So far this new blog is mostly writing advice and a couple of new book announcements. In the hopes of appearing more like an actual human doing actual human things and not a PR spam-bot posing as a writer, here are some real, true, honest "life-things" for your optical intake receptors. Engage!
The new novel (the one fictionalizing a real missing persons case from 1945) was in a major slump over the last week, like a ‘Dostoevsky freezing at the train station I’ll never be able to write again’ slump. Then I finally broke through in the last 48 hours. Mostly because I told myself, “forget about description and action right now, the next 3-4 pages is all dialogue, so just do that and come back later and pick up a Crayola and jazz the scene up.” And that worked. Just stop worrying, thinking, planning, outlining, tinkering, and just write dialogue and revise later. So, like the Kool-Aid Man — KABOOM — breakthrough.
It feels good to be rolling again. I’m sitting at the start of chapter four, 24,000+ words deep, aiming for 90,000+. My target date is July 4 and I will celebrate by blowing something up. My brother owns a few hundred dollars worth of fireworks, so that will likely happen in grand style.
One more tip: When I stop writing at the end of the night, I have started to briefly write what I think should happen over the next few pages or the rest of the chapter at the very end of my Word doc, so when I open the doc again, it’s like having a little push, an “Oh yeah, that’s what I wanted to do.” And then I do that. I don’t always do that, but when I do, it works. [Insert Kool-Aid Kaboom]
Short stories: One old story came back from a new and trusted reader (thanks, Anney!) and that is on deck for a makeover. I’m still halfway through a WWII-era zombie short (I know, I know, shut up, I blame The Walking Dead) and I have a dozen or so more “literary” stories waiting to go out to magazines if I ever find the time. Note to Self: Find the time.
Poetry: N/A (for the moment…fiction has a stranglehold right now, and that’s okay)
Writer’s Digest: Man, I am busting my hump on a new book we’re working on titled Writing Monsters (it’s as fun as you think it sounds), plus we’re working on a new annotated version of Dracula, an “idea thesaurus” for writers, and a bunch of other stuff. Busy doesn’t begin to describe it. Also, I think my article in the new issue should be on newsstands right now.
Overall, life is getting better with the onset of spring in NYC. New York is at its best in spring and autumn—cool air, the angle of the sunlight, the pitch of the breeze, perfect for a light blazer without drowning in sweat or freezing, the two major drawbacks to summer and winter in NYC. The Spurs are at the top of the NBA again, the playoffs are coming up, travel plans are formulating, parties and BBQs are peppering the schedule, and I’m keeping up with my goal of doing one writing/social function per month (at least) because writers can’t stay chained to the keyboard and I have chained myself to mine far too much in the last 18 months. So, yeah, things are busy, things are good.
Now if I can just find an agent for these finished novels, I’ll level up and things will really fall into place. A few more rejections came in, but those always set a fire inside and inspire another round of query submissions going out the door. That’s the plan for this week—hustle.