Monday, October 31, 2011

The good the bad and Sequel

I understand the sequels are important for building a brand, I understand that when done right a sequel is a great thing.  All this understanding still can't shake the utter fear that I have in writing one. I guess it is because I was raised on movies and so many shitty sequels that the last thing I want to do is write a shitty sequel. 

This is on my mind because tomorrow is the start of National Write a Novel Month. I have decided to go with doing the second Calvin Hobbs book, Bodies Under 95. A sequel to a story that I wrote last year that isn't out yet.  I have planned sequels studied them, and now that it is almost time to start writing one I am petrified to do it. 

I ask myself will I be able to get back in Hobbs head space, will I be able to tell another story that doesn't trample on the original, can I produce something that is equal if not better? I'm aiming for The Empire Strikes Back, I'm just afraid I'll get Batman and Robin instead. A bit of fear is good before embarking on any project, it keeps you focused and honest. Usually though the fear has been that I wouldn't finish, not that I would write something that would basically shit on something I had written before. 

Why do most sequels suck? I think it has to do with a combination of trying to change the characters that we all love, and maybe trying to hard to explain the first entry, or bring every single side character back. I think I can avoid most of those pitfalls, but still I'm scared. 

It is a nedulus fear that I just can't seem to quantify in words, but I figure most people who have expereanced bad sequels will understand.

I'll keep you up to date of how I feel about this project as November progresses, and if I feel like I have written Godfather II or Godfather III.

What will be the fate of what comes after? 

As a PS with National Write a Novel Month coming, I made a guest post on it at http://ashmp.wordpress.com/ which should be live on the 3ed.  I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

STING BREAKING OVERNIGHT

I mentioned Breaking Overnight in the last post when I was talking about editing by hand so I thought now might be a good time to go into detail about what that project was. (Yes I have to much on my plate sue me.)

Breaking Overnight as you might have gathered from the title is about news, something that is near and dear to me, seeing as how it pays the bills. The story can be summed up simply as Die Hard in a TV station, but there is a little bit more to it then that, as my bad guys are there for something more then a robbery. Because really what is there to steal in a TV station besides some cameras?

I think that the story of the books gestation is a bit more interesting for a blog post so that is the story I am going to tell.

It started back when I worked overnights as an idea for a movie. I didn't have a good motivation for the bad guys at the time and it didn't get more then a few pages in length. This was right at the end of my script phase when I would start something and then abandon it in a fit of depression. I envisioned the climax one rainy morning on my way home as I was walking out of the station . Stopping to look up at the tower, with it's blinking lights I saw two men chasing each other up it, exchanging gunfire in a raging storm. That idea never left me even after I moved on from overnights to just nights.

Then in July when they were putting the finishing touches on our former general manager, now regional VP's new office, the motivation for the bad guys popped into my head. That motivation also gave me who they were and what they were all about. With that figured out I sat down and started outlining. And no I'm not going to give it away, that would ruin everything now wouldn't it. We know it isn't robbery, so if you can guess what it is in the comments, I'll give you a free copy when the book comes out. (Yes that is a shameful ploy to get comments and conversation going, Hope it works.)  

The project might have fallen by the wayside again, except I mentioned it at work, and people started to pester me about it. Go figure that a bunch of news people would be interested in a thriller that takes place in a TV station that might or might not be loosely based on where they work.  Who would have thought?

So mid way through July I set out to write the book, establishing the same word count goals that I used for National Write a Novel Month, so about 2000 words a day.  I plugged along only falling off the wagon a few times, and finished in just over a month, with 62,000 words or there abouts.  I am happy with the story and charators.  After taking a few weeks off from the book, ten days dictated by Irene stealing my power and another few by work on The Long Night. When I was able to return I polished the first draft once, and gave it to a alpha reader just to make sure that everything made since plot wise.

Now I am working through each chapter by hand and then running it through Serenity so that I can pass it off to a real person to be edited without to much embarrassment.  Once that is done we will be very close to that book being released to the word. I am excited about this one because it takes place in a word that I know relatively well, unlike one that I am just making up or kind of faking based on things I have read in the past.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Editing by hand

Now that The Long Night is out, I can turn my attention to other projects, namely the two books that are written and in the dreaded editing stage. I had hopped to knock out Killing to Know, but in my haste sent it to my editor, a draft to early and it is taking longer then expected, sorry Bill my bad.

