Friday, September 28, 2012

Slapping the Muse...

This is the response I made to a blog question "How do you deal with writer's block".

I thought you might enjoy.

1. Go to the library with a notepad or laptop and pick up a couple of magazines at random. Just look for articles that raise your 'say what?' balloon a little and take a few notes about the articles. Doesn't matter if the notes are relevant to your story, it's 'stuff' that focuses your mind on something interesting for a few minutes.

2. Pick up the Bible or Koran or Torah or Declaration of Independence or 'The Five Rings'; SOMETHING that is known to you. Flip some pages to an area you are not familiar with and REALLY read a 'section' until you understand it. Again, doesn't matter what it is just get your mind to focus on something outside your story.

3. Walk. From memory go over your story problem area. Talk like the characters, including voice inflections, accents, etc. Be the characters for a few minutes. You'll be surprised how 'they' will suddenly start talking back.

4. Relax. It happens. You are not a preprogrammed machine. You're a semi-solid mass of cells that sometimes needs a break.

5. This works best for me sometimes: intentionally take your story someplace 'stupid' for a couple of pages. The stupider the better. Make 'em jump through insane hoops and circumstances; face ridiculous foes and obstacles; be abducted by 'Narcisitic Ninja Ninnies from Neptune' (wait that's pretty good, I claim that one for a book I'm writing ;-). Point is go someplace dumb to shake up your thoughts. Try it once, I think you'll like it.

Be cool, mates!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Muse Madness!

Yes, the Manic Muse has smacked me again, right in the middle of DWTS! Bless you, you sexy thang!

I've just started a new folder under \Books on my silicon amusement park called '\PIP's Adventures'.

I opened a 'Plot Ideas' text file (I'm a bullet outliner kind of dude) and started dumping the MMM (Magical Muse Moments). Not a lot fell out but what did was good stuff.

And the kicker is I can tie in 'PIP's Adventures' with my first book, 'Genome' where PIP was 'born'. I can 'grow' PIP from a gleem in Gerry's imagination to whatever my imagination can take her. Showing how the Geek Squad brings her to life one sexy function at a time!

I think I'll do some test stories/adventures and put 'em out there for free at first. Maybe I can get a readership that likes funny, geeky, ghostie adventures. Who knows?

So, my writing friends, let your Muse work it's Magic whenever and wherever. Write down those ideas, no matter how ify they seem! If you don't like them later, fine. But if you don't write them down, you WILL forget them, trust me.

Be in the moment and keep the electrons flowing, Buckaroos!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Another experiment or two or three

As soon as I get my book cover finalized I'm launching the 'Arlo and Jake' series. The first book, 'Arlo and Jake Enlist', is in final edit and then it's ready for prime time. Whooo Hooo!

I have outlines for 10 books in the series, and I have the second book 20 percent drafted. Oddly enough I have the third book 30 percent drafted. Go figure. I go where the Muse smacks me. I'm trying to push the 'current' book forward but allow myself to side track to the other outlines when a cool idea surfaces.

So I have 3 experiments here:
1. Writing a shorter (about 30,000 words) book instead of going for a 'full' novel of 60,000 to 100,000 words.
2. Writing a series of shorter books with a common 'theme'.
3. Pricing the first book at 1.99 until the second book is out at 1.99 and dropping the first book to 0.99.

I'll keep you up to date on how it goes.

Keep writing Buckaroos!

Be in this moment.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Share your work at the library!!!

On a whim and an idea I visited the Lewisville Library to see if they accept books from authors. Guess what, they do! So I put a little info about 'available on Amazon and B&N' on the front cover and gave it to the desk clerk.

I also asked if they had a 'local authors' book shelf. I've seen these in other libraries, it's a great way to generate interest in writing and to meet local writers. Nope. No such shelf, though the clerk wasn't sure why not.

It was kind of cool but I thought that would be that. So we moseyed (Texas for slowly walked and looked around) to the Children's library section where they were having a library book sale. I found a couple of great books (Ernie Pyle from the early 40s) and was paying for them. The 'Friends of the Library' ladies where manning the church tables and were very friendly.

They were running a raffle and I mentioned that I could donate a copy of my book 'Genome'. They were delightful in their response! They thought it was so neat that I was a local author with a published book! I grabbed another copy, signed it and gave it to them. I also mentioned that I had just given the library a copy but there was no 'local author's bookshelf'. The ladies thought that was a great idea and said they would start one!

