#publishing

The NaNoWriMo is over and I…

It’s now over. The NaNoWriMo is over. Thirty whole days of writing 50k words in 30 day…I pause as I wipe the sweat from my brow.

This is the second time, in five years, that I haven’t finished a story. I wasn’t even close, I quit with less than 1/3 of my story. I am glad I outlined seven pages of my story, though.

As of December 1st, I decided that I would take a break from writing in any of my novels, until January. During the month of November, I came up with two more story lines, and last night, as I was talking to a friend who came up with an awesome title, I decided that I would finish my “Tome” on internet dating.

Of course, all of this, novel writing, isn’t going to take place until January first or within that first week, part of my non-resolution for the year of 2017. In the meantime, I will still write in my blogs and other little bits and pieces on the internet.

As it is, now, I have so many items on my plate, things I should have finished, in the past couple of years. Life for me has been good, but I have to carry it over, that good stuff, into my writing. So much to do, and so much time…

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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.

Just say no to Resolutions

Just say no to Resolutions

resolutions

Yes, I know it’s been awhile since I posted. I have been writing, just not posting to my blog. Why you ask? I gotta stop drinking, and going onto Facebook, and watching sports…but I digress.

It’s that time of year again, resolution time. I hope not to be caught up in the hype of those resolutions on the first of January. Besides, I think all resolutions are a precursor to failure. However, I personally find that there really isn’t anything wrong with failure, failure means, you at least tried.

What I am going to do, try and maybe fail, and or, try and succeed, well, a bunch of things that I must do for the year of 2016 and beyond. I really have to finish all of the below because, I am tired of eating PB&J every day, with water. I really miss eating steak, salmon, caviar, champagne…even though I am a vegetarian, I still miss em all.

My goals for 2016:

Finish the novel I started for NaNoWriMo, by at least by the end February, “Marooned”. I am into about 10k words (that took me six days to write 10k words), and would love to end with at least, 60k – 70k+ words. I have had a cover created, which has inspired me to write the story, all of which is glued to a tiny portion of my brain.

I have finished two books in my “fictional autobiography” series. Now I need to edit them and find someone to read them, for clarity. There are four more in the series to write. The main thing is to find a publisher. I would love to have this series published the old-fashioned, traditional, way. Self-publishing is not out of the question.

I started writing a new book of poetry, Haikus. The Haiku’s are in regard, to the seasons.  I was taking pictures of nature, in the spring, summer, fall and winter. I think I have all the pictures I need. Of course, a few more won’t hurt, and I have written over a hundred and fleshed out many more haiku’s. However, I have over 500 pictures, which is about the amount I would need to finish writing.

I have finished two screenplays. Now that I found out about Amazon Storywriter, it should help me focus on my story with features such as auto-formatting, import/export of my favorite file formats. They have also announced that they are now welcoming online submissions of drama series projects and are offering new expansions to their open-door submission policy.

A new Web site! I took the last one down two years ago. My goal is to get one up and running in the next couple of months.

On 3×5 cards, I have written out 42 stories. Most of them I wrote over 30 years or so ago. It’s time to outline those stories and get productive, in the coming years.

I have so many other goals to accomplish this year, and as of the first of January, I can’t think of any resolutions.

 

I sold a book!

Gosh?! Someone actually purchased one of my books! A hardcover version, book of poems! Wow…thousands more to go.

That’s what I said nine days ago. I really put my heart and soul into putting my book of poems together, almost 25 years of writing and finally putting my manuscript into book form.

Anyway, I went to a forum, on poetry, last month and I remember passing out some flyers and a few bookmarks. I went to another forum last night and I met the woman who purchased my book of poems. She also gave me a 4-Star review! One of the things she did, and I really needed this, appreciated what she did, she made notes of all the little things I missed, and those “friends and family members” missed when I asked them to read and edit my book. I now figure it should take less than an hour to correct those errors and I will put out a second edition.

Thinking back, I used “friends and Family members to edit my books. When I went through the manuscript I found a few more little things and corrected what I found. I then asked my family member to go through the manuscript once again and I then went ahead and had it published.

I am learning about this writing business, slowly…something I should have done many years ago. The truth is, it’s better to pay someone to proofread and edit before you publish.

I have learned that lesson the HARD way. If I could reach around I would kick myself…Hard!

I have failed…

…and that got me thinking.  I have self-published five books in the last five years. Two books of poetry, two science fiction short stories and one 50k plus word science fiction novel. The sci-fi novel I started, more or less, some 30 odd years ago. One failure; not getting my books professionally proof-read or edited.

In the distance past, I was a voracious reader and an insatiable writer. I studied Journalism and Photography and worked for a couple of newsletters, magazines and newspapers. That is where I honed my craft. I always wanted to write the stories that bubbled within every dream I had as a youngster, though.

