Tag Archives: fiction

Word Count and Wreaking Hovac

Been very efficient this past week, typing out over 12,000 words.  I’m nearing the end of the first draft of Lost & Found and I must say I’ve really enjoyed putting Gabby through hell.

Writers have an odd relationship with the characters they love.  They create them, cherish them, give them hopes, dreams, goals, loves and then expend all of their energy trying to destroy every single one of them.  Not all at once, of course.  Just a little bit at a time.

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When I started this novella I didn’t intend to make Gabby’s life so miserable.  It just sort of turned out that way.  And for the better, from a story perspective.  In crisis is where we see what someone is truly made of, what friendships really mean, which convictions are founded in stone or sand.  I’m not sure how much suffering still awaits Gabby in final chapters of Lost & Found, but I’m sure it’ll be just a little more.

As long as it makes the story stronger, its worth it.  She won’t mind.

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Impatience

One of my continuing challenges I have is my impatience.  I am impatient with my career.  I am impatient when I read.  And I am impatient when I write.

One of the things I have tried to temper when I began writing novels were my expectations.  Ignorance is a bad guide and I have learned from past experiences that hoping to accomplish something is very different than knowing how to accomplish something.  Basing expectations on hope will set you up for failure because it is not tethered to the real world.

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So, I spend a lot of time learning how a thing should be done before telling myself when I should accomplish that thing.  That being said, I’m still behind schedule.  If I had stuck to my original (and ignorant) plan, I would be publishing my first novel this week.  Gabby Wells: Water & Blood was originally scheduled for release on June 4th.

Then I started learning more and more about self-publishing.  I started reading a lot and listening to about ten podcasts a week and learned about sales funnels and permafree and mailing lists and building tribes and street teams.  That led to the idea of writing a novella as an entryway to novels.  That led to writing five novellas.  And that has altered my expectations.

All of the changes have been for the right reasons, but my impatience doesn’t really care about that.  It wants to be done.

I’m also an impatient reader.  I fight the urge to skim through in order to find out what happens next.  I must force myself to digest every word because, now writing novels, I know how much time and effort each of those words represent.

But my impatience doesn’t really care about that.

It is no surprise, then, that I am an impatient writer.  In my first draft I am very much a heads down, get from A to B as directly as possible so I can move onto the next thing that happens.  Only after the plot is complete do I go back and look for the many ways I can elaborate character or intention.  All of those layers take time.

But my impatience doesn’t really care about that.

So, as I am knee deep in daily writing, fighting to go straight from A to B, I force myself to try and be patient.  I know what is supposed to happen in all five novellas.  I know what is supposed to happen in all five novels.  I just can’t wait for them to be done.  Unfortunately (actually, fortunately) those pages are waiting on me, an impatient writer, to fill them with the stories I see in my head.

As much as I remind myself, my impatience doesn’t really care that.

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Word Count & Tossing Out 145,000 Words

I finished up the first draft of the novella Skyway this weekend.  It ran long, as I expected, and will probably be even longer when I get it through the Beta Readers.  But it’s a fun ride that starts out with a kick and throws in cool plot twists at the end of nearly every chapter.

Since the five novellas setup the five novels, the big decision this weekend came from the fact that, after having penned almost 70,000 novella words so far, that the 145,000 words I had already written for Novels 1 & 2  had to be thrown out.

The first novel, Water & Blood had already run through the first group of Beta Readers and the second novel, Shadows & Lies had already been hashed out once at around 80,000 words and was in the process of a second rewrite.  Both of them needed to be trashed, leaving a fresh, clean slate.

Because of that, I changed the graphic below to focus on the novellas until they’re all complete.

GW-Wordcount-050414The plots of the trashed novels will remain the same, but the actual way the story unfolds will need to be updated to take into consideration the content of the novellas.

Am I happy about losing years of work and over a hundred thousand words?  Nope.   But, it’s the right thing to do, so there wasn’t really another choice.

 

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Young Adult Faith Journeys

In this interview author Pete Bauer talks about what inspired him to focus on young adult stories and the challenges facing a teenager of faith.

 

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Sonlight Press Announces the Gabby Wells Novel Series

Sonlight Press is happy to announce a new upcoming young adult novel series, Gabby WellsOur first novel, Water & Blood, is written by Pete Bauer and scheduled for release later this year.

Cabby-Poster-2.1-SLPSite Gabby, a junior in high school in the small town of Safety Harbor, was born with certain talents which, through experience and circumstance, have turned her into an effective investigator.  Whenever her classmates find themselves in trouble, her skills are in demand. She’s never their first choice and often their last, but sooner or later, they always call.

When one of her close friends is murdered, Gabby’s obsession with finding the killer will shake the town, threaten friendships, and test her faith. But how close is she willing to come to losing her soul in the process?

The first of a five novel series, Water & Blood focuses on Gabby Wells, a young woman trying to manage the high demands of her faith while grappling with the daily challenges of her teen years. Water & Blood is a fast-paced mystery that forces Gabby to put everything on the line in an attempt to bring her friend’s murderer to justice.

We’ll have much more information in the coming weeks about Water & Blood and the other books in the series, so keep checking back to the Sonlight Press website for more updates!

