Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Something to read

I have mentioned in the past that I attend a writer's group a couple of times a month. One of the writers has started posting stuff on Scrib'd. Her name's Elaine and she's good. Her style is very different than mine but she's very readable.

Check out the two stories she's posted here.

Rung nine

So we made it to rung nine this morning. It's still a little bony and there is room to flesh things out, but we're there. And Chasing Filthy Lucre just passed the 12,000 word mark, so that's cool. Still have no idea how long this will be, but I don't have a problem selling it for 99 cents now.

A little conflict should be coming up in the next scene as our two main characters struggle to decide if they are going to stick together or not. Should be fun to write. Some cards are going to be laid on the table. I am looking forward to getting back into my world. If you've read it on Scrib'd then you know that the place I've created is a little messy, but I've gotten comfortable there.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Part Two finished

I wrapped up the second part of my now four part story this morning. I need to print it out and read it again, but that can wait. I am going to spend the rest of today enjoying the fact that we are halfway done, at least according to the outline.

I introduced a new character who I may be able to explore a little more in another story. He doesn't have a name here and, I think, has only one line of dialogue. Shouldn't I remember that? I literally finished writing him five minutes ago.

Next up, rung nine on my sixteen rung ladder. This is fun.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How do you decide a book's genre?

First, I am typing this down one finger due to a softball injury. It's nothing serious, but I may be down one fingernail for a little while. It hurts, but nothing that wont heal. Hopefully quickly.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law went to church with us Sunday and then to lunch. We had a discussion on the way home about my WIP that's up on Scrib'd. Got some good feedback then we talked about how it was classified as sci-fi over there. My sister-in-law said that if she hadn't been told it was sci-fi then she wouldn't have known that's what it was.

Honestly, while the story has some technology elements that are a little futuristic, there is nothing explicitly sci-fi about the story. It's not a space opera that features ships and aliens and different planets. If anything, it's a near-future sci fi story.

So, this is my dilemma, at least it will be once the WIP is finished, how do I classify this thing? I know that this is putting the cart before the horse. Just finish the story, right? Classification won't matter if there is no story to classify. But still, would I be better off classifying this thing as a thriller? Honestly, it's more of a hard-boiled, noir story. But those aren't classifications available most places. My worry is that I don't want to stick this someplace that the people who would enjoy it, recommend it to friends, would never find it.

Just something I am thinking about.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I now have an outline

So I took a couple minutes today and put the outline that was in my head down on paper. Gina knows me well. She went to buy school supplies the other day and she picked up a journal and some new pens for me. I am using the journal as an idea book for my series of stories in the Filthy Lucre universe.

First thing in there is the outline to Chasing Filthy Lucre. It's exciting to see where I am going and that we have an ending. But it's also a little disheartening to have so much left to go. I've broken the story into four parts. And each of those parts has four parts. So, of the 16 total parts to the story only seven are done. We are about to move into the eighth part tonight and, I suppose, that makes me feel a little better. Halfway home.

Like I said, it's exciting to have the map to follow now, and I may need to use a light outline from now on. But it's also disappointing to see how far I have left to go since the original story in my head was nearly complete. I know I have a much better story to tell now. It's more involved with more at stake for the characters. And it will make the big break at the end that much more believable, but still. Nine more bits to write. Ugh.

Self publishing and editing

I've been in a bit of an editing mode lately, ever since the lightbulb moment actually. Now that I know the bigger story here I wanted to make sure that what I'd written was going to line up with what I am going to write.

I am trying to be very diligent with the editing. I want this thing to be squeaky clean before it gets put up for sale. I know that some errors may, and probably will, get through. But it won't be because I'm lazy. Unfortunatley lazy editing is one of the things that has given self publishing a bad name over the years. I was reminded of that reading a thread on the Kindleboards web site the other day. Some writers there took offense to another author saying most self published books were amateurish and unprofessional. Problem is that he was right. One of the reasons self published books have a reputation for being of lesser quality is a lack of proper editing. That's why I want Filthy Lucre to be a tight, well-told story that doesn't have any distracting errors that pull the reader from the tale.

You can read a little more on editing at Self Publishing Review. That's right here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chasing Filthy Lucre progress

So I mentioned the lightbulb moment the other day. Well, today I started working on making those fixes. Added more than 1,000 words to the first part. I think my main character is going to be much better developed. His name is Weber Rexall, by the way. If you've read Part One on Scrib'd you know he isn't named there. Along with giving the reader more insight into what makes him tick I'm also going to work out a way to have his name mentioned.

The big chunk that I added today was from an earlier work. I just lifted it and dropped it in. I'll need to adjust some of the verb tenses, but it's in pretty good shape already. It's set in Rexall's apartment and we get to see him alone since all of the action so far is him with other people. He's proving to be the good guy with some serious flaws that I want him to be. I'm making him worse so that Berger -- the secondary character he works with most of the book -- will look better in the end.

