Posts Tagged writing

What does a Rough Draft Really Look Like?

Okay, first things first. I’ve been a bad writer. Not bad as in writing bad stuff, mind you. I’ve been bad because I haven’t been writing much. No blog posts, no books, and little in the way of even marketing the book I do have out there. Isn’t that a cardinal rule or something? Writers write. Ahem.

Although, I have been writing the next Timekeeper book. I’ve got a bit over 11,000 words of the rough draft banged out. Writing it got me thinking about the whole process of creating a rough draft. I have no idea how many posts I’ve seen about rough drafts, but they all say pretty much the same thing. Writing a rough draft is hard. It is akin to banging your head on the desk until blood starts to trickle down your face and drip onto the keyboard, creating magic. Or I’ve heard people say that it’s like hacking your way through a jungle of endless possibilities. The rough draft is the first path you cut through the wilderness.

I’ve also heard people say over and over again that you need to give your rough draft permission to suck. Some even call it the zero draft. It isn’t even good enough to be called the first draft. And all that is true. It really is. Writing your first draft is hard. You write, you delete, and you rewrite. Right now, I have five different versions of my story and each one is longer than the last. My first version is the first chapter and part of the second. The second version has a complete rewrite of the second chapter and a first cut at the third and fourth chapters. You get the idea. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ugh!

It’s been forever since I’ve posted anything. What can I say? Sometimes life gets in the way. And it certainly has over the past couple of months. But, it’s really more than that, I think. It seems like forever ago, but I posted a while back about my adventures in marketing. Well, these past couple months have shown me what happens if I don’t market my book. Nothing happens. Absolutely nothing.

But, that’s actually good in a way. That will give me a chance to see what individual channels do. Before, I was trying to market every way I could. I was doing Facebook, the Goodreads thing, and, of course, my blog. There was some other stuff, but those were probably the main channels. This time, I’ll take a little more structured approach, I think. Maybe just start with one, add another one in, and so on. Remember, as much as I (might) sound like I know what I’m doing, I’m still figuring this stuff out.

And that point brings me to what I really wanted to post about today. I was having a conversation with a guy the other day who wants to be a writer. I’ve known the guy for a really long time. I don’t know him well, but… Okay. I guess you can say I’ve worked with him for a really long time. Anyway, we were talking in the hallway, and he started drilling me with questions about writing. He’s got a gazillion ideas floating around in his head – more than he knows what to do with (I wish I had that problem), but he can’t get any traction with an actual story. Actually, it might be better to say he gets traction for a few chapters and then stalls.

So, he wanted to know how to do it. He wanted to know how to get from the idea to the finished book. Never mind publishing and marketing and all that junk, he wanted to know how to bring order to the chaos. His biggest challenge is to not jump ship to another story when he gets stuck. As a result, he has scores of unfinished stories and books, and he has no idea how to start finishing them.

So, I remembered my blog. That’s exactly why I created it. Because I believe there are lots of people out there with a genuine talent for writing, but without the confidence or know-how to move to the next step. So, here I am, writing another post. This one doesn’t have any grand words of wisdom (as if any of them do), but it’s a start.

And that’s the best lesson I can teach people like my colleague. You have to start. Then you have to keep taking steps, and stay on course. Refuse to listen to the Siren Song, calling you off to the next shiny thing that is surely going to be easier than what you’re working on.

Until next time…

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A Series Dilemma

When should a book be part of a series? For some authors, it seems like the more appropriate question is when shouldn’t a book be part of a series? Everybody and their uncle has one these days. You know what I’m talking about. It seems like half the books on Amazon have the parenthetical A Bobbaloo Buttkiss Mystery or the like. And then there are the trilogies. Hunger Games, Insurgent, Fifty Shades, etc., etc.

I don’t think it’s a secret that this is a marketing technique for many authors. Not all, but many. If people like the first book in the series, then guess what? Chances are good that they’ll buy the second book, the third book, all the way up to the eleven-teenth book. It’s a little hard to fault this logic if your primary goal is to increase your sales. After all, book marketing occurs over the long haul. Very, very few authors can earn a living off a single book.

But this does raise a question. Is it a bad thing to write a series? Even if the logic is sound from a business perspective, we’re authors. We make stuff up for a living. Is it wrong to take the easy path and produce a bunch of sequels? Read the rest of this entry »

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Goodreads is Great for Writers

Goodreads boasts something like ten million members, but, in case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a flourishing online community for readers. It’s a bit like Facebook in the notion that you can friend people and share status updates. It also has a collection of online forums geared specifically toward reading and/or writing. It allows you to rate and review books, and it has a recommendation engine, too.

These features make it an excellent resource for readers, but it is also an amazing platform for writers. I’m still trying to get this whole marketing thing down, but I’m convinced that Goodreads has been the single biggest influence on my book sales to date. Thanks to Goodreads, somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 people have expressed specific interest in reading my book. I can’t say how many of those folks will actually read it, but that is a huge jump start above where I would have been without it. Read the rest of this entry »

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To Tweet or Not to Tweet

I’ve been thinking about marketing a lot this week. A whole lot. As some of you probably know, my book, The Timekeeper’s Son, released a week ago yesterday. Because of that, I’ve been all about watching sales and trying to figure out how to make them climb. Unfortunately, I haven’t learned a whole lot in that regard. What I have learned is a bunch about what not to do. I’ve been scouring the web looking for effective marketing strategies and I’ve been diving into to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

I think I’ve learned a lot this week about the things that don’t work. I thought I’d share some of those and, this time, I’ll focus on Twitter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Negative Reviews – Don’t be the Idiot

So you’ve finally finished your book and you’ve put it out there for the world to enjoy. You’re cruising along nicely, pulling in several four star reviews.  But then some fathead comes along and whacks you with one or two stars, going on about how you should go back to elementary school or some such thing.

I mean, they clearly weren’t smart enough for your book, right? I’ll bet they didn’t even really read it. They probably read the first chapter and saw one thing they didn’t like and then whammo!  One star for you.  That has to be the only logical explanation because your book is a work of art. If it were that bad, you wouldn’t have gotten so many four and five star reviews, right? Read the rest of this entry »

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There are no Mistakes in Art

I stumbled across a blog post today about insecurity and writing. I have to say that it got me thinking a little bit. The author’s point was that all writers are insecure. He says that we have doubts and fears that plague us as we write and, most, generally, those fears have everything to do with what we are creating. As writers, we are pouring our hearts into a creation that is completely and wholly from ourselves. There is nothing about a creation that is not a reflection of its creator. Read the rest of this entry »

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