Thursday, April 30, 2015

Inspirational Advice and Perspective from Kevin Hearne

I read through Hearne's interview with ( and found a few nuggets of widsom and inspiration. Kevin Hearne is the author of a series of urban fantasy novel, The Iron Druid Chronicles.

  • 6 years to write his first novel, while working day jobs, but it was never published
  • The next novel took 3 years to write
“I wrote better and faster the next time, because once you complete a novel you know what it takes to do it again. There’s a confidence there that didn’t exist before,” he says. “It’s not a profession of instant success. Authors who are perceived as instant successes often work a very long time before getting to the market.”

After an unsuccessful round of query letters, he revised and edits and finally got an agent. His first novel, Hounded, was finally published after 19 years of work!

Lots of good stuff in Kevin's words. There's a lot of hard work before that success, so don't give up. Keep at it and you'll get there. It's about developing that confidence and the writing skills.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Joe Lansdale on Using Said to Tag Dialogue

Over on his Facebook page, Joe Lansdale shared the following on the usage of said to tag your dialogue:

"I hate it when people use all manner of replacements for said. Asked now and then, maybe in a rare case something else due to the scene, but even if you say they whispered, you damn sure don't need he whispered softly, and if you set the scene right, you don't need whispered at all. I hate he replied, he remarked, he responded, and I hate modifiers, he said with irony, he said with sarcasm, he said with excitement. Yuk. I also hate it when it's the obvious with the elbow in the ribs, meaning. "It's a monster!" he said with great excitement. Well, if it's a monster, we know he's excited. And if he's telling you something, and then you say, he explained, that's redundant.

"I'm not saying don't use these. You get to choose how you like to work, but they stand out like a sore thumb to me and I don't want to use them. It's like waving a flag while you write. It also keeps you from actually forming the scene. Instead of writing a scene that explains itself, you are trying to make sure people understand it with unnecessary words and leaping up and down and waving flags. It's a personal choice, and some of my favorite writers do it, but try taking those out, seeing if the scene is clear. If it's not, instead of writing in all those 'explainers' why not just write the scene where it works."

What he said. :) I've struggled with the use of said for awhile now and sticking with "said" as much as possible is the best way to go. Joe's advice is solid when it comes to ensuring your write the dialog in a way, write the scene in a way that you don't need tagging to convey meaning.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Anxiously Waiting

My SPIRIT QUEST manuscript is currently in the hands of Chimera Editing and I'm anxiously waiting on their feedback which will be delivered by the end of next week. Why am I anxious? There's a level of insecurity every time I get someone to read my work. What if they think it's crap?

Then I rewrite.

What am I expecting from the deep dive edit? I know I have some character issues, told to me by a couple of early readers. The problem is that I'm not sure how to address these issues. I'm hoping that this edit gives me some insight and helps me make a plan to fix it.

At every stage through this journey I felt that I had nailed it and then discovered that I hadn't and it's required work to fix. It's my first novel so I'm not trying to be hard on myself. I'm hoping that for the next novel I'll have learned enough so that I can stay at that level and improve the delivery time of a quality product.

Monday, April 6, 2015

All's Quiet on the Western Front

It's been a painfully slow last couple of weeks. My day job's been challenging to say the least and its spilled over into my writing time, sapping any leftover energy I have left. The new normal will kick in next week and hopefully I can get myself into the right frame of mind by then.

My manuscript goes to Chimera editing this week. I think I've got my novel to where I want it and will hopefully have lots of good feedback to rewrite and revise it and start the agent submission process again.

In the meantime, I want to keep going as I feel like I've fallen out of the daily writing routine, especially when all I've been doing for that last six months or so has been revising Spirit Quest. I have some notes of the sequel, but I'm also thinking it might be good to change my mind for a couple of weeks until I get the Chimera edit back. I've been trying to do that for a couple of weeks now, but I'm not sure what's holding me back. Perhaps the need to keep fiddling with Spirit Quest? Perhaps the daunting aspect of taking on something new? Perhaps both?

Onwards and upwards!