So I turned to my other finished first draft, Breaking Overnight. I'm not sure if I have mentioned that project here so I'll give you my loyal readers a quick synopsis. Breaking Overnight, is Die Hard in a TV station. I feel that sentence gives you a basic understanding of the plot but doesn't give to much away, though I feel like I'm pitching a 90's action movie when they were all "Its like Die Hard but..."

This isn't a post about Breaking Overnight that is coming later, this is about editing, and figuring out a system to move your manuscripts from first draft to something that isn't embarrassing for another human to see. I worked by hand for a draft on The Long Night, and not Killing to Know, seeing how those turned out I desided that maybe a red pen was by best friend this early in the project.

Chapter four bleeding

I started printing the book out chapter by chapter to make my edits.  This one is longer chapters broken up in to sections. Once printed I would then make the pages bleed like a camp counselor at Crystal Lake. I find that looking at the work on paper, gives me a different view than seeing it on the computer monitor. I can make changes but not instantly. It lets you see your mental thought possess, and mistakes that you might have glanced over before. Allowing you to more fully digest the edits, so that you don't make the same mistakes again when your writing.   

Once done with each chapter I am making the edits on the computer and running it through Serenity's editor to clean it up another notch. I think I'll do another post about Serenity later, it really is a great program.

Well time to get back to work. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Long Night is finally here

As I'm sure people following this blog know The Long Night came out this week for the Kindle and Nook. Firstly I would like to thank those that have picked up the book, and sheared my links. Second I want to thank the people who helped me get to this point, Elizabeth for pushing me to finish and being almost as giddy as I was when the pubish button was clicked.  William Kost for going though my manuscript and giving me some good edits, and Karlin for creating a bad ass cover. 

Tell me that isn't awesome.
For those reading this who haven't picked the book up yet here are the links, I'll wait.
You might remember the post a while back about the list that I had hanging on my wall.  Well there is now a nice sharppie mark running across one of the titles and let me tell you that felt really good to do.  
video

Now that this is out and marketing has started, I apologize ahead of time to any people that I might annoy in my trek to sell, that is not my intention. I intend to keep you up to date of future projects the state of this book, and keep telling stories of writings past.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Building the book.

My weekend was mostly taken up by building the final Kindle and Nook builds of The Long Night, sans cover, which hasn't arrived yet. Doing my research, I spent a few hours rebuilding my word documents, changing what is considered normal for line spacing and paragraphs, and all that jazz.

Amazon had a good quick little walkthough in the dashboard area, minus anything dealing with chapters or a table of contents, which for simplicity I decided to do without. As I see it just getting the book to look good in a simple fashion is really the best call for me now at the start. After compiling my .mobi file, I loaded it onto the Kindle and started flipping though to make sure that everything looked hunky dory and it did. I was very happy, doing a little song and dance around the computer room.

Then came the epub for the Nook. Getting calibre to do what I wanted it to do was a bit harder. I tyred a second program that required me to use code to fix my indentions and remove the line between each paragraphs. On a small spurt of an idea I finally found the boxes that I needed to check to alleviate my paragraph woes. Only then to find that every apostrophes that I had in the book turned into a question mark. A few more colorful metaphors later, and some hair pulling I figured out how to fix that issue, and got an epub that I am kind of happy with. Now that Calibre is working better, I can go and make sure that my chapter headings are situated correctly and so forth.

While I was working on this as well, I signed up for both KDP (kindle direct publishing) and pubit which is Barns&Noble's self-publishing marketplace. Now that everything is set up once the cover arrives I will be ready to go......well I still have to write that pesky blurb so that people know what they are buying, I guess I'll do that tomorrow, really not looking forward to that. 

Chapter 1. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Long Night comith

So we are close to the relese of The Long Night, my first foray into fantacy and publishing. While going trough the final text weeding out those little things like the wrong word spelled right that seems to slip though, I found another chapter that works well as a sample. 

So here is Chapter 6 From The Long Night where we meet the crusader Casey Tam. And no this won't spoil the first five chapters.

Chapter 6

And here is Chapter 1 as well.