Photo Courtesy of Theresa Thompson via Creative Commons
I am so excited—I’m telling you, I am about to plotz! I have been invited to join nine other extraordinary authors of horror and dark fantasy in a new box set called The Shadow Box. In it—among other fine examples of the horror genre—you will find Book One of THE DEAD SERIES, Tell Me When I’m Dead.
But first …
We need your vote. Seriously. We cannot choose the final cover—you have to. So scroll down, take a look at the five proposed book covers and cast your vote. Do it now!
If you’ve been waiting to read Book One of THE DEAD SERIES, here’s a great opportunity to pick it up for a buck, starting Friday. That’s right.
Forty-three reviews—almost every one five stars. Zombies, wackos and paramilitary nutjobs. It’s all here.
And if that’s not enough, here are a few choice quotes …
“A FIVE STAR gorefest and a must read.” “A wild slay ride into hell.” “Dead awesome!” “A hard-hitting splattergore zombie thriller.”
I’ve decided to keep the book on sale through the 31st. So what in the name of all that is holy are you waiting for?!
Oh, yeah, the blurb.
Tell Me When I’m Dead Everything was fine until that horrible night when Hell came looking for Dave Pulaski and the good people of Tres Marias.
It wasn’t supposed to go this way. Dave was a changed man. He regretted the years he spent lost and drunk, hanging out with his best friend Jim. When he met Holly, a beautiful, strong-willed woman, she made him her mission. Now two years sober, Dave was on top of the world.
But on that night, Dave’s old friend shows up drunk. While driving Jim home, Dave swerves to avoid a rabid dog. They crash. When Dave regains consciousness, Jim is gone. Only a bloody hole in the windshield remains.
Missy, a woman Dave cheated with months before, suddenly decides she wants him back. He needs to get rid of her before Holly can find out. Meanwhile, people in the town are coming down with “the jimmies,” a mysterious illness that leads to death.
Only they don’t stay dead.
They come back as shrieking flesh-eaters. And so does Jim. As Dave tries to convince Missy to leave him alone, Jim finds them. Instead of helping Missy escape, Dave runs. Missy gets infected, and now she wants revenge.
The contagion has spread, and Black Dragon Security is brought in to restore order. Soon they discover that in addition to the outbreak they must battle the Red Militia, a paramilitary group led by a charismatic madman. And as conditions in the town deteriorate, it’s clear that the Black Dragon supervisor is coming unhinged.
In the midst of the mayhem, Dave, Holly and a group of armed soldiers and civilians must find a way to survive. But how can they? Dave is this close to drinking himself into oblivion. Missy is after him—even though she’s no longer human. The hordes of undead are growing and security forces are outnumbered. Hell has arrived in Tres Marias.
Nowhere is safe.
Grab Tell Me When I’m Dead and follow Dave, Holly and their friends as they fight against looters, paramilitary crazies and the undead. And remember—if the zombies don’t kill you, people will.
In honor of my new book release, The Devil’s Liege, I thought that since it contains some oddness about vampires starving to death and being locked away, writing a review about Kevin Smith’s new movie, ‘Tusk,’ would be a great idea.
Firstly, the film is billed as a horror/comedy. It is not. I would consider it “Theatre of the Bizarre” or something to that effect. Were there some funny parts? Sure. But, the weirdness and the connection to horror really pulled it away from the comedic factor. I would put it in the same category as ‘May’ or ‘House of 1000 Corpses.’
If you haven’t read anything about the film, it is about a guy who cohosts a podcast about the weird crap people do. He intends to go to Canada to interview one of these oddities only to find that the guy has died. So, he visits a bar and discovers a note in the bathroom offering free room and board if willing to listen to a lifetime of stories. Too bad, this dude is a serial killer with a bizarre fetish.
Besides the fact that what happens is medically impossible the way it is presented, the film is entertaining to watch. Because I would watch it again, but probably not purchase a copy for my library, I would give it 3.5 stars.
