Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Golden, by Melinda Michaels: Cover Reveal

It's my pleasure to participate in the cover reveal for Melinda Michaels' upcoming book, Golden. The tagline says, "Nothing is ever just right," but the premise behind this story sure sounds perfect. See for yourself:

About Golden:

High school senior Hanna Loch just suffered a blackout in front of her entire homeroom class. She hasn’t had one in over ten years, and she’s terrified—the last time she blacked out, she woke up with no memory of her life before. To make matters worse, no one can explain why it happens. For Hanna, bad things tend to come in threes.

And that doesn’t even begin to cover it . . .

When she learns she could be a descendant of someone who lived once upon a time, Hanna must put her trust in William Vann, a descendant of one of the most hated villains ever known. Their histories are intertwined in more ways than she expected, and he has answers about her past, answers even her family won’t share.

But is it safe to put her trust in someone who appears to be danger reincarnate, while trying to escape the darkness that tried to kill her ten years ago?

A loose fairytale retelling, GOLDEN is a story that’s just right, weaving together lost secrets, vengeful enemies, and what happens when fiction becomes reality.

About Melinda Michaels:

Melinda Michaels is the author of Golden and currently lives in Milford, Pennsylvania. A self-proclaimed historian with a rare sense of humor, Melinda finds an immense amount of joy in knowing useless facts, exploring historical places and drinking copious amounts of coffee. When she’s not writing she can be found researching obscured time periods for her own amusement or refurbishing old furniture.

Melinda loves Philadelphia and visits often to enjoy the city with her husband Andrew. Together they have three rambunctious pets. Archie the Beagle, Winston the Boston Terrier and Beatrice the cat.

Golden is the first in a Young Adult magic realism series. Find more now on facebook, twitter, or her website.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Learning From Amazon KDP

Buy it now at Amazon.com
It's comforting to know that my writing career follows my reading patterns. And by comforting, I mean it's a tad disconcerting.

I read prolifically. And I read things all over the map, though I gravitate towards genre fiction. But the popular stuff? I usually catch it late into the game.

There are over 40 Discworld books. I waited years to start reading them, because I didn't know where to start. Strangely enough, according to the author himself, the answer is NOT at the beginning. I always suspected as much. Terry Pratchett is nearing the end of his career, and I'm only five or so books in.

There's good and bad to this pattern. For instance, I only had to wait about a week for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to come out. Most of you waited a LOT longer than that. Ha, ha.

How does my writing career reflect this? In reading, I often find myself starting things long after they've become popular, and often after the series have ended.

And, possibly, I've started indie publishing a tad late as well
I've used a trial of Kindle Unlimited to read a number of  How to Promote your Kindle Book Beyond All Reasonable Expectations books. Every single one of them advises you to 1) Enroll in KDP Select, 2) Do a free giveaway on your book and 3) Promote that giveaway in various ways.

Here's the thing. They all go on to say, "This used to work really well. The more you gave away, the higher your book ranked, and this translated into more real sales when the price went back up. Too bad Amazon changed the formula."` It'd sure be nice if someone would write a book that reflects the current amazon strategy.

I managed to reach #11 on one Amazon list during the promotion. But the book fell off the radar as soon as it went back to full price.
Graph of my free downloads, with no context other than date.

Free books help, but nowhere near the extent they used to. I'm convinced that the more books I have available, the more giveaways will generate sales for my other titles. And, the giveaway did translate in more reviews. I went from two 5 star reviews, to six total reviews. Five of them 5 stars, and one 4 stars, for an average of 4.8.

I learned a lot in the promotion. For instance, I learned the books were right. The first 2 days generated the most downloads, so it would have been better to spread the 5 days out over a couple of different promotions.

I also realized that I have no idea which promotions worked. I paid for a promotional gig on fiverr.com, having my book tweeted about to about 70K followers. I also submitted my book to multiple sites and email lists. The thing is, I still don't know which ones actually promoted it. And as for the fiverr gig, there's no way to know how many of those 70K followers are bots and how many are real people. I suspect the answer would disappoint me.

