Friday, December 30, 2005

You Say It's My Birthday

39

It just kind of sits there, doesn't it? One more year until 40, which doesn't bother most males of the species. We solve our crisis with a simple Harley Davidson or fling with a much younger woman. Since I'm broke and I'm really quite happy with my wife (not to mention the whole Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery thing), I'll settle for some ice cream and new computer toys.

Which I'm playing with now.

I got a really awesome wireless mouse for my laptop and some writing software--Writer's DreamKit. I know, alot of people hated it, alot of people loved it. I'll give it a try. My family was really pressing me for ideas yesterday. At 39, I've got just about everything I want, with the exception of a published novel. But people want to buy you SOMETHING, so I had to do a quick search of software, and that's what I came up with.

Anyway, back to 39. It's an awkward age. Not as awkward as 14, but awkward in a "your place in the grand scheme of things" sort of way. To teenagers, I'm old. To the elders in my church, I'm still a kid. I'm too young to sue my company for age discrimination if I get fired. I'm too old to join the military. I'm too young to go around offering free advice. I'm too old to believe all the free advice I receive.

I always thought that, by the time you hit 40, you had it all figured out. I know squat. And I don't think one more year is going to instill me with a massive amount of wisdom.

But, at 39, I'm still young to the average person. No car dealer is going to "see me coming." I have enough money to buy gifts for those I love and maintain my writing habits. I know that most of what I read in the press is someone's opinion, and usually a liberal one. I can respect and understand if someone's opinion differs from mine and not get angry. I can stand up for what I believe. I'm not afraid to tell my hunting buddies that I'm leaving camp two days early because I miss my wife.

39 is good. It's a place to stop and look back, consider where I've been and decide if I like where I'm going. It's not too late to change course yet. Most of the areas of my life--financial, marriage, family, spiritual--are solid as a rock. That's more than most people can say, I'm afraid. My career is the one thing I'd like to change, and I'm working on that, so I can't complain.

Who knows what 40 will bring. Maybe, by then, I'll have a new job, a book contract, an agent. Truth be told, if I'm in exactly the same place one year from now that I'm in today, I'm still doing pretty good.

I've been given abundant life. I will always seek more but be thankful for what I've been given.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Lost Week

Every year between Christmas and New Year's I make great plans on what to do with my week off. It's one of the few gifts I get from working in the auto industry. This year I had intended on wrapping up Soul Searcher and getting started on my next novel, Third Kiss. Instead, I end up with a sinus infection and a constant headache that won't allow me to even look at a printed page.

Regardless (or Irregardless, just to annoy my wife), I am trying to make good use of my time. I have managed to get some crits done and edit some of Soul Searcher. I'm to the end on that one. I've also taken advantage of my spare time and perrused my new copy of Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents. The Agents being at the center of my interest. By the end of January, I should have queried a few agents. I think that's an achievable goal. Which brings us to other achievable goals. Here they are for 2006:

1. Complete Third Kiss by September (ACFW Conference).
2. Submit Soul Searcher to agents until I go through the list or I land one.
3. Read at least 24 novels (not inlcuding books on CD).
4. Finish my MBA (I'll be done in the Spring!)
5. Get a contact at the Oxford Police Department for research.
6. Write in my notebook at least one page per day.

So, there they are. Now I must tag my friends. Robin, Ronie, Dineen, Gina, Camy, and Heather, let's see 'em. What do you want to accomplish in '06?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas from Wherever!

I've always wondered what a "normal" Christmas is. I'll be 39 years old at the end of this month, and I've never celebrated Christmas the same way twice. I've spent Christmas:

1. In Pearl City, Hawaii
2. In Port Orchard and Bremerton, Washington
3. In San Diego, California
4. In Virginia Beach and Yorktown, Virginia
5. In Navy Boot Camp in Orlando, Florida
6. In the Persian Gulf onboard the USS Okinawa
7. In Davisburg, Pontiac, Lapeer, Waterford, and Oxford, Michigan
8. Without knowing Jesus for 30 years
9. Knowing Jesus for 8 years

I keep hearing about "traditions." What's a tradition? I'll tell you what it is. It's knowing that you have friends and family you love and who love you. From halfway around the world to sitting at the table next to me, I've always had people to celebrate Christmas with, people who I wouldn't want to forge into a new year without.

Merry Christmas to all my new friends and my old ones. I am truly blessed.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Out of Egypt at Last!

I finally finished "Out of Egypt." The fact that I say "finally" is not a good sign. It really saddens me because I wanted to like this book. After all, the Vampire Lady had re-discovered the faith of her youth and is now writing for "our side." I guess that's still a reason to rejoice. Anne, after all, picked a difficult topic to start her Christian writing career. I'm afraid, however, that her work was probably a bit too realistic. Jesus, at seven years old, probably didn't do much out of the ordinary. Anne tried to make it suspenseful with a Jewish uprising and the ensuing plundering, murdering, and the unavoidable mass crucifixions. But it just wasn't enough. Dave Long apparently agrees with me. He did a write up at his blog, Faith in Fiction (link to the right). The POV of a seven year old gets a bit tedious, as anyone who's ever had a seven year old can tell you.

The book does have its high moments. Jesus shows exceptional wisdom to the Pharisees in Nazareth. Anne does a good job in showing that the residents of Nazareth remember Mary's "untimely" pregnancy. Although I thought she could have taken that much farther. Again, though, she may have restricted herself by keeping it in the boy Jesus' POV. The climax of the book has Jesus discovering the truth of his birth. This occurs during the pilgrimage to Jerusalem where Jesus disappears for three days. I had a real issue here because Anne chose to have this happen while Jesus is only eight years old. The Bible only gives us His age one time throughout all the scriptures—twelve years old at the time of this incident—and Anne ignores it. She covers a bit by saying he appeared to be twelve to the teachers around him. I'm thinking no. If you're already handicapped by lack of information for your historical figure, why throw out one piece of knowledge that's handed to you on a silver platter (pun intended)?

I've already mentioned the Catholic overtones. Since this is just a commentary on the book, I won't discuss Mary's perpetual virginity. By the way, Mary gets to tell the Christmas story from her POV at the end of the book while spilling all to her child. I liked that. It was well done and I give Anne credit for not hoisting Mary up as many might have. Mary remains a quiet, yet strong, young woman throughout the story. I rather liked her character. I also liked James, though he's older than Jesus in this story. I would expect James to be somewhat jealous of his brother after finding out the story surrounding his birth. The scene with James buying two doves as a sin offering at the temple for his hatred of Jesus is especially touching.

