Saturday, July 28, 2012

Yes, I AM still alive!

So I bet you guys have been wondering where I've been the last couple of weeks.

The answer: I've been bunkered up in my writer's cave, trying to get my head around the sequel to Atticus for the Undead. So far, the book is following several of John's Rules of Novel Writing. For instance:

  1. However many words actually end up in the book, I've written about 3 times that many. It never fails. In between normal editing, scenes I end up re-writing because I decide to take a different approach to them, and scenes I end up chucking because they just, well, suck, what looks like a 50-60k word book is usually a 150-180k word book on my end. This book is definitely no exception. Combine that with:
  2. Beginnings are always the hardest. By the time I get to the end of every book, I'm always really looking forward to starting the next one, if only as an escape from the many frustrations I've invariably encountered with the current manuscript. What I always forget is that writing the opening chapters of a new book can, well, suck. You have to introduce (or, if you're writing a sequel) re-introduce your characters in a way that makes them interesting to the reader, give the reader a taste for the flavor of your world, involve the character in some sort of event that hooks the reader into your story while you're introducing him or her, and do all of these things in a way that isn't ridiculously clunky or heavy handed. If you have more than one point-of-view character (all of my books so far have had 2, including this one), you have to do that for each character. Fun fun fun!
What does this mean for you? Hopefully, nothing! I'm continuing to work on the story and still hope to have it ready for you by year's end. But I thought you should know that just because I haven't been posting lately, doesn't mean I don't love you, or that I'm evil--well, I am evil, but that's not the point! Or, okay, it is sort of the point, because I put a lot of my evil into my novels, so this whole enterprise is sort of powered by evil (which is kind of awesome when you think about it), but... ah, you know what I mean. I think. I hope. Maybe. Kind of.

Keep the faith,


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Writers, Take Heart!

The thing about being a novelist--or anyone who tells stories with the written word--is that the medium offers you a million ways to fail. Someone who excels at plot may be weak at characterization, while a writer who has mastered both may still fall short on scene setting. An author who is apt at mood creation might have trouble convincing readers to suspend their disbelief. And so on. There are a million different ingredients that go into the storytelling process, and very few people are experts at all of them. In fact, I'm not sure anyone is.

Does this sound daunting? It shouldn't. To me, it's a source of tremendous relief. The fact that you are certain not to write a perfect story (does such a thing even exist?) frees you from the obligation to try. Which isn't to say you shouldn't try to write a good one, or even a great one--flagrant disregard for your readers is disrespectful and insulting to them. But it means you get to make mistakes and do things imperfectly--everyone will. Work as hard as you can to make your story the best you can, but if it's strong in nine ways, don't spend too much time panicking about the tenth.

Remember that most readers will not be going over your work with a fine-toothed comb or a score sheet, giving you marks on each aspect. They're in it for the experience as a whole--for the forest, not the trees. If you have an engaging plot and make your readers feel what the characters do, those readers probably won't care if one or two of those characters are one dimensional. And remember that you won't always be consistent between stories, either--not every set of characters will be as great as the ones in that one novel, not every plot will be as gripping as the one you came up with for that short story.

In short: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Getting nine out of ten parts of your work right is damn hard as it is--don't drive yourself crazy if you don't get the tenth. Trust your readers to stay with you for what you did right--because usually, they will.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


After this 90-day term, I will be ending my contract with the KDP Select Program, in which ATTICUS FOR THE UNDEAD, my most popular novel, is currently enrolled. What does this mean? It means that while the book WILL remain available on, it will also return to distribution on the Nook, as well as other e-reader platforms. It also means that I will no longer be able to host "giveaway" days for the book on Amazon, as those are only available for books enrolled in Select.

Every book enrolled in KDP Select gets 5 free days per 90 day term. At the moment, ATTICUS FOR THE UNDEAD has 1 free day remaining. This means that folks who have not already downloaded the book have one last chance to do so, free of charge.


Let's make it a good one. How can you help? Easy!

IF YOU HAVE REVIEWED THE BOOK (as many kind book bloggers and fellow authors have), I ask you to please re-post your review at the top of your blog on July 8th, for that day only, along with a notation that the book is free for the day.

No problem! There are still all sorts of ways to spread the word, liiiiiiiike:
-Twitter! Do a Tweet or two (I have some if you're not feeling creative)
-Facebook/G+ - put either the book's Amazon page or the Legal Fiction page on my blog in your timeline
And last but not least,
-Good old conversation! Tell some people. Tell LOTS of people!

Who's with me?