On a Break

OutToLunchFor the last three months I’ve been changing my priorities. The most important goal I’ve given myself is to spend 2014 for myself and my writing. My number one priority is to write and edit the novels I’ve neglected for the last 4 years while I learned publishing and improved my editing skills. Until further notice, I won’t be posting to my blog. My thought is to return after I’ve published the first two books in The Courier Series. That could be six months from now or in 2015. TTYL…

It’s All About Me in 2014

Yep, it’s all about me! Me, me, me…

A lot has happened over the last 5 years:

  • Writing 5 novels and 75 short stories
  • Winning a novel contest in 2009
  • Being published by a small press that went out of business
  • Running a number of social networks and groups for writers and horror lovers
  • Starting up a publishing cooperative

In the process I learned a number of lessons and have become a much better writer and editor. And, like my peers, I’ve been in the middle of the amazing and brutal transformation of the publishing industry. As 2013 has come to a close, I’ve celebrated my triumphs, but found myself retracting from publishing and many egomaniacs who call themselves indie authors. Don’t get me wrong. I have found most of my fellow writers to be amazing people and friends. It’s about 25% of them who need to pull their heads of of their asses.

Anyway, I just need a break from the industry’s insanity. I need to return to my roots and spend 2014 being a writer and only a writer. I realized this when I returned to my critique group back in October. All of my goals for next year are related to writing, editing (my own work) and reading. It’s a pretty strict schedule I’ve set for myself with lots of word count goals to meet.

I haven’t put publishing completely aside next year. It’s about time I re-release Call for Obstruction, so I do plan on self-publishing it early 2014, but I am taking my time re-writing the ending and am in no hurry. Quality over quantity is my motto. Will probably release a couple collections of my flash fiction next year as well. I won’t market until 2015 though. Again, it’s all about the writing.

So there it is. My picture of 2014. Fingers crossed I’ll meet all my goals next year and not all the ones that sneak in and distract me.

Book Review: Draw Out the Story by Brian McLachlan

Last week I picked up Draw Out the Story: Ten Secrets to Creating Your Own Comics by Brian McLachlan from the library, and read it a few days ago. This is an instructional book for all ages about creating comics, more specifically here’s the book description:

From single-panel comics to full-blown graphic novels, there are dozens of ways to use comics to tell a story. And whether kids want to write or draw something funny or scary, long or short, made-up or true-to-life, cartoonist and author Brian McLachlan maintains there are just ten crucial things they need to know to get started. Using colloquial text, images, and examples, each chapter hones in on a different secret to creating great comics. Budding comic artists will learn how to make text and illustrations work together, how to give characters personality, how to choose the right tool for each project, and much more.

A worthy addition to the how-to comics canon, Draw Out the Story simplifies advanced concepts for younger readers, providing invaluable lessons and pointers for kids who want to learn to write and draw — and imagine — great stories.

I loved this book, and as an adult learned as much as any beginner at any age. Each chapter contains easy to understand text mixed with comics that help illustrate the points. At the end of each chapter are fun exercises that further help you comprehend the lessons.

If you want to learn how to create comics, graphic novels or even illustrate a book, you’ll learn a lot from this book. I suggest you try it out.

I’ll be buying my own copy. I rated this one 5 out of 5 stars.

Author Brian McLachlan’s Website

3-Day Novel Contest: The Right Idea

Obviously, the first step in writing a novel is to come up with an idea and figure out a plot. In early July, it took me about a week to decided on the genre and that I’d go with Young Adult Science Fiction. This part took so long thanks to the angel and devil on my shoulders, one saying challenge yourself and one saying go with something easy. I went with the angel, who assured me she’d help me get past any challenge that arise. I’ve named this muse Halley after the comet, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from her during the prep and writing process.

The following morning, I sat down in my comfy Lazy Boy chair with my writing utensils of choice: a multicolored notepad and an old fashion wooden pencil. Hand writing in this chair is how I do most new writing. Time to figure out the plot, I told myself, expecting it to take another week to figure it out. Lucky me, it worked its way out in about an hour. Sometimes it’s all in the timing. In this case, the story is inspired by the fake mermaid documentaries and my recent fascination with opening wormholes in water. Just starting with those two things took me in so many directions. By the time I had my plot, I had also added in the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis, the Mayan civilization, a tsunami, and the Department of Homeland Security—and that’s just on earth. The mermaids had to come from some where, right? Might as well be through a water wormhole to another planet. There’s much more related to the alien planet, but you’ll have to come back in a few days to find out more.

How do you come up with ideas and develop a plot?

3-Day Novel Contest: Preparation Time

I signed up for the 3-Day Novel Contest early July, and decided I’d blog about the preparation and writing process. Now, here it is a month later, and it’s about time I get started.

The first time I accomplished the 3-Day Novel Contest, my preparation time consisted of outlining the second book in The Courier series. It was an easy task considering I’d already had the entire story in my head for quite some time. This time is completely different. I had thought about going into it unprepared and write whatever comes to me, and I still intend to do that one of these years. I’m out of new novel writing practice though. Editing and short stories have taken up most of my writing time the last few years. And I haven’t done either NaNoWriMo or the 3-Day since 2010, nor have I completed a full length novel since The Courier #3, so this is not exactly the time to be adventurous. I’m going into this one prepared, with a decent story I can enter into the 2014 RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest and later publish.

So here I am. Every Monday … at least … leading up to the start of the 3-Day, I’ll tell ya what I’m doing to prepare as well as any snags I encounter along the way. Cross your fingers I can also post during the 3-Day. Join me next week to talk about finding the idea.

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