I believe Anne intends to make this a series, taking Jesus through his teen years. She'll have to up the tension a bit, because it was a struggle to keep my attention. It's kind of funny, though, that Christian writers are trying to open up the CBA to supernatural thrillers and suspense. In the meantime, one of the world's most successful supernatural thriller writers has backed off and now wants to write stories about Jesus.

I'm glad you're writing for the Lord now, Anne, but I can't think of a tougher way to go about it than writing about the Lord.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Mid December

I know. I've been slacking. December is a crazy time, even if you're not a stuff-aholic. Between church and kids and, oh yeah, writing, it seems the whole world is crashing down around me. So what's new. Let's see, I'm about two-thirds through Anne Rice's "Out of Egypt." Okay, I'm glad Anne has this new direction and she's a wonderful writer, but the story just ain't happening. I'm still waiting for something to happen. My wife has been listening to it on CD and feels the same way. That's the problem with taking a major historical figure and trying to write about a time in His life that isn't mentioned anywhere. You can't just make something exciting happen, say, like a giant meteor smashing into Nazareth. Everybody knows that didn't happen. So you're stuck with Jesus' childhood the way it probably did happen—boring. He was a normal Jewish kid, as far as anyone knows. Anne throws in a minor miracle or two and some visions, but it's just not enough. Oh, well, hopefully it will improve by the ending.

My writing buddy, Robin, has some good news from an editor, but she needs to do a major re-write. She calls it major; I told her if it doesn't involve a plot change, it's not major. Colleen Coble bugged her to get it done by January 3rd. Me and Colleen, we're on the same page. Robin has this issue, though—it's called Christmas. I told her, if it were me, I'd CANCEL Christmas and get that sucker written. She didn't agree. Neither did my wife.

My other writing partners, Ronie and Dineen, have upgraded from form letter rejections to personalized ones. No X's and O's at the bottom, though. All three of these ladies are in that very frustrating place between being darn good and getting published. They can easily be pushed over the edge—either way. Me, I'm plugging along. I don't have many submissions out there yet. 2006 will be my year of flooding the e-mail lines with proposals. Then, of course, there's Gina. She's doing so well I'm ready to stop talking to her, unless she'll grant me an interview for my blog.

That's pretty much my little writing world in a nutshell. I'm excited to get my next project started in January. I'll keep y'all up to date on that one as I go. I'm going to try to be more organized on this one and kick it up a notch—BAM!!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Linda Windsor's Interview

Make sure you catch Gina Holmes' interview of author Linda Windsor. Her latest novel, Fiesta Moon, is available now. She's a great writer and a really neat lady. I sat with her at the ACFW conference in Nashville. You can read her interview on Gina's blogsite at http://firstnoveljourney.blogspot.com/.

If you've never experienced Gina's blog, you're missing out. She's a stitch and a great writer. If you're into demons and other nightmarish stuff, you'll want to keep your eye on this lady. I'll be playing catch up to her real soon.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Out of Egypt

I've started reading Out of Egypt by Anne Rice. You know, her "Jesus book." While I respect her newfound desire to write for the Lord, I can't help but wonder what an editor would have told me if I came up with the idea of writing a novel from the viewpoint of a teenage Jesus. My first warning to my Protestant bretheren is: Anne's Catholic. And that's how she's writing it. Not that I have a problem with Catholics. I've been in "mixed" bible studies and we overcome our differences by simply leaving them out of the discussion (the differences, not the Catholics). Mary's standing is probably not a salvation essential. I admit, though, that praying to a long list of saints makes me uncomfortable. So much so that, at my niece's baptism in a Catholic church, I respectfully remained out of the prayer.

That being said, Anne sets up Mary as Joseph's second wife within the first chapter. All of Jesus' brothers and sisters are from Joseph's first marriage. For the life of me, I'll never understand why the Catholics would do this to poor Joseph. Theory has it that he died young. That might explain it.

The book is written in the first person, like I said. I think maybe I would have done it in the third, and gotten some different POV's in there. Joseph and Mary certainly had some interesting thoughts. Let's get in their heads. The book starts out with them in Egypt. I think Jesus is seven at the time. Joseph knows that Herod is dead, but he never says how he knows. The family hops on a ship and sails to Israel, eventually ending up in Jerusalem in time for Passover, which I find appropriate and clever of Anne. Leaving Egypt on Passover. It fits, don't you think?

Jesus is suspicious of the events surrounding his birth, though the family is protecting him from the facts for now. The beginning of the book has him killing a playmate with his words and then bringing him back to life. I think that came from the Gospel of Thomas, which wasn't canonized. It's a cute story and good for fiction, but there's a reason that book wasn't canonized. As long as the reader understands that, he'll get through okay.

I'll keep you all up to date as I read. I tend to read a couple of books at the same time and only get an hour a day at most, so it'll take a while.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Seven Sevens

I've been tagged by Gina Holmes AND Robin Miller. Here are the questions:

Seven Things to Do Before I Die (Lord willing):
1. Publish a best-seller (aim high, people!)
2. Write for a living.
3. Go to Alaska.
4. Take my wife to Hawaii.
5. Be first in line at Robin's, Gina's, Ronies, and Dineen's book signings.
6. Read in the bathtub without getting the book wet.
7. Watch my son pilot Blue Angel #5 over Traverse City.

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. Read in the bathtub.
2. Take the auto industry seriously.
3. Vote for a pro-abortionist.
4. Turn my back on my Savior.
5. Stop writing (I tried, it hurts).
6. Live in New York City.
7. Take rap music seriously.

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Spouse [romantic interest, best friend, whomever](not necessarily in this order!):

1. Her legs
2. Everything above # 1.
3. Her intelligence.
4. Her love of the Lord.
5. Her ethics.
6. Our chemistry (is that what we're calling it?)
7. She makes me laugh.

Seven Things I Say (or write!) Most Often:
1. Get over it.
2. Call 1-800-Hillary (to my abused children)
3. Are you gonna eat that?
4. Get a grip (wavng at Robin).
5. Oh, Lord!
6. Twenty minutes! (when my children ask "how long 'till we get there?")
7. Bush won, he isn't required to cover the spread, get over it (see #1).

