December 13, 2012

Black Sheep - guest post by Kia Zi Shiru

Today I welcome Kia Zi Shiru to the blog to talk about her newly released Black Sheep novel.

Thank you for having me here, Brooke. Today I’ll be talking about Black Sheep: Letting go of the Past and how I came from writing the trilogy as a serial to publishing it in ebook.

Back in the days that I started out writing Black Sheep there wasn’t much market for gay fiction, not as far as I could see anyway. What I did encounter was a lot of writers writing serial stories for free online. Even though I wanted to get a traditional publishing deal I also didn’t feel like keeping Black Sheep to myself for all this time. And since I believed that most traditional publishers weren’t interested in gays, let alone gay teens at the time (back in 2008) I decided to join the horde and serial publish Black Sheep online.

December 3, 2012

not dead, still writing

Just thought I'd update you since it's been a while.

Still working on the novella. It's kicking my butt.

I think I worked out whatever problems I was having with it this last week, and hopefully, now I'll actually be able to move forward. Goal is 1000 words a day from here on (possibly tomorrow on, since I have to finish editing the last 8000 words of what I have), so if everything goes to plan, I should finish in three weeks. I know I planned to have this done already and out to beta-readers, but it seems that I never can stick to plans. So who knows when this thing will actually be finished.

I'm aiming for publication in January now. Because this has been so difficult to write (who knew?), it's pushed all of my other deadlines back. Still plan on editing The Wizard's Heart once this is done and published, and then I'll move on to The Guild Conspiracy. Everything has just been pushed back another month. Surprise, surprise.

Other news, a writer friend of mine is having a giveaway over on her blog. Win some books! (One of them is mine):

That's all for now.

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook or Google+, where I update daily about my writing progress. Links to the right -->

October 30, 2012

smashwords sale for The Clockwork Giant

Unorthodox Tuesday post, but here is some news for those of you interested:

The Clockwork Giant is currently on sale for $2.99 (regular price $4.99), from this moment until Friday. There is no limit to how many people can take advantage of this, so get the book cheap while you still can, and share this coupon code with everyone.

For those of you who don't know, Smashwords provides downloads in every file format you could possibly need, whether you are reading on an e-reader, your phone, your tablet, your PC, or heck, if you want to print out a PDF, you can do that too.

Here is the coupon information:

Promotional price: $2.99
Coupon Code: VQ22Y
Expires: November 2, 2012

And here is the link to The Clockwork Giant on Smashwords:

October 29, 2012

another blogging hiatus

Quick post today.

Due to the fact that I need to get this novella done as soon as possible, I won't be blogging until it's finished. Hopefully, that will only be three weeks of not blogging, but it is possible that it may take all of November to finish the first draft. Blogging is just another distraction right now, and I think that it's best for me to let the blog sit quietly for a while so that I can concentrate on writing.

To keep up with my progress, follow me on Google+ or Facebook, whichever is your preferred network. I post daily updates on both sites. I may still vlog. It takes a lot less time than blogging, and I only do it once a week anyway. I am doing a short story reading for Halloween, so look for that on my channel Wednesday.

Like I said, I'm aiming to be done with the novella before the end of November. I would like to release it mid-December, perhaps the 18th, if everything is done by then. One major thing: I will only be releasing the novella as an ebook this year. Sometime next summer, I will release a paperback of the novella bundled with several short stories. Those shorts may or may not be released in ebook form. I haven't decided yet.

I do have a title for the novella now, and a (working) cover, so while I'm gone you can admire that. :)

Back to work for me. I'll see you when I'm done with this draft.

October 25, 2012

fantasy world building - guest post by a.m. jenner

First stop on my international blog tour, Arkansas. Thanks so much to Brooke Johnson for hosting me; it’s good to be here.
With the release of my new book, The Siege of Kwennjurat, I’ve had people ask how I make the worlds where my books are set.

When a book is set in a real place, the world building is less like creation and more like research. I end up going to some interesting neighborhoods; and by interesting I mean places that are slightly frightening, even though I don't get out of the car. I look at what’s there and describe it. This gives realism and immediacy to the story.

When a book is set in an imaginary place, with a contemporary setting, I can describe any buildings and put them anywhere I want, but I need to make notes and remain consistent. If the building across the street from my main character’s real estate office is a bakery, then it needs to stay a bakery all the way through.

October 22, 2012

phases of being a writer

Well, last week, I finished the plot outline for the Chroniker City novella. This should be good news, but I can’t help but feel a bit hesitant to actually start writing. I’m just not jazzed about the story, or about writing at all. I’m in one of those phases.
I don't know about other writers, but I have several phases (in order of positive to negative):

1.      I’m such a fantastic writer that it’s only a matter of time before I’m the next bestseller

I can’t decide if this is a good stage or not. I tend to overestimate how good of a writer I am, and usually, the words I write during this phase are some of my most mediocre. However, words get written. I have confidence. I love writing. I’m looking to the future and what I can accomplish with my writing. It’s usually short-lived, a week or two at best. This is the phase where I’m dreaming. I see what I could have, and I believe that it’s only a stretch away.

October 18, 2012

work-in-progress challenge

I did this before with The Wizard’s Heart, but Peter Smalley challenged me to do it again with my Chroniker City novella. These answers will be interesting, seeing as I’m only in the plotting stage, but hey, maybe this will help me in the process.

1. What is the title of your Work in Progress? 

Eep! I don’t have one yet. I just call it the Chroniker City novella, but a few (crappy) titles have crossed my mind: Clockwork/Steamworks Theater, Delaney Theater Presents, The Clockwork/Steamworks Stage, and any other number of terrible, unimaginative titles.

2. Where did the idea for the WiP come from?

While writing The Clockwork Giant, I had a paragraph from the first draft that I ended up deleting because it slowed the action down. Petra and Emmerich were passing by the theater on Delaney Road, and I took a moment to describe the way it worked:
Petra caught only a glimpse of the flashing electric lights above the theater’s entrance before Emmerich pulled her into the next alley. She had never had much interest in the arts, but Chroniker City’s theater used several mechanical props in their shows—simple automatons, mechanical orchestras, and a moving stage. She had heard that the stage floor was composed of millions of panels connected by rods to cam mechanisms. Depending on the shape of the cam and the type of panel, the floor could transform from a plain, flat surface to a grassy hill, or a river, or the deck of a pirate ship. Only the strip of floor that ran from stage right to stage left did not move, but the theater engineers could manipulate the foreground and background to look like anything. The back wall shared the technology. By flipping a few switches, the wall could be a line of trees, a blue sky with white clouds moving across it, or a tumultuous ocean. Petra never had the opportunity to see the mechanized theater, and she doubted now that she ever would.
I wanted to showcase that theater, but I couldn’t do it within the novel. Coincidentally, Solomon, Petra’s brother, wants to be an actor. It seemed a perfect opportunity to explore in a novella.

