Tuesday, October 25, 2016

10 Things I Wish I Knew About Writing

When I first started this journey I thought that everything would be all ponies and rainbows. I was so wrong! So here is a list of 10 things I wish I had known when I first began this journey. I hope this helps someone!
  1. If you *think* you are done with your novel, you are wrong! I don't know how many times I told my friends that I was almost done, but then over a year later I was still working on it. Writing is rewriting and editing. Until you have a solid release date with the final version uploaded, you are not really done. It may seem like the finish line is always moving because it is!
  2. Your writing is crap. At least that is what you will tell yourself a billion times before you publish. It doesn't mean your final product will suck. The first draft or two of anything is awful in comparison to the final product. Don't listen to your self doubt! Use the Pee Wee Herman defense, "I know you are but what am I?"
  3. Writing a novel is much harder. Flash fiction and shorter stories can be rewarding and feel easy to write. Novels are a completely different beast. My novel weighs in right around 60K words which in some genres would be considered a short story (Looking at you Epic Fantasy). Writing a story of that length still presents quite a challenge. With a shorter story it is easy to stick to the main points in the beginning and ending without much filler. In a longer form the middle takes up a much larger portion of the book. You need side quests for the extra XP and Level Up. In speaking with other people who write, the middle is what everyone seems to struggle with like a baby smashing their first birthday cake. It is like trying to push a boulder up a mountain of butter while it's raining.
  4. Writing is work! If you want your writing to matter then you have to put in the work. It is just as much a grind as anything else. The harder you work, the more you write, the more research you do, etc... Everything helps make your work better. If you don't put the work in then it will show. Butt in chair, fingers on the keyboard! *cracks whip*
  5. Blogging has many benefits! It doesn't matter if people show up to read it. Although one of the benefits is to help build an audience. That doesn't mean the people who enjoy your blog will support your professional life. Writing on your blog can help you get thoughts out and work through problems. It is also a great opportunity to practice your craft. Every word you write is practice for every word you write after that. Just don't call your blog your friend so you can say you have a friend with benefits, that's creepy.
  6. Social Media is not for promotion! Even if you hate all of the social media outlets, writers need to get on them. Everyone has heard the stories of things going viral and people making money through some form of magic. Well none of this works that way! Social media is for interaction with others. Spamming people with links will cause them to stuff their ears with cheese and duct tape their eyes shut to avoid it. Think about it. If you run up to random people at the mall saying "BUY MY BOOK" repeatedly then you might get tackled by a mall cop.
  7. Lists will save your sanity on Twitter. Twitter is by far my favorite of all the social media outlets. Once you follow a lot of people it is impossible to keep up with all of those tweets. The best way to do that is to separate them into smaller groups by using lists. Then you can check each list as if it were a completely different Twitter account. If I could go back in time, I would have told myself to start building lists from the start.
  8. Other authors are super helpful! Make connections with other authors and bloggers. They will be the ones most likely to help when you need it and you WILL need help. They are the ones who are most likely to understand the problems you face as they have probably already faced them before. If you feel like you're losing your mind and want to stab someone, there is another author out there that has been there and knows how to hide the body. No one has all the answers though. Sometimes it's like we're all stumbling around in the dark, but at least other authors are willing to hold your hand while you stumble.
  9. Unfinished ideas/stories will haunt you! I have so many ideas and a few stories that don't feel finished. These keep me up at night. I have an idea notebook that I keep nearby to write down these ideas. It's the only way to get the voices in my head to shut up! Yesterday I came up with 2 new story ideas and I couldn't concentrate at work until I wrote them down.
  10. Formatting is super easy! I made the formatting of my novel more complicated than it needed to be. There are a ton of online tutorials for KDP formatting that will lead you down the road of confusion and wanting to burn everything. That includes the tutorials on the KDP website which look as if they were written in ancient Aramaic. Even for someone who comes from a programming background it was hard to make sense of it all. I got a version to look great in Calibre, but when I tried to upload it KDP rejected it! The Horror! However, there are many tutorials for formatting a novel in Word which are very easy to follow and work on the first try! Amazon's conversion tools are very good as long as you prepare the Word document properly. 
I hope you all enjoyed the list! Tomorrow I will be over at http://www.on-the-other-hand.com/ messing with all the knobs and buttons. What does this big red button with the sign that says "DO NOT PUSH" do?

