Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The world is so small, so vast...

It strikes me, again and again, that I live in marvelous times. Not Polly Anna times, mind you. Humans are humans; with all their frailties, faults, fears, strengths, courage and faith. Rather, marvelous in our abilities and opportunities.

Since this is a writing blog, I want to relate what I mean in the context of the global community of writers. A community I try to participate in  as often as I can.

I was recently on Goodreads, a web site dedicated to helping 'people find and share the books they love'. I have an account there where I chat with people all over the world about books. I have an Author's account on the SciFi Writers group where I talk about my books and discuss other authors books. It's been a great help to me and I have author friends everywhere, everywhere. The UK, Canada, Australia, France, Scotland, Japan and others.

But the marvelous part of this is the global community part. It's said so often that we've become numb to the words. 'Global community'. Contact, anytime I want, with any reader or writer who wants to talk. We can joke about a pun, discuss voicing in a novel, what the difference between a novel and a novelette or the curse of the apostrophe. Anything!

This ability has opened the world of literature in the same way that the train and the airplane opened the world of travel. Those novelist that are masters of their craft still command the limelight and accolades. But now the amateur writer can have an audience as well.

We don't need a big name publisher to take a chance on us, which means they won't. We can write and publish and all it costs is our time. For those who really enjoy writing, it means we can continue to write and get better even though our rank on Amazon is too low to get attention. If you can't publish, you can't get a readership.

I've already had several writers contact me on Goodreads to say they want to chat and exchange ideas.

Exchange ideas without qualification. They didn't ask if we were competitors but rather how could we cooperate.

My small neck of the woods just got a little bigger. It's amazing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

And the plot thickens...

Check out my last post to get up to speed on adding a plot thread to keep the tension up in your story.

It's probably obvious to seasoned writers, but to me it was an 'ah ha' moment. And I'm really digging it. I can feel my writing muscles flexing as I speak here. A great new 'tool' to add to my writers toolbox. And it's fun!

My new plot thread involves a nasty, nasty bad Dude that I introduced specifically to get Arlo into trouble. I had already decided book 3 would have more characters and this one is a doozy! It's so much fun to play with the black hats, they can be over the top and still totally interesting and engaging. We love's to boo our villains!

As a result of this cool new path in the story, I also get to explore the dark side; the nefarious caverns of nefariousness, as it were. I get to sip a smooth Texas Bourbon (Witherspoon's Texas Bourbon Whiskey, made right here in Lewisville, Texas, in case you're interested ;-), and ruminate about my villain's background; the world that spawned him; what motivates him and his species. Why is he so cranky?

He, and his species, are coming to life in front of me, as though I opened a door and poof, it's his world! Wuuf, it really smells in there!

You know, I thought I'd have to pull my own teeth to create this guy's background. Far from it! He's spilling his guts on my keyboard every time I visit him. It's hard to shut him up!

How about you? Do you play with your characters? Do you talk to them at night as you're drifting off to sleep? Do you make notes to remind yourself to ask them about their religions, their social structures, their taboos and pleasures. I do.

I don't care if it's crazy or not, it works for me.

Time to get back and ask the Chi' how he and the Missus are getting along. He's on the space-road a lot these days, being evil and disgusting and have a general good time.

Be cool, my friends.
Be open to plot threads.
Be adventurous.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Adding a plot thread...

Book 3 of 'Arlo and Jake', my 'SciFi series with a funny bone', is steaming along again after a month of slow progress. As I have said before, I'm really trying to make book 3 better than 1 or 2.

I'm pretty damn happy with the results, so far. I reread and rewrite every day, looking for stupid mistakes and places to add some zing or humor. It's amazing that I'm still finding typo's! ;-)

I'm having a blast adding 'meat' to bones of the story. More about Pixie, Captain Starla and some new characters you don't know about.

My last reading reminded me that I've left one of those new characters in limbo, so to speak. It's not necessary to the plot to do anything in depth with this character but I realized that another plot thread would add some great tension to the 'arc'.

Now, I purposefully keep my plot arcs simple and easy to follow. I write fun adventures, not epic sagas. I loves me a good Dan Brown 'Da Vinci Code' or Clive Cussler 'Dirk Pitt' yarn to read. But writing those kinds of twisty mind benders is not my thing, y'all.

But, while thinking about where I left this character, and some of his supporting entourage, it occurred to me that right here in the story would be a great place to visit him and see what he's been up to.

That lead me to a realization that his story could be expanded and woven into the main arc easily. It's a great chance to show you another corner of the Universe I'm creating, galaxy by galaxy. Cool!

Remember the first time you entered Jaba the Hutt's den of thieves? A whole new section of the Star Wars universe opened up. Who was this guy? What makes him so powerful and feared? How did he get that hot green skinned girl with tentacles on her head? And why on Earth would he drop her into a pit with... whoa, what is THAT monster!

It was awesome! New characters, new worlds, weird outfits, great sidekicks; it was just awesome. The Mos Eisley Cantina scene was another cool introduction into the weird and wonderful.

Introducing new creatures and environments was one of the best achievements in that movie series. You never knew what would pop up next and you couldn't wait to see what did.

I'm adding this plot thread to keep up the dear readers interest and keep him/her wondering where I'm leading them next.

What fun!

Be cool
Be happy
Be a great friend
Be the Bee!