October 15, 2012

new week, new book

It’s a new week and a new book. I finished the first draft of The Wizard’s Heart last week, coming in around 96,000 words. And so! I have a new project to start this week, the Chroniker City novella. Still brainstorming for titles, so hopefully, I’ll come up with something between now and finishing the first draft.

There are a few things I have to do before I can write the first word, however. I have to write an outline, which is really more like a long synopsis than a numbered or bulleted outline. That seems to work a lot better for me (the outline for The Wizard’s Heart actually ended up over 5000 words). Since this is a novella, there will probably be one subplot in addition to the main plot, maybe two subplots—one major, one minor. I don’t expect this to be longer than 40,000 words, so I need to rein in the number of plots to something manageable and easily understood. As well as plotting, I have some research to do, studying up on some clockwork and steam technologies as well as the inner workings of Theatre. I was never a drama student, so I don’t know much about the behind-the-scenes stuff—rehearsal, auditions, costuming, makeup, props, etc. I also need to figure out a play that I want the theater to perform. I can’t decide if I want them to perform an oldie (think Shakespeare), or something actually written and performed shortly before 1881. Totally up for suggestions!

October 11, 2012

finishing the first draft

I’ll keep this short today since I want to get as much done today as possible, but I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on this first draft.

Writing has always been a mixture of passion, neuroticism, frustration, anger, depression, and love for me. It’s a wibbly-wobbly thing, writing a novel. There are ups and downs, and there never seems to be a balanced day in the whole affair—no day where you close the document and feel like it was just an ordinary work day, just words on the page. Either you close the document and shut down the computer in a frustrated rage or worse, desolate gloom, or you leave the document open to remind yourself how awesome you are, grinning ear to ear with a faint squee escaping your lips, possibly while flailing. Sometimes, the day was so flail-worthy that you force your husband to flail with you, and suddenly, there’s a flail party in the kitchen because you had such a good day at your desk. At least, that’s how it is for me.

October 9, 2012

confessions of a darling killer - guest post and giveaway!

Confessions of a Darling Killer

Okay.  I admit it.  My name is Angela Brown.  And, well, I killed a man.
Not in real life.

*I won’t lie and say I haven’t had murderous thoughts a time or two regarding a couple of gents in my lifetime that I could have done without knowing lol!*  However, the man I – erm – relinquished from life was a character of Neverlove, a darling I thought the story needed.

His name was Wallace, and he was Abby’s older brother.  He appeared in the first draft, all emotional as you please, trying to show he had purpose.  He was darling and he loved Abby very much.  A couple of CPs took a stab at the second draft, bled it out and mentioned darling Wallace as an issue.  Try, try and try as he did, Wallace just didn’t have the full relevance to stay in the story.  So…

October 4, 2012

what i'm working on for the next few months...

Just a quick update about a few things.

I’m getting close to the end of The Wizard’s Heart. As of writing this, I have a total of 78,310 words. I am roughly two or three chapters away from the climax chapter(s), which will be followed by a resolution chapter. So that’s anywhere from four to six chapters to go, depending on how the story unfolds. Using my average chapter length, that’s about 14-21,000 words to go, bringing the total word count of the first draft anywhere between 92-99,000 words. That’s about what I expected. Now, depending on how many words it takes, that will require at least another week and a bit, or two weeks. As long as the words keep coming, this first draft will be done no later than October 19th (I hope) for a grand total of (minus a week-long vacation in September and a week-long break in August) three months of actual working time. I’m happy with those numbers. Very happy indeed.

October 1, 2012

dialects of modernity - guest post

Today, I welcome Gabriel Fitzpatrick to the blog as part of his blog tour for his new book Rmnce. Details after the post!

Dialects of Modernity

I have been on both sides of the prescriptionist/descriptionist divide over the years. On the one hand, its undeniably maddening to see things that were patently wrong when you learned the language embraced as the new normal. That being said, in my experience changes to the language tend to be for the better, at least insofar as better is defined as more usable, convenient, and relevant.

September 27, 2012

interview with indie author Graham Guy

Today, I have an interview with Graham Guy, fellow indie author:

So, who is Graham Guy?

After a series of bizarre and improbable coincidences threw me into the world of film-making I soon realised that in order to make films I would have to have scripts.  Despite having no intentions of ever becoming a writer I therefore started producing occasional screenplays, some of which I then turned into either short or full-length films.  Several people asked me if writing was where I saw my career going, but I continued to deny this, insisting that my writing was only a means to a more film-related end.  When, however, it was pointed out to me that with more than a dozen screenplays to my name and a fair number of short stories (along with the occasional poem) my insistence that I was not a writer was starting to look a bit implausible I finally admitted to myself that maybe I was a writer, and maybe I actually enjoyed it.

A couple of the screenplays that I had written turned out to be more suited to the book format than film, and so as an experiment I took the basis of one of these - Through the Square Window - and re-wrote it from scratch into my first novel.  Much to my surprise it was received well and people actually started buying it, so I started writing more.  My second book “AB: Abnocto Bibere” was published in Jan 2012 and I’m now working on the next two. 

Although it may not sound like an ideal training ground for a writer who pens stories about vampires, a background in engineering, science, and quality assurance, has proven invaluable.  I am very used to analysing things to find out how they work then writing about them in a way that people can (hopefully) understand.  Even my old school motto “Know the Reason” helped to drum this into me and it’s how I approach everything.

The genres I like to read are also the ones I like to write.  I grew up on Agatha Christie, Arthur C Clarke, and Isaac Asimov, so perhaps Crime and Sci-Fi / Fantasy is not too surprising.  I try to keep my writing accessible and relatively light as not everyone wants to read the ‘darkest’ or the ‘most shocking’ book ever, but that’s not to say that I don’t challenge a few conventions along the way.  Some of my writing has already started to garner controversy, and to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way.

