Angles by Erin Lockwood When every relationship has an angle, how can you tell which side is up? Like the dazzling lights of a lighthouse, Sam’s turquoise-blue eyes equally enticed and warned. He was someone she should stay away from… … Continue reading
|Author Zackery Humphreys|
I prefer this more organic way of creating as it bleeds into my writing. Each sentence inspires the next, and the next, which can sometimes lead to the creation of more ideas as I go along. It’s like stream-of-consciousness with punctuation. I prefer this to a solidified outline I may have already thought about ahead of time. It’s more exciting to write organically and it’s hopefully more fluid for the reader.
For the entire process, I continue lying in bed thinking, jotting down notes, and writing until the project is finished and I’m dead tired!
Speaking of “finished,” the question I’ve been asked probably more than any other is, “How long does it take you to finish a book?” Well, it took me seven years to write Epsilon A.R., from the first word to the final product. Enough time to nearly get through all of high school and college.
This isn’t to say I was working on it constantly though. I started the novel as a fourteen-year-old in my sophomore year of high school and finished the first draft about four months later. That one draft sat on my hard-drive for years without a single word changed.
It took certain things in my life to stop for me to be able to start the project again. From that point, it took another four months to finish the second draft, and about two months more (I’m now twenty-years-old!) to finish the draft I sent out to publishers.
That being said, I’m half-way through two novels within five months along with a few other finished projects on the side. It took me seven years to finish Epsilon, but expect the sequel much sooner. I’ll leave the long waits to George R.R. Martin. Long waits are not usually my thing. I’m impatient and goal-oriented. I like to bunker down and get things done, which is also why I have so many other projects on the side.
In-between the times I’m writing on my novel, I do smaller writings such as screenplays, plays, short stories and poems, some of which will be included in my next book. Writing Epsilon, however, takes a much different type of focus than anything else I do. When I sit down to do it, I start around midnight after all of my rehearsals. This is when the rest of my life can shut off and I can find peace and quiet to write and not think about anything else.
I sit at my desk, put in my earbuds (which don’t play anything) for added silence, and focus all of my attention on it. No one would know just by looking at the page, but I am a perfectionist when it comes to my work, especially Epsilon. I designate certain line spacing, fonts, and sizes for nearly everything. It needs to be laid out perfectly in order for me to focus solely on the writing. I always tell my friends, “I’m not a perfectionist, but when it comes to my work, it needs to be perfect.”
begins to have dreams; something strange and rare in Epsilon. In his dreams, he
meets a man named Harry and everything is fine- until Harry dies.
wakes up, he shrugs it off as if nothing has happened. It was only a dream. But
then the next day, he is suddenly arrested and sent to prison for killing
Harry, whom ALN-896 assumed was just a figment of his imagination.
inside prison, ALN-896 begins to learn about everything the government of
Epsilon has been doing and he plans on escaping. Not only from prison, but from
Epsilon. This one decision turns him against everything he has ever known and
forces him to face against centuries of lies. To escape means to live. But what
will it cost?
bubbled through his pursed lips.
from the exposed wire. He fell to the ground and wiped away the spit dribbling
down his cheek. His heart raced, and sweat poured down his body.
had ever experienced.
never should have grabbed that wire…
around. No one saw what had just happened. He was alone on the desolate stretch
of Simov Street.
I did not get hurt.
get back into his car and let a nice cup of tea calm him.
green tea was automatically dispensed into a cup. He let the liquid slide down
his throat, easing every muscle that had tensed. He melted into his plush seat
as he let his mind come to a halt. Then the silence was interrupted by a
robotic voice. “ALN- 896, your vitals are irregular. Is everything all right?”
one of the house’s trashcans as I was instructed to, but I noticed an exposed
wire on the ground. I went to cover it back up when it…”
touched the wire. He hadn’t been electrocuted, but something strange had
occurred. The only thing he could get out of the experience was that he had
seen a black-and-white tie floating in the darkness behind his closed eyelids.
Nothing surrounded it, but he knew it had been attached to a body. One he
hadn’t been able see, but one he knew existed somewhere within the black.
it shocked me,” he lied.
You still need to inspect the trashcans for Monday’s workday. After your tea,
you need to continue.”
First off, a grateful tip of the hat to Louise for inviting me to post a guest blog here. As a newly-minted Indie author, I appreciate every opportunity to market myself and build an audience. Second: my personality lends itself very well to standing on a soapbox and pushing my views and opinions on that audience. Just ask my friends and family. I’m not shy; everyone is entitled to my opinion.
I headed over to these parts to introduce myself, my works, let you to get to know me, promote my stuff, you know? But then I changed my mind.
I decided to do you all a favor and spank you.
