It’s the Return of the Revenge of the Ass in the Chair series of blog posts that I started…a long frickin’ time ago. Where have I been? Haven’t I been following my own advice? I have, actually. I was paying the bills. The last entry in the AitC series was two years ago. In that time, I released an anthology I edited, two full-length novels, a novella, a guidebook, and a handful of short stories. I ghost-wrote a novel. Twice. I also edited dozens of books and formatted over fifty. I dealt with personal problems like everyone else, too. Life got in the way. But I still got writing done. I’m going to tell you how. It wasn’t pretty.
Category: Writing (Page 2 of 8)
I add depth and shading to give the image more definition. Only then does the drawing truly take shape.
If you’re not familiar with the quote in the title, it’s from the Kevin Smith film, “Chasing Amy”, in which a comic book inker, tired of his fellow comic-book penciller getting all the love, finally snaps when an obnoxious fan tells him he’s only “a tracer.”
As a co-author with Jeremy Robinson on his excellent Jack Sigler/Chess Team series, I might feel the same way, *except* that the fans have been overwhelmingly fantastic. Out of the very few negative comments and feedback we received for our collaboration on 2012’s RAGNAROK, only one person pointed an accusing finger at me. And on the other side of that coin, the book became a bestseller on Amazon. Apparently loads of people loved the book. So ultimately, even though the co-author gets less of the accolades, I certainly don’t feel like Banky in “Chasing Amy”. I might be a tracer, but I take my work seriously.
Post 1: Where to Begin
I was going to start the series talking about inspiration versus distraction. Procrastination and how to avoid it. That sort of thing. Instead, I thought I should focus on how to begin. I get a lot of questions from people telling me they’ve started writing a book (fantastic! First hurdle accomplished—you started!), but they really don’t feel like they know what they are doing and they don’t even know what kind of font to use of how to format the manuscript. It’s this last bit that I’ve noticed creeping in again and again.
We get hung up on the details. “I can’t write book! I don’t even know what font to use.” Never mind that it’s your subconscious telling you “Damn, this book-writing thing is going to take a looooooooong time. Maybe I should find some reason not to do it.” Getting hung up on the details is easy to do.
Writing a novel takes time. And it’s not easy. If it was, then all the thousands (or maybe millions) of people who always say “Oh, I’ve got a terrific idea for a book,” would actually write it. But they don’t. Having an idea is pretty easy for some people. Typing for several hours a day for weeks and weeks? Not so easy. Even typing for a half hour a day every day in a year isn’t easy. You can type a book either way, but few people will ever do it.
Post 0: Prologue
This is going to be a series of posts. I see a lot of fellow new authors struggling with certain things, and I see myself struggle with them as well. I hear from unpublished authors frequently, asking questions about one thing or the other. There used to be books you could point an up-and-coming author to, and then there were blogs that were vital. Even taken holistically as a historical exercise, much of that information wasn’t filled with the specific: “Here’s how to do X” kind of information writers always want.
I know it used to irk the hell out of me when I would read about some author’s reply to simple “well, how do you do it” sort of questions, and their answers would always be along the lines of “It’s takes a lot of luck”, and “my path was unique to me”, and blah blah blah, but they never answered the question.
In this series of posts, I hope to answer some questions. As a whole, it’ll be a living and changing document, because by the time I post some of these ideas, I might have better ones, or the industry might change again. But still, my mission here is clear: to set out specific tasks that you can do, and show you how to do them. These things will make you a better author, make you a better marketer, and show you a step by step process for how you write your books, and independently publish (read: self-publish) them, while not sucking. Hopefully along the way, you’ll make some money doing it too.