Stormrider!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How to Write a Novel - and not just talk about it

Okay folks, I think I’m going to go back to basics for those writing novels – especially since this is national novel writing month – or NaNoWriMo as it’s called and we’re already well into it with a few of my friends participating.

So, there are lots of people out there who TALK about writing a novel, but then there are the ones who actually do it. Congratulations if you’re one of the later. Then there are people who’ve talked about writing a novel and finally actually do it!  Congratulations to you as well. Bet it feels good.



For those of you who are still kind of getting your feet wet and aren’t really on stable ground as yet. Here are a few things to get you motivated and stay on track.

First give yourself some attainable goals (you can do the really heavy duty, nearly unattainable if you want, but the attainable ones are generally reached and motivate you to continue to the next goal). Those involved in NaNoWriMo are already on that track.  I suggest you even write it down. Use strong words for yourself. For example, tell yourself you’re going to start and finish a publishable novel within a year (or six months, or whatever). If you do it you’re creating a goal and a deadline for yourself and as a writer, believe me, you need both.  It’s that old ‘it’s hard to make yourself work when you’re the only one you’re answerable to’ plague that nails many an author.

Second, the secret to completing that novel is writing. That basic. Every day won’t bring amazing paragraphs and stunning chapters, but it’s important to stick to it. To do it every day. If you’re turning out bad writing that’s okay. Eventually that bad writing will evolve into good writing. And, eventually sentences equal paragraphs and paragraphs add up to chapters and chapters…well, you get the drift. There’s a finished novel in there somewhere.

And remember for the third point here that there is no right way to write a novel. Seriously. You might plan the whole thing out from beginning to end. Another writer wings it entirely. Some ideas begin with only a title. Some writers are agonizing over the title long after the novel is written. Some people write the story. Some let the characters guide them to the end. Whatever way works for you is the way to write a novel.

Great writing is most times rewriting. That means you could well write many more pages than what the novel will actually have. You’ll do a lot of deleting and you’ll probably get mad at whoever you draft to give you input as you realize you have to delete even more, then restructure the story to fill in the holes that are left. It hurts. Almost every writer I’ve ever known resists taking out chunks. I, myself, had to reduce a novel by about a third once in order to have it published. But it DID get published.

published originally by Doubldeay - now available on Kindle

Lastly don’t forget to celebrate and pat yourself on the back when you finish a goal. Do something nice for yourself when you complete a chapter. When you finish the first draft crack open the champagne!

When it’s ready for publication blow out the stops. Truly, you’ve accomplished something amazing, don’t let it be just another day.

Now, think about what I’ve said here, then get out there and write the novel you’ve always intended to. (or that short story or comic or non-fiction or......)


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Happy autumn – another year is racing by.  The holidays will soon be screaming down upon us – and a new year in the offing.

As seems to be usual lately, as the time spins by, the children’s comic book series, Planet Of The Eggs, part of The Egg Chronicles family, is taking up a good deal of my time along with that of my writing/creative partner Charlene Brash Sorensen.

We’ve completed five books in the Planet Of The Eggs comic series for Children and are working on the sixth Children’s comic in the series, Worlds Collide. The script is written and we’re about six pages into creating the illustrations to tell the tale! We hope for a release date somewhere in late Nov. or early Dec. Add it to your Christmas list!

Our most recent interview on the Planet Of The Eggs series is with Lisa Haselton and you can see it here   Do stop by today and leave a comment with your thoughts. Share it with your friends. Explore Eggland.


In other news, my latest short story, Skykicker, has just been published by CowboyJamboree magazine. The PDF of the magazine is free to download and contains the short story.  Enjoy!  And I’d love it if you could leave a comment there or here on this blog on what you think.

Upcoming are more books for the Egg Chronicles family- including more children’s comics in the Planet of The Eggs line and more early reader books for the Read To Me series.


Meanwhile I’m settling back and watching the change of the seasons while I contemplate how in the world I’m going to get my romance novel finished – Serpent’s Tail. Not even a tentative date set for that one, but it’s definitely in the hopper at about 2/3 done. 