Be sure to check out Virtual Wars: Booting Up, a collection of prequel stories to my first novel. It is available for pre-order right now with the release date of Friday 10/28/16. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M6V05AT

The first novel in the Virtual Wars series, titled Initialization, has a release date of Tuesday 11/22/16. One lucky person who has signed up for my newsletter will receive a free copy. You can sign up for the newsletter here: http://brianbasham.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_29.html

Friday, October 21, 2016

Virtual Wars Blog Tour Schedule

I want to first thank all of the amazing people who are hosting me for this blog tour. There are some others who are going to host me in the future, but weren't able to participate on such short notice. So without further ado...

  • 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Writing - Posted 10/25/16 - A list of 10 things I wish I had known when I first started. Also an announcement of the release date for Virtual Wars: Initialization.
  • Perseverance - Posted 10/26/16 -  Guest blog post that talks about chasing your dreams and the journey toward achieving them.
  • Author Interview - Posted 10/27/16 - I am handcuffed to a chair and forced to answer questions. I am scarred from the experience, they promised a lollipop when we finished.
  • October 28: The grand cover reveal for Virtual Wars: Initialization at http://www.dhpoirier.com/

I will update the links with the direct link to each event once it has been posted.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Virtual Wars Blog Tour

I am writing this to announce the Virtual Wars Blog Tour! I have finished writing and editing my first novel! *runs in circles* *falls down* *foams at the mouth*

I also set up a Patreon for those of you who wish to sponsor me or are going to purchase this and future novels. It is on a per work basis, so Patreon will only bill you when I have the actual items ready to ship or send. The ebook version will be sent through Patreon before it is officially available on Amazon. You can check it out here: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3618552

Now it is time to get to work on letting everyone know about it! I plan to do a blog tour leading up to the release of the free ebook of prequel stories titled Virtual Wars: Booting Up. If you click on the Virtual Wars link at the top you can learn more about it and see the cover graphic for this prequel. I will also be doing a cover reveal for Virtual Wars: Initialization that same day (last day of the tour). The exact dates and times of this will be posted once I have finished organizing the tour. I'm shooting for 10/24-10/28.

For now I am looking to recruit anyone who would want to participate in the blog tour! If you are interested then please send me a message with your email address and your choice of the options below. If you want to participate, but have a different idea different from the ones listed below then please let me know. I am open to new ideas as long as you don't ask me to make a video of me picking a fight with Godzilla. I can be contacted at any of the social media links on this website, but for immediate response the best ways to contact me would be on Twitter, G+, or Facebook.


  • Interview Me - I am quite the personality who will twist your questions so I can talk about how the Power Puff Girls have effected the worldwide PEZ economy. Seriously though, have you seen how crazy the PEZ economy is? Good luck investing your rainbows there! Or if you prefer I can be super serious "Business. Numbers! *draws chart in crayon* Assertion! Is this working?"
  • Character Interview - You can interview one of the characters from my novel. If you don't feel comfortable asking the questions then I can do it based off an interview template. Choices of characters would be James, Miri, Hannah, or Kitsie. James is a bully and captain of the Anderson Virtual Wars team which is expected to be one of the best in the upcoming season. Miri is the main character, an athlete/nerd who just wants to try out for a Virtual Wars team. Hannah is a spitfire who sees herself as being a spy from the movies. Kitsie was born into a situation out of her control and has been on the run from law enforcement her entire life.
  • Standard Guest Post - I will craft the standard guest blog post to cater to your audience. You can have as much or as little input as you would like. If you want me to blog about how truffles are the most amazing thing ever then I will. If you want me to pick the subject then I can do that as well.
  • Cover Reveal - Obviously this is like the Highlander. There can only be one. This would be the last day of the tour. I will have to check out your blog and make sure it fits with what I am trying to do before agreeing to this, but until this spot is filled it is an option!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Confidence In Writing

The ups and downs an author goes through can drive anyone to drink. Think of all the stereotypes you have ever heard about authors. How many of them involve drinking and/or smoking? These vices generally calm the nerves of people who partake in them. The battle that authors go through daily is a battle of confidence.

