Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First draft! Arlo and Jake Enlist.

OK, it's too soon to celebrate because there is still tons of editing and work to do, but damn it feels good to have 'Enlist' 'done'.

Will our intrepid heroes join the fleet or go back to beach bunnies and beer? Who is Lt. Pixie and why did she pinch Jake's behind? Is that a proper way for an officer to act? Maybe not but this is a navy that every able bodied spaceman dreams of!

Now the hard work of course. Reread, rewrite, revise, rewrite, read, etc, etc, etc.

Need to add some 'meat' to the story line as well. I want you to feel like you got your 0.99 cents worth after all.

Have a great day and keep writing!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finally! Moving forward...

Eight is 'done'. Needs editing and polish and etc, etc but the story line is complete. That was a tough one because I wanted the story to make sense. I want Jake to have a serious turn so that his decision to stay with the space fleet seems valid.

I've read lots of books where there was a scene or two that just didn't jive with the story. It diminishes the story and makes you pause to think "say what? why would he do that?". I don't want the reader distracted if I can help it.

Time to move on and get Jake and Arlo into the fleet uniforms!

Keep writing!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chapter Eight is hard, damn it!

I'm still working through the final arc/tension scene and trying to get it 'right'. I'm not so worried about perfect/polished/whatever just 'right'. Consistent with the story so far and fun. Bring the reader past the battle and keep him interested in reading more.

I'm having fun mixing in my navy sub experiences with this story. Jake has pieces of me of course. I'm using the memories of my years in the Navy to try and make Jake believable and add realism to the story. OK, my boats plowed the depths of the Atlantic and Jake ends up in space but hey, we're both stuck inside a tin tube hoping the outside stuff doesn't get mixed up with the inside stuff.

If the weather holds and I get some writing time in today and tomorrow I hope to have 'Enlist' done in draft mode and can start editing. I'm constantly adding/modifying my outline doc as the story unfolds. It's been a great help, much more than I had hoped.

I've added a section to my outline doc called 'Things to talk about:'. Sound lame but once again it's helping more than I had hoped. It's just a place to stick 'ideas' that could help this story and any of the other in the series. An example is 'white hat'. That's a term used in the Navy for an enlisted man. Part of his uniform is the sailor's round white cap you can see in the movies.

It's one of those terms that can be used in a derogatory way as well. 'Damn white hats, mind your place...' or some such. Terms like this add credibility to the story. I added to the 'Things' section so I could use at an opportune time later. I'm adding other terms and ideas there as well that I want to include in story. I have a crappy memory so this becomes my 'paper brain'. Which is, by the way, another Navy term. It means, or used to I suppose, the stuff you wrote on 3x5 cards that you had to remember during your watch.

Have a great Memorial weekend. My thoughts, prayers and gratitude go out to the men and women of our armed forces and their families.

Live this moment!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Some is better than nada

This morning was a short session. Cool and cloudy outside my favorite sleep in weather outside of a low thunderstorm. Something about the rain and rolling thunder that pushes away all the silliness of modern life and returns me to just enjoying the moment.

Writing session was only a dozen or so paragraphs but it was a 'high point' scene after the space battle where Jake and Arlo first plug into the battle net simulator. So now it's off towards the end of the first book.

I'm still leaning towards 20K words and selling for 0.99 just as an experiment.

Made contact on twitter with @AyalaRachelle, a writer and ex software geek. She's been very gracious in helping me learn just a little bit more about this cyber world I'm traveling in. Thanks Ayala!

Time to kick the day into gear.

Use these moments wisely, grasshopper!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Up and at 'em!

Early morning writing experiment is mostly working. I reverted to slug mode only once so far and this morning's writing sessions was great. I'm almost finished with chapter seven and 'Enlist' stands at 13000 words.

I'm thinking I'll be editing down to about 20000 words by the time I'm finished. I'm still targeting 20 to 30 thousand for a book length for this series but who knows maybe I'll be able to crank it up to 30 or 40.

I still need to decide if it's 0.99 or 1.99 or 2.99 per book. I've been reading that part of the problem with sales of epub only books is that the perception by buyers is that if the book is less than 5 bucks it's probably crap. Hmmm. Got to think about that.