Here's my takeaways from the first KDP Select free book promotion:

  • Find a way to track which promotions are working.
  • Limit the giveaways to 2 days at a time. Promote each of the days differently, to see what works.
  • Be aware that the more titles available, the more overall success I'll have in total sales.
  • If nothing else, the freebies can help generate reviews. Remember to ask for reviews when promoting the freebies.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Book Review: The Works of Scott Hughey (by Kisa Whipkey)

The talented editor, Kisa Whipkey, reviewed my books today, and I'm struggling to get the smile off my face. Seriously. People are beginning to wonder if there's something besides coffee in my cup.

I knew I wrote with "dark humor," and suspected I might occasionally pull off "complex narratives." But I had no idea my writing was "reminiscent of the TV show Chuck, with the multi-layered storytelling mechanic of Inception."

You can read the full review here:

Be sure to check out her full website, where (among other things,) her excellent Freelance Editing services can be acquired: www.kisawhipkey.com

While you're at it, familiarize yourself with the publishing house she edits for. They have plenty of great books for sale, with more coming out all the time. www.reuts.com

That's all for now. Keeping it short and sweet.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Already Seen- First Chapter

My latest book is available here: Already Seen.

Already Seen is English for Deja Vu. Here's the synopsis and first chapter, all for free. If you like it, I hope you'll check it out on amazon.com, and leave a review.

It isn’t every day your wife dies in a car accident, twice. For Nathan Summers, discovering he can reset time, and change the future by focusing on a moment in the past, is easily the best thing to happen to him...this week. Okay, ever. 

He can’t wait to use his ability to get one-up on his perfect, cocky, and successful brother-in-law, Wade, who’s the kind of son his mother always wished she had. Only, Wade knows all about resetting time, and he warns Nathan that they aren’t the only ones who can do it. 

Alice, is a mysterious woman who will do anything to gain power while eliminating the competition. She learns that Nathan shares her talent for twisting time. Now she's kidnapped Nathan's wife, and framed him for a horrendous crime. 

With time for Nathan’s wife running out, Alice offers an exchange. Nathan’s wife for his reset point, and his life.

First Chapter:

The first time I killed my wife, I made a horrid spectacle of myself. I’m glad she couldn’t see me crying.
The only thing worse than watching her die was apologizing afterward. No. I take that back. It was a close second. Watching Cassandra die was absolutely the worst. Here’s how it happened the first time:
“Slow down. We’re not that late.”
“Yeah? Ten minutes to go fifteen miles isn’t late?” I veered into the right lane to pass a semi-truck. “It’s your sister’s barbecue.”
“Please don’t sulk all night about Wade’s promotion.” She reached across the console and squeezed my leg. “Be careful.”
“I promise. No tickets.”
A two car-length space opened up to my left. I accelerated and swerved into the middle lane to avoid another truck as the gap narrowed. The steep mountain slope kept them from driving fast enough for my tastes. I hated this interstate.
“What about wrecking? I don’t want to die, Nathan.”
“Sorry. You know the rules. One promise per customer.”
My cell buzzed with a text message, and no, that’s not where this story is going. Some people are sensible enough not to text and drive. Not me, but something else caused the wreck.
“Don’t read that in this traffic,” Cassandra said.
“Here. You check it.”
A cold chill ran down my spine, and not because I handed Cassandra the phone.  “It’s from your mom,” she said. Ahead, the road curved to the left. A space opened up in the far lane. I signaled and checked my mirrors. See? Safety first.
Unfortunately, the lane turned out to be occupied by a minivan in my blind spot. The van’s bumper collided with our car’s rear wheel. We spun into the concrete medium. The front bumper ricocheted off it, and the car flipped, tossing us around like a dog’s chew toy.
Cassandra screamed. I probably did too. Something crunched. With a flash of light, everything stopped.
The car somehow landed upright, turned against the traffic. The windshield, intact but shattered in a spiderweb pattern, obscured my view. Two other cars lay piled up behind us. Given our orientation, I suppose they lay in front.
Sharp pain throbbed in my temples. It felt like a troll was pounding its way out of my head. Musty smoke from the deployed airbag made me cough. “Cassandra?” I said, my voice barely audible.
She didn’t answer.
I couldn’t turn my neck to the right, so I shifted my torso. Her airbag wasn’t  undeployed. Her head had cracked the passenger window. She slumped against it.
“Cassandra!”  I reached a hand to her cheek. It came back wet. Could have been her blood or mine. “No,” I whispered.
I shook her arm, calling her name, begging her to wake up.
A roar erupted from my throat. My body ached with anguish.
Okay, wait. Hold on. You know what? Wallowing in grief accomplishes nothing. Given what happened next, I’m being melodramatic. She died, that’s all. But like I said, that’s not the interesting bit. This is:
I replayed the events in my head, not accepting the finality of my wife’s death. The moment before the accident stood there like a palpable object. It tasted like white lightning, cold and arctic. The moment wanted out.
I’d have given anything to step back into that instant. And that’s exactly what I did.
The chill from before ran up my spine in reverse. It warmed me from the inside out, like I’d swallowed a sunset or something.
And just like that, I handed Cassandra the phone.
“It’s from your mom,” she said. The road ahead curved to the left as a space opened up in the far left lane.
Everyone—at some point—has wanted a second chance to fix mistakes. The universe took pity on me and allowed another go. It surprised me so much, I jerked the wheel and wrecked the car again.
First day in my life I’d ever killed anyone, and here I’d done it twice. To the same person.
This time, I thought I’d lost my mind. I sputtered and rambled on, stream-of-consciousness style. “You’re alive it’s from Mom you said that again I heard you so you’re alive so say it again tell me anything I’ll listen okay?”
And Cassandra says we don’t communicate enough. She certainly didn’t hold up her side of this particular conversation.
Sirens wailed outside. My mind wrestled with reality, but reality had a huge weight advantage on me. “I’m traveling through time . . .” I said. “I think. That, or I’m having the strongest sense of deja vu ever. Do you remember wrecking, Cassandra?” She still didn’t answer. She just stared at me, blankly. That’s also a familiar sensation.
Memory is kind of like a muscle. I never thought that before, but all of a sudden the recent past was a tangible thing I could focus on. I flexed the point in time just before the crash. The instant sat there frozen, waiting to thaw out. Maybe, if I could just settle my thoughts into the memory—
Heat radiated out of me. Again.
I handed Cassandra the phone.
“It’s from your mom.” The road ahead curved to the left as a space opened up. The steering wheel shook from my trembling hands, but I didn’t attempt to merge. My knuckles turned white, holding the steering wheel so tightly.
“She says ‘you shouldn’t waste time on stupid parties when you have a mother that needs you.’ What is it with your family? Seriously, they all—Nathan? Why are you exiting? Where are you going?”
I shook my head. Violently. It felt good to have the full range of motion in my neck again.
“Nathan, say something. You’re scaring me. Are you okay?”
“Wait,” I managed to say.
At the end of the exit, I steered the car into a gas station. I didn’t trust myself to say anything just yet. After turning off the car, I pulled Cassandra into a hug.
And I sobbed. Not my finest moment, but you know what? I didn’t care. My Cassandra Rose was alive.

