Monday, November 30, 2015

Writing Next Year.

Taking the day off from writing.

Todd and his girlfriend are home, and that's been a fun visit.

Tomorrow I start working on The Darkness You Fear again. I'm 40K words into the book, and I'd like to get the first draft to about 70K words.

I'm at a point in the book where I need to do some research before I proceed, so I'm going to spend a few days doing that. Then push to finish the book, hopefully by the middle of the month, but definitely by the end of the year.

Try to get it edited in January and off to Books of the Dead in February.

Meanwhile, as soon as I have a cover to The Manic Pixie Dream Girls Murders, I'm going to put it out myself. Followed by I Live Among You and The Last Fedora. Hopefully, followed by Gargoyle Dreams. One every three months.

I'd love to write Not by Water, But by Fire next, but unless the big publisher gives me a contract -- which is extremely unlikely even if he likes my proposal -- I think I want to move on with my life.

I have a publisher who will at least take a look at my next Creature book -- Snaked. So I think I should do that, since there might be a market.

Then I'll turn to Not by Water, But by Fire.

Oh, well. I make these plans and then I suddenly get other ideas, but that's how it looks right now.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The gratitude of finishing a book.

I always feel a little wave of endorphins when I finish writing a book. It's gratitude, a feeling of accomplishment, a thrill to have created something.

"I Live Among You" is finished.

It's probably the first book where I've finished a first draft completely satisfied. Even Led to the Slaughter took some work before it reached that standard, and there are elements of almost all my other books that I wasn't completely satisfied with.

Not that the book wouldn't benefit from a rewrite -- but plotwise, it's sound. There isn't a single chapter I want to move or redo.

I wrote this as a whim, and it came out well.

Many times over the last few years I've wondered if I should think more before I start. Have an outline, or something.

And then a book like Tuskers or I Live Among You comes along and completely contradicts that notion. In fact, the message seems to be -- trust in my instincts. Let the subconscious do the work, get out of its way.

I'm really proud of this book. But even more -- it has pointed to the way for my future writing. Some books do require research, some books I have to wrestle with, but I'm more and more inclined to write these quicker books. They're just as good, if not better, and they are so much easier and more enjoyable to write.

Then again, I do want to challenge myself.

So I'll probably continue to do a mixture of the two kinds of books. 

I'm addicted to this process now. I love it.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Meanwhile, I keep writing.

I'm writing the last chapter of my November book, "I Live Among You," today.

Two days early!

To be honest, the 2000 word pace was a little leisurely for me. On the other hand, I usually give myself more breaks.

I will set it aside while I finish the first draft of The Darkness You Fear (I'm 2/3rds done). The Virginia Reed book will receive precedence in editing as well. When I've completely finished it, I'll go back to my November book and give it a rewrite and then have it edited.

I'm hoping I can release The Manic Pixie Dream Girls myself early next year. Just waiting on a cover.

I'm ready to proceed with putting my books out myself, without regard to publishers. I still want publishers, don't get me wrong, but I'm so damned prolific that there is really no way to send all of them off.  I already need to write Tuskers IV for Ragnarok (with Tuskers III finished and waiting), and The Darkness You Fear is intended for Books of the Dead.

I have an idea that another small publisher expressed interest in -- no commitment but worth writing.

And I'm still dangling with the Big Publisher, though based on what's happened so far, I don't expect that to come through. That has been an adventure, which I shall someday relate, but I don't want to burn any bridges just yet.

Meanwhile, I keep writing.

Turns out, if you keep writing every day for five years, you really start to pile up some books. I'm going to be forced to release at least some of them under a different name. I can't afford top line covers and editing for all these books. I'm going to need to release some under my own editing.

That isn't that big of a problem, actually, since my grammar and spelling are mostly correct. It's a bit of an extra, trying to get the book as good as I can, that I have been paying for it.

The covers, too, can be done cheaper. Photoshopping myself or with some help. I'm figuring, all these do-it-yourself books will come out under a different name. I still think they are good stories, worthy stories, but I'm just so prolific that I can't continue to expend money.

