Working Wednedsay #1

Okay… yeah, I’m a slacker. This post should have been my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) from last Thursday. Here’s the thing. The first round of ROW80 ended last week. The next round starts next month. I loved it, by the way. The goal setting was fabulous. It’s time for me to spread my wings. What I’m going to do is weekly updates on Wednesdays (Working Wednesdays) so those who give a darn can keep track with my progress. 🙂 But first, let’s look at my goals for this time around and what I accomplished.

  • March: Edit Alley Cat
    • I don’t think I did anything the past two weeks on this. I plan to finish my edits for the current scene I’ve been working for weeks, then move on to the 2nd book in the Striped Ones Series.
  • Bonus Goal: Maintaining 100+ words a day over at Word Count Union.
    • Continue working on New Adult novel ~ I Loved You First. At last count I was at 32,759 words. Now, I’m at 36,602. During this nearly two week period, I missed three days of writing. As you may recall from the last update, I’d hit the last chapter. Well, I finished that. What I’m doing now is going back and completing any scenes with gaps. I’ve finished the first draft, including missing elements, for Act One. I have the final chapter in Act Two to complete and two scenes in Act Three. Not bad. 🙂 I’m quite please. Hopefully come April first I’ll be done with the first draft and have it ready for beta readers. Anyone interested?
    • Begin new 100-word-a-day novel. Trinity’s Awakening ~ New Adult Suburban Fantasy. Haven’t started this yet but will after I finish I Loved You First.

For those of you who are interested in keeping track of ROW80 participants, head over to the linky.

Okay. So my goals for next Working Wednesday.

  • Edit Alley Cat
    • Finish the current scene I started so long ago. *Easy goal
  • Finish I Loved You First
    • Complete last chapter of Act II
    • Fill in the gaps in Act III
    • Quick Spell Check before I send it to my daughter to beta read. If you don’t mind reading a first draft, let me know. I’m willing to send a few copies out. 🙂 Just keep in mind, I wouldn’t send a first draft out for critiquing, so it’d be rather unpolished. For a blurb of I Loved You First, check it here.
  • Maintaining 100+ words a day over at Word Count Union
    • This can be accomplished either by working on I Loved You First or Trinity’s Awakening

Novel Review: Reunion by Jeff Bennington

Not too long ago, Jeff Bennington sought commentary for the cover art for his up coming novel, Reunion. The original drafts were black and white. I have to say I love the final artwork. Here’s the thing. The scheduled release date for Reunion is April 1. Now you didn’t hear it from me, but Reunion is on sale NOW. Okay, we haven’t even gotten to the review and we’re already in sale mode. First the blurb from Mr. Bennington’s website:

David Ray killed eight students and then turned the gun on himself. He thought the shooting and suicide would fix his world. It didn’t. The massacre threw Tanner Khan and the other survivors into chaos.

Twenty years later, Tanner and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to hold a reunion to lay the past to rest. Although they suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited, and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray.

Once they’re inside the school, they discover that a dark entity has joined them. It has come to collect a debt, long overdue, and someone has to pay. Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears, putting the pieces of their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare?

Thrillers haven’t been my thing for a while now. During my teenage years I read a novel about astronauts who went to Mars and became infect with some kind of black substance. At least one survivor returned to Earth with the infection. Finishing that book resulted in nightmares. And that was the end of my run with thrillers. Dean Koontz comes to mind, but I’m pretty sure I’m wrong about that. Anyone have any idea what book I’m talking about?

Moving on. So Mr. Bennington offered an ARC of Reunion. The premises was interesting but could I handle it? I figured I was mature enough… or so I hoped, and gave it a shot.

Reunion was presented in two parts–before the shooting and twenty years after. In the first section we had, David Ray, a tormented teen who planned to go out with a bang. Despite his methods of dealing with the situation, it was difficult to dislike the boy. More than anything, I felt sorry that a kid would be subjected to such horrible circumstances.

Fast forward twenty years and we have the bulk of the story. Six classmates come together to overcome the imprint the tragedy left on their lives. Now I’m a reader who looks for the morbid in literature and movies. I’ll gladly give up my happily ever after (HEA) for a wrench thrown into the gears. To my wicked delight, no one was left unscathed in Reunion. We had the ruined, the mere survivors, and those who presented a tough facade but where crippled, nonetheless. Big fan of the flawed characters!