Being a vampire isn’t all it’s cracked up to be- in fact, it kind of sucks.
After surviving his duel with Lilith, Mathias thought that he could relax. That is until he discovers that, Nossy, the new king, has been kidnapped.
When the investigating vampires seem to have no clue how to rescue Nosferatu, Mathias must step in. Everything is peachy until Mathias is named the next new king in order to stop the man behind Nossy’s kidnapping from taking over the throne.
Suddenly, his life is not his own again, and Mathias must make a choice: risk his life to find his friend, or sit back and watch disaster unfold.
About the Author
Named one of the Examiner’s 2014 Women in Horror: 93 Horror Authors You Need to Read Right Now, Danielle DeVor has been spinning the spider webs, or rather, the keyboard for more frights and oddities. She spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching ‘Salem’s Lot’ way too many times. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha Frappuccino. Visit her at danielledevor.wordpress.com.
Steven Ramirez releases the sequel to his zombie thriller, delving deeper into the plague ravaging the town of Tres Marias.
Antihero Dave Pulaski returns as a man struggling to protect his wife, Holly, while attempting to stop the dark forces intent on furthering their sinister agenda.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — September 15, 2014 — In Dead Is All You Get (Book Two of THE DEAD SERIES), antihero Dave Pulaski and a small group of survivors find themselves deep in a Northern California forest, pursued by a shrieking, hellish horde that threatens to devour them. Then a miracle—Black Dragon Security helicopters appear overhead as more armed soldiers on ATVs ride over a ridge to destroy the attackers and rescue the group.
But the horror isn’t over. Not even close. Although Black Dragon has managed to make the town of Tres Marias safer, a new, more sinister reality emerges. The virus is mutating—and someone is to blame. Now Dave has a choice. He and his wife, Holly, can leave the safe zone and fend for themselves. Or they can join Black Dragon and try to discover the truth about what really happened. All Dave wants is to protect those closest to him—especially Holly. He must decide, and time is short. The people responsible for the outbreak may be planning something worse—something whose dark consequences will reach far beyond Tres Marias and will push Dave beyond the limits of faith and reason.
Dead Is All You Get combines the best elements of horror, dark fantasy and sci-fi, taking the reader on a relentless, tortured journey of survival and revenge that tests the strength of a man’s character and delves into the role faith plays when one is confronted by the worst kind of evil—the evil in humans.
“This story is not just about horror. It explores the need for Faith when confronted by events that test our ability to survive.” –Steven Ramirez
Dead Is All You Get by Steven Ramirez is the second book of THE DEAD SERIES, published by the author in 2014 and available in these formats: Kindle (ISBN 978-0-9898718-3-9), ePub (ISBN 978-0-9898718-4-6) and PDF (ISBN 978-0-9898718-5-3). More information at stevenramirez.com.
Dead Is All You Get goes beyond the realm of horror and dark fantasy, deftly weaving science fiction into the present and compelling the reader to ask such disturbing questions as …
… how many are we willing to sacrifice in order to achieve a major scientific breakthrough?
… is it morally wrong to kill the “undead”?
… how far can a person be pushed before his faith in God is destroyed?
Steven Ramirez is the author of Books One and Two of THE DEAD SERIES, Tell Me When I’m Dead and Dead Is All You Get. He has also published a number of short stories, as well as a children’s book, and he wrote the screenplay for the horror-thriller film, ‘Killers.’ To hear about new releases, visit stevenramirez.com. Steven lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughters.
“The antihero doesn’t often make the right choices, but he is always active and forces those around him to react.” –Steven Ramirez
Get your copy of Dead Is All You Get now. Read it with the lights on. And keep telling yourself, “This can’t happen here.”
Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Haslam via Creative Commons Well, kiddies, it’s almost time for Dead Is All You Get: Book Two of THE DEAD SERIES to go live. And it’s been a journey, let me tell you. Recently, I did a cover reveal, signaling the approaching publishing date. Now, we’re really close. I’m getting the manuscript back from the proofreader and, once the book is formatted by the amazing and inimitable JW Manus, it’s saving humanity one book at a time. Okay, that’s overstated. But, hey, I’m excited!
In the meantime, I wanted to talk a little about the publishing process from the point-of-view of a moderately experienced indie author. Because I write, I read. A lot. And I have to say that indie publishing is a blessing and a curse. First, let’s talk about the blessing part.
Amazon and the Masses
Like Gutenberg, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and others have brought publishing to the masses. If you’ve paid any attention to the debate raging now between Amazon and Hachette, you’ll understand that this is a pretty big deal. No longer must authors be at the mercy of powerful literary agents and publishers. Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can publish a book. Anyone.
This new reality has brought about a titanic transformation of publishing—with the reader at the center. New voices—authors who for the most part would never have gotten a shot—are now able to be read. All good stuff. But, as in most things in life, there’s a downside.
Up to Our Necks in Dreck
It’s precisely because anyone can hit the “Publish” button that there’s a lot of garbage out there. I’m talking bad writing, bad covers, no editing and no formatting. So what does this mean for the reader? Well, they have to wade through the dreck to get to the good stuff. And with way more than a million titles, that’s not easy. “What about reviews?” you say. Ever heard of sock puppets?
The major publishers have put forth this argument for years—implying that the only way to get your hands on quality books is to purchase them from The Big Five. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is a load of crap. Don’t believe me? Check out Hugh Howey’s Author Earnings site sometime and you’ll find that indie publishing is growing at a pace that’s alarming to The Big Five.
But enough of this. Let’s talk about making your indie book the best it can be.
The Cover Matters
Whether or not you like my book cover, it’s professional. I not only hired an artist to create it, but I used a professional cover designer. As many others have said ad nauseam, at least when it comes to eBooks, you can judge a book by its cover. And if the thing is rubbish, readers can probably assume the book is as well.
You cannot hope to build an audience without entrusting your book to a professional editor and proofreader (often not the same person). Editors see things you don’t—gaps in logic, klunky language and bad grammar, to name a few. And a proofreader sees things editors don’t—missing commas, extra spaces after periods, etc.
Again, you may find that you don’t care for THE DEAD SERIES—I hope you do, though—but it’s professional. Unfortunately, typos will always make their way through. And I can tell you that I’ve found plenty of them in books from The Big Five. Nothing against these guys. It’s because we’re human—we miss things. What’s nice about eBooks is, you can easily fix the typo and republish.
I’m talking strictly about eBooks here. Yes, you can leave it to the Smashwords Meatgrinder to handle the formatting. Mark Coker has done an amazing job with that program, doing his best to automate the process of self-publishing. But it’s still a program. I prefer to work with a human.
The point is, don’t just upload your Microsoft Word document to KDP and hope for the best. You’ll be disappointed—and so will your readers.
A Good Synopsis Matters
When I say “synopsis,” I am also referring to the book blurb that appears under your book’s title on Amazon. It should be as professional as your book. And if you don’t know how to write an effective one, seek the help of other writers. You won’t be sorry.
So what am I really talking about? Brand. This is all about your brand, people. Get the book wrong and readers will be done with you. And it will be hard to get them back. And I didn’t mean to imply that doing all of the above is cheap—it’s not. But if you’re serious about your work, you must do everything you can to produce a professional-looking product.
Of course, I am assuming that your writing rocks. That’s a given. All the more reason you should give it the respect it deserves.
Well, this is it, folks—the cover for Book Two of THE DEAD SERIES, Dead Is All You Get. I feel so fortunate to have reconnected with artist Kevin Asmus, who created the gorgeous artwork for Book One, Tell Me When I’m Dead. But unlike Book One, where the artwork existed before I even wrote my book, Kevin created this new one exclusively for me. Feeling special, people.
