April 28, 2011

Blog, boring blog.

      As I look around, I notice everyone has pretty pictures and drawings, even pie charts on their blogs. Look at mine. *Sigh*. So, just for the heck of it, I played with a photo program and "painted" a picture of one of my characters. If you happen to stumble upon this blog, leave me a comment and let me know what this picture portrays to you. (Eg. does she look like a mean little spit monster? Is she solemn, innocent?)

April 26, 2011


 There's a new community page on FB for aspiring authors. They're trying to get up the number of followers so they can start hosting contests. Check em out at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aspiring-Authors/180738718640198 and "like".

April 20, 2011

Why I have no fingernails

      I just converted my manuscript into pdf and sent it away to a few beta readers. Now I wait. I hate this part.  I sit idly by while my "precious" is picked apart by test readers. It's nerve wracking! I'd compare using beta readers to exposing yourself in public. I just want to climb inside their heads and pull out the files on my book. I'm just thankful it doesn't take nearly as long to read something as it does to write it. I would be bald by then!!

April 17, 2011

Greatest Advice

    Just moments ago, I was speaking to a close friend about all these big decisions I'm struggling to make. She said something I will never forget.
    "You do realize ur not in control right? The story is using you to make itself exist. Not the other way around." - A.V.

April 12, 2011

Book Reviews

    I know I harp a lot on here about preparing yourself for all the rejection letters, only because I've made a real effort to do that myself. Once you've stepped past the gates into publishing, there's something much worse looming in the darkness, however. Book Reviews. We've all seen it, the back covers of books are littered with positive reviews from big wigs from one corner of the earth to the other. What you don't see are the bad ones.
   I read an article about Stephen King the other day, and how he had publicly professed his distaste for the woman who wrote the Twilight series and it made me step back and think about how I was going to respond to a negative review.
   After rolling it over in my head for a while, I came to some comfortable conclusions. First off, whoever handed you the bad ticket was simply doing their job. To review a book is to take in all aspects and form an opinion. If this reviewer has a lot of followers who typically share his opinion, those readers aren't likely to buy your book. It may seem counterproductive, but I would be thankful myself as a reader if someone I shared tastes with helped me to avoid buying something I wouldn't like.
   Next, consider that an esteemed author tends to lose their memory. Some of them will admit that the first thing they ever put into publication was ill written and very juvenile, while some will claim they were a genius from the start. I would dare to say that every author in the world has gone through a time when their work just wasn't up to par. Don't get down on yourself because you're a step behind. Instead, get back in the books, study, and get yourself at the level you need to be.
  The last thing I would like to cover is that one quick way to end your acclaim in a writing career is to joust with someone. Being immature and saying hurtful things only looks bad on you in the end. If you can't bring yourself to accept a bad review, avoid talking about the subject all together. If the reviewer was as far as to take some deep stabs at you as a person, it says a lot about that person; getting personal might gain them some attention, but that isn't part of a respectable review.
  What do you do with a book you pick up and you just can't get into? One that just isn't your kind of "thing"? Personally, I've picked up many books and finished reading the first page while standing over the trash can, closed the cover, and dropped it in. You kind of get a little laugh at those who said they absolutely hated everything about it but still spent hours reading the whole thing.

April 8, 2011

While I'm waiting....

             As of right now, I've stepped back from my work. I've put so much into it lately I think it's due time for a break. With nothing new to update, I thought I would throw out some ideas and tips for writers, some of the things I used to push me through until the end.

When making characters, I would use google search with terms like "brown haired lady" or whatever was a close fit. I would browse images until I found one that I thought looked similar to the way I wanted to portray that character, and save the image to the file on my computer. Anytime I needed to make a visual reference, I had a picture right there to guide me. I do this with places sometimes too.

 Walk away. One of my most used phrases while writing was, "I'm stuck." Sometimes I would put it down and not look at it for a month, sometimes it was only a day. Either way, when I came back, I had fresh ideas in my mind, and sometimes when there was a hurdle I couldn't seem to jump, the answer fell right in my lap. Take a break, it'll do you some good.

 You'll hear a lot of people say to have everything ready, know your beginning, middle, and end before you write the first word. Maybe that works for some people, but every time I've tried it, I end up going a whole different direction and scrapping my outline. I work better on the fly. Maybe you should have a general idea about your purpose, but I have to disagree with those detailed outlines.

 That's all that comes to mind for the moment, I'm sure I'll be adding more to this as it comes. Keep writing!