September 24, 2012

my love affair with google+

So, today is the first day in a long time that I don’t have a post already planned or scheduled, but it just so happens that yesterday, Google Plusser Sean Cowen asked a circle of people to share what Google+ means to them—what they love best about it, any neat stories, etc. I happened to be in this circle of Cool People Who Matter, so today’s post is for Sean (who is writing a book about his experience with Google+).

Google+ first drew me with its Facebook-and-Twitter-but-better appeal. I was one of the first plussers, jumping in while it was still in beta, and it was interesting feeling my way around the new digital space, slowly finding interesting people to toss in my circles. After my first post last July, I’ve circled 900 people, and I’m flattered to say that over 1700 people have circled me—a number which seems to grow every day. Sometimes, I’m not sure why people circle me. I’m just a goofy girl who posts about writing and other things—Doctor Who, steampunk, science, publishing insights, various nerd-doms, music and movies I love, and random things I find interesting or pretty or funny. I guess people like that, or they wouldn’t keep circling me. :)

September 17, 2012

the next big thing (meme)

Sophie Duncan tagged me last week, where I have to answer ten questions about my current work in progress. So here we go:

1. What is the working title of your book? The Wizard’s Heart. 

2. Where did the idea come from for the book? I think it’s an idea that has been culminating and brewing for a long time. I’ve always loved Ancient Persia (on which this book is loosely based), and I always wanted to write a story that takes place there. I tried writing the book once, when I was in college, but it didn’t work out, so now I’m trying again.

3. What genre does your book fall under? Most definitely fantasy.

September 13, 2012

interview with indie author Paul Carroll

Today, I welcome Paul Carroll back to the blog for an interview. Enjoy!

How did you get started as a writer?
I was twelve-ish when I first started writing what would become my first book. I think I fell into writing because we'd only just gotten a new computer, and I had three parts of a series of one-page stories that I knew I could turn into a book. There was a certain love for the story I was telling. I had problems in school with bullies, later, and writing was my way of coping. There was nothing especially malicious about what I wrote, but it served the role of getting me through the ordeal emotionally, and I've stuck with it ever since.

What was your first complete story (published or otherwise), and what inspired you to write it?
If I'm thinking in terms of books... the first book I wrote was called What Lurks Through the Mirror. It was a YA Fantasy, expressing in less-than-subtle ways my views of destiny, while opening up a number of magical worlds. It could do with a major rewrite before I ever show it the light of day!

As an indie author, what are some of the struggles you face between writing and publication?
For me, the struggle was in getting the book ready for sale. I wrote it in a week, with little difficulty in that respect, and designing the cover proved to be easier for me when I aimed for simplicity. It didn't take much, though, to get everything done the way I wanted to, and so the struggles were minimal.

September 10, 2012

September 6, 2012

guest post: writing sex in YA

Today, I welcome the lovely Rachel Desilets to talk about writing sex in YA:

There are two ways to write a Young Adult sex scene.  There is the way Tabitha Suzuma does it in Forbidden, which gets down to the nitty gritty details.  Then there is the subtle way, where your readers can make up their own mind as to whether or not your characters actually had sex.  You, as a writer, will need to make that decision.

Here are the things to consider:
  1. If you borderline erotica, your book might get challenged.  It becomes a controversy, and may turn some readers off (or on, depending).  Be wary, as a lot of parents do blog about YA books and whether the reading is deemed “safe.”
  2. If you go the subtle route, your readers might not see the characters having sex.  Which is okay, as long as the rest of the story doesn’t depend on that one, intimate moment.
You can always go somewhere in between the two, as these are the two extremes.  And since I cannot write erotica well, I’m discussing the subtle way.

September 3, 2012

i vlogged!

Apologies for how late this post is, but as it turns out, it takes a long fricking time to upload a nine-minute long video to YouTube.

Transcript below.


August 30, 2012

interview with indie writer michael williams

Today I welcome fellow Literary+ member Michael Williams to the blog. He has kindly answered several questions about his writing and publishing journey:

How did you get started as a writer?

I grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, in a very rural area where storytelling was and is still highly valued as a practical skill. I heard countless stories of the antics and adventures of ancestors and other locals from my older relatives and I read all my older sisters' library books and was generally exposed to fiction and creativity from very early on. I loved hearing stories told and I loved retelling them after. I recall telling a teacher when I was in first grade that I wanted to write books when I grew up. I was lucky to be raised in a family and an environment where that ambition was lauded. For instance, my fifth grade class had to write stories every Friday using our vocabulary words from that week and for mine I wrote an ongoing series of stories about a detective named John whose cases involved lots of monsters and, you know, scientific terms from our science lesson. My teacher was quick to praise me for showing enthusiasm. I was incredibly lucky to be encouraged by so many of the
adults around me.

What was your first complete story (published or otherwise), and what inspired you to write it?

Hrm. There are a lot of ways to answer that - maybe the Nancy Drew clone I tried to write in third grade? :) The first story I wrote that received relatively objective positive recognition - a contest in a single class - was a political thriller in junior high. I wrote countless short stories in college, mostly science fiction adventures and genre parodies. I suppose the most serious answer is my first National Novel Writing Month entry, in 2002. It was also a political thriller, sort of, and it was inspired by my interest in how the seemingly abstract philosophies and random circumstantial influences on political processes and mechanisms can manifest in the ordinary lives of regular people. When a law is written or modified or repealed to satisfy some current in the ever-moving river of public opinion, how does that impact the people whose lives are changed by that law? It was called "Life, Liberty And..."; I found writing something the length of a novella to be an incredible challenge and also deeply satisfying. I wrote it about a significant change in gun laws and the potentially tragic ways that erupted in a variety of persons' personal narratives, so it also helped me realize strong characterization is what drives my interest in continuing to write. When a bit of the story was about someone I found interesting then I wrote effortlessly and at length. When it was about someone I disliked then it was pretty painful - and very good practice - to keep going.

August 27, 2012

guest post: sophie duncan talks vampires

Before I launch into my musings on the undead, I'd like to say thank you very much to Brooke for hosting the first stage of my blog tour and thanks to the Literary+ team for offering such a great opportunity, and especially Paul Carroll, who organised the tour.

