The Five Hundred and Eighteenth Post: ACTING!

In acting, there is something called “Method Acting”. It’s been taking lumps as of late, but there is use to it as long as you’re not being a jerk about it. I learned this method in high school and college and applied it to writing. I think it makes scenes easier to write because I imagine I’m the character and I’m in the moment. It works and I recommend using it if you’re in a tight spot in finding a way through the scene, or looking to improve upon motivation. If you’re writing a murder scene…maybe use your imagination.

The main character in The Show Must Go On is a ghost hunter for a small time show, but he’s a skeptic. For him, there are no ghosts or life after death. This is not my position. While I’m sure shows like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures and their ilk ‘ham’ it up for the audience (and by ham, I mean make stuff up at times), but I think every noe and then there’s something that happens that the main character can’t explain. What makes this especially hard is that this is all a first person narrative.

Remember what I said about “method acting”?

I’m finding it difficult at times to hold on to the skeptic’s view. There are times writing that I want to grab Chuck (the main character) by the collar and say “HOW MUCH MORE EVIDENCE DO YOU NEED, MAN?” Yes, this is a work of fiction and yes, I am practically planting evidence for Chuck to find everywhere. Open your eyes, Chuck!

Perhaps I should take this as a sign that this is a good character. If I’m reacting to him on the page the same way I would react to someone in real life (sans grabbing), then the reader should have the same reaction, or I would hope. The most terrifying novel I’ve read – Misery by Stephen King – was achieved by me seeing a little bit of the character in me at times. I hope that it translates into some sort of sympathy for the character, which I think would make a lot of the scares more intense.

The proof will be in the pudding when I finally release this…whenever. Sorry, like my last post: no more deadlines. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go mumble to a skull.

The Five Hundred and Seventeenth Post: The One Where The Kitten Wakes Up and Looks at a Calendar!

I’m back! Sorry I’ve been away for so long, but I thought I would take a couple of days off from blogging (or weeks, whatever) to think about other things I wanted to talk about. Among all of this was the frustration of trying to meet self-imposed deadlines. Finish a novel in a month, get this novel edited down in a week, and so on and so forth.

At least it’s cardio…

I’m done with deadlines. I rarely meet them, even when I have the best of intentions. It puts pressure on something that I am supposed to enjoy. It makes it a job, man. I already got a job. I don’t really need a second one.

Which harkens back to some advice I read earlier: you need to treat this like a job. I can see where that would be good advice to everyone else but me. A job means pressure for me. A majority of my jobs have been ones I’ve hated. I know this is everyone’s experience. Every once in a while, we have a job where we have to suck it up and go in. A lot of people cn do that. I’ve done that. I was in call center customer and technical support for ten years. I know all about putting on the plastic smile and wading into the thick of it. I’m just saying I’m done with it.

I’m currently writing the horror novel The Show Must Go On and it was supposed to be finished by today, but life got in the way. So, rather than drive myself crazy with guilt – I’m embracing it completely and I am going to say it will be done when it gets done. I want this to be pitch perfect. I want this novel to make people jump in their chairs. So I’m going to just focus on making it the scariest it can be. That should be easy, right? Right?

Well, enough of that. I am going to come back to blogging with updates coming every Thursday (hopefully), with enough content to hopefully push a book or two.

Thanks for reading and be safe out there.

The Five Hundred and Fifteenth Post: The Existential Horror of It All!

I really don’t know what to write about this time. I’m taking a break from Valentina’s Repast and writing the outline to Resurrectionist’s Blues – which is going to probably be a trilogy if I’m lucky. I’m thinking about combining the first and second books into one book. Unless I can stretch out book one a little bit and maintain book two as the crisis of faith. I’ll have to think about it. What might have been five books could get compressed to three. Can I write a single novel? Yes, but what fun is that?

What I’m trying to do with Resurrectionist’s Blues is write an existential horror story. I am trying to carefully tread on Lovecraft’s territory, but less tentacles. This particular story is going to deal with fact vs. faith, corporate rules vs. conscience. Now, whether or not I can carry this out remains to be seen, but at least I’m getting an outline done and following the horror beat sheet (which is making things easier). I might even try to apply it to my other problematic horror story The Truth Will Out, only because it is giving me some sort of structure to plug stuff into.

To be honest, beat sheets are becoming useful for me when I am writing out of my genre. I’ve got one for romance and the horror beat sheet. At first, they struck me as cheating, but now that I’ve seen just how good they are. I should find others and hoard them like a dragon hoards gold, or a librarian hoarding books. I’d imagine that there is going to be a beat sheet for every genre, and there is nothing saying that I can’t tweak it.

That’s it, really. Working overtime, so my writing has been curtailed a little, but I am working on the outline. Just taking a break from one project, but I have to work on something else. I always need to work on something and get it finished. No pressure at all. Really.

