Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Living Through My Characters

Crime Scene Tape
So the question was asked by someone, via Facebook, if you could go back and pursue a career you wanted, what would it be? I mentioned two: NTSB investigator or United States Postal inspector. I could've added crime scene investigator, homicide detective, but you get the idea. Personally, if I could, the NTSB investigator would be my first choice, given my love of aviation.

That's one of the perks of being a writer. I can create an NTSB investigator or a postal inspector. I can put them in whatever world I want. I'm playing "God(dess)" and living vicariously through them. Of course, as many authors know, characters can also be notorious for going off and doing their own thing, but sometimes this works to the author's advantage. While I plot my novels, I also leave room for any deviations from the story, although I'll make sure the characters don't wander too far off the proverbial beaten path.

This year, I have at least three new protagonists I want to write, one being a private investigator, another a homicide detective, and the third that USPS inspector. As for the NTSB investigator, that will require far more research, so perhaps in the future...  This year, I'd like to write crime stories in various genres/subgenres, including cozy, police procedural, and noir, among others. I've enjoyed reading crime fiction since elementary school, when I read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I grew up watching shows like Columbo, and have continued to pursue my passion by taking classes in crime scene investigation for writers, forensic science, and cyber crimes, among others. I read thrillers, mysteries, suspense, and books on crime writing.

Yes, I suspect if I had my life to live over, I would probably still be a writer, but I would also probably have a career in some area of law enforcement.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Year in Review: 2017

Well here we are at the start of 2018. This is a time to make resolutions to change things in the forthcoming year, and review how things went in the last one.

This time last year, I resolved to have two finished WIPs by the end of 2017. Well, I got halfway there. I finished the latest horror novel in mid-December. The novel is called OUTPOST H311 and it will be published by KGHH Publishing some time this year. Stay tuned for more info on this.

The other WIP - the fourth Shara Summers novel - remains unfinished. I am at present trying to make up my mind whether to continue with this series. The third novel is still without a publication date. Although it was accepted by MuseItUp Publishing some 18 months ago, health and personal issues affecting both my editor and my publisher there have delayed publishing schedules.

I enjoy writing the Shara series, and the few reviews that I've received for the first two books in the series have been positive, but they really aren't selling, and I'm finding this very discouraging. What's the point of writing books that no one seems interested in reading?

Since I finished OUTPOST H311 I've taken a bit of break from writing while I think about what to work on next. I have got a couple of vague ideas, but nothing concrete yet.

This year, I resolve to have at least one WIP finished by the end of the year. I just haven't made up my mind which one yet.

Happy New Year one and all, and hope 2018 brings success and happiness.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Coming Down From the NaNoWriMo High

Finished my untitled NaNoWriMo project last night. Fell short of my 60,000 word goal and ended up with a first draft of 56,103 words. Hopefully, I'll make the word count in subsequent drafts.

Time to let this manuscript rest and work on another project. I like having more than one novel and/or screenplay to write or revise. If I get stuck on one, I can put it aside and go to another.

If this is your first NaNoWriMo, congratulations. I hope you made the 50,000-word goal. If not, no worries. What's important is that you wrote your story. Maybe you're still working on it. Many people go beyond the requisite 50,000 words. I used to think I could never write novels in the 70,000-word range. Ironically, novelists would tell me they couldn't write short. I still write short stories, as well as novellas. Sometimes, I adapt the stories into screenplays. It's all about making my stories do double-duty, if possible.

My goal for 2018 is to have at least two new books available. Con season is right around the corner, and I want to be ready.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It's NaNoWriMo Time

It's that time of year again. Not Halloween or Thanksgiving, but NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. For 30 days in November, writers - published and unpublished - will accept the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel.

My plot's already outlined in Scrivener. It was outlined in 2016, but for some reason, I never got around to writing that particular story. Instead, I wrote another one. For some reason, back then I wanted to write a paranormal romance involving a dragon and a wyvern. To be honest, I still haven't figured out what to do with it.

This year, I'm writing a story using creatures from Nordic and German folklore. Something different from my usual fare of angels and demons. I think I might even compile a playlist. I usually don't listen to music while I write, but I can think of some bands that would be perfect for this novel.

To those doing NaNo this year, good luck and keep writing!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Riding the Submission Merry-Go-Round

Author (Age 6) Riding a Merry-Go-Round

After a two-year dry spell, where I didn't submit anything, I set a goal to submit at least two novels this year.

In June, I submitted two novels and a novella. One novel and the novella were rejected. The other novel? Awaiting word.

Welcome to the submission merry-go-round.

Authors should expect rejections. Yes, they suck. Sometimes. Other times, they're almost like blessings in disguise. Maybe that publisher you thought would be a great fit isn't. Always good to have a list of potential editors or publishers to submit to if your top choice doesn't work out.

The disappointment of having two manuscripts given the thumbs down was softened by the acceptance of a short story for an anthology. And my crime drama screenplay is a finalist in a film festival. So two for two isn't bad.

Let's see if I can go 3-2.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Waiting and Potential Rewards

I'm eagerly awaiting September. That's when I'm supposed to get a yes or no on a novel submission, and I'll also be able to share some good news I've been sitting on for the last few months. Hopefully, I'll also learn how my screenplay did at a current film festival. Meantime, I'll share this from the Indie Gathering International Film Festival for my short screenplay "Cemetery."

Award Plaque

This year at Indie Gathering, I participated in table readings. Last year, actors read my script Final Curtain and gave feedback on the few pages we submitted. If you've never had that experience, it's quite interesting. This year, it was nice to just read a character part and help out.

Next year, I'm hoping to submit a couple of short films to festivals, as well as new screenplays. No guarantees they'll show or final, but that's a risk we take when we submit our work. Because we know it sometimes pays off.