Posts Tagged ‘editing’

Well, I’m writing this at a time I’m normally preparing for bed, but what can I say? When you’re on a roll and nearing the end, you just don’t stop writing.

Now, if you didn’t know, I’m taking a short break from working on Full Circle to work on some short stories. This particular short story, The Red Burst, is one I particularly had fun writing. The story is about a man and his husband who go to visit the former’s sister in a small town, only to find out that something that gives off bursts of red light (hence the title) is driving the residents insane. It’s definitely a dark story, and it’s special too for a number of reasons. One is that this story is very HP Lovecraft-influenced in many ways.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with HP Lovecraft, he’s a horror author who wrote during the first half of the twentieth century, and has become very influential since (see my posts on my forays into his work, Part 1 and Part 2). A lot of his themes include the idea that humanity are ants in the grand scheme of things, that there’s no real meaning to existence, and that there might be things in the universe that are bigger than us and might see us as a food source or playthings. This is called cosmic horror, and I tired to incorporate those themes into The Red Burst. I got so hooked on the Lovecraft aspect of the story, I actually started reading his work again, and I listened to Lovecraft-themed relaxation videos on YouTube while I wrote the story (yes, those are a thing. Look up Ephemeral Rift on YouTube if you’re interested).

Another thing I liked about this story was that I got to incorporate a gay couple into the story. Even better, a Jewish gay couple! I like having diverse characters in my stories, and I know a lot of LGBT Jewish couples, so it was interesting having that sort of couple in the story, portraying not just their relationship but also their faith and how the events of the story affect that faith. I have a feeling though some of those LGBT couples I know will be coming up to me asking if I based the characters on them. The answer to that, of course, is no, because they haven’t done anything horrible enough to warrant that treatment from me.

And a final thing that I enjoyed with writing the story was that I got to use a drone in it! I don’t know why, but including modern elements in horror stories is just a blast for me. It’s like, “look, there’s a powerful demon from Hell, and now there’s an augmented reality game!” Or, “there’s a ghost after me, but at the same time, superhero franchises!” It’s like they don’t go together, but at the same time you make them go together, and it’s an incredible result. Plus with some, like the drone, you feel like there aren’t that many stories with the same elements in them, so you’re kind of exploring new territory. It’s a real thrill.

So what’s next for this story? Well, I’ll give it some time and return to it at a later date to edit it. It’s around 7,500 words, but I’ve discovered quite a few Lovecraft-themed magazines that are open to longer stories, so I may find this one a home. And if it does get published, I think people will really enjoy it. Especially Lovecraft fans who like a story with his themes but without language that was prevalent in early 19th century.

In the meantime, I’ll return to Full Circle ASAP and get to work on finishing that. I still have quite a ways to go, but after working on some short stories involving werewolves, cars, and insanity-causing red lights, I think some gangster science fiction shouldn’t be too hard. I’ll let you guys know if there’s anything new going on when the time comes.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear! Pleasant nightmares!

The NaNoWriMo logo/coat of arms.

Well, it’s December 1st. That means a couple of things: start of the holiday season and prep for the new year, the days get to their shortest point, I try to push a tag with the hope that it will become a trend (so far, it’s been hit and miss with those I’ve tagged). For writers around the world, however, it means National Novel Writing Month, and assessing how each person did and how their manuscripts turned out.

I’ve actually always found National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, full of strange contradictions. For one thing, it takes place around the world, but it’s kept “national.” Heck, even the month’s official website puts you in touch with participants from all over the world! Why don”t we change the name?

For another thing, it’s amazing how many authors take this challenge seriously. For those of you who don’t know, during the month of November, many writers try to write a fifty-thousand word novel within 30 days (that’s about 1667 words per day if you want the math). And I’ve seen so many author friends on Facebook and in blogs lament how they only got so many words down. “I only got eight-thousand words.” “I was so close to 50K!” “This NaNoWriMo sucked! I hardly got any work done.” I don’t even want to know what they thought of the material they wrote.

