Keeping Score: May 21, 2018

Haven’t posted in a bit. We’ve been ramping up the search for a house this month, and between looking and inspecting and filling out paperwork, I haven’t had much room in my head for anything else.

I have kept up my writing, though. Having that deadline hanging over my head, and the punishment that would come with missing it, has pushed me to get things done. I’ve just made my word count every week, even if that meant writing half of them on Saturday in a mad rush to keep from missing the target.

Most of those words have been for the novel, though I’ve not dropped the short story. After getting some harsh (but accurate) feedback from a beta reader, I realized it needed a full rewrite. That’s almost complete, and I think the new version is much stronger. There may even be a novel lurking in there, in the background of that world.

Thankfully, that novel’s not too distracting…yet. What has been distracting is how my ideas for how best to write the novel keep changing, right in the middle of this first draft. I’m now curious to try my hand at writing more from a third-person omniscient point of view, which would be a complete change from the novel’s current POV. I’m also re-thinking character histories and motivations, which would be an abrupt change this far through.

I’m telling myself to write these ideas down, and come back to them later. Get the first draft done, get the story out there, and then use these ideas during the editing process, if they’re needed. Otherwise, I worry that if I keep changing course, I’ll never finish the book.

Writers Coffeehouse, May 2018

Another solid Coffeehouse. Scott Sigler returned for hosting duties, and he ran a tight ship, taking us from topic to topic while still giving everyone a chance to speak up.

Last hour or so of the Coffeehouse was just rapid-fire “what are your current issues?” questions for Scott, which he handled with honesty and poise.

Got some really good advice out of this one. Here are my notes:

invizium.com: writer trying to break into book trailers

J Dianne Dotson: BOOK OUT MAY 29th; worldwide distribution via ingram spark; book trailer is up; signing at Mysterious Galaxy in june

art vs business: are we artists or business people?

  • think in terms of ratings: numbers that are too small for big pubs are great for smaller ones
  • don’t chase trends
  • if you do what you like, consistently, you can find your audience

any place you can go where you can meet editors and agents is worth it

check twitter, #mswl, manuscript wish list, agents and editors tweet what they’re looking for

when is it ok to promote? don’t be afraid to ask, but be polite

polite persistence is the cornerstone of becoming a published author with a publishing house

how to follow up with editor or agent you meet in person? wait a week, email them, say how you met and what you talked about, short pitch, then wait a month and email again, repeat till you hear back

editing aids? dianne really likes the hemingway app, can just put your text in there and it’ll catch sentences that are too long, stuff like that, and it’s free; best to do scene by scene, look for trends you didn’t know were there

self pubbing is now the minor leagues; if you sell 5,000 or 10,000 copies, your next query letter is much much stronger

don’t wait; if you’ve written a book and no one wants to pick it up, self-publish it and move on to the next book

for your website, social media: pick your writing name, and grab that domain now, use it everywhere

also: grab every free email account with that handle, so no one else can

scott recommends the book “save the cat”, it’s about screenwriting, but has a few chapters about pitching that applies just as well to books

don’t shut down social media as political statement; just go fallow; online real estate is just as valuable as physical real estate

beta-readers: can be good for picking up basic reader questions (plot holes, likable characters, etc), but beware when they start commenting on your style

suggestion: test out beta readers with one chapter, before sending them the whole book

you all have your own writing style, you just have to get better at it

aln: local writer’s meetup group; totally free, they pick a subject out of a hat, 30 min writing, then critique

scott’s advice: if you’re in a slump, go write some fan fiction, get the brain turning and then come back

one writer recommends: rachel arron: 2k to 10k, she rereads that book whenever she gets into a slump, good advice on structure, etc

aon timeline syncs with scrivener now; can use it as timeline app and push to scrivener

scott color-codes the index cards for scenes in scrivener by pov character, lets him easily see who needs a scene

other writer: pantser, she writes an outline after the fact, uses it to guide her second draft

if you put up trailers on youtube, watch their viewing stats to see where people fall off watching to learn what to do better on the next one

try to keep trailer to 30 seconds, minute at the most