One oddity was the way people reacted to the unexplained. I had a hard time believing so much would be shoved under the rug for whatever reason. Faced with the same paranormal elements, I could see myself going into denial, explaining away the supernatural, or running out of town as fast as my stubby legs could carry me, but certainly not the acceptance or nonchalance I saw in a few characters.

Now this is the writer in me talking. Mr. Bennington broke two writing guidelines royally, and I LOVED that he did. He did quite a bit of telling instead of showing and had plenty of back story. Why am I cheering? Because despite my mind rebelling at the broken rules, the story line kept me captivated. Awesome plot! Just goes to show folks, the rules aren’t golden. 🙂

The only thing I really didn’t like was the point of view (POV) style, which I found a bit distancing. As a romance fan, I’ve developed a preference for the deep POV. Reunion was more omniscient POV, which you’ll find in stories like Lord of the Rings. So it’s certainly not wrong, just a subjective preference. Keep in mind, the story was told from 7-8 viewpoints, so perhaps the POV choice was perfect. One thing for sure, I can see Reunion adapted for the theatre.

Reunion by Jeff Bennington is available at:

Barnes & Nobles

The Book Depository

Smashwords

Guest Post: Terrance Foxxe ~ To Heck with It All: Part IV

We’ve reached the final piece of Terrance Foxxe’s four part series. Missed the first three? That’s fine. You can catch them here (Part I, Part II, and Part III). Then head to Mr. Foxxe’s website to see what he’s up to. 🙂

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You want me to pretend I’m in front of an audience, and read it aloud? You’ve got to be kidding!

Nope. Believe it or not your ears will pick up on mistakes in grammar and pacing and sentences that don’t work, faster than your eye will. Reading may be done with the eyes, but the brain actually hears the words.

Silently, as you read any book or magazine, your brain hears it as if you are reading it out loud. Try to skim over the words of a favorite author, and see if you remember half of what was said five minutes later. Now relax, and read for the pleasure of it, imitating the voice the author has set down for you with sentence construction and punctuation. How much do you remember after five minutes?

I resisted doing this for the longest time, simply because I felt stupid doing it. Now I feel exceptionally stupid for not doing it.

I live in a house with very little privacy, and my wife and sons are not interested in what I do. Not really. Plus, well, as I said, I felt stupid.

There are writer’s groups, and you may be asked to read for them.

I don’t know. Me, I don’t do writer’s groups. I tried a writer’s group once, but I found a bad one. I arrived at the first meeting with high expectations, only to find most there were talking about writing, and not doing any writing. Okay, I thought, I’ll see about reading something I’m working on. Not to lead the group, but to get something productive done. I craved feedback.

I read, and then I was raked across the coals so hard . . . For forty-five minutes, I timed it, this little guy ranted about how my Horror should have humor, and basically, be just like his stuff. I told him it was my sandbox, and I’ll play in it any way I want. I left so angry I couldn’t see straight. I tried again, another meeting, and was sucker punched. I was told I was uncooperative. That sandbox remark came back to haunt me.

I never went back, and didn’t bother to look for another writer’s group. I tried to start one of my own.

The first question I was asked? “Are you published?” The answer then was no, and my small group never showed up for a second meeting. The all wanted me to give them the secret. The Magic Formula.

I was on my own, no computer, no feedback other than my many rejection slips. Hell, I would have killed for “The Magic Formula!”

Online writer’s groups can be a bad or good thing. Ghost the posts for a while, see what’s what, then decide for yourself. A good group doesn’t meddle with content, understanding that this is your sandbox, and you’ll play in it however you want. They should concentrate on the mechanics of good writing. Style, not content. Style is grammar, punctuation or logical progression. Too much detail? Not enough detail? The mechanics of writing.

I’m very happy with my content, but want to know if I missed something.

“I can’t see where you’re going with this.” Of course you can’t, and you should know that yourself. Hell, if someone out there can tell where a novel is going in just three fucking chapters, I want to meet them and kiss their ass.

I try to limit my own comments on how they can make their own writing better. If the writing is great, but they misspelled a word, I let them know about the typo and tell them it’s great. So . . .