If you’d like to be notified about the publication date for Dead Is All You Get, please sign up for my newsletter. In the meantime, enjoy!
Dead Is All You Get Synopsis
It wasn’t over. Not even close. After months of fighting the undead ravaging the town of Tres Marias, Dave Pulaski is tired—bone tired. Somehow, he and his wife Holly and their friends have managed to survive the contagion only to find themselves deep in a Northern California forest, pursued by a shrieking, hellish horde that threatens to devour them.
Then a miracle—Black Dragon Security helicopters ascend over a mist-shrouded ridge as more armed soldiers on ATVs come to destroy the attackers by the scores. They are saved! As the helicopter lifts off, Dave meets Evie Champagne, the intrepid television reporter who covered the tragedy until she mysteriously disappeared in the chaos and the violence. Like him, she is tired and afraid. But there’s something else.
Evie knows a secret.
Black Dragon has retaken Tres Marias from the Red Militia—a human scourge they battled along with the undead—and has again secured the command center. Survivors are getting medical attention and, bit by bit, the town is returning to normal. Or so Dave thinks. Things are about to get worse. The virus is mutating. And Evie knows who is to blame. The truth stretches far beyond Robbin-Sear, the mysterious biotech company with a secret lab located somewhere in the forest. The mayor may be involved, along with another even more sinister government agency.
Dave has a choice. He and Holly can leave the safe zone and fend for themselves. Or they can join Black Dragon and try to discover the truth about what really happened. All Dave wants is to protect those closest to him—especially Holly. He must decide, and time is short. The people responsible for the outbreak may be planning something worse—something whose dark consequences will reach far beyond Tres Marias and will push Dave beyond the limits of faith and reason.
Read Dead Is All You Get with the lights on. And keep telling yourself, “This can’t happen here.”
Photo Courtesy of IMDb ‘Lucy’ (2014)
Directed by Luc Besson
Screenplay by Luc Besson
Action | Sci-Fi
Stars Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi
Log Line: A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.
I saw the much-anticipated ‘Lucy’ last weekend and, before going into my review, I’d like to make a few preliminary comments. First, I am a huge fan of Luc Besson. Ever since ‘La Femme Nikita,’ I was convinced this guy could do no wrong. Second, I am in love with Scarlett Johansson—don’t tell my wife. Third, I’m very aware that no matter what I say here, this movie will make a ton of money. So that said, what’s my take?
I was disappointed.
This Was Two Movies
Apparently, ‘Lucy’ couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. On the one hand, it is a smart, funny, bloody sci-fi thriller that doesn’t skimp on the action. On the other, it’s an vfx-laden treatise on the history of man and his ability to utilize the untapped potential of his brain. Judging by the official trailer, I was promised the former. And I was getting it in all its Luc Besson glory until Lucy finally meets Morgan Freeman’s Professor Norman in Paris.
There was an upside to the mindy, spacey stuff that takes us from man’s beginnings with the original Lucy to the wonders of the universe. I enjoyed the visual effects—especially when Lucy stops Time with a wave of her hand. Sure, that’s cool. And the movie came in at ninety minutes, which meant we weren’t saddled with a slow-moving second act. But when the screenwriter stops caring that Lucy is on the lam and an evil Korean guy is after her, and opts instead to focus on her morphing into a frickin’ computer made of giant Nutella-like tendrils, that’s when you lose me.
Every Hero Needs an Arc
This is a basic tenet of screenwriting. As we’ve learned over the years, it’s the Hero’s Journey, people. The hero—or the protagonist—reluctantly sets off on a journey where a bunch of stuff happens. Whether it’s good or bad stuff doesn’t really matter. In the end it’s life changing. And there’s always a final battle, which the hero must win. Then he returns home changed and tells the others what he learned. The model may be old, going all the way back to Gilgamesh, but it works.