The Five Hundred and Fourteenth Post: The One With Crippling Doubt!

I’m getting Valentina fatigue. At one time, she gnawed and clawed her way into my heart. Now, I’m just blasé about her cannibalism and her ‘I’m having someone over for dinner’ jokes. I know that this is normal for me, but what’s not normal is that I have a hard deadline. I have to have everything done and uploadable by Hallowe’en. If I follow my normal route, I’ll work on something else and poor Valentina will fall by the wayside until October 27th when I have no way of getting everything finished. Cue depression spiral and ice cream.

Yes, it’s the first week of March as I write this post and October seems so long off. Yes, I have dozens of projects I can work on, but this is a test for me. Can I hold myself to a hard deadline? If I can, then writing professionally can be feasible. Of course, I can always fall back on the wisdom of Douglas Adams: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

Maybe I’m doing this because I don’t feel professional, yet. Yes, I am making money (very little…) and I am (eventually) finishing projects, but I still feel like I’m pretending to be a writer.

Maybe it’s my approach?

Is this imposter syndrome? Looks like that on first blush. I don’t know. I feel like I’m waiting for a fairy to tap my head with a wand and say “You’re a writer! Now go forth and create the Great American Novel! Or at least the next Successful Kentucky Novel!”

God, this sounds so needy. Does Stephen King go through this? Probably not, then again – he’s got the track record to prove it. He’s even won an O. Henry Award for one of his later short stories. I can barely write a short story. I’ve written four and put them out there, but they were all stretches.

I know what I need to do. “Sh*t or get off the pot” as my mom would delicately put it. I think I’m going to work on ‘Medicine Show’ for a month, then see how I feel. Maybe by then I’ll have a better idea on what to do…or I’ll finish ‘Medicine Show’. Either way, I am going to be done with something by October.

I should get to work.

The Five Hundred and Thirteenth Post: The One Where I Tell ADHD to Hold My Beer…

I continue to make small triumphs! Someone is reading my first novel The Quietest Heart, at least sixty-eight pages worth of it. It’s not my best work to be honest, but I am not going to remove it because I think it’s important to show the evolution of the writer – much like Howard Tayler leaves his early drafts of Schlock Mercenary up when his artwork has improved greatly over the years. I also recommend the webcomic. The artwork is good towards the end and the story is funny and engaging.

Still working on Valentina’s Repast, but my mind is starting to wander to other things. This is a problem with me. I’ll start working on something, but eventually, some shiny new bauble will spring up in my mind, so I’ll get disinterested in what I was working on to chase this new butterfly. Lather, rinse, repeat. I don’t know how I was able to get Valentina’s Feast finished under these conditions. Also, given that I need to have Repast done and out by Hallowe’en this year…I can’t really afford many diversions. How do professional writers stay on task? They must be made of sterner stuff than I am, to be honest. I’ll have to figure out some way to appease this distracting beast. I know I’ve made a habit of writing down ideas for future use, but my mind seems to take that as a hint to not focus on the task at hand. Can coffee make you focus? Should I be drinking more coffee? The answer is yes. The answer is always yes.

Another distraction is July, which seems both so far away and frightfully up close. I’m going to take a vacation on the beach and currently I’m saving up for a nice hotel room. This has made apparently a bit of a panic at Goulet Pens, because they are blowing up my inbox. I think they think I’m dead. They’re sending me emails with enticing pens, but I must stay the course. The running theme of their missives is: “Hey, buddy – how are you doing? We haven’t heard from you in a while. Everything okay? Well, we got this beautiful Visconti Homo Sapiens Magma pen…made from real magma from Mt. Etna. It was $995, but for you, we’ll knock it down to $719. Buddy, that’s a steal! We might as well put them in cereal boxes for that price.” Soon…soon my pretty, you and I will be joined. Let me pay for this hotel room and raise some cash for gas and food. I promise, my love and light – we’ll be together. That’s going to be a birthday present for me (unless someone who reads this blog wants to buy it for me? Yes, I am a shameless pen whore).

I think that’s going to be all for now. I’m going to try to finish up this scene with Valentina back in the kitchen of one of her restaurants and lull myself to sleep with visions of my writing my name with a pen that’s more than a mortgage payment (don’t judge me). I hope everyone has a good day.

The Five Hundred and Twelfth Post: The One Where I Get the Chance to Use the Word ‘Canoodle’!

My streak continues! I’ve sold one book in February, so I have sold at least one book since November. This may not sound like a whole lot (I would much rather sell one hundred a month than one, but hey – small steps!), but it means there’s something to my writing skill. Maybe not my marketing skills, but the writing skills are apparently good enough.

