Becoming an Author

A number of years ago I wrote a book. I think I told a pretty good story. I wrote two sequels so that now I have a trilogy. I have no doubt that if I had tried to publish them as they were, a few people might have bought them and enjoyed the stories. I might even have made a little bit of money. But I want to publish them the right way. I want to make sure that the stories hold together. I want that world to be consistent. So, I rewrote Book 1. You’ve seen some of the ARC chapters here. I was in love with the story so the book didn’t change a whole lot – I did try to shore up some areas that I realized were weak. I sent the book out for query and to beta readers. 1 agent has already told me “No.” I expected that, to be honest. I got back the reactions from one beta reader.

While enjoying the overall story, he pointed out some weaknesses and omissions. Most of the weaknesses I think I knew, deep down. Perhaps I thought that they weren’t really weak parts of the story, especially after I tried to strengthen some; perhaps I thought that those parts were weak because of my own insecurity and that others wouldn’t see them. He saw them. So, I have a couple of options: I can choose to ignore those parts of the criticism that would require a lot of work to fix and remain a story teller, or I can choose to become an author.

The first and second draft were the basics of the story I had in me. It was a nice story. The comments from my beta reader will make my “nice” story become a much stronger book. In order to follow this reader’s advice and become an author, I’m going to need to do a major re-tooling of the book. Plot points that hinged on one aspect of my main character will need to be completely re-written. My villain will need to be shown as more sneak and conniving while at the same time his positive qualities will have to come out. I will have to throw out parts of the story that I loved. I will have to make a much more determined effort to build and flesh out the world in which this story takes place and use ::shudder:: description – one of my weakest points.

Today I begin to become an author instead of just a story teller or a writer. I won’t begin by re-writing again. I will begin by getting to know my characters even better. I will begin to flesh out my world. My hope and my prayer is that by the time I finish this process of re-tooling this writing, it will be more than just a good story – it will be a book that I can be proud of. Join me on the journey. Give me suggestions as I walk…now…onto the work.

(Edit Note: All of these posts will be found under the “Journaling” Category)

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#ROW80 Check In and #5MinuteFiction Update

The Row 80 Challenge

The Row 80 Challenge

 

#5MinuteFiction is one of the things that I enjoy doing every Tuesday night, except I haven’t been able to participate the last three weeks due to various conflicts. Tonight the prompt was “Show the magical side of an everyday, boring object.” We had some interesting stories and circumstances. In fact, we showed the magical side of time! One of the fun parts of #5MinuteFiction is the voting. So, if you’d like to take part in that part of the contest, please feel free to go on over to Write on Wendy and read the stories and vote. My everyday object was a fan. I should also point out that the lady who inspired me to start out on ROW80 has a story in the voting as well.

 

Now, to the #ROW80 goals.

Goal #1 – Editing. I plan to do about 2 hours per week editing previous work.

Not much editing yet. Tuesday night is more of a new work night, especially with #5MinuteFiction. 

Goal #2 – Writing. I have a couple of short story ideas that I’d like to play with. So, I’ll do about 2 hours per week of short story writing.

I did an hour of writing, maybe a bit more. I also finished #5MinuteFiction this week.

Goal #3 – Begin cleaning up the mess that passes for my room at school.

State Testing is this week. I had to get some cleaning done so that I could test legally.

Goal #4 – Work on my reading. I need to spend about 4 hours this week on craft productive or other essential reading. 

Been working on this. 1 hour on prep for the State Test; 1 hour on the reading I’m doing for another group.

Goal #5 – no more than 1 hour per day on Facebook. 

While I was trying to get ready to work on this, I needed to talk to someone on Facebook. The talk went on for more than an hour in addition to the little bit of  time that I had already spent on Facebook Tuesday. 

So, I’m happy with the progress so far. I just can’t afford to start slipping! Besides, I have some major conflicts coming up in the evenings and I can’t afford to waste any time. So, while I’ve made progress this week, I still have to buckle down.

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Week 2 of #ROW80 and I’m Slipping!

The Row 80 Challenge

The Row 80 Challenge

 

Oh! This is so uncool! Here I am trying to write and edit and stuff…and distractions hit. I need to avoid … another Facebook message? I MUST get that. With my self-imposed holiday from Facebook over, distractions are even easier to come by. I’m thinking a new goal is to stay on task!

So, real quickly since I’m late after finishing grading.

 

 

 

Goal #1 – Editing. I plan to do about 2 hours per week editing previous work.

I got about an hour and a half done. I think it was productive editing. I just let myself get distra…the Hawks let another goal in with less than a minute left? Now, where was I?

Goal #2 – Writing. I have a couple of short story ideas that I’d like to play with. So, I’ll do about 2 hours per week of short story writing.

45 minutes to an hour written. Slow progress….

Goal #3 – get back where I need to be emotionally at school.

Grading done. State Testing coming up. Retirement plans pretty much put on hold for the time being…I should be good.

Goal #4 – Work on my reading. I need to spend about 4 hours this week on craft productive or other essential reading. 

Uhmmmm Photography and other things seemed so much more important than reading……the hummingbirds are in town! And…a summer tanager!

Ok…updated goals. Now that I am back on Facebook I need to limit my time there. Goal #5 – no more than 1 hour per day on Facebook. Goal #3 – Begin cleaning up the mess that passes for my room at school.

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There was This Set of Goals I was Supposed to Be Working on – Row80

Ok, ok. So Wednesday is a terrible day for me to have to report. Monday night – not home til about 9:00 and then having to do dishes. (My wife’s doctor’s excuse expires soon, though.) Tuesday night, I can only say that I worked on goal number 3. Wednesday Night – I just got home and my only writing is going to be on this blog. Oh, and helping a friend edit an essay she has to write. It will be a late night. So…

 

 

Goal #1 – Editing. I plan to do about 2 hours per week editing previous work.