Seven Books (or series) I Love:
1. Bible (Daniel's my favorite)
2. Watership Down
3. Sum of All Fears
4. Salem's Lot
5. Grapes of Wrath
6. The Mitford Books
7. Call of the Wild

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again:
1. Star Wars (all of them)
2. A Christmas Story
3. Shane
4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
5. Fiddler on the Roof
6. Tora! Tora! Tora!
7. Young Frankenstein

Seven People I Want to Join in: (be tagged)
1. Ronie
2. Dineen
3. My Dad
4. Brandilyn Collins
5. Stewart
6. Camy Tang
7. Randy I.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

15 Book Preference

My pal Dineen has tagged me with my list of 15 book preferences. So here's what I came up with:

15 Facts and Personal Preferences about books:

1. Nothing written by bad ex-Presidents.
2. No gay vampires.
3. I like to read in bed with my wife.
4. I usually have at least two fiction books going at the same time.
5. Never use the phrase "her near perfect features."
6. Nothing by Al Franken (what, exactly, does he do?)
7. Fiction that teaches me something new.
8. You get to use a writer as your protag once during your career, then move on.
9. I check out several books at the same time in case one or two really stink.
10. I try to read at least one new (to me) author a month.
11. I'll try to read in the bathtub again, even though I know it can't be done.
12. Never read anything by someone who proudly proclaims to be an ex-Christian.
13. I love historical fiction, but wouldn't want to attempt it.
14. Sexual tension is great, but stop before it turns into erotica.
15. I love a romantic thread, but can't read a romance.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Christmas Wish List

My wife I are really doing it this year. We're chopping the Christmas budget to unprecidented lows. We've already achieved somewhat of a Scrooge status by bowing out of the annual family gift grab. I mean, really, what's the point in buying gifts for my cousin's kids? I don't need to launch into the ridiculous height of "stuffness" that Christmas has become, we're all fully aware I'm sure. As I near my 39th birthday (Dec. 30th), I find that there's nothing left that I want anyone to buy me, other than books, because you just can't have enough books. But things like power tools, computer toys, etc., I can buy whenever I need it. And I don't really need it anymore. When I look at a new toy, I see something else that will take up my time, not to mention my money.

What I find, at Christmas, is wishing I had enough money to give to everyone who needs it. I'd love to pay off my church's debt for the steeple we built several years ago. I'd love to buy Robin a laptop so she can bug me even more. I think Dineen and Ronie are set. Okay, laptops for everyone! Randy I. recommends the i-book. Color preferences? Gina, you get black. Wouldn't do for a spooky writer to have a pink i-book. Robin, red of course. Ronie gets yellow because she's from Texas, and Dineen gets, umm, do they make a clear one? Then you can see what your toes are doing while you write.

As long as we're in Ron's fantasy Christmas land, what else can I buy? There's about fifty ministries I'd like to support. I'll fund a thousand missionairies...and send them i-books. Some good friends or ours live three miles away. Too far. They get the house that's for sale across the street. I'll even pay their taxes. Some other good friends, who do live in our neighborhood, have four kids and need new cars. A minivan and an Avalanche so they tow the trailer I'll buy them so they can go camping with us (it's not really camping, it's a portable hotel room).

What else shall I do with my newfound fortune? A writer's retreat you say? Okay! Northern Michigan on the Manistee River. We can fly-fish between lectures. We'll have a Starbuck's on site (free, of course) and Coldstone Creamery will provide desserts (if you haven't, you must!) We'll have cabins with Wi-fi. Each guest will get an i-book.

Naturally, all AFCW members are free to use the property for their own retreats. Feel free to fly your group in (on my private jet) so you can brainstorm. Make sure you're wearing orange during deer season. I'll have a buck pole put up for any of you who wish to indulge in Michigan's favorite pasttime.

Now, if I can't have all that, I'll settle for a book contract. Surely, that's not too much to ask for, is it?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Writing from the Inside Out

I think I understand. For as long as I've been writing, I've been told to "just write." Turn off the internal editor and get it on paper. I've tried, but my brain still gets in the way. Leave it to a screenwriter to get it through to me. Robert McKee talks about "writing from the inside out" in his book, "Story." For a novelist, it's second nature to write from the viewpoint of one character and stay in that character's head. For the screenwriter, it's a little more difficult. McKee actually includes a scene from "Chinatown," where the hero is confronting his suspect. Now, before every single line, there is a short paragraph explaining what's going on in that character's head. Essentially, the notes portion of the scene is what you'd use in a novel.

For the novelist, it needs to go a step further. As I write, I should be including everything that's going on in my POV character's head as well as the other characters in the scene. The difference will come in the editing, where I cut all the stuff the POV character won't know, and even quite a bit of what he does know. What I'll get is a more realistic scene. Allow me, if you'll be so kind, to attempt an example.

Tracy knew that Jack killed his brother, but she couldn't let him know that she knew, or she'd be dead, too. She struggled to keep her face smooth, the muscles in her cheeks from twitching. "Jack," she said, "what brings you here today?" He's knows, oh Lord, he knows. Stay calm, Tracy. After all, you were in a relationship with this man once, he can read me like a book.

Jack studied her eyes. She's nervous about something. Could she possible suspect that I killed my brother? No way, she's too stupid. She could barely balance her checkbook. "Just wanted to say hi, Tracy. We're still friends, aren't we?" And I've got to get that computer file off your desktop. I never should have saved it there. Idiot! What was I thinking? Just play it cool. You don't need her blabbing to her friends that you were pulling files off her computer. But how to get her out of the room. "I was hoping to borrow that old belt sander you got from your dad." She'll never buy it.

OH NO. He's trying to get me in the basement. Blah blah blah.

So there's a really bad portion of a scene. I've gotten into both character's heads, which doesn't work so well any more in modern fiction. Now, stay with me, I'm brainstorming this idea as I go. But if I write a rough draft like this, I've got choices to make, good ones. After typing out ten pages of this nonsense, I have to decide which POV to go with. I don't have to do it before writing the scene, as I normally would. See what I'm getting at? I can make the choice, depending on who can provide the most tension, who generates the most internal conflict. I think that's great. I may try this tonight. Of course, I'll end up writing something like what I have above and getting maybe three lines of dialogue and two sentences of internal conflict. It's like mining for gold after you've created a mountain of dirt.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Most Important Ingredient

Writers, please fill in the blank: Without _________, you have no story. That’s right! The answer is “chocolate.” Oh, wait, Robin is shaking her head (notice, however, she has a large bag of Hershey’s Kisses torn open next to her computer). Okay, the correct answer is “conflict.” We, who have been writing for more than three days, know this as well as “show don’t tell.” You see? It’s all quite simple really. You take a character, your hero/protag, and put him or her in the midst of conflict. Nuttin’ to it.