So what happened to Lucy? Well, she didn’t come back! Instead of an arc, we got a trajectory. She never gets to have the final battle with Mr. Jang—that’s left to the battle-weary French cop Pierre Del Rio. Once Lucy’s brain reaches a hundred percent utilization, she trips off somewhere beyond Time and Space, probably meeting up with an alternate universe version of herself, which is the OS from ‘Her.’ Seriously? What am I supposed to do with pure energy? I invested a lot of my emotions in this woman, and now she just disappears? And just like Professor Norman, I am left with nothing but a thumb drive with a bunch of ones and zeroes on it. Great. I guess I should start that backup now. Oh wait, she melted all the computers.
How Might This Have Worked?
The movie already has the elements of a great sci-fi action thriller—bad guys, experimental drugs, exotic locations and a woman who, though she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, starts out dumb as spit when it comes to choosing men. Speaking of bad guys, the only thing better than a Korean bad guy is pairing him with an English bad guy. Bravo, Luc!
As I said before, I was good with everything until the fateful meeting with Professor Norman. Previously, she had only spoken to him by phone or video screen. He was becoming her Alfred. But once she meets with the good professor and other scientists, we’re transported to the Science Channel as Lucy’s brain utilization increases and everyone discusses the nature of Time and Space. At this point, I wouldn’t have been surprised if everyone adjourned to a nice restaurant and spent the next five hours discussing Sartre or the symbolism behind clowns in horror movies.
Here’s my idea for a third act. When Mr. Jang and his army arrive at the university to kill Lucy, she is already starting to lose her powers because the drug is wearing off. That, coupled with a blinding headache and other side effects from the drug, it’s a question of whether she can still take out the bad guys before they can kill her. A massive final battle ensues where everything—the university, everything—is destroyed as Lucy battles with Mr. Jang and his men while becoming weaker and weaker.
At a critical moment, Mr. Jang shoots Lucy. Weak and bloody she still manages to send him to hell. Then she collapses as the professor makes his way to her. As the professor examines her, he realizes that she is once again human. How? Well, her irises appear normal. Working fast, he and Del Rio get her to the hospital, where surgeons operate on her and she recovers.
Epilogue. Lucy is standing outside the airport with Del Rio. She’s going home to see her parents. He says, “I guess we’ll never know what would have happened had you hit a hundred percent.” Just then, a toddler drifts into the path of an oncoming taxi, his mother running after him and screaming in French. Suddenly, the taxi stops completely, as if Time itself had stopped. The crying mother retrieves her child as Del Rio stares at Lucy in amazement. “What?” she says, smiling. Then she kisses the cop on the cheek and walks into the terminal. Setup for a sequel? You bet.
The Wrong Question
Every great movie asks a question at the beginning that must be answered at the end. In ‘Lucy,’ the question appears to be “what would happen if we could access our whole brain instead of just ten percent?” To me, that’s the wrong question. It has nothing to do with a hero’s life. What happened to Lucy could have happened to anyone—the conniving boyfriend, the French cop or Professor Norman.
I think a better question is, “Will Lucy become the person she is meant to be?” With my ending, I think the movie would have answered that. It still would have been a kick-ass story and we would have left the theatre satisfied that Lucy completed the hero’s journey.
Photo Courtesy of Andrew Malone via Creative Commons There’s a wonderful English film called ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,’ released in 1962, directed by Tony Richardson and starring Tom Courtenay. Yeah, so this post has nothing to do with that movie, but I was inspired by the title. The idea came to me while preparing to release the sequel to last year’s horror-thriller Tell Me When I’m Dead. And it all has to do with independent authors who don’t have enough time to market their work.
Not that I’m complaining.
Life is Good
I have been blessed with the ability to make a living. Not at writing, mind you. At least, not yet. But I do have a steady income that allows me to support my family. And that is truly something to be thankful for. When I’m not engaged in my profession or spending time with my family, though, I write. Not as fast as some, but I manage to crank out some work now and then.