There were several younger ladies there who wanted to know if 'Genome' was a 'young adult' (YA) book. When I explained the story they said they were looking forward to reading it!

Now I may not get sales from this but I got some exposure for the book and some ideas for more! I'm going to get some placards and business cards made. Then I can paste a card on the front cover that has 'Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords', my blog address, etc.

I didn't think of it in time but I need to find out if I can 'donate' an epub copy to the library for the epub lending program they are starting up!! And next weekend I'm trying the other local libraries!!!

Go ahead, give it a try and let me know if it works for you!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ahhh, sweet autumn rain...

It rained for a full ten minutes today! OK, it sprinkled, barely wetting the sidewalk. But dang, it was cool!

It's finally cooling off here in north central Texas! Notice I didn't say Dallas. No, no, no. Texas is so big you have to guide the reader to a visual proximity or, Lord forbid, they might not understand 'where' in Texas you're standing! ;-) You have to watch the news here to really get the absurdity of that, I think. When I lived in Colorado it was 'Denver area', 'near Colorado Springs' or 'the western slope area'. That was pretty much it ;-)

My rambling point is that with the cooling evenings I can finally get out again. I truly enjoy our patio during the evenings and weekends; when it's cool enough that the iced tea stays cold for more than 5 minutes.

I take my laptop out with a cool glass of liquid heaven, sit in my cushioned rattan chair and have a blast creating something out of nothing. A glimmer of an idea slowly morphs into a short scene and then, with any luck, into a full fledged, finished sequence that someone else might want to read. All without drowning in manly sweat. That's right, I don't 'prespire'. I sweat.

For some reason these cool evenings with the drifting breezes fuel my imagination.

As long as I don't fall asleep in my chair.

Fill a tall glass with ice and sweet tea, grab a comfy chair and write, buckoos!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A success story in progress...

No, not mine yet, dang it ;-)

My friend and writing buddy, Rocky Angelucci, and his book 'Don't Die Early '.

Rocky's book is great, so I don't find it's success surprising but I got to read and critique it early on. I got to see the blood, sweat and tears Rocky put into this book. His passion for the subject suffuses every page but it's tempered with cold, hard facts and random bits o' fun.

But in the end this book is all Rocky. His ideas, his research, his digging for facts vs fantasy, his rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And now it's all Rocky doing the marketing and promotion. He birthed a wonderful book and now he's learning how to bring it to you (without the icky birthing parts of course ;-).

When one path wasn't working he searched for a better path. He worked and reworked sections that were confusing or vague. He spent nights and weekends going over and over the 'story arc' even though the book is not a novel. He wanted it to be easy to read and 'enjoyable'. Yes, it's a book about health and personal responsibility but Rocky wanted you, the reader, to enjoy the ride.

And he's succeeding. A little more every day.

Now it's time for you to take some lessons from Rocky. Work hard. Know your subject. Learn something everyday that improves your story. Read, reread and reread until the story flows like butter on a hot toasted bagel. (Sorry Rocky, but metaphors don't have any calories so we're good. ;-)

And by the way, Rocky had fun. Ask him.

Keep writing, Buckaroos! Have fun!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Who's your writing buddy, Buddy?

One of the fantasies I have is being able spend a couple of hours every morning at a local cafe, drinking coffee and bouncing ideas off a few writing buddies. And being the sounding board for them of course.

You know what I mean. You're writing that new scene into a difficult part of the plot and you really need someone to help smooth out the edges, to tell you if it 'makes sense'. You can't wait till tomorrow's bull session to hash it out.

I have a friend, Rocky, that has been a great supporter and writing buddy. We work together and sometimes spend our lunch time walking around talking about our books or brain storming about new stuff. It's great and I truly appreciate having Rocky to talk to. (Soap box on.You should check out his book 'Don't Die Early'. Click the link on the right. Soap box off. ;-)

But this dream of mine is one of those things you yearn for because you just 'know' it would be so cool and so helpful and just damn fun!

I've been with a couple of writing groups but meeting once a month isn't near enough. Wonderful people, some really great sessions but just not enough.


This blog and twitter are 'almost' good enough for now. I making writing buddies and writing friends around the world. It is simply awesome.

So grab a writing buddy or two from somewhere cool and support each other. Pick a place you've never been to and find yourself someone interesting to write with.

Be cool, be yourself, be a buddy.