Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Work On "The Vampyre Blogs" Novel Has Begun...

I know, I know, I haven't even put out "The Ship" yet, and I'm already working on another book?  Well, I'm waiting for feedback from some of my beta-readers who are going over "The Ship" so there's not much I can do on that front at the moment.  And it felt so darn weird, sitting at my computer and not working on something, other than doing Facebook and games.

Besides, I've been getting a lot more views on "The Vampyre Blogs--Private Edition" blog sites that have been looking very encouraging.  I really hope my creating those sites will lead to me having a really good sized audience clamoring for the book when it finally comes out in December.  In this day and age of Indie Authors and self-publishing, one has to try and be inventive to build an audience for your work.  And I keep hearing over and over again about how important it is to get the word out about your works (both finished and in progress).

But what I really want to talk about today is my personal experiences in writing a book that is comprised of blog entries by various characters.  It's been hard to describe at times, when people ask me about it.  But today I finally came up with a good way to explain it.  Basically, each 'blog entry' is pretty much a short story in and of itself.  I'm just putting together a bunch of short stories in such a way that they tell a much larger tale.  And I'm finding it fascinating.

This is the first book where I've tried using the first-person point of view.  I've always been a little leery of doing this because I keep in mind that whichever character is telling the story, we only get to see what goes on inside their head.  They don't know exactly what's happening inside the minds of the other characters.  But, by following Bram Stoker's example of using journal and letters, I am having a blast getting all the different characters thoughts and opinions about what is going on in and around their lives.

I'm actually finding this format rather easy to work with and very exciting.  I just hope the audience finds it as enjoyable and interesting.  I just finished the first entry in the novel and it came to just over 1000 words.  How long will the book be in the end?  I'm not sure, but I'm hoping to keep it under 80,000 for a change.  It will be easier to manage the edits and rewrites, so I should be able to keep to my scheduled release of December later this year.

I'll follow up again soon and let you all know what other discoveries I'm making as I continue the tale.  

Until next time, take care and keep writing!


Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Entry On "The Vampyre Blogs--Private Edition"

I changed the name of my vampyre blog, because the name would be exactly the same as the book's title.  I wanted to keep the two similar but not identical.  Some people might get confused, so I decided to add the words "Private Edition" which is actually appropriate.  Since none of the entries appearing on that blog will be showing up in the actual novel, it seemed appropriate.

Readers just wind up getting a bit of free background info on the characters, as well as scenes that can be considered free short-stories.  

I've already decided that since that blog has already had over 400 views in the month and a half that it was put up, I will continue to keep it going even after the novel comes out in December of this year.  I find I enjoy doing these little shorts about my vampyre and the people who's lives touch his.

I also plan on doing more novels with him, if the first one does well.  

So in the meantime, come see what's been happening at his dance club "The Crypt".  There's always something going on down there, be it big or small.  The doors are open, and you're invited...

http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/2014/02/nathaniels-blog-january-7th-20-night-at.html


Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Flare"

The word "Flare" has many meanings such as style, finesse, a signaling device, but for the last two days it's had a different meaning for me.  Those, like myself, who suffer from Fibromyalgia know it to mean an exacerbation of symptoms.  

There is a serious rise in pain and sensitivity levels.  My aches go way beyond the norm.  Even the simplest tasks can set off a pain reaction.  While picking up a cup of tea, I feel my hand ache in ways it shouldn't.  But I'll be damned if I let  the pain get in my way, I NEED my morning tea.  But it's usually one of the earliest signals that tells me I may be in for a bad time.

Fatigue is another major issue.  I feel wrung out and exhausted even after a good night's sleep.  One would think I'd just completed a marathon instead of just having done a few simple chores around the house.  For the rest of the day I not good for much else.  I feel weak and unsteady.  My hand will tremble with the effort of just picking up an object.  

Clumsiness and inability to judge distance or proximity is another issue.  As I leave a room I can clearly see the doorway.  Yet somehow, some way, my shoulder will still manage to hit door, or the doorway itself as I pass through.  Or I will misjudge a table or other object in the room or lying on the floor and trip over it.  Some days it feels like I am trying to navigate a minefield and I'm stepping on every hidden trap.  I've been known to trip over my own feet quite often during these episodes.

