Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wanna Get Published?

If the answer is yes, then you probably wanna know the best and fastest way to do so.

How do I get published? Its a common question, you see it on blogs, on forums, people hunt down their favorite authors and ask them even tho they've heard the same question a million times that week and vow to kill the next person who asks it.

So whats the answer? Its probably the most cliche answer in the literary world: read a lot, write a lot, send what you write into an editor. If the editor likes it, they will buy it and BAM! published. Take it from there.

Thats the basic formula. Of course, you will also need time you don't have and the ability to sit in front of a computer, or a word-processor, or a type writer, or a notebook and rip that story from your head and smack it down on paper in a way that makes sense and how you want it to appear to others when they read it--if they ever do.

Sound easy?

Laugh Out Loud.

To add to all that you may have to deal with rejection. Not everybody gets rejected, but most do. Editors get a lot of flak when they reject a piece but put yourself in their shoes. Depending on the house, they can get anywhere from dozens to thousands of submissions a month; think about how you feel when you try to get through one bad book; now times that by a hundred and make it your job. So cut them some slack when you get that cold rejection notice.

And rejection in the writing world aint that bad, In the real world if you do bad at a job interview, you'll never get another chance at being hired. Ever. In the writing word, you can get rejected a million times and the same editor will keep the door open for you, looking for that one gem you might produce.

The last ingredient to the overall formula is to simply not give up--ever. That is, if you want to get published.

So now, go read a lot, write a lot, and then send what you've written to an editor or three (but one at a time only; no simultaneous subs), get rejected, or not, don't give up either way, and then BAM! published. Its that easy--and between you and me: coffee helps.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Art With A Keystroke...

.....or a penstroke, whatever gets your fancy.

I think the only people who think writing is easy are those who don't write. I'm well aware that the actual act of writing is very easy and anyone with hands and eyes can do it, putting words on paper by typing or by utilizing penmanship; and even if you don't have hands or eyes, nowadays  they have programs like Dragon where all you have to do is rant and rave and write at the same time. (unfortunately I can't use Dragon software; if I had to say the things I write about out loud, my neighbors would have the cops at my door every day suspecting me of being a murdering terrorist or a deranged lunatic)

In that same vein, anyone can paint or be a singer too. I've seen 3 year olds finger-paint masterpieces and I sing in the shower every night,  but those masterpieces wont ever make it into a gallery and I'll never make it on Idol, because while anyone can do it, you still need craft.

It's easy to write a cohesive story; look: Exhibit A

Jane kicked the ball. The ball bounced on the grass. Jack caught the ball. Jack looked at the ball. The ball was orange. Jack rolled the ball. The ball rolled across the grass. Jane kicked the ball. It got dark. Jane and Jack went home.

Simple, correct, and boring. The plot's all there, there's a beginning and an end, all you need for a story; but yeah, quite frankly it sucks. And where's the dialogue? Ok, lets add some.

Exhibit B

“This is fun,” Jane said. 
Jane kicked the ball. The ball bounced on the grass. Jack caught the ball. Jack looked at the ball. The ball was orange. 
“Yes, it is fun, Jack said. Jack rolled the ball. The ball rolled across the grass. Jane kicked the ball.
“Its getting dark out,  Jane said.
“What should we do?” Jack said.
“We should go home,” Jane said.
“All right. Lets go home,”Jack said.
 Jane and Jack went home. The End.

Again, blah! to the max.

Now, let me try to improve it with a little craft.

