Monday, May 30, 2011

Post: An Ultimate Blogger Hiatus Begins

All right. It's not as ultimate as you think (and it's no vacation either), but I feel I must level with you all.

My WiP is on the verge of completion--three chapters to go (aside from what I'm presently drafting), and I'm no closer to finishing it than I was last month. Taking the advice I've posted these last few weeks to heart, I've decided to take a month-long social networking hiatus. No blogger, Facebook--nothing, until the WiP is done. I'll browse what you post, but I have no time to draft my own or place comments. This thing needs to be done. Outlining the rest of the book past 3 AM has driven me to this decision, as are some of my beta readers who are impatiently tapping their feet. Plus, I'm moving . . .
(who knows when we'll have Internet access again).

WiP . . . you're going down!

Before I go, I'd like to acknowledge two new followers!

Sophie Li - An active writer with a heartfelt dream.
J. L. Campbell - A prolific writer from Jamaica!

If you haven't seen their blogs . . . well, see them!

Friends, I bid you ado-well. Keep at your writings, even if you sacrifice the little things that are big to you. I'll keep my word count meters updated if you'd like to monitor my progress. I hope to post again in July!

What sacrifices have you made for your writing?

I'm David, and so begins a new chapter in life!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Aspiring Advice: The Stuck-On Syndrome

Managing May--late! I should take my own advice . . .

Ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome--that unusual condition when hostages feel empathy and positive feelings for their captors? It's a fascinating subject, but did you know there's a type of syndrome similar to Stockholm that confines writers? That's where Stuck-On Syndrome comes in (a made-up word, I know), when a writer is so enamored by their precious MS that they never stop tinkering with it. Do that long enough and you'll eventually bury yourself in a pile of reprints.

Such was the case with my first novel, going through nine drafts before I finally shelved it and moved on to something else. Instead of writing three novels in that space of three years, I wrote only one, and it's still inadequate. If anything, all those redrafts may be responsible for its current incoherency.

It don't really help when your story is a beast, either.

Yep. Classic Stockholm Syndrome . . .

How do we avoid this? For me, it's a three step process. First, I write the rough draft (and have my trusted alpha readers read along, chapter by chapter). Second, I write the 1st draft (which will go out to beta readers when the full MS is done). Third, I write the second draft (which is what I'll use to seek representation/publication). After that, the decision is up to you. I would go ahead and start work on a new MS as I wait for query responses.

This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. There's nothing wrong about being in love with our creations--it's when we bow to the dictates of our perfectionism that we dig ourselves a hole. There comes a time when you must let go, before your MS becomes a hindrance and stunts your growth as a writer.

Have you been smitten by Stuck-On Syndrome? How do you prevent or pull yourself out of its simmering crater?

I'm David, and we're seeing Panda 2 this weekend!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Post: Tag! I'm Stung! Need Ointment!

Madeleine tagged me on her blog last week. Sweet! That means I get to answer a few questions and tag three others. Seeing as how I was stung by a bee in my living room last night, this will make for a pleasant distraction to my still pulsating foot. Random circumstance, huh?

1: If you could go back in time and re-live a moment, what would it be?

Easy. The night I kissed my wife for the first time.

2: If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

I ordered a king crab at a restaurant in Iowa--should've ordered the steak. Please don't ask me to go into detail.

3: What movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?

Lane Meyer (John Cusack) from Better Off Dead--no, I never attempted suicide, but my HS relationships and social life wasn't too far off, I grew up in SoCal, and I had/have a cute French-speaking pen pal. Bizarre, no?

4: If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?

(Reminds me of the Milgram Experiment)--no one. Even if I could get away with it, I have no desire to push anyone off said geological formation.

5: Name one habit that you want to change in yourself.

Getting up in the middle of the night when I feel restless. I wouldn't mind so much if I spent that awake time writing, but those PC games are so tempting.

6: Describe yourself in one word.

Dedicated (or Charming, as my wife puts it).

7: Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.


8: Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.

To launch my name into the world as an author who is serious about writing, at the same time looking into those who blog for the same reasons and celebrate them as they fulfill their dream of being published.

9: Name three people to send this meme to and inform them.

Talli Roland
Jill Hathaway
N.R. Williams

There you have it. Feel free to "tag" along. Now I'd like to welcome FIVE new followers in the following order!

Mattias (blog?)
Katie Dodge - a budding writer of women's fiction.
Gina W. - a dedicated mother and writer.
Talli Roland - published author of humorous romance.
Jill Hathaway - her debut, SLIDE, comes out next year.

Update: those three chapters were sent off, and my producer friend "love(s) it!" Now to get cracking on chapter 21. I also have some fairly exciting news about a project I'll start soon, but I want to make sure everything is in order before I make an announcement. Plus, I've finally come up with a winning idea for a MG series. Just a few notes for now. I'll jump on that soon.

