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Archive for the ‘Pete’s Writing’ Category

Wow, it’s been two months since I last posted.  I wish I could blame it on being sick twice in as many months, or the holidays, or the craziness of our lives… and I could.  But the real blame lies squarely on my unwillingness to make a post for those two months.

I’m a creative person, as you may have guessed.  I’m also a Cancer.  This means that I’m exceptionally sensitive about things.  And the fact is that my stats for this blog are dismal at best.  So for the past several months I’ve been suffering from a case of “Why bother?”.  Childish?  Perhaps.  Unprofessional?  You bet.  But it’s my personality, and it’s not something that I can change easily, if at all.

In any case, I’m here to try to get back on track, because books don’t sell themselves.  Nor do they write themselves, and that’s one thing that I can assure you of – I have been writing over the course of the past two months.  Blood of the Father is still chugging along at my normal slower-than-it-should-be pace.  But I was also (and still am) juggling multiple projects for my webcomic, including a print book that I will post about here at a later date.

So, I’m over the “Why bother?” phase and back into the “Let’s do this!” phase.  It is 2016 after all, and I promised myself that I would be pushing me harder this year than I have been.

Onward!

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So, I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon with a Cyber Monday special on my favorite book, Fantasy Noir.  If you use the coupon code “JU59Q” at Smashwords, you can get the ebook, normally priced at $3.99, for a crazy low price of $0.99.  If that doesn’t tempt you, I’m not sure what will.

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I’ve been very quiet on the writing blog front because I’ve been focusing all of my energy in a different, yet not altogether unrelated, project.  I recently launched an IndieGoGo campaign a preorder for the second print collection of my webcomic Bardsworth.  The campaign will also help fund the printing costs of the book.  Take a look at my intro video for details:

If you didn’t watch the video, basically you contribute any amount of money and you’ll get some kind of perk for doing so, but if you want the book you’ll have to contribute at the $30 level.  Please take a look at the IndieGoGo page for full details, though.  And if it’s not something you’re interested, please spread the word in case someone you know might be.

Thanks!

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Work on Blood of the Father continues to move along, if a little slower than I would wish it, but that’s par for the course.  And for the most part, I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out.  However, I still do have those momentary doubts that nip at me and distract me with their sharp, pointy teeth.

One of the doubts I keep having is that I’m using far too much exposition.  And, really, it’s less of a doubt and more knowledge; I know that I’m adding too much exposition.  And I keep telling myself that it’s still the first draft, that I’ll be going back and trimming the fat when all is said and done.  Still, though, thinking about all that word vomit makes me think that the real action doesn’t start until too late in the book.  And then, if I remove that exposition, the book will be too short.  Then I’ll have to add stuff.  Then… then… then…

Do you see the unending line of thought here?  This is what goes on in my head, and I’m sure it – or a version of it – happens to many writers.  The best thing I can do is to keep writing, even if it is exposition.  The story is in there, in that giant block of stone.  I just have to carve it out and put the fine details on it.

Although sometimes it seems to me that carving a statue from a stone would be far easier than writing.

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It’s always funny how the muse strikes me when I’m least expecting it. I’ve recently been schvitzing about Blood of the Father because I haven’t had time to work on it. When I don’t have time to work on a story, I tend to fall into the trap of telling myself negative things about it.

“You’re using too much exposition and not enough action.”

“Plot, man! Where’s the plot??”

“Seriously, why did you think this story was a good idea?”

I don’t know if this is something other writers can attest to, but I’m least worried about my writing when I’m actually writing. When I’m left to stew about it, that’s when the negativity monster rakes me with its deadly claws of self-doubt. Which is good when I’ve finished a story and I want to go back and edit it, but not when I’m 1/4 of the way into the story.

But sometimes I get lucky and my muse will step in front of the negativity monster, and she’ll slap him around a bit. She paid me a visit yesterday, and rather than wading in a pool of self-deprecation, I had flashes of inspiration. One led to another, that led to another, and so on. And then I found myself energized and excited to work on the story again. Which is good, because I have a writers retreat this weekend and I need to keep that ball rolling so I can take advantage of the writing time.