Exhibit C

Jane dropped the ball and waited for just the right moment to kick it as hard as she could, sending the orange globe soaring through the air to smash hard into Jack's nose with a satisfying crunch.
“Take that you lousy motherfucker!” she screamed at her ex.
Jack centered himself, looking wide-eyed down at the blood dripping into his hands from his flattened nose. 
“What the hell is wrong with you?” he asked, sounding stuffy. “I don't even know who you are.
Enraged, Jane ran to where the ball had come to rest, but instead of picking the ball back up she spied a discarded beer bottle lying in the unmowed grass of the park.
She picked the bottle up instead.
Turning, her blue eyes focused on Jack who was back-stepping across the grass, face a mess of blood, his eyes wide with fear. She knew he'd come here and knew he'd deny everything. But he'd broken her heart, so now she was gonna break something of his--permanently.
“Did you think I wouldn't find out?” she hissed, following him as he continued to walk backwards.
But he didn't answer, only shook his head, turned and started running back across the park.
That was fine with Jane; she wasn't about to let him get away.
Bottle in hand, she took off after Jack, racing across the park, uncaring of the gawking stares she attracted from those fiddling around the swing sets and basketball courts.
Jack ran out onto the sidewalk that bordered the small park area, screaming for help.  Oh, I will make you scream, bastard! she thought with dark satisfaction. 
She made it to the sidewalk, still in hot pursuit, but another voice brought her up short.
“Jane!” she turned around, dazed.
“Jane, how'd you get out again?” the man in the white coat approached her. There were two others behind him, she saw.
“Jack?” she asked aloud, confusion setting in deep. 
“Yes, Jane, it's Jack. Now be easy. Put the bottle down. Good girl.”
“Oh, Jack, I missed you so!” He got closer, and even though she knew he'd hurt her before, she had missed him, needed his touch now. 
Jack closed in, wrapping his arms around her, she returned the embrace gleefully, and that's when she felt the pinch in her neck, the pinch that always brought dark dreams. 
No, Jack, not again! Why...darkness.

The End

Ok, it's not perfect and will never be a bestseller, but you get the point. It takes some amount of work to turn finger-paints into a potential masterpiece. And its not easy. I personally think that any writer who thinks or feels that writing is easy should find another profession, because those writers will never know the passion of the finished project, and that will ultimately translate over to the reader; only struggle creates passion, and passion is love. If you don't care that much about something, then you wont put the effort in to make it the best it can be, and then you cheat both yourself and the reader; on the other hand, if you feel passionate about a thing, you'll torture yourself day in, day out to achieve the perfection that you, the project, and your readers deserve.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chapter Challenge

Spent all day yesterday and today working on a massive scene within the confines of an equally massive chapter.

I never alter a story due to chapter lengths: if the story calls for a one page chapter then I write a one page chapter; if the story calls for a thirty page chapter, same thing, I write thirty pages or however many it takes to get the story to where it's supposed to be.

But I still get leery when my chapters go "too long".

I think it's because I'm weird when I read. I never could just take a book and read it from front to back without knowing when I'll be able to stop, so every chapter I count how many pages there are till the next chapter; if its a good book, I dont really care how long I have to read, but if the book is so-so and I know I got 15+ pages to go...thats kind of a bummer.

I try to remedy this with my books by trying to make every chapter, no matter how long or short, not suck. I probably don't always succeed, but thats my intended goal.

And I have nothing against long chapters in other books; Ive read some awesome long chapters; I just felt like talking about chapters I guess--wink

Peace On Mars

I saw a picture the other day of an "Earthrise" taken from the surface of The Moon and it got me thinking.

The first time a person landed on The Moon was back in 1969 and sometime after "The One Giant Leap For Mankind" either Buzz or Neil (probably both) had looked up at the Earth and must of thought how peaceful it looked, all blue, green and brown, with a spattering of white.

But the Earth wasn't peaceful and never had been, not in 1969, not 5,000 BC,  and prob not in 2069, sad to say. But in 1969 The Moon was peaceful, while up above on Earth, The Vietnam War was almost ten years old and going strong, Israel was sparring with its Arab neighbors, Africa was in turmoil while it tried to break free and shed the last  remnants of European Colonialism, and America was being ripped apart by all the chaos brought on by Vietnam, The Civil Rights Movement and its detractors, the counter-culture clashing with the old guard, assassinations, and fear of communism.

But on The Moon there was none of that bullshit; on July 20th 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were standing upon the most peaceful place in a 500,000 mile radius. As opposed to The Earth, The Moon was a blank slate, a place for humans to start all over and to do things the right way; a place that would force people with differences to work together as a society if the society was to survive.