April 6, 2011

The title of this post is "Title"

         With a 65k word, 20+ chapter book in my hand, I searched through the pages over and over trying to find the perfect fit, the perfect words to lay on the cover that would give it a name. It's ridiculous how someone could type out that many words straight from their imagination and be speechless when it comes to putting one or two words on the front of it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has dealt with this conundrum. A friend told me to check out some title generators, I honestly didn't even know they existed. If you're desperate to give your book a name (I had a harder time naming this book than I did my own children), check out: http://www.fictionalley.org/primer/title.html. There, you can plug in some important grammar from your manuscript and it randomly fits them together. I was actually surprised at the results. I wonder how many big authors came up with their title this way?
        And just for fun: http://www.kitt.net/php/title.php has a really random title generator. Don't expect much in the means of a serious title from that one, but you'll likely get a good laugh. The first one it gave me was The Dangerous Heater.
       I ended up creating my title from two words that really stuck out to me, but had nothing to do with my book. Go ahead, call me crazy, but upon a little further investigation I found the perfect way to tie it in to my story and make it relevant throughout all 20-something chapters (I say 20-something because I'm sure by the time the editing is done, that number will change). Maybe someday you can pick up Sounding Waters and see exactly what I mean.

April 5, 2011

Aspiring or Aspirating?

       I was struck earlier with the irony of how close these two words are. Not just in spelling and prefix, but in life as well. Aspiring authors probably often feel as though they've aspirated. Drowning in this mess of middle men and literary jargon could be very easy. I think that's precisely what sets apart authors from aspiring authors, though. It's sink or swim. And just like swimming, the first time you hit the water, you're not likely to be swimming laps around the marketing world. It's more like doggie-paddling, trying to keep your head above the water. There's no doubt you're going to get tired at some point, might even swallow a little more than you can handle. Do you get out of the pool or keep going?
     With that in mind, I've prepared myself for the rejection letters I'm going to receive. Not just prepared though. I plan to walk to my mailbox daily expecting a big red "NO" stamped on every envelope. If I can look at it that way, the rejections won't really be a disappointment, and when the day comes that someone finally decides to read my manuscript, well, won't that be a surprise? I may go bankrupt paying for all the postage, but I'll take out a loan to get my work out there again and again. With the summer months approaching, I'm looking forward to wading into the pool and getting my metaphorical feet wet.

April 3, 2011

It's DONE! Or is it....?

           Just a few short days ago, I was ecstatic about FINALLY finishing the last chapter of a book I've been working on for a little over a year. When I say working on, I don't mean I wrote a little here and there, I mean working on. Okay, so I may not have devoted 40 hours a week, but who really has time for that? I dedicated many long and grueling hours, and found myself on many occasions staring at a computer screen until four in the morning, knowing I had to get out of bed two hours later. So I was thrilled! I was finally DONE! Or so I thought...
           Before I started picking my work apart myself, I started doing some homework in search of the next few steps on my road to fame! (That was sarcasm). So far it seems when you're "DONE!", you truly are only at the beginning. Step one, of course, was self-editing. I'm still working on that.... Step two, find an editor. This step I found quite interesting. I browsed through literally hundreds of editor's web-pages and at the end, I found myself no better than where I began. Oh the monotony! Though they all had different credentials, experience, guarantees, and payment options, overall they come off the same. One after another claimed they were better than the rest, faster than the rest, and smarter than the rest. It seemed like they were bombarding the web browsers with attempts at selling themselves. All too quickly I was uninterested. Failure #1 - don't bother with the web pages.
          After a lot of wasted time, I devised a better plan to pick out my own editor. I skipped the technical web pages, and browsed through blogs written about editors. Lo and behold, at the end of every one was heaps of comments by the editors themselves. There, I found REAL words from editors. I got a better feel for each one, learned how they operated, and even took notes on which to avoid (there was a plethora of nasty comments and bickering amongst them). I knew what I wanted in an editor, and by skipping their "I'm perfect" ads, I was able to choose one I thought best suited my style. Thankfully, I was able to avoid all those stuffy librarian types who would tear me to shreds and be pushy about it.
          Now here I am. I've worked through 6 chapters of grammatical editing and sorting out everything that doesn't fit. I've pinpointed quite a few large problems that will need to be reworked and rewritten. Yeah, more writing. Just when I thought I was done.....

Forgot to mention

     I was set on using "The Pen is my Sword" as sort of a theme for this blog. I even chose those words to include in my web address. Upon traveling to my new blog to start, I see www.thepenismysword.blogspot.com. Thepenismysword? Really? No wonder I needed an editor. How could I miss that? Thankfully I did catch it, and made sure to change that one quickly. Hey, no snickers out there!