I’ve read plenty of books by plenty of authors. My typical experience is that most authors will set their stories in a single place. And occasionally branch out from there. But other times I’ll come across an author who sets stories in many different cities that are nothing alike. And my thought is they’re either a world traveler or they are great at research. It’s usually a mix of both.
For example, Michael Connelly set one of his Bosch stories (in part) in Japan. But as he was in the process of writing it he took a trip there and stayed for three weeks taking everything in. And also writing, of course. Suffice it to say that I don’t have that kind of money to be able to do that.
But I realized something recently. My second story was set in a different city I’d only visited once or twice. And as soon as I reached the point in the story in which Andrew had to make the trip I stopped writing. So I’m really thinking that my story didn’t work out because I didn’t know enough about the city to continue. I’d planned a short trip just to walk around and take in as much as I possibly could, but that never happened. For now and into the future I’ll just stick to the one city I know.
What about you? Have you ever set one of your stories in a city you didn’t know well?
This will come as no surprise to anyone who reads my blog with any regularity, but I’ve now decided to officially scrap my WIP. For those who may not know, I haven’t worked on it since the first half of last year.
Now you might be wondering what makes today any different from any other day before now. It all comes down to a feeling. That’s really it. I’ve been thinking just a little about my writing lately and I’ve reached the conclusion that I can come up with a better story and write it. The thing is that no one even knew what the original story was about because I kept it under wraps except for maybe two other people. Neither of them on WordPress.
The next question I can see you twirling around your head is what I’ll be working on next. I honestly have no idea. I think I might be able to revisit something I briefly worked on in the past, but I don’t know. I’m certain I can come up with one story to write. Hopefully.
Have you ever experienced a long period of not writing? What’d you do once you came out of it? And please don’t call it writer’s block. If you want to write, then you will. If you don’t, then you won’t.
On this day in 2014 I published Blogging Isn’t Writing.
Remember about three weeks ago when I wrote this post to celebrate reaching 2500 WordPress followers and to offer up a nice surprise? No. Too bad. I wrote it. And I asked for y’all to tell me why you’ve stuck around my blog. And I offered a nice incentive for all of your kind words. All you had to do was tell me what you’ve enjoyed about my blog, and in doing so would get a chance at one of two things. First, you could name a character in my current WIP. If you’re not interested in that, then I’d buy you two paperbacks of your choosing and throw in a copy of my own book. Woo! Free stuff!
Anyway, I’ve finally gotten around to picking a winner. And though I do appreciate all the comments on there, one person really summed up exactly what I try to do with every post. There’s an entertainment aspect. There’s an information aspect. There’s my opinion. And I want you to think about what I’ve written. That’s about it. Here’s the winning comment.
So that means you’re about to get three new books or the chance to name a character in my second book! I know a few books or the name of a character isn’t much, but I think either choice is a nice gesture to simply show my appreciation for you sticking around here.
On this day in 2014 I published A Bucket List, for Books!.
The following will be a short letter to you. And then I have a great surprise for all of you! Seriously.
Just recently Write me a Book, John! surpassed 2500 WordPress followers. I know so many bloggers talk about not caring about followers or site views and all of that and that’s fine, but I’m very open about the fact that I do. Think about it. There wouldn’t be any reason for me to post just about every single day if it weren’t for you. Maybe you read half my posts or a quarter or a tenth, but it doesn’t matter. You read them. You may disagree with some of what I say and I may have even offended you at some point along the way, but you’ve helped me reach this point.
And I understand that plenty of people (bloggers included) don’t take blogging seriously. I know of bloggers who will post a week straight and then not again for a month, and that’s fine. But it’s just not what I want from this whole experience. What I really want is to keep you constantly entertained and informed as much as I possibly can. I want you to wake up each morning looking for what I post each day. I want you to share my posts on Twitter or Facebook of whichever social media site you prefer. I want you to have to think before posting a comment on one of my posts. I want this little spec of the internet to become a little part of your day-to-day routine. And maybe all of that is me wanting too much, but you’ll never be able to tell me that I don’t take you, your opinion, and your blog seriously…because I do.