Is it the Teeth? - Vampires and Why We Like Them

Vampires have had a bit of a rough ride the last few years, what with some people loving the sparkly ones and others hating them. This is where I look over my glasses and say, 'when I were a gal there were The Lost Boys', no sparkles, but they broke the mould too. No more suave guy in a tux owning a castle, but cool, young dudes in black leather and ripped jeans. I was hooked as soon as I heard the opening theme music! I've been hooked on the toothy guys ever since.

August 23, 2012

michael hauge's RWA 2012 workshop

There have been some pretty fantastic posts this month regarding a character's inner journey throughout a story, specifically from Jami Gold. I didn’t attend the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Conference, but I wish I had for one reason: Michael Hauge’s Workshop on characters’ inner journeys.

Jami has covered the workshop pretty well as far as I’m concerned. Her coverage sparked a few light bulbs, leading me to examine the inner journey in my own book. So, in lieu of a proper post, you should check out her posts on Michael Hauge’s workshop, as well as a post from Janice Hardy. While Jami’s posts pertain to romance, the tips can probably help with other stories too (especially the last post). They helped me.

Michael Hauge’s Workshop: 

“Using Inner Conflict to Create Powerful Love Stories”

Jami Gold’s blog:

Janice Hardy’s blog:


August 20, 2012

guest post: improving your voice

To Improve Your Voice, Just Listen
R.K. MacPherson

Writers love tricks. Anything that can make us better at what we do, preferably with less work, is something worth learning. To that end, I shall share with you the secrets my editors instilled in me through beatings patient instruction. Writing remains a process with both reductive and additive elements, but knowing which to use—and when—is part of the art of writing. These three tips can help you put them into effect.

1. When reviewing and revising your work, take the time to sound it out—literally. Dialogue, in particular, benefits from this because your ear picks up on awkward constructs and overall drek. Read your words aloud as you revise. Not only will you spot the clumsy sentences you laid down in the first draft, but you’ll also catch repeated words or phrasing.

August 16, 2012

WriteOnCon 2012 wrap-up

So, apparently, I took this week off. After dutifully commenting on posts at WriteOnCon Monday and Tuesday, I woke up Wednesday wanting to do nothing more than curl up on the couch and marathon Downton Abbey. And I did.

As a result, I didn't read, view, or participate in any WriteOnCon events, so as you can imagine, I don't have a wrap-up for you. Instead, here are links to all of the events to view at your pleasure:

August 13, 2012

request for guest posts

Since I’ll be busy with WriteOnCon until Wednesday, I thought I’d take a moment to post a request for guest posts and indie author interviews. I posted a call for guest posts on G+ sometime last week, but I figured it would be better to do it here. The information about guest posts will be on the ‘about’ page from here on out.

What I’m looking for (not limited to this list; these are just off the top of my head):
    • Personal writing journeys
      • How you got started as a writer
      • Where you get ideas
    • Publication journeys
      • What you learned from self-publishing
      • How you got an agent
      • How you sold x copies of your book
    • Writing tips for new writers
    • How to write _______
      • Fight scenes
      • Love triangles
      • Fantasy settings
      • Sex in YA
      • Suspense
      • Character driven stories
      • Short stories
      • Antagonists
      • Romance
    • Interviews with indie authors (which would mostly be a Q&A about personal writing and publication journeys)
    • Pretty much anything else along these lines

    I prefer posts to bet between 600 and 1200 words.

    If you are interested in writing a guest post for my blog (reposts from your blog are welcome, as are posts for blog tours) or if you are interested in being interviewed, email me (email address in sidebar). And, of course, if you know of anyone who might be interested, share this with them.

    Thursday, I’ll do a wrap-up of WriteOnCon, and hopefully, next week, I can continue the Back to Basics series. I just figured that having other people post here would help change things up and also give me more time to work on my book.

    That’s all for now. See you Thursday.

    August 9, 2012

    WriteOnCon prep

    So, WriteOnCon is next week. Check out the schedule and sign up in the forums.

    Things I’m looking forward to:
    ·         interviews and other live events
    ·         “Hooks and Killer First Lines” by author Lissa Price
    ·         “What is Voice, and How do I Get it?” by author Jennifer Nelson
    ·         “World-building in Science Fiction and Fantasy” by author Mindee Arnett
    ·         “Knowing When Your MS is Ready to Query” by literary agent Lara Perkins
    ·         “Being Orphaned” by author Joy Preble
    ·         “Building Characters into Real People” by author Frank Cole
    ·         “He Said, She Said, Creating sexual tension through dialog” by author Jessica Martinez

    If you aren’t sure if it’s worth your time, check out these events that I found most interesting in last year’s WriteOnCon wrap-up. And of course, I’ll be sure to cover my favorite events again next Thursday on the blog.

    August 6, 2012

    guest post: warming up before writing

    Today, I'm happy to have Paul Carroll on the blog to talk about what to do before sitting down to write. This is his first post as part of his Balor Reborn release blog tour.

    So, take it away Paul...

    Warming Up Before Writing

    By sheer accident, I planned to write my novella Balor Reborn at the same time as the Olympics in London. I gave myself a week, which essentially put me in the point of doing a Writing Marathon. With this in mind, we have the Writing Olympics, and a number of ‘events’ I took part in. Before all that, though, I had to warm up.

    It’s fairly common knowledge that if you’re going to do some exercise, it’s a good idea to warm up beforehand. This is to prevent injury, largely, but also to allow for your maximum performance during whatever sport you’re part-taking in. Let’s be clear: there’s no way to really warm up to something that involves as much work as writing and publishing a book in a week. However, the actual writing aspect of it simply required some simple creative ‘stretches’.

    August 2, 2012

    writing progress for TWH

    Note: every once in a while, I’ll post something like this where I talk about my work in progress. It’s kind of a journaling sort of thing, more of me talking through what’s going on during the writing process and how I feel about it rather than actually trying to force some kind of point to it. I feel like it helps me process the story and the actual writing itself. Read on if you find that sort of thing interesting, or don’t, if you don’t.  

    I can’t believe it’s already Thursday. This week has gone by so freaking fast. I’ve been writing diligently, already up to 7400 words written this week. That means I only have to write 2600 between today and tomorrow to reach my weekly goal of 10,000 words. I’ve been writing for a little over a month now, and I have just shy of 41,000 words! I’m a writing machine as of late. But, as my husband pointed out to me yesterday evening, that probably means that editing is going to suck. I’m inclined to agree. At least, past experience leads me to believe that’s true, and looking back on some of my more recently written chapters, I think the trend continues.

