Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Butterfly Killer

This is a sample from my upcoming Novel tentatively titled THE BUTTERFLY KILLER. This is my NANOWRIMO Project.
National Novel Writers Month

My name is Elliot. Gram called me Sweet Pee. P E E. I pissed the bed often. Another thing Gramp didn’t like. Said I made the house smell like amonia, except it was piss. Gram said I would grow out of it. Said my mama was a pisser until she was twelve. I was only six. Might as well get used to it.
“Only thing I gotta get used to is dying,” Gramp would say to her.
“Well I figure a butcher ought to be used to the idea of death.”
“You used to Carrie being dead?” Gram shut her mouth.“I ain’t used to nothing. Everyday is a new day and a new mystery. Everything I gut got a different soul. And that soul ain’t used to being dead. So it leaps right into something else.”
“I don’t know if hogs have souls.”
“Everything has a soul. Ever brute God made got a soul.”
“Do it hurt to die, Gramp?” I asked him
“Does it hurt,” Gram orrected me.
“I don’t know, Sweet Pee. The hogs don’t complain. It hurts to live. That’s where the pain is.”
“Is that why Mama and Daddy died, ‘cause they were hurt?”
There was silence. Just the scraping of forks against plates. Gramp took a big gulp of water. I watched the knot in his throat bob up and down as he swallowed. I once tried to swallow a jawbreaker whole so I could have a ball in my neck and it go up and down as I swallowed. All I did was turn blue and get a good whack in my back from Gram making me spit the thing clear across the floor.
“Well I wanna die so I don’t hurt,” I said.
“Hush your mouth, child,” Gram said in her high pitched church singing voice. “Hush your mouth. 

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Writing Tips 5

The Process

Make sure you are enjoying the process. Writing is a good deal about focus and and sacrifice. In fact in the early part of one's career, it's a great deal about sacrifice. You sit down to write a book or story that not one person has asked you to write. You might feel a little foolish at times as you're sitting at the kitchen table at 2am on a Saturday night banging those computer keys while the rest of the world is out partying. It takes a great deal in believing in self to take on that first book.

Focus is the next hurdle to climb. The late Steve Jobs had an almost maniacal obsession about details of product design. Your book is your product. Your words are your design. Focus on each word in your product.

Some Helpful Tips

1. Focus -- Find that quiet space to work and only do work. Don't surf the net. I personally like to have the net up to allow me to do some quick fact checking on google. But if you're not disciplined, turn your connection to the net off. Put a mark next to the thing you need to check and do it AFTER you've done your writing.

2.  Sacrifice -- "What should I do this weekend?" "I know! Go to your local library and write!" Sounds like fun doesn't it? But it may be the thing you have to do to get away temporarily from the demands of family. Nope you cannot help find socks or comb hair or run Johnny to soccer practice right now. So it has to be your "Fun." Writing isn't a job. It's a way of life. If it ever becomes a chore, stop!
Of course don't sacrifice health and family to the point the kids are starving and becoming juvenile delinquents. But carve out every bit of time that you can to write and remain healthy and connected to family.

3.  Attention to Details -- You words are your design details. You have to be interested in the details, or else why write? Plots are great. But the details of spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and tone are equally important. It's all about you.

4.  Have Good Tools Handy -- Keep an online dictionary/thesaurus  bookmarked in your favorites folder or toolbar. Have a handy online Grammar guide available also. And by all means run your work through some kind of editing process. If you think a human is too expensive, try the many online editing tools out there. Make a small investment. You don't have to obey an Editor or editing software as if it's gospel. But if they suggest a change, consider it.

5.  Stay Involved -- Do as much of the work as you can yourself. Some people might want to farm out the formatting of their manuscripts. In my opinion formatting is a part of editing. You can catch a lot of things as you're going over and over your document as you get it in shape for publication.

Please feel free to comment and add to the conversation.

Harvey's Amazon Author Page
Harvey on Smashwords

These are not endorsements. Just tips and suggestions
Dictionary/Thesaurus Link
Grammar Link

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Writing Tips 4

Be a Different Bait to Catch a Variety of Fish

This simple and somewhat cliche-est analogy came to me the other day. There's a lot of fish in the ocean. The successful writer has to offer different bait to catch all of that fish.  In essence the fish are the reading public (which includes writers.) The bait is the genre that lures them in.

To be a success in this new publishing model (or world) that is emerging, means you want to catch as much of the fish as possible for yourself. In order to do so, it is imperative to use different bait.

You might consider yourself to be strictly a literary "serious" fiction only kind of writer. But you might be limiting the amount of fish you catch and thus stunting your earning potential. Consider branching out into other genres. Perhaps you have work that while not totally successful in your normal genre, can be quite successful in the Murder Mystery world, or Erotica, Urban Fiction, Vampire or Paranormal World. Maybe all it needs is just a few tweaks and you're off into another genre. You've switched your bait and can catch more fish.

If you want to use a different Pen name, that's cool. Yes it is about "art" and it is about having a successful career.  Whatever genre you do, write your best..

Coming Home Tomorrow
Red Underwear
The Handshake