~ oOo ~
Cassandra didn’t let me drive to Ginger’s house after that. We arrived all the later for it. She told me, “Panic attacks are serious, Nathan.” Despite my protests, that’s all she’d hear on the subject.
The truth was, I didn’t fully trust myself to drive either. Two questions circled my thoughts. Am I crazy? Can I control this?
We pulled into my sister-in-law’s driveway. Ginger met us at the fence and gave us both warm hugs. “We were getting worried about you two.”
Cassandra glanced at me. I gave an almost imperceptible head shake. “We ran into some traffic,” she said. “Hope you didn’t wait for us to eat.”
“Wade’s in the back, still grilling. I’m afraid the neighbors couldn’t make it.”
Cassandra sat her contribution of potato salad on the picnic table. Wade Armstrong, her increasingly perfect brother-in-law, pulled her into a warm embrace.
“Just in time,” he said. “Everyone grab a plate and dig in.” I let my wife go ahead, while I strolled through the backyard, lost in my thoughts. My mind richoteched off them. I kept seeing Cassandra, bleeding in the wreckage. The memory was so vivid, I didn’t notice Ginger until I nearly bumped into her.
“Something happened on the way here, didn’t it?” she asked.
“Oh, hey. Sorry. I didn’t notice you. No, nothing worth mentioning.”
Both hands went to her hips. “Nathan, you never could lie to me.” She’s wrong. I’d been doing it since the two of us dated, and she asked me if I liked her sister. I just never get away with it.
“Tell you later,” I muttered.
Ginger ran her hands through her long red hair, a sure sign of annoyance. She and Cassandra are so much alike it’s no wonder I’m attracted to them both. Was attracted, I mean.
I piled a plate with food—two drumsticks, baked beans, and coleslaw. As much as I hate to admit it, Wade’s barbeque chicken is the world’s best.
The wreck still hovered over my thoughts.
Wade sat across from us. “Cassandra says you had a panic attack on the way over, buddy. Everything okay?”
I grabbed my hair. “She said what?”
“Don’t sweat it. Everyone’s concerned, Nathan.”
“Really?” I mouthed to Cassandra.
Wade said, “Hey, working on commission is stressful. Believe me, I know a thing or three about stress.” Yep. He’s even perfectly patronizing. Anger flared up under my skin.
“Congratulations on your promotion, Wade. I’ll be inside.” I picked up my plate and averted my eyes from the condescending stares.

~ oOo ~

I leaned on Wade’s black marble countertop, the one he bought in Europe. Everything in the dining room—from the Impressionist painting of a fox on the wall, to the crystal salt shakers—it all served as a reminder of his success.
This isn’t hatred speaking. I cared deeply for both Wade and Ginger. Honest. Just once though, I wished I could be the one that came out on top. Failing that, would it have killed Cassandra to keep my so-called panic attack a secret on Wade’s triumphant day?
I cringed. She’d already died once. Make that twice already.
“And I saved her,” I said to nobody.
The sun of success that was Wade shined brighter than anything I managed. It was always two steps forward for him, and one step back for me. But I rewrote time. Maybe that could ensure some success of my own.
I focused on the present. As before, cold shivers shot through my body. My head felt like I’d scarfed down a carton of ice cream, without the fun of actually eating it. In the living room, Ginger’s grandfather clock chimed twice.
The new moment settled into my head. A save point. I reached back again with something akin to muscle memory. The moment before, when I’d killed Cassandra, no longer existed. Good riddance. In its place, a new one tingled in my thoughts. I settled into that save point.
Ginger’s grandfather clock chimed twice. I grinned.
My unfinished food lay on the counter. I hurled it against the painting. The plate clattered against the floor and baked beans hung from the fox’s face.
After counting to three, I jumped back to the save point.
Ginger’s grandfather clock chimed twice. I whooped with delight.
Ginger slid the sliding glass door open and came inside. “I heard you yell?” She made it sound like a question as much as a statement.
“I’m fine.”
“Panic attacks are nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t have to act all macho.”
“Can’t tell you how happy I am Cassandra told you guys that.”
“She’s just trying to help, you know.”
I moved away from the counter, making my way toward the door. Outside, Cassandra laughed at something Wade said.
“That’s why you’re in here and she isn’t?”
“She sent me to check on you, since you’re mad at her.”
“I was.” But not anymore. Well, I was annoyed. But, whatever this gift was now occupied my thoughts instead. The things I could get away with.
Hmm. That gave me a wicked idea. With a small bit of concentration, I locked in a new save point. The already familiar trickle of ice shot up my spine. Funny, how something so cold worked as a security blanket. It made me bold enough to try things I’d never imagine otherwise.
That’s not true. But I would have stopped at imagining them.
Ginger placed her hand on my shoulder. She’d always shown she cared through touch.
Understand, I’m ashamed of what happened next.
I leaned forward and kissed her. She smelled like strawberries.
Ginger shoved me backward. Her eyes, full of warmth a moment ago, dripped venom instead.
“I’m sorry, Ginger,” I said and meant it. “Trust me, this never happened.” I reached back to the save point and let myself fall into the moment.
Nothing happened.
Actually, that’s disingenuous. Time moved forward, like usual. Ginger wiped her mouth off with the back of her hand and stormed out the open sliding glass door.
The cold headache doubled in intensity. My vision blurred, and I stumbled through the door.
Ginger raced to the picnic table. She said something to Cassandra who started gathering her things. Panicked, I thought back through the sequence of events again. Could I still step back and fix this?
Probably, I could have. I know now, that had I waited long enough and tried again, I could have erased the entire incident from Ginger's memory. Unfortunately, I also wondered if I could create another save point, which is exactly what I ended up doing. Oops.
Nothing like a man that keeps his head in a crisis.
My spine tingled just as Cassandra slid open the glass door and announced, “We’re going home.” The sensation could have been from the new save point, or the chill in her words.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Journey Into Publication