And although everything is fine income-wise, you can’t just write a book, hit the publish button and move on to the next one. You have to market yourself and your work. Constantly. Otherwise no one will be able to find you in the sea of books out there—unless Oprah gets a copy somehow and offers up some free publicity. And the last time I checked, she wasn’t recommending books about zombies.
Good, Better, Best
So what’s a good way to get my name out there? Well, this website, of course. And Facebook. I created a Facebook page some time ago and I have built up a small but faithful group of followers. And I try not to pummel them with pleas to buy my book. That’s just cheesy.
I tried paying for Facebook ads, and that was a bust. It’s hard to draw a correlation between click-throughs and sales from Facebook, mainly because I don’t have access to the right analytics. But I never saw a real jump in sales when I ran my campaigns. I guess people would click through to the Amazon page, read the blurb, then bail. I tried targeting my ad appropriately, only going after people eighteen or older who like horror. Whatever …
What’s also effective is Goodreads. I have an author page over there too. I have run Goodreads campaigns in the past without a lot of success. But I did notice that I had slightly better sales than I did with Facebook. It makes sense, since Goodreads is about nothing but books.
Overall, a better approach is Twitter. And it’s free—unless you want to pay for sponsored tweets. Twitter is a great way to reach a lot of people through amplification. Here again, though, you shouldn’t only tweet things telling people why they should buy your book. You should offer up helpful links—or promote others’ books—in order to be a solid member of the community. That’s what I try to do. Have a look and see if you think I am behaving appropriately.
The best thing—the thing authors crave most—is word-of-mouth. That’s the best kind of advertising. People telling other people how good your book is and why they should buy it too. Remember Oprah? She is the empress of word-of-mouth. And people listen to her.
Did I Forget Anything?
I signed up for Pinterest, and for a while I was faithfully posting all kinds of pictures. Some people engaged with me there, but I never really saw the point of it all. My plan is to abandon Pinterest—and all the other social media sites I’ve signed up with over the years—and focus on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter. What about Google+? Sure, I use it. But I don’t feel like anyone ever really reads what people post there. I know I don’t. But, hey, if that’s where you like to hang out, you can easily find me there.
It’s lonely out here, let me tell you. I wish I had an intern. Too little time and too much untapped potential. But I do the best I can. We all do.
Photo Courtesy of Kate Gardiner via Creative Commons Alert the media—I’m calling this thing done! In my last post I explained what I learned writing the sequel to Tell Me When I’m Dead. Well, since then I’ve received the feedback from my beta readers and have made some final changes to the novel based on their notes. Overall, the comments were positive, which is very encouraging. (There is nothing more fragile than a writer’s ego.) And I can’t wait to share the story with you. But first things first. Now the book must go through a proper edit. The cover design still needs to be completed and the eBook formatting remains to be done.
Speaking of covers, recently I had dinner in Boston with Kevin Asmus, the artist who provided that brilliant image for the first book’s cover. Discovering his work was pure serendipity and fit in perfectly with the book’s theme. This time, I commissioned Kevin to create a new cover for Book Two and I’m confident it’s going to be awesome.
Originally when I wrote Tell Me When I’m Dead, I thought of it as a standalone book. But as I got to the end, it became clear to me that there was a bigger story to tell. The protagonist, Dave Pulaski, was just coming into his own by the end of the story. I needed to allow Dave to find out how and why the plague was unleashed in Tres Marias. And I had to find a way to test him beyond his own limits.
I believe I’ve done that, but as I suspected I am still not done with this guy. So I’m going to write Book Three to finish the story. Yep, what started as a one-off zombie novel is now a trilogy. Who knew? I wonder how often that happens. I mean, when Suzanne Collins began writing The Hunger Games, did she already know it was going to be a trilogy? I have no idea. In my case, I was surprised.
For those of you who read the first book, thank you. I hope Book Two won’t disappoint. As I said, early feedback has been good, so I think you’re in for another roller coaster ride. Stay tuned. Next up, the cover reveal!