Anyone else have any experience or thoughts on that?

Anyway, time to wrap up.

Keep writing and enjoy the day!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Arlo and Jake sample

I thought it was time to tantalize my fans (both of you) with a little excerpt of 'Arlo and Jake Enlist'. The outline is complete now and I'm having a blast fleshing out the story. Characters are coming to life, the plot is filling in and I think I'll be able to finish the first book early next month. Whoo Hoo!

Here's a taste of the style of 'Enlist'. It hasn't been edited yet but let me know if it seems like a fun read to you. That's what I'm after. A fun read. Thanks!

Arlo and Jake Enlist excerpt:
Peering down the neck of the dark brown bottle told me the sad tale; empty. I dropped it into the box next to my chair with its brothers. I reached over Arlo, popped the lid on the cooler and snagged another cold, wet bottle. I found the emergency church key I had on a string attached to the back of the chair and flipped the cap. Ha! Number 7 and got it on the first try!
I dropped the cap into the box and slugged half the ice cold liquid in one draw. The back of my throat burned. A wonderful, brain freezing kind of burn. Ahhh, life if good. I settled the bottle on the chair arm and settled again in the chair. I should get up and take a pee before I fall asleep… or I could enjoy the buzz and the warm breeze first. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.
*          *          *          *          *
A white hot poker was being jammed through my ankle with my leg wrapped in electrified barbed razor wire as I jerked awake, screaming like a 500 pound pig in heat. I grabbed my leg, but my hands felt like burning coals with 6 inch spikes. I fell back into the chair waiting for the stroke that had to be coming next. I shook violently and tried to get my scream down to tortured choir boy level. When my eyes started to focus again, I saw a trio of shapely legs standing at the end of my chair.

I managed to bite my lip and silence the embarrassing squeal. I lifted my hat slowly, wondering if this was still part of some demented dream. Nope, the legs were connected to three of the most voluptuous, gorgeous examples of the female form I had ever seen. The one closest was tapping my ankle with the tip of her umbrella. Fresh waves of agony flashed up my leg. I can bite my tongue off or let loose with another sissy boy scream. I’m sure they could hear the scream 40 miles away in Corpus Christi.
“Stop crucifying my foot, you exquisite goddess! Stop, please!” The last word was drawn out and came out sort of bubbly and weak as Aphrodite raised an eyebrow and withdrew her stick of torture. She flipped it up to shade her perfect pink, pixie hairdo. That’s when I noticed her eyes. Well, I tried to notice her eyes. I’m trying, I really am, but getting past the rest of her tanned perfection is taking every ounce of energy I have left.
Her voice snaps my attention past the throat and lips and finally into those incredible emerald green eyes. “Espi plorkum, nute atoony mazeka? Shasha nesta coop, noshertock!” Uh. Huh? I dug my finger into my ear and pulled it back out looking for the play dough that must have lodged there. Nope. Nothing. Then I notice the blonde bombshell nudge The Goddess and point to her earring. OK.
The Goddess looked irritated but tried to discreetly reach up to her ear. She twisted the earring. She coughed discreetly again and lowered her hand. Again she formed those perfect lips but this time I heard, “What crucify? What a wuss!”. She turned to the blonde and raised an eyebrow. The blonde nodded her pony tailed head slightly and stepped back a bit. The Goddess slowly turned back to me lowering her eyebrow slowly, a small smile forming on her… OK, OK so from now on you’ll get it, right? Perfect bods, perfect hair, eyes you can fall into, blah, blah, blah. You’ve got an imagination, use it. Trust me you won’t even be close, but we’re wasting time here. So. “Are you in pain? All I did was tap your foot,” she said expectantly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Time management is a myth

My writing time management routine is:
  • try to write in the morning and/or in the evening
  • try to use twitter to find more people to talk to about ePub writing
  • try to post on this blog in the morning and/or in evening
  • try to find and view other writer blogs
  • try to write down ideas for other stories and NOT start on them
I know, I know. I'm supposed to set the same time aside everyday. Set a routine and stick with it. Dedicate XX hours to writing everyday and do nothing else. Find a quiet place with no distractions and focus on my writing. Contemplate my writing navel and softly utter 'Om, my bum is numb' to center myself. Nuts to that stuff.