I'm David, and no tag-backs!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Aspiring Advice: The Distraction Faction

Up next for Managing May is a topic that's sure to scorch a hole through my conscience more than anything. If you happen to experience a similar . . . experience, I'm responsible for 1st degree burns or less. Grab ointment.

It all stems on a personal matter, the constant battle of what I could be doing vs. what I should be doing. Our world is loaded with little gadgets and doohickeys, both fun and pertinent, but for the world of the writer, they can be a horrible vice without discipline on your side. They can deter us into disaster (career or otherwise).

Instead of making a list of dos and don'ts, I invite you to look into your interests, make a list of all the little things you love to do, all the online accounts you have, then ask yourself, how much writing could I really get done? You'd be surprised how much time can be wasted on little things that will keep your book inside your head.

Imagine what would happen if a legendary hero got distracted (you may want to stop at 2:10, for the kids).

Because I fall into this trap, here's my distractions:

Blogging. Movies. PC games. Movie news. Facebook. Movies. Books. Writing and reading movie reviews.  Youtube. Email. More movies. Following blogs. Etc.

This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. Distractions aren't all bad. They can be healthy, but too much of anything can deter you from accomplishing the goals that truly matter the most. Make note of whats distracting you and set some limitations. Better yet, offer distractions as a reward for accomplishments.

What distracts you from your writing? What are some tricks that have helped you stay focused on your goals?

I'm David, and my WiP is about--SQUIRREL!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Post: Did Blogger Have A Hiccup?

No. Not that kind of Hiccup! The dragon's face is fairly appropriate for what I felt over the weekend, however.

Shortly after my post on Thursday, I noticed that it disappeared, reappeared, and then disappeared again. While things look normal again, many of your comments are forever lost in the belly of the Interwebs. Not just little comments--paragraph-long, discussion-quality comments. I know you guys spent time on them and I'm "Night Furious" that your work was lost and that I did not get to read them all. This Blogger hiccup is passed, but just so you know, I did not delete your contributing comments. Seriously. I'm not that diabolical. Promise.

As for new followers, we have six new lucky minions to mention! Please take a gander at their blogs, everyone!

Stephanie Skeem - her blog has some sweet tracks!
Kimberly Krey - she just finished her first novel!
S.B.Niccum - who has already unVeiled her debut novel!
Claire Chilton - she is an excellent writer from York!
Conor P. Dempsey - new blogger, great taste in Sci-Fi!
Lea Zeqiri - a tasteful writer and cooking connoisseur!

Thank you all for joining this cosmic journey!

Update: my hands are literally spent--I wish I could pin that on writing. The flooring is done. No more hammer and chisel. I handed Mike (my awesome alpha) the long awaited chapter 20, and he loves it! I'm relieved, since 20 was the hardest chapter so far (being abstract and the climax). While chapter 21 is underway, my producer friend is rather anxious for another segment. I'll read through another three chapters for her, then resume the heart-pounding falling action. Three chapters to go!

What were your achievements this weekend? When you have the hiccups, what do you do to get rid of them?

I'm David, and drinking upside-down works for me.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Aspiring Advice: The Family Inclusion

Managing May continues, and this week, I'd like to touch on something that's a little closer to home. You aspiring writers who are single or don't have a family of your own, go ahead and stick around. This applies to siblings and future relationships, in regards to your writing.

The most substantial consumer of our time as writers is none other than a family. In my case, an awesome wife and two rambunctious kids. I really don't mean that in a resentful way. It's something I've always wanted, but I'll be the first to admit that finding a quiet moment to concentrate (when everyone else is asleep), is not only difficult, but exhausting, as well as a precursor to insomnia and savage midnight pantry raiding.

This is young children I'm talking about. I can't imagine if it's any different with older kids or teenagers. That's a decade down the road. However, I've found it helpful to include my kidlets with my storytelling. I tell them my stories (or the direction I wish to go with them), before I've had a chance to write it. Since I write family friendly adventures (for now), I can get away with this a little easier at bedtime than, say, horror, for example.

This does two things for me. First, I've developed a verbal format, which I can then take to the computer once the little ones are down. This virtually cuts the "staring at a white screen" time in half. Second, whether they show it or not, the kids will see how passionate you are about writing and using imagination, as well as feel honored that they get to hear your new material first. A few local comedians have done this, to hilarious effect.

This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. Every writer has their domain, with their own minions to nurture. While it may increase the time it takes to finish your WiP, it's good advice to give your kids the time they deserve. Same goes for your significant other. A parent who takes a healthy time out for their kids will help them feel important and guided, rather than the memory of a grumpy grownup, glued to a computer. (And the best part--you don't need super powers!)

