Monologue #19

I like to think I’m closing in on the end of my first novel.  There are still changes happening which has me a little concerned about time, but I’m still making progress so I’m just letting it happen.  The actual finish line isn’t as close as I would like it to be though.  My personal goal was to have this wrapped up by the end of June.  It’s looking like I’ll be pushing into July now.

I’m still looking mostly at Kindle for publishing.  The overall amount of information available through a simple Google search is mind-numbing.  I’m probably jumping the gun a bit, but I find myself researching when my brain has rejected the notion of writing anymore for the day.  It seems like I’m going strong for a few days, then BAM!  I’m staring at the computer screen without a single idea about how to connect my thoughts.  That’s when I shrug it off and spend a couple hours looking at publishing options.

Is anyone else partially writing their book on their phone?  Lol.  I spend a lot of my breaks at work tapping out words with my thumbs on my Note 5.  I can’t help myself.  Ideas ramble into my brain and I need to get them written down before I lose them.  Back in November, when I started this project in NaNoWriMo I think I wrote a full quarter of my word count on my phone.  It’s a tough way to go, but it works.

Happy Father’s Day!

Monologue #18

Another week has flown by.  The temperature here is close to 90 degrees and my antique AC unit is struggling.  This means I am not sleeping well.  Hopefully the maintenance guy will come tomorrow and fix it.  I have done as much as I am able with my trusty can of compressed air.  Now it’s their turn.  I have taken evasive action and strategically positioned my fans to produce a wind-tunnel effect in my small apartment.  The internal temperature is still in the low eighties but at least I have a breeze.

Smashing Pumpkins is pretty much on schedule.  The rough sleep has slowed down my concentration right now so I’m not moving as quickly as I was last week, but I’m still thinking I can be finished by the end of the month.  I’ve been trying to establish a workable format so I won’t have a ton of things to do when I’m ready to turn all the files into book form.  The mighty Oracle of Google has shown me a number of ways to accomplish this.  I even have cover art now!  My wife was kind enough to bust out her mad skillz and produce some options for me.

Also, I want to give a shout out to any LGBT followers.  It is June and that means… HAPPY PRIDE!  The festival here in Milwaukee was in full swing this past weekend.  While I did not participate this year due to my devotion to getting my book finished, my wife spent all of Sunday having a blast at the festival grounds and riding  with friends in the parade.  Our community here is strong and beautiful!  Stay Proud Milwaukee!

Monologue #17

June is my month to get Smashing Pumpkins wrapped up and cleaned up.  I’m planning to publish at the end of September.  I won’t have an actual launch date for a little while yet, but as soon as I do I’ll post it here along with information on where to get it.  

I’ve had to come to grips with my genre for this which was a bit of a surprise to me.  Smashing Pumpkins is definitely Urban Fantasy, but not the kind with magic or demons.  The fact that I have added a non-existent element to our current reality takes the book right out of the realm of plain old fiction.  In addition to that, it also stands as a Mystery Thriller.  I’m sort of scratching my head over this.  I hadn’t planned to write something that landed in more than one genre.  I suppose it was inevitable considering how much I dislike something so common as reality.  I love to change things, to alter a single item of what I see and imagine how it would affect life around me.

So far, I’m pretty happy with my progress on this first book.  Having never written one before I’ve been nervous about the amount of time I have been spending on things, but I’m not really beating myself up over it.  Things take as long as they take.  

Happy writing everyone!

Monologue #16 – More Editing and Audio Stuff

The audio recording is moving along.  I am learning as I go so things are going to be rather choppy in the beginning.  The sound of my own voice is a point of deep interest to me.  What it sounds like inside my head versus what I hear on the recording is not the same thing at all.  Evidently, blind terror renders me extremely monotoned.  I am struggling with myself to read out loud in same manner that I read to myself in my mind.  I have all sorts of inflection and stuff in there, but it is challenging to get myself to bring that out into the light of day.  I can’t even say, with absolute certainty that it’s because I’m shy, since I’m not… really… anymore.

If anyone is interested, I’m using Audacity, a free audio recording program that you can download here.  I went to Best Buy and bought a Snowball iCE microphone and a fairly decent set of headphones.  My final purchase was a 1 TB external hard drive to back everything up on.  The cost of getting this idea of mine started was less than $200.  I even went to the trouble of making a small, sound deadening box out of stuff I had lying around.  It works okay.  If I shut all the windows, close my bedroom door and feed my two cats before I start, I can get a respectable recording.  Mastering the track is a different matter.  As I said, I’m learning as I go so the first ones will be the rawest.  

One of the things I find the most interesting is the editing.  I’ve been focused on two particular stories to kick off this project.  Both of them have undergone major rewrites because of this.  As soon as I started recording them all sorts of problems cropped up.  I found a bunch of unnecessary information, as well as a ton of sentences that were simply too damn long.  I tightened things up, recorded again and found myself changing more things.  I think I’ve gotten them really close to their final form.  

