Coming May 30th, 2017! Here’s the cover, by the hyper-talented artist Andrea Garcia.
Coming May 30th, 2017! Here’s the cover, by the hyper-talented artist Andrea Garcia.
Hey, good and gentle peoples who read this blog! I try not to spam you guys because you’re all so attractive and swell individuals, but it’s not every day the sequel to your first book comes out. Which it did. It does. For me. I mean.
My book is out today. Kindle / Ebook / Phone right now, but the paperback is coming soon. Anyway, I’d really appreciate it if you checked it out or at the very least sent the word along to someone you think might dig it. Anyway, here are the links to Amazon and then I’ll leave you alone I promise.
Last time: Solin walked down a single street. No, seriously. Also he vaulted over a cow, I guess?
The Morali land was large, but Solin was soon at his destination (passive – watch those “was”es). A copse of trees rose up in the middle of the plains, following the course of a wide stream that broke off of the Sabrienne river to the east. As he got closer he slowed down, both for fear of disturbing his friend and simple exhaustion. He slowed to a jog, and finally a brisk walk (unnecessary comma, the sequel), allowing his muscles to stretch out and his blood to slow down. (Okay. This is a common move I still have to try hard to keep out of my writing. So first I said “he slowed down.” Then, in the next sentence, I DESCRIBE what slowing down is. In case you don’t know. It’s partially my tendency to over-explain, and partially an artifact from the first draft. This kind of thing is okay in a first draft because it’s really just telling the story to yourself. Later drafts need to be leaner. Take out the tell “he slowed down” and leave a punchier remnant of the show, like “His run decayed into a jog, then a leisurely stroll.”) It felt good to be tired, properly exhausted. Solin didn’t fear toil; he was just terrible at it. (STAHP. We get it. We all get it.)
Solin moved into the shadows of the trees then (Delete “then.” Why is that even here?), great willows that stretched their wispy canopy over his head. In the center of the copse the stream passed (Yoda, is that you?), crystal clear waters from the Sabrienne, a river that traced back to the great mountains to the north (Second time you’ve described the course of a distant river for literally no reason at all – well, kinda. Spoiler alert, this river starts somewhere mystical, which is why I felt the need to mention it twice. It’s still ham-handed, though). The stream split there beneath the willows, and most of the water cut south and no doubt hit the sea at some point (“No doubt?” It does or it doesn’t. Pick one). But Rion’s father had dammed up a portion of the stream along (two words there, son) time ago, and created a little shimmering pond. Solin and Rion swam and played there in their younger days. Frayed lengths of rope still hung above the pond, aching to be swung on. (Great imagery trapped in a pretty good sentence, even with the preposition wonkiness. So far, the count of pretty good sentences is “2,” for those keeping track at home.)
But that was a while ago, and Rion used it for fishing now. He claimed that was the only reason he came down here, but Solin knew better. (Delete this and inject it into dialogue later. Have Solin bust Rion’s balls. “Waxing nostalgic?” “Not at all. Trout are jumping this time of year.” “Oh yeah? Is that what the sketch pad is for?” Or something. Bring it into the character’s actions, not pork-fingered exposition.) It was a place of memory, and reflection, and at dawn or dusk Solin always thought it had a magical look to it. The way the willow branches crept down and filtered the light into shining specks that danced across the water. (By the way, this is the REAL reason Solin likes getting up early. See how unnecessary all the times he hemmed and hawed about it earlier? All those can be cut completely).
Solin noticed a handful of trout hanging by hooks from the branch of a low-hanging willow. (“Hanging” is twice in this sentence. Fix.) A few extra spears were leaned up against the tree (“A few extra spears leaned against the tree.” Boom. Passivity gone. Watch those “was”es and “were”es, right?). A pair of boots sat just on the edge of the water.
Solin leaned against the willow and watched.
Rion ett Morali stood on the shallow bank of the pond. The biting cold water (This could go either way, but Solin doesn’t know that the water is biting cold. Sure, he could deduce, but it feels like perspective flopping. Cut it) lapped around his ankles, though it didn’t seem to be bothering him. His long brown hair fell in waves to his shoulders, and high above his head his arm was in an arc, aiming the spear in his hand toward the waters (Not horrible, but the wording is so clunky. It just needs a clean rewrite). His back was to Solin. He couldn’t see his face, but it was no doubt arranged in its perpetual look of peaceful concentration, with nary a wrinkled brow to give away his thoughts.
(YUCK! Solin just described something he isn’t seeing just so he can describe the character to the audience. Also, don’t be so quick to description – you don’t need to fix your description in the mind of the audience right away. In fact, and this took me a LONG time to realize, you really don’t need to describe your characters at all.
I know that sounds weird, but bear with me. Your job as a writer is MUCH easier if you let the reader take over some responsibilities. Let’s say you have “Helen,” and Helen needs to be beautiful for the story to work. And I mean, NEEDS to be. The plot hinges on it.