So you think. The truth is, a good conflict is tough to nail down sometime. First of all, what you see as conflict may draw great and mighty yawns from your readers. For example, let’s take the classic “boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy joins the Al Queda and nukes several Midwestern cities.” Lot’s of conflict, right? Well no, not really, if he’s happy with his choice, the wife is fully supportive of his new career, and the Home Defense Agency is clueless and doesn’t even get close to him.

You, writer, must make things interesting. True, nuked cities are somewhat interesting, for about a chapter. Life must go on after that. How? Well, if I knew, I’d have a nice fat contract by now. Okay, seriously, let’s get into it.

First, according to Robert McKee in Story and several other sources, there are three levels of conflict: Inner, Personal, and Extra-Personal (I don’t like that one, I think “External” works just as well, let’s go with that).

The Inner conflict is what’s going on inside your character. Our boy is a terrorist. Why? He’s a red-blooded American. What drove him to it? Without getting into character development, let’s just say he should have lots of misgivings about what he’s doing. He’s struggling. Characters who are evil for the sake of being evil are passé. Let him struggle in his heart, mind, and soul.

Personal conflict comes with close friends, relatives, and, in this case, the wife. She’s obviously going to have issues with her hubby’s career choice. She’ll provide very good conflict.

Then there are the Externals. These come from bosses, agencies, everything outside our protag’s immediate circle. He should get some conflict from the FBI and law enforcement agencies, don’t you think?

It all seems simple, but I think we often miss out on one or two levels when creating our stories. The internal are probably the most difficult. We have to get inside our character’s head to understand how he or she will be affected by their choices. One level of conflict makes a good scene, but a good story requires the use of all three.

Next time I’ll talk about writing from the inside out—getting inside your character.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Jodi my Hero

I've been bugging my critique group to read something by Jodi Picoult. True, her genre is nothing like any of ours, but when I read Jodi it just makes me want to be a better writer. I'm telling you, the woman does things with words that boggle my mind. It's almost like reading poetry, where you train your mind to see things differently, come up with new ways to describe something that's been described a million times by writers throughout time. I've tried to explain what it is she writes, but I just can't seem to put it in a category. It's almost literary, but the there's a definite story there, and when you've finished, you haven't just read really good writing, you've had your brain frapped by a really twisted story. I mean twisted in a good way.

I think we all need someone to look up to. Of course, for us Christians, Jesus is the ultimate mentor. He teaches us how to behave, how to love, how to forgive, and everything else associated with living as God's forgiven. But we need earthly mentors as well. Now Jodi will never know my name, but she teaches me a great deal. First of all, no matter how interesting the plot, it comes down to character. It's all about people. She says she writes about family. The families get into some pretty interesting situations, but it still comes back to how we relate to one another. I think that's why I keep coming back to her. It doesn't matter what genre I write, I need to tell it with a fresh voice, describe things in a way that make the reader say, "Yeah, that's the way it is," though they've probably never consciously thought it that way until they read my book.

So much for my Jodi plug. I can't possibly dream of reaching her level, but knowing that such a level exists will keep me pumping the creative muscles, no matter how successful I become. It's not the goal, it's the journey that makes us strong.

By the way, my top picks for Jodi Picoult are: My Sister's Keeper, Second Glance, and The Pact.

Monday, November 14, 2005

One Ending

Okay, I’ll attempt to get back into Robert McKee’s “Story” on my bloggin’ site. I’m up to “The Substance of Story.” If you haven’t read McKee’s book yet, he does a wonderful job of putting his main points in large bold letters and as separate headers. It makes it easy to find when you want to come back to it. So today’s header topic is “A STORY must build to a final action beyond which the audience cannot imagine another.”

Everyone resounds with a mighty “No Duh!” But it’s harder than it looks. I think, for me, it may be the hardest part. I can plot and put in lovely twists and turns, but when the final sentence falls onto the page, can I truly say that was the only way for this story to end?

Since McKee is focusing on screenwriting, he uses “Interview With a Vampire” as an example. Now, I know and you know that Anne Rice did a better job of explaining the inner turmoil that her character was undergoing, but Hollywood blew it. Brad Pitt plays Louis, a suicidal Frenchman in the 18th century who gets fanged by Tom Cruise (I think the idea was for every woman in America to long to become a vampire). Well, poor Louis suddenly doesn’t like having to kill people. He’s a depressed vampire. Oddly, there are no vampire therapists in the 18th century, though I’m sure a walk through New York’s theatre district will conjure up three or four.

Okay, so Louis is trapped as a vampire. He was suicidal as a mortal, and he’s even more depressed now. Yet, 200 years later, he’s still a blood sucker. The audience, in the meantime, is wondering why he just doesn’t do a little sunbathing without his SPF 40. So, our alternate ending, which the audience wrote for us, was barbeque vamp, end of story.

Do you see the cardinal sin, here? We have to be honest in judging our own manuscripts. Was there an easier way out? Could my hero have said “Screw it” on page two and walked off to catch a matinee with a much better plot than my novel?

For this reason, among others, is why I’m becoming a big fan of step-sheets or, at least, a plot summary on a spreadsheet. There’s nothing like writing 80,000 words and realizing it just don’t work. My SOP (Seat of the Pants) friends will give me attitude about this, but I just don’t think it can be done. If a novel is going to have any depth at all, there has to be planning. I don’t mean you have to describe the way the setting sun glints off the hero’s Ruger in your step sheet, but do jot down that said hero is pointing his Ruger at Mr. Villain at the Plaza Hotel in room 318 (where, by the way, the sun won’t be glinting off of it).

The moral of the STORY is: ONE ENDING, no alternatives. Readers are smart people, and they will re-write your ending for you if they think it’s necessary.

