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National November Write Month cometh

In one month and 15 days from now, National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo starts. My only concern, debate…do I want to join in or do I just want to just continue writing? As it is now I had finished outlining my Science fiction novel, MAROONED, and have written about 8,000 words so far.

Now, I want to start outlining the next Sci-fi novel, SURF’S UP, but I have to finish Marooned first, I figure that should take me until the end of October to finish… fingers crossed.

Yesterday I came up with another new title, TIME SLEEPER, and have  to put something down on paper to keep that story in mind, of course an outline would help. I’m thinking that maybe I should just finish all of the above outlines before I start writing the second story.

That reminds me, I have to rewrite my screenplay and re-submit to the company I submitted it to four months ago. They mentioned I should rewrite and try again. A positive thought in a rejection letter.

That takes me back to NaNoWriMo…to write or not to write, what is the best for me. I have never finished a story during that November time frame. Would it be worth my while?

As my favorite saying goes, so much to do so little time.

My Writing Life…New beginnings

writerI wrote on Facebook, about four days ago, that I had submitted my screenplay to Amazon studios to be evaluated and hopefully accepted and possibly get paid. Being this was my first screenplay, based on a short story I wrote many years ago, (I have a second script finished but I need to work on it also), I figured it was about time to get this career of mine jump started, once more.

Being that this was the first time I had ever written a script of any kind, I knew it wasn’t the best, but I gave myself an “A” for the effort of at least trying something different. I had gotten a book on screenwriting, but only read about a third and what I mean by a third, I truly skimmed through the book and tried to only read the highlights.

I then went and purchased the screenwriting program, Final Draft, (which, for some reason won’t work on Windows 10 and a new version runs about $160!). I took my story and tried to re-create it, as the program showed me how, step by step.  My Seventy-five word story was finished as a fifty-nine page script. However, the script sat on my desk (and in my hard drive) for at least eight or so years, collecting dust.

A few years back my brother was in town and I let him read the script and of course he liked it, (everyone who as read any of my stories always tell me they like or love my stories, of course they don’t count, to a point), and he wanted to take it back with him, to California, and show it to one of his producer friends. He later called me and told how those “friends” like it, too. Of course I have never heard anything about my script again, no matter how many times I asked. (Twice).

Anyway, today, I received an email from Amazon Studios, in regard, to my submission. It was rejected. It stated that they had determined that my script did not meet the needs of their development slate at that time. script

Where have I heard that statement before? About twenty years or so ago I sent this same story to a Sci-Fi magazine. It was returned to me, rejected. I know that the reader read the entire story because my manuscript reeked of cigarette smoke on every page. Their rejection letter indicated, almost word for word, the statement above. So, I made a bunch of corrections, re-wrote a lot of the story and re-submitted it.

A week or so later I got another letter from that editor saying that they didn’t ask for me to send it back to her. Ouch! That put a damper on that story for many years.

Looking back over the many years, I have been trying to edit my own works, apparently to no real success. I’ve had the knack of editing other’s works but have been terrible at editing my own. I majored in Journalism. Creative writing came later in my life.

Anyway, Amazon Studios finished their note with; if you make significant revisions to your work, you are welcome to re-submit it in the future. Whatever that means. Well, I do know what it mean…I just have to keep working on it until I get it right or enough money to send to my stories to an editor/proofreader.

In the meantime, I have dusted off all of the books I purchased many years ago on how to screen write. The one I have to pay attention to, “Screenwriting for Dummies”. I know I have a couple more book, locked or lost downstairs in my fortress of books, I just have to make the effort to get up from this comfortable sofa and put on my shoes and go down there to that scary place and get more books. Just kidding… or was I?

Anyway, it looks like I have a lot more reading to do and I mean slow reading. (I can speed read, but I usually read fast only when I am reading a novel.)  And, of course, save a ton of money so I can get my stories read. Does anyone know of anyone who wants to be a beta reader?  I want to, need to get this done before this year is out.professional-writer-challenges

My only problem, right now, everyone I have asked, for help, tells me yes, but never come through. So, I have to read, read and do more reading, to get through this on my own. I will get it done…I have so much to do…I would like to say I have so little time, but that’s just a myth. I will work with one thing at a time and that time is now.

Did you hear that screaming?

Did you hear that? I am sure you heard it, that blood curdling scream. That was me. No, there is nothing wrong. Life is good, great in fact. I am in good health; I smile a lot and do a lot of physical things to keep my mind sharp.

Why am I yelling, screaming at the top of my lungs, you might ask? I have been writing my novel for the better part of a year and it’s getting harder and harder to put words to paper (computer). In addition, it just happens to be my life story; of course, I am fictionalizing most of it, though. I am now at 85,000 words, but only ¾ finished, maybe more, maybe less. My other debate is do I break the story into two 50,000 words stories? I have seven stories in this series, some outlined and a few only outlined in my head.

I don’t know if it’s me or just me. I remember, back in my wild youth, I use to drink, at least a bottle of wine when I wrote and I was prolific with my writing. To top it off, if I was on a deadline I could knock of a few pages in no time. That isn’t happening now. On the other hand, I would have to say I am just getting lazy. Retirement has done that to me.

Way back then, writing was the career that I looked forward to. Retirement never came into mind. However, my job and family hindered me ever so slightly. So, I ended working, writing for others and worked lot more on my poetry. When I did finally retire in 2006, I dove into making writing my life, my new career. I guessed the adulation, the money; the fame would just roll in like waves on the shores of life. Boy was I wrong.