Enjoy the lovely crisp weather and awesome colors of fall!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Scattered Blog Post for Writers & Readers



Yep, autumn has come to my little corner of the world, temps in the low 40’s when I got up this morning.  And, since this time of year tends to make me a bit scattered with the need to pull it back together I’ve decided to treat my readers to a scattered post. A bit of a few things to let you know about, to give you a little something and to hopefully make your day.

With the sun shining outside, the green tea on my desk and access to the web coming and going this morning I’ll do the best I can – so here’s the first thing on my small list.

The publisher, Baen has introduced their FREE library and are offering free electronic versions of some of their books. You can read online or download in a variety of formats.  Nice. Thanks Baen.

And wait, there’s another free resource. Ebook Lobby They offer free books, more of the non-fiction variety, but a few children’s books as well. Also free to download.

And, if you write pretty much anything, there might be a time when you want to grab a copy of Elements Of Style – you can get that free here

On another subject, a friend of mine, author Robbie Cox, has a great series going with two installments already completed which I’ve read and enjoyed.  It’s the Warrior of The Way series. 

The first is Reaping The Harvest $2.99 on Kindle  It kicks off with -
On his way home from a moving job, Rhychard Bartlett heard a scream and ran to help. That action changed his life forever and tossed him into a war between the Way and the Void. Given the Guardian Sword, assisted by an ellyll who only stands two feet tall, and bonded to a mind speaking coshey the size of a Newfoundland canine and a taste for pepperoni pizza, Rhychard must stop the demon Vargas from carrying out his plans. Once he finds out what they are, of course. In the meantime, he longs for the girlfriend who left him because he suddenly had too many secrets. Not only must he save the day, but he also must convince Renny Saunders he's not the cheating lover everyone thinks he is.


And the second is Lore Master $3.99 on Kindle 


Robbie is an excellent writer with a gift for drawing in the reader and giving him a great tale.  Check him out on facebook.

And his website at The Mess That Is Robbie Cox.






And wrapping it up for this week – what am I up to? 

Work on the sixth installment of the Planet Of The Eggs Children’s Book Series under The Egg Chronicles banner with writing/creative partner Charlene Brash Sorensen.  



We’ve blocked out the story line, figured out the illustrations we’ll need to create and are about ready to start creating that book titled Worlds Collide.  You can still get the first in the illustrated stories for kids by going to our Facebook page (hopefully giving it a like while you’re there) and click on the sign up button for our newsletter. This will only continue through the end of the year so you might want to get a move on to grab your PDF copy of Cracked Open FREE
 and start the series that just keeps getting better as light battles dark and the heroic egg warriors confront the depths of evil!


On the back burner for The Egg Chronicles is our next Read To Me Picture Book for very young readers (and the parents who read to them). No title yet, but we’re playing with ideas. Meanwhile, check out the first. 

Since our ‘egg empire’ is expanding we’re planning a whole reboot at the beginning of 2017 with the creation of The Egg Chronicles under who’s banner will be the children’s series Planet Of The Eggs (six issues in Vol. 1 now complete with Vol. 2 in development), the Read To Me Picture Books for Young readers, and more to be announced.
 
Thanks for reading!  Have a great autumn and I’ll be back with the next post soon!
Meanwhile, watch out for Puff the dragon-
he's growing up fast!




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Update on A Writer's Journey


Autumn is coming to where I live and the flowers are bursting forth in a purple and yellow display that’s breathtaking. I can see them from my office window which makes my office an exceptionally nice place to work this time of year as the temperatures begin to cool.

It’s also a great time to take stock and figure out what’s coming next for this writer.  After all, we’re heading into winter – the traditional time for hibernation, and for writers the perfect time to curl up with a computer and really put out some great stories and more while the fire crackles on the hearth and the hot chocolate steams in the mug.


