I just gave my critique partner the kind of response I hope to get someday from someone doing a critical review of my stuff. Her new book is fabulous! I loved it! It really blew me away how she is developing as a writer.
Don’t we all yearn for that moment that someone says,”OMG! Your stuff is awesome!” Sure beats questioning yourself every other day if you are in the right line of work.
There were of course minor flaws, but that is why we go through the process of having someone else putting their eyes on our work. Sometimes you go through your WIP so often you start having trouble seeing the mistakes or typos. Overall the work she sent me was pretty clean, and just needs very minor repairs to be ready for a wider beta audience, if not outright release for an agent. The stuff I pointed out for her would likely not even be noticed by a lot of readers, but I wanted to be thorough.
I’m very excited for her! Her book should sell in my opinion, and very well if she can find her audience. It’s better than a lot of stuff I’ve read that has a big following.
Finding the audience is the trick though isn’t it. Not only does she have to write a great book, but she has to have some marketing and some luck. An old friend of mine, Todd Wood, is on a book tour right now for his book, Currency, and he is all over the radio and television in his region. I haven’t asked him if he is sponsoring all that work or if his publisher/agent is helping with any of it, but I plan to. I also read that John Scalzi is doing his book tour for his latest release, Redshirts. His publisher is picking up a lot of the tab if not the entire enchilada. This is something the DIYer has to do on his/her own dime. As well as pay for an editor if they are smart. It is the major downside to self-pub, in that you are not only the writer, but you’re responsible for getting the cover done and doing all your own marketing and promotion, all of which takes away from writing time. If you are a known quantity like Scalzi the name recognition alone will generate some sales. The Self-Publisher is relying on word of mouth and a great deal of luck.
At this point I am leaning toward finding a good agent and trying to get a book deal traditionally. I think that is where my friend Stacy is going too and I wish her the very best luck in the world at landing a great agent/publisher!
So I’m on alert last night and as I often do on alert I found an offbeat movie to watch. It’s a stranger than normal movie with a combination of subtitles and English speaking parts and a lot of dialogue. The main characters are two broken people who find each other and start to fall in love despite their shitty lives, but of course they are lying to each other and keeping dark secrets. ***SPOILER ALERT*** I give away the ending and the movie title at the bottom. But really you don’t want to waste your time on this one.
It’s a great writing tactic to let the reader/watcher know what a character should do, but is too stupid or hard-headed to do and you are hoping beyond hope that they will pull their head out and do the right thing. The writer has two ways to go with this ultimately. You can give the satisfying finish where they actually end up finally making the right choice and or you can go the crappy way and have it go horribly wrong when they can’t or won’t make the right decision.
It took me awhile to get into this thing. The characters were really into wallowing in their self-absorbing pity and loved to talk around their issues. And boy did they talk. But it had finally reached a point where their love for each other was becoming evident and they were opening up to each other. They were on the verge of making that ultimately right choice. It had a very touching moment between the female lead and her mother, which was shared by the new boyfriend. It was a validating moment and emotionally charged in all the right ways. It was really well done. I even said to myself, “Wow, that was cool. I wonder where the writer is going to derail this; it’s going way too smoothly.” I was finally completely bought in. I am kind of a sap for heroic stories or well done love stories. I knew there had to be a set back at this point, just to add some drama and tension that would allow for a great conclusion.
Well, I was right, literally the next scene added the drama, but it was a lesson in how not to do it in my humble opinion. They drove it right off the cliff. I mean Hindenburg horrible. This little drama suddenly morphed into a weird variation on Romeo and Juliet where they both end up killing themselves over misunderstandings and lies. I guess there is a faction out there that thinks it’s more “ARTSY” to have a tragic ending. You know, I can see a surprise ending being cool, or maybe one of them killing themselves or dying, but the way it was done felt like they were driving down the road and suddenly out of nowhere a stranger just appears in the car and grabs the wheel and pulls it hard left and off a cliff that they were driving alongside. We knew the cliff was there, they were after all broken characters, but it was abrupt and ridiculous and furiously unsatisfying. It ruined the few good moments the movie had. The guy who wrote this was also the lead actor and he has a history of self-indulgent highbrow attempts to be an “important” actor/writer. He missed the mark yet again. His acting is fine, but the writing, not so much. If you haven’t figured it out the movie is After Fall, Winter. Again I say don’t waste your time.