Monday, November 07, 2005

My Voice or Lack Thereof

It's pretty sad, isn't it, when I Writer doesn't post on his blog because he can't think of anything to say. Truth is, I can think of lots of things to say, I'm just concerned that some of them will have me hauled off to spend the rest of my days longing for TV time and crafts that involve nothing sharper than a boiled potato.

I wanted to talk about voice a little today. I'm not sure why, it seems to be the most elusive of writing subjects. I think, because, it's really nothing that can be taught. It just happens one day. You're writing along, having written thirty chapters of your novel, each one sounding like a different pre-schooler had written it, when suddenly—wham! You have a voice. Does it work that way? Beats me. All I know is nothing I write sounds like me. And if it does sound like me, it'll never get published.

So how do you get there? When does your writing stop sounding like something your English teacher would be proud of and start sounding like something interesting? There are a lot of not-so-good writers on the best seller list because A)The stories rock and B)They have an interesting voice. Okay, there's more to it, I know, but you get my meaning. We all have writing buddies who, if we laid all their manuscripts side by side, couldn't tell who wrote what. The writing is fine, there are no weak verbs or POV jumps or any of those other deadly sins, but it just sort of lays there, like a healthy meal.

Sometimes, maybe one sentence or even a whole paragraph, we see our voice pop out. "Hello!" it says, then slips away again like a chipmunk in a rotted log. You keep trying to catch it, but it's too quick. People who know me will tell you I'm a bit "flippant." I think that's a nice way of saying I'm a smartass (If I write it as one word like that, it's not swearing). And when I write off the cuff, that comes out. But when I get "serious," and shoot for some good suspense, I sound, well, serious. And who wants that?

So, I'll let y'all know when my voice happens. It's kind of like waiting for puberty, I think. You look down one day and scream. I don't think I'll scream, but I will get out my butterfly net and nail that little sucker before he sneaks off again (my Voice, I mean, get your mind out of the gutter).

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sleepy Shadows

By Thursday, I'm really hating the 4am routine. I sit here at my desk and drift toward the edge of sleep, pull myself back, and keep my fingers dancing over the keyboard in the hope of getting some actual work done. I mean the job I get paid for, not the writing. Unusual things happen when I get into that state of mind, though. Thoughts and images that you'd normally keep safely tucked away peek out around the edge of the door. You see things differently when you can barely see at all.

Today I started thinking (passive verb alert) about the moon. I know, writers have written everything about the moon there is to write. But I did, and I thought about the dark half of the moon that you can still see if you look hard enough. I went on with this image, found an analogy somewhere, and jotted it into my notebook. I'm always worried I'll never be able to find those little tidbits when I want them, and I'm probably right. But I know, that for everyone I catch, there's a few more behind it in the closet, waiting for their turn to peek out before I slam the door again, returning to the "respectable" side of society.

It's a writer's job, isn't it? We keep watching, listening, thinking about things for a different angle. An engineer knows that there are far more than 360 degrees on a compass. There's an infinite number of angles from which to gain a vantage point. And that's only on the x/y plane. Throw z in there, and you'll go crazy thinking about it. And there we go, crazy I mean. Insanity might be just a deeper discovery of what's true, things we're not supposed to talk about. But it's my job to talk about it.

What an odd bunch I've joined. We find ourselves thinking up unintelligible dribble (like this) then spend hours finding a way to make it intelligible, and often fail. See what happens when you don't get enough sleep? I'm sure drugs would have the same effect and I'd get more sleep, but this is cheaper.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

My Favorite Protag

Sometimes I get a brilliant thought. Then my crit group points out that it's not all that brilliant and I start over again. This time, though, I think I'm on to something. Okay, it wasn't really my thought, it's been written about time and time again, but at least I'm starting to get it.

My favorite protag is me. Everything I've written has a protag who leads a dull life as an engineer and suddenly finds himself in unusual circumstances. Problem is, he's still a boring engineer. I told Dineen this, that we have a tendancy to write auto-bios into our fiction. Lets face it, writers in general aren't terribly exciting people. We just have overactive imaginations. Other than that, we spend countless hours sitting in front of computers, drinkning too much coffee, and complaining about the weather. If you have an engineer/writer...well, I think we all understand why there are no TV series with engineers as the main characters. Drool city.

So I think I've made a major discovery about my writing. Normally, my secondary characters are the ones that spring to life. That's because they're nothing like me. I won't ditch my protag for Soul Searcher, though he's an engineer. I've added some characteristics that help him out. But I know I'll only get away with that once. No reader will ever believe there are two interesting engineers in the same universe.

I have been tossing around the idea of changing protags in Soul Searcher from Kevin James (the engineer) to his aunt, Jean Fitzgerald, retired country-wester superstar and night club owner (and a total babe, of course). She's got attitude. Unfortunately, I need her where she's at, major secondary character. She'll get promoted in future best-sellers.

So the moral of the blog is: if your protag is a lot like you, get over yourself and find someone with a life!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Up North

For those of you unfamiliar with Michigan, Up North is an actual geographic location. You won't see it on a map, but you'll know when you're there. Your first indication that you've arrived Up North is the sudden presence of "Jerky Outlets" and something called the "Family Bar."

I did not spend my time in a Family Bar nor did I eat any beef jerky (though, come to think of it, that would have been good). I unhooked my 33' travel trailer in the middle of state land for our annual Doe Camp. It's supposed to be a hunting camp involving members of the Old Doe Hunters Association (me, my dad, a guy named Pete, my brother, and a cousin). We pretend to hunt for a while, then settle in to book reading, cigar smoking, etc. Some of the members partake in adult beverages. I don't, I lock myself in my trailer with my laptop. I also lock myself out of my truck, but that's another story.

Major changes have occured to the opening chapter of Soul Searcher. Gina suggested I move the inciting incident closer to where it says "Chapter 1." So I did. And it ain't bad. I'm hoping to be through editing by the end of the year. By that time we should know where our Wicklow Series stands (yet another story) and I'll make the appropriate changes to my piece of it--Killing Yesterday.

That's a lot of arns in the fahr (that's irons in the fire for youse that don't know southern). But I'm developing a system of sorts for my plotting and my editing. I'll get there one of these days.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Man Tired

That was the title to a Gordon Macquarrie story. If you don't know who Gordon Macquarrie is, don't feel bad. He's my favorite outdoor writer. Unfortunately, he left us in 1954. If you ever get the chance, get a copy of "Tales of the Old Duck Hunters and Other Drivel." It's a collection of his stories. Even if you're not a hunter, they're funny and wonderful tales of his relationship with his father-in-law, Hizzoner the President of the Old Duck Hunter's Association, Inc. (the Inc. stands for Incorrigible).

