A Blog Appears! Command?

Pardon the dust, folks.

After several months off, I decided it was time to refresh this blog with the help of my friend Jeff James, who is a WordPress wizard and also a super friend.

What was I doing with all that time off? Novel-ing, actually. At some point early in 2013, I set a rather ludicrous goal for myself. Tired of working on a novel that was at the time going nowhere, I decided the best course of action was to devote a calendar year to producing as much new content as I could. Continue reading →

Race Days and Writing Days

If you’ll notice the tumbleweeds around these parts, that’s because I’ve spent the last few weeks immersed in The Jimmy Project, my alternate history superhero story about a boy and his feelings. And saving the U.S of A., I guess.

I finished The Jimmy Project last weekend, and now I’m in a bit of the afterglow that accompanies the end of a first draft. Leaning back and knowing you’re done with that challenging draft is one of the most rewarding things you can imagine. It’s not just that you had an idea, because ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s that you took that one idea persevered when you worried that it might be a bad one. That you kept pushing even when it seemed foolish to do it. And somewhere along the line, you wrote a book. Oops. Continue reading →

Rewriting History and Adding Superkids

WW2 Captain America

The most interesting part of writing The Jimmy Project, my current novel about a superkid raised by the U.S. government, is that it takes place in an alternate Earth, with a history different from our own. For other things I’ve written, I’ve only had to do a modicum of research, just some brief Wikipedia browsing to make sure I wasn’t completely off my rocker before tackling a few sections. TJP has been wildly different in that I’m writing about a time period I have zero firsthand knowledge of (the 1930s-1950s), besides a few World War II movies. Continue reading →

Your Thing Is Good and You Should Feel Good

First drafts are hard.

No, seriously. We pay lip-service to the idea of writing being a finicky, petty and blood-sucking monster, but for real, it can be a killer to try to start a new book. No matter how confident you feel about where you are as a writer, or as an anything, first attempts tend to rough us up, WWE style, with about as many theatrics to boot.

As much as I tell myself that it’s fine to let a first draft be crappy, and as much as I tell myself that I need to wait to revise, the urge to tweak is so strong I send myself into obsessive fits.

I doubt I’m the only one. Continue reading →

Before You Write: Pre-Pitching

Die Hard - Ellis

Still in the plotting/scheming/maniacal laughing stages of The Jimmy Project, I’ve been knee deep in story structure, character motivations and all kinds of other buzzwords that writers use to make themselves sound super smart and sometimes write words good. For my last novel, I sort of used a process called discovery writing, or if you’re feeling nasty, pantsing — both just fancy terms that mean making this crap up as you go. Continue reading →