Progress – August 27, 2018

I want to thank all of you who supported the audiobook version of Quest for the Three Books after it came out last week. Thank you! I was absolutely amazed at the response.

I did finish the audio for I’m with Cupid and I’ve started recording For Sale, Call Loki, so I’ll be editing that starting this week. I’m with Cupid ended up being very short — of course, it is a short story — and comes in just under 28 minutes long.

I’m making the change from recording and doing preliminary edits in Audacity to working completely in Adobe Audition. That’s been a little bit of a learning curve, but not too bad since I’ve been editing and mastering with Audition for several months now. I’m excited about the possibilities this brings me, even though it’s a complete reworking of my process.

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Loki – a blooper

Welcome, Loki believers!

If you read my progress blog from Monday, you saw that 1-800-IceBaby is now up for pre-order and releasing on August 28, 2018. Yippee!

I know, you’re thinking that August is so far away. It’s hot now and you want Loki to come cool you down.

Okay, okay, I will provide you with a special treat — a scene that got cut from the story. I really didn’t want to do it, but alas, it just didn’t fit. It had to go.

But that’s fine because you can see it now and have a small spoonful of the delicious delicacy that is coming.

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Progress – January 15, 2018

This has been the week of getting lots done in small time. Yes, you really can get things done by working in tiny increments; it doesn’t take big blocks of time.

I confess that I haven’t been able to get up as early as I had been and though I’ve been trying to work back to my usual time, I’ve been losing roughly half an hour. So instead of spending about 45 minutes working on audio and another 45 on my kids’ book, I’ve been getting about 30 minutes each and sometimes less. Literally, one morning I spent 15 minutes on audio and only worked through 3 minutes of audio, but that’s 3 minutes more than I had done the day before.

I finished my correction edits on a novella and got it sent off to a first reader. I took that reader’s edits on another story done and submitted it to a magazine. Wish me luck. Hopefully we’ll see that story published in a magazine soon. 

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Process of writing a story

Just wanted to remind everyone here that I have started showing the first draft of my manuscript, Dragons of Wellsdeep, on my writing blog. Even if you aren’t a writer and prefer reading fiction, the process might interest you. Hopefully you will follow me along over there.

Please let others in your circle know. There are a lot of writers out there that need to be seeing this.

Thank you!

Because Good Writing Makes Happy Readers

Last time, I wrote about how I’d found an author while I was driving down the road.

After a short search which turned up not much about her, I downloaded her Kindle sample. Was she going to be worth the $2.99 she wanted me to shell out for her book.

I couldn’t wait to look at it. I was really hopeful, regardless of what I’d already seen. I skimmed the first couple of pages. Not bad, not great either. I determined her to be a diamond in the rough and would continue reading it a bit later now that I had my immediate answer.

Seriously, I do put a number of books down after the first paragraph.

I was getting ready to be a happy reader. After I got home, I started reading it again, still ever hopeful.

That hope crashed and burned!

In came the cliche scenes, followed by the purely unbelievable. She’d made it through my initial flash analysis only to be killed by a situation she had obviously never, ever been in and could not even find a similar emotion to hook to it. I was willing to give her the cliche scenes even because I had already determined her a diamond in the rough. But when the character started thinking about things that I had no setup for and could not believe she would be thinking in this situation, I stopped. The book figuratively hit the wall.

I have read about 5 pages of her book. What do I know about this author now? I know that she wants to tell stories and probably has been doing so for a while. She’s probably had a couple good critiques, but she still feels every word she puts on paper is golden. She’s read a lot of books on writing. She knows she should be in business as a writer, but hasn’t let the rubber hit the road yet. She reads no books on business and has never taken even a free class in social media — nope, she’s too busy writing. She has not really studied how to edit beyond what she has read and believes what she is doing is correct. But re-reading for clarity is not editing. She has not learned how to create empathy for her characters or how to set up a fantasy world. She just expects the reader to be right there with her. She does not know the hero’s journey and/or how to use it properly.

Most readers will never realize this. They will just feel disappointment and will continued to believe that self-published work is a bunch of crap. Sadly, most of what’s coming out of the publishing houses and held up as good stories is also not worth the paper they are printed on.

Good writing makes happy readers.

If you believe this, come over to where you will learn how to craft a better story. It’s just getting started over there (yes, I bought the domain name, but at least I’ve put up SOMETHING!) It’s a work in process, but I will even be putting up one of my own stories to use for illustration purposes. Use the hashtag #writingrevolution to let others know you’re serious about taking charge of your own writing. Bring others with you. I don’t want this story that I’ve shared in the last couple of blogs to happen to anyone else.

The Art of Making Hay – Stacking

Here’s another part of the process I was not too involved with. My part of the job entailed flying around the field in the pickup truck and up-righting any bale that had tipped over. Some bales could be stubborn too. But, we had to make sure that they were all standing up for the harrow bed to gather them up.

(Stay tuned for my special announcement at the end of this post!)

We outsourced a harrow bed driver to come pick up the hay for us. I think many farmers in the valley did. The guy would come thundering in and raced around the field until the harrow bed was full. The machinery scooped up the bale, turned it, made a layer of bales, then lifted that layer up and began building rows of these bales. Then the driver would deliver his load to the corral and start building a long stack of hay.

Here I am walking through the fields with my dog. I can't tell which one it is. Just beyond are the long stacks of alfalfa bales I was mentioning.
Here I am walking through the fields with my dog. I can’t tell which one it is. Just beyond are the long stacks of alfalfa bales I was mentioning. It looks like we might be irrigating this field — knowing me, I was playing in the mud.

The hay can be stacked for a long time before someone comes around to buy it. They load it up on a semitrailer and take it away. Hopefully during your wait, the stack doesn’t fall over.

The end part of the writing process is similar. Once you have everything straightened up and in tip-top shape, then you can pack it all up for delivery. The choice is yours: outsource or do the work yourself. You can go to a traditional publisher, or you can self-publish. With any luck, you’ll sell all your hard work and someone will buy it and take it away. It’s a good feeling. Hopefully, much like ranching, you’ve ended up with some money in the pocket.

This cycle doesn’t really stop but keeps going for 3-4 cuttings in a year. Winter comes and the work comes to a stop. Even writers need a break. Always remember to take a break and relax. Take care of yourself. You are your most important machine when it comes to “making hay while the sun shines.”