Wednesday, August 31, 2011

8/31/2011 Writing Wednesday

Hello and happy Wednesday!

For my writing topic today I've decided to list some of the techniques I use to help myself actually get something finished. These may not work for everyone, but I figure if they worked for me, then they could probably help someone else too.

1. Figure out your big 'epic' scene: That's something that tends to happen with me fairly often. I'll get an idea for a big important scene (usually in the middle or the end because things can never be easy) and all I want to do is get that out into the world, but it can't just be a story with that one particular scene, so I have to build up the details around it.: Like who's there, why are they there, where did they come from, and where will they go next? The story will then end up being either long or short depending on how detailed you want to get, but it's kind of fun to figure out how everyone gets to that super awesome roof-top fight scene in the end.

2. Try to designate a writing time/place: Having a specific time of day you are going to just work on writing helps because it gives you a routine, and people love those things. My own specific time is when I get home from work, though it's late, being able to come home, sit down with my laptop and just write helps me relax quite a bit. I try to write at work, but how much I'll get done will depend on call volume, so it's not a guarantee. Some people find having a quiet place as well to write is incredibly helpful, this may work for you as well, I'm personally someone who can write wherever (unless it's in a moving vehicle) and as long as I can get 'in the zone' I'm fine. However, I know some people need absolutely no distractions what-so-ever when they're writing, so having a quiet room where you can focus can work for you as well. Unless you have cats, then that place is going to be full of cats, so I wish you good luck on that quest.

3. Give yourself a word quota: I recently started doing this, and it is great for feeling like you accomplished something. I'm not a stranger to using them, I started when I participated in my first NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) since you're supposed to do 1600(?) words a day in order to get to the 60,000 by the end of the month, my personal goal was to do more than that (which last year ended up being not so good of an idea, I'm so sorry left wrist) but knowing that if I did at least 1600 if I was having a bad day, I would still be good was comforting. Normally when I sit down I want to at least do 2000, but lately, due to pain issues, I've had to cut back, so if I get at least 1000 done, I'm alright. I know this sounds like a lot, but if you put it into page perspective, 2000 is roughly 2 1/2 pages, so it's not really that bad.

4. Pace yourself: This is the one I'm still learning, and I would like to think I'm getting better at it. Sometimes you will have those moments of brilliance where you proclaim you need to get this one part down or you will go insane, and maybe that 'one part' is 6 pages away, that's absolutely fine, it's how fast you're going that you need to control. If you give yourself a daily word quota for instance, you don't need to sit down and get all of it done in one go, there are many hours to a day, you can start in the morning, get some done, go to work, maybe do some on your lunch break, then come home and finish. That's perfectly fine. Also, it's ok to take a break to let ideas marinate for a bit, that way when you get them down they are fully formed and likely better than when you first had them. I usually use my breaks to re-read what I've done so far and get a tiny bit of editing out of the way. Just because you're a writer doesn't mean you have to do it every waking moment of the day, every day, having a life is just as important too. Also, if you don't have a speech-to-text thingy, and you do nothing but write like the wind, you could end up hurting yourself. (Let me tell you, that part sucks)

5. Have friends! I don't mean this in the sense of 'don't be a loner and lock yourself in your room all day', but more in the 'they can read stuff and help you out'. Did you write something but you're not sure of how well it actually worked, and you've read it over so many times you're now blind to it? Ask a friend to read it and have them tell you if it needs changing or rearranging. They may also point out spelling errors your word processor didn't see. It also gives you someone to talk to and bounce other ideas off of. They can also give you the most important thing ever: encouragement. Being a writer is extremely hard, and not just in the 'you're writing a book' sense, but in the emotional one. Getting an agent is nigh impossible anymore for new writers, especially genre writers who are trying to do something different, so there's mountains of rejection that comes with that. Then there's self-publishing where you get to see how many people read/sample/buy your book, and that number might not be very high, but that's ok because it happens to everyone. However, sometimes seeing that is incredibly hard on a person, and having someone, even one person, say "This is glorious! What happens next???" is all you need to get motivated to continue on and get the story finished.