Just for clarification, there’s no actual prize if you write a 50K novel in 30 days. You just get bragging rights. But plenty of authors see it as a reflection of themselves if they can’t get the words down. And I actually kind of understand this: on nights when I didn’t write anything down (and those nights occurred quite often, sadly), I felt like it was some sort of reflection on my skills or on myself as a writer. It didn’t matter if there just wasn’t enough time before bed, or if I had a book I really wanted to read, or if I just didn’t feel like writing that night. I felt bad. Maybe not as bad as I could have felt, I have a day job that takes up a good chunk of time, so I at least have an excuse for why I’m not writing more. But I bet for those who write full-time, it could be very frustrating when they didn’t reach their goals.

So how did I do, now that we’re on the subject? Well, I knew that with a job and that unfortunate habit of sleeping seven hours a night, plus eating and bill-paying and grocery shopping and everything else that goes on in my life, I had only so much time to do any work. Therefore, I decided that I would keep my expectations reasonable. I decided that I would aim to get ten-thousand words done, and if I got past that, I would aim for another five-thousand afterwards. If I somehow managed to get past that, I’d aim for five-thousand more, and so on and so forth. The result was I probably felt less stress than my colleagues, and I consequently met my first goal, and got more than halfway to my second goal.

To be exact, I got 13,821 words down by the end of the month, about four-and-a-half chapters worth of story. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to do it. How did it turn out? Well, I guess as well as a first draft can turn out. I mean, it’s only in the subsequent drafts that novels actually become the brilliant stories we all hold so dear. During the first drafts, they’re like pre-Fairy Godmother Cinderella: full of beauty and potential but in need of some serious clean up. My own NaNoWriMo project, Full Circle, has a lot of good stuff in it so far. It’s the third book in my Reborn City series, and considering that I started this series about eight years ago, this novel is already showing my growth over that time the most more than any recent story I’ve written.

Still, I think Chapter 1 could use a lot of clean-up. There’s a lot of exposition there, so making it work with the real storytelling moments is important. And possibly the prologue could use some polish as well. Yeah, I included a prologue with this book. New thing for this series, but I think it’s good for this book. Just needs some edits.

In the meantime though, I still have an entire novel to finish, and it’ll probably be a lot longer than 50K. I’m hoping that I can finish it by mid-spring 2017, and have it out early 2018 at the latest. We’ll see what happens.

Well, that’s all for now. Unless there’s something worth posting about, I’ll try to put out a Writing/Reflections-themed post out at some point during that month. In the meantime, it’s writing, writing, writing, and hopefully a lot of it.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

first-day-first-paragraph-tag

It’s that time again. Time for the “First Day, First Paragraph” Tag. This is a tag I created myself, and I’m still trying to see if I can make it take off. And who knows? Perhaps this month I’ll see this tag take off on other blogs.

So once again, let’s go over the rules. Once tagged for “First Day, First Paragraph,” you have to do the following:

  1. Publish your own post on the first day of the month.
  2. Use the graphic above
  3. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
  4. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  5. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.
  6. Ask your readers for feedback.
  7. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month (for example, if you do the tag on the first of August, the person you tag has to do it on the first of September), and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

As you can see, this came out on December 1st. I’ve used the graphic above, which is of my own design. I won’t thank myself, as I talk to myself too often, and I don’t need to start talking back. Explained the rules. And now to post a paragraph. Last month I did the first paragraph of Reborn City, in honor of the three-year anniversary of that novel coming out. I think this month I’ll do Video Rage, RC‘s sequel, which came out back in June. If you would like to check out either novel, make sure to head to the series page above this post for descriptions and links. Enjoy.

The sunbaked concrete and metal in the hundred-plus degree heat, the many cars and trucks reflected light off their chrome bodies like blinding beasts zooming down the highway. As truckers listened to country and rock music and children played video games on the backs of their parents’ car seats, some occasionally looked out to see a marvel of the modern world on the road. Five black hoverbikes, each with two people straddling the seats, zoomed between vehicles as they floated a few feet above the ground. Those who saw them marveled, paying no attention to the riders, who would’ve warranted their own attention if the drivers knew who they were.

Thoughts? Comments? Let’s discuss.

Okay, now I have to tag someone. This month, I’m going with a good friend who enjoys reading my books when she has the time. Ruth Ann Nordin, you’ve been tagged. You’ve got to do this on January 1st. Better schedule this post to come out ahead of time!

