NaNoWriMo Update

As you can see, I’m hard at work writing my novel for NaNoWriMo.

I’m behind in my word count, but with time off next week, I plan on recovering.

Treating my writing as a “job” is new territory for me, but I have a strong crew around me to lean on when things get tough.

Back to writing!

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Do I have a novel in me?

I decided to jump into the deep end and signed up for NaNoWriMo, and I’m a bit freaked out!

Between real life job, big responsibilities at the lodge, my part-time bookstore, spending the first weekend of November at my fiance’s house for our monthly visit, can I REALLY write 50,000 words?

Honestly? I kind of doubt it, but I’m going to try.

Now, I’m not trying to be self-effacing, nor am I fishing for compliments (though feel free to toss me some if you want), but I realize that I might not be ready to “win” and I’m ok with that. Up to this point, I’ve limited myself to short stories in the 3000 – 6000 word range, can I do 10x that?

Now for some of your cynical types (you know who you are), you might be saying “He’s giving up before it even starts”. Instead, I’m looking at it as training, not everyone who signs up for a marathon makes it to the end, but in at least trying, they know what to expect next time, where their weakness may lay, and give them the determination to sign up for another one.

I’m treating NaNoWriMo like that, while I might stumble and skin my knee, I’m going to get up and try again.

“The Haunting of the Red Pen”

Quite recently I took the plunge and hired a freelance editor to “service” a 3000 word short story I had written, and I got it back the other day.

I had no doubts that there would be the usual grammar, spelling, and sentence structure concerns, but when I saw there was 57 edit points my stomach dropped and I broke out in a cold sweat. I quickly scanned through some of the issues and realized that the majority WEREN’T a misplaced comma or spelling error, there were serious writing concerns. I suspect my editor was concerned about my fragile male-ego and did their best to point out things they liked in my story, and for that I’m deeply grateful. Feeling like a talentless fool, I closed the file and tried to ignore the shame that I was feeling.

I didn’t return to it for two days. Instead, I went about my normal life, job, chores, relationships etc… but in the back of my mind the feelings of self-pity and worthlessness churned around and around.

Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer and took a in-depth look at the concerns and suggestions that my editor made, and realized that they were correct. As much as I tried not too, I had “told, not shown”, switched tenses, and failed to set the scene properly before introducing conflict.

My embarrassment returned, I’m almost old enough to be my editors father and here I was making rookie mistakes, then I realized something, I AM a rookie. No one starts out being perfect at something, it takes time, patience, commitment, and a lot of work. I’m not going to get any better at writing unless I WRITE, and use all the resources available to me, such as the editing I paid this person to do.

There is a lesson that several people have shared, but I think I needed to experience before it became “real” to me. That writing is a progressive art and there is always something to learn and improve upon. While the act of writing is usually a solitary activity, we all have an array of people who influence/guide in our lives, and we need to use them. So I’m going to act upon the suggestions of my editor, someone whom I plan on employing again for future projects, and make my story the best I can make it.

Now please excuse me, I have writing to do…

Writing level-up: I’s got me a editor!

While I have no ambition to be anything more than a part-time author, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be a GOOD writer, and for that I need help.

There is a very interesting anthology in the works (Chillers from the Rock), and I would like to submit a short story for consideration. I’ve gone through my story a couple times myself in an attempt to clean it up, “show NOT tell”, and even read it aloud to check for pauses and such.

I was going to run it through “Grammarly” and then send it off, but instead I decided to think about this for a minute, ok maybe more than a minute.

Almost every member of my online writing group uses an editor of some sort or another, and they have honest to goodness novels to their name. So I started sniffing around, asked some buddies what they used an editor for, and was quite surprised. Coherence, consistent voice, grammar, and spelling, all things that I need help with, though was surprised that they also struggled.

While they are “leap & bounds” ahead of me, I also realized that sometimes a writer can be too close to their work, too emotionally invested in it, and fail to see pitfalls.

So, I made some inquires, got a excellent recommendation of a freelance editor within my budget, made contact and am taking the plunge. I sent off my draft the other day, and am expecting a summary of the first couple pages by the weekend.

Whether of not my little story gets accepted in “CftR” or elsewhere has now become less important, making it a better story has.

Book Review #2 “The Tatterdemon” by: Steve Vernon

In an effort to support regional authors, I’m reviewing books written by Atlantic Canadians. These reviews are from a laymans point of view, I don’t have any special insight, just like what I like.

There will be two conditions though:

  1. They will be “genre fiction”.
  2. I will have the author’s permission to post the review. I realize that I don’t need it, but I wish to maintain respectful ties with each of these talented authors.

Book Review #2 “The Tatterdemon” by: Steve Vernon

I should start off by saying that I’m not much of a “horror guy”, the biggest scare I’m used too is the price of gasoline before a three-day weekend, but decided to give it a try. I should also mention that I read it as an ebook, which was a first for me, since I prefer to hold a “real” book.

Set within rural Nova Scotia, the story revolves around a witch that was murdered, and 300 years later, the evil within her soul flows through the town of Crossfall and affects many of its citizens with fatal and graphic results. Speaking of violence, the whole book is “splattered” with dismemberment, gunshots,  brutality, and rape so it might not be for younger readers.

While the descriptive violence and swearing is common within the story, it’s well written and services to continue the story. More than once, I found myself chuckling over a particularity witty “one-liner”, or sarcastic bit of dialogue. I suspect Mr. Vernon has a “dry” sense of humour, I hope to share a drink with him someday and test that out.

If I’m to say anything negative about the story is that it didn’t read like rural Nova Scotia to me. It reminded me more of a prairie town, almost the set of “The Dukes of Hazard”, but that didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment.

In closing, if you’re looking for the PERFECT harvest time read, and with Halloween only a month away who isn’t, I suggest you grab yourself “The Tatterdemon”. I truly feel that this will be a story I come back too in future years when I want to read a tale of good vs. evil with, clever writing and buckets of blood!

My review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

THE GREAT BOOK GIVEAWAY

Spread some love guys, local author running a contest.

42 Webs

givawayIt’s giveaway time!!

This is fun time of the year where I get to give away free books to eager readers. It’s not often that I get to do this so I very am excited too be able to give the gift of the written word. All you have to do is enter by clicking HERE!!

WHAT ARE THE PRIZES

  • 1 of six (6) physical books – signed however you want them
  • Free VCO bookmarks drawn by Valerie Gent
  • DRM-Free epub of my VCO ebooks
  • Other Goodies!
  • My admiration!

You can win all that? LE GASP!! How can this be true? Is it true? IT IS!!! I get to be Oprah and give all this away!  You get a book! You get a book! You get a book!

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ENTER NOW

HOW IT WORKS

All contestants must submit the form but aside from that there are additional ways to win. Between

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Do you have a writing nook?

Up until very recently, the majority of my writing took place wherever I could find a bit of free space, usually the kitchen table or my desk at work, but it always took a while settled and comfortable.

I’m self-aware of my personality well enough, they I knew I needed structure and stability if I was going to get any serious writing done, and by serious, I mean more than two sentences a day…

So, after a period of intense negotiation with the fiancé, in which I succumbed to her choice of paint colour in the Master Bedroom, I was allowed to have a writing area.

It’s been a project on my mind for several months now, I would look at the area as I lugged a piece of baseboard out to the garage to try to cut “longer”, or one of a thousand loops throughout the house as I looked for tools that grew legs…

Last month I finally allowed myself some time to get it into shape. Above an old and battered computer desk, I made two shelves, one for reference books, and the other for a growing collection of novels published by local authors (and friends). I consider that shelf my motivation shelf. When I get stuck, or the “Black Dog” comes barking, I look up at their efforts and know that they want me to succeed.

I still have some minor adjustments to the setup to make, but with “Grump the Gargoyle” keeping an eye on me, I know my productivity will improve.

Time to get writing!