Weird Dreams

I think my subconscious is plotting a new story or working kinks out of a current project. Why would I think that? You ask. Because my dreams have been weird lately. And when my dreams get that way I write them down. Sometimes during the recording, those dream fragments take on new life and become a story. As to where the dream last night goes or fits I don’t know, yet. 

Lawrence Block writes in several of his books on writing about “training your brain”, namely your subconscious to develop plots while you sleep. Hmmm love this idea. He theorizes if you devour books and authors you have a passion for you can develop mental memory of how that type of story is put together.

For example romance, back in the day I would read four and five romance novels at a time. I trained my brain on what elements make a romance novel a romance novel. And as I result my writing has some of tbe romance flavor to it. Or it feels that way. Now I read more fantasy and mystery and those elements are slowly blending into my writing. As my writing is influenced so to are my dreams. I do wonder how long it takes to train a brain.

So I am off to see what strange journey my brain has in store tonight. Cheers, james

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Proofreading

On Facebook I am friends with an up and coming author, Liam Reese. After reading “A Huntman’s Fate”, the prequel to his soon to be released new book. He sent out an inquiry about interest in joining his Proofreading Club. I was intriqued and I signed up. Now don’t get all excited, volunteer status only and there is a whole passel of us doing it. However it has rekindled a small spark of the joy I find in writing. Yes, I know editing and proofing is a royal, but necessary pain. I once read it is easier to read and learn from bad writing than good writing. Now I am not saying this author is bad. In fact I have quite enjoyed his writing style and stories. By helping him, I help myself become a better writer. 

Showing is hard, telling is so much easier and yet it sticks out when you can see first hand in a work in progress. Once you can see it and understand it, it becomes easier to spot in your own writings. Or would be if I wasnt’t hiding from them by blogging. 

If you are interested in a new fantasy author check out Liam Reese and A Huntman’s Fate. He is on Facebook and is a nice feller. Also I will suggest checking out Sean Hinn and his Epic Fantasy FB group. They are a hoot and full of great book suggestions.

Cheers, james

Journaling 

I have been spending more and less time with my journals lately. My commonplace/everything journal is almost empty. I get an idea and it doesn’t seem to make it into my journal. On the other hand my personal journal is getting more attention. Dreams, thoughts and life take up its creamy pages. 

On the other hand my blogging ideas seem to have dried up. I have started at least four posts over the last six months and abandoned them. I have been battling Stress for the last few months and it has taken a toll on this blog, my writing and me. Putting these words down, I can feel something shift inside my head. Maybe I can finally pull myself from this hole and get back into regular schedule and writing. 

Cheers, james

NaNo prep course

I got a cool facebook post and an email from NaNoWriMo. They are partnering with Coursera and Weslynn College for a NaNo prep course. Wow! The course is based up of 5 classes starting August 21. First 4 are preparing you for the acutal writing. The last class is the really awesome part, the focus is on editing and peer reviews of your NaNo project. 

All in all this course is a huge committment to your writing and for $29 is a worthwhile investment in yourself. If you ever wanted to write or thought about taking part of NaNoWriMo but felt shaky on your writing skills. This course and this price is a great place to start. 

Food for thought this summer evening, james

Practice

“Hit me.” The dealer looked at her and drew the next card on the deck. It lay face down on the felt, she pulled it to her. Breathing a silent prayer she flipped the ace over. The queen of hearts and the king of clubs laid beside it.

“21” She yelled. The dealer pushed her winnings towards her. The other player scowled she sobered when she caught his gaze. She collected her chips and handed the dealer a chip. A tingle started between her shoulders and she could only guess it was the scowling man. 

“Yes ma’am how may I assist you?” 

“I would like to cash out please.” 

“Of course. Wait here.” The cashier took the chips and stepped into the back. “Here you are, $1,275 dollars. I just need you signature on the receipt.” 

She signed the paper and took the money hugging it to her chest. Twelve hundred dollars, a fortune and she had a new beginning. Carefully she tucked the money away. She walked out of the casio and a line of taxis and limos stretched along the curb. 

She turned away from them and headed down the street. The night calling to her with lightly scented honey dew and night blooming jasmine. 

Smashwords and Indie publishing

This is a topic I don’t think I have ever mentioned in this blog and that is publishing, tradional or self publishing. A bit of background, after I got my Nook I spent a lot of time reading the free books, usually they were self published on Smashwords and the first book of a series. There were quite a few gems, JD Nixon and both of her series, Heller and Little Big Town. And then there were some books that were good, however I didn’t continue the series. Then there was one book that I loved and I bought the second book and the author started strong like the first book, but then character names and other important details started getting tangled up. This book wasn’t ready for public consumption, it needed a thorough editing and proofreading. I never finished the book much less the series. It wasn’t the only time I got burned by an author trying to push a book too fast, but it was one of the more disappointing. I felt a strong connection to the story and the characters. 

So the question becomes when do you know your baby is ready to be published? I rarely think this far since my own writing is still firmly in the first draft stage. However in my more busy writing times I can feel it whisper in my head. “Now? Is it time yet?” and I have to pull on the reins, not yet. 

In those moments when I do think about my stories the tradional publishing scene doesn’t really appeal to me. Maybe I am more of a control freak than I care to admit, but turning my babies loose in the hands of the major publishers gives me chills. I like the way Smashwords works, as an author have complete control over my books from setting the format to the price. I haven’t thoroughly delved into how they make their money and that is okay for right now. 

I am still working thru about 4 first draft projects. Crazy I know but when the idea hits you strike while the iron is hot. Each project has different strengths and weaknesses. I feel what I learn working on one story applies when I work on the other ones. 
Cheers, james