I don't have a problem wanting to write everyday. I have a problem staying away from the keyboard. I have a problem drifting off on a cool new tangent or outlining another story idea.

I certainly have problems with plot or 'arc' or character development. But not wanting to write has not been a problem. Yet. Knock on Formica.

So I don't get the 'plan your day' pundits. 'Time management is the answer to your writing problems.' Really? Writing is not a science, it's an art. It's not balancing a ledger or checkbook. It's letting yourself have fun creating a story in your head and then writing it down. Then having fun realizing it stinks so you get to rewrite it. Writing is saying 'what if' and then having the confidence to mold the answer into a story line.

Relax. Write. Enjoy. There is only now.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Early morning exercise

Good grief, the sun just came up!

Trying something new this week. Getting up in the morning and writing as much as possible before heading off to the Code Mill.

This morning I had maybe 30 minutes after I made my coffee and grabbed the newspaper off the lawn. I managed to dive deeper into chapter 3 of 'Arlo and Jake Recruited' before I ran out of time.

It started slow but I just finished as much as I could in my allotted time slot and I have to say I enjoyed it. I'm not usually a 'get 'er done' first thing in the morning kinda guy but it worked this morning.

I'm going to try and stick with it for a week and see what kind of progress I can make.

Time to shower. I'm leaving Jake spinning around in sick bay of the 'FTG Triumph' wondering if he's gone nuts or is dreaming. Fun!

Keep writing!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Outline, outline, outline

First, sorry for the blog vacuum, 'vita interrupta' the last few weeks. It's called shingles and it not fun, Buckoos. I'm only running on 5 cylinders but I'm determined to make up for lost ground. So let's talk about the 'Outline'.

The outline file I'm building for the 'Arlo and Jake' series is really coming along great! I'm adding lots of 'concept ideas' to the top of the file to go along with the chapter outline at the bottom. So I've basically got character descriptions at the top, story concept/ideas and then the outline. Everything in one file, nice and compact. Here's how it's laid out:

Cast of Characters:
Arlo
  3 years old. Panther Chameleon : Furcifer pardalis. Emerald green. Eyes can focus independently
  ...
Jake Jasper
  60 years old. Took early retirement after selling tech stock. Wife died 3 years earlier, never remarried. 3 daughters. Software developer.
  ...
Maddie Jasper
  Jake's wife, died 3 years before 'now'

Major Players:
Federation of Thirteen Galaxies (FTG)
A federation of planets from 12 galaxies (no one seems to remember why it's not 'Federation of Twelve Galaxies'. "we lost one somewhere along the line and no one can remember which one or where it was. It's too much trouble to change all the stationary."
Mekalon
The primary ruling planet of the 'Federation of Thirteen Galaxies'.
Galactic Houses of Aquinoxous (GHA)
A federation of aquatic species whose home worlds are mostly water. At war with the FTG for aqua forming planets in FTG space .

Summary of Series:
What's happening through each book. A time line through the series.

Book One 'Arlo and Jake: Enlistment'
1 Jake and Arlo at the beach house
   Jake wakes up to trio of beauties, Captain Starla, Ships Surgeon Lt Cmdr Betzel, Lt Nanel
   Lt Nanel administers cure for his massive sunburn
   Capt Starla transports them to ship
2.  Jake wakes up in a healing vat
...
Book Two 'Arlo and Jake: Raw Recruits'
Book Three 'Arlo and Jake: Captain's Mast'
Book Four 'Arlo and Jake: An Officer and a Lizard'
...

This is exciting. I can see so much of the series forming up as I lay out the stories and outlines. I can play with characters, settings, enablers, plot lines for the whole series if I want to.

This is already 10 time better than the process I went through for 'Genome'. But I haven't finished the first book yet, so we'll see if all this up front research is going to make me a better author or this series better. Fun!

Keep writing!