You don’t have to go into crazy detail. Don’t describe her eyes, the upturn of her nose, the slender calves, whatever turns your key. Have other characters react to how beautiful she is – have men constantly hit on her, have woman envy her, have a photographer stop her in the street and ask if she’d like to do some modeling. Have her blow off all of these advances in a nonchalant way, letting us know she deals with this all the time.
That’s how you make Helen beautiful. The reader will then pick up on this and conjure a beautiful woman in their mind, and their beautiful woman is going to make the Helen of your tedious description look like a pig. Reading is interactive, if you let it be. Let it be.
Hypocrisy alert: You’ll find some in-depth descriptions of characters in my books, and I regret almost all of them. If a physical signifier is 100% important to the character – Morgan’s stunning beauty in Deadgirl, for instance – then include the stuff I talked about. If it doesn’t really matter, don’t put too much energy into a physical description. Let the reader fill it in, and they’ll never forget the character they conjured.
I’m still working on this because it’s a really hard habit to break, especially for us visual types. But remember, books aren’t a visual medium. Use the best tools at your disposable. Don’t try to hammer a nail in with a saw.)
Solin had tried to get him to play cards with some of the guys in town; Rion wasn’t much for games (Semi-colons again, you old dog, you!). He’d win a lot of money with that unreadable gaze, too. Solin moved forward a step, about to break the silence, when Rion lunged.
His arm moved in a blur; (Oh shitttt, makin’ it rain semi-colons) Solin could barely follow the path of the spear. Droplets of water flew through the air around Rion, and he gripped the submerged spear with both hands and tugged it out of the water. A monstrous trout squirmed on the tip of the spear, and Rion turned and whipped the spear above his head. The fish sailed through the air, and Solin jerked to just narrowly avoid its flight. (There are some repetition problems here I would fix. Air, water, spear, air, water, spear. Maybe just delete a lot of it).
“Want to hang that up for me?”
I’ve seen a lot, A LOT, worse. It’s not good, don’t get me wrong. To semi-quote one of my agents – “Look at every paragraph – can it be condensed into a sentence?” You’ll find it often can, especially if you tend to overexplain, overdescribe, and overwrite (like, for instance, me).
Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about:
“Solin had tried to get him to play cards with some of the guys in town; Rion wasn’t much for games. He’d win a lot of money with that unreadable gaze, too. Solin moved forward a step, about to break the silence, when Rion lunged.”
Well, in all honesty I’d just delete everything but the last sentence and then perk it up bit: “Just as Solin opened his mouth to break the silence, Rion lunged.”
The stuff where I nearly break my back trying to not use the phrase “poker face” is unnecessary and should go. Rion will either seem stoic to the audience or he won’t – stop telling them who people are. If Rion is relatively quiet and strong in his actions, then we’ll get it. But don’t just unzip the sentiment and ram it home – romance the audience a little.
I’m still not convinced anything in this chapter shouldn’t be cut entirely. In fact, once we get to what I think the starting point should actually be, I’ll let you know. See you next week for I think some actual danger/conflict. I think.
My memory blocked out huge chunks of this book for safety reasons.
Just a completely altruistic, non self-serving reminder that the sequel to a book I wrote is coming out in one month. Which I also wrote. I wrote both, is what I’m saying.
Attention! I am trying to win a contest to get a new book published and supported by Nerdist. The top five people who get the most pre-orders will get published, and the winner gets Nerdist support. If the book doesn’t make it, you won’t be charged the pre-order amount. So it’ll only cost you if the book actually wins, and then hey, you get a book out of it.
Pretty please click here to check the book out, check out the premise, cover, and first chapter, and if it sounds like something you wanna read (or you just like my furry face), please give it a pre-order.
In advance, you rock, and your whole face is aesthetically pleasing.
Also I’ll try to spam less and deliver actual blogposts. Thanks again!
Howdy! Happy New Year! I hope your hangover has abated, somewhat, as mine has. I’m not saying I’m tip-top, but there’s no longer a stage show of giant red-ant fire jugglers cartwheeling through my skull. Anyway, I’ve got a lot going on today, publishing wise, so I thought I’d consolidate all my spam in one location. I appreciate your tolerance, greatly.
Deadgirl, by first novel, is on sale for $0.99 at Amazon right here from January 1st to January 3rd. If you check it out, I can write more, work less, and craft more hangover jokes in wacky blog posts. It’s about Lucy Day, a girl who dies on her first date, gets better, and has to deal with one very pissed off Grim Reaper. Plus her own new powers and her confused maybe-boyfriend and worried parents she disappeared on. One-part ghost story, one-part superhero story, and a wee dash of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’d be much obliged if you’d check it out. And right now it’s the same price as a chicken soft taco, but way less calories.
