Monday, January 27, 2014

The Ghost Part 20

The Ghost Part 20 - The Ghost faces off against a centaur.

I have a new cover! Please let me know what you think of it. Also my story is showing up in the rankings for the first time. I want to thank you all for making that happen. All the reads and votes are appreciated.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Wide World of Writing

This week I would like to talk about the world of writing.  There are a lot of communities for writers and readers and candlestick makers. Tons of writing resources are available for free on the internet. Lots of people are on twitter trying to sell you writing advice and promotion. 

First I want to write about my week in writing.  I finished editing chapter 9 for my current work in progress, and am almost finished with chapter 10. I just signed up for two writing contests that I am excited about.  I will talk about them in a bit. I recently updated the cover for my serial story called The Ghost.  You should notice the change on Monday when I post the latest update to the story. I also noticed for the first time that the story was ranked in the top 500. If you enjoy the story then please vote for it.  It helps to make it more visible on the website, and increases the ranking.  I really don't care about the ranking, but I do want to share the story with the world.  I want feedback, so I can work on improving my writing.  That's my main reason for writing this serial story.

It's incredible how many people are working on writing some sort of story or another. For every person that tells me they could never do any kind of creative writing, there are several others who are trying to.  Some of them have already, and are spamming me on twitter constantly.  I'm not here to talk about promotion though. I want to talk about two websites that I have been participating in.  Goodreads and Wattpad are the websites. Please feel free to share any other writing communities that you know of or participate in.

Goodreads

This is a great community for readers to talk about books. You can see what others are reading and what they think about it. Here are a few things I like about the site.

The Mobile App

The app doesn't have all the functionality of the website, but it is still useful.  You can quickly update your status on the books you are currently reading.  You can also check into the groups you are currently a part of.  Some parts of the website aren't as easy to get into.  Quick access to the basics of the site makes it much more enjoyable.

Discussion Groups

This is the part of the website that I enjoy the most. I belong to two of these currently.  One is for writers, and the other is for readers.  The site is mostly skewed towards readers talking about what they like or don't like.  The writing discussion group has been very interesting.  I try to check up on it a few times a day. Much of the discussion in that group is geared towards how you feel about your writing and talking about interesting things about your writing. 

Wattpad

This is a community for writers to share and try to improve on their work.  There are a lot of people on there reading the free stories as well. I would recommend this site to any aspiring author. Here are a few things I like about the site. 

The Mobile App

The app is hard to use to navigate the site. It is best used as an e-reader for the stories available on wattpad. Some of the features are easy to access like being able to comment on chapters of the works. The clubs are one of the most important features of the site, but it's not included in the app.

Resources

There are tons of resources that are available on the website. They have people that will help with just about anything.  Most want a payment, but the payments involve helping them with something.  Reading their story, writing a critique, or commenting on a chapter are typical payments.  It's mostly about authors helping other authors.  People will help with advice, critiques, editing, cover design, and anything else you might think of.

Contests

There are several contests going on at once on this site. Some are better than
others. A few of them are very interesting.  The winners get prizes similar to the payments you would usually give out for resources.

The Clubs

These are basically messageboards. This is also where you can find the resources and contests I wrote about above. There are also writing discussions, writing games, book clubs, etc. 



 



 




Friday, January 24, 2014

I, Frankenstein

Rated PG-13 / 1 hr 33 min / Action - Fantasy - SciFi

What is it about?

We all know the story of the mad scientist Doctor Frankenstein and his creation, the monster known as Frankenstein. This movie is more about an unseen war between Gargoyles and Demons. The demons are hunting the monster Frankenstein. The gargoyles offer to shelter Frankenstein, but he refuses. The demons want to recreate the process used to make the monster. They want an army of monsters that they control. The demons can only possess bodies that don't have souls. Frankenstein makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

You will like it if...

You like dark monster movies with pretty special effects. Aaron Eckhart does the best he can, but it's still not enough. I still couldn't manage to care about the monster Frankenstein.  Maybe you aren't supposed to.  He is selfish and feels sorry for himself.  It puts a serious damper on the movie since he is presented as the hero/main character. It doesn't help that the gargoyles spend half of the movie trying to figure out how they feel about Frankenstein.  The special effects are very good. The action scenes are beautiful special effects battles. I am not a fan of the demons and gargoyles transforming back and forth from their human forms over and over again. I think they are just trying to distract you from how crappy the script is.  I , Frankenstein reaches towards being an iconic epic fantasy adventure featuring one of the most well known monsters.  It falls short due to bad decisions made within a lackluster script. I really wanted to like this movie because there are a lot of things that are done right.  The movie never reaches it's potential, and ends up being a disappointment.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Writing is rewriting

This is my other favorite mantra of good writing.  There is a lot of writing advice out there that is subjective.  What works for me might not work for you.  However this one works for everyone. In a bit I'll tell you the reasons why I love rewriting.  These are things that I didn't think about until I actually got to this point in my current work.