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I plan to have another post out later today with a wrap-up of NaNoWriMo, so keep an eye out for that. Until next time!

Reborn City, my first published novel

Reborn City, my first published novel

One hot summer day eight years ago, a young high schooler was walking home from the library with the plan to stop by Dairy Queen and grab some ice cream. While he was walking, he was listening to a new CD he’d picked up from the library, the soundtrack to a movie he really liked. And while he listened to the first track, a rock/hip-hop style song called “Stoopid Ass,” he found himself thinking of another movie he’d seen recently and really enjoyed, Freedom Writers. He loved that movie, about how gangsters were inspired by a teacher to be more than what they and others thought they could be. The high schooler thought about how the song he was listening to might have fit well on the soundtrack for that movie as well. And then, very casually, he thought to himself, “I should write a gangster story.”

And like that, ideas started exploding like fireworks in his head. He began thinking of ways to make it more unique compared to other gangster stories, where to set it, what sort of characters there should be. He spent the rest of the afternoon thinking of his new story and what kind of story it could become. The very next spring, he started writing it, making a few notes in a notebook before creating an outline on a laptop in his mother’s basement, which was his usual writing space in those days. Over two years, he wrote and wrote, until about a month before he graduated high school, he finished his new novel, Reborn City, a story about street gangs in a dystopian future and the trials they face while trying to find a life better than the ones they’re currently living in.

In college, he edited and edited, and had a friend help him make sure he missed nothing with the final draft. Because he wasn’t having that much luck finding an agent or a publisher, he took advantage of the growing self-publishing industry, and published Reborn City on November 1st, 2013. Some months later he finished writing the sequel, Video Rage, which he’d begun writing over the previous summer, and which he published in June 2016, the day after he moved into a new apartment to be closer to a new job. And today, on November 1st, 2016, he’s going to start the final novel in the Reborn City series, Full Circle.

Video Rage, the second book in the RC series.

Video Rage, the second book in the RC series.

Switching to first person, I’m very excited that I’m finally at this juncture at this series. The Reborn City series has been a labor of love for so long, about seven or eight years worth of sweat, blood and tears. And it’s been worth it. A lot of people–some of whom are not related to me and obligated to read my books, surprisingly–have discovered the series and enjoyed reading it. Nobody’s told me yet that the series has changed their lives (I hear that’s rare anyway), but they’ve told me how they identified with the characters, or how imaginative the world of the story is. And one person told me that some of the themes in the book–racism, Islamapohobia, terrorism, urban violence, etc.–make the series pretty relevant to today’s problems, which I feel is quite the compliment.

And tonight after work, I’ll be starting the final book, Full Circle. Honestly, I’m a little surprised that I’ve made it so far. Even after Video Rage came out, I kind of felt towards Full Circle like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin probably thought about the end of the millennium: it’ll happen, but it’s so far away, why even bother thinking about it?  And now I’m about to start work on it, on the same day I published the first book in the series. Boy, did it creep up on me.

You know, in a strange way, I feel like I’ve come full circle, just like this book’s title. When I published the first book, I felt like I was starting something really big, even if the book never sold a million copies or was well-reviewed. And now that I’m starting the final book, it feels like I’m starting the beginning of the end of something, in more ways than one. It’s really exciting, and I can’t wait to see where it brings me.

So, what can readers expect from the last book? Well, I’ll keep the spoilers away for readers who haven’t read the books yet and might want to, but I’ve got some fun stuff planned for Full Circle. For example:

  • I’ve got a great line-up of antagonists. I always knew for the final book, I wanted bad guys like nothing seen before in the series. And I’ve come up with those villains. As a group, they’re called the Navagraha, which is a Hindu form of astrology revolving around seven gods and two demons, and they’re going to push the main characters in ways they’ve never been pushed before. You’ll also get to see an old foe of the main characters, Jason Price, transformed in ways that make him even more evil than he was before. I’m going to have fun exploring his character in this new role for him.
  • New revelations and challenges. In addition to the Navagraha and the challenges those guys pose, the main characters will have to deal with some changes that they never saw coming. Our male lead Rip will learn things about his past, a past that he thought was lost to him. And Iori will find herself in an unimaginable position, and what she decides to do once there will affect her in so many different ways. Not to mention, finding herself in this position brings about new choices for the main characters, new paths they can take on the road of life that they thought closed to them.
    I know, sounds very vague. But I’ve been setting some of these things up since as far back as the first book, and I’m looking forward to writing them. When you, dear Followers, read them, I hope you find them just as enjoyable.
  • I’ll be doing my best George RR Martin impression. By that, I mean I’ll be killing off a lot of characters, including ones that readers may really like and be attached to (you thought that I was going to have lots of politics and gratuitous sex, didn’t you? Nope, not that kind of series). I really don’t want to kill off some of these characters, but I feel like it’s best for the story if I do. So get your tissues ready. I’m wielding an executioner’s axe with my laptop, and it’s about to rain heads.

That’s all for now. As it’s National Novel Writing Month, I don’t know if I’ll be very active on the blog this month. You know, trying to get as much of fifty-thousand words in a month written as possible. But I hope you’ll still continue to support me as I work hard to finish this series and bring the final book to you guys. In the meantime, if you would like to check out Reborn City and Video Rage, I’ll post the links below. If you end up getting a copy, and you like what you read, please let me know what you. Positive or negative, I love feedback from readers on my work, and I would love yours.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

Reborn City: Available from Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & NobleiBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Video Rage: Available from Amazon, Kindle, CreatespaceBarnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo

Hey, Followers of Fear! Long time no see! I’ve been busy trying to get a short story done before November 1st. And tonight, I managed to do it. Car Chasers is a short story that centers around a Fast & Furious-esque race held in a forest where ghosts chase the racers. Yeah, it’s a pretty out there concept, isn’t it? And I think it might make a great movie, even without Vin Diesel in a starring role.

I liked writing this story for a number of reasons. Along with a fun concept, it focused on a particular incident with these races, told through the point of view of an unreliable narrator. Normally, the unreliable narrators I encounter in fiction are jackasses (the main characters of Gone Girl and Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, for example), but the narrator in this story is actually telling it trying to put a good spin on a friend of his, which is different from my normal experience. I also put a few people I know in the story in varying capacities (you’re welcome, Pat Bertram and Melissa Mendel), and named the bad guy of this story after a certain public figure I dislike a lot right now. Yeah, I’m sadistic that way. It’s fun.

So when can you read this story? Well, it’s a first draft, and it’s going to need a lot of work. For one thing, there are some places in the story that could be fixed or trimmed down. As the story is a bit over ten-thousand words, and therefore technically a novelette, I might want to really trim it down if I want to get it into a magazine. If that doesn’t happen, I can see this in my upcoming collection of short stories, Teenage Wasteland. The characters are at the right age, so it’s a good choice for the collection.

In the meantime though, November is just around the corner. And for novelists, that means one thing: National Novel Writing Month. I’ve got the final Reborn City novel to write, and after that, I’m devoting all my time to getting that novel and Teenage Wasteland out as soon as possible.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll see you guys with a couple of posts on November 1st, when I’ll be doing another “First Day, First Paragraph” Tag, and talking about Reborn City and the final novel, Full Circle. Have a happy Halloween, guys. See you soon!

first-day-first-paragraph-tag

It’s time for another tag. Only this time, I’m the one who created it! Mwa ha ha ha!

And sorry if the graphic is kind of basic. First time using Canva.com (which I think I’ll use in the future for other projects).

So as many of you know, I had to stop doing #FirstLineFriday on a weekly basis because I needed to spend more time writing. Still, I liked doing #FirstLineFriday, and I think a lot of you enjoyed it too (I certainly never got any comments or messages from anyone saying that they hated my #FirstLineFriday posts). So I decided to create a tag that I could do on a less frequent basis, but does something similar to #FirstLineFriday. Hence the creation of the “First Day, First Paragraph” Tag.*

Now that that explanation is out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty details. Here are the rules. Once tagged for “First Day, First Paragraph,” you must:

  1. Publish your own post on the first day of the month.
  2. Use the graphic above
  3. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
  4. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  5. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.
  6. Ask your readers for feedback.
  7. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month (for example, if you do the tag on the first of August, the person you tag has to do it on the first of September), and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