So I'm separating out the books that I consider to have commercial potential from books that I wrote for fun. Actually, I wrote them all for fun, but some of them just have more inherent possibilities than others.

The ones with potential will get the full press -- professional editing and covers. The others will be done to the best of my ability by myself. 

Meanwhile, I keep writing.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A tank versus the Old Gods?

I wrote the scene yesterday, then read it to Linda, who looked at me in bewilderment.


So as much as I like that response, it probably isn't a good one for the penultimate chapter. Heh.

I've built this whole story into a war between the worlds, but more importantly a war between good and evil. Using a tank is pretty reductive.

I think I can use some elements of this chapter, make the tank a red herring, but it probably shouldn't be moved front and center.

I'm going to sit down and write a completely new chapter without reference to this aborted one, and then take whatever elements I can save and use them.

I don't usually take such false steps but this could be a earlier chapter in a longer story --  there is a second book in this series, if I want there to be. But it might leave the ending to this book a little less than spectacular. I'm always annoyed when I watch a show and they have a natural conclusion that they obviously avoid in order to extend the story. It's a bit like cheating.

I still have four days to write the last two chapters, so I can work on it. Try to get it right.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I feel like writing, turkeys.

I came up with a second "mainstream" idea that I liked a lot. It came out of my original concept for Snaked, only I made it bigger.

So yesterday, I see a book that is almost exactly the same idea. Not only that, but has a similar cover to what I envisioned, not only that has a title that evokes the same idea and even uses one of the same words. (I like my title slightly better, and I like my cover idea slightly better, depending on how it comes out.)

But I don't know anything else about this book.

So if I write it, I might be doing what he's doing or I might go off in an entirely different direction. Even if it's similar, it will be different.

Or I can go back to the original smaller idea, Snaked, which I intended as a simple creature story like Tuskers. Maybe even simpler.

Oh, well. I never actually know what I'm going to write until I start writing.

It's amazing how often my more whimsical ideas take off -- I mean, I start them almost as a joke and they just keep going.

I'm going to write today, even with guests. I am feeling the urge too strongly to ignore. Will still spend half the day with relatives, but the other half locked in my room.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

9 year blog anniversary.

I've now been doing this for 9 years.

I've only missed a few days, all of them in the last six months. Once I missed a day by accident, I figured, what the hell.

Nevertheless, I still write just about every day.

At first, it was a "bubble blog" talking about the real estate bubble, predicting a collapse -- though not predicting the whole Great Recession.

Then it was about the my business and downtown Bend.

All along, it was also personal.

Lately, and probably to most of my original readers' disgust, it's been about writing.

In fact, the fact that I could so easily write this blog every day was part of the inspiration for trying fiction again.

9 years. Who'd have thunk it?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Slowest day of the year. This is going to hurt.

Didn't write today, either. Just didn't feel inspired. I have only the last three chapters to write and I want them to be good.

What else?

Oh, yeah.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Coming in for landing.

Had a hard time visualizing my chapter yesterday. Basically the last face-to-face between the protagonist and the Devil. Mostly dialogue with a little bit of action.

It was what I call a jigsaw chapter, in that it came in bits and pieces which I had to put together.

I was in doubt of it until I read it to Linda this morning, and it sounded pretty good, and Linda really liked it. She's liked the whole book so far.

Went walking again yesterday. I haven't been keeping track but it's been almost every day this month.

It's supposed to drop down into the teens by tomorrow, so today may be my last walk for awhile.

It is very helpful to my writing. I give myself the whole walk to just float, wait for  ideas. If they clamor too much, I plop myself on the desert sand or rocks and  I pull out my laptop.

I have three chapters visualized in my head -- and need four chapters. But I'm not too worried. Either another chapter will come, or I'll do a quick rewrite to get the other 2000 words I want.

Coming in for landing.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Not by water, but by fire.

Back on track on my November book, but I gave myself the whole day to do it. I even used my usual walk in the Badlands for this book.  I can finish it up this week, then go back to The Darkness You Fear.

