The Past and the Future: 2017 eddition

December is upon us. December is traditionally used as a time of reflection and planning.

People reflect on the past year. What did they do? What they didn’t do?

Me? I sold my house, moved across the province to a warmer climate. I have made progress on my blog. I have made a URL, a professional email account and started my brand. All important things for an indie-author to do.

I have also been active writing, but nothing has been published at the moment. I haven’t gotten as much stuff written yet, but that is not for a lack of trying. I just had too much on my plate. I am done writing books 1 to 3 of the ‘Space Courier’ novel, as well as the first ‘Evana’ book. Information about those is on my current projects page.

While not important in the short term, I have also made and ordered business cards. It is hard when you talk to people and forget what your email address is.

But what about next year. I have high hopes for 2018. I have a plan. I have secured a really good cover designer and artist. Her work can be found here. with her website, here.

Yes, she is my wife, but she is very good at what she does.

I also have a schedule of work. I have projects planned to drop all year. I am not going to release that schedule as it may change.

Have I failed at things this year? Yes. But I feel that the important thing to do is to reflect on what you have accomplished. Ignore the failures, and look at the positive. I could feel down that another Christmas has gone by and I am still unpublished. I could moan that I didn’t make my unrealistic NaNo goal. But I am not.

I will be working on the positives, which are that I have five manuscripts first drafted or better. They need edits and covers. I have a sixth that needs a revision to fix plot errors. That is many work that can be published.

So this is chow. I may or may not have time to post another time before the next year. If I don’t it is cause I am busy.

I wish you all the best. Until next time.

Writer’s Block Part 2

In the earlier blog post that I did on ‘writer’s block,’ I explained that it doesn’t exist. And it doesn’t. Go ahead and go back to the blog post. This will be here when you are done.

In this post, I will give some was that I have gotten out of the feeling of ‘writer’s block’ or what I like to call a creative slowdown. Be warned though, these are kinda like trying to get rid of hiccups. They don’t all work when you want them to.

The first strategy that I usually do is that I keep in mind that ‘writer’s block’ is a phobia and doesn’t actually exist. It is best to keep positive, and it has been shown that positive thinking works overcoming a wide range of problems. I keep that in mind when I feel a slowdown. It helps when I feel the pressure and the stress of having deadlines and a long list of projects that may make me feel overwhelmed. It is a hard thing to do as the media and the like portraying the author as a tortured soul that wears fedora’s and suffers from a creative slowdown.

Brainstorming is the second strategy. I don’t suffer from the lack of ideas, as I have dozen’s of manuscript titles all wanting to be the next one on the list. But I usually do feel a creative slowdown when I run into a problem with the current work in progress.

My current project I have going on is the middle-grade sci-fi that I am writing with my son. I have finished the rough drafts of book two and three. At the end of book two, I felt like the ending blew. It did a read through, and an edit and the ending is limp, lackluster and just plain wrong. This killed the last few hours of my writing session. It knocked me down. Then I started to brainstorm and to think about the ending and on ways that I could fix it. I now have a plan on how. I just need to do it.

The third strategy is what I do when I am in the middle of a first draft. I am working along, and then I realize that a scene sucks. It happens. I reread a paragraph and wonder what type of narcotics that I am on. This can stop me. I will go back to fix one word, then one line, then a full page. Then I have been working and reworking the same stuff for months before I give up and say that I have ‘writer’s block.’ All cause I can’t get past that point to create new work.

The best strategy is not to. When I feel like your work isn’t up to any sort of good standards, lower them. Drop them to the floor. Get past the point and keep going. If I am worried about losing that lousy section, use the highlight tool in my your word processor and make a note about the part, then keep going. Once I get rolling again, I raise my standards back up until I have issues again. The key is to get it down on the page.

The fourth is when I sit down at my writing station, and I pull out my ‘outline,’ and then nothing happens. I can’t get going. Nothing is working. I am thinking about other things. Like the lawn needs to be mowed, or that I will just watch one youtube video. Just one.

That is a major problem. It is the easy distractions of the mind. They take as many forms as there are stars in the sky. The best way to combat this one is routine. Get a place to write. Something comfortable and my own. Preferbly away from distractions. Then set upo time to write. Gwt into the routine that I write and most times, I will.

If that doesn’t work, then I must go to the fifth strategy, get out of the house. Maybe I need a change in your environment. I go to a coffee shop or a bar. A library is good too. Get out and write elsewhere. It can pull me out of my slump.

The sixth way, is to know what I am planning on writing. It doesn’t mean that I have to have an outline. Just a couple notes on what I was going to do may help. Some writers intentionally don’t finish the scene that they were working on so that all they have to do is to read what the had of the last scene and then it’ll flow. This way doesn’t always work for me.

The seventh way that I have is that I will challenge myself to write a low number of words. Like 250. Then I find that when I get 250, either I am done for the day and I move onto the next strategy or I find that I have pumped out a  thousand words and I am not stopping.