    July 30, 2012

    back to basics: the princess bride (propp's functions)

    The final example of how Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions serve a story. Here is a summary of The Princess Bride with the correlating functions in parenthesis:

    The film is an enactment of the following story read by the grandfather of a sick boy as the boy sits in bed listening, framed and occasionally interrupted by scenes of the reading.

    A beautiful young woman named Buttercup lives on a farm in the fictional country of Florin. Whenever she gives her farmhand Westley an order, he answers "as you wish," and happily complies (0. Initial Situation). Eventually she realizes he loves her and admits her love for him. Westley leaves to seek his fortune so they can marry (11. Departure), but his ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who has a reputation for never leaving anyone alive (1. Absentation).

    July 26, 2012

    back to basics: stardust (propp's functions)

    Note: I was so concerned with getting started on my book early today that I forgot to blog. So sorry for being a bit late. /facepalm

    So, for you to better understand how Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions serve a story, here is a summary of Stardust with the correlating functions in parenthesis:

    The English village of Wall lies near a stone wall that is the border with the magical kingdom of Stormhold. A guard is constantly posted at a break in the wall to prevent anyone from crossing. At the beginning of the story, Dunstan Thorne crosses over the wall and into the Wall Market. There, he meets an enslaved princess who offers him a glass snowdrop in exchange for a kiss. Nine months later, the Wall Guard delivers a baby to Dunstan, saying his name is Tristan.

    July 23, 2012

    update from brooketown

    I just wanted to update you guys on what was going on both here on the blog and with my writing. First, the blog: I have two more posts to do as part of the Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions sub-series—an analysis of Stardust and The Princess Bride. After that, I plan to do a few random posts, which may or may not be related to writing, before starting the next sub-series on Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet. First, I have to get Save the Cat! back from a friend of mine (Justin, I’m looking at you!). Somewhere in the middle of doing that series, I’ll take a break to do a few posts about preparing pitches/queries and polishing your first few pages in preparation of WriteOnCon, which is a free writing conference for those of you who don’t know. The conference is August 14th and 15th this year, and even though I don’t have a completed manuscript to use, I’ll be lurking in the forums, offering feedback on other writers’ work. Go sign up.

    Now, as for my writing, those of you who follow me elsewhere in this internet thing know this already, but I’ve been making excellent progress on my work-in-progress, currently titled The Wizard’s Heart. I’ve been working for three weeks now, and I’m up to 23,500 words. I started a new sort of writing schedule. I write new material Tuesday through Friday, and on Monday, I edit what I wrote the previous week. This way, I’m still editing as I go, just in larger chunks. I like this method much better than how I wrote The Clockwork Giant. With it, I kind of did a one step forward, two steps back approach, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. I started doing the same with this project, but it was maddening. I’d sit and stare at a single sentence for over an hour without writing another word. Yeah, not cool.

    July 19, 2012

    back to basics: harry potter and the sorcerer's stone (propp's functions)

    So, for you to better understand how Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions serve a story, here is a summary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (the bulk of it stolen from Wikipedia because, why not?):

    Harry Potter is a seemingly ordinary boy, living with his hostile relatives, the Dursleys in Surrey (0. Initial Situation). For his cousin Dudley’s birthday, the Dursleys and Harry go to the zoo, but before they leave, Mr. Dursley tells Harry not to do any funny stuff while they’re there (2. Interdiction). In the Reptile House, Harry talks to one of the snakes, and Dudley pushes him out of the way. Angry, he does magic without meaning to, releasing the snake and trapping Dudley (3. Violation of Interdiction).

    July 16, 2012

    back to basics: aladdin (propp's functions)

    So, for you to better understand how Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions serve a story, here is a summary of Aladdin (the bulk of it stolen from Wikipedia because, why not?):

    When the story starts, Aladdin is nothing more than a street rat, stealing bread and running from the palace guards to keep out of trouble. He’s living on his own in an abandoned house in the center of Agrabah, and his only friend is Abu (0. Initial Situation).

    Jafar, Grand Vizier to the Sultan of Agrabah, is attempting to retrieve a magical oil lamp containing a genie from the Cave of Wonders. After seeing a petty thief's failed attempt to enter the cave, Jafar and his parrot, Iago, learn that only a "Diamond in the Rough" can enter the cave (4. Reconnaissance). He finds Aladdin (5. Delivery).

    Jasmine, the Sultan's daughter, frustrated with her life in the palace, flees to Agrabah's marketplace. There she meets street rat Aladdin and his monkey, Abu. The two discover they have a lot in common. They both dream of a different life (1. Absentation). When Aladdin is detained for thievery (8. Villainy or Lack), Jasmine orders him released, but Jafar lies to her that Aladdin has been executed.

    July 12, 2012

    back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 8

    We’re to the end of Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions, finishing with the last four stages: Exposure, Transfiguration, Punishment, and Wedding. I’ll continue using the films Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust as example material. Commentary on stages belongs to Christopher Vogler and David McKenna, authors of Memo from the Story Dept. Examples and story analysis are mine.

    28. Exposure: The villain fails to perform the task or otherwise is revealed to be an imposter.

    This is the mirror image of the previous function (Recognition), revealing the villain’s true nature. It’s a positive moment for the hero, canceling out the last threat to his or her success. It may not be necessary to expose the villain if his evil nature has been discovered earlier in the story, but there may be an equivalent neutralizing of the villain as he is disarmed, blocked, or abandoned by his supporters.

    July 9, 2012

    back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 7

    Next up in Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions: Unfounded Claims, Difficult Task, Solution, and Recognition. I’ll continue using Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust as example material, except in cases where these stories don’t have the function. Commentary on stages belongs to Christopher Vogler and David McKenna, authors of Memo from the Story Dept. Examples and story analysis are mine.

    24. Unfounded Claims: A new villain claims credit for defeating the first villain or claims the right to marry the princess/inherit the kingdom.

    Among the many possible final tests for the hero is the appearance of a rival claimant or some circumstance that casts doubt on the hero’s victory. Suspense and tension are increased by this last-minute obstacle. A spot for this development is embedded in the traditional wedding ceremony, where the celebrant says to the congregation if there is anyone who has grounds to object to the wedding. If the hero can stand up to this final test of false claims, he or she is truly qualified for the prize.