If you’re a struggling writer, a pre-published author, or a recent self-published / Indie author, what I’m about to tell you should strike a chord. A deep one. It should leave a deep red handprint on your buttocks, Lieutenant Dan.
Tell me you haven’t said this to yourself: “I really don’t feel like writing today; what’s the point anyway? I’ll hammer away at something for days / weeks / months / years / decades on my lunch hour / train ride / midnight oil-burning session, polish the crap out of it, throw an agonized-over query letter over it, and submit it to an agent / editor / publishing house / magazine, and six months later I’ll get a polite letter thanking me for my submission, the story had promise, but it wasn’t a good fit for (whatever), blah-blah effing blah.”
Your self-imposed word-count for the day just went from one-thousand down to five-hundred, or five-hundred to two-hundred, or to . . . zero; you cracked open a beer, plopped on the couch, and dialed up last night’s episode of Jersey Shore.
I know you do this. I did it for years. For decades. I didn’t work as hard as I could at my craft, and got absolutely nowhere. What was the point? Deep inside, I thought it was hopeless. I thought I had no control over a writing career, that I was playing a literary lottery. (Oooh. I like that!)
I’m here to tell you, peeps, that those days are over. It’s a Brave New World. Nuclear winter is over—open the door and take a look. See the sun? I’m not yanking your chain. There are absolutely no excuses for the above excuses. None. There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Jeff. Jeff Bezos. (I’ll give you a minute to Google him.)
In Ancient Times, the Gatekeepers guarded the, well, Gates. The Big Six publishing houses, (hereafter BS) , stood between you and your customers—the readers. BS decided what was good. They decided who would get the shelf space in bookstores. BS paid authors a tiny royalty and don’t-spend-it-all-in-one-place advances. They kept rights to works even when the print runs were over. BS kept over 50% of the price the reader forked over for your sweat, blood and tears–if you were lucky enough to win the lottery, and your chances are about the same—and be published, you got to keep maybe 15% after you paid your agent and traveled the universe signing and promoting your book on your dime
What they really did, dear colleagues, was decide what they could sell. Not what was good, not what had literary merit or what they thought readers wanted or would enjoy reading, but what BS could sell. What could make BS money. They had absolutely no interest in you, or helping you grow as a writer. You were meat to them. If you weren’t marbled just right, well . . . the metaphor breaks down here, but you get the idea.
And somewhere deep in your brainstem, you knew this. (This is why, by the way, Jersey Shore has such high ratings.)
Amazon, and the explosion of self-publishing options like Kindle Direct (KDP) and Createspace and Smashwords has changed all that. You can publish yourself. With one terrifying click of the mouse, the barriers between you and your potential readers, between anonymity and notice, vanish. Poof.
Repeat after me: There are no more gatekeepers. Readers are free to judge your work on its own merits. If you work hard at learning your craft, if tell a good story, if you edit the hell out of your stuff and edit it some more, if you learn eBook formatting and cover design (or pay someone to do it for you), write a good blurb, and upload the effer to cyberspace and market yourself, people will read your stuff.
If they like it, they’ll buy it. If readers like your product, you’ll not only be a published author, you’ll be an author with sales. (If you care about those sorts of things, that is. I do. That’s partly why I’m here. The other reason is the spanking.) You can write more works and publish them and build an audience and make some money.
So use that train ride, that lunch hour, that rainy Saturday, that restless night. Buy a case of Red Bull and a book on editing (better yet, spring for a good editor; it’s an investment) and a book on eBook publishing and learn Photoshop or marry a girl who owns Photoshop and bang out some great covers (which you by the way, have complete control over), and publish your work. Be a writer. Be an author. No one is holding you back any longer.
No BS stands between you and your potential readers. Stop reading books on writing and blogs on writing (except for this one, and mine, and maybe Joe Konrath; he’s good and I want to be like him), and write, damn it.
Luke Skywalker: Whine, whine.
Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Oh, I almost forgot, my novella, “A Fairy for Bin Laden,” about a foot-high pixie named Tinkerbelle who helps the CIA and Army track down Osama Bin Laden, is available on Amazon.com. (http://amzn.com/B0088IBE3I) Please buy it. And my other novella, “O’Reilly’s Sacrifice,” if you like baseball fantasy stories like Field of Dreams. And my epic fantasy novel coming out in December.
I missed a dozen episodes of Jersey Shore writing this, and feel the Universe owes me some compensation.
*If you want to discuss this guest post on Twitter the hashtag is #wwbb
“Osama Bin Laden is dead, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the story: the long search, the discovery of his hideout in Pakistan, the helicopter assault on the compound, the headshot, the quick burial at sea.