My head does not feel well either.  It feels stuffed with cotton or wool.  I do not mean in the sense of when you have a cold and your head feels all stuffed up.  No, this is different.  It is difficult to think clearly.  The simplest tasks I've done a million times before, I have to sometimes stop and think about how to do.  My flow of creativity becomes a trickle.  Not that I have the energy to actually work on any creative projects.

I am in "Flare" now.  I've been able to accomplish very little today.  But I do not seek pity, only understanding.  Fibromyalgia is one of the many "Invisible Illnesses".  It is with me every day of my life, but to others I look very healthy.  They cannot see the pain I contend with every day.  Most days the levels are very low, and I can overlook or ignore them for the most part.  Other days, I'm more aware of it and just try to watch myself.  But then there are the times like today when all I can do is be gentle and patient with myself because there's not much else I can do. 

Going into "Flare" can be frustrating, especially on those occasions when I had plans to be with family or friends, but must bow out or change what we do at the last minute.  Those who know me best and are aware of my condition are more than understanding.  However, employers, co-workers or strangers are not as understanding.  The world can be vicious without really meaning to be to those with invisible conditions.  Perhaps more patience and empathy is something we all need to have because we don't know what battles or sufferings other people are going through.  Especially when we can't see those struggles because they are invisible to us.

How long this particular "Flare" will last, I have no idea.  It may be just today and I will be much better on the morrow.  Or it may decide to stick around for a week or two, possibly a month.  I pray not, because there are things I need and want to get done.  I do not like being tired, sore, clumsy and fuzzy-brained.   But if it does last longer than a couple of days I will be kind and forgiving to myself.  For it will pass, it always does.  

I will call it quits here, because I'm feeling very tired just from thinking and typing up this entry.  Yeah, some days it's that bad., and today is one of them.     

Sunday, February 9, 2014

New Entry Over On "The Vampyre Blogs". Nathaniel Through His Godson's Eyes...

Just put up a new entry over on my Wordpress version of "The Vampyre Blogs".  
Today, I have my vampire's godson talking about him.  I thought it might be nice for all of you to see Nathaniel, through the eyes of someone who's known him for years.  
Nathaniel's been in a kind of dark mood on his entries, but he's not always like that.    He's rather a fun fellow, just kind of shy.
So why not come over and see a different side of the man who's walked this earth for over a 150 years.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Review of John Wyndham's "The Midwich Cuckoos" aka "The Village of the Damned"

 
MY RATING:  5  STARS OUT OF 5
I was very excited to finally get my hands on a copy of this book after seeing the 1960 movie "Village of the Damned" that was made based upon it. My wait was not in vain. While the movie followed the storyline and even small details very faithfully, actually reading the story was much more fulfilling.
I can understand the changing of the title, since not many are all that familiar with cuckoos aside from cuckoo clocks. In real life, cuckoo birds are rather parasitic in their behavior. A mother cuckoo will lay her egg in the nest of another bird (who is not a cuckoo) and leave it among the other eggs already there, and take off. The cuckoo's egg will usually be similar in size and coloring so the foster-mother will not notice the additional egg and will care for it. Unfortunately, the cuckoo egg will hatch way before the other eggs, producing a very demanding chick who will constantly want to be fed and cared for. While the foster mother is away, the chick will evict other eggs or even other chicks when they finally hatch. The cuckoo chick will run the mother ragged to satisfy its own needs. Yes, nature can be cruel and even ugly sometimes.
In this novel, Mr. Wyndham applies this same principle to humans. In the village of Midwich the "Dayout' occurs. The entire village falls unconscious for hours only to awaken confused and uneasy. Soon it is learned that every girl and woman of child-bearing age is pregnant. The stigma of unmarried mothers as well as the accusations of infidelity runs rampant. The women are on put on spot for quite a while unable to defend themselves.
Mr. Wyndham questions a number of society's expectations of women and moral behavior within this book which I personally liked. At another point in the story one of the lead male characters talks about women he went to school with. He laments that there were young ladies who were extremely intelligent and had great future prospects, who wound up marrying and losing their chance to fully explore their full potential.
Eventually, the story raises other questions after the 'children' are born.  Namely the demands of motherhood, such as breast-feeding. In one scene a woman begins to breast-feed her newborn 'child' in public (remember this book came out in 1957, and there's still a lot of arguments about breast-feeding in public today). The woman feels humiliated but explains angrily that she cannot help herself. The child demands it. Soon other strange compulsions arise from the other children born as a result of the Dayout.
Nature vs nurture comes into question as well. The 'Children' do not demonstrate affection or much feelings, except when threatened or angered. They have no problem being housed together away from their families when the chance arises. No matter how much kindness or affection has been given them, there is no affection offered in return.
Before long it becomes apparent these children are much more than human and they soon make it clear their long term goal is to supplant all normal humans in time. Plus they have the psychic powers to do it, which they demonstrate more and more. Even to the point of planes flying far overhead, suddenly dropping out of the sky. The pilots do not necessarily eject either folks. This is a blatant warning to those in authority not to try attacking from a distance or from above.
The book is a fascinating read and raises a lot of interesting questions. It is a classic and thoroughly worth reading. I highly recommend it.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5284559-allan-krummenacker">View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Entry Over On "The Vampyre Blogs"

