blogging

This was not the post I was expecting to write.

Last week I finished the most recent novel. I posted on Instagram (one of the few Social Media I have)about how quickly I completed it.

There were numerous comments of “congratulations” “wow”, and this got me thinking.

How many writers are out there struggling to get their word counts. I’m usually one of them, but for the past month, I haven’t been.

It started with figuring out how I wrote another novel and why I completed it so quickly.

The other book was written using a beat sheet, but when I finished it I realized the writing felt stilted and false. The one rule I’ve stuck to in my writing is tell the truth. No matter what the truth is in the story, tell it.

The other thing I did in that novel was a timer. I would write, unencumbered, that means no stops to fix punctuation. I took what I liked, the timer, and modified it.

I would write a book, using twenty-five minute sprints, with a five minute break in between.

The first day I only wrote 1860 words. The second day, I wrote 2700 words. When a part of the story felt wrong, I’d fix it. When punctuation was needed, I’d changed it. I would stop to adjust story issues along the way, but I would keep to my timers and their five-minute breaks.

My average was around 3000 words a day. But I completed that draft in one month and four days. I started on December 1st, finished on January 4th.

I’d never written that quickly and completing another book made me happy.

This year isn’t about writing books, it will be about publishing them or getting representation. Last year I submitted a novel to twelve agents, all of them but one rejected it. That one left the agency and no longer works in publishing.

I’m working that book with my writing group. Meanwhile, I’ll be writing more stories, creating new worlds and now that I’m eight books in, I’m figuring things out better.

Happy writing.



For the longest time I’ve had a fear of using the narrator voice while writing.

As I write mostly fantasy, horror, and science fiction, I’m sure this fear comes from being told show don’t tell and of the dreaded info dump.

I spent the latter months of 2018 dealing with this fear.

I knew a couple things would have to change in my writing, and mindset, to fix this.

I would have to let the narrator speak what needed to be said and I would have to stop worrying about info dumps. Sometimes a small info dump is needed in a story.

When dealing with an info dump, I’ve made sure it’s either a character explaining things or if I’m using the narrator, it’s in small chunks.

I also didn’t want to sound pretentious. Which is something my wife says I’ve done with the narrator.

I read a lot of books this past year, and I took to analyzing how the author would speak with the narrator, either in description or in regards to world building.

The Wheel of Time series writer by Robert Jordan and finished Brandon Sanderson are a few of the best examples of this.

I love how Jordan does narrator voice. I don’t feel like there is an info dump when he’s world building and the narrator is consistent throughout the books I’ve read in the series. I’m on book 5 in the series.

With horror, it’s the same. I looked for how the author differentiated between the narrator voice and character voice. Doing this helped my writing a lot.

From the end of September until the end of November I focused solely on improving my narrators and how they dealt with the world.

These stories turned out well and I’m happy with them. I only wish I would have done it years ago instead of being afraid.

I’ll be talking about how I did this for the month of January.

What did you improve upon in your writing or life the past year?

Let me know in the comments.

I follow a lot of various motivators on social media, Gary Vaynerchuk, Lewis Howes, Tom Bilyeu, and others. I follow these people for various reasons. I love Gary’s honesty, Lewis Howes the same. I follow Tom because I love his podcast.

There is something that’s been nagging me about following these motivators. I shouldn’t need them. I should be able to write without having someone tell me to keep going.

But that’s the problem, I don’t. It doesn’t compute that I can’t do this myself. I need that kick in the ass every once in a while.

Today was a good example. Gary posted on Instagram about doing one thing that makes you uncomfortable.

My thing is editing. I feel like the time I spend editing is the time I could be writing. I also feel that I’m doing it wrong. That there is some magical formula to editing. After writing seven novels, I feel like it should get easier to edit, it doesn’t.

The fact that I’ve written seven novels and I’ve only submitted one of them to agents is appalling to me. It didn’t use to be. I thought I’d get better at writing through writing, I was wrong. I get better through editing.

It’s taken me thirteen years to realize this. It shouldn’t have taken this long.

When I finished my first novel, a vampire book that I love, I thought I’ll just keep rewriting. There are 8 drafts of that novel on my hard drive. None of them will ever come out. At the time there was no one, other than my wife to bounce ideas off of. Now that I have a writing group, I feel like I can do this.

Editing is the hardest part of writing. The taking away of pieces I loved in the draft, moving them around and creating a coherent, cohesive story is more important than writing something new.

I hate that it has taken this long to understand this.

Here’s what I’ll be doing to finish, truly finish the last three novels I’ve written: By the end of March 2019 I’ll be editing each novel through my writing group. I’ll post the progress on Delusions of Ink for each project.

What are you doing that makes you uncomfortable? Tell me in the comments. Let us keep each other going.

When the world feels like its crumbling around you, look for things that make your life better.

Each day we consider what others think about is, we’re stepping in a minefield.

