Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obstacles to progress....

Sorry again for the long time between posts.  A lot has been going on since college let out.  Shortly before I finished my classes I started a new job whose hours have been fluctuating quite a bit.  Secondly, I'm still sharing my laptop with my wife until we can afford to fix hers, so even when I'm not working I still have limited access and am usually trying to write as well as use my laptop for TV viewing.  (We don't have cable or DISH or anything else right now, can't afford it).  And finally, we are in the process of slowly packing up our apartment in anticipation of moving towards the end of July.  So a lot of things have been going on and slowing down my writing and blogging.  Hopefully, after we move this will all change quickly.  Especially since after we do move, I'll only have a 5-10 minute commute instead of a 40-45 minute one and that's just one-way.

Now, that I've explained all that, let's get on to today's topic.  Roadblocks in your story.  I'm not talking about the ones you put in for your characters to overcome.  I mean the ones that crop up as you write and are slowing you down or even have you at a standstill.  I ran across this recently and for a couple of weeks it stumped me.  I kept writing and re-writing this one scene over and over to see what would make it work better.  And each time I thought I had it, then the next day when I looked it over I was like,  "Welllll... it's okay but it's not what I really want.  It doesn't fit with the rest of the flow of the book.  Let me try again..."  For me, sometimes writing a scene and placing it in just the right spot is like trying to figure out the old Rubik's Cube puzzle.  I'll twist it this way and that, thinking I'm close only to find it's still not right.

So what did I do about it?  I went back to the beginning of the novel and read.  For me, I don't have the luxury of just writing day after day and moving things along.  Sometimes days or even a week will pass before I can get back to the story and I've forgotten some of what I did earlier.  I'll wind up repeating the same idea or theme without meaning to.  So when I finally get around to editing a finished draft I have to decide where in the story did that idea work best and then remove it from the other half dozen places I used it.  Now on this occasion I found a scene where I needed to hint at ideas that were appearing later in the story.  This would give the story added foreshadowing and since I'm working on a horror/mystery type of story this is great.  I also found a spot where I could introduce a new character earlier in the book quickening the pace without rushing the story.  I also found by doing this I was shortening the current length of the book leaving me more space for the climactic final confrontation scene.

So, how did this help me with where I was still stuck?  It opened new possibilities for how to use that scene.  I had made new relationships and settings for my characters to explore and play with.  I now have a much clearer idea of how to move the story forward and place the scene in such a spot that I can now have a tense moment of terror.

So sometimes going over what you've already done can open new avenues to explore if you're hitting a tough spot.  It also give you a chance to maybe lay the groundwork for new areas to explore later in the book thus getting you past that roadblock that's holding you up.  I don't recommend constantly going back to the beginning and trying to rewrite over and over again before you've finished your 1st draft.  Otherwise you'll never finish.  But every once in a while it may help so you can get to the end of your story.  THEN... you can start your 2nd or 3rd drafts with the major re-writes.

I hope this helps.  I'll be in touch again soon, provided work and moving doesn't slow me down.  Until then, keep writing everyone....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Just Received the "INSPIRING BLOG AWARD"...

Well just got another lovely surprise this morning.  My other blog where I post snippets of my novels:

just received another award for my blogging.  This time it's the "Inspiring Blog Award.  And I want to start with a big thank you to the person who nominated me Raani York whose blog you can find at this Link:

I strongly urge you to go check her blog out, she's a lot of fun and very insightful in what she writes about.
Next, I'm to share 7 things about myself.  So here goes...

1-I'm an adopted child.
2-I was born and raised on Long Island in New York.
3-I have been studying various forms of dance since my 41st birthday (Ballroom, Jazz, Ballet, and Improv)
4-I'm preparing to start a VLOG in addition to my blogging
5-I am a big fan of science fictions shows, especially Doctor Who.
6-I met my wife of 23 years at a Doctor Who Fan Club in Sacramento.  (Our 23rd anniversary is coming up on June 17th).
7-I have been on television while playing the MASTER, a villain from Doctor Who, for the Sacramento PBS station that had run Doctor Who.  I was usually harrassing the people doing the pitching during pledge break weeks to help raise money for the station.

Finally, I'd like to nominate the following blogs for this award as well:

All of these people's blogs have inspired me.  I hope they inspire you too.  Take care everyone and thanks for reading.  I'll do my best to keep things interesting here.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

And Now About My 1st Novel "THE BRIDGE"...

Okay, I know I kept a lot of you in suspense this week about what's been happening on with my manuscript that is in New York.  Well, I followed up on it earlier this week and learned that it was finally looked over.  Now the way the agent who has it works is as follows.  She has recently hired a number of junior agents who do not represent clients yet, but read over manuscripts and decide whether they were good enough to pass on to the agent herself for review.  This weeding out process helps her out immensely, because she gets so many submissions and had built up a bit of a backlog.  My MS for "THE BRIDGE" had been in that backlog, which was why it took so long to hear back on it.  

And the verdict is....

My very first manuscript is going to be sent on to the agent herself to read and considered for representation.  Now, the agent asked if I would like to see the comments and feedback from her 'readers' in case I wanted to make any edits before the manuscript gets to her.  I said I would.  I'm very curious to see what people had to say and where I might be able to improve the novel before the agent herself gets a look.  This is vitally important, because the first viewing of a manuscript is like making your very first impression with a boss or someone who you really want to impress.  And since I've never had anything published before to show my skills or a track record of success, so showing the agent a fully edited manuscript is a very important first impression with this agent.  So that is why I asked to see the comments and get the chance to do a few more edits before she gets to see it.   So now I'm just waiting for the comments and input so I can begin those edits.  After that, I will be sending the new draft to the agent and waiting for her to read it and get back to me.

As you can see, the road to being published the traditional way can be a long and winding one.  And it still doesn't guarantee I'll be accepted and taken on as one of her clients, that is still up to the agent.  But even if I fail this time I have options.  So do you my friends.  There is the E-book route, but one of the difficulties with that is promoting the novel to get the word out is entirely on you.  Now if you have a good network of people who can help spread the word and wish to go that way, more power to you.  But make sure you're putting out the very best version of your piece.  Get someone who really knows editing to go over it with a fine-tooth comb first.  Remember, instead of making a good first impression with an agent, you're going to be trying to make a great one with the public who you want to love your book.  Be careful, take the time to get things done right.  Don't rush just so you can say, "Hey, I've got a book out there..."  Make sure it's a great book and that the grammar, the characters, the plot, everything is just right.  An agent can help you make sure all of that is taken care of and that you've come out with a fantastic product.

That's all for now.  In the meantime, I will be working on the sequel to "THE BRIDGE", which now stands at 65,000 words and is 2/3's of the way done.  I've tentatively titled the sequel "THE SHIP" and takes up with two of the characters from the first novel, along with two sinister beings who survived from the first novel.  "THE SHIP" also introduces a new threat that is far more dangerous than either of the two sinister entities stalking my main characters.

Until next time, keep writing everyone.

Monday, June 4, 2012

About My Novel "THE BRIDGE"...

This is going to be a short entry, a real short one.  I'm hoping to make an announcement about the status of my first novel "THE BRIDGE" this weekend.  Please be patient and I'll tell you more this weekend.  Take care.