The Curiosity Quills short fiction anthology, entitled “Chronology,” came out today. One of my stories is in there, along with a new piece by fantasy bestseller Piers Anthony, and a few dozen other amazing writers. You can grab that right here to learn about Hog McMasters, ex-astronaut, former samurai, and world-record holder for pec firmness as he takes on mummies, empanadas, and the power of friendship.
Okay, that’s enough spam from me. Thanks for hearing it out. You may continue eating breakfast burritos and lamenting last night.
Yesterday I signed my first book deal. I had reactions of my own, namely extreme excitement combined with an odd sensation of worrying vertigo. It turns out finding the handle of one of your dreams and finally getting a grip on it is just as terrifying as it is satisfying – I find myself thinking of the work ahead. Of which there is plenty: having signed with a small company, I’m about to get an exciting crash course in marketing.
It doesn’t feel like a brass ring, or like a lottery ticket. It feels like another step, if it is a by-and-large HUGE and wonderful step filled with bacon cheeseburgers and puppies and happy things. It made me wonder, what would previous incarnations of myself think?
26 and 7
Bobby (26) : “Hey, seven-year-old me! We finally got published!”
Bobby (7) : “Well duuuuh. Was your story about cats or penguins, like my story?”
Bobby (26): “Sorry bud. I’m afraid I’ve pretty much retired myself from ‘anthropomorphic animals go somewhere wacky’ genre.”
Bobby (7): “I don’t even know who you are. Is Raphael still your favorite ninja turtle?”
Bobby (26): “Well, obviously.”
Bobby (7): “Wanna play Power Rangers? I’m the Red Ranger!”
Bobby (26): “What? That’s ridiculous . . . I’m the Red Ranger.”
26 and 12
Bobby (26) : “Hey, twelve-year-old me! We finally got published!”
Bobby (12): “Yeah, sure. Hey, so you’re from the future then?”
Bobby (26) : “Obviously.”
Bobby (12): “So . . . wow, you’re tall.”
Bobby (26): “Very true. I know you’re shorter than all the girls right now, and pretty fat, and your haircut is . . . really, a ponytail? Anyway, it gets a lot better.”
Bobby (12): “We’re still fat, I see.”
Bobby (26): “Well, we get much thinner. Then after high school we get REALLY fat, but then we get thin again. Now we’re somewhere in the middle because – you know what? Listen. That’s not really what I’m here to talk about. I’m saying – ”
Bobby (12): “Quiet. Be honest with me. Have we touched a booby yet? Don’t bullshit me here.”
Bobby (26): “That’s not really important – ”
Bobby (12): “You shut your cow mouth. Boobies. Touched. Go.”
Bobby (26): “Little Bobby . . . ”
Bobby (12): “Remember how much I’m getting bullied right now? I will end you.”
Bobby (26): “Well . . . yeah. All the time. It’s pretty awesome.”
Bobby (12): “WoooooOOOOO!”
Bobby (26): “Sigh”
26 and 16
Bobby (26): “Hey, sixteen-year-old Bobby! We just got published!”
Bobby (16): “Um, how old are you?”
Bobby (26): “I’m . . . twenty six. I’m twenty six. Why?”
Bobby (16): “So, we got published like, again?”
Bobby (26): “What do you mean ‘again’?”
Bobby (16): “You published like, your ninth book, right?”
Bobby (26): “No, it’s the first one. I dont . . . ”
Bobby (16): “THE FIRST ONE? Are you HIGH?”
Bobby (26): “We don’t really get into drugs – ”
Bobby (16): “You, just now, ten years from now, publish your first book. Wow. Wow On a Pogo Stick. Were you kidnapped somewhere in the intervening years? Did you overcome a debilitating illness? Fight in a war?”
Bobby (26): “No, no, and no. It’s a slow process, dude.”
Bobby (16): “Most authors write a book in a year, right? How many books have been fully completed in ten years?”
Bobby (26): “Hold on. A book a year is pretty fast. And besides, you don’t start seriously writing for another four years.”
Bobby (16): “What? Why?! Oh, oh. College. Right. I guess that makes sense.”
Bobby (26): “Oh, uh . . . ”
Bobby (16): “What? Oh what now? You didn’t GO TO COLLEGE?!”
Bobby (26): “I went . . .”
Bobby (16): “Oh Jesus, man.”
Bobby (26): “So, to uh, answer your earlier question . . . two books.”
Bobby (16): “I don’t even want to talk to you anymore.”
Bobby (26): “I’m sorry, dude.”
Bobby (16): “You know what? Whatever. What’s the booby situation?”
Bobby (26): “Excellent, really.”
Bobby (16): “One out of three ain’t bad, I guess. We have a show tonight, wanna come? It’ll freak everyone out.”
Bobby (26): “Sure! I’ll jump and be like ‘I’m from the future, where the zombies are! Ahhhhh!'”
Bobby (16): “Ha, nice. There aren’t . . . ”
Bobby (26): “No, no zombies. But I’ve got some bad news for you about vampire movies . . . “