How do you manage writing time with your family? Do you share your stories with them ahead of time? 

I'm David, and we're out of diapers!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Post: Writing May Require Faith, Too

It is May, friends. Already nine days in, and I'm a little disappointed in myself. I had hoped to have my WiP  finished by now, but the likelihood of that happening isn't likely, unless by some miracle I can pull off four chapters in the next two weeks. Then I got to thinking. What's my issue? Why am I so hard on myself?

Getting hammered by new responsibilities is a factor. The increasing call of parenthood is another, but then I thought, are these just excuses? Am I bogging myself down? Then it all stemmed back to a picture I found. Believe. Yes! Maybe I was losing faith in my writing abilities. I had to believe in myself again. So I took out a piece of scratch paper and wrote. Just wrote. It didn't matter what. These bumps are a nuisance, sure, but with a changing schedule, I understand my dilemma better. It's time to put writing back up as a priority.

I see we have new followers this week. Excellent! Please feel free to visit their blogs, everyone!

N.R. Williams
Kimmel (blog?)
David O'Keefe

Updates: Chapter 20 is done! I just need to do one last thorough reading before I pass it on to my alpha. As for when chapter 21 will get started and be done? I really can't honestly say. This week isn't likely, even though it should go by fast (it's pretty intense). Maybe in two weeks? That sounds reasonable. That's the plan, then!

Who went to Storymakers this weekend? Who saw the mighty Thor? I spent my weekend ripping out flooring, so please, do fill me in on the fun stuff I missed!

I'm David, and someone should invent 'work jammies.'

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Aspiring Advice: The Merging Complex


I caught this lovely picture yesterday, thanks to my awesome siblings in-law. Nice way to rile up (or make laugh) the fans of science fiction and fantasy on Star Wars Day (how come I never heard of that until now?). The nice thing about this picture was that it gave me an excellent way to introduce the theme for this month. Welcome, magicians and astronauts, to Managing May.

What is a Merging Complex?

To be honest, I made it up. We're writers. Making stuff up is our prerogative, right? Good writers, however, explain their make-ups. A Merging Complex is the result of dipping your fingers and brain-matter into so many projects that your voice, style, and plot or character arcs wedge their way into WiPs where they wouldn't belong (say that five times fast). The same can apply to reading a lot while working on your WiP. If you're able to do that and get away with it, by all means, write away. For some oddball reason, I tend to absorb another author's style or inject character traits into someone from another story. How do I go about preventing this complex? Limit my projects to no more than two at a time, and do my reading as a reward between WiPs. Easy enough. It helps me stay focused more than anything else. Helps to manage editing time, too.

Example: I wrote my second Sci-Fi novel while reading The Lord of the Rings at the same time. Imagine my face when my sister read it and said, "they talk like Aragorn."

Oops . . . . I won't even get into how the narrative read.

This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. We are about having fun and inventing new worlds. If we absorb too much, it could instill adverse effects to our writing. Readers might pick up on it, so you may want to pay attention. I'm sure we all love Yoda and all, but I don't think it would be wise to merge him with a GPS.

Have you ever found yourself merging elements and voices of other stories into your own? How do you keep your voice unique while indulging in others?

I'm David, and I hope the "4th" was with you. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Post: Apocalypse! Coming Next Month!

Hold on. It's not that kind of Apocalypse. If you thought I was going to spout a string of lunatistical end-of-the-world ramblings, I'm sorry to disappoint. I'm talking about an album that's I've been waiting for, from one of my favorite artists, none other than the top song satirist Weird "Al." What can I say? He's a guilty pleasure who takes popular, famous, and at times overrated songs and manages to make them more enjoyable. That can be said about his new single, which parodies Lady Gaga. (I'm shamelessly promoting this thing, aren't I?)

Never mind that first part. She has approved.

This Apocalypse will drop on June 21st. It's been a while since his last album, about five years, I believe. I sure look forward to some rock'en solid laughs next month!

Now, I'd like to welcome The Laire's latest follower, M.J. Fifield (awesome name), author of a variety of genres (with a sweet picture of an archeress). Welcome, M.J.!

Update: as expected, not much writing was done over the weekend. Instead I picked up a demolition hammer and ripped up 88 square yards of tile.What a workout! The nice thing about a home is the ability to make it the way you want it--tearing things up is just too much fun!

As for the writing, I finally figured out my hangup with Chapter 20, which means I have some rewriting to take care of. That's the goal this week. Fix up that hangup.

Head back Thursday for more Aspiring Advice. It's a new month, hence a new theme. With any luck, this next month will be a little more manageable.

I'm David, and I write this way!