Sunday, August 21, 2011

..because I have to show and tell

It's here.  After months of waiting with it on pre-order I finally get to sit down and start enjoying my first Amber Argyle novel.
Here's my brag photo.  I wanted to get a shot up on the hill over off UT-111 with me and then Magna, UT behind me, but as it turns out a storm was blowing in (not all that uncommon).  The dust had picked up and Magna would just have been a big brown splotch so I settled for a front yard photo.

I'm squinting because their are close to 35mph winds and dust was blowing in my eyes.

I'm so glad to have recieved this on the weekend. Now I can slip in a few chapters here and there.

I'm excited.  I'll keep my progress updated on Goodreads if you're interested. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Writing Advice, The Unremembered and Witch Song

Not unlike myself, new writers are all about this.  It encourages, excites and lets us know we're on the right path toward publication. (A.k.a. Am I doing it right?) 
A really not so odd thing about writing is that it's never done the same way twice.  So the advice we get really comes down to different flavors of the pie.  It's still pie, but the filling of choice is up for debate.

So, I've been reading for the first time On Writing by Stephen King.  I'm a little over half way now and I'm finally getting into the meat or mechanics of writing as it works for him.  I'm finding that a lot of it syncs with me.  I'll have to take a pass to some of his views at the moment, but that might just be my inexperience shining through.

What struck me most recently are his comments about ploting.  Which is the planning in advance on how the story will progress.  Man... this has been a source of no end of suffering for me.  It's caused me to stall, to research and even hunt out 'advice' on the subject through a multiplicity of resources.

That said, I found out that he writes pretty much like I ended up doing on all four my manuscripts so far.  (Reguardless of my attempts to do otherwise.)  I find that I end up muscling my way through plot issues and I wonder a bit.  But I can't plan out my plot for the life of me.  It seems to just be a discovery as I go.  I'm litterally feeling my way through the story as it reveals it'self and I then write it down.  Stephen has a situation, puts in interesting characters and lets them work out the conflicts.  Sure I have a few scenes planned out like he does, but that's all flexible.  I think he writes linearly, and I tend to jump around a bit, but I'm hesitant to wonder much before I feel the need to go back and fill in the details.  I digress.

Anyway I'm enjoying my read.  Thank you to everyone who suggested this book.  Thank you to my wife for making it a lovely birthday gift. 

As far as progress goes with the current story, I've been struggling lately.  However I am committed and in the past week I've renewed my progress and I'm back in the 1100+ word count.  I'm hoping to make that 1300 to 1500 daily by the end of next week.

Stephen gets his daily 2000, so I'm comfortable coming in around three quarters what he gets daily.  He did comment that a writer shouldn't take more than 3 months to write a story, as it would be a sign that the characters would grow stale/cold in the authors mind and would probably be a sign that the author isn't actually writing.  I'd have to agree.  My current story reflects this immensely.  I'm excited to write it, finish the first draft and get back to revising either Lightning Child or Speaker of the Winds.

Photo taken by Cathryn Orullian

Some exciting news, Cathryn Orullian took this photo of Peter and I at his book signing at the Jordan Landing Barns and Noble.  It was so very nice of you to send it to me.  You see I was having camera issues with my 8 year old photographer.  Thanks for bailing me out! 
If you haven't yet, please give The Unremembered, by Peter Orullian, a chance.  I'm really enjoying this story.  To me books are all about how they feel, (maybe that's why I'm the worlds slowest reader) and this one feels like Tolkien's The Hobbit did for the first time when I was twelve.  I'm really getting sucked into his voice and the characters.  His world is such a dusty majestic.... well, maybe you'd better just give it a try.  I'd hate for my insufficient prose to turn you off.

Oh, boy... here's a last second update.  You remember Witch Song, by Amber Argyl.  It's coming out in September, but lucky me pre-ordered and good old Barns and Noble is shipping that baby out to me as of yesterday.  I'm expecting it August 23rd.  So many good books... so little time.

Got to go... I should be writing.
Relentless Persistence.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peter Orullian and Brandon Sanderson Book Signing

Wow, what an excellent event!  Both of these excellent authors were vacationing in Idaho and decided to take a 'break' from that and do a book signing. 
I learned to respect Peter a little bit more as he admits he gets up at 3:30am to write.  O.k.  You get the uber dedicated writer award!  Wow.  Respect the man.
Not only does Peter write, but he's also an accomplished musician.  Check out his site.

Peter signed my copy of his book, which I add Amazon nearly didn't get it delivered on time.  It arrived two hours before I had to leave to get to the book signings.  To my chagrin, it was on sale at Barns and Noble for about the same price.  All that worry for nothing.  Oh well.

