Monday, May 18, 2015

My Gen Con 2015 Schedule!

Heading south to Indianapolis in early August. First time at Gen Con and the Writers' Symposium. Love to hear from anyone who's recently been there.

11am SEM1577110 - Business of Writing: Early Stage Writing Career—What to Expect.
12pm WKS1578865 - Writer's Craft: Tension on Every Page.
2pm SEM1577060 - Writer's Craft: When to Show, When to Tell.
3pm SEM1577160 - Character Craft: Where to Start When Creating Characters.
4pm WKS1577161 - Writer's Craft: Badass Badguys.
5pm SEM1577116 - Business of Writing: Pitching Your Project.
8pm BGM1575255 - Twilight Imperium.

9am SEM1578842 - Writer's Craft: Plot Structure – Building the Foundation to a Page-Turning Story.
10am SEM1578843 - Writer's Craft: The Hero’s Journey – Creating a Character Driven Story.
11am SEM1577121 - Writer's Craft: Dialogue & Dialogue Tags.
12pm SEM1577074 - Writer's Craft: Description Through Dialogue.
1pm  SEM1573811 - Getting Started in the Gaming Industry.
4pm WKS1578848 - Writer's Craft: Characterization.
5pm WKS1578849 - Writer's Craft: Plotting.
6pm SEM1577080 - Writer's Craft: Epiphanies & Defining Moments.
7pm NMN1573743 - 3D Game of Thrones Board game.

9am SEM1577084 - Character Craft 101.
10am SEM1577086 - Character Craft: Character Voice.
1pm SEM1577092 - Writer's Craft: Sustaining the Tension in Novels.
3pm SEM1578856 - Writer's Craft: Magic and the Modern World.
4pm WKS1578886 - Writer's Craft: Advanced Characterization.

10am True Dungeon – Into The Underdark.
12pm True Dungeon – The Sable Gauntlet.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Spirit Quest - Post-Chimera Edit Report

I received the edit of my novel Spirit Quest from Chimera. Reading through the detailed write-up, I’ll admit to being overwhelmed. It’s hard to receive critiques, but it’s exactly what I needed at this point in the process. I had circulated the manuscript to a few Alpha readers and I got some solid feedback, but not what I needed. This edit not only pointed out several significant issues with the story, it gave me the direction I need to move towards to fix the problem.

So what do I need to fix? At this point, I’m looking at the 10,000 foot view and not at the text level (dialogue, passive sentences, repetitive sentence structure, etc).

[ ] Clean up the various POV and re-write from Marc’s POV. I’ve used 4 POVs in my story. It’s Marc’s story and I need to focus on that. That’s about 15,000 words of wiggle room I now have. I can find creative ways to add all that information from those other POVs into Marc’s knowledge pool. Focusing on Marc will help me find his voice and not have it watered down by other POVs.

[ ] Strip out the dream sequences

[ ] Clean up Marc’s inner turmoil and introspection. Cut back on a few of the repetitions throughout the book. Demonstrate a steady growth of his character. I tend to have Marc slip back into his bad habits/qualities. His anger isn’t focused and seems to get thrown around all the time without proper definition, so make it something people can sympathize with. That 15,000 word wiggle room should allow me to add a few more chapters focused on Marc and the progression of his magic.

That should keep me busy for a few months...

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Inspirational Advice and Perspective from Kevin Hearne

I read through Hearne's interview with ( and found a few nuggets of widsom and inspiration. Kevin Hearne is the author of a series of urban fantasy novel, The Iron Druid Chronicles.

  • 6 years to write his first novel, while working day jobs, but it was never published
  • The next novel took 3 years to write
“I wrote better and faster the next time, because once you complete a novel you know what it takes to do it again. There’s a confidence there that didn’t exist before,” he says. “It’s not a profession of instant success. Authors who are perceived as instant successes often work a very long time before getting to the market.”

After an unsuccessful round of query letters, he revised and edits and finally got an agent. His first novel, Hounded, was finally published after 19 years of work!