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When You Feel You Suck as a Writer

Every writer doubts their abilities.  It’s the nature of the process.

When working on a novel, invariably I will write something of which I am certain is effective that, upon further scrutiny, seems to suck.

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The reality is none of these are true; it is neither effective or awful.  The fact that it can in inhabit both spaces at the same time means it needs further work.

Writing is hard.  Really hard.

Most of the time, writing is less about inspiration and more about getting the story onto paper, in all of its imperfectness.  Sure, it’s those moments of inspiration that keep you going, like when you hit one sweet drive on a par 5 that inspires you to hack your way through the remaining 18 holes, but the rest of the time, writing is relentless.

It’d be great if all writing was inspired.  If your brain functioned optimally.  If every word you wrote down was the best way to express the thought.

But, if that was how writing occurred, everyone would do it.

Writing is work.  It’s forcing yourself to write what you know sucks so that you will eventually hone it into something powerful after another 20 drafts.  It’s spending two hours working on two paragraphs.  It’s spending fifteen minutes running through the synonym function on your computer trying to find the word you just can’t remember.

Its sitting by yourself, trying to create a world for others, while you fumble with how best to describe it.  It’s writing in voices that aren’t your own.  It’s putting characters you love through hell.

And it’s writing a lot of words that are wrong so you can eventually find the few that are right.

Writing and doubts are often the best of friends.  But they’re not spouses.  With enough effort and persistence the doubts will eventually fade away.

Writing is hard.  That’s why it’s so awesome.

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Book Review – Wounds

Wounds, by long time, successful Christian author Alton Gansky, delves into the victims of a serial killer whose motive is evil and whose crimes are biblical.

woundsGansky’s approaches the subject matter in a way I love, not as Christian fiction, per se, but as a book that has characters who are actively Christian.

This is a big difference to me.

In my experience, Christian fiction novels tend to be preachy and geared specifically toward Christian fans, where fiction with Christian characters are just good stories that includes characters who happen to have a strong faith.

Due to this successful approach, Wounds would be enjoyable by Christians and non-Christians alike.

In the story we follow detective Carmen Rainmondi, who leads the team of San Diego police working to catch the killer, while still struggling with the on-going emotional toll of the murder of her sister years earlier.  When one of the first victims turns out to be a local seminary student, she crosses paths with Dr. Ellis Poe, a frail, reclusive man who not only can help the police make connections to the serial killer”s motives, but also has insight into the death of Rainmondi’s sister.

Gansky’s novel moves relatively quickly and the author does a great job of bringing us into each scene and location through the type of detailed descriptions that can only come from someone who has been there.  The title, Wounds, not only refers to the marks on the victims, but the hidden damage the main characters each possess that have helped shape them into the people they are today.

The book is an easy and enjoyable read.  Devout Christians may connect the dots sooner than non-believers, but that doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of the storytelling.

Wounds is a good read for anyone the fan of crime drama, either Christian or not.

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Writing Space

Does where you write effect how you write?

When I was starting out writing screenplays, I read an interview with Patrick Sheane Duncan, screenwriter of the film Courage Under Fire, who said that he taught himself to write anywhere with a pad of paper and a pencil so that he could write whenever he was either inspired or required.

I’ve tried to follow that concept.  For me, moments of inspiration are a special thing and I want to be able to write as quickly as possible after a moment of creative clarity.  My past works are written on just about every type of paper/pencil/pen/computer screen/printer combination possible.

However, just because I can write anywhere, doesn’t mean I do my best writing anywhere.

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Ideally, I like to write in a quiet location using a laptop with a responsive keyboard with soundtrack music playing in the background that mirrors the type of scene I am trying to write.

That works whether I’m trying to write a screenplay or novel or blog entry or Typecasting Tuesday.

I’ve recently moved from one house to another and my writing space has changed dramatically.  In my old house I had constructed an office/movie room with a 100″ projection screen, rockers, surround sound, a small concession stand and a built in desk.

My new space is much smaller, which I like, and I am working to create a serene, productive writing locale.  As I get older, I find myself drawn to older technology and mid-century pieces (typewriter, rotary phone, 30s fan, 40s light, etc.) which, somehow, open up my mind to the task of writing.

I’ve also purchased a 1940s wooden desk which is wonderfully made gives me ample space, both in storage and on the top of the desk, to do the vast amount of work that lie ahead.

I’ve also diminished my computer acreage.  I used to have three monitors to manage all of my video editing and photo manipulation work, but I’ve shrunk that back down to a single monitor since the computer will be used for writing 90% of the time.  And my expanded desk top (the real one, not the digital one) allows me to use my laptop on it as well, when required.

I have space on one of my walls to whiteboard ideas and another section of wall to tape up my 3×5 cards that flesh out the upcoming chapters in my book.

Finally, I’ve dotted the walls with various small accomplishments and awards, but I’ve learned from past experience to keep my pride buried as deep as possible.

I’m hopeful, in this new writing space, I’ll be able to bang out a lot of pages of my upcoming novels.

I’d love to hear what spaces allow you to be at your creative best.

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