Rules 1 and 2 are done. I’m not going to link back to me or thank me, because that’s weird. And I just did number 4, so now onto number 5. As it’s October, and that means Halloween, I’m going to do a potential opening for a story idea I have that takes place around Halloween. Anyway, enjoy:

Lanie sat in her chair, feeling like a piece of shit. It was over. Everything was over. She had had one last shot, one last chance to prove herself as an actress before the money ran out and she had to pack it up and head back home. Why couldn’t she have held it together? She had been so confident coming in, knew every line from the audition script by heart (most of it raunchy jokes and puns revolving around shoes and feet), as well as how to say each line to deliver the most punch. And she had totally fucked it up. Now she had no chance of getting the stupid part!

Thoughts? Errors? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

And now to tag someone to continue the tag. I had two people I wanted to be my first victim tag. In the end, I chose to do one person this month and the other next month, because the first person usually loves doing tags. So, Kat Impossible, you’ve been tagged! You have to do the “First Day, First Paragraph” Tag on November 1st. Have fun! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll have a Reflections post later this month, most likely, so keep an eye out for it. Until then, as always, I’ll update you if anything needs updating. Have a great October, my Followers of Fear! I know I plan to.

*This is actually the second tag I’ve created. The first, The Black Dragon Award, was back in 2013. Sadly, I don’t think it got very far after the first few nominations. Perhaps someday I’ll have to try to resurrect it. You never know. It could go much farther this time.

So earlier today, I completed the first draft of Full Circle, the sequel to Video Rage and the final book in the Reborn City series. I’m super excited to have finally reached the point where I’m ready to work on the final book in the trilogy, and I cannot wait for November to start so I can start on Full Circle.

Okay, I can wait, because October is one of my favorite months of the year. Still, very exciting.

Reborn City, the first book in the RC series

Reborn City, the first book in the RC series

So, if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, the Reborn City series is a science-fiction trilogy I started writing back in high school. The first book, Reborn City, was published in November 2013, and the second book, Video Rage, was released in June of this year. The series follows a super-powered street gang in the titular city, and their connection with the shadowy organization that rules over it. The series contains themes of prejudice and intolerance, gang violence, drug addiction, and, most importantly, overcoming what others think of you and what you think of yourself.

I’ve been working on this trilogy since 2009, so it’ll be good to get it done. As to when it’ll be done, I’m not sure. I’ve planned thirty-three chapters in total, which is between the number in Reborn City and the number in Video Rage. Of course, the number of chapters is never a good indicator of how long it’ll be in total, or of how long it’ll take to write. It’s especially hard to gauge when this is the first time I’ll be writing a full-length novel while working a full-time job.

Anyone have a way to divide me into two people so one guy can write and the other can go to work? Anyone? Bueller?

Well, at least I’ve established a writing routine that works for me at the moment. Yeah, that thing I was doing with trying to get 250 words written every writing session? It works very well for me. When I start out, I think to myself, “Just get 250 done, and you can be done.” However, around 150 or 200 words, I’m already deep into the story , and I don’t want to stop if I can help it. And if I can make that work for just the outline of FC, I think it’ll work just as well for the actual novel.

And speaking of which, I plan to start writing Full Circle in November for National Novel Writing Month (I don’t expect to get anywhere near fifty-thousand words, but I can try to get some words in and see how far I go). In the meantime, I have a book I plan to read as soon as possible for research purposes, and I have short stories for Teenage Wasteland that I want to work on, so I’ll be doing those for a while. Have to keep myself busy, right?

Video Rage, the second book in the RC series.

Video Rage, the second book in the RC series.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. If I have any updates, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, don’t expect much from me besides the review of the first episode of season six of American Horror Story (what’s the theme?! Somebody tell us!!!) until October 1st, when I have something big planned.

And if you would like to read Reborn City or Video Rage, I’ll include the links below to purchase a copy. And if you like what you read, please let me know. Positive or negative, I love feedback from readers, and I’m always happy to hear what you have to say.

Until next time.

Reborn City:Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & NobleiBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Video Rage: Amazon, Kindle, CreatespaceBarnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo