in it.

I can put on Snow Patrol's Eyes Open CD and there is literally a story in every song.

A line from The Killers still sticks with me, but I haven't been able to find out the story behind it yet: they say the devil's water, it ain't so sweet, but you don't have to drink right now.

I'm not sure how my mind does this. I'm not sure if it makes me more or less creative, given that I'm using ideas others have already spun to create novels. There's not a lot I can do about it, either way.

So, according to this one post, I have about 4 novels to write. 

I'm okay with a back list.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First Draft Done

Put in about another nine hours over the past week. Didn't do much at all on the weekend, or Friday. 

Finished a book called Indie Publishing, helped some in the marketing realm and a lot in the publishing realm.

So, the first draft (which really means 6th) is done. I sent it to my editor this morning, and she is going to be the first person to read the thing. I'm nervous. Before writing those two words, I thought if that's what I meant, and I don't think it is. I'm fucking scared. I spent about fourteen months working on this thing. I gave up a lot of time that could have been spent with those I care about, and I put my heart into this thing. I cried at parts when writing and was genuinely scared at others. All of that is a very womanesque way of saying that I put a lot of work into it. I gave it my best.

Now the first person is going to read it and that's going to be a gauge of how well I did. There's going to be a lot more work to put into it, probably another 30-60 hours once her edit is done, but the core of the book is there. The story is told. It either works or it doesn't.

That's scary. 

It worked for me though. 

That's not enough to allow me to do this for a living, but it's still something.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Short Stories

Put in another 4 hours over the past few days.

This will be a brief post. My friend, Mister Grider--also marketing guru, told me that I should begin making this a central hub for my writing endeavors. I was planning on doing this, but was dragging my feet. Mister Grider decided I would no longer drag them.

So if you look at the top, you'll see a new page called stories. I wrote short stories for probably three years before I attempted my first novel. I have a lot of them, some good, a lot horrible. Since I started writing novels I haven't written many shorts, but I want to change that. I'm finishing up the novel here shortly, and in the time between getting this one and beginning my next one (which a song from AWOLNATION, Kill Your Heroes, inspired), I'm going to write some more shorts. Most of them are horror, although sometimes I'll venture into the world of romance.

Anyways, feel free to peruse. If you wanna donate a quarter or something, feel free to do that as well. If you wanna share them, or leave a comment--all is welcome. I have nearly a thousand hits on this blog, and only one comment--not sure what the means. Starting a convo is always good; so if you're lurking and disagree, agree, think I should shut the fuck up, or that I'm a horrible writer: tell me. I'd love to hear any of it.
Just don't talk shit about Ron Paul, bro.