    July 5, 2012

    i started the first draft!

    In case you keep up with me on the social media, you already know this, but on Monday, I officially started writing—like, writing writing. I finished my outline over the weekend, and I’m pleased with the story (of course, if I wasn’t pleased, I would have redrafted the outline). Sunday night, I sat down to brainstorm some more, to see if there was anything else I wanted to add to the outline, and while writing paragraphs about the main character’s initial situation in the story, I started getting snippets of dialogue and action, and so the beginning was born. I wasn’t even sure if it was a proper beginning, since it was mostly brainstorming, so I labeled the document ‘beginning maybe’. When I pulled the document up on Monday, I played with what I had written the night before and cut the brainstorming paragraphs before the first bit of dialogue and then wrote a new opening and viola! I cleaned up the dialogue and then kept going. I wrote 2000 words Monday, another 2000 Tuesday, and 1700 yesterday (I probably would have written a lot more yesterday, but I was having issues with Spotify, and of course, there were July 4th celebrations), bringing my total word count up to 5700.

    July 2, 2012

    back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 6

    Next up in Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions: Return, Pursuit, Rescue, and Unrecognized Arrival, using Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust for examples. Commentary on the stages belongs to Christopher Vogler and David McKenna, authors of Memo from the Story Dept. Examples are mine.

    20. Return: The hero heads for home, or for the court of a king.

    Stories need to articulate the moment when the hero turns away from his victory against the villain and commits to going back home or completing the quest he originally started (if of course, that quest is something other than defeating the villain). This can be a verbal statement of intent to finish, or simply the realization that it’s time to pack up and head for home. There should be a sense of acceleration, rushing toward an inevitable climax.

    June 28, 2012

    back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 5

    Next up in Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions: Struggle, Branding, Victory, and Liquidation, using Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust for examples. Commentary on the stages belongs to Christopher Vogler and David McKenna, authors of Memo from the Story Dept. Examples are mine.

    Because Propp’s functions follow traditional Russian fairy tales, there may be some future stages that don’t correlate with my previous examples. In that case, I’ll use a new example that does.

    June 25, 2012

    back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 4

    Today, we dive back into Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions. As always, to read any previous posts in the Back to Basics series, just click the “writing help” navigation tab. So, the next four stages are First Function of the Donor, Hero’s Reaction, Receipt of a Magical Agent, and Guidance. Again, we’ll use the films Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust for example material. While the examples are mine, the comments on each stage are paraphrases—sometimes verbatim—of the material in Christopher Vogler and David McKenna’s book Memo from the Story Dept.

    As noted before, Propp’s Functions are not a rigid structure. The “stages”, as I call them, can be swip-swapped around to your heart’s desire. These functions should serve the story, not the other way around.

    June 21, 2012

    a few words from neil gaiman

    Short post today since I had a really late start. Also, I’ll be continuing the subseries on Propp’s Fairy Tale functions next week; there are about five more posts to do for that.

    I know most of you have probably seen this video, but in case you haven’t, here that is.

    June 18, 2012

    me talking about persiany stuff

    For lack of a better title.

    Over the past week, I’ve been busy brainstorming. Ideas have been bouncing all over the place—not all of them good, mind you—and I’ve made a bit of progress with the story. I’ve read up on my Ancient Persian history, just to remind myself of the culture. I don’t want to get too caught up on being accurate since the story locale is based on Ancient Persia, rather than actually being Ancient Persia. Still, I love this sort of thing—reading up on religions and cultural practices and science and such. 

    June 14, 2012

    new project of awesome

    This is a follow up to Monday’s post, in which I announce my decision to put The Guild Conspiracy on hold to work on something else. I was a bit vague on the details of that new project, but only because I didn’t want the post to run any longer than it had to. And now, I have an entire post to devote to it!

    So, like I said before, this new project is an old one. It’s the book I was working on before starting The Clockwork Giant, a book I had spent fifteen months on before finally deciding to put it aside. I think I’ve mentioned it a few times over the course of having this blog. I’m not sure whether or not I’ve ever gone into extensive detail about it, and I really don’t want to click through old posts to find out.

    June 11, 2012

    i'm back! with news...

    So, I’m back from... we’ll call it medical leave. I’ve slowly made the foray back into social media, even Facebook—gasp! While I’ve been away, however, I have done some productive things. I met all fifty achievements for Skyrim on the Xbox 360. Oh, and writing related things… I finished the new cover and back cover copy for The Clockwork Giant, updated the book’s content to include an excerpt from the second book as well as my new bio, and I made a difficult decision about the second book, The Guild Conspiracy.

    I’m putting it on hold.

    May 24, 2012

    blogging break

    I really don't feel like blogging or participating in any social media right now, so I'm going to take a much needed break (first ever break, actually), and finish up the things I want to do with the new edition of The Clockwork Giant. Priorities, yo.

    Really, life has just been a bit weird and emotional and bleh lately, and I'm really too drained to socialize. I thought I'd still be able to blog through it, but my heart just isn't in it right now. What little motivation I have to do things needs to be put to more important things, like putting out the new edition of my book. Once life gets back in order, I'll return to the blogosphere and become more active again on social media, but for now, I think it's good for me to get away for a while.

    How long I'll be away, I don't know for sure. I could come back next week, or it could be two or three weeks before I come back. Hope you all understand.

    Hugs and fairy dust and all that,


    UPDATE: I'll be returning Monday, June 11th. I think three weeks away is plenty. See you then!

    May 21, 2012

    back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 3

    Continuing with Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions, today, we’ll look at the next four stages: Villainy or Lack, Mediation, Beginning Counter-Action, Departure. We’ll continue using the films Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust for example material, and as stated before, the examples are mine, but the comments on each stage are paraphrases of the material in Christopher Vogler and David McKenna’s book Memo from the Story Dept. Also noted before, Propp’s Functions are not a rigid structure. The functions can be in nearly any order, as you’ll find is the case with my examples.

    Note: these four functions are a unit that Propp calls “Complication”, and it may occur in the body of the story or at the very beginning. So, for this particular post, I’ll present the four Functions, and then afterward, give the examples, showing how these four functions sort of meld together.