That title does describe how I feel this week. My 4am start-ups are catching up to me. Today it was all I could do not to fall asleep while editing chapter six of Soul Searcher. I'll give this another month or so and see if my body adjusts. I think my wife is sick of going to bed at 9, anyway.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I've felt this call to lean toward a suspense/mystery genre. I like the idea of building familiar places and characters. Soul Searcher has a couple of characters that I want to keep around for a long time. Jean Fitzgerald is my favorite. The forty-something country-western singer who's fallen from superstar status makes a lively detective.

I'll keep this short, but at least I posted. I was getting lazy there last week. More to come! Pray for my wakefullness.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Show me the Story

It's an odd thing, to have a dream. Here I am, an engineer in a Visteon plant in the middle of some of the worst years in U.S. automotive history, and I'm thinking about My Book. I think I'll actually use that as a title some day—My Book. Every minute of the day I'm plotting, having conversations with my characters, or (forbid) actually writing. Chances are I'll never get rich off my novels or even make enough to quit my day job, but it's so all consuming. I think that's the way God intended it. He never wanted us to set our goals according to a certain income level. We set them according to the gifts and plans He places in our hearts. Unfortunately, we often go after the money before responding to the gift. That puts us at odds with ourselves, our employers, our families, and especially with Him.

I don't hate my job. Don't get me wrong. But it actually becomes a hindrance to my writing goals. That silly from a worldly sense. If you're making money and living in a big house, you 've achieved success—right? But it ain't so. A Christian knows that. A Christian on fire with the dreams God has placed on his heart knows it better than anyone.

Okay, I have to stop doing whatever it is I'm doing on this blog. I promised, several postings ago, that I'd talk about "Story" and whatever other writing topics I come up with. My loyal readers (Dineen and Gina) expect it. So here's the latest revelation (I'll have better revelations when I do this with the book right beside me):

According to "Story," each scene in your book or screenplay should involved a reversal of values. That seems mighty tough at first, but it begins to clear up when you get right to it. If you're character feels safe and secure at the beginning of the scene, he or she should feel unsafe or frightened at the end. It can be more subtle than that. Your character can go from restlessness to peace, from ignorant about something to enlightened. I think we've heard this stated differently in the past. If you have a scene, SOMETHING must happen. First, there must be action. No action, no scene. Usually, where there's action, something changes. If you do like I do and list out your scenes on a spreadsheet, it's easy to spot the one's where nothing really changes. Praise God for the computer, we just delete that line, preferably before we've written the scene.

Another point in "Story" that I'm coming to grips with is the idea of "seeing" the scene as it would play out on a stage. That's the beauty of studying a book directed at screenwriters. They don’t have a choice. There is no narrative in a movie or play, unless it's a really cheesy film noir movie (sorry, I know they're supposed to be classics, but oh please, keep the writer out of the movie!) By keeping the "stage" in my mind while writing, I find it much easier to keep the backstory out of the narrative form. No easy way out.
Show me the story!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Icy Blue Eyes

Let me tell you something about male writers. We hate describing people. We know three colors outside of primary and hair is either blond, red, or brunette. I should keep a box of Crayolas next to my desk just so I can have a color besides pink to describe a blouse. Oh, by the way, I can identify a blouse, slacks, and maybe an evening gown. After that I get lost. Although I learned what seersucker is not long ago. It has nothing to do with guys like me who pounce on every Craftsman tool sale in the Sunday ads.

And then there's flowers. I can handle roses, impatiens, morning glorys, mums if I think real hard. Next to my box of crayons, I need a Bordine's catalog (that's a nursery for those of you who live outside of Michigan). Weeds are even worse, because nobody sends us a weed catalog and not too many people are interested in writing about them. I have a bumper crop of dandelions in my yard each year, so those are easy. I've also learned to correctly identify Queen Anne's Lace. That's an important one, because if you write a passage with Queen Anne's Lace as part of the scenery description, you sound really smart. Now ragweed, the one that causes me to awaken entire villages with my sneezing every Labor Day, I can't identify. I know it's there somewhere, because it's keeping me awake, but I'm not sure what it looks like. I certainly don't want to get a closer look either.

Dineen and I were having a IM conversation, actually more of a ping-pong of words, involving eye colors. All my characters have icy blue or emerald green eyes. We combined my vast knowledge of flowers and came up with morning glory blue. So now I have two choices for blue eyes. We're still working on green.

This is the best I've got for a Monday morning. I'll get something more interesting up here tomorrow.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

October

"There are too many months between October and October." - Gene Hill

Yes, my Michigan is soon to be dressed in her finest splendor. This morning I got up before the tribe, made a pot of coffee, and rejoiced in the arrival of my favorite month. At one time, it was my favorite month because Michigan's archery deer season begins today. I still hunt, but very little, which would have been unthinkable twenty years ago. As I grew older, though, I learned to appreciate just being alive during October. So, for those of you who live in the northern portion of these states, step outside and breathe in October. The rest of you may have to wait a few weeks.

So, I've really latched on to this subject of working to get published. Aspiring writers today have more advantages than Jack London ever could have imagined. We have word processing programs, e-mail, the internet, and the TV for easy research. Even more importantly, though, is we have immediate access to the minds of the finest writers in the world. We have more books about writing than we have writers. We have bloggers like Brandilyn Collins and Dave Long who willingly share their knowledge with us newbees, saving us years of making the same mistakes they've already conquered.

That being said, why is it still so hard to get published? Because it's so easy to write. I don't mean that the final polished draft is easy, but just sitting down and tapping out a novel. Everyone who has any inkling to write a book can do it. The problem is, they don't take the time to learn the craft. Despite all our advantages, we still have to work hard and learn. The competition is fierce. Grisham certainly didn't rely on his courtroom experience and access to a computer to write great legal thrillers. He had to learn the craft just like the rest of us.

I've vowed to myself that I will stay in this for the long haul. Wheter it takes one year or twenty to see my name on a book jacket, I'll stay the course. With the help of some good friends, who are in this game with me, and a wife who suports me all the way, I know I'll be sucsessful.