This past week I worked on rewriting and editing parts of chapter 9 for my current work in progress.  I haven't quite finished with this chapter, but I'm getting close.  I was thinking about splitting it into two chapters. I decided against it because the content takes place on the same day and relates to the content already in chapter 9.  I am trying to keep the length of my chapters short to break up the story into easily managed chunks.  This one could end up being one of the longest in the novel.  I am up to 30 chapters now with my first draft having 25.  Now without further ado...  The reasons I enjoy rewriting.

1.) Pick up the poops.

In some spots I have taken an info dump on my novel.  No one wants to read an info dump!  Like regular bowel movements they are stinky and unwanted. The latest one I wrote about in my last blog post.  This is also a chance to fix all of the spelling and grammar errors too, but I like to leave those tidbits for my editors (teehee). 

2.) Expanding the story

I have a couple of spots where I mention a letter or a conversation that is useful in moving the story along, but I didn't include them in the previous draft.  This is a chance to write them in.  Why I didn't include them before baffles me.  Perhaps ninjas came over for tea, and I simply didn't have time.

3.) Adding new material

This is by far my favorite. Now that I know where my story is going it's a lot easier to think about why some of the characters do what they do.  Also I have gotten a lot of "wouldn't it be cool if.." ideas that I can now implement into the story.  For instance there is an event that takes place in the prologue, and another that takes place towards the end.  There isn't really a direct link between the two, but it is implied.  I now have an idea that will make a direct link.  It also includes assassinations, so that's another level of action/drama.

4.) Plug your holes!

We all love plot holes. It gives us a space to put our newspaper. These can be the most frustrating things to deal with.  How can this character be in two places at once?  Did she steal that thingamajig object from Hermione from Harry Potter?  I haven't noticed anything within my current novel as of yet, but I'm hoping my beta readers will help me out if I miss any of these. 

 


 


Friday, January 17, 2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Rated PG-13 / 1 hr 45 min / Action - Drama - Thriller

What is it about?

Jack Ryan, the star of so many Tom Clancy novels, is back. This time in a younger package played by Cris Pine  rather than Harrison Ford.  Jack is in school when the twin towers in New York go down.  He decides to join the military  to fight in Afghanistan.  He gets blown out of the sky, and has to go through physical therapy to learn to walk again. He meets his future wife there, and is also recruited into the CIA.  As a compliance officer at a financial institution he finds some possible evidence of a economic attack. They send him to Russia to investigate further.

You will like it if...

You like decent action movies. The previews are very misleading in making it seem like this is a thriller with all kinds of twists and turns.  It's not a thriller at all.  It's an action flick with a straightforward storyline.  What makes the story interesting is how real the threat is, but there are some inconsistencies that don't make as much sense. The action sequences are cut in the worst way possible.  Some of the fight scenes are cut so quick and zoomed in so close that I was asking myself, "What the crap happened?" All you see is two men shuffling and grunting.  They could have had sex with each other and you wouldn't know.  Keira Knightly and Kevin Costner both do an excellent job.  Chris Pine has carved out a nice niche as an action hero. They all add some star power to the movie that makes it entertaining as a standard action movie.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Show and Tell

Hello fellow adventurers!  Welcome to another edition of my blog.  Today we're going to talk about one of the mantras of all good writers.  It's something that I have heard over and over again.  Show don't Tell.  It's something that I have struggled with when writing my first draft, and I'm paying for it now that I am editing.

This past week I have been working on Chapter 8 of my current work in progress.  It started off with some exposition that mentions a conversation between two of the main characters.  I thought, "Why didn't I include that conversation?"  I rewrote a small portion of the chapter and created a whole new chapter.  It also has increased my word count to over 60,000.  That has been my target for this novel from the start.  It will be a little less than my target once I delete the two paragraphs this chapter replaces.  I was able to kill two birds with one stone.

The mantra I referred to earlier is "Show don't Tell".  I see it repeated over and over again in advice blogs, on twitter, and anywhere else you can find authors.  I'm going to tackle this topic backwards starting with "Tell".  As always I want to hear what YOU think!  Why do you think this has become such an important saying with writers? Do you think exposition/telling is good?  Let me know!  My little social media icons are begging you to touch them!

Tell

What is telling?  Is it like when I did something bad, and my (insert sibling's name here) said, "I'm Telling!"

Telling is using exposition to tell a story that has already happened. Exposition is a detailed statement or explanation.  This can also be known as an info-dump. This is a long dark path towards poor writing. 

For example: The characters engage in a heated debate about what to do next.  The author types in detail what each plan is and why they chose the plan that they did.

Why is it bad?

There are many reasons this is bad.  It's harder to read.  It can bore your readers to tears.  It makes kittens cry.  OK maybe not that last one.  Most of the time it will burden your readers with information they don't need. The biggest problem is that you take your characters out of the story.  They aren't taking an active role.  They are still there, but they are sitting on their butts twiddling their thumbs waiting for something to happen. The readers are basically doing the same thing. 

Show

What is showing? It's not like those sex offenders I hear about on the news is it?

Don't worry! This won't get you arrested. I hope not anyway. Showing is keeping everything in the moment.  It is typing out everything as it happens, and how your characters act and react.

For example: The same situation as the previous example.  The author this time types out the whole debate.  The author could also skip that and go right to the characters executing the plan.

Why is it good?

