Friday, August 26, 2016

The Third Group Of Writers' Advice / Happenings In The Outhouse 26-Aug-2016

A few weeks ago, I had a blog post regarding writing advice.  If you missed it, it's worth a read--or a re-read.

Once again, I always seem to find myself late to the party, but a few weekends ago I watched No Country For Old Men on Netflix.  It was a great movie, well put together, and watching it made me think of the author of the book Cormac McCarthy.  Another great movie/book by Cormac was The Road.

Looking at Cormac's publishing history--and many others authors--I saw a sporadic number of books.  In cases, it may be 5-10 years between books.  Yet, somehow these authors make a living writing full-time.  I don't hear much from these authors, however, when it comes to advice.  They mainly talk about their latest books and then . . . that's it.  If they do offer their advice, it may be skewed towards the traditional realm and will completely ignore indie publishing as a flash in the pan.

So, what is a budding writer to do?

Look at it from all angles.  But don't wait too long.  Sometimes you'll spend too much time researching something when you could've written some books, maybe indie published them, and learned more than you would by reading countless resource books on the subject.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Pete's Dragon, Then And Now / Happenings In The Outhouse 19-Aug-2016

Pete's Dragon, circa 1977, is the first movie I ever remember seeing in the movie theater.  According to my Mom, this is not the first movie I ever went to.  That one was Where The Red Fern Grows.  I was two when that movie came out, five when Pete's Dragon did.

Last weekend, I brought my two daughters to see the remake of Pete's Dragon.  I loved it.  So did my daughters.  We laughed and cried.  Don't worry, I won't spoil anything.

Which brings me to the subject of remakes.  Yes, Pete's Dragon is a remake . . . in name only.  There is absolutely no comparison to the original.  Treat it like a brand new movie for a brand new generation.

The same goes when books get made into movies.  Treat them as separate works of art.  Critics who feel they should all be the same have, what I call, the "Clear and Present Danger Syndrome."  Please see my blog post from a few years ago where I explain this.

I've also watched the recent movie Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman, the latter of course on DVD.  I loved both movies--I know, I know, it doesn't take much to make me love something.  I give both movies two thumbs up, five stars all the way.

Despite what the critics say.

When Batman v. Superman came out in the theater, my oldest daughter saw it and said it was great.  I wasn't able to see it in the theaters.  It obviously did well at the box office.  I have a co-worker who also saw it and agreed with the critics.  He hated it.  His basis for criticism seemed to stem from it being like the comics and the canon it presented.  Once again, another victim of the "Clear and Present Danger Syndrome."

Treat each piece of art as a separate piece of art.  Work hard not to compare.  Rarely are books as good as movies, and vice versa.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Who's advice to listen to / Happenings In The Outhouse 12-Aug-2016

I'm noting that I have close to 700 blog posts . . . yes, you heard correct.  700!

So, needless to say, if I duplicate something that I've talked about before, I apologize.  Hence today's subject of who to listen to.  Not sure if I covered this before.

There are two general camps of writers offering tips to newbies--one can divide these down into sub-categories, but for now I'm going to leave it at two.

The two camps are: veteran writers and new writing stars.

I'm noticing a fair amount of veteran writers--who have been in the business for decades, through the various ebbs and flows of the industry--who's advice is simple: write, keep writing, rewrite only to editorial demand, put your writing out into the market, and keep it out until sold.  Now, I completely stole this advice from Robert Heinlein, famed science fiction writer.  Here's a link to what is called Heinlein's Rules on Dean Wesley Smith's site.  In fact, Dean is one of these veteran writers I'm talking about.  David Farland is another one.  Here is Farland's lectures on Heinlein's rules.

And there are more than these two.  But if anything, to start with, follow Dean and David's advice, to gain their perspective of the publishing industry.  Even if you disagree with them, it's okay to gain their knowledge.

Then, in the second camp, there are the new writing stars.  This camp is comprised of writers who write some books, have some success--in some cases massive success that land them in the top spots on Amazon--and then write nonfiction books or put together online courses about the process.  They don't necessarily quit writing the fiction books that gave them success, but they seem to have slowed down and are focusing more on the nonfiction side of their business.

Comparing both camps can cause your head to spin with disbelief and confusion.  The new stars are focused highly on the marketing, not necessarily writing the next book.  This seems short-sighted for me, and one that I find myself at odds against.  As you'll note, I have not provided links to any of these.

So, what is a newbie writer to do?

Depends on what clicks with you.  It also depends on what you want to do.  I want to publish.  I want to write.  Therefore, I find myself taking the advice of the veterans more than the others.  Not that I ignore the new writing stars.  I pick and choose what I want to listen to.

Then, I put my head down . . . and write.

Heinlein's rules, people.  Simple rules to follow.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Entitlement vs. The Cursed Child / Happenings In The Outhouse 05-Aug-2016

J. K. Rowling's eight Harry Potter book has been released into the world.  As of this writing, I am roughly halfway through it and loving it--and yes I knew it was a script book LONG before it came out.

My thirteen-year-old daughter read it in one night, in about six hours.  And she LOVED it!  Here's the proof, if you don't believe me - here's a cute note she wrote to me:



I was disappointed in the reviews I read on Amazon.  One such review said something to the fact that THIS ISN'T THE BOOK ROWLING OWED ME.

Sorry?  J. K. Rowling doesn't owe you at all.  She can do whatever she wants.  All writers can do whatever they want with their art.  Fans are owed nothing.  So what if the new Harry Potter book is a script book.  I agree it was a little difficult to read at first, simply because I don't read that many script books (I can probably count the number of script books on one hand and have enough fingers left to pick my nose and possibly even flip someone the bird).

But I have still enjoyed it.

I clearly remembered when the news broke regarding the new book.  I did read the fine print, which said it was a script book.  I told my daughter--the one who read it in six hours and even read the entire series last summer--and she shrugged.  "So what?  I'll still love it."

And she did.

And so have I.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Know what distracts you / Happenings In The Outhouse 29-July-2016

What distracts you?  What causes your attention to be rammed away from what you're working on?

Today's political race is definitely one of those that distracts many.  No matter what side you're rooting for, the media is great at distracting your attention.

Knowing what draws your attention from your art/project is half the battle.  You acknowledge it.  Now it's to do something about it.

For me, I have a small list of things I want to focus on.  And politics is not one of them.  I have no control over how one feels for one candidate or political party, and I'm not going to waste my time doing so.  One focus for me is my writing.  My books.  That may be obvious, for those who read this blog.

Given that, I'm roughly a fourth of the way through editing Shades of Darkness.  I'm still shooting for a release date near the end of August.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Cover for Shades Of Darkness / Happenings In The Outhouse 22-July-2016

Keeping it short today.  Still editing Shades of Darkness, and I'm roughly 9-10 chapters into it.  Still aiming for a mid-August release, but it may change depending on how long the editing takes me.

In the meantime, here is the cover for Shades of Darkness.  Please let me know what you think:


Friday, July 15, 2016

Shades Of Darkness, Book 4 / Happenings In The Outhouse 15-July-2016

The first draft of Book 4 in the Central Division Series is complete.  I wrote the last words at exactly noon on Saturday, July 9th, 2016--to celebrate I took my youngest daughter to see The BFG.  We both thought it was funny and highly underrated.  If you get a chance to see it, do so.

Anyway, back to Book 4.  It is called Shades of Darkness.

I'm having the cover being worked on, and will share once it's complete.  Right now, I'm looking for a mid-August release.

As of now, I'm currently working on the edits.

Stay tuned . . .