That was my post for today. Come back Friday when I talk about someone elses story and how to find it. As always, if you'd like me to talk about something specific, or would like your story mentioned on Fridays, contact me, or also comment below and I can get that done!

Monday, August 29, 2011

8/29/11 Monsterous Monday?

Hellos! As you can see from the title (I'm obviously working on) that it's Monday. I hope everyone had a delightful weekend. Mine was spent not going to PAX, talking to people who were going to PAX, and wishing I had gotten passes to PAX. All in all it was rather relaxing, which was something I needed dearly.

As for what my Monday topics are going to be, with that also mostly being decided, I figure I would talk a bit about my own progress with writing. Currently I've had the 'great' idea to have three projects going on a once, and I spent this last weekend trying to get at least half way done with the shorter of the three. Luckily that was a success! That particular project is a collection of short stories called "Uncrossed Paths" that are the back stories (or at least important scenes) in the lives of the main characters from "The Light Rises", I have two out of the four done, and am part way through the third. I hope to be finished with the actual plot-writing portion by Friday. (and then it's that part I mentioned on Wednesday where I re-read, edit, re-read, edit, lather rinse repeat until I say it's finished.)

The idea of writing a short story collection is something that I've always found intriguing but haven't actually done myself before. When it comes to writing, I always want to do something and have it feel complete, not that short stories aren't complete, but I always tend to think about how something else was pulling strings in one direction, and by the end the 'short' part of the story isn't really there anymore. So this side-project is a nice change of pace for me, and I'm enjoying the challenge immensely.

My other projects are a prequel to "The Light Rises" called "Rending the Seal" which takes place two years before the events of the previous book, and will include what happens up to the prologue of that book. I wanted to show people how the four characters got together, and just how much of an impact they had on each other's lives. The second is a story called "Daughter of the Shackled God" that takes place in present day New York and follows a young woman that discovers she's a descendant of Loki, who is thrown into the middle of a war of Order vs Chaos and learns she's on the losing side. I figured out a way to make that story in the same world as "The Light Rises" and when that happened I was so stupid happy it was ridiculous.

So those are the projects I'm currently working on, I'm hoping to get the story-writing part of "Rending the Seal" done by the end of November as part of National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO), but let's see if my wrist will let that happen. For now, have a good day, as always if you ever want me to feature your story on Friday, just drop a line by either leaving a comment, e-mail, or Twitter, thanks for reading and I'll see you on Wednesday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

8/26/2011 Fantastic Friday!!

Greetings! Today is Friday, which means aside from my own personal celebration, it's time for book promotion! (crowd goes wild)

Today's book is called 'Strange Fruit: Prologue' by Raegan Millhollin, a collection of short stories that's leading to something much bigger. It follows the introductions of several characters in 4 stories that gets readers ready and excited for what's coming next. It's also free. Free, free, free, everyone likes free stuff, and this is totally free!

You can find the book in digital format here:

It'll also soon be available at Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, the Apple iBookstore, Diesel, and Scrollmotion, since it was accepted into the Smashwords premium catalog.

A bit about the story, in this case, stories, themselves: Everything is chronological, which is great because continuity is one of my favorite things. Each of these entries gets you introduced and attached to the characters that will be further involved with the story, which is absolutely fantastic. It helps get the reader involved, and already caring about what happens to these people, which if incredibly important to any story. The genre itself is supernatural with some elements of modern fantasy rolled in, there are people, angels, demons, magic, and some that no one's sure what to call them.

I would do more of a review, but since these are short stories, it's rather difficult without being spoiler-y and I'm trying to help get people to go and read it. Just remember it's great, there will be much bigger things to come (there's quite a bit of foreshadowing, and who doesn't love that?!), and it's free. F.R.E.E. So go get it! If you don't have an e-reader that's fine, you can get it in html, pdf, or even rtf formats for your computer.

Thanks again for reading. If you would like me to post info about your own book here, feel free to drop me a line via e-mail, comment, or twitter, and I'll get right on that. Next post is on Monday, so everyone have a good and fun weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

8/24/2011 Writing Wednesday!

Hello! Since this is the first Wednesday post, I decided what I would do is give a few tid-bits from my own experience as a writer. Questions I've been asked, or the such that might help others along their way.

Why writing?
That's a very good question mysterious interviewer in the sky. I think the best answer is so that I can get all these ideas out of my head. When I think of a story I tend to do so for quite some time, until I either need to get it out in some way shape or form, or go crazy. I'm not that great of an artist, I don't know enough, or the right people to produce a movie or write a script, and when it comes to gaming, I'm not that compelled to be a GM (game master) so writing really was the best option. Plus, I'm a fast at typing, I need to use that skill somewhere.

What's the hardest part about writing something?
The beginning. By all means just figuring out what the first sentence is has led to many times just staring at my blank Word document and hoping things just magically appear on the screen. Sadly that doesn't happen. I mostly do it based on the tone of the story I plan on writing, if I want it to mostly be internal, I'll likely just start with exposition, though sometimes to get things on the ball faster, it's fun to start with dialog or an action sequence. It all depends on what you're going for.

How do you plan your stories?
I mostly figure out the very basic 'beginning, middle, and end' scenes and fill in the blanks. If I know what I'm leading up to, it makes getting the story out a lot easier. If you just sit down and say, "I'm going to just make this up completely as I go!" you're either going to come up with something that makes absolutely no sense, has no consistency, or you'll just give up out of frustration. It's better to have some kind of idea of what you're getting into before doing it.

What does someone need to become a writer?
Not to say there isn't some kind of skill involved, but I think patience might be one of the most important aspects to writing. Some stories are very long, drawn out epics, and if you think it takes a while to read them, just think about how long it takes to figure out plot/characters/setting, then to actually write it, then edit, then re-read, edit again, and continue that cycle until you finally proclaim it's finished and hold it over your head in victory (Please be careful if you're using a desktop computer for your writing when you get to this part. They can be heavy, and the monitor is connected to other things that will fall down and break if you don't do this correctly.)

Any other advice you can give to others?
Do it! I know it's sounds completely cliche, and it really is, but honestly, if you want to write something, then do it. Don't say you're going to one day and then never actually get around to it. If you're say you want to write something, you have the drive, at the very least basic spelling knowledge (spellchecker is useful sometimes), know what a book should be formatted like (beginning/middle/end/chapters), and have an idea you think other people NEED to see, then go for it. Finishing and publishing a book is probably one of the most satisfying and fulfilling things I've ever done. It feels fantastic to accomplish something like that.

Thanks a bunch for reading! If you have any other questions you would like me to answer, please let me know and I'll add them in next Wednesday. This Friday is the first promotional day, so come and see what book we'll have up and where to find it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Insert Creative Title Here: Welcome!

Insert Creative Title Here: Welcome!: After a (brief) amount of consideration I have decided to (re)start my old blog. I fixed the URL and it'll actually have a brand new purpose...


After a (brief) amount of consideration I have decided to (re)start my old blog. I fixed the URL and it'll actually have a brand new purpose! My previous endeavours were regarding gaming of sorts, and that's not to say this will be free of it, however it will also be a place where I can go over writing, post reviews for books, and (with permission of course) promote other indy authors and such in their hopes of getting their voices out there.

There will be bits and pieces regarding gaming and such like that (I just can't help myself) but hopefully this will help my own attempts at marketing, and also others out there.

So, I suppose I'll do my own first! I wrote a book, it's called The Light Rises and it's available at , Barnes & Noble: here, and also on the Apple iBookstore (sadly I don't have a link to it because I don't own an i-device) The book is e-book only, so you'll be able to read it on your computer, Nook, i-Device, other e-readers, and soon Kobo, Sony, and hopefully Kindle!

Rough outline for the story is this: The year is 1890 in London, the world is as we knew only steam mixes with the fog to obscure the sky. Summer is going about as well as it normally would, but only until a man looks up at the sky and causes it to start snowing. It's then up to Keagan Gillette, a necromancer detective recently returned from America, to gather his companions to try and prove that humanity has a right to live while the signs of the Apocalypse are everywhere.

Thanks a bunch! I'll try to update Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (though it may be at night)