    May 17, 2012

    the benefit of writing breaks

    I’m going to be honest with you guys: since the beginning of this month, I haven’t really done much as far as writing goes. I had a sort of emotional breakdown about two weeks ago—mostly to do with writing—and I decided that stepping away for a while would be good for me. I was stressed by the fact that writing The Guild Conspiracy has been rather difficult and the fact that I now essentially have to start over. As a result, I was seriously worried that the book wouldn’t come out when originally planned. It was a bit much when heaped on top of other life things.

    May 14, 2012

    back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 2

    Today, we resume the more in-depth analysis of Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions, continuing with the next four stages. As in the last post, we’ll be using the films Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust as examples. The examples are mine, but the comments on each stage are paraphrases of the material in Christopher Vogler and David McKenna’s book Memo from the Story Dept. Propp’s Functions are not a rigid structure. The functions can be swip-swapped around in nearly any order, as you’ll find is the case in my examples.

    4. Reconnaissance: The villain, perhaps tipped off by the third function (but not always), seeks information about the hero. (Or the hero may seek information about the villain. Somebody’s interested in somebody else.)

    In modern literature, the villain may not make an appearance until the end of the first act or early in the second, but his minions will likely track down the hero and keep tabs on him. The hero can also perform this function, seeking information about the villain, attempting to right whatever wrong that the villain might have done.

    May 10, 2012

    back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 1

    All right… today, we start the more in-depth look at Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions, starting with the Initial Situation and the first three stages, using Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust for example material—film versions, since they’re easiest to analyze and are probably what people are more familiar with. It’s been so long since I’ve read the first Harry Potter book, I’d spend most of this blog post flipping through the pages to make sure my facts are straight, and as you well know, I haven’t read Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

    First up, The Initial Situation: there’s a family or a hero living somewhere.

    This is the part of the story that introduces the main character in his natural setting.

    The initial situation for Aladdin, in the Disney film of the same name, is being a “street rat”, stealing bread and running from the palace guards to keep out of trouble. He’s living on his own in an abandoned house in the center of Agrabah, and his only friend is Abu.

    In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, rooming in the cupboard under the stairs. He has no friends or anything of his own.

    Tristan, in the film Stardust, lives with his father and works as a shop boy.

    May 7, 2012

    back to basics: propp's functions, introduction

    Next up in the Back to Basics series is Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions, which I discovered upon reading Memo from the Story Dept. by Christopher Vogler and David McKenna. Most of what I have to say on the subject will be story analysis. The actual breakdown of each stage is Vogler and McKenna’s doing. In their book, they compare the functions to the Hero’s Journey, but I’m not going to list that here. In all honesty, you should read the book. I learned a lot from it.

    Propp’s Functions result from his observations of about a hundred Russian fairy tales. In those stories, he found repeating patterns, identifying thirty-one in all. These functions are not necessarily a structure, as we would consider The Hero’s Journey or Three Act, but instead, they are pieces that can be mixed and matched, a “compendium of possibilities” as Vogler says.

    May 4, 2012

    april sales

    April was an interesting month. I sort of got burned out on trying to sell my book to the internet so I did absolutely zero marketing. And I learned an important lesson: no marketing = no book sales.

    April Sales for The Clockwork Giant

    Price: ebook $4.99, paperback $10.79/$11.99 (depending on where you buy it)

    Kindle: 1 copy, $3.44 in royalties
    Kindle International: 0
    Nook: 1 copy, $3.24 in royalties
    Smashwords: 0
    Createspace: 0
    Direct: 0

    Yep. Two sales. All month.

    Let’s see if a renewed marketing drive will get those numbers up for May. If anything good came out of this month of sales, it was the fact that I didn’t obsess over my sales. When you log in for two weeks straight without a single sale, you kind of lose the desire to check.

    I did learn that Smashwords reports sales from third party sellers quarterly. I was pleased to learn that I sold three books through Kobo between January and March. So there’s that.

    Also, one more thing. This blog will soon undergo some pretty smallish changes. I’m going to blog on Mondays and Thursdays instead of my previous Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. Multiple reasons: I need more time for other things, like, you know, writing; and I’m in a phase where I feel like blogging is a waste of time since my views are less than satisfactory, even with my decent following, and comments are nearly non-existent. Hopefully the phase will pass soon.

    Other changes: new color scheme and header (the website will also change to reflect the blog), and I’m going back to my Back to Basics series next week. Every three or so posts, I’ll post something non-Back to Basics related. Also, I am now going to report sales quarterly, once I get my info from Smashwords.

    That's all for now. Now that the design is up, what do you think?

    May 2, 2012

    thoughts on marketing

    Now that I’ve wasted most of the morning napping and being social on Google+, I suppose I ought to write my blog post. This is definitely the downside to not writing posts ahead of time.

    Anyway, I’ve been having an interesting conversation on G+ about ratings and reviews and how they influence potential buyers. I’d like to believe that a reader looks at my book reviews and trusts these random strangers at their word, but I know that’s not necessarily case. I firmly believe that readers purchase books based on being exposed to a book, either by ads, book trailers, and book reviews, or by the more personal word of mouth and friend recommendations. Both in combination is going to make for a book sale rather than not.

    April 30, 2012

    writerly aspirations

    A lot of people always say how there is no such thing as an aspiring writer. Either you’re a writer, or you’re not. Yoda logic. And maybe that’s true, but you can be a writer and aspire to something—to be a New York Times Bestseller, to sign with a Big Six publishing house, to get a great agent, to publish with an indie publisher, to win an award for your book, to sell so-many books, to self-publish, to finish a novel, to finish ten novels, to meet Neil Gaiman, to write a character that readers fall in love with, to have your book turned into a movie, and so on so forth, etcetera. These are sometimes dreams, sometimes goals, and sometimes just what if I did such-and-such; wouldn’t that be cool?—much like winning the lottery or something.

    I have several aspirations as a writer. Most are goals. Others are dreams. And maybe sometime in the future, those dreams will become goals. Some of these aspirations are big and general and in the distant future, and others are specific and not so far away. But I do believe that having something to work toward is a vital part of being a writer. If you never try to be better or achieve something more, you’ll remain stagnant. And I really hate being stagnant.

    April 27, 2012

    plot revamp and costume making

    Well, it’s Friday—thank goodness. It’s been one hell of a week.