In the next 20 years or sooner, the first man (or woman) will be walking the surface of Mars. To me, Mars is another blank slate, just like The Moon only better. You cant see The Earth from Mars and future inhabitants will have little connection to the "Home World"...but I gotta back up.

Perhaps 20 years after the first man (or woman) steps foot on Mars, there will be a fully functioning Martian Colony; the first seed of a new civilization, and the only real shot, I think, for humans to put aside or come to terms with their differences and to cultivate a genuinely peaceful  society.

Sounds lame and nerdy, huh? But think about it; 6 billion (and counting) of us share The Earth, Its up to us how we want to live so it seems really messed up that we choose to live by killing one another by the bushel full instead of working things out amicably. I know our way of life goes back 200,000 years and that some groups of people will never get along with each other because the hurt, hatred, and fear runs too deep between the two so that they could never reconcile. And I'm not saying that everyone needs to be the same, I'm just saying that we need a chance to learn how to be different, and still coexist.

Thats where Mars comes in. The first real settlements will thrive or die based on how well the people living within can work together since the environmental dangers will outweigh personal gain. And maybe in the 22nd century the first generation of true Martians will be born on Mars and thats when my plan can really take effect: the families who will give birth to The First Martian Generation will have already spent the last sixty to a hundred years working together and living in harmony--if those families can pass on those values to that first generation, and that generation to the next and so on, then I really think humans have a shot at living and flourishing within a permanent, perpetually peaceful future and leave the troubles of Earth behind.

Time will tell I suppose.

Ok, rant finished. It's late and the coffee ran out a loooong time ago. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Almighty Blog

I tried to escape but the blog's gravity is too strong so here I am. When the blog calls, you answer.

Thing's are going awesome on the writing front. I'm about halfway done with the second draft of Book 2 of The End of The Nonari, so right on schedule. I got about two more drafts to do but at least one of those drafts will contain alot of re-writes, heavy editing, hair pulling and gallons of coffee. Even so, I think that if I dont sleep or stop to eat much, I can get the final product done by mid Aug.


I've also tentatively decided, that if no other project deadlines fall into my lap, that Im gonna jump immediately to Book 3 of The Nonari series after I finish Book 2. Writing one book in a series and then working on the sequel right after is something that I've never done before. My reason being that I was afraid of the"burnout" factor. It was only a theory of mine, kind of like watching seven episodes of a show in a row on TV; the first three episodes might hold your interest but then your risking boredom and anxiousness by episodes five and six--even if the show's awesome .

Then again its possible to love all seven episodes and yearn for more. And my issue here is: I'm lovin The Nonari Series and when I finished The Forvian Sphere, I wanted to get to work on Book 2 right away but stopped myself, in fear of burnout, and then went on to work on my other projects, including Book 3 of The Golden Griffin series. The problem then was, when it came time to come back to The Nonari, my mind was still floating in fantasy world when it should have been in sci-fi mode and it was hard to switch gears; it was like watching an marathon of the Smurfs, then changing the channel to watch Voltron.

Long story short, Im back in Nonari mode and Im gonna experiment and stick working on it for a while. If the burnout comes, I'll squash it and keep going. I think its an awesome story on many levels and I hope all my future readers will feel the same once the whole arc is out there. I know I cant wait, but its gonna be sad for me at the same time, I love to write and hang with my characters all day/all week so the words THE END are kind of a mixed bag for me.

If anyone's interested in Book 1 of The End of The Nonari, here's a blog I posted about a month back: The Forvian Sphere  It will give you a rough idea on what Book 1 is about, as well as the series as a whole. As the pub dates get closer I'll be posting more and more spoiler-free info, but for now heres a teaser of a teaser.

Also, my first born twins The Hero of Twilight and The Threat of Saint Flesh are feeling left out with all the attention The Nonari has been getting; if anyone could visit them and leave them a review, Im sure they'd cheer up.

Ok, I gotta go back to work. Be back soon--wink

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