Even though I have two books of poems, two science fiction short stories and one science fiction book published, there’s one thing I didn’t count on, marketing. I really didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing wrong. I took a class in marketing many moons ago; I think I should have studied the entire course. I am lacking many other things that, as far as the writing, publishing and the marketing aspect of writing go.

Sometimes I really want to scream, yell out loud because of those deficiencies. So much to do so little time. To be honest, I feel like I only have so much time left in my life and it’s getting shorter every time I sit in front of this computer and only write a sentence or less.

To make matters worse, I have downloaded a ton of material on the marketing aspect, I just haven’t started read most of it yet.  I did to manage read something on marketing my novel on Twitter back in March. At the time, I had, maybe, a little over 60 twitter followers. Most of the things I posted were my daily exercises and from an app that counted my calories for me. At the end of March, after reading that material, I had over 3,000 followers.

I decided that the way to go was to get those followers and market my published books that way. I would have to say that it isn’t the way to go. Most of those followers are trying to do the same thing I am doing, marketing their books. So, I am bombarded with queries to “buy” their books or at least read their books and give a review. As of today, I have purchased or gotten free, over 200 books. I just have to find time to read more. In the meantime, I have only sold 25 books. Go figure.

To a small degree, the NaNoWriMo – The National November Write Month – helped quite a lot. I did manage to get half of my novel done during that time span. Thirty days later, I’m stuck or… lazy? Lazy or not drinking enough.

I really don’t drink liquor any more. I only got sick and threw up and then went to sleep. The wine did work better, but the result, even though I didn’t get sick, I would still get to sleepy and do not much more after I finished a paragraph or so.  I also indulged in the leafy green stuff, too, back then. That too worked wonders and I wrote quite a bit and enjoyed it in the end. However, that too just made me lazy by the end of the writing session.

Now that weed is getting, little by little, less illegal, just a little less, I may have to take that up again. It’s been a very long time since I smoked weed and it did wonders for my writing. And since I enjoy music, I’m listening to, “The marriage of Figaro” from my eclectic playlist as I type this, I think it might just help from screaming every day I don’t write novel. On the other hand, it might hinder my writing, I may never know.

I hope that January and the rest of this year will be more productive. I have two books of poems I want to start and finish and another science fiction short story that is running circles in my head and I have gotta get it out.

As it is now, I just want to keep my mind open and free from toxic substances. Besides, I just finished my second cup of tea and I have written over 900 words in 20 minutes. More tea!

What made me decide to become a writer?

What made me decide to become a writer? Until now I never really thought about it, much. But, that’s not totally true. I have, over my lifetime, given it a lot of thought, sometimes way too much thought.

Let me see if I can go back to the beginning, or at least to the point where it could have entered my subconscious and gone into the conscience.

My father was a teacher, an educator and a social worker. I remember he use to take my siblings and me to school which was basically a little less than a half-mile away. The school was a complex of schools, elementary, middle and a high school. My father worked at the middle school.

I remember when school was over for the day I would walk to his school and sit in his class until it was time for him to go home. And I liked what I saw. So, at the time I wanted to be a teacher. But, I was a dreamer and had many dreams of those campy science fiction movies of the 50s and the early 60s.

About that time I decided that I wanted to be a scientist, in fact, I was nicknamed “The Wizard”, I found out later in life, I really didn’t know it at the time but someone told me after I graduated. But, my dreaming got in the way. I would sit on the front porch and count cars and daydream, count people, birds, planes…I just want to live in my dreams.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t lazy or anything like that. Heck my brothers and I played until the streetlights came on during the weekends and we played and played and played. But, I still daydreamed a lot. And I then, after high school, I wanted to go into the military, what I was planning to do on a frozen Monday morning. But, I got hired at one of a major Auto company on that Thursday morning.

For quite a few years I did nothing but build engines for cars and thought about nothing, but I still had those dreams, dreams of being in outer space and such. In fact, those dreams were almost like watching a movie, most nights, and I remember most of them. I decided to put them to paper and see what would happened.

Let me backtrack a little…now that I think about it, my mother had a big hand in me becoming a writer. One of the things I did, after I left my parents household, was talk to my mother just about every day. She told me that she was writing a cryptologists dictionary. A few of her loves, other than her children, was doing crosswords puzzles, cryptograms and completing those picture puzzles.

She had told me that, back in the early 50s, before I was born she decided to compile that book of words and just about completed it. But, because of all the children she had in the 50s she didn’t have time to finish her book. She later asked me if I could finish if for her and I think that had a profound effect on me.

As sad as it is, I haven’t finish her book yet. I have all of her notes and I hope to start on it sooner… As for me, all of those years working at my high paying job, I kept talking myself out of writing, I kept saying, “I got a job”. And so it, went for a while.

In 1984ish I started my first science fiction novel, considering that I had outlined about 80 stories, then. I didn’t finish my “first” novel until the early 90s. And to be honest, I totally finished it this past December, 2013. And I also have two books of poems published and am working on the third book of poems.

In the meantime I have written four short stories, which I would love to increase word count to at least 70 to 100,000 words. And I have finished one novel of my fictional autography, which starts when I got hired at that auto company way back in 1973. And as of today I have finished about 34,000 words of the second part of that story.

My only debate is, should I do the five stories at 50k+ words or combine them and make on three stories of 100k+ words?

And now that I have retired from that auto company I have to keep busy and keep the writing going. The more I write the better I should become. Of course I have been downloading a lot of books and doing a lot more reading, which helps a lot. I’m getting there, only time will tell.

Well, I think that’s what helped me decide to become a writer. And I’d better step it up a lot because I’m starving…