I wish I knew how to thank my muse, other than to continue writing that is. Do muses like gift cards?

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Well, my new experiment is already off to a roaring stop. This was such a busy week that I couldn’t even think of writing a blog post until today, and now I actually have something to write about. That’s a “problem” I can deal with, though.

Recently, I jumped into some old files on my back-up drive and was reading my earliest work. Some people might cringe at that thought, and sometimes it makes me cringe, too. But typically it’s a humbling experience.

My very first novel that I ever wrote to completion was called The Dragon Slayer War (or rather, that was the title of the series; I can’t recall what I named the first book). At the time, I was proud of it. I shopped it around to agents and received a number of rejection letters (which I still have in a binder as trophies of a bygone era). After a while, I decided to take another pass at it and polish it up, as well as change up a few things that started to bug me about it.

Thus began a chain of uncompleted rewrites that ultimately resulted in the hard decision to scrap the project altogether. I just could not get it to a point where I was happy with it. I was depressed about the decision, but at the same time it felt good to untether myself from it and to move on to other things.

However, as I was reading my old pages this past week, I began to feel very wistful about the project. Sure, the writing is terrible. It was a story I started writing at the beginning of high school and completed by the end of college (with the ensuing rewrites taking place over the course of several years after). I’ve gotten much better and more self-aware of what I’m doing since then. But the story…

Yes, it’s overcomplicated and convoluted. Yes, there are one or two Mary Sue characters, as well as characters that don’t need to take up page space. Yes, the dialogue is hokey and unbelievable. But I found myself sucked into it. Sucked into my own story. And that’s when it hit me.

I spent much of my time during the rewrites trying to make it less of a traditional fantasy. I had elves and dwarves and an evil villain in there, and I was worried that it wouldn’t be taken seriously, that it needed to be original and different. And I was so worried about that, that I forgot how fun the original version with the elves and dwarves and evil villain in it was. I had written a story that I wanted to read, something like the Dragonlance books that I had grown up reading (sometimes over and over again). And I realized that its a book – and a series – that I want to see completed.

It may not be the next book I work on, but I think I’ve decided that it’s time to once again take a pass at this monster that I created nearly two decades ago. Because, seriously, I think at its core it’s a story that’s worth sharing. I just need to mold it into something that works and that I’m proud of. And I need to just say “Who cares?” to the fact that I’m putting traditional fantasy elements into it.

I’ve spent so much time trying to write “different” stories that I think I’ve earned the right to be self-indulgent for once.

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I swore that I had written a post about this subject a while ago, but I combed through my archives and couldn’t find one. Maybe I’m going crazy…

Anyway, I’ve been plugging away at my current writing projects, one of which is Blood of the Father. However, my productivity level seems to be down. And I know it’s for a number of reasons, but I believe one of the big reasons is that I haven’t had a “writing area” for a long time now.

Because of life circumstances, we have been renting space from my father-in-law for a while now. While it has been a huge help to us, it does carry with it some certain inconveniences, such as utilizing his furniture instead of our own and not being able to set up rooms the way we would like. And Katie has taken over the extra bedroom to use for her sewing room (and rightfully so; she does have the job that brings in a steady income). So I’m left with only a few spots in the house to write, and none of them are very conducive to a good writing experience.

To be fair, I’ve never had a “perfect” writing area. The closest was when in a rental house we lived in from 2010 to 2011. There was a bedroom that was big enough for us to use as a half sewing room and half writing office. It was rather pleasant. Otherwise, it’s always been a pain to make a little corner of an apartment an “office”. Occasionally I’ll find a coffee house or something to call home for a little bit, but I haven’t been able to do that much since my son was born.

So I push on, moving from room to room with my laptop whenever I get a chance to write. We’re at the beginning of the long journey of finding a house of our own, and on the wish list is an extra bedroom or spot in the house that I can use for writing. Hopefully that wish will materialize. Until then, the couch will have to suffice.

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