Take care and enjoy your cook-out on this fine Memorial Day.  =)

Monologue #15 – Audio Narration, and Twin Peaks

It looks like I missed a Snippet this week.  I am disappointed about that, but I’m not beating myself up over it.  My weekend has been far more social than I’m used to and my sleep schedule has become rather skewed.  To make a long story short, I’m off my game this week.  I have a short story scheduled for Wednesday, but that is as far as I have gotten.

In other news, my wife and I are working on putting some of this blog into an audio form.  Having never narrated anything before, this is a learning experience for me.  I have enjoyed a few audio books in my time and certainly listen to a lot of narrated work on various YouTube channels.  I strongly urge those of you with a love for all things creepy to give CreepsMcPasta a try.  He narrates Creepy Pasta stories and is a very talented speaker.  I haven’t set a deadline for this project, it’s just something that we’re working on.  Most likely, you’ll just begin seeing SoundCloud players embedded at the tops of various posts.

Twin Peaks!  Is anyone excited about the third season on Showtime?  I have been power-watching the series on Netflix to get myself up to speed.  I am very curious about how it will be received.  I feel like ABC really encouraged its premature death by moving its timeslot around so much during the second season.  As a creature of habit, changing things too much can cause me to reject something entirely.  David Lynch is a truly inspired writer and while much of his work can leave the average person scratching his head and muttering to himself, it’s still very memorable.  If you are unfamiliar with him please look up Blue Velvet, Naked Lunch and Mulholland Drive to get an extra special glimpse into his surreal style.  The collaboration of Lynch and Mark Frost, which gave us Twin Peaks, along with the prequel movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me has definitely left a mark in the minds of an entire generation of viewers.  I look forward to what the third season will bring.  That reminds me, I need to pick up a subscription to Showtime for the next few months.  I’m going to go do that right now.  Cheers!

Monologue #14

What about visual cues?  What about those nervous habits that people have?  How many of  these things make their way into your writing?  I often find myself studying people while I work, watching how they turn their feet when they walk or hold their face when they make a bet.  The look on the face of a guy who is chasing his money is vastly different from the lady who has just arrived and is buying into the game for the first time.  Chasers have a hard, pinpoint look in their eyes.  They remind me of bird dogs going on point.  They have the scent of their prey and know they way.  The lady who is just sitting down may be a regular or not, but her eyes are clearer and more open to the upcoming experience.  Her smile is natural.  The Chaser?  He’s usually angry.  More often than not it’s anger at himself but it comes out in a numerous ways.  He’ll verbally abuse the dealer for dealer him crappy cards, or he’ll chastise another player for taking a questionable hit.  He can even blame the waitress for distracting him at a key moment.

All of these things go through my mind every time I sit down to write.  Which of these cues will make it into my writing that day?  It’s possible that none of them will.  It’s possible I’ll forget all about them in favor of being lost in the craft of piecing words together.  My balance can be tilted toward getting something to eat rather than fine tuning a character to be more three dimensional.  It’s really just a daily crapshoot and I put my money on the line and pick up the dice like everyone else.  Some days I win.  

Happy Mother’s Day!

Monologue #13 – Proofreading

BookBub anyone?  I get the daily email and scroll through the list.  Sometimes I click a link and peruse the reviews of a book that might interest me.  Very quickly learned to ignore the good reviews in favor of the poor ones.  Three stars or less and I wanted to know why?  What did the author do wrong?  Why does this person want to tell other people what is wrong?  The bad reviews have become my school.

The reason for bad reviews is a long one.  I have read many that stated a book was boring, too poorly thought out or contained an element that the reader hadn’t expected.   While most of these reviews are valid from a reader’s point of view, as a writer with a book that I intend to self-publish, I want more from the reviews.  I have to look deeper down the list and keep reading.

At the top of list of things that readers complain about is something I can’t help but be appalled by; spelling and grammar.  To see a book review by Mr. Joe Average Reader that is denouncing the work due to its lack of proper spelling, poor word choice or repetitive use of a specific word makes my stomach clench and I usually back away from the book without making serious eye-contact.  I take those kind of reviews to heart.  Just reading one can make me run home and check my spelling.

As a future self-publisher, I find myself being harshly critical of my work now.  I know I can’t expect everyone to like what I offer, but if I can at least avoid being bashed for lack of proofreading then I will feel better about not being a one-size-fits-all kinda person.  To ignore something that is built into every single text editor, including our phones and text messaging apps, is a mark of extreme laziness.  I’ll probably worry myself to the point of nausea over this.

I’ve looked at this page a thousand times.  I’ve stared at it so much that I no longer know if anything is off.  I know what it is supposed to say so my eyes are reading what I have meant for them to read.  Whether or not it really looks the way I think it looks is a different story.  My proofreader isn’t home right now.