    I figured out what was wrong with my book, which is not good news. I can still use the 42,000 words that I have, but my plot needs a total revamp.  Right now, the book is rather episodic. The scenes don’t really link together, and the story jumps time a lot. Also, the two plots that I have are subplots by nature, meaning I don’t have a main plot. How I managed to plot a book without a main plot, I have no idea. That would be why I am in this situation.

    April 25, 2012

    establishing what is at stake

    I’m drawing a blank this morning for a blog topic. I had one in mind last night, but of course, by the time I woke up I forgot it. From what I recall, it was going to be a really good post. Alas. So instead of wracking my brains for some sort of half-intelligent post about writing or yet another whiny post about how terrible writing has been going (which, actually, it’s going a lot better now), I’m going to repost an old one (from last January).

    establishing what is at stake

    Through the course of working as a literary journal editor, I've noticed a trend in the stories that I reject. They do a poor job of establishing the stakes of the story, and I ask myself—Why is the story being told in the first place? Why do I care what happens?

    For readers and viewers to be involved in the adventure, to care about the hero, they have to know near the beginning exactly what is at stake. What does the hero stand to gain or lose in the adventure? What will be the consequences for him if he succeeds, if he fails?

    April 23, 2012

    writing funk

    I am currently in the process of going through the early chapters of The Guild Conspiracy, the second Chroniker City book, and adding relevant story details—foreshadowing, character motivations, character relationships, location descriptions, etc. that I didn’t think of at the time of writing those scenes. It’s a tedious process, and a lot of the time, I wonder if what I’m doing is really necessary, or if I’m just finding a more productive way to procrastinate.

    For the last several weeks, I’ve been in a sort of writing funk. I’m slowly starting to crawl out of it, but my average daily word count for the last three weeks has been a mere 300 words. I would really like for that to jump up to, you know, 1200, or maybe 1500. Heck. I’d be happy with 1000. For whatever reason, I haven’t been productive. It’s not for lack of trying. I sit in front of my computer for at least four hours a day, attempting to make progress on my book. But usually, when I get into one of these funks, it’s because something is wrong with the book. Either the scene I just wrote, or maybe the plot, a character’s motivation, or something in the first chapters doesn’t add up to what’s happening in the tenth. And so on so forth.

    April 20, 2012

    the chroniker city series

    I’ve plum forgot about what I was going to blog about today. However, I did come the conclusion that half of what this blog is about is putting my thoughts on the page. It helps me think through things properly, and through Wednesday’s post, I realized that I didn’t necessarily need a completely different cover for my book. I just needed a better one. So, I spent Wednesday and yesterday morning working on covers. Not just for The Clockwork Giant. For all of them.

    That’s right. I ended up going with The Guild Conspiracy for the title of the second book. I think a long time ago, I considered that title but didn’t like it for whatever reason. Well it’s back and here to stay. So thanks, internet, for helping me sort things out. I think these covers are fantastic. I hope you agree. Also, Rachel Desilets, internet friend of awesome, recommended that for the paperback versions of the book, there should be an image broken up into three columns to decorate the spine, so that when they’re put together, there will be a single image. Pretty cool idea. I want to try to do that at the very least, even though my paperback sales are minimal.

    The new cover for The Clockwork Giant will go live sometime in June, when I’ll announce the release date for The Guild Conspiracy. It will be a new edition, with the first chapter of the second book at the end, and I’m considering writing a new back cover copy, or at least improving the one that I have.

    I also had another thought last night. I think after I write a few more books outside of steampunk, I'm going to revisit Chroniker City and write a few novellas that follow various secondary characters from the first three books--and some new characters--taking place around the same time as the trilogy. Something I've also considered doing way down the line is rewriting the entire trilogy from Emmerich's perspective. Same-ish plot, but they would be completely different books. What do you think of that?

    That’s all the relevant news on my end.

    What do you guys think of the new covers?

    Have a great weekend. I know mine will be nothing short of awesome.

    April 18, 2012

    titles and covers

    So, I came to the conclusion recently that The Chroniker Legacy does not work for the title of my second book. It better fits the third book, as originally planned. Of course, moving it means that I have an untitled book that is slotted for publication in eight-ish months. Naturally, I’m brainstorming for topics, and I’ll tell you—most of them suck.

    My original title for The Clockwork Giant was just Chroniker City. A nice plain title. I lucked out when I came up with The Clockwork Giant. It worked on two levels, both referring to the automaton and to Petra. I wanted something similar for the next two books, but alas, my lack of titling savoir faire has led me to this point.

    April 16, 2012

    writing YOUR way

    Still out of town. So here’s a post I wrote in February of last year:

    Over the past few days, I've been reading several "Writer How To" posts on various blogs. They give lists of "do this" and "don't do that." For a while, I believed these posts. I believed I wasn't really a writer unless I was doing these things and avoiding those things. I can tell you right now...

    There is no right or wrong way to be a writer.

    You don't have to have an MFA from some prestigious school. You don't have to have years of writing experience below your belt before becoming published. You don't have to have an agent to get published. You don't have to go to conferences to meet agents. You don't have to blog or tweet or facebook if you don't want to. You don't have to write a book every six months. You don't have to follow anyone's writing advice if it doesn't mesh with you. You don't have to write outlines. You don't have to write by the seat of your pants.

    The truth of the matter is, as long as you are writing, you are a writer. It doesn't matter if you write fifty words a day between school, changing diapers, and cooking dinner, or if you write five-thousand words in a three hour stretch every morning before work. It doesn't matter if you write with pen and paper or use a word processor or a fancy program like Scrivener. It doesn't matter if you write for your children, for yourself, for money, or for your cat.

    There are obvious things that will help you along the way of course: having beta readers and critique partners, knowing how to write a query, knowing who to query, and having a master of the English language.

    The beauty of being a writer is that you can create your own path. You don't have to drink lemonade or listen to opera while writing because it worked for someone else. You can write while watching television. You can write on the subway. You can write when the mood strikes. There isn't a right or wrong way to write as long as you are writing. So don't let the lists and the "how to" posts get you down when you feel like you aren't living up to their standards. Those are someone else's standards, not yours. Make your own goals, your own standards, your own path, and you'll be just as much a writer as R.L. Stine and William Faulkner.


    And this goes for things I might say too. When I give advice on my blog, I’m merely saying what worked for me. It might work for you too, or it might not. And for posterity’s sake:

    What works for you?

    Your way might help someone else discover their way.

    Happy writing!