I’ve said it before, I hate crappy endings and this movie is the king of crappy endings. I WILL NEVER WRITE A STORY LIKE THI$!!!1111 EVER! You have my guarantee.
I’m in a good place right now. I finished Air War College a few weeks ago, and then my father-in-law took all his kids and grandkids (including me) to Disney World for a week. We had a wonderful time together despite the fact that it rained every day. We all got along; nobody got hurt or sick or sunburned. Just so happened to be a Star Wars Weekend also, and for anyone that knows me or my family that was a big deal. Only downside was my boys’s aggravation with the sporadic internet in our room. We also went to Universal Studios for a day and the Harry Potter castle ride is probably the best ride I’ve ever been on. All-in-all an awesome trip!
Now I’m back to work and we actually don’t have any major deployments or inspections this summer. It’s the first time in a very long time that we have the summer off to focus on training and getting in some R&R for our people here. I’m turning my focus back to writing and revising my novel and working out. Both are going slower than I would prefer but I’m getting on track and have the first chapter in the can now. I’m not touching it again until a Beta reader sees it. (For those of you that offered to Beta read, I might actually have something to send out by the end of summer)
I also got my package in for the Master’s program and I’m waiting to hear if they accept me. The ideas are percolating again and I actually added some nice touches to open the book and I’m excited to get through the revision. I have probably one more pass for key words and a read-out-loud pass to do before I call it completely done, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m about a quarter of the way through right now and if I can avoid playing Diablo 3 or Star Wars: The Old Republic I should be ready to start on book 2 before the summer is over. I’ve already started outlining it, which is something new for me.
Oh yeah, I still need to do a synapsis and update my query letter. At this point I am leaning toward trying to get an agent, instead of self-publishing, but I’m not locked in to that if it drags out.
My output on this blog has fallen off quite a bit, but the things that were blocking me have been lifted. I may change my format a little to try to do this more frequently, we’ll see how that goes. Anywho, I’m back in the saddle.
The weight has lifted. I am complete with Air War College as of yesterday. I feel lighter and my mood is noticeably better. But…but..now I have no excuses to stop me from writing. I need to get back in the writing saddle again, but I’ve been absent for so long that I have to find the horse and put the saddle on it. I was so looking forward to this moment, but once it arrived I felt of barely perceptible pang of fear… just enough that I was able to notice it, and it surprised me.
I opened up my manuscript a few days ago when I had finished my last active part in the process (I had to wait for my mentor to approve and send in my self-assessment), and started to muddle through it. I was on fire when I had last touched it and had made some really big strides in the revision, not only with correcting some syntax and tagging issues, but with a few concepts that I wanted to tweak. I knew I was on my game, and it was thrilling to understand where I was at and where I needed to go to finish the last big revision.
I’ve been analyzing my feelings (always tricky) and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s rooted in a fear that I’ve lost some skill in the intervening months. I’m hoping it’s a little like flying. I can go for weeks without flying and still see no degradation of skills, but if I do that repeatedly, over the course of a year with long breaks between events, I see rust creep in. I’m hopeful that it will work the same way, in that I can just refresh my writing currency and the rust will get buffed off. I haven’t helped myself by keeping the blog up-to-date either. I just haven’t had anything to blog about, at least nothing compelling. I also hope that changes. I am starting to sound like Obama, with all this talk of hope and change.
I’m excited about the future and I will be making a concerted effort to finish this next pass in a timely fashion. I’m trying to get into a Master’s program this fall that will require me to focus on a new writing project, so I really need to have this one wrapped up by fall.