My Christian Supernatural Thriller, Soul Searcher, is in edit mode. I'm very excited about it. One publisher and an agent showed great interest in it at the ACFW conference. I won't send it until it's polished, though. Patience is a necessity in this business.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Real Job

I was told once that the best way to learn something is to teach it. So, here's what I'll do. I promised my critique group that I'd keep them posted as I read through Robert McKee's "Story." The book is aimed at screenwriters, but Lord help us, we're not that different. Stephen King said that your story will get you a lot farther than your writing ability. I have to agree, and apparently so does Mr. McKee. We often complain, as writers, that the market is just too flooded with manuscripts, nobody will ever see our work.

According to McKee, it just ain't so.

The reason that you see so many bad movies these days isn't because producers just don't care what they send out, it's because they have little choice in screenplays. Probably the same is true of publishers. If we work, and I do mean work, very hard at our craft and develop the best story we can, we will get published. It's not magic, it's work, work, work.

I posted a comment on Brandilyn's blog today concerning critique groups. While I'm involved with an excellent group now (chocolate chip cookies, girls, and fast!), I've been involved with some not so good groups. If your critique partner isn't willing to learn, accept criticism, and grow as a writer, then he or she is an anchor to your career as well. And that's how you have to think of it, as a career. Sure, you can have that other career, the one that's paying the bills right now, but if you don't consider writing as important as whatever it is that you spent a lifetime developing or four years in college learning, then you'd better be satisfied with writing for the fun of it (if anyone needs help with that run-on, I'll send the abridged version).

Okay, here's me: I'm an engineer with Visteon (soon to be Ford). I make very good money, I have a nice house, cars, a trailer that's way too long. Could I stay this course and retire comfortably? Sure. But, someday, I'd ask myself "what if?" And I don't want to ask myself that. "What if?" means that I've missed something, I've taken this one shot God gives us and not used the desires and talent He's given me. Yes, I have salvation and that alone is enough. Our talents, however, are gifts, and what a waste never to let them see the light of day.

So, what was I talking about? (Goldfish Moment). Oh yeah, Story. So I think I'll continue this blog with my insights from Story and, by the way, Stein on Writing, which I'm going through at the same time. I just finished reading the part on tension. Great stuff! Yes, Dineen, he goes on a bit, but the advice is excellent. I take notes and cut to the meat of the situation. Yes, I need a life. But that's what hard work is all about, isn't it?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Just say NO

It seems that everyone is ganging up on me this week. I love backstory, it seems, and in today's fiction market, that just isn't tolerated. So I'll surrender. I cut and hack and, in my own words, just tell the story.

It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting at my kitchen island. I love wireless, don't you? There is nothing better than a cool (not quite crisp yet) autumn morning and a cup of coffee. I got up before everyone else because the opening scene for a book that is still two years away kept gnawing at my brain. So I gave up and wrote it. Y'all should be proud of me--no backstory. Just like Brandilyn says: When it comes to backstory, DON'T.

The small people who inhabit my house are stirring now, so I'll cut this one short. They'll probably want food again, even though they just ate--what?--yesterday?

Seeya.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

And autumn has arrived...

In the words of Junie B. Jones: "Yeah, but here's the problem." The internet makes my writing life a lot easier when it comes to research. However, there are about a million fantastic writing sites out there. Gena introduced me to Dave Long's site. Holy cow, what a great source of information, and straight from the horse's mouth (I know I used a cow and a horse in the same sentence and my blog is definately not farm related, but who's keeping track?). Then I get on Bradilyn Collin's web site and she's got a post that is aimed straight at my little writer's heart--lay off the backstory! What's really annoying is that Robin just told me that about my first chapter last night. I hate it when she's right. It's okay, I'll get my revenge when I critique her chapters.

Did I digress? I think so. Anyway, I'm supposed to be writing in what little time I have each day, not reading blogs, reading fiction, reading writing books, etc. I know I have to do all that, too. But, man, I could spend four hours a day on the net. Just like I'm doing right now. But it's lunch time, so it's okay, although I have a Kathryn Mackel novel sitting here waiting for me. So I think I'll get to that. Seeya later.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Summer's Gone

There's something about the last day of summer that makes me want to hurry up and go see a Tiger's game, take my kids fishing, go on one more camping trip, and take a nap in the middle of the front lawn...all before midnight. Fall is my favorite season, and Michigan does it well. But I'm always a little remourseful about another summer slipped past, wondering if I did enough so that my kids will, at least, have one memory from it that will creep into their minds every so often for the rest of their lives.

Okay, enough of that. Now that the weather will get colder and I'm taking this semester off from school (MBA), I should get a lot written. I'm editing Soul Searcher like mad. My goal--here it is, publicly stated--is to have Soul Searcher ready for submission by the end of the year, then have the next novel, Third Kiss, ready by the next ACFW conference.

My crit partners--Dineen, Robin, and Ronie, will keep me on track. They have zero tolerance for laziness. My laziness, anyway. My wife, Kelly, will also shove me when necessary, and also tell me when I'm ignoring my family. Gina, I'll let you have Buffy the Vampire. Make sure she keeps a pint of O negative in her Ali Bag.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Spooky Stuff

Okay, I said I'd try to do a better job of maintaining my blog, and I blew it. Look, there's weeds all over the place and the mums are a lovely shade of rust brown. This time, I won't promise anything, but I'll really really try, okay?

I went to the ACFW conference in Nashville this weekend. For those of you who attended, you know what's coming. The first thing I learned is "It's ALL Good." The second thing I learned is that a southerner can say "bless your heart" and apply about a hundred different meanings to it. It's kind of like when a New Yorker says "with all do respect." You can follow that with ANYTHING and get away with it (ie. "With all do respect, you're a moron." The southern equivalent: "Bless your heart, you've got less brains than a squirrel on Botox.")

Okay, enough of that. The best thing that I got out of the conference was the confirmation, from editors and agents alike, that spooky Christian fiction is the "in" thing now. It's about time. Not that I'm opposed to a nice romantic novel, but you gotta throw a corpse in there every now and then to shake things up a bit. I was thinking even a nice horror/chik lit subgrene, "Buffy the Vampire." (The audience groans)

Seriously, though, I met all these odd people I've only known through the internet and, guess what? They really are odd. But loveable. I also met a few folk who posessed my inclination toward the "darker" side of the craft. Let's face it, the Bible contains a lot of scary stuff--demons, fallen angels, weddings. There are more of us out there, so beware. The "Christian Fiction" shelf at Border's isn't all that safe anymore.