Lots of good stuff in Kevin's words. There's a lot of hard work before that success, so don't give up. Keep at it and you'll get there. It's about developing that confidence and the writing skills.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Joe Lansdale on Using Said to Tag Dialogue

Over on his Facebook page, Joe Lansdale shared the following on the usage of said to tag your dialogue:

"I hate it when people use all manner of replacements for said. Asked now and then, maybe in a rare case something else due to the scene, but even if you say they whispered, you damn sure don't need he whispered softly, and if you set the scene right, you don't need whispered at all. I hate he replied, he remarked, he responded, and I hate modifiers, he said with irony, he said with sarcasm, he said with excitement. Yuk. I also hate it when it's the obvious with the elbow in the ribs, meaning. "It's a monster!" he said with great excitement. Well, if it's a monster, we know he's excited. And if he's telling you something, and then you say, he explained, that's redundant.

"I'm not saying don't use these. You get to choose how you like to work, but they stand out like a sore thumb to me and I don't want to use them. It's like waving a flag while you write. It also keeps you from actually forming the scene. Instead of writing a scene that explains itself, you are trying to make sure people understand it with unnecessary words and leaping up and down and waving flags. It's a personal choice, and some of my favorite writers do it, but try taking those out, seeing if the scene is clear. If it's not, instead of writing in all those 'explainers' why not just write the scene where it works."

What he said. :) I've struggled with the use of said for awhile now and sticking with "said" as much as possible is the best way to go. Joe's advice is solid when it comes to ensuring your write the dialog in a way, write the scene in a way that you don't need tagging to convey meaning.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Anxiously Waiting

My SPIRIT QUEST manuscript is currently in the hands of Chimera Editing and I'm anxiously waiting on their feedback which will be delivered by the end of next week. Why am I anxious? There's a level of insecurity every time I get someone to read my work. What if they think it's crap?

Then I rewrite.

What am I expecting from the deep dive edit? I know I have some character issues, told to me by a couple of early readers. The problem is that I'm not sure how to address these issues. I'm hoping that this edit gives me some insight and helps me make a plan to fix it.

At every stage through this journey I felt that I had nailed it and then discovered that I hadn't and it's required work to fix. It's my first novel so I'm not trying to be hard on myself. I'm hoping that for the next novel I'll have learned enough so that I can stay at that level and improve the delivery time of a quality product.

Monday, April 6, 2015

All's Quiet on the Western Front

It's been a painfully slow last couple of weeks. My day job's been challenging to say the least and its spilled over into my writing time, sapping any leftover energy I have left. The new normal will kick in next week and hopefully I can get myself into the right frame of mind by then.

My manuscript goes to Chimera editing this week. I think I've got my novel to where I want it and will hopefully have lots of good feedback to rewrite and revise it and start the agent submission process again.

In the meantime, I want to keep going as I feel like I've fallen out of the daily writing routine, especially when all I've been doing for that last six months or so has been revising Spirit Quest. I have some notes of the sequel, but I'm also thinking it might be good to change my mind for a couple of weeks until I get the Chimera edit back. I've been trying to do that for a couple of weeks now, but I'm not sure what's holding me back. Perhaps the need to keep fiddling with Spirit Quest? Perhaps the daunting aspect of taking on something new? Perhaps both?

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

More Rejections... Deep Breaths...

The editor from Del-Rey took a pass on Spirit Quest after a read of my revise and resubmit. She clearly explained her reasoning, feeling she couldn't get behind the characters. Despite the outcome, it was a great experience. It was really exciting getting this far in the process. Painful that it ended that way, but also tells me that my novel isn't quite there yet.

As a first time author, I had no idea when my novel would be at that point and I'm currently lost in waves of revision. So, my next step is to get some professional help. I'm now in the queue at Chimera Editing to get a "Deep Crit Review" of Spirit Quest.

I've been so immerse in Spirit Quest that I'm thinking I need to put some distance between it and myself. Chimera should have the review done by mid-April and that month or so break will do me some good.

And to add to the list of rejections.. The Canada Arts Council rejected my grant quest. Sigh.

Will keep going. I've got the next set of agents I want to submit ready. I'll recover the edits from Chimera and keep trying!