Well, isn't this exciting?

My first professionally sold story was released yesterday. It's the tale of a man who finds out his future and past are linked, and he's not at all happy about it. You can read His Father's Eyes for free at TGeneDavis.com

In addition to that, I also released a collection of short stories yesterday, available digitally through Amazon and in print through CreateSpace. This collection ranges from light fantasy to dark science fiction.  

Digital: $2.99 (Free to Kindle Unlimited Users)

And, finally, I created an Author's Page on Amazon. Among other things, it's supposed to link to this blog. It gave me a chance to write a new BIO, which I've included below. The address is easy to remember too: www.amazon.com/author/thewritescott

Scott Hughey was born young, and has done everything within his control to remain that way.

His fiction has won two honorable mention awards during 2014 in the Writer's of the Future Contest. And yes, he double-checked. "Two" counts as multiple. He has also sold fiction to T. Gene Davis' Speculative blog, and ghost-written multiple non-fiction articles on the internet. That's no mean feat for someone who, strictly speaking, doesn't believe in ghosts.

Scott is an IT professional. You could change that today by purchasing a million copies of his work.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

So This Is Writing (Happy XMas)

Miss Snark's First Victim blog is asking for original holiday lyrics based around writing. Here's mine:

To the tune of Happy XMas (War is Over)

So This Is Writing

So this is writing
What shall I write now?
The next great bestseller
If I only knew how

And so this is writing
I hope it's not trite
I've way too much back story
Guess I'll have to rewrite

A very wary adverb
Suddenly gets marked out
Let's hope it reads better
Could there be any doubt?

And so happy writing
Pound the desk with my fist
I've got no motivation
For my antagonist

A very wary query
I hope it will sell
Masterpiece or disaster
It's the best tale I could tell

Writing's over
If I let it
Never over

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Motivation Isn't Enough

A friend of mine asked me recently, "What motivates you to continue writing?"

That could have been taken in a number of ways. He didn't mean the question negatively, or so he assured me. It helped that he gave me three options to choose from:

1) Did I continue for the eventual recognition? He knows me well enough to know my ego, and how much it likes to be fed.

2) Or was it the allure of eventual money? I've not hidden my desire to eventually make writing my primary source of income.

3) Or finally, was my ongoing motivation the craft itself? Did I continue what I did for the sake of art, or (if you will,) the sake of ART?

To all of this, I replied, "Yes."

First off, I love that he saw all of these as eventual realities. It doesn't seem to occur to him that I might not find success.

Of course, people will eventually recognize how fantastic my writing is. They'll giggle at the right places, cringe at the purposefully cringe worthy sections, and crave more. This will result in my stories selling, and some amount of monetary success. And obviously, none of this will happen without the craft improving. Unless I create good stories, there's nothing worth recognizing or buying.

