Sunday, July 29, 2012

Proofing 'Genome' is an eye opener!

Having 'Genome' in book form and reading it slowly, out loud is a real eye-opener. I'm finding lots of places where I miss used words, like 'past' for 'passed'. And where I am missing the comma before beginning a quote, etc. This is what happens when you rush your editor, which I did.

I was so anxious to get the book out I said 'good enough' too soon. My fault, not my editor's, she wanted more time. Hmm, how many lessons do you have to learn before you're a good author? ;-) I know I'm not there yet.

So. Going to spend this week's evenings going page by page; slowly! Then and only then I'll update all my manuscripts and go live with Createspace.

Like I said in my tweet today. Writing isn't the challenge. It's the rewrite, rewrite, rewrite that's the challenge.

Keep writing, buckoos, but DON'T rush it. You'll only have to correct it later. Take your time.

Be cool and be patience!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's alive!!!

I received my proof copy of 'Genome' from Createspace! It's awesome! It's so cool to hold it in my hand and flip through the pages. OK, I'm a dinosaur; whatever.

The new cover came out wonderful thanks to working with Rocky. I loved the watercolor Deb did for the book but in the stamp sized image on Amazon and B&N it did not work as well. The new cover looks more professional and every thing I'm reading says that the cover, epub or print, is extremely important. Another lesson learned, pay attention to the cover.

Not much progress with Arlo and Jake since we have a house full of visitors. Love having family to visit but it wipes me out and writing just does not happen. I'll catch up soon though. Still scribbling down ideas and 'what ifs' to explore next week.

Be cool and keep the faith everyone!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Epub support is awesome!

My adventures in the epub universe continue to surprise and delight me.

Everyday I try to find like-minded authors and readers using twitter, blogs and writing support sites. I try to find and follow 10 new bloggers/authors, viewing their sites or blogs before I press 'Follow'. And I try to tweet directly to them so we can say 'hi'. Most respond with a friendly 'hi' and a promise of more conversation. Now if we could only get our politicians to act this friendly to each other!

I'm finding some 'buy my product' and 'you can buy 10,000 followers instantly' but most are great sites and the home of a hardworking author who has something to add to our experience.

I'm finding we have some of the same aspirations and agonies. I want to write and sell good stories and to have a following of appreciative readers. But I know I have a lot to learn about writing well, engaging my readers and marketing. We all do.

So I'll continue to search for and engage my fellow story tellers, trying to soak up the knowledge and hopefully become a better writer. I'll try to be patience and move the journey forward a little each day.

I hope to see you along this road. We'll stop at a tavern along the way to share war stories and a glass of Texas Red or two.

Be cool, be good and be in the moment. Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Almost on Createspace!

Rocky is one of my fellow writing mates. He's been instrumental in getting a new cover for 'Genome' and pushing me to get the book on Createspace. I haven't been dragging my feet, just damn busy! ;-) I think Rocky had enough waiting today and 'prompted' me to finish the task.

So I'm hoping that tomorrow or the next day I'll have it's 'publishable' on their site and can order my first 'draft' copy of the book.

I can't wait to hold a physical copy of 'Genome' in my hands at last! Hey, ePub is my friend and I'm fully on board with all that means. But. Holding it my hands is going to be a thrill.

And I intend to send it to some agents, friends, libraries, etc.

While I wait for my copy I'm going to plunge forward trying to get 'Arlo and Jake Enlist' completed and ready to ePub. It's 22,000 words now (about 70 pages) and the content is getting better and better.

Be happy, be cool and be in the moment, y'all.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Arlo and Jake get meatier

After my live-in editor finished the latest rewrite of 'Arlo and Jake Enlist' we had a great talk about what A&J has and does not have.

It has a good premise, good characters, good plot for the first book and setting up future books in the series. We like the main characters and the growing list of supporting characters.

The enablers (see my post 'The making of an AI') are clever and after the rewrite they are more 'believable'. Like most SciFi you have to suspend belief/disbelief in lots of things like faster than light travel (FTL), alien beings and cultures, the ability of alien cultures to co-exist (don't get me started on why that will never happen with humans in the mix, we can't even agree to disagree on the simplest of concepts here on Earth) and much, much more. Enablers allow us to do that.

It has a good plot 'arc' with multiple highs and lows and a final 'hero wins over obstacles' scene. It even has a setup for the next book in the series 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Boot Camp'.