The minefield is littered with crushed dreams, faded photographs and the loss of peace of mind.

The minefield is bigger than we believe it to be.

It looks like only a few yards, but it goes on for years. Those years are lost to the judgment of self, loss of productivity and an absence of who we are.

Who we are is the most important of these.

It is what we believe ourselves to be that defines us.

It carries us through a forest of thorns, a no man’s land of pain and sometimes that no man’s land is littered with our lost dreams.

We only fail in our dreams if we stop following and the lost dreams in no man’s land will never have their second coming. They will never have that resurrection we desire for them.

We have to move past those lost dreams at some point.

When we discover that the minefield is an illusion and the words that others say don’t matter, we move into a new realm of who we are.

This realm is ripe with purpose.

It answers the questions of we thought we were and gives us guidance.


Fear debilitates you, belittles you, and takes away your mind.

I’ve always been fearful of something, spiders, my father, losing my kids or my wife, but last night I had one of those writing epiphanies.

I write Science Fiction, Fantasy, and horror because they’re what I feel comfortable with.

I write them because writing something literary or something that wouldn’t be considered popular fiction scares the shit out of me.

I have moments in my writing where the words flow like wine in Napa, moments where the words don’t tell you what’s going on in the story but you see the cloud formations, catch the protagonists eye and feel their pain, unfortunately, those are only moments.

For me, these moments are the glimmer of better writing, the shining example of where my writing could go if I were to allow it.

I have a book to finish this month, though it may push into June. I also have a second draft of another book to complete by June, that one will be done by June.

For the summer, I’ll be working on my craft. I won’t write a book this summer, I will improve my ability to craft them though.

This summer I’ll work on improving my craftsmanship.

Who’s down for doing this with me?

 

 

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We writers, we have a problem.

There is this thing, it’s called “The Shiny“.

It comes when we least expect it, but it screams its damn head off when it appears.

We’ll be working on a story, and it doesn’t matter the length of the story, and BAM, The Shiny appears.

It could be a new thought on the current story, something that we didn’t anticipate or worse, it could be a new story, yelling, ‘look at me, look at me. I won’t let you get stuck, but if I do at least you’ll be writing five-thousand words while you wait’

The more we’re blocked, the louder the damn thing screams, but we have to ignore it, we must. There’s a part of us that knows we have to keep going on the current story, because, no matter how blocked we get, we still have more words on the current story than The Shiny.

We want to stop because we’ll get The Shiny to be quiet, then we have the damn things popping up to yell at us. It will happen when we’re going to sleep, taking our kids to school, reading a book. That last one, that’s the most frustrating.

The only thing we can do, write down the idea, put it somewhere we can see it and work on it later after we’re done with the current story.

Don’t give in to The Shiny.

I had a couple of goals for the past year. A few of them were sidetracked but I kept to them as much as I could.

I wanted to get in better shape, which I did through half the year, but faltered in the latter half. This was my fault and I take full responsibility for it.

I wanted to finish a book. I finished two.

I wanted to spend more time with my family, especially my wife.

I’ve done this. I was able to attend multiple field trips with my daughter and watch my son perform at his Christmas guitar concert.

I wanted to read a lot more. The only way to improve you writing is by reading.

I read 15 fiction book and 11 non-fiction, which I’ll list below.

Fiction: The Darkness that Comes Before – R. Scott Bakker, The Fireman – Joe Hill, The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty, Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay, Haunting of Hill House – Shirly Jackson, Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb, The Dragon Reborn – Robert Jordan, The Shadow Rising – Robert Jordan, The Magic of Recluse – L.E. Modesitt Jr., Prince of Thorns – Mark Lawrence, Magician: Apprentice – Raymond Feist, The Man in the High Castle – Phillip K. Dick, Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson.

I’m also reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin and should have it done by the end of the year.

Non-Fiction: Ask Gary V – Crush It – Jab, Jab, Right Hook all by Gary Vaynerchuck. The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy, The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster – Darren Hardy, Go For No – Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz,  Go Pro – Eric Worre, Grit – Angela Duckworth, Scrum – JJ Sutherland, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson, No God but God – Reza Aslan.

There are a couple of books from each of these lists that have either changed the way I write or the way I think.

From fiction: Head Full of Ghosts and Prince of Thorns. Both of these books gave me a new way to look at my writing and others writing, I would put Left Hand of Darkness on this list as well but I haven’t finished it and am only judging for the first two-thirds of the book.

From Non-Fiction: No God but God, Crush It and Grit. These three changed my brain about a few things.

No God but God gave me insight into Islam, a topic that is reported improperly in MSM. Islam is something I’ve wanted to learn more about and this was a good place to start. Crush It was the book that changed my mind about my writing and how hard I wasn’t working to achieve my goals. Grit helped me identify where I’m lacking in preparation for my writing.

I accomplished my goals for the most part, but I still have a couple things to improve.

Next year I’ll be publishing.