Photo Courtesy of kr3st0 via Creative Commons So where have I been the past few months? Off-world? In a way, yes. I’ve been holed up in my basement finishing the sequel to my zombie novel, Tell Me When I’m Dead. And let me tell you, there is no better feeling than typing that final word and calling it done. Much better than the funk I found myself in last November after NaNoWriMo when I only managed to bang out 25,000 words. Whew! So yesterday I sent a draft to my beta readers—whoo-hoo! After one more revision, I will send the book to my editor. By the time the cover, the editing and the formatting are complete, the book will be published in late summer—just like the last one. Cannot wait, my friends. I think I’ll celebrate by tearing into that Milky Way I’ve been saving.
So here’s the thing. Not only did I finish but I learned some lessons along the way. And I wanted to share those with you. Take them or leave them. I hope they help other writers out there.
Lesson 1—The Book Doesn’t Write Itself
Believe me, I’ve tested that theory. I have gone days without writing. When I get back to my computer, I am still at the same spot. No Microsoft Word fairy is clickety-clacking away while I watch old ‘Fringe’ episodes. This lesson is obvious to most people, but it wasn’t to me. Often, I think I fool myself. “Plenty of time,” I say. Well, guess what, there isn’t plenty of time. Time is finite, and we need to write. Also, I find that when I haven’t been writing for a while, I become irritable. Not good when you have a family.
So here’s a confession. I’ve been writing a long time and, for me, cranking out the words is hard. It’s not writer’s block, mind you. I have more ideas for books than I could ever execute on. No, it’s the actual sitting down and getting the words on paper. It takes me a long time to work things out. In reality, I am writing in my brain. I’ve covered this before—I don’t really outline. I have a general idea of where I need to go. I typically have a beginning, a middle and an end. But the twists and turns that make the story fun are what take me the longest to work out. And that takes time.
Lesson 2—Burst of Creativity Is a Myth
At least for me. It’s not the sprint to the finish line that gets the book written. It’s the slow and steady thing. Sitting down every day and writing something. Even if I haven’t worked it all out, I’ve found that if I just get on with it, sooner or later it comes together. Now, I can hear some of you chortling out there. “Well, if you had written an outline, you wouldn’t have this problem.” Guess what. I tried outlining years ago and here is what I found—I don’t stick to it. The thing seems so rote to me. When I get to actually writing scenes based on it, I find I hate it and I veer off in completely different directions. So, I might as well do that to begin with. Why waste weeks—or months—writing an outline when I could just write the damned novel?
There is a downside. Sometimes when I write forward to get to the next part of the story, I find that things have indeed taken a different turn—or have become more clear in my mind, necessitating a visit to earlier chapters where I must revise in order to match what happens later. But that’s okay. I’ll take that small inconvenience any day. Unless I’ve gone completely off the rails later in the book, I’ve found that the revisions are usually very minor and only require rewriting a paragraph or two, or adding a scene.
Lesson 3—Social Media Is a Sinkhole
There, I said it. If I had kept up with my normal schedule of blog posts and tweets, I would still be sitting here staring at my unfinished book, instead of writing this happy post. And I really felt guilty about it—at first. But somewhere along the way I came to the conclusion that I must finish the book. Nothing stood in my way. Okay, let me amend that. For me, there is nothing more important than family. There are lots of stories about famous writers who had horrible home lives because of their devotion to “the craft.” I don’t roll that way. Yes, I need to write but not at the expense of my family. My girls are growing up fast, and I don’t want to be lying in some retirement home someday with a bagful of regrets.
So, there you go. I’ll leave you with one small data point. Although I was virtually absent from the social media scene, the number of people following me has grown. Go figure. This makes me wonder if people even noticed I was gone! Actually, I don’t want to think too much about that, or I will start getting self-conscious. Then I’ll bring on a monster case of writer’s block for reals.
Now, check out Jerry Seinfeld. This, folks, is the writing process.