Honestly, each of those motivations feed the others. And, I've begun to see the motivations bear fruit, to some degree.

First off, I can tell the stories are getting better. Partly, this is due to feedback from my beta readers and occasional publishers. But moreover, I'M enjoying them. I've mentioned before, how I used to believe that being a good reader naturally made me a good writer. Then I'd write a story that might have been good enough, but good enough never is.

The craft is improving. If I'm honest, I'm finally (consistently) writing stories that I would buy and read myself.

I'm also receiving some recognition beyond my beta readers. Form rejections are turning into personal rejections. Stories are making it beyond the first rounds of editorial slush piles and competitions. It's not a given, but it looks like one or more of my stories might make it into a real-honest-to-goodness-professional-anthology. More on that when and if it actually happens.

Oh, and a story finally sold.


At pro rates, no less, which is an important distinction. At least, to me it is.

I've self published stories. I've had stories accepted in non-paying online publications. With apologies to those publishers, most of those stories wouldn't have made it in a pro market.

But at least one has. (I'll post about it in January, when it's available.)

All of that means that within this past month, I've achieved, to some small degree, each of those 3 motivations. People are liking my work. Some of that work has sold. And, through writing daily, the craft itself is continuing to improve.

So, now that I've tasted a small part of success, I asked myself which of the options continues to provide the most satisfaction and motivation?

I can't say. All I know is that I'm hungry for more. Hopefully, that's a good sign. I've heard of writers who sold one or three or so stories, and figured they had it made. I'm quite certain I don't. Since starting writing again a little over a year ago, I've been adamant about continually producing and improving. No more shortcuts to success. There's no substitute for striving to get better and hard work.

If I had to choose one I'd pick #3. I'm glad to be one of those writers who enjoys writing as much as having written. At least, I do on most days. And I can immerse myself in a story I'm writing as much, or sometimes more, as I can in one that someone else has written. It's harder, but it's more fun.

I still want to make this my primary income source one day. So #2 remains part of the long term goal. And my ego hasn't been fed all day, so we mustn't forget the importance of #1.

But yeah. It's the craft.

At least, at this moment it is.

Back to the novel...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

David Farland, Grounding, and WOTF

David Farland, a judge for Writer's of the Future, wrote an amazingly helpful blog entry, on Grounding Your Reader.
Dave FarlandPresumably, he's pondering the
genius of my WOTF contest entry

It starts thusly:

"Today I'm going to discuss a bit about what I call “grounding” the reader. Quite simply, grounding is the fine art of letting the reader know what is going on. You need to focus on some basics: Who is in a scene? Where does it take place? What is the major conflict?"

Now, I am entered in the Writer's of the Future contest, and am included in the entries he's reading that apparently brought about these particular tips.

He mentioned a few stories that go on for pages without giving a setting. That used to be a weakness in my stories, and panicked, I pulled up the manuscript. *whew* Got out of that one.

Then he mentions not naming the protagonist early enough. Two thoughts came to mind. First, Neil Gaiman wrote an entire novel, "The Ocean at the End of the Lane," without once naming the main character. And, two, I'm not Neil Gaiman.

My story is in the first person. Did I, in fact, name the narraror? Check! Very early on. Good for me. I patted myself on the back.

I waded through each of his examples, assured myself that I wasn't among them, and then thought through the advice for the rest of the story. I think I'm okay there.

Then, I thought about the story I'm currently writing. It's fine too, but needs some tweaks, particularly in the arena of showing the conflict earlier.

Take a look at the article, and let me know what you think:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Longhand and Terry Pratchett

I've figured this writing thing out again, if only for the moment. It frightens me to think that, perhaps, I will need to relearn what works every few months.

I love my current method, even more than I despise it. Certainly, it's proving more consistent than what came before.
Photo By LeeGillion

Almost a year ago, when I started this blog, I knew what worked. The writing started anywhere from between 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. It stopped after I'd reached 1000 words. Not much of a method really, but it worked, for as long as I could sustain the pace.

