Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Let It Be

So I'm not a Beatles fan; it probably has to do with the rabid love of all things Beatles-related that a particularly unpleasant former coworker had.  But I digress; the title works for me today.

I am finishing this novella that I've been working on for months now, and by last week I'd had it nearly completed except for one unbalanced chapter.  I'm not a very detailed planner, but by luck all the chapters had come out at essentially the same length (two, by coincidence, turned out to be exactly the same length after the first draft).  Except for the first chapter, which stubbornly refused to grow.  I can't tell you how much I tried to add some stuff to the end of that chapter, trying to fill up the space between the end and the beginning of the second chapter.  I even considered breaking up all my other chapters and redistributing things to make it more even, but nothing was working and I was left with several perfectly balanced chapters and one stunted beginning.

Well, then my mom came to visit, my son had a birthday, and we were on vacation for about a week and a half during which I did nothing at all for this story.  By the time I got back to it, I had a sudden inspiration and was able to add material to the beginning of the first chapter, instead of at the end.  Now I know it must sound silly, that my great breakthrough was to add material to the beginning instead of the end, but for some reason it hadn't struck me before.  Now, however, that material is some of my favorite stuff in the entire novella.  I'm trying to concentrate on writing something--anything--every day, but I'm convinced that I wouldn't have come up with that if I hadn't left it alone for a while.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Where in the world is Bakari Akil?

So Bakari's blog went dead quite some time ago, but I see that he has continued to publish.  Come on back, Bakari!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


So I've been keeping my nose to the grindstone for the past several weeks, and I'm pleased with my efforts.  My recently set goal has been to write 1000 words a day, which is not always easy to do since I have a day job too, but more often than not I've been able to hit the goal.  Sales were very slow in April but have improved slightly in May.  Strangely enough, Amazon has now surpassed my Barnes/Noble sales for the month, which is very unusual for me.

I've read a few very interesting books on writing lately:  Stephen King's On Writing, which I had several years ago, then gave to a friend who stopped answering my emails two years ago.  Very weird, and makes me wish I'd kept my copy of the book!  In any case, I found it to be fascinating although not as much about writing as I'd expected.  Very inspirational, however!

Another great book was The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell.  If you haven't read it, you should.  I've read many, many books on writing over the years, and this has been the best one I've found.

Finally, a slim but entertaining and useful book was Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing.  If you read the reviews on Amazon, you'll see that many, many people are (rightfully, I'd say) incensed at having paid ten bucks for this tiny book.  If you do like I did, however, you can read it for two bucks:  Go to a Barnes and Noble, buy yourself a coffee and get the book off the bookshelf.  Easy.  Even easier (though less fun) is to go here, where you'll find a summary of all ten rules.

It was almost exactly one year ago that I started thinking about writing again.  We were posted overseas, and in the evenings I would take my son to the park across the street, where he'd play various games that usually involved throwing things at other things.  Good times.  While he was busy assaulting signs and lampposts with twigs, I would roll things around in my mind, trying to figure out the plot for the one story that I had in mind at the time.  I distinctly remember thinking "Jeez, what would I write after that?" since I only had the one idea to work with.  Now, I have a list of things that would literally take me years to finish; actually sitting down and doing the work helped me generate new ideas.  I'm still at only one percent, but I'm feeling good!