What is The Magic Formula?

To be truthful, there is no such thing.

The magic to all this is a matter of knowing just what the hell it is you’re doing, and why the hell you’re doing it. Knowledge is power. That’s the magic.

I hope you enjoyed my series. Now, go buy my books! Find out for yourself if I’m full of shit. I might surprise you with a great, provocative novel.

 

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Terrance Foxxe is crazy enough to share everything he knows about catering to readers, because readers matter most to the Indie Author of today, and tomorrow. He had two books published under his real name, only to discover publishers really suck. After being royally ripped off and then some, he is the Indie Author of A Post-apocalyptic Story of Love, $2.99 USD & In The Dreaming, $0.99, both for the Kindle. Links provided. He’s now a happy man. Buy his books. Read them. Write reviews.

He blogs at http://terrancefoxxe.blogspot.com/

 

 

Guest Post: Terrance Foxxe ~ To Heck with It All: Part III

Welcome to another episode of To Heck with it All, featuring Terrance Foxxe. If you missed Part I or Part II, feel free to check out the links.

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Proofreading is tedious. Editing is hard.

Yes it is.

I used to write a story and be done with it. Well, doing it that way makes for a bad story.

Before I edit a story for the first time I let it rot in a drawer for as many months as I need to forget my story. When I pull my story out for the first time, I’m looking at it with new and fresh eyes.

The miracle that is new and fresh eyes! You have no idea how formidable on your ego it is to look at your own hard work with new and fresh eyes. Words that work jump out at you and inflates your pride. Linguistic bombs detonating in your face inflates your sense of stupidity.

I may repeat this process as often or as little as needed. Only I know when I’m done, and I’m done when each novel reads as good if not better than what you find coming out of the big six, mainstream publishing houses. 150% effort to be the best, 99.8% mistake free. A professional read.

You ever labor over a paper, getting everything perfect, set it down, come back to it, look down and see a typo you swear to God was not there an hour ago? It took a while, but I finally figured out what does that. Your brain. My brain, too.

How? Your eye takes in thousands of bits of information each and every second. Your brain processes the information into your reality, but there are always gaps in the information you receive. Your brain automatically fills in those gaps. It gives you continuity.

A wonderful gift, continuity. It keeps you sane. Unless you happen to be a writer. Then what your brain has been doing all of your life seems to work against you. Insidious, isn’t it?

Here’s a tip I’ll pass along to you, dear reader. You can break up the continuity your brain uses to give you that annoying typo when you least expect it. Yes, you too can learn to outsmart nature.

EDIT IN REVERSE!

Start with the last paragraph first. It works amazingly well. I find I can concentrate on individual sentences, every mark of punctuation, catch every typo and grammar gaffe. It takes practice.

Editing in reverse also gives you a very good idea when to kill them babies you suffered through. What I mean by this are sentences that read good when you were constructing the story, but now read poorly when you edit in reverse. Sentences or words that are stuck into your story like a pencil stuck into your eye. Delete them. In fact, if you have a three thousand word story, pretend your job is to cut three hundred words out of it. That’s story, minus ten percent. You’ll have a better story in your hands when you’re done. Even if all you managed to cut were a hundred words, you will have a better story.

When you proofread, you want every sentence constructed to say what you mean. Every comma and period in place. Every single word spelled right. The right word used (affect or effect) for the meaning you intend. That takes practice.

Knowledge and practice, that is. That again is where reading for fun and self-education comes in handy. Let other writer’s published works teach you writing that works.

Again, a good book on editing is: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Illustrations by George Booth. Subtitled: How To Edit Yourself Into Print. Harper Perennial.

 

 

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Terrance Foxxe is crazy enough to share everything he knows about catering to readers, because readers matter most to the Indie Author of today, and tomorrow. He had two books published under his real name, only to discover publishers really suck. After being royally ripped off and then some, he is the Indie Author of A Post-apocalyptic Story of Love, $2.99 USD & In The Dreaming, $0.99, both for the Kindle. Links provided. He’s now a happy man. Buy his books. Read them. Write reviews.

He blogs at http://terrancefoxxe.blogspot.com/
He blogs at http://terrancefoxxe.blogspot.com/