A couple of problems arose. First, I would often get 4 hours of sleep. While the ensuing hallucinations made for vivid prose, some of the plots I came up with could only be understood by the reader similarly being deprived of sleep. Well, that, or (I suspect) recreational drugs.

The second issue was, in spite of consistently sitting down to write, I found myself all over the place with the actual methods. This went beyond experimentation, which I still play around with. What I mean is, I employed no real routine. And, I'm finding, routine works well for me. No. Very well.

Even if I don't want it to. Stupid pen and paper. *sigh*

Here is something I've discovered. I can write on the computer, or with pen or paper. Much to my annoyance, the writing is always better if I write it out longhand first. I think differently in longhand. The scenes flow in a way they never seem to on the computer. I'm a computer guy too, so that's hard to admit.

I learned something else. Given the correct amount of time in my schedule, I do well with word counts. Something that Neil wrote seems to have helped me find the right goal.

Yes. Him again. Neil Gaiman, may he write forever, co-wrote Good Omens with Terry Pratchett. I'm ashamed to say I haven't read much of Terry's work to date, but that's something I'm fixing. Specifically, I've read Good Omens multiple times, along with the graphic novel adaptation of Color of Magic, and also Terry's book on writing.

He's good, but I've been busy. I'm 1/4 through the novel Color of Magic now, and plan to read all of Discworld. Terry is a genius too.

I've digressed again. At the end of Good Omens, Neil mentions that when Terry still had a full-time, non-writing job, he wrote 400 words a night. It was the only way he could work and become a novelist. When Terry finished his first novel with only 200 pages written for the night, he started 200 more words on his next novel.


I average about 400 words in a writing session anyway. 400 is easy. Well, except when it's harder than hammering a nail with a Phillips screwdriver. It's sometimes easy.

It worked for Terry. I'm making it work for me.

Here is my method:

First, I read. Right now, I'm reading Discworld. It might be one page, or several. Enough to enjoy the story, but not enough to keep me from writing.

Partially this is to study the craft. It also jump starts creativity.

After reading, I dive directly into at a writing session. Sometimes it's at lunch. Sometimes it's at night. The time matters less, because with longhand, I can do it pretty much anywhere that's free from distractions.

I come up with 400+ words on pen and paper. I do this consistently each day. Sometimes I'll do more. One of the first nights I tried this, I matched my previous 1000 word goal. But, I make sure the day ends with no less than 400. Two nights ago, I finished with 380, and it was all I could manage. I counted the words, and realized it was short. Even though one more word would have been impossible, I somehow came up with 50 more for the day.

Eventually, usually after 2 or 3 days, I find that I need a reminder of the story's details. That's when I transfer from longhand to the computer. This has the effect of an additional edit, as I can't help but correct as I type the story out.

On the days I transfer, I typically allow it to count as my writing for the day. Some writers, when editing, are "put-iners," while others are "take-outers." My first drafts tend to be minimalist, so I'm a put-inner. I don't count these words, but after three days, I estimate that I add about 400 if I'm typing out 3 days worth anyway. If I go beyond that, great. If not, it's okay. That's built into my new system.

It's working. A few months from now, I may share a new and improved system. Eventually, I'd love to be doing this full time, and be amused at the notion of only producing 400 words a day.

Friday, September 19, 2014

WOTF Deadline

The deadline for the Writer's of the Future contest is the 30th. I have a completed manuscript to send, but there's a problem. It needs a lot of work. In it's current state, I'd reject it myself, if only for the ending.

This time, rather than try to write the thing perfectly, I went ahead and wrote the end. Now I have something to fix. And, after restructuring the beginning of the story, I'm beginning to see how it should actually conclude.

I'm glad for this deadline. At the same time, it's creeping up pretty quickly. Wish me well.

By the way, check out my other blog for some Doctor Who references: http://s300h.blogspot.com/2014/09/pfft-who-needs-rest.html