It is what rainbows are made of! Not really. Showing makes the story easier to read.  It is the opposite of Telling as it pertains to it's effect on readers.  Showing keeps the readers in the here and now with your characters.

 





 



Friday, January 10, 2014

The Legend of Hercules

Rated PG-13 / 1 hr 39 min / Action - Adventure

What is it about?

Queen Alcmene realizes that King Amphitryon is not the man she thought she had married.  She realizes that he is a tyrant, and seeks help from the gods to create peace.  Zeus decides to knock her up.  Thus Hercules is born.  Twenty years later Hercules is in love.  Awwww...  Unfortunately for him, his older brother has made arrangements to marry her.  King Amphitryon decides that it is time for Hercules to go off to war.  He doesn't tell our hero that he is supposed to die.  Oops!  Instead he is sold into slavery.  He spends the rest of the movie trying to claw his way back to the woman he loves.

You will like it if...

You like made for TV movies that have an OK story with some decent action.  Everything about this movie from start to finish screams B-movie.  They made a decent choice to play Hercules.  He does a passable job.  Scott Adkins does the best acting job out of everyone, but his performance is lost in the massive failure of everyone else in the movie.  The special effects are also TV movie quality. At times they look laughably cartoonish.  They try so hard to make this like a mix between Gladiator and 300, and it doesn't come close to either.  The fight scenes are the best feature of the movie, and even those are unbelievable and cartoonish in spots.  They try to use the same slow down/speed up transitions that Zack Snyder has used in 300 and The Immortals, but fail to use it properly.  I can't believe they spent 70 million on the budget for this movie.  If you must see this movie, I suggest waiting for redbox to avoid feeling angry for paying full theater prices. 

 



Monday, January 6, 2014

The Ghost Part 17

The Ghost Part 17 - The Ghost starts her journey to escape hell. She has to sneak past Satan in this episode.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Projects

When starting a new project there is so much excitement and joy.  I feel like I can write the entire story in one sitting.  Unfortunately that is not the case!  It takes several weeks and sometimes months of work to complete the first draft.  That doesn't include the time it takes to edit, format, design the cover, etc.  Then there is the promotion that is needed to help sell it.

Last week I asked what you all thought about my project ideas, and which one I should write next.  The Curse and Grimm seem to be the stories that are generating the most interest.  I have plans on what I am going to do with both of those that I will share in a moment.  I also did not mention my plans for the projects that I am currently working on.

Before I go into that let me recap my week in writing!  I finished editing chapter 7 and started on 8.  Chapter 8 starts off with a ton of exposition.  A conversation between two of the main characters was mentioned, and I thought, "Instead of all of this info dump, why don't I write out this conversation?"  I have written about half of the conversation out, and it is turning out to be much better than what I had written before.  I am still getting the information to the reader and it is easier to read.  Mission accomplished! Now let's talk about my plans for these new projects!

Publishing on Amazon

Virtual Wars: Initialization

This is the first book of the Virtual Wars trilogy.  I also have three short stories that I plan to release for free in a collection called "Booting Up".  I am going to start making posts about the background and history of the world for this series.  They will be posted here on the blog for your reading enjoyment!  A friend of mine said it sounded like a mix between The Hunger Games and Ender's Game when I described it to him.  That is the shortest synopsis I can provide for the series.  This first book follows Miri Stapleton who is a teenager that is trying to find his way in the world.  He is about to enter into the equivalent of high school.  He finds that many things aren't what they seem.  He gets sucked into a world of intrigue and danger while trying to deal with the normal stress of being an awkward high school student.

Untitled Kindle Worlds Project - Wool

I have a rough outline worked out for this.  It takes place after the events in Dust which is the finale in the Wool saga.  Hugh Howey has crafted an intricate world, and I can't wait to dive into it!  This project follows a man in his early 20's who has been paralyzed from the waist down.  He grew up around and has worked in the farms his whole life.  He is sucked into a murder/mystery when one of his friends is brutally murdered.  I may also follow the silo's detective as he investigates the murder as well as the murderer.

Virtual Wars: Running

Book two of the Virtual Wars series.   In the aftermath of the first book the stakes are raised.  I started this series based off a dream that I had several years ago.  The dream sequence takes place early in this book.  I can't wait to write it!  There will be a lot more action and suspense in this sequel.  I have found that the second book in most of my favorite trilogies is my favorite of all.  I think that will be the case for this one as well.

The Curse

I posted a short description for this one last week.  I have a fantastic opening sequence that I have written several times. 

Publishing on Wattpad

The Ghost

This is the story I have been updating weekly.  When I finish the first episode of this, I will move on to the next series that I want to post on Wattpad. 

Grimm

I posted a short desciption of this one recently.  I  plan on posting it on wattpad with weekly updates similar to what I have done with The Ghost story.  If either of these become popular then I will publish a more polished version of these stories on Amazon.

Star Wars Fanfic

I am writing this for the Fourth of May.  I haven't started writing this as of yet, but I plan to publish it on wattpad on Star Wars day.  I have been planning this for the past five or six months.  I don't have an outline for this one yet.  It will be a sci-fi comedy/adventure.