What it's missing is 'more'. I had a friend read it. He basically agreed with all the above, including the 'needs more'. His only real complaint was that it was too short and that he wanted some of the scenes to be 'meatier'. Otherwise he enjoyed it more than 'Genome'.

Now 'Genome' is a 68,000 word (about 200 pages) novel. I believe it's at least a 2.8 out of 4.0 (2.5 is 'acceptable' in the military) on the 'goodness' scale, especially for my first novel. A&J is intended to be much shorter, probably only around 100 to 150 pages or say 30,000 words. I want each book in the series to be an afternoon read over a plate of nachos and a couple of 'Fat Tire' beers. A fun read with cool ideas and characters you'll want to have more adventures with.

So for Bill to say he liked A&J better than Genome was both great and a little of a 'huh?' moment. But it boils down to Genome being 'full bodied and aromatic' where this version of A&J is 'thin and missing some chunks of 'meat'.

So I spent time with the editor going over where I could add more content and flesh out existing scenes. The result brought the story up from a 2.5 to at least a 2.9 with more stuff to add before my eyelids glued shut at 11:00PM. And the page count went from 43 to 68.

The point other than the one on my head?

Give your reader more than some clever dialog or unique plot/universe/enabler. Give them scenes that are full bodied and satisfying to the mental palette. Take the time to go over the whole story, over and over again, looking for those scenes that are still too quick or unsatisfying. A meatier story is more satisfying and more likely to gain you a following. And it's fun to do.

At 'The End' they should want more for sure. Another book from you. Wouldn't that be nice!

Be in the moment and keep the stories flowing!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Adding deeper content to Arlo and Jake

A good practice for me is to print out the story so far and then read it out loud. Slowly. Taking pen to obvious mistakes and changing 'stared at' to 'stares at' etc. I'm writing A&J in first person and I keep lapsing back into narrative mode. I seem to think in both modes while I'm writing ;-)

After reading the first draft a few times and giving it to a good friend to read it was pretty obvious that it needed more 'meat', more story. Bill said that he really like the story but at only 50 pages he found that he wanted more when he got to the end.

Now I think wanting more at the end of a story is a good thing. But in this case Bill said he also found that he wanted more during the story. I had some great scenes but they were too sparse, they went by too fast. There were lots of places he wanted to 'see' more action.

So. I'm in a 'where' are the thin parts of the story' mode now. Not too surprisingly I'm finding lots of places where I can improve and enhance the plot. This is good. This is so much fun it's probably not legal. ;-)

Print it out. Read it out loud, slowly. Listen to the story. Maybe have someone else read it out loud for you so you can concentrate on following the story. Try it, and let me know if it works for you.

Be in the moment, everyone. Best of luck!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The week that wasn't

Having a house full of friends and family made writing impossible last week. Didn't even get a chance up update the blog, which I missed very much. This has become part of my writing rhythm; it acts as a mental kick start.

I did continue to mull over plots and characters for 'Arlo and Jake' in-between birthday parties, restaurant sallies and playing cards until 1 in the morning ;-) I scribbled a few down on paper because of the leaks in my minds. Others I'm hoping will swirl around long enough for me to play with and then get put into the outline.

Found another relative that had not heard about 'Genome'. After she chastised me for not telling her, she downloaded it and I hope to hear from her soon. This made me think that I need another round of 'who haven't I told', just in case. I need to make sure that all my 'close' contacts know about my writing in addition to trying to find new readers.

I hope you all had a great week while I was celebrating. I'll try to catch up now.

Be here in this moment!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Genome poised for paperback!!

I'm expecting to get 'Genome' onto Createspace this week due to the efforts of Rocky Angelucci (check out his 'Don't Die Early' blog link on the right!) Rocky has done the grunt work to create a new cover for 'Genome' and get it to meet the Createspace requirements. Mego thanks, Rocky. I'll let everyone know when it's done.
I spent most of this weekend editing and rewriting some more on book one of the 'Arlo and Jake' series, 'Arlo and Jake Enlist'. I sent it to another buddy to review. I'm hoping to find a good cover for the series and then it goes public! I've got 2,000 words on book 2, 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Bootcamp'. I'm having a blast keeping the 'mood' of the series going. God I love writing!
Everyone have a great Independence week!
Be cool, be good and live in this moment!