On top of giving the reader a look into Rexall's personal life, this new section also helps explain some of the technology that is a big part of the story. I'm solving problems left and right over here.

So, you'll notice in the counter on the right that we've moved past the halfway mark. We are at 51 percent complete if it stays at 20k words.

Monday, July 19, 2010

End of day Scrib'd update

Well, best day at Scrib'd so far. A whopping 57 reads total. Now if that means 57 readers I'm not sure. I know Gina said that when she read it there she saw the numbers increase by three so it may be a bit off. But it doesn't matter to me. I ended the day with 112 reads on Part One and 233 reads overall. Happy about that. Hoping the momentum keeps going tomorrow. We'll see.

First lines

I love a great opening line. If it hooks me from the first word and I'll read your book. Make me work to get into it and there is a good chance I won't make it three pages in. There are exceptions, but, in general, that's one of the Rules of Jarrett.*

There is an article on first lines at the Self-Publishing Review website. Here is one that I'd never read but liked enough to share it.

The same, yet more dramatic, applies to the intro of Run Maggie Run by John Ivor, which has been compared to a Dickens tale: A finger of sunshine poked through the grime of courtroom windows, polished the dock’s varnished panels and created a halo for the prisoner, she who was known as Maggie, age nine. The charge was murder.

I'll be honest, that doesn't start well for me. Fingers of sunshine poking through grime has me worried that this is going to be too flowery for me. Then it gets good when we introduce Maggie. I wasn't hooked until the "age nine" part. That's what got me, especially after I read the charge was murder.

* Rules of Jarrett. I just made that up but it's not a bad idea to run with. Expect more of those. So many it may get annoying. Here's a freebie that I may have mentioned before. If I lose interest in a book it's OK to put it down. There is no obligation to finish a book once it's started.

Scrib'd numbers heading in the right direction

UPDATE: It's 12:48 here and I have passed the 200 reader mark. The count is at 208 right now. We have 87 reads on Part One.

Thanks to a little Facebook promotion from my wife, and I am choosing to believe a good story, Part One of my WIP is very quickly approaching 100 readers. And if current trends hold and I get about 10 readers today then I should pass 200 overall readers sometime this afternoon. That means I'll have had 200 reads on all the pieces I have up over there.

I'm happy. Maybe I should be hoping for more, but for right now I'm happy. In my head I have done some quick calculations and if those 75 readers would have paid $1 for the completed piece I would have made roughly $26 through Amazon's Kindle store. That's since last Wednesday, only six days. If the pace holds and I get to about 90 reads by end of the day tomorrow that'd be $31.50 in a week.

The one dollar price is the one I was going to use if this stayed a novella. With the additions I am going to make this could spin closer to 50k words. At that point I'd feel OK pricing it at the $2 to $2.99 range. Here's the breakdown with those prices.

90 sales at $2 each would equal $63.

90 sales at$2.99 each would equal $188. The jump here is that when things get priced $2.99 or above at Amazon they royalty rate cranks up to 70%. Everything under that is 35%. I'd be happy with anything, but if I were to get this story long enough to feel comfortable pricing it at $2.99 then in a month I could make $750.

I know, before anyone says anything, that these are big assumptions. I don't know how well I'd sell. Or if I'd sell at all. But it's fun to speculate and think about it anyway. Because I'm encouraged by the numbers I see on Scrib'd.

If you've read it, thanks. Appreciate that. You're helping me a lot. If you haven't read it, why wait?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Scrib'd success

I have to say that I am much happier with the results on the new upload at Scrib'd. It's been up less than a week and there are already at 43 reads. The first piece that's posted there has about a month and a half head start and it has 111 reads. So it's not quite half of the first piece yet, but it's close. And it's only been up for three days. Not bad. So if you're one of the people whose clicked and read Part One of my WIP, thanks. If you haven't, click the link on the right. Just keep in mind that with my lightbulb moment the other day things are going to change a bit. I'll be adding a scene that should give a little more depth to my main character. And I'll be adding a bit of a reveal near the end. But the guts of the story will remain the same.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A lightbulb moment

I know I've mentioned here in the past that I am a seat-of-the-pants writer. I know my beginning, I know a bit of the middle, and I know my ending. Other than that I don't have all the details on my story fleshed out. I'll either find the details while I'm writing or they'll come to me while I'm doing other things.

Today was a day when something came to me. Was working at the day job and thinking about the current WIP. In my head the ending of this story is fuzzy. Well, not anymore. Now I know how it ends. And I know more of the middle. And I know that it's going to take me much longer to write than I had expected. I have an entire new plot twist I have to write, but, honestly, it's going to be such a so much better story. I also have some small scenes I need to add to the first two parts of the story that I thought were done. But that's OK. It's going to be a better story. Much more complete. And closer to the 20,000 words that I thought this thing should/could be.