There's a new entry over on the "The Vampyre Blogs".

Nathaniel is back and sharing a letter he received from his father.  Come on over and take a look.  This is one time when you're encouraged to take a  look at someone else's mail.

http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/2014/02/nathaniels-blog-letter-from-my-father.html

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2nd Drafts, How I Handle Them...

As of today I'm already a third of the way through the 2nd draft of "The Ship".  Progress has been good and I've been pleased with how things are going.  There will probably be a 3rd draft as well.  What happens after that?  Well, that's a tale for another entry.

Today I wish to discuss how I deal with a 2nd drafts.  I handle 3rd and 4th drafts the same way, so don't expect any blog entries on those.  It's the same process all over again to try catch whatever I missed on the previous draft.  

Like many authors, I've been learning a lot of things on my own.  There's no exact set of rules for how to do  write and create a book, though many people have tried to explain it.  Every author is going to handle things differently, whether its how they create a story (with an outline, flying by the seat of your pants, etc.) to editing, proofreading, whatever.  Different things work for different people.

In my case how I handle dealing with 2nd drafts is pretty straightforward.  After I complete the first draft on my computer and save it.  I will then save it again using the "Save As" function and labeling it differently.  In this case "The Ship 2nd Draft".  From there I will begin going over the entire story, page by page.  I already know what the current word count is (139,806 in this case).  I know this is one of the things I want to change about the book.  I also want to keep track of the pacing of the story, as well as watch out for ideas or concepts being repeated unnecessarily.

I proceed to go over the story line by line.  As I go along I try to keep an eye out for excess verbage such as "he/she said" because it's usually pretty easy to tell who was speaking.  Another thing I watch out for are sentences beginning with "now" or "but".  Sometimes I'll use them unnecessarily, and also, if used too often they can be a little jarring to the eyes of the reader. 

Another thing I'll be looking for as I go along is how well I phrased certain ideas.  Does it read smoothly or is there something not quite right.  I may rewrite a paragraph or line and make it more easy to understand and pleasing to the eye.

As I mentioned earlier, I'll also be keeping an eye out for plot points or ideas being repeated in two or more areas of the novel.  I don't know about you, but I spend weeks or even months writing a novel.  So I sometimes I forget what I wrote a few weeks back and wind up repeating myself later in the story.  This happened a lot in my first novel "The Bridge".  However, I seem to have gotten better about it, because I haven't been finding that happening as often in "The Ship".  

Finally, one other thing I'll do as I go along is see if every scene, or even characters, are really relevant to the story.  I have removed characters, or even entire scenes, more than once from my stories.  I'll do this because either the character or subplot is not really needed, or they feel really out of place and don't belong in this particular story.  

I've also removed lengthy scenes and simplified them because I plan on using the much longer version as the basis for a follow up short story, or another novel entirely.  Certain references that appear in "The Ship" will be expanded upon in a collection of short stories I'm planning on doing down the road.

So that's an overview of how I handle 2nd, 3rd and 4th drafts.  All of these things help to cut down the word count as well as allow me to tighten the story up and improve the overall piece.  Mind you, I still plan on getting the book edited by others.  I'm just particular about getting the entire story down and told in a certain way before I let anyone else even get a glimpse of it.  

As I said at the beginning, how I handle drafts and rewrites may not be the same as other people.  What's your way of dealing with 2nd drafts and rewrites?  Enquiring writing minds would like to know, so please share your thoughts in the comments section below, this way we can all benefit and learn from each other.  

Until next time, take care and keep writing.