The eighth way is that after I have attempted a couple ways to stop the creative slowdown, I go and read a book. I pick it up the next day. During the rest of the day, I will think about what I have in the story and see if my brain will come up with anything. It does. usually when I am trying to sleep.

I hope that this helps.

Until next time.

 

‘Writer’s Block’

The evil ‘Writer’s Block.’

There are many different opinions that people have about this evil thing. I am not going to get into the different schools of thought.

Mine, it doesn’t exist.

I shall say it one more time to make sure that you fully understand that I am being clear.

‘Writer’s Block’ doesn’t exist.

Not is the sense that it is often portrayed. People say that they are blocked from writing and that they can’t write a thing. That they are suffering from a disease that stops them from creating a plot and story. Like asthma stopping a person from breathing. And sometimes, not being able to do something that you want to do may feel like it.

But I call bullocks to it.

I get times that I feel like I am drowning in the story. I lose interest in it as I have lost track of the characters or I have lost track of the plot. Or I took a wrong turn that ended up in a dead-end and now the story isn’t meshing for some unknown reason.

The way I write is that I don’t do a full outline and I am not a discovery writer. I do what I call Signpost Writing. The Signpost method is that I come up with a very loose rough ‘Outline’. Usually in the form of scene ideas that I intend to write to. For example, I want a really cool fight scene so I will write my way to that scene making sure that things are set up and foreshadowed along the way.

When I get stopped, it is usually that I have come up with something different that I hadn’t thought up before and that now the rest of my story isn’t meshing. At that point, I have to figure out what is wrong with the story and fix it. Either I need to fix my remaining signposts, or I need to go back and fix written parts of my story.

It happens all the time, and once you recognize the signs of it, it is easy to combat. Frustrating when you have deadlines to meet, but treatable.

Now there is another form of ‘Writer’s Block.’ Where you want to write a story, but you can’t come up with a good idea. You start thinking about an idea, then you realize that it has been done before. That you have been simply replaying a movie that you remember. And that is okay too.

The first rule of storytelling, all ideas have been done before. The movie Avatar is the same story as Pocahontas or as the Story of Moses. But all three stories are very different from one another.

If you feel that you are being blocked by the lack of ideas, then you need to brainstorm. Start small, then go big. Come up with a small idea that you can build off of. A cool weapon, magic, or a fight scene. Or even a cool character. Start asking questions about him/her. Start giving the character a backstory and a history. Don’t worry about a full story, after you start brainstorming, the story will emerge from the brainstorm.

I may write another post about my method of brainstorming in a future blogpost.

I hope this clarifies my view of ‘Writer’s Block’ or the lack thereof.

Until next time.

Update: Dec 9, 2017

Well, time is a fickle thing. It tends to run slowly at some points, usually when you don’t need it to. Like when you are waiting for something to happen. Like when you are waiting for work to end.

Or time will go really fast. Like when you are having fun, or you are on a vacation or the weekend. At that point, time is like a runaway train that doesn’t seem to want to stop. One moment you are yelling TGIF, the next it is Monday Blues.

Well, time has slipped by, and it is now December 9th, 2017. It is almost Christmas. I have yet to walk into a shopping center to buy a single thing. Our Christmas tree is still in the storage bin. I do not have the time to get myself out there to get it all.

The last post I did was the lyrics of a song that I altered. Well, I didn’t modify it. It was my wife. You see, I have been prepping a novel idea, the Inescapable game, that I am going to pitch on the Archivos Podcast. In the new year, I am scheduled to go on the podcast. I will pitch the story idea to the crazy guys, and we will be brainstorming it. So I thought that I should have a couple points of the story fleshed it out.

Well, I have a fickle issue with world building. I love worldbuilding, but I also hate having to spend too much time doing it. I’d rather be working on the actual story than the world. So to combat this, I tend to create worlds that I can write multiple stories in. My Agersolum world, I have at least a dozen stories planned for it.

To get back to the point about those lyrics, I have figured out a way to attach my Inescapable Game to my 500 Years Universe. Then I figured out how many novels that the Inescapable Game story will stretch to. I plan to write 15 books in the series. Split into three parts.

It was at that point that my wife started to sing that dreadful song.

So that is the backstory to that last post.

Until next time.

Song Lyrics: The Book-Series that Never Ends

This is the book-series that never ends,

It goes on and on my friends.

Some writers started writing it,

Not knowing what it was,

Now they’ll keep on writing it,

Forever just because.

This is the book-series that never ends,

It goes on and on my friends.

Some writers started writing it,

Not knowing what it was,

Now they’ll keep on writing it,

Forever just because.

This is the book-series that never ends,

It goes on and on my friends.

Some writers started writing it,

Not knowing what it was,

Now they’ll keep on writing it,

Forever just because.

 

The Adventures of Evana Sweetland

As you may be aware that I have been writing a middle-grade fiction novel with my 5-year-old daughter. It was her ideas that I write and it is her story. I had finished the rough draft during NaNo and now I have finished giving it an edit. I polished it up.