So, more work, but work that should be worth it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The WIP is up on Scrib'd

I've posted the first part of my current WIP on Scrib'd. I'd love to hear what everyone thinks. Like I mentioned last night, the second part is also done. Well, the writing is. Is till need to give it a hard edit and make those fixes. Then get it in the hands of some beta readers to look at it. Ugh, every time I think I am close to getting this thing done and uploaded for sale I think about all of the steps that are left.

Nothing I can do about it, though, other than to keep moving forward. And it would help me move forward if others could give part one a read and let me know what they think. It's 6,00 words and ends on a cliffhanger. So, if you are so inclined you can click the Scrib'd link on the right side and take a look.

Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two parts of three --- done

Have I mentioned yet that my WIP is told in three parts? I thought I had, but if not I meant to. My current WIP is told in three parts.

Tonight I finished a transition piece that I needed to get my main characters from Point A to Point B. It added about 226 words to the second section, but somehow my word count dropped by about 20 words. Not entirely sure how that happened. I did read through it again and took a few words out here and there to tighten, but I know I didn't take out 250 of them. I am going to chalk the difference up to a calculation error. I was never good at math anyway.

No matter the count I now have two of the three sections done. We can see the finish line now. Coming down the home stretch. I am getting excited.

P.S. Well the first section is ready for Beta readers. Have one lined up for sure and am going to check with him just to make sure he is still up for it. It's only 6,000 words so it's not that long. I am hoping to get that out to him by this weekend and then get the first part posted on Scrib'd. I have had many people read the other piece that's up there, but I'm hoping things will be difference with this one.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A productive weekend all around

Spent the end of last week editing and adding to the first part of my current WIP. Made all the changes to get my verbs into past tense. Made other changes I'd marked when I read through the print out a few weeks ago. Then I read through it again and found more things to fix. Always amazing to me how much I miss. Made those changes, including adding some background info that rounds things out, I think. Will help the reader understand this world I've created.

I think I can be too vague, hoping that the reader will stick with me through all my subtleties. I get caught up too much in knowing my world and knowing what certain terms mean. I forget that not everyone reader is going to know what it means. So that's what I added. Just some background and explainer info. I did it quick so I need to go back and make sure it all makes sense. I think I added three or four paragraphs in all, but it did push my word count over 9,000.

Still thinking that I may not make my 20,000 word count I was shooting for. It'll probably be more in the 12,500 to 15,000 range. Still a long piece, but I was hoping for more.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

He nodded

Doing these corrections I am noticing that I have a default reaction for my characters. They nod. A lot. Maybe I should change a few of these to some other type of action.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Scrib'd success

I'll say that I have been a little disappointed in the number of people who've seen my story I have up over at Scrib'd. I see that other writers have had several thousand views. And those aren't the novel excerpts from NY publishing houses. These are the writers like me who are just trying to make a go of it. There are a few with 10,000-plus reads so I have hope. Right now I am just over 70 reads, and I know most of them are from me. But I haven't given up yet since I am going to try and promote the novella there. Anyway, here is the piece I have up on Scrib'd now if you wanted to take a look but haven't yet.

Make it a Double

Scrib'd, Smashwords, and a freebie

I've been thinking lately about getting my work out in front of people and ways to do that. I have come up with something I'm going to give a shot. Well, thanks to Gina, a couple of somethings.

First, I am in the middle of corrections on the first section of the WIP. I'd made the paper corrections a few weeks ago. Noe I am adding them to the Word file. They are going slowly, but that was expected. I wrote more than half of these 22 pages in present tense. It didn't work very well in the beginning but I stuck with it. I didn't abandoned present tense until about 10 pages in. I never went back and fixed the beginning, preferring to keep the momentum going and moving the story forward.

Once the corrections are done I am going to make another pass through Part 1 and then send it to some others to read. After I get those notes back and make proper fixes I am going to post it to Scrib'd and Smashwords and see if I can't drum up a little interest in the whole thing. Part 1 ends on a nice cliffhanger and if I were reading it I'd want to know what comes next. I'd love to post to Kindle but I can't put up something for free there.

So that's my first idea. Offer a freebie look at the novella and hope to get people wanting to pay for the full thing. I'll also offer a free .pdf on here for those who don't have any way to read an ebook.

The second idea is one I had been thinking about but then abandoned. Podcasts. Gina took a class yesterday on Garageband and it got her thinking about way to get my work out there and this was her suggestion. Think we are going to try it. A podcast of the first part of the story, again to drum up some interest. I've got a brother who has some music production skills so we could make a nice theme song I am sure. And now Gina has the ability to record me reading the story.

So there are the developments. We'll see how they work and if I can't become a big a successful indie author. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy birthday, USA

We are back from the east coast and, let me tell you, we gave it the what-for. In five days we did drove nearly 1,000 miles in the rental car, passed through four states and one district, saw more American icons than I can count, counted 23 out of the country's 50 license plates, and had more fun than I can even tell you about.

We swam in the Atlantic Ocean, played the slots, and ate pastries made at a famous bakery.

When I get the pictures off the camera I'll post them here. But for now, It's back to work on the WIP and getting it ready for it's Amazon debut.