My little foray into "mainstream" publishing looks like it's coming to an end. Don't want to be anymore specific than that. Weird part was, I didn't even ask for it. It came to me. So I feel a little like someone enticed me over just to slam the door in my face. Which was unnecessary. A rude diversion.

The book, though, I think is still a good idea and I intend to write it anyway.

The title is, Not by Water, But by Fire.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's very liberating.

Went walking in the Badlands, driving home at dark. I'm addicted to it.

It's about a 4 mile loop that I take. Very soothing. Yesterday I could tell no one had been there for at least a day, only my tracks.

I ended up writing on The Darkness You Fear, even though I'd given myself the out. But the words came, and I never turn them down.

I'm not writing on the November book today because I woke up late and have to work. Tis, Okay. I'm human.

Lining up covers to my finished books, which I'm going to start releasing soon.

First up around January or so, my succubus book.

I've decided to revert to my original title, which was The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Murders.

Blood of the Succubus just sounds generic, sort of like a Castle horror film from the fifties.

People may not know what a MPDG is, but that's their problem.

Trying to come up with taglines:

Sex to die for...

A girl to die for...

Sex and the modern Succubus. (A play on Sex and the Single Girl, which is probably a little obscure.)

I'm ready to move forward on my own.  It's very liberating.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I've cracked.

Oh, not on the November book. That's going swimmingly.

But trying to write The Darkness You Fear in the afternoon has just become too hard. It feels unpleasant, actually. I mean, I did it OK, but it was superhard.

I like living in one fictional dream world at a time.

So I'm going to finish my November book, and only then turn to the Virginia Reed book.

My November book is entitled: I Live Among You.

The tagline is: "When the Devil is your client..."

Peter Grandy, a private investigator, is hired by the Devil to infiltrate a cult planning to open a portal into Earth for the Old Gods. It's a jurisdictional issue. The Devil can't do anything without being invited.

Grandy, who at night is a serial killer, discovers that more is going on that the Devil told him (Surprise!). His own urges to kill fades away when he discovers that Percy Evans, the leader of the cult, isn't who he expected.

It's been a fun book to write. The first time I've done a full 1st person viewpoint. It seems easy to write that way, but it also feels thin, if fun and fast. Linda seems to like it a lot.  I guess I like multiple viewpoints, normally, and 3rd person, because it gives me more flexibility to add more elements to the story.

The Darkness You Fear by contrast is extraordinarily complicated. I have two major plotlines running more or less backward toward each other, as well as a third plotline in-between. I don't know for sure if it works, but it came to me like that, and well -- I like it.

Anyway, I'm contemplating putting I Live Among You out immediately -- just, "Here it is."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Just waiting for the right moment.

I thought this morning that I had only 7 chapters to go on my November book, so I mapped out 7 chapters.

Turned out, I have 9 chapters to go, but I'm sure that a couple more chapters will come to me.

Still liking this book a lot.

Meanwhile, I think I might be nearing the end of my concurrent daily writing on The Darkness You Fear. Mostly because I think I need to do some research before moving forward. So I'm going to take a few days to do that.

It is getting harder and harder to separate the two books in my mind. I'll be thinking about one book, and my mind will drift to the other book.

I don't think I'll ever try to do this again. It was a mind trick, and sort of unpleasant. The only way I've been able to do it is to drive 20 miles to the Badlands and write there. Completely different setting, just for that.

Driving home last night, I barely missed a deer, and I've realized every time I drive this route in the dark I'm risking that. Plus, it is getting too cold to walk.

I'm only trying to do about 1000 words on the Virginia Reed book per day. If I finish my November book on the 25th, I'll turn my full attention to the second book and try to finish it in the next week. Then do a quick rewrite.  My goal is to finish it by December 15th and send it to Lara. Work on it while Lara has it, and get it done a few days after she returns the edits. So hopefully early next year the book will be out.