Keep the lights on, folks, it's getting interesting.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Why I write

Like I said in my first post, I gave this up for about a year and a half. I convinced myself that it wasn't worth the work and heartbreak. Of course, that can be said of love as well, and most of don't mind taking that leap at some point in our lives. I don't know if I'd say writing is God's call on my life. And I'd feel pretentious to say it was a gift. But there's a gray area in between. I'd say all gifts, of the talent variety, are from God. Some choose to use their gift wisely, some foolishly, and some not at all. I'll shoot for wisely and pray I don't blow it.

Being a writer is tough. First of all, you have to be able to lay down every thought or inclination of the human soul (specifically, yours) on paper. Let's put it this way: every thought, every feeling, every temptation that has ever crossed my mind, I have to be willing to put it out there for the world to see. You up for that? If you go about exposing your every thought, people will think you're a nut. If just the thought was enough, we'd all be nuts. The difference between the normal people and the nuts is that the normal people know to keep their mouths shut. If they're especially good at it, they go into politics.

Now consider being a Christian writer. Heavens! We can't go around saying all that stuff that floats around in our sinwashed little minds. Then everyone will know that we have the same problems and tempations as the rest of the world. I kinda think that's the point. What do I want to see come out of my writing. Well, honestly, good entertainment for a lot of people--people with cash. But I'd like to see someone say, "Hey, this moron's just like me, but he's got this little something extra, what can it be?" Maybe that will never happen, but I'll give it a shot.

I'm hoping to get to the blog more often. Somebody guilted me into it today. Gosh, I didn't know anyone cared. This is a great place to lay it all out, though. Random thoughts of a closet romantic who just happens to like a corpse or three in his stories. There really isn't much difference between a romance and suspense, after all. You just take the sissy boy with the flaming hair and strapping pecs and kill him by page three. Nothin' to it.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Where the Story Begins

Soul Searcher has been a work in progress for about seven years now. I started writing it before I got saved. After my conversion, I realized that I couldn't sell anything like that. So I hacked and cut and tried to fit a Christian Theme into it. Now I realized that I may have to, ugh, start over. Fear not! I've got the plost and my main characters. I just have to pick up the suspense and clean out anything that might make a Christian reader accuse me of blasphamy (I won't spell check that). I'll trust in the Lord to steer me right. Enough of this whining. Time to get to work.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Finding the time

I don't know how it happens. I remember those days right after Kelly and I were married. We'd laze around on Sunday afternoons, wondering what to do. By the time we were through wondering what to do, it was bedtime. Those glorious moments of boredome, my friends, are long gone. There's so much I want to get done. I want to finish building my bookcase. I want to exercise every day. I want to write for two hours a day (not just one novel, at least two or three at the same time). I want to read for two hours a day, every genre and writing how-to book. I want to spend two hours a day reading His Word. I want to pray for two hours after that. I want to start a men's group at church. I want to attend more bible studies.

My aspirations aren't impossible. I'm not looking to climb Mt. McKinley here. But how did things get so crazy? The more determined I am to write the more impossible it seems. I'm hoping I find a buddy to encourage me. We could e-mail each other every day and say "didja get your two hours in?" He's out there somewhere. I don't mind a "she," by the way, but things just go easier with my wife if the person I'm telling my deepest longings to is of a male variety. Many a man has learned that lesson the hard way.

Well, I won't despair. I'll write out another daily schedule and stick to it for two days. Then I'll cry out to God to give me ten more hours in each day. Not much to ask I don't think.

Did I mention that my next MBA class starts today?

Friday, April 01, 2005

A day off

I took the day off so I could take my kids out to Muskegon and sleep aboard the USS Silversides, a restored WWII submarine. We've done it once before. The cub scout troop arranges it. It's really quite fascinating even though you never really sleep. Some of those dads can snore loud enough to set off the dud torpedoes. I packed alot of ear plugs this time.

I'm fully registered with ACFW now and even entered the Noble Theme contest. There's not much for prizes involved but it would be nice just to get some feedback. I hope this isn't just another writer wannabee board where everyone talks about writing but never spends enough time doing it (I should talk). I want the support without the distraction. Is that possible.

It's starting out as a beautfiul day. The weather thingy on my screen says 41 degrees. Not bad for April 1st. Oh shoot, my sister's birthday (nobody believed me when I announced the news to my 4th grade class). I'd better remember to call.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

A small thing

I submitted the prologue and chapter 1 of Soul Searcher to the "Noble Theme" contest at ACFW. It's not a big thing, really, but I need to get some sort of feedback. I also told my wife to go ahead and start reading it. It's only been on the hard drive for five or six years. I'm a little hesitant.

I edited through chapter six last night. You know, it's really good. Is it okay to say that out loud? I'm a good writer! There, from the mountain tops even. I still seem a little tightly wound in the beginning chapters. Kind of like a horse who isn't sure what to do once the gate is opened. I really loosen up as I get going, though. I hope some editor agrees.

Just in case somebody besided me decides to read these (can't imagine why), I'm obviously not a professional writer (yet). I'm an engineer in a Visteon axle plant. Doesn't get much more bland than that. You'll never see a TV drama series about an engineer who saves the world each Tuesday night by changing an axle shaft machining process.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

March 30th, 2005

Probably my misspelling of the word "Fiction" is not a good way to re-launch my writing career. We'll just assume that's not a bad omen. I've been going over and editing Soul Searcher. You know, it's really not bad. I think I need another plot twist, though. It still seems like the work of a beginner. I guess it is.

It's funny, though. For the last year and a half that I haven't been writing, I've felt so depressed. Maybe that's too strong a word, but I have felt unfulfilled at the least. Now I feel alive again. I love writing, even if no one ever sees it but me. I've adopted Brandilyn Collins as my silent mentor. I warned her via e-mail even. Her genre matches mine, though her style is completely different. Her blog is inspiring. What a struggle for her to get published.

At least I'm making a good living while working on my novel. I'm not desperate. Maybe it would be better if I was. My wife would surely disagree.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Here I go again

I somehow made the decision today to start writing again. Well, I actually made the decision last week, but finally convinced myself today that I could publish a Fictin Novel. Here I go again...