I learned some truly great things from them.  These are of course paraphrasing.

Peter:  Write true to yourself.  Write what you want and what you're interested in the most.
Summed up, Peter related his story about how he wrote horror to meet the needs of his agent, but turns out nothing sold.  Then he just pursued his interest writing epic fantasy and things worked out.

Brandon:  Never give up.  The vast majority of people who want to be an author just end up giving up.  If you persist you'll eventually make it.  He also personalized his book for me with the remembrance that with every book he's written he's wanted to give up as some point, but he didn't.  Stay the course.

I also learned from him recently (just had to add this) that when he writes first drafts he just writes them.  Then he goes back and fixes everything, puts in his 'show don't tell' elements, etc. etc.... which is good to hear because my first drafts are just horrible.  Obviously the timing/pacing is way off.  Even though it's obvious, it's still good to hear that someone who's a most amazing writer still has horrid first drafts and works up from there.

In answer to the question I placed to them both Brandon said the thing he learned the most in writing was to write that second draft.  Revise, revise, revise.  He didn't want to and there was always that next novel pulling for his attention.  I think I can recognize that pull.  There are so many stories I want to write, but I haven't the time, I need to go back and make novel #1 perfect first.
Peter's answer was of course, staying true to you and writing what you really want.  Oh, and your first 1 million words don't count, so keep writing.  You know the old adage, don't let your own lack of experience stop you, because unless you keep going you'll never get the experience you need.

Gentlemen, thank you for lending me your evening.  You are awesome.  Bravo!
To your families who had to be without you during your vacationing time, thank you for your sacrifice, you are equally awesome.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Writing Space Update

I know this isn't exactly about writing more than it is interior decorating, but I thought I had to share.
I've updated my den with some inspirational writings and motto's/themes.
Here are some pictures.
The Relentless Persistence is my theme or motto.  So I placed it right above my writing area.  The rest of the inspirational phrases are peppered throughout the room so I can look them over.  To the left there are some posative affirmations as well.

'Open your mind.'  In a place I should be creating, it's helpful to have that reminder that it's not all coming from me.

I really like this one.  In the morning (because it's dark when I get up to write) I get to see the suns glow build through this window.  That's quite nice.  Then the glow shines up over this one and it looks quite heavenly.
"All things are possible to him that believeth. - Mark 9:23

I was just reading over some of my old blog posts and I don't even remember entering one of them.  I think these 4am writting sessions are starting to get to me.  ;-)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shedding Some Light on 'The Light of Epertase'

Here is my review of the ARC I received from Rhemalda Publishing.

The Light of Epertase, book one in the Legends Reborn series by Douglas R. Brown is due to be released in September 2011. This will be Mr. Brown's first book. His Debut into the fantasy world. I have just finished the ARC and I am excited to share with you what I experienced. I won't follow the storyline. I think you'll find that in both other reviews and in the book itself, so I see it pointless to repeat that or expose you to spoilers.

This is how I felt about the story.

The story: It was fun to read with interesting characters and an ever-evolving cast. The story is a grand adventure with historic heroes imbued with fantastic powers, strength and endurance. Vicious battles in epic scale take place without distracting from the individual character development. This story is definitely about the characters, not about how bloody a battle scene can get, however, be warned it is graphic and I would suggest not having youth read it. That is true with both violence and romantic elements.

Scale: The story is nice that it does span many different viewpoints. However, that being said I found it inconsistent. The story begins following Rasi and feels like a book about just him, then well into the book, a quarter I'm going to guess, it switches to other viewpoints. It becomes a broader book about many characters and seems to jump from an adventure story about one tortured character to a whole nations struggle later on at least half way through the story. I feel this should have been done earlier to integrate all the plot lines and establish at the beginning what type of story this is. Epic Fantasy.
Similar to some Jason Borne (Robert Ludlum) novels Mr. Brown just decimates his main characters. Now as this may be more realistic, the types of damage they sustain is just crazy, especially since they take what seems like mortal wounds and pick up minutes/hours later and carry on. I found it hard to read over those sections, not for the violence, but for the same reason I find it hard to watch Rocky films. I am pleased to report that Mr. Brown's characters earn their triumphs using their established skills. No last second miracles.
I kept tripping over modern words that didn't have a place in the established world that had been built. Example: bone names 'clavicle' and advanced medicine like antibiotics and technology names once the techs come. Also the novel changed genre's half way through going from fantasy to steam punk. It works, but it just made for a speed bump in the reading, as it was such a stretch from the groundwork laid at the beginning.
I think you'll find the Light of Eperase a fun fantasy read and worthy of lightening your wallet a little to do so.