In my later years, I read more text books and books on how to write, stuff, and what I mean by stuff, books on how to write novels, articles, poetry, jokes, etc., etc. Lost in my life were reading novels, I just couldn’t get back into reading a good book. Maybe, that is where I think my writing, my sci-fi stories failed, or I should say I failed with my writing.

In the last couple of months, I joined a couple of writer’s groups and a couple of groups on poetry to find what I was doing so wrong with my writing. One of the reasons, I think, that I failed, I didn’t read enough, plus… I just being lazy?! Retirement kind of did that to me, maybe, it’s a possibility.

I took a couple of my poems to the poetry group and I read them out loud. I read, to the group, what I thought were my best poems. The group liked the poems, but…they mentioned that I had added words, whereas, I could have shown what those word meant or I could have conveyed my feelings throughout.  That got me to thinking…

I sold 17 total books, since March of 2014 and 11 were returned. Why, I asked myself. Going over my stories I noticed that I had more tell and less show, more thought, and not enough feelings. The stories are on point but not as colorful as they could have been, I wanted them to be. That, in itself, would seem to be the problem, I’m guessing. Of course there could be more problems that I haven’t seen or found, as of yet.

What hurt, a tiny bit, my friends and family who read those stories, loved them. Of course, that isn’t really doing me any good. A solid review probably would have helped a lot, which is the least I could have asked for.

Yes, I know I am kind of rusty. Writing was a passion, many years ago and I still have that fire burning, now. What I do have to is figure out how to get back that passion, that mission back. I would love to say I don’t know what I am going to do, but that’s not my way. I must figure out something and implement it as soon as possible.

So, what’s my take? I have five rewrites to finish. I see what I didn’t do and what I must do now. I know writing is a long process. I just wish I had seen those lights years ago, or at least gotten better reviews. Another thing that has helped; my goal was, is, to read at least 50 books, novels, this year and I have gotten off to a good start, five so far and now I have seen what my stories lacked.

I have also read a book on how to make my prose more colorful (my word), recently. I guess I’d better re-read it, because I know I am missing something, everything. I have downloaded quite a few books, on the subject of writing in the last few months. Sometimes I feel that reading that much takes away from my writing. I have to get this done.

This shouldn’t be hard; it wasn’t, once upon a time, a long time ago. However, times have changed. I guess I’d better get off my butt, from in front of the TV, get back on my butt, sit front of this computer and start writing and reading.

The Pole

Excerpt from The Pole:

“Hey, guys!” Pete yelled from the latrine. Bobby and another barrack mate, Coop, poked their heads into the doorway.

“Listen up, guys. How about us meeting up at the Bunker at 2345.” Pete said, as he huddled over the bowl of a toilet, a nasty looking toothbrush in his hand. He turned back to what he was doing and continued to scrub the toilet with the toothbrush, now under the rim, as he talked.

“Eh, Coop, you go and round up the rest of the squad. Let them know that we’ll be meeting at the Bunker, at whatever time I said.” Pete said without looking up.

“2345.” Bobby interjected.

“Okay.” Coop said, and then promptly left the room.

Bobby went into the latrine and stood over Pete. For a long minute, Bobby stared into the ceiling.

“You know, Pete, if you weren’t such a disruptive influence–”

“Bobby-boy, don’t start with me!” Pete said, now scrubbing harder at the base of the toilet.

“Hey, those are the sergeant’s words. I think, you know, you shouldn’t go up against the sergeant.”

Pete stopped what he was doing and looked up at Bobby, sneering as he did so.

“You could be on latrine duty for the rest of your tour.” Bobby said.

“You got a toothbrush I can borrow?” Pete said, throwing the green stained bristled toothbrush at the trashcan. It bounced off one wall then off the adjoining wall and went into the can.

“Nothing but net!” Pete said, now standing up. “…and the crowd goes wild!”

“Look, we have got to talk!” Bobby said. Bobby took his tee shirt off and hooked it up under his belt. Pete stared at Bobby, deeply, darkly.

“If command finds out about this private war of yours the squad is going to go down in flames. You don’t want to see that do you?”

“You, my good man, DON’T HAVE TO GO IF YOU DON’T WANT TOO!” Pete screamed. “Neither does the rest of the squad.” Pete said, lowering his voice. “You’re right. This is my war. Come if you want to or don’t. I really could care less.” Pete sat down on the john.

“Could you get that brush for me?”

Bobby backed toward the door. When he reached it, he turned and went into the barracks. A moment later, he returned with his travel kit. He unzipped it and removed a pink toothbrush holder.

“Pink?” Pete said.

“Hey, my mother got it for me when I left earth, okay!” Bobby handed Pete his toothbrush and Pete returned to the meticulous job he had done so often.

“We’ll talk about it at the Bunker, okay?”

“Yeah, anything you say, Pete.” Bobby said as he walked over to a sink and removed a pink soap holder from his bag. He took out a bar of soap, turned the hot water tap on and started to wash his hands.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LBK3HG2

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!