This battle of confidence is vicious within the psyche of an author. What if what I am writing is total crap? Should I let anyone see it ever? Should I burn this and start over? This self doubt helps drive us to perfect our craft. Without this doubt authors would just publish their first drafts which are awful. Yes they are, don't delude yourself. You can do better.

This is why letting go is so hard for an author. I never feel like I am completely finished with a story. There is a finality that comes with publishing and saying that a story is finished. It never feels that way to me. The nagging question of "What happens next?" always tickles at the back of my mind. There are loose ends that never get resolved for whatever reason. If I covered everything then I would never finish anything and my novel would be 8,000,000+ pages. Still we have to let go at some point and click that publish button.

This feeling of the novel never being good enough drives authors to pour their heart and soul into them. It feels like a contract signed in blood is needed to write a novel. This is why some authors take bad reviews so personally. When we are targeted by a hate group it is even worse. Bad reviews can tank a work of fiction by cutting off opportunities for promotion like a Bookbub ad. So please do be kind to authors. We torture ourselves enough while writing a book. A harsh negative review can be soul crushing. That doesn't mean you shouldn't criticize authors, we need that criticism to improve our craft. The trick is to make it constructive criticism and not a Godzilla sized foot stomp.

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Writing Progress Updates

Virtual Wars Booting Up (currently in editing hell)
Final edits: On page 160 of 168
Putting edits into computer: On page 138 of 168
Custom Chapter Headers: 33 of 41

Virtual Wars Running (Book 2)
Outline: 20%

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Pump the Positivity

I was recently reminded of a principle that I try to live by, but have had a hard time sticking to in everything. It sounds like a simple concept. Stay Positive. Two words that sound like they should be so easy, but it is much easier to lose your way and find yourself in the forest of mushrooms. Trust me, nothing good comes from the forest of mushrooms.

I was reminded of this from a friend I ran into recently that I hadn't seen for a while. He had this energy and pure joy emanating from him. It was truly infectious. It made me wonder what drugs he was on and where could I get some. He wasn't on a drug of any kind. He was filled with positive vibes and the happiness of just being. I could see how everyone there was drawn to him and the energy he was putting out. Everyone wanted to be a part of this positive vibe.

Your Writing

I sat down today thinking about how I generally try to keep a positive vibe, but recently I have been slipping out of that. Little negative comments here and there have been slipping out. I don't want to be that person. The next thought I had was... How can I apply this to my writing? Usually everything is collapsing in a work of fiction and there isn't much room for positivity. Sure the characters joke around, but then Godzilla steps on Jimmy and everyone is sad again.

What I thought of wasn't about using that positive vibe within the actual work of fiction, but rather using it toward the actual work. An affirmation that yes what I am writing is going to be good, that the editing will fix the problems within, that the cover art will help consumers to click that purchase button, etc..

Over the time that I have been writing my first novel I have dreaded or even avoided working on it because I had negative feelings toward the busy work of editing or lack of direction toward a specific chapter. I wonder how much quicker it would have been completed if I had taken a more rainbow colored pixie dusted unicorn view of it.

I am prone to procrastinate or completely avoid working on a project when I have these negative feelings toward it. From now on I want to pump the positive view on things before sitting down to work on it. My hope is that it will squash the urge to pick up my phone or play video games to avoid it.

Progress Updates

Virtual Wars Booting Up (currently in editing hell)
Final edits: On page 146 of 168
Putting edits into computer: On page 116 of 168
Custom Chapter Headers: 29 of 41

Virtual Wars Running (Book 2)
Outline: 20%