I'm setting aside the November book when I'm finished. I'm afraid it will be joining the ranks of The Last Fedora, The Blood of the Succubus, and Gargoyle Dreams. All books I'm finished with and which I like, but which I don't know what to do with. Eventually, I suspect, I'll start releasing them myself every few months as soon as they all have covers. I have covers for two of them, so I could start doing that at any time.

But no hurry, I figure. Just waiting for the right moment.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wing it or outline it?

I have figured out where I want the November book to go.

The only question is do I want to try to write that down or just wing it? I've spun out the plot for Linda and in the telling a few more details were invented.

Once invented, they become part of the story.

The real trick from here it to get the timing right. There is the right time and the wrong time to introduce a plot element. It can be done clumsily or elegantly.

By being loose, I have the potential for either extreme, whereas nailing it down now would at least find a workable way, at the risk of possibly eliminating the most elegant possibility.

And there is the possibility that I might forget something if I don't write it down. I pretty much trust my subconscious to remind me, but it's a dangerous game. As long as I finish it this month, which I intend, I should be all right.

I've been very easy-going with this book, so I think I probably should continue that.

Meanwhile, over at the Virginia Reed book, I'm having to change a few plot elements. The book is about ghosts, and I was trying to be coy with that, and then -- I just plunked them down in the forth chapter, no hiding who and what they are. There is no real way to hide it, that I can see.

So I go with the Alfred Hitchcock bromide that it isn't something surprising that scares people, but something inevitable that they know is coming.

Besides (don't tell anyone) my stories aren't really about "scary" as much as they are about telling a good story in a scary realm.  I'm eliminating a couple of characters as extra and confusing, but what all these changes mean is a thorough re-write. But then, this book requires some research. (I do research after I've set down the basic first draft plot, backward as that may seem.)

I seem to have books that are projects, and books that just come out whole. It would be great if all the books came out whole, but some subjects just require more effort. I'm not saying one type of book is better than the other. In fact, the project books my have more heft, but the first draft books have more oomph.  I don't know.

Project books are intimidating -- because I'm lazy. Because looking shit up isn't the same thing as creating it. There is great fun in integrating the two, but meanwhile it's work.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The plot is revealed.

28,000 words into my November book and I'm taking a nap and Bamm! I know what I want to do and where it's supposed to go. I especially like that it isn't where I thought it was going, yet feels right.


I was just winging it, enjoying it, but I was not really sure what was going to happen.

How the hell does that happen? Thank you subconscious! Thank you Muses! Thank you God! Thank you other dimensions where my stories live!

I'm not saying it's great, but it sure impresses me if no one else. Like a door opening, the top of my head literally lifts and light enters.

What a great feeling.

I don't know if I can pull off the vision I have in my head and I still have to work out some of the plot, but I have a general notion of the theme, where I want the characters to be, and how things are resolved.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

All in, or not at all.

Finished the 2000 words on the November book early. Linda loves it, but I'm worried it is too cute. Easy to write with a sidekick character named Pusifer who is a cat from hell.

Then went out and winterized the house. Have been putting it off forever, because I thought it would be hard. So easy. Did it in a very short time.

So now I'm just goofing off waiting until 3:00 when I will go on my daily drive to write on my Virginia Reed book.

Feeling really relaxed. A bit of money pressure because the store has been slow this month, maybe the first down month in a couple of years. Not sure why. Just means I won't spend quite so much on Christmas product.

Weirdly, my Star Wars toys aren't selling at all. Don't understand that. Not worried about the long run, but I needed to sell at least some of them to relieve the cash flow pressure. Ah, well. We have the money in the bank to cover the shortages.

I don't know what they count as inflation, but everything seems more expensive to me.

Beautiful Bend day. My favorite kind of day. Exactly 60 degrees, the perfect walking weather. I'm sure I'm going to run into crowds out at the Badlands, but I'll just try to find an unoccupied spot.

The writing is just going extraordinarily well. I seem to have immense discipline when it comes to writing. Don't know where that comes from.