All I’d like to say is thank you. For reading my rants. For disagreeing with me. And mostly just for reading. It means the world to me that you spend your valuable time on this little blog of mine.
Your fellow blogger,
Now for the surprise.
I want to ask you something. And in return I want to GIVE you something even better! I realize that a great many of the 2500 followers on here don’t hardly interact with me, if at all. But many of you do. And many of you have been around here for many months and several have been here since early 2014. And for every one of you I’m talking about there’s a reason you’ve stuck around. Maybe it’s my direct nature of writing my posts. Maybe you think I’m sometimes funny. Maybe you just like books and put up with me. I don’t know, but there IS some reason you read my blog.
And I want you to tell me! I want you to tell me why you like my blog as much (or little) as you do. And I’d like for you to really think about it before posting your response because the person who I determine writes the best response will get to name a character in my WIP! You can name he/she after yourself or after your dog or after whatever you want (within reason) OR if that isn’t enticing to you, then I’ll buy you two paperback books of your choice (and throw in a signed copy of mine).
What do you think?! All I want to know is what you think I’m doing right. That’s it. I really hope you’ll take a minute to comment.
PS: You’ll get the two books or the opportunity to name one of my characters ONLY if I get at least ten individual responses.
On this day in 2014 I published 200 WordPress Followers!.
You should be well aware of the fact that Amazon wants to dominate the book industry just from my past posts about their other programs. I don’t think they want to dominate traditional publishing, but just about everything else seems to be in their wheelhouse.
Just recently they launched Write On. The simplest way for me to explain it is to say that it is their version of Wattpad. Almost exactly. Users can upload stories as they write them and readers can follow along. Pretty simple, huh? You also should know by now that I’m pretty much in Amazon’s corner when it comes to anything they do. That isn’t changing, but I won’t be using this site. Actually, don’t let me lie. I know for certain that I won’t be using the site to read other stories. But who knows, I might use it once I have more written of my current WIP? I doubt it, but I can’t say for certain one way or the other.
What do you think? Will Amazon pull away from Wattpad or just sit back in its shadow?
You can learn more about the new site here.
On this day in 2014 I published The Stigma of Self Publishing.
I realize that every person is different. And that what comes easily to one person may be rather difficult for another. With that being said, the act of writing (actually writing) comes very easily to me. If I were to open my WIP right now I could get anywhere from 700-3,000 words on paper without blinking an eye. I’m not saying I’d be writing the next great anything, but words are words and are mostly better than nothing.
But I have no desire to write right now. None. And I’m okay with that. I can’t think of any person who really cares about what I’m doing with my current book. I mean, some bloggers might ask about it every so often, but no one really cares at the end of the day. And I’m also okay with that.
But the point of this is that many of you out there do want to write. And you aren’t. There are people I know off the top of my head who write in every free moment they possibly can because those moments are few and far between. There are people I know who have a lot less going on than even I do and write just as little as I do. My point is that if you’re not writing, then perhaps it’s because you just don’t feel like it. And I don’t think anyone should be punished for that.
Do y’all remember that I originally started this blog to document my progress as I wrote my first book? Or that I actually started writing my second shortly after finishing my first? Yeah…about that. You likely also know that I haven’t even glanced at my WIP in many months. But I think it’s time.
I’ve known for several months now that I’d revisit my story at the start of 2015. I don’t have a particular reason for waiting so long, but I had no reason to look back any sooner. See, I’m in no rush. I’m not over here thinking I’m writing the greatest novel that no one will ever know about. I’m just writing along and seeing where it takes me.
Let’s refresh just a bit. My current WIP is my second book around Andrew Banks. Someone who is mildly controversial. (I’m poking fun at some of my reviewers). He’s a Houston area PI and he has this girlfriend who goes by the name of Sydney. Ha. That’s all. But really, I’m something like 30k words in and I stopped just as Andrew goes on a trip out of the city following a lead.
