Who Art Thou Thursday: Terrance Foxxe

Today we have Terrance Foxxe. 🙂 If you recall, he did a series of posts about his adventures in publishing. Be sure to check those out here. But first, the interview he did with me.

Tell us about your most recent publication.

In The Dreaming is a collection of short stories bridged together by a larger narrative, a mosaic novel.

I thought this novel would work out well if I could find the perfect vehicle to drive my character’s interactions. Would a mental ward patient do?”

In The Dreaming offers a wide variety of stories to suit any tastes. From Native American legend to urban detective. Science fiction, magic and love, alongside vampires, barbarians, presidents, elves, and (walking talking) toys. Horror with the hope.

Give us a brief description of a story you have hidden in your skeleton closet? And will it ever see the light of day?

Nothing will remain hidden with me. It will all come out . . . in the end. My mind has a case of the mental squirts. The trouble with that is too many ideas, and I can’t type fast enough. Seriously, I will never suffer brain farts when it comes to writing.

How much of you/your life do you put into your stories?

Heart and soul goes into each novel and story. I have fun.

Which of your characters do you relate to most?

All my characters are real to me, and I am simply their scribe.

For you, what’s the hardest part of the writing process?

The time involved. From the start on through final publication, I want my readers to enjoy a great book. I try to be the consummate professional. 150% effort for 99.8% perfection.

For you, what’s the easiest part of the writing process?

There is no easy part. Some days  are simply easier than other days.

With hindsight being 20/20, is there anything you would have changed with your publishing journey?

I’ll let this question slide.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Like it or not, this is a business. 150% effort for 99.8% perfection.

Anything special you’d like to say to readers?

What readers?

What are you working on now?

I’m in editing mode for the next six months. I need to get my backlog up and running.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

A long time ago.

Why did you decide to publish independently?

Because I can.

Where do you get inspirations for your stories?

They come to me in a flash. No kidding. Sometimes from start to finish, and other times an idea will just keep me on edge.

How do you come up with your cover art?

I do it all myself, and it relates to the contents. I’d like to think I got a cool retro thing going.

What is your character development process?

My characters are who they are. They act and speak as themselves.

What’s your favorite writing tool and why?

Computer. I can save my changes to three flash drives. I don’t lose words.

How about some quickies!

Pencil or Pen: Pencil

Print or Cursive: Print

Pantser or Plotter: Pantseater

Favorite Candy: None

Worst habit: Blowing spit bubbles in public.

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About the Terrance Foxxe

Terrance Foxxe is crazy enough to share everything he knows about catering to readers on his blog, 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 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, and on Scribd. He’s now a happy man. Buy his books. Read them. Write reviews.

Connect with Terrance Foxxe:

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Find In the Dreaming at:

Amazon

Scrib

 

 

and A Post-apocalyptic Love Story at:

Amazon

Scrib

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/

 

 

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

If you haven’t taken a gander at part I, now’s your chance. For the rest of you out there, Part II by Terrance Foxxe.

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Checklists are a complete waste of time.

Every writer has to keep track of just about everything in their writing career. I have many lists going at the same time for different reasons. I have a calendar, planning my day. What needs to be done.

My “how to write well” checklist runs about fifteen to twenty pages. I say that because it’s a fluid thing. Most of the time I’m adding to it. I review all of it at least six times a year. Page one deals in scene construction.

My checklists are what I’ve found pertinent to the understanding of my writing. Stuff like, Resist the Urge to Explain, with an example: Rather than telling your reader your car is trash, tie a wire to your starter and touch the other end to your hot battery cable to start it. You can pump the gas with that lever thingee on the side of your carburetor.

Book after book after book, I did just about everything I could think of to figure out just what it was I was doing wrong, not realizing what I was doing right.

I cut or converted into scenes narrative summaries. I hardly ever mentioned emotion, writing scenes to show emotion and help my characters breathe. How I could have a character’s history in my head, and use only what was necessary of that history to highlight an action or reaction. Why too much technical information can kill a story.

Name it. I had it all and used it all. I rewrote just about everything I had those first few years more than ten times each, and used a lot of time doing it. I’m glad I made my lists. They do tend to keep me on the right path.

Use – to show an interruption. Use . . . to show a character’s conversation trailing off, or for a one-sided telephone conversation, use four . . . . Em dashes and ellipses can be overused, so sprinkle with care.

Start a new paragraph when starting a new speaker.

High energy verbs! Crammed! Attacked! Bloodied!

Two words into one list. Good grammar. “Incredibly hard to take” becomes “insufferable.” “The smell of the thing” becomes “its stench.” And little words too, “issued forth” becomes “erupted.” “Opened up on” becomes “revealed.” And about thirty other examples as I discovered them in my own writing. The find and replace feature in my word processing program is a wonderful tool.

I ask myself questions like: Does the story have a logical flow? Do I care about the outcome? Do I have enough conversation? When is too much, too much?

There are questions and examples that helped me gain empathy.

What and why does your character love? What limits would they breach in order to keep that love? What are they capable of doing once love is lost?

God is in the details. So, what details are you using?

If writing is a war, is there enough battle in the middle, or does it sag.

Action, reaction, more action, and more reaction.

Read it all aloud. All change is good change.

A scene dragging along? Cut it down.

Proper words for their proper jobs. Emotions need proper words.

Get rid of the “right foot, left hand” thing. The reader can decide for themselves which foot or hand is which.

Words to waste: And, that, even, up, just, besides, over, and about 40 more I sprinkle all too liberally within my first drafts.

The words most commonly mistaken for each other. That’s part of proper grammar. And, that list is huge.

Most of you are screaming at me for not including my entire list. I could have, but I didn’t. My list is personal. It’s geared to what I think is important for me to remember and understand about my writing.

In a fantasy I’m working on, I list descriptive words and phrases that apply to the world I’m building. Tall as a scarecrow, a bullock in length. You can figure it out from there. No modern reference points within the story. I draw on other’s words to show me the way.

I can list locations or draw a map, and the map concept is old news. I have lists of character names for each book, and what they do. Business names, street names, on and on. The thing is, lists are good.

I don’t usually get lost. I have a page of titles I might use some day. Lists of ideas. Words and descriptive phrases. I have many notebooks full of things I used (hard copies as well as computer files), can use or will use, helping me improve each story. I want to be one of the best out there today. I do try hard, and then harder still. I owe it to myself and my readers.

 

 

 

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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/