Of course, I used to use the same energy at the store, but that was something that couldn't be measured. Books can be measured. So many words written, so many books finished. Prodigious, but it seems to be the way I do things -- all in, or not at all.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cthulhu 007!

Went to see Spectre today. No one told me about Cthulhu 007!

It also threw me off my writing. Didn't get out to the Badlands until after 4:00. Went for a walk, and it was almost dark by the time I got back to the car. I love walking in the dusk, absolutely alone and absolutely quiet.

I thought up the plot of the chapter I wanted to write, but didn't finish until 9:00.

Back on schedule tomorrow. Now more than halfway on both books.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Still on pace.

Still on pace. I write the 2000 words early in the day, wait a few hours, then drive out to the Badlands and write on the second book (no specific word goal.)

I'm almost exactly halfway through both books.

Pretty crazy thing to do and I doubt I'll ever do it again. It's very hard to wrench my headspace away from the first book into the second book. Half the time I find myself writing 1st person, even when I remind myself not to.

But so far, the ideas have come, and the word flow is solid, and I like what's happening with both books.

I'm trying to finish them before I hear back from the publisher, because no matter what the verdict it, it is likely to throw me off my stride.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My so-called career.

I've realized halfway through writing my November book that the tone I'm using, the first-person voice, was the tone I was trying to reach with the first book I attempted after coming back to writing.

I just couldn't quite get it right then. Or maybe I just doubted myself. I went away from that tone, turning it to 3rd person, making it more serious. I didn't think of myself as a humorous writer.

I still don't think I'm a humorous writer, and yet humor slips in. Maybe that's the trick. Not to try to be funny, but let the funny happen when it happens. That first started showing up with Tuskers -- unintentionally funny scenes. That is, I thought I was being flippant, but I was getting actual laughs.

Maybe the trick to fixing Faerylander once and for all is to go back and regain my flippant voice and write it in 1st person wherever possible.

I chose 1st person for my November book because it is easier -- and yet, I don't have any other books in 1st person for structural reasons. I like to have multiple characters usually, doing things all over the place.

Yet even in my Virginia Reed novels, I manage to do quite a bit of 1st person narration through the use of letters and journals, and the technique brings the books to life.

This was going to be a short book, and I thought maybe I could pull it off. So far, so good. So good in fact that I can see myself writing a lot of books with this method.

Here's the thing. I have no end of stories, apparently, and I can write them fast. I've resisted the impulse (though it may not look that way) and each book I've put out so far has had much more effort expended.

But I'm thinking of a two tier approach to writing. These quick and fun books, and then the more serious books.

Whether to use a pen name for one type of book and my own name for the other kind of book, I'm undecided.

So far, I'm sitting on a number of finished books, waiting to see what happens to my so-called career.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

So my hero is a serial-killer.

You want your protagonist to be sympathetic, you know. No matter how charming, a serial killer is still a serial killer.

I had decided to change that to a jewelry thief, and started the changeover, and it was doable.

But it seemed to take all the energy out of the book.

Grandy is irredeemable as a human, but he is still a hero, if a hero sacrifices himself for the greater good.

All very weird and likely to put off some people. But then again, the people who would be put off by it aren't going to buy a book whose tagline is "When the Devil is your're in trouble."

So onward with the original conception.

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's a damned good premise.

So my mainstream proposal, the so-called "100 kickass pages," was based on a damned good premise. It has huge potential, and might someday soon be a very timely thing.

If the editor and publisher were smart, they would help me make this proposal and shape it, even if my submission is flawed.

For the first time, I'm a little paranoid that the premise could be taken away. As you may have noticed with this blog, I don't usually hide what I'm doing, but in this case, I decided it would be better to keep it to myself until it was developed.

If they don't take this book, I'll go ahead and write it anyway because I have great faith in it.

What would really make this a good book is some extensive research. I'm hoping to make it a Micheal Crichton kind of book -- not quite as wonky as Tom Clancy, but with a bunch of telling detail.

Anyway, I just wish they'd give me the go-ahead, (as in a contract -- saying, "go ahead and write it" without a contract is pretty useless).

I could really sink my teeth into this.

Meanwhile, as I'm waiting, I'm trying to finish The Darkness You Fear. I love Virginia Reed as a character, and I love the setting, the whole world. So I'm very pleasantly involved in fleshing this out, making it a good book.

I'm on track. I just need to follow through.

Being on track is a little boring, you know? No drama.

No worries, I'm sure the drama will come. It always does...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Out walking the book.

Every afternoon, I drive the 20 miles to the Badlands (and I have the gas bills to prove it.)

I do this as preparation for writing The Darkness You Fear. The 20 miles gives me a chance to remove myself, physically and mentally, from whatever else I was doing. By the time I get there, I'm committed to writing something, after all I've spent the time and money to get there so I better be productive.

It doesn't hurt that I'm writing a weird western. The landscape really gets me in the mood.

I've seen one coyote on my walks. Yesterday I heard a coyote yip yip yipppppeeeeeinggg! away, it sounded like just a few hundred feet away. It was answered by a distant yip yip yippppeeeiinnng! Very cool.

I've been startled two or three times by huge owls who swoop out of the trees. Strangely, I haven't seen deer. I see more deer in town or in the pastures along the road out to the Badlands. And I've come across one poor forlorn chicken and felt forever guilty about leaving it there.

Mostly though, it's just quiet. I get a little put out when I run into people. This is MY path!

I often talk to myself, give myself a little pep talk. But mostly I just wait for the ideas to come. Not force them, but open myself up to them.

And they come. How lucky is that? I seem to have a lot creative energy, and I'm spending it. Spending all of it. After all, I don't how long this will last.

I have a great deal of admiration for my fellow writers who have jobs or young families and health and money issues, who have an outside life and friends and all that and still manage to write.

I spent 30 years unable to write.

But I've cleared the decks. Writing comes first, (except for Linda who cuts me as much slack as she can, and because she is a kind and generous person, that's a lot.)

Anyway, once I'm at the Badlands, I'll either stay in the car, if the weather it too awful, or go for short walks if it isn't too awful, and go for long walks when the weather it good.

Yesterday was perfect. Not too warm so that walking made me hot, or so cool that sitting made me cold. I just walk and wait for the ideas. Sometimes I spur them a little. "I need a new character, who would that be? I need an action scene, what would it entail?" But mostly, I try to let it be natural.

I get a rush when I come up with a cool scene, a new interesting character, a twist. Yesterday, I had one come up and it actually brought an endorphine flow so strong it brought tears to my eyes. Pure gratitude that such an idea came out of nowhere.

Somewhere in the vast universe, I tell myself, this actually happened. These are real people doing real things, and I'm getting a dim reflection of them and writing them down.

Meanwhile, the walks themselves are like my writing. You take one step at a time, and after awhile you look back and realize you've gone a fair distance, just like you write one word at a time and if you keep doing it, you cover ground.

You do it everyday, and its good exercise. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a good exercise for the body, the mind, the emotions, the soul.

I call it "walking the book."

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Too much momentum to stop now.

JOURNAL: 11/7/15

At least part of the reason I'm rushing to write these two books is that I want to have made good progress, or even finish them, before my will to live is crushed by rejection.

No matter how I prepare myself, there will always be the odor of sour-grapes rationalization. Even when my mind truly can come up with a bunch of legit reasons why it could happen.

And it doesn't help to prepare for it. Knowing you're going to get socked in the face doesn't make it hurt any less. In fact, it might hurt more.

Every time I try to tell myself it doesn't matter if I get rejected, saying things like, "Hey, it's no worse a result than never having submitted," I also have to admit to myself, "Hey, if it doesn't matter, why are you doing it?"

Well, obvious reasons. More exposure, connections, credibility, bookstore exposure, and possible (though most likely, very limited) money.  

But I really also mean it when I say it might be a little bit of a relief. What really got me rolling on writing again was skipping that whole submission process, which is nerve-wracking and soul-crushing.  It seems arbitrary and way too dependent on luck, timing, and who you know.

You mean I can write whatever I want, whenever I want, and I can just publish it? Count me in!

So after an appropriate mourning time, I will move on. I know this. I've just got too much momentum to stop now.

This is doable.

Bad enough that I write one book in a month, but that I do two books in a month is ridiculous.

It won't be quite that -- The Darkness You Fear will take longer -- but pretty close. Also, these are first drafts and they will have to be worked on. But still...

The thing you have to understand is that I give the entire day over to it.  Morning to one book, afternoon-evening to another book. No kids, no job, no responsibilities.

Just writing.

It does take quite an adjustment. I wrote half a chapter the day before yesterday in the wrong tense. Then today I wrote half a chapter in first person when it should be third person. Easily fixed, but even when I caught myself doing it, I couldn't seem to stop myself.

That and the tone. The first book is breezy, light-hearted, the second book is more serious.

So there has to be a break between the two books. I let several hours go by. Also, just driving out to the Badlands and going for short walks seems to get me in the mood for Virginia's western atmosphere.

The November book was meant to be easy -- a knockoff, early morning 2000 words whatever came to me. But 12K words in it seems to be turning into a real book, which adds a little pressure I didn't expect.

So...two books. How prodigious is that? Ridiculous. I don't think I'll do this again.

Friday, November 6, 2015

All I need and want is time.

Six days of 2000 words each on my November Book. Just winging it. Linda likes it, so that means I'm on track.  I write on this first thing in the morning. Already have 12K words. I'm writing straight to the ending, no detours, so if it ends up shorter than 50K words that will be all right. Anything over 30K words and I'll publish it anyway.

Then I wait until late afternoon and try to get into Virginia Reed's head, which is a very different voice and story. So far I've managed it.

I've discovered a trick. I drive the 20 miles to the Badlands, thinking about the book all the way. This geographical break is the equivalent of a psychic break.

Then, I either park or go walking, and then come back and start writing. It's hard, but once I get rolling, it's no harder than usual.

Two books being written at the same time. I'm so impressed with myself.

Worked at the store yesterday and told my mainstream idea to several people, and they all seemed to think it was a great idea, so that's encouraging.

All I need and want is time. I want to finish all these projects, give birth to them, put them out into the world.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

It's all attitude.

It amazes me that I can get up every morning and whip out 2000 words on this new story like its nothing, especially since I have no idea where it's going.

It's the attitude of the characters that allow this. First of all, being first person, and being flippant, is just so easy to write. Second, I'm not putting any pressure on myself at all. Third, I'm not worrying about length since I'm almost certain I'm putting this out myself as an ebook, so anything over Novella length, say 30,000 words, will be just fine.

So far it's been fun. And it's encouraging that Linda likes it so much.

I may hit a wall, since I haven't figured out what it is really about. But I'll have fun, fun, fun until I smash into the bricks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Crazy Ambitious

Well, maybe not ambitious, per se. But I have soooooooooooo many projects I want to finish.

So I'm trying to write two books at the same time.

The first book is my November Book Month book, which I decided on a whim. I even changed what book I was planning to write at the last moment. If you go to my Book Month Page, I have the title Snaked.

I've ignored the Book Month stuff, and I'm just doing it on my own.

The new title is I Live Among You, and it's written in first person, and the tag line is: "When the Devil is your client, you've got trouble."

Basically a serial killer P.I. is hired by the Devil to fight a extra-dimensional invasion. (Cthulhu.)

I'm writing it for fun, just letting anything come to my head -- so far, Linda seems particularly fond of this story, so I'm hoping that will continue.

At the same time, I'm writing my third Virginia Reed novel.

The hard part is getting into the separate fictional dreamscapes. What I'm doing is writing I Live Among You first thing in the morning, no later than noon.

Then I take several hours off, at least three but preferably five or more. I do something completely outside of writing -- errands, sorting books at the Bookmark.  Then around 3:00 or 4:00 I drive out the the Badlands, which gives me a nice psychic break, and get started.

I must admit, it's hard to do. I've managed it for two days.

Question is -- is it better to keep each story fresh by writing no more than 2000 words each, or would it be better to stick to one book, but write more words?

Not sure yet.  See how today goes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The story exists, as it exists.

Sometimes I write a book and I get it right.

Sometimes I write a book, I get it wrong, but I can fix it.

Sometimes I write a book, I get it wrong, and I can't fix it.

First of all, let me say, I'm very open to critique and to changing my story. I accept about 95% of editorial suggestions, especially all the smaller stuff.

But sometimes the suggested change is so fundamental to the nature of the story that it can't be done without changing the story so much it falls apart.

That doesn't mean the suggested change is wrong, only that I can't do it. Every time I've had one of these core changes, the whole thing has fallen apart. It has become a quagmire of changes, confusing, unworkable. It's take one piece out of the base of the puzzle and having it all come toppling down.

Here's where I might have some fundamental disagreement with other writers, especially those who view writing as a mechanistic process, who believe there are formulas.

Not to get all mystic on you, but I think of it this way. The story I write comes from some sort of extra dimension where it already exists.

Now there is a certain Schrodinger Cat aspect to these stories, and thus the details can be changed, some of the sequences can be changed, characters can change their looks and attitude, the background might shift and so so on. I can add or subtract elements.

But the fundamentals that come to me are usually locked in. That there is a certain built in story that can't be changed.

And sometimes other people find that story to be boring, or confusing, or just not working.

Here's the thing. They may be right, but I can't do anything about it. I have learned that if you have several independent readers come to the exact same conclusion, they are probably right.

A good example is the first chapter of my "100 Kickass Pages." Nobody liked it. One reader said it was so bad, he didn't want to tell me.  That bad. is the beginning of the story, no getting away from it. The characters introduced, the circumstances -- are the whole basis for the book.

I added a few things, tried to make the two protagonists motivations more believable, and so on, but fundamentally, the chapter didn't work.

But I thought it did.

So I did what I could, wrote the other 95 pages, and sent it off.

If it is a dealbreaker, I'm NOT going to try to fix it. I'll move on. I've learned that trying to fix one of these fundamental "Truths," if you will, negates the whole story. I'm better off just accepting the truth that this isn't a story that people like (not that it isn't the real story, just that people don't like it.)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Use up my chances.

I got confirmation that the agent got the "100 kickass pages" and will read it ASAP.

Makes me nervous. I do hate rejection, and I figure that's most likely, and why do I subject myself?

What really opened the writing floodgates for me a few years ago was the idea that I could just write what I wanted, when I wanted. No one to say no.

So why am I doing this?

Mostly, because I'm horrible at promoting myself, and if you don't promote yourself, nothing happens without a publisher.

Also,  I'm going straight to the top with this -- a big-time agent as well as the "executive editor" of a major publisher, so no rejections by underlings (where I'm betting most rejections take place.)

And they seem well-disposed toward me, at least the editor is, so I'm hoping they'll see the potential.

If this doesn't go, I'll accept the verdict and publish it myself. And try to come up with another "mainstream"  idea.

I figure I probably have about 3 chances with these guys, and I may as well use them up.

I know some writers advise that I keep submitting, but without an agent, most places won't look at it, and I've already tried multiple times to get an agent with Led to the Slaughter and had the doors slammed in my face pretty resoundingly. (I'm still somewhat puzzled by this...)

So I'm not going there. I'm only doing this because the opportunity came out of nowhere. 

I guess, in that sense, nothing gained and nothing lost.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All right, you slackers!

It's probably silly for me to be doing the November Novel Writing Month.

I've written a number of books in the allotted time. I'm a pretty dedicated full-time writer these days. It isn't really a hobby.

Still, a little extra motivation never hurts.

My goal is to get the 2000 to 2500 a day of the new story out of the way as quickly as possible. And then start my day job, which is writing ANOTHER novel!