There’s still time. I don’t count the editing I’ll be doing for my friend. Nothing so far.

Goal #2 – Writing. I have a couple of short story ideas that I’d like to play with. So, I’ll do about 2 hours per week of short story writing.

Uhm…there’s still time. etc.

Goal #3 – get back where I need to be emotionally at school.

Ok…with all the tension, I needed a blowout type of night. So here. I was talking to kids at school about that today.”You know what a selfie is, sir?”) Spoken with utter amazement. When I talked about using the hashtag that put it on the big video screen they gasped. “You know what a hashtag is sir?” They also asked about Facebook and Instagram. That and the end of the biggest tension producer for me made today a lot more fun. I need to be able to enjoy my students in order to be the kind of teacher I like to be. That and only have 6-7 weeks of school left….

Goal #4 – Work on my reading. I need to spend about 4 hours this week on craft productive or other essential reading. 

Remember what I said earlier about there still being time. Ditto.

I am looking forward to more writing time tomorrow – but I realize tomorrow may not be the writing nirvana I had expected. Thus, I really should seek to do a little bit each day. That or a lot on the weekends. (I bet you were expecting something deep and philosophical the way that started!)

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Week 1 of #ROW80 in the Can

The Row 80 Challenge

The Row 80 Challenge

Well it’s certainly been an interesting week. Let’s not do that again. Sometimes writing has been a diversion from the pressures of the world. This week it’s been a necessary escape. Rather than dwell on this let’s keep looking to the future. So, as to my goals….

Goal #1 – Editing. I plan to do about 2 hours per week editing previous work.

I actually met this goal in an unexpected way. I write devotional thoughts on my daily Bible Reading each day. Someone put a bug in my ear about finding a way to publish them. So, I spent 2-3 hours working on editing those thoughts. I had planned to work on editing some past novels from my NaNo participation but this just struck me as what I needed to do. If you are interested, my daily writings can be seen at my devotional blog

Goal #2 – Writing. I have a couple of short story ideas that I’d like to play with. So, I’ll do about 2 hours per week of short story writing.

I just had a few minutes of writing to meet this goal and I got that done. I don’t know how much quantity I got done in that two hours, but I got a lot of research done by talking with my son. (I needed some help on military procedures.) Talking with him was the best part of that time.

Goal #3 – Use time wisely at school and get caught up on grading so that I have time to write!

I don’t know how wisely I’ve used my time, but I’m almost caught up on my grading. I’d better be by the end of the week since grades are due. To be honest, issues at school are what have made this such an “interesting” week. Without going into it, I can say that my stomach is still unhappy about things. I will get over it though. I’m working hard to prevent myself from making snap emotional decisions that will have long term effects.

Goal #4 – Work on my reading. I have two books I need to be reading right now. One for Sunday School leadership and the other for some group studies we’ll be doing. I need to stay caught up on those.

Let’s be honest. I didn’t touch the book for Sunday School and played hooky from that meeting. I don’t really like that book so it wasn’t a big loss. I didn’t get to the other book, but I still have time before the study. I did spend a lot of time researching some issues in publishing so it was sill worth the time. I consider the goal accomplished. 

Goal Updates for Next Week – Goals #1, #2 and #4 are good as they are, but I’d rather not be so specific on the books for goal #4. The reading will be craft productive reading or designed to keep up with other things I need to do. I need to spend about 4 hours this week. Goal #3 has to be met this week – it’s part of my job! I’m just going to try and get back where I need to be emotionally at school for Goal #3….

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#ROW80 – Experience is a Great Source of Ideas

The Row 80 Logo

The Row 80 Logo

I know that sounds like an obvious statement, but I was reminded of that the other night when I came up with the idea to use my experience for a series of stories on life in the emergency room. Without going into detail the doc told my wife that one of the medicines could make me a little loopy. She shrugged her shoulders and asked how she would notice a difference. Of course that came after the time I asked her which was worse – the er personnel having to put up with me or her having to put with me while I joke with the docs. (If laughter is the best medicine, all I can say is I was trying.) She said something about the humiliation of being called my wife while I joke with them. (She was, of course, kidding. I think.) Since I’m being kinder on myself, I can tell you it wasn’t failing in my goals for the week – I’m making pretty good progress! Here we go:

Goal #1 – Editing. I plan to do about 2 hours per week editing previous work.

This is a Saturday goal. I should be able to work on that Saturday which was generally my plan.

Goal #2 – Writing. I have a couple of short story ideas that I’d like to play with. So, I’ll do about 2 hours per week of short story writing.

I got a bit of a trade-off here. Tuesday night is a writing night when I get to include #5MinuteFiction. Life in the ER kept me from my writing. However, my boss ordered me to stay home, so I made up most of that writing…just not the #5MinuteFiction. I’m only short about 15 minutes which I should make up tonight.

Goal #3 – Use time wisely at school and get caught up on grading so that I have time to write!

I stayed away from school work today. Wife’s orders. Still have to catch up, but I did things that were relaxing for me today. Monday was the beginning of my problems so I didn’t work Monday or Tuesday on this. The pressure to catch up is still there but the rest helped.

Goal #4 – Work on my reading. I have two books I need to be reading right now. One for Sunday School leadership and the other for some group studies we’ll be doing. I need to stay caught up on those.

I do this reading either Saturday or Sunday. Will probably work some on Thursday too.

I’m making the progress I expected, except for the grading. I still have to do that. I hate grading, but that’s one of the reasons I get paid the big bucks! I try to teach my kids that sometimes jobs include things you don’t want to do but you do them because they need to be done. I won’t modify these goals until Sunday. I may keep them the same even then.

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