Valentina’s Repast continues with another murder and now I’m beginning the romance part of it. I’m excited about this part just because I’m setting up the second act now, and I can really start ramping things up. Sure, Valentina is racking up bodies, but now she’s going to try not killing Cady. I can’t wait to see what happens.

There’s not much else going on – just trying to get this novel done and waiting for a good movie to come out. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section. Death on the Nile looks good, but that’s it. I might wait for it to come out on iTunes and buy it.  The only movie I’m really, really looking forward to is Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. I love Marvel Cinematic Universe’s consistency across the various media. Nothing happens in a vacuum with this property. Speaking of which, I need to finish up Hawkeye.

I hope everyone else is doing well, please take a moment to check out the book links on the right – both mine and dear friends who are far better writers than I am. There’s also a ko-fi link so you can help to keep me awake and writing. Have good day!

The Five Hundred and Eleventh Post: The One Where I…Really Just Ramble About the Weekend…

I’m stuck again on Chapter Eight. She’s met the other female protagonist in Cady, but after that…? I don’t know if I should show her working, and then end the chapter with her killing, or should I just focus on her deteriorating sanity? Well – should I focus on her sanity above everything else? Don’t mind me, I’m just trying to spitball here. While the plot of the novel is her trying to balance out her need to eat people with being a lover. She failed with Greg, and now she’s trying to forestall it with Cady.

Of course, while I’m trying to figure out the rest of the book, I’m trying to watch the Olympic Games and frankly Hulu is screwing it up. I don’t know if it’s Hulu’s fault, or NBC trying to herd people to their service, but I’m not happy. I tried to record the Canada vs. US women’s hockey game, but I think instead I got ice dancing. I’m hoping that it was just that the game was shorter than the time I recorded, but if I didn’t – I’m quitting. I’m not watching as much coverage that I normally do because all the sports II want to see are elsewhere on NBC’s galaxy of channels and I can’t get some of them through Hulu. Bah. I might end up watching Canadian feed through TunnelBear.

I am writing this blog entry off of my spiffy new laptop and it’s working better than my PC and my older laptop…which I should fix at some point Sunday. Saturday, I have a marathon day: writer’s group in the morning and gaming group in the afternoon. I don’t think I’ll be home until late night, but I will be very happy. As exhausting as they are, I like days like this where I’m just doing two things I love intently: gaming and writing. It’s a shame that I must cut short the writing to get to the game, but it’s going to take me about an hour to get to the house where the games take place. I should gas up the car, definitely.

Is there anything else going on? Not really – just trying to get this novel finished before my deadline, then charging off to another book (don’t know if I’m going to do ‘Dirt Elf’ or ‘Romance with Advantage’). At some point, I need to fix the old laptop and use that for at home writing in the morning. Fixing it is not going to be hard. I just need to swap out some RAM chipsets. I got the new laptop just to be a gaming laptop, but now it’s a replacement PC.

That’s all really…other than my grocery store finally came through with bottles of Pepsi Max! I got four six packs because I certainly have no problems with addiction to caffeine. Nope. Not me. I can quit whenever. Pepsi, coffee, energy drinks – I can walk away. I’m sweating and shaking because it’s cold outside and I over-dressed. Really. Don’t judge me.

The Five Hundred and Tenth Post: The One with the Shiny New Toy!

I tried extending my good fortune with using Amazon ads and I got nothing for a week. I don’t know if it’s Amazon enticing me with success or just my bad luck. So, what I am going to do is double down with both Facebook and Amazon to at least get my name out there. It seems illogical to throw out good money after bad, but I am running into the problem of being ‘the best author you’ve never heard of’. So, I’ll get my name out there one way or the other.

I got my spiffy new laptop and I think it is going to be the one I work from when I am at my day job. It has a functioning network card and I loaded a freeware office suite on it so I can write, as well as Scrivener so I can continue my work. I feel a lot faster typing on this than I did my iPad. I don’t know why that is – maybe I need the tactile thumping of the keys rather than tippy-tapping on a screen. I will use the iPad, but more that likely that’s going to be for when I am away from the house on vacation. My older laptop will be more like me – a homebody with poor networking skills. Thanks to a good friend of mine, I got the RAM chips needed to fix it, so (hopefully) no more BSOD issues. I just wish I could fix the card.

Valentina’s Repast is slogging along. I left her dancing with Cady and having another bloody daydream. I need to get back on the stick with this thing and I’m hoping the new laptop can take care of that. Really, the only thing that holds me back at work is being able to update the files on the network. I am going to dedicate today to getting those two out of the bar and into an intimate situation to see how things turn out. Maybe this will fuel another murder? Who knows? I just need to see how long meat keeps in a freezer.

Well, that’s all for now. Thank you for reading and check out the books on your right – including Valentina’s Feast, the first book in the series. Hope you all have a good day. Cheers.