But enough about that, what are you currently working on? Book one? Book two? Book 38?
Photo Credit: The Atlantic
We all know that there are a million things going on in most books that may or may not affect the story. Could one of those things that doesn’t be whether or not your MC has pets? I’m not sure it’s a clear cut answer. Let me think a little about this.
Katniss and her family have a goat. But then she of course hunts, so she’s not exactly a PETA spokesperson. Elvis Cole has a cat that frequents his house, but I don’t think the cat is necessarily his. Or maybe he is, can’t remember exactly. I think the cat was shot at some point too. Let’s see…Harry has Hedwig. Those are just about all the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I’m wondering if any of these say anything about their owners. Maybe that they’re responsible. And affectionate. And maybe lonely at times? I’m not sure. But maybe you know better than I do.
You all should know by now that I’m not currently writing because I’m focused on other things that I feel are more important, BUT in my current WIP Andrew and Sydney have decided to get a dog. An English bulldog that they intend to name Arnold. See, I’m not sure what it says about them that they’re doing this. I mean, they’re making some major changes and the bulldog is one of them. He’s all set to join the family very shorty after Sydney moves in. Maybe they’re paternal. Maybe they’re bored. Maybe…I don’t know why the heck they’re getting a dog? The point is that perhaps there doesn’t always have to be a particular reason for a writer to do something. At least I don’t think so.
Tell me about your characters’ pets. I think cats and dogs should be the most common, but who knows? Birds, snakes, turtles, whatever. I want to hear about them. And tell me why you chose to give your character at all.
Photo Credit: Jess Haines
Guys, you all haven’t been given an update on my own writing in a really long time. A few months now. And I’ve led some of you to believe that I’m not writing nearly as often as I’d like and that my current WIP is going nowhere. Well, I apologize for the misleading information.
I actually finished the first draft of my manuscript all the way back in January. I know the rule of stepping away from your work and all that, but I immediately read through and jotted down notes about what I felt needed fixing. Guess how many pages of notes I had after my read through? 103! These were written in a college ruled notebook and my hand hurt just seeing how much it actually was. Again, I didn’t step away from my manuscript. I went in and worked tirelessly to fix EVERYTHING. It was like writing the stupid thing all over again. Only this time I knew the story like the back of my hand. This was right around the time of spring break.
That’s when I finally got to utilize my sizeable WordPress following for the first time. I reached out to some bloggers I thought would make for perfect beta readers and asked if they’d give my book a read. Every blogger I contacted agreed and less than a week later I had feedback from 15 bloggers. First off, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, which made my heart happy because a few have already read my first book. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t changes to be made. One blogger, who I won’t name, gave me 38 pages of feedback! Seriously, she needs to get a life. Hahaha. But there were a few things that every reader mentioned and I fixed all of those issues immediately. Then I came to some things that one person liked and one person didn’t and one person didn’t even mention and decided to go with my gut on those.
By this time we’ve reached the last week of April and I’m extraordinarily pleased with the final draft of my second book. Time for queries. How fun. I created a list of agents who I felt were a good fit for my work and sent my initial round of queries to the first ten agents on the list. Eight rejections and one full manuscript request later….I HAVE AN AGENT! Did I cry? Yes. Did I run around my house screaming in pure excitement? Yes. Did I feel like I absolutely had to tell you all about it? Yes. Are you happy for me? Yes.
I got the email from the agent on freaking Memorial Day. I think I found a dedicated one. I’ll have a more detailed post about this whole thing either later this week or next week.
*** I’m sorry if you believed this post to be true. I’m not writing hardly at all. I’m far from completing the first draft of my manuscript. Which means no beta readers or edits or revisions or queries or agents. But at least I can laugh about it, right? If you comment your congratulations I’ll know you didn’t read the full post and I won’t like you.***