Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Some time ago, I was stocking up on how-to guides on writing. What struck me the most is that every one of these guides had different rules on approaching novel writing. My view on the topic is this: BREAK THE RULES!

There will be things you disagree with, like I have with some of these guides. I value the difference of opinion on strategies to handling novel writing. But there are some things you have to figure out entirely by yourself or are limiting yourself by one person's set of rules.

In one book I read you need to erase your inner editor and just write whatever comes to mind. Don't bother fixing grammatical errors, just wait until the novel is finished. This does not work for me. I edit as I write because there is a need to, plus I'm always adding new things. If I were to write a 50,000 word novel and hadn't been editing the entire time, I'd feel like a train wreck just having to go back and correct all that mess.

Another book I read brought up a good point about making characters relatable by giving them phobias. Which I agree. Nothing makes a connection stronger than a character flaw that a reader can share and sympathize with. But, while the book was listing all the possible flaws your character can have, it specifically said, "Do not use Acrophobia~fear of heights or Claustrophobia~fear of closed spaces."

"Why not?" I said out loud while reading the book. Why discount those two? Especially when an estimated 5 out of every 100 people have a fear of heights. There is also a study saying that 7 percent of the world's population suffer from different forms of claustrophobia. I imagine one of the highest being premature burial.

Those numbers, to me, are too large to ignore and too ripe with ideas not to write about them.

Finally, the last topic I'd like to present to you is a situation that involved an evaluation of my first novel. In the prologue, a middle age man is searching for things to do in his vacation house until he decides to fall asleep. In that scene, becuase he is a lonely man who never married, he talks to himself. He thinks out loud, maybe two or three lines of dialogue. One editor told me that I should erase those lines. The reason being that they said "Characters don't talk to themselves."

When I first read that, almost instantly, my mind brought up several characters who do just that. Hamlet was talking to himself when he was contemplating suicide wasn't he? It's also something we do naturally. We talk to ourselves to remind ourselves of certain things. We talk to ourselves when we are lonely, scared, contemplating something, organizing our thoughts. We can even have a character talk to themselves to illustrate a mental illness.

So I say, why all these restrictions? Isn't writing an experiment itself? Shouldn't we be free to make the book how we see fit? It's our world after all, isn't it?

Have fun with it. Don't feel as if you are supposed to follow some kind of code. The rules are always changing with each debut book. Shake things up and be unconventional.

"Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing." — Melinda Haynes

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where's For What It's Worth?

Right now the book is off of the lulu site. This was a personal decision of mine. I figure too much time has passed between me actually releasing it to where we are now. I decided it was best to shift gears and go to my plan B.

I want more people to discover this book and I found that the website createspace is owned by amazon.com. Which means not only will the book go directly to the site but, since amazon owns this company, there is more of a chance of my book being accepted in actual stores since amazon controls a lot when it comes to providing copies for Borders and Barnesandnoble.

All this is to say that the book is not gone. It is just being redeveloped. It will still be print on demand and the price will remain the same. The only difference is a new distributor.

I recently transferred all of my files to the new website and ordered a proof copy. I should get the proof copy December 3rd. Sorry for making you guys wait a little longer but it's all in making this title more available. I will let you know when it's up again.

Thanks again for reading it, the ones that ordered the first copies.

"What really matters is what you do with what you have." ~ H. G. Wells

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My First Kindle Book

That's right. You can now get For What It's Worth on the Amazon Kindle. Even though I am not a Kindle owner myself, I wouldn't want to deprive the one million kindle owners from reading my book. It will most likely download to your Kindle in less than 60 seconds. For $1.99, the same price for a gallon of milk, you can read my book. So, what are you waiting for?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Drive

Let's say you decide to write your first book. You scoot up in your chair, pull out your laptop/pen & paper/typewriter and...you sit. Waiting for the book to come around won't help you. Sometimes creativity sparks or it gets tapped out. The thing you have to realize is that you must make your book different from the countless others.

How do you do that, you ask?

Here's the secret.


I know, not that big of a secret, but still, it is one of the best tools in your workshop. The more you read, the better understanding you will have. Over the hundreds of books you could read, you'll develop tastes. Likes and dislikes. You'll be able to compare books to what you could be writing. Even bad books are essential. Read as many of those as you can because that will spark you to put down the book and say, forget this, I can do better than this.

You also have to have a drive. For that, I've prepared a list of books that will get you going. Stuff your mind with information on both the craft and the publishing industry. The better your understanding, the smoother your drive down literary lane will be.

The books that helped me:

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • The Story and Its Writer
  • The Writer's Handbook 2005
  • Novel and Short Story Writer's Market 2006
  • POD People by Jeremy Robinson
  • Plug Your Book
  • A Writer's Guide to Fiction by Elizabeth Lyon
  • No Plot? No Problem!
  • The Ultimate Book of Top Ten Books

It also helps to keep at your side the book/books you are most influenced by. Here are mine:

  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • The Woman Who Wouldn't by Gene Wilder
  • Magic Man by Ron Base
  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." ~ Stephen King