Friday, September 29, 2017

Write until it's done / Happenings In The Outhouse 29-Sept-2017

A few weeks ago, during our tri-weekly writers' group meeting, one of our members shared a piece of writing advice that we all thought was golden.
It's very simple.

And keep writing until it's done.
No more, no less.

With all the writing advice out there, this one goes to the heart of much of most writing.  Some writers try to push a short story idea to something longer just for the sake of making it longer.  Some writers even try to squeeze a longer piece into something shorter.  Again, just for the sake of making it shorter.

One of my recent publications titled Bruce is an example of this.  When the story was originally conceived, it was a short story.  A few thousand words at best.  By the time it was complete, it was just shy of 11,000 words.  Not a short story at all.  A novelette.  But I wrote the story that needed to be told.  I didn't cram anything in that didn't pertain to the story and I didn't leave anything out for the sake of keeping it short.

I wrote.

I wrote until it was done.

Try it.  Write a story without any notion of length.  There are a number of epic fantasy novels, many published a few decades ago, that were bloated just to fit the genre.  Stephen King has even written a few door stops--although we can argue if the door stops worked or not.  People have argued that the last 2-3 Harry Potter books could've been cut down too.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Cycling (in writing) / Happenings In The Outhouse 22-Sept-2017

Ever wonder how many successful writers publish all the time?  No, it's not because writing is all they do--although that may be true as well--but there is a secret to churning out story after story that I didn't discover until this earlier year.
It is called cycling.

Dean Wesley Smith talked about it on one of his blogs this past February.

Bestselling Christian author Jerry B. Jenkins (co-author of the Left Behind series) even talked about it last month on The Creative Penn podcast.

This is something I have also started incorporating in my writing--and it has boosted by overall productivity immensely.

Cycling.  It's not just for bicycles anymore.

In a nutshell, it works like this: write a few hundred words (this amount will vary with each author) until you get to a point where you either feel the need to stop or even after a certain period of time.  Then, take a small break and re-read what you had written.  Once you get to the end, keep writing.  As you re-read, fix what needs fixing, edit what needs editing, but using your creative mind to keep going.

To some, this may seem like a slow process.  Take, for example, NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, which occurs every November.  The goal is to write 50,000 word in a single month, which equates to 1,667 words a day.  Many writers who write their 50,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo will then say the story is crap.  Why?  Using the cycling method--a method that bestselling authors use--may help not make the story crap.

In Smith's post, he states that using this cycling method will keep one in a creative mode.  This will keep the story fresh.  I have also found that it eliminates the needless editing passovers.  Don't get me wrong, stories still need editing, but cycling will boost your productivity and decrease the amount of time "working" on "fixing" your stories.
Give it a try on your next story.  It may take a bit to get your personal rhythm down, but cycling is worth trying out.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A life of its own / Happenings In The Outhouse 15-Sept-2017

Last week, I started writing a new novel in a new series.  This story has been brewing in my mind for the longest time--it's the reason I chose to write it next, after I completed my technothriller series The Shadowkill Trilogy.

This new story is a superhero story.

I've written a few posts where my story ideas look like Morse Code.

Let me briefly explain again: the dots are where this happens and then this happens and so on.  The dashes are scenes where this thing happens.  Together, I write to fill in the spaces.

This new story has been brewing for a long time--and I really mean, a long time.  I'd walk to and from work (the day job), and I'd envision what this superhero would do.

I won't explain the story nor the powers this superhero has (I briefly told the story to my youngest daughter, who watches a lot of superhero shows on Netflix, and she thought it was very cool!) but I will say that once I sat down to write it . . . the story took on a life of its own.  Some of the troubling areas of the story has worked itself out as I write it.

If you're having troubles starting or even continuing a story that you're working on, go back a few hundred words, read, and then write.  Keep the words flowing.

Publication update:
I am currently working on the covers for the final two books in The Shadowkill Trilogy, my nonfiction book centered around traveling with diabetes, and a superhero novelette.  Once these four are completed, I will share links, etc.
I am also working on putting a box set together for The Shadowkill Trilogy too.  Good times!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Gabriel's Hope has a new title

Back in October 2013, I published Gabriel's Hope.  It's a heart-warming tale of a man named Larry Wahl who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and is left with a reflection on how disappointing his life must've been.

Then he meets an angel named Gabriel who takes him on a journey of his life, where he influenced seven people, and that influence will be felt by generations to come.

Gabriel's Hope has now been retitled as Hope From Heaven.

If you haven't read this, please click on this link to check it out at various e-book retailers.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Mundane vs. excitement / Happenings In The Outhouse 08-Sept-2017

I recently started watching Ozark, a crime drama thriller series, on Netflix.

Thirty minutes into the first episode, the main character (played by Jason Bateman), is shown to lead a fairly mundane life.  He's cautious, frugal, checks the reports on consumer products, and the like.  He's someone many of us could relate to, in a way.  Then, in the span of thirty minutes, he's confronted by a major cartel drug dealer, whom his financial partner is stealing from, and also has to deal with the fact that his wife is cheating on him.

He goes from mundane to excitement in moments.

This is how good storytelling works.

Take a recent story I wrote--this will be published shortly, as soon as the cover is completed.  We have a young father, working hard as a car salesman, and dealing with a mundane life.  Enter a new co-worker.  He has some unusual powers.

Many stories are like this.  From Breaking Bad and Star Wars: A New Hope to Harry Potter and pretty much most superhero movie or show that goes into their backstory--the (mostly ill-fated) origin stories.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Decisions on what's next / Happenings In The Outhouse 01-Sept-2017

As the publication date to books 2 and 3 of the Shadowkill Trilogy comes closer, as well as two smaller projects (a nonfiction diabetes travel guide and a fiction novelette), I now have a decision to make: what to do next?

Trust me, there are no lack of stories.  Here's what I have to choose amongst:

A new superhero series (this has the potential to be an ensemble, like The Avengers, The Defenders, and Suicide Squad)

An epic fantasy series

A cozy mystery series

A YA adventure series

A romance story (or a series?)

A variety of short stories in varied genres

Shorter works in the Central Division Series

Future Central Division Series novels

A stand-alone horror novel set on a Minnesota lake (already written, but will use the draft as an outline and will completely rewrite)

A deer hunting horror story (this one is also written, but needs tons of work--so, in other words, will be completely rewritten)

A stand-alone horror novel that may be published in 4 parts (again, this one was written long ago, but will again be completely rewritten)

A spin-off series from the Central Division Series, based on my novelette Guest of Honor

Again, no lack of stories here.  Also, this does NOT include a number of other projects of varying length and potential.  Some I have titles, some have been written (one of these may end up being a novel instead of in its current short story form), and others I have a rough sketch written.