Monday, September 28, 2015

Editing Short Stories This Week

Not sure if I've got a case of Writer's Blues or Monday Blues, but I'll be taking a break from writing this week.

Over the summer, I did a lot of research about how other writers make a living wage selling their self-published stories.  I would like to reach that point myself.  One of the suggestions I saw time and again was to publish four or five short stories.

I have about twenty horror short stories, most of them publish worthy, that I intend to release as a short horror series.  Today I will start editing a twenty-eight page story I wrote about the town I grew up in, Lake Village, Arkansas.  The sleepy little town is nestled right on the edge of Lake Chicot.  The area if full of rich history and I feel it will make a compelling story setting.


Saturday, September 26, 2015


No seriously, do something meaningful with your money instead of giving it to me. Become a & eliminate extreme poverty in this lifetime.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Grammar: The Writer's Greatest Misconception

One of the greatest struggles a new writer faces is how self-critical they are of their own work. They get a brilliant idea and passionately pound the keys of their keyboard, working in a frenzy.  Once the initial adrenaline rush of inspiration wears off, they proudly kick back and read their manuscript.

Their hearts become shattered.  They see misspelled words, wrong words used and improper grammar in every other sentence.  The writer begins to have doubts about their abilities and their self-worth.  The writing is crap.

This is a natural part of the cycle of writing.  Ernest Hemmingway once said, "The first draft of anything is crap."  He actually used another word besides "crap", but I'm trying to keep my blog G/PG whenever I can.

A writer doesn't need grammar.  We have many talented editors, educators, students and everyday folk who have amazing literary skills and know how to format a sentence properly.  They also know how to catch bad writing habits and more.

What the literary world needs are innovative ideas and imagination.  We need writers to take us into new worlds and new adventures, opening our eyes and expanding our understanding of our place in the universe.  Ideas do not require good grammar to deliver themselves.  That's what an editor is for.  To see your idea and to know how to shape your idea into a story.

The greatest tool of a writer is their voice.  An author's voice isn't changed by an editor correcting a word if the voice is strong.  Focus on your voice as a writer.  What is your style?  For instance, I like to focus on miniscule detail because I like to think of my voice as a paintbrush painting a picture.  The trick my editor taught me was how I can go into exact detail without damaging the pace of my story.  An editor is the YANG voice to your YIN!

So write.  Then write some more.  You can then start self-editing once your first draft is done and correct what you know is wrong.  Move sentences, rearrange paragraphs and do the best you can.  Get a professional editor and request them to look over your work.  Accept their wisdom and knowledge.  An editor doesn't want to kill your masterpiece.  They want to help you avoid the pitfall mistakes that many published writers have made.

The more you write, the more you self-edit and the more you work with editors, the better you will become at Grammar.  Remember, your ideas are what we need.  Write!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lessons Learned: The Hard Way

Life is really too short.  You can dwell on this or that.  If it makes you happy, then good for you.

One of the most difficult challenges I have faced in life is not always being able to see when I was wrong about something.  I try to be honest with myself, but sometimes that doesn't always work.  So if you are losing sleep, and something is taking away your ability to live your life, then you have a problem.

I have an issue I have struggled with this year and I have finally done what I needed to do.  I've said my peace.  I've accepted my responsibility and I'm moving on.  My children are the top priority in my life and their smiles offer rewards beyond compare.  I have a loving and supporting wife and I stand on my own two feet without depending on the graciousness of my friends or family.  I have doors of opportunity open to me and there are many ways I can explore my horizons.  I realized that I'm capable of turning in any direction that I choose.  There is no course of action that I'm locked into.


Sometimes it is better to just make your point & move on. If you try too hard and if you are wrong, you might overplay your hand.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Am Writing Horror Updates

In case some of my readers are wondering, I've finished the first draft of Adventures of Adam Book Two and I'm letting it rest on the back burner.  I found it best to wait a few weeks or a month before starting the revision process.

In the meantime, I'm been writing horror.  Specifically one of the projects I'm doing for The Ed Greenwood Group in the Hellmaw campaign setting.  So on Twitter, I've been using #amwritinghorror with status updates.

I didn't want my readers to think that I've simply dropped the ball on Adam.  Writing is a long process and for me, it helps to mix up what I'm writing and take the appropriate amount of time and patience to get the story done the right way...


Friday, September 18, 2015

One Thousand Books and Counting

I want to humbly give my readers my deepest appreciation.  Today, I surpassed 1000 PAID DOWNLOADS on Amazon with my debut novel!

Thank you for your support and for telling your friends about my little story!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Writing Tip #1: Do Not Edit As You Go

Before you start setting writing goals or anything else involved with writing, the first and foremost thing to remember is "Do Not Edit As You Go."

When I'm writing in a frenzy trying to get my ideas onto the page, the thing that will break my rhythm faster than anything is if I am a thousand words in for the day and find myself thinking about the red underlined word that I misspelled in my first sentence.  If I go back and correct just that one word, I am done for the day.  I will obsess about every error I just made and that lowers my confidence.

Editing happens later.  All mistakes can be fixed in future drafts.  Don't worry about whether or not that sentence fits.  If you need to add it to a different paragraph, it would actually be better to just write the remainder of the paragraph.  And if it bothers you that much, rewrite the sentence again in the new paragraph.  You can delete the displaced sentence later.

The absolutely most time-consuming issue related to writing is editing.  And for you to get the progress you need to build a long work, you don't need anything to slow you down or discourage you.  Just write it, move on and fix it later.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Old Dog with a New Trick

My daughter, Luci has been writing for awhile now.  She just started her first attempt at a novel and I was blown away by some of her writing techniques.

When I opened her first draft, I was looking over her formatting at a glance and one of the things I noticed off the bat was there was mostly dialogue.  I prepared myself to write some notes to ask about the setting, then I continued to read.

What I discovered was amazing.  She had two characters with different points of view debating details about the scene.  She was able to show the character's personalities, their dynamic of how they related to each other and she described the setting of the scene from each of their perspectives as the two characters tried to decided among themselves which one was right.

She even provided some world building information about how the character's trade system worked and established far off regions and other cities other than then one the characters were currently in.

I have always struggled with convincing dialogue and seeing how she put the scene together inspired me.  So in the future, when I begin a second draft, I will be consulting my 13-year-old for suggestions!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Writing More Short Stories

Just wrapped up the 1st draft of another short story to be submitted to TEGG's Platter of Surprises.  My publisher wants one for each of my projects and those are in the can awaiting revision.  Most likely I will have at least one submission every month.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gaming Improves Critical Thinking

I have people ask me questions about my creative process all the time. The main thing I'm specifically asked about is why I have such a vivid imagination.

I'd like to say genetics or my personality as the answer, but that would be dishonest.  In truth, the thing I attribute most influential to my imagination, my creativity and my critical thinking skills is gaming.

And I'm not talking about video games, although I think they have helped me too.  I'm talking about role-playing games, specifically tabletop role-playing.

It's more than just pretending to be a character.  The real trick is to think in terms of how your characters think.  And if you are dealing with a fantasy world, it is important to imagine in your mind what the character you are role playing sees.  The more you role-play, the more characters you play in different settings, the more your mind can process highly detailed images in the imagination.  And this is considered as real as it gets "out of the box" thinking.  A tabletop gamer can put together pieces of a situation that normally wouldn't fit into the real world.

Role playing also has the benefit of teaching very important skills, including leadership skills.  Given a specific problem, a group of players may have various ideas about how to resolve that problem.  In my experience, a leader tends to rise up among the players and uses critical thinking skills to deduce the problems.

So one of the ways that I encourage my children's creativity is to get them involved in role playing.  I'm sure there is a scientific study out there somewhere that will probably say the same thing.  I'm just saying that I've seen it first hand with countless table-top gamers because they are some of the most creative and intelligent people I've ever met.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Future of Adventures of Adam

Some may be wondering what I plan to do about my self-published fantasy series, Adventures of Adam, now that I have joined The Ed Greenwood Group (TEGG) publishing.

Everything is still the same.  I may release sequels a little slower than I expected because I will have more on my plate.

The great thing about TEGG is that it isn't a traditional publisher.  It is something new that hasn't been seen before.  It goes beyond media or multimedia.  It is a transmedia company.  I am still considered an Indie author because the group is an Indie Publisher.

There are two big differences from being all by myself as a self-publisher and how I will work with my relationship with TEGG.  First, I will have the opportunity to publish short original works in TEGG's upcoming monthly publication, Platter of Surprises.  Secondly, anything that I intend to release by myself, I must run it by the TEGG group.  The second may sound bad, but it actually isn't.  What TEGG wants to do is see if there is a way for them to incorporate any new non-TEGG material I release into publicity the group can use to promote me!  It's a win-win situation!

So my plan for now is to simply work on the second novel, "The Cult of Draenar" to be released in 2016.  I need to follow up with my editor and see what her schedule looks like for the beginning of the year before I announce a date.  My ambition for a Fall 2015 release was simply not reasonable for the amount of work that I have put into the story.  Many, many errors need to be corrected before I even pass it off to my editor.

And I will be releasing some original short story works and some stories for upcoming projects related to the TEGG publications.  All in all, this arrangement means everyone will have to opportunity to see more new works coming from me!

Because of all the reasons in this very long explaination, I've decided that almost all the work I do will in some way touch TEGG.  I don't think Adventures of Adam would fit into the TEGG's productions plans, but I would honestly consider an invitation by TEGG to incorporate it into their works.  That's how much I trust Mr. Greenwood, even with my baby...