It still needs work. I need to run it through a good text to speech program that’ll allow me to maybe see some things that I didn’t see before.

But the look on my daughters lap when I plopped the printed pages onto her lap. It was priceless. My son read the first couple pages out loud. He is already finding sentences that aren’t clear. I have given him a highlighter.

Until next time. Keep writing.

Graveyard

When I talk to normal people… the non-writer people I mean… I get asked a lot of questions. One thing that people ask is if they can be put into one of my books. And it is hard to tell them no.

The main character of the novel is a hand-crafted character. It can’t just be anyone. As such, I have decided to follow in the footsteps of other authors before me. Now, for a limited time only, you can ask to be included in one of my stories.

As a redshirt. Cannon fodder.

What I call victims.

When I need a character to step on the landmine or get sucked out of an airlock, or one of the many other ways that they can bite it, I will go to my graveyard and select a willing victim. That means that you will get put into a book, but you will die.

Now, this is all for fun, I don’t put people in a book that I dislike. I have a separate list for that.

I am joking. I really don’t do that. I only write those that want to be included in my novels. If you wish to be included in one of my books, please click here for more information.

If you have depression or mental health problems, please seek help. This is aimed to be fun.

Canadian Suicide Prevention

Until next time.

Well that was fun…

Well. November is almost done. It is currently November 29th, 2017. And I have failed at my goal.

My goal, if you remember, was to write 100k words. I am currently at 60K words. I have completed the first draft of my daughter’s story, “The adventures of Evana Sweetland.” I have also completed the first draft of the second, and third books of my son’s story, “Space Courier.”

There have been some casualties though. I wanted to write books four and five of my son’s story. I managed to split book four and move it into the books three and five. Then book five became book four. I think that I already wrote about that. It is not new.

I didn’t however, get through book four. I made a wrong turn at some point. It happens. Luckily, I have so much to do, that I can put it aside and work on something else.

That is why I have thrown in the towel, short on words. And it is okay. I did get three out of four titles completed. That is a good thing.

Well, Okay. I am not a failure. That was my attempt at a bad joke.

The goal for November was to write 50k words in thirty days. I wrote 60k words. That is a win in most books. So I guess that I will count that it was a win in mine. I just wish that I had managed to get that last title done.

But that is all good. I still have a lot of work that I need to get published. And I am proceeding with that. I still have my self-imposed deadline of Jan 2018 for the first title. And that depends on many things on what story I throw into the fire first.

Next week, I will start a series of blog posts on a topic. I don’t think that it will be about writing. Maybe it will be about my kids. Or living in Nanaimo over the cold of Prince George. Maybe I’ll start posting chapters of my book. I am not sure.

Until next time.

NaNoWriMo: Update Nov 19, 2017

Well. As of this moment, I am now at 51108 words for NaNoWriMo. But as I have said before, NaNo is worthless to me unless I can get complete projects done.

At the moment I have complete my daughters story, ‘The Adventures of Evana Sweetland.’ And I have finished Book 3 of my sons ‘Space Courier’ story. But my son’s story isn’t finished. It still needs the last book.

Originally we planned to write the story in 5 parts. But as I wrote Book 3, I realized that I had included pieces that I was planning on for book 4. So now, I have gotten rid of book 4, put the parts into either book 3 or book 5 and then called book 5, book 4. Basically, Space Courier is going to be four books.

And I am not done NaNoWriMo. I have ten days to write 22500 to 25000 words for this next book. That means that I must write 2250 to 2500 words per day to complete the book on time. The goal is to have a complete work that I can spend December editing and reworking so that I can have it start being published come January 2018.

So, while others are hanging up there hats and calling it done, I am still plugging away. I am not done yet. Not even close.

NaNo Update Nov 11, 2017

So this year has gone off with a bang.

First I’d like to apologize for the lack of blog posts. I have been distracted by NaNo. It happens. For the first bit, I was writing 3k to 4k words a day. I was on track with my double NaNo goals. Then life happens.

And it happens. One day you are going strong, then the next you have fallen behind. All you can do is to try and catch up when you can. We had ordered some Ikea beds for the kids, and it took 3 hours to build them. Each.

Plus I had to go through my storage bin and find some boxes. It’s all delays. Ie. Life.

And it happens. It is not a bad thing. Cause life does that. No need to get anxious or frustrated by it. And if it weren’t NaNo, there would be no need to try and catch up. It is best not to. It is best not to be stressed by something that is outside of your control. It happens.

My NaNo, it is Nov 11, 2017, and I am at 28k words. I am supposed to be at 36k words by today. But that is only cause I am crazy and I am doing a double NaNo. Typically, I would have to have written 18K words.

So, that means I am a touch behind, but still going strong. I have also finished the first draft of the Evana Story. It is done. Time to move on to Book 3 of my Space Courier story.

Wish me luck.

Until next time.