First and, these days, in the forefront is the Planet of the Eggs Comic series brought to you by The Egg Chronicles, that I co-create with creative partner Charlene Brash Sorensen. Yep, we’re working on #6 – the final story in this first volume of the comic series, titled Worlds Collide. Its great fun and our readers are going to love it. Don’t forget you can visit the Facebook page where we keep folks up to date on what’s happening and where you can sign up for our monthly newsletter – or you can just sign up for it HERE. You get the first Planet Of The Eggs Adventure, Cracked Open FREE when you join enthusiastic readers on the newsletter list.

That’ll wrap up this first series of adventures, but there are more to come. Got any ideas for these brave an intrepid warrior, scholarly and medic eggs? Go ahead, post ‘em in the comments section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

In that same vein,  also under The Egg Chronicles banner, we’ve begun
creating our new line of Children’s Read-to-Me Picture Books! The first one is Look At Me! Look At You! Now available as digital release for your Kindle and in paperback as well on Amazon. Share them with your kids and grandkids. We’re thinking of creating coloring books as well – what do you think?

On another note I’m working on converting my vampire western (titled
artwork by Gabriel Hardman
Bloodlines) screen script to novel format. That’s going to take me into early spring since we’re doing so much work with our Eggs. It’s back to novels on that front and it’s also great fun to do even if I do have to keep my nose to the keyboard to keep up.  The two styles of writing (novel and script) are pretty far apart, so there’s a lot of detail to fill in and small errors to catch as the writing continues. 

Come on over and visit me at my facebook page and webpage as well. I’m delighted to welcome new followers and read comments my readers share.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Two Ways For Writers To Kickstart The First Chapter

The first chapter of your book is important.

Very important.

It doesn’t seem like such a big thing, the first chapter, or does it? It’s the beginning, that which should tantalize your readers, draw them in and hold on tight. So full of promise – what adventure lies ahead?

That first chapter shouldn’t be the thing to set terror fluttering in the heart of the writer, but rather to be exciting, invigorating, fun! That first chapter can lead to so much. It can grab readers. It can hook a bored editor who’s looking for the kind of book you’ve written. It can keep a browser on Amazon reading that Kindle edition and asking for a full sample leading to that coveted sale because that reader is hooked and just can’t stop reading.



So, NUMBER ONE: don’t succumb to terror. Don’t let the white of the screen before you intimidate you.  There are all sorts of warnings out there that are a trap to intimidate writers. “In the beginning,” they say, “grab me from the first sentence!” or “Don’t waste a single word!” or “get it moving, start your story somewhere after the first couple of chapters and skip the intro altogether.” Heard this? Read this? Between writing coaches, teachers, editors, agents and script readers it feels like all they’re out there to do is to intimidate writers and scare them into giving up before they even start.

Okay, you, as a writer, don’t need all that tension. The truth is, they’re all looking for that great book and you just might have it. So relax. They aren’t actually expecting perfection from writers. They’re looking for originality and powerful. So breathe in, breathe out and get those first words up on the screen; just let the words flow. The bad and the good. Editing time will be the time to sort it all out. Oh, and by the way, as a general observation, it’s just fine to want to write a book to entertain. It doesn’t have to have a great and deep message or some thrumming theme. Write what your inner writer wants to write.

NUMBER TWO: have a light touch with description. Yes, yes, I know, you can see it all in your mind, every blade of grass, every cricket chirping at a window, every hair on the black dog’s head. Sounds, sights, emotions, textures and colors. The story you’re writing is so powerful you want the readers to be right there with you, to be immersed in the story.


But don’t feel you have to spill it all in those first few sentences in that first chapter. Sketch out the bones with enough details to give it some punch. Your readers don’t want to hear about the weather, every detail of the hero’s street and how long he’s lived there all in the first few sentences. Readers always trust writers to fill in detail as the story moves forward. What’s needed in the beginning is those few details, just a taste, just enough to give a feeling of place. Then trust yourself to add the needed information along with the forward movement of the story.

Now turn that blank white screen into a writer’s chapter to be proud of. 




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