No, it’s not the Nike slogan (or whatever shoe that was), but it IS an answer to what so many keep asking:
How do I start writing?
I always answers with “just do it”. I know that’s been used over and over again, but honestly that is what works best for me and many others.
Sit down and just start writing whatever. It doesn’t have to be good. There’s this tendency to think that we have to write everything perfect the first time. Not at all. That’s what editing is for!
Write. Even if it’s just a description of the scene you want to flesh out later, write that down and come back to it later.
You’ll find so much more freedom and energy when you just put pen to paper or fingers to keys.
The first novel for my Young Adult Fiction epic series Dorian Delmontez was written about two years ago. At some point in the last twelve months I got the bright idea:
I should introduce people to the world and the series by writing a short episodic fiction prequel involving supporting characters from the main storyline.
Yes, essentially I added another few months of work before I actually release the Dorian Delmontez books. But, there were a few benefits to it.
One in particular is realizing that there is a decent sized audience for short, episodic fiction especially in the eBook universe.
There are a few others that seem to do well in sales:
Kindle handles eBook series (or Serials as they’re sometimes called) much like TV shows. Each book or chapter is handled as an episode and you have the option of releasing them all at one time – ala Netflix – or release the series over a number of weeks, months – ala traditional television which is weekly.
While I have still yet to consider which format is best, I am leaning towards the weekly release schedule.
Netflix has made “binge” consumption of entertainment a new thing but in respect to eBooks, where it does take time for some readers to get through episodes, getting the next release might be a more exciting avenue to go down.
Readers could download book one and then each week when a new episode is released they will be notified, which helps to reinforce the brand and the name of your work in their mind.
The next blog post I’ll talk about how I structured my upcoming eBook series as the flow of such stories is different than traditional novels or short stories.
The Brothers Locke – an 8 episode Young Adult Fantasy series is available January 1, 2017.
I tend to write in specific genres: fantasy, dark fantasy, horror and young adult. One of the hardest things to do when writing in those pillars of literature is being able to inject some humor into your work.
Some of the best novels I’ve ever read are the ones that inject humor in the middle of heavy drama or between scares. A good punch line or a well-timed bit of irony, either in dialogue or description, can add good pacing to your writing.
But comedy is tough in general, not to mention in the written word. Much of it has to do with timing, just like it does in film and television. It takes a bit of work to cleverly craft your prose to lead up to a good one-liner or to accurately describe a funny situation when the crux of the story is centered around a more serious tone. The wrong wording, the wrong placement, the wrong usage can make a joke fall flat and become disruptive to the reader.
The last thing you want someone saying when they read your work is “where did that come from?” in a negative way.
As with anything, the best advice is to practice. What is funny in your head might not translate to paper, but just because it doesn’t immediately read back as funny doesn’t mean you should scrap the joke. Rework it, switch things around, play with what comes before and after the punchline and see what does work.
Your best help does come from friends and family. Never be afraid to show them your work. They know it’s in progress and they’ll often give you good suggestions. They can also be good sources for funny material as well. Take notes, observe, remember and apply.
Comedy is a big part of any genre if you use it correctly. Don’t be afraid to use it. Even in the most serious or most dramatic works of fiction, humor has a role – often an important role – in fiction.
Samantha Geary has a new project called Chimera – a collaborative journey in epic writing, where I will interpret the cinematic scores of audiomachine’s Tree of Life album to create an original, music-driven tale. Previous chapters are listed HERE.
Readers who leave their feedback in the comments section below, will be entered to win an ebook of The Immanent World from our featured author, KC Hunter! The commenting window for each post will remain open until October 30th!
The Tree Of Life project is a collaborative experiment headed up by Samantha Redstreake Geary in association with Audiomachine.
Over twenty-five days, different authors contribute to the story–picking up where the last author left off and ultimately creating a unique narrative. This is a concept that has been done before but what sets The Tree Of Life from other literary collaboration stories is that each story is set to a different soundtrack provided by Audiomachine.
The music is sweeping, epic and theatrical. While reading the imaginative stories constructed by each author, you are also treated to a specific score to each section of the story.
The project has been met with great interests by the public and has been picked up in the media.
AOE Studios storyteller KC Hunter contributed to the project, providing an eerie twist to the story by introducing three dark characters to the tale, all three chanting a demented lullaby as they approach the story’s protagonist, Zoe.
The Tree Of Life Video Tribute
As a writer, it’s often hard to just get started. We usually have so many things in our heads that we want to get down on paper (or these days, the computer) and it’s tough to know where to start.
Sure, we know the story we want to tell, the plot twists we want to insert, the feeling we want our audience to get, the characters who will populate the world, but when that blank screen is staring at you and you’ve only written the title and perhaps “Chapter 1”, the next part is sometimes the toughest.
For anyone who is having a hard time actually writing those first few paragraphs, my biggest suggestion is just to start writing. Keep in mind, this is a first draft. It’s not concrete, it’s not written in stone, it’s you getting the process going.
For instance, if you have a main character, just simply start talking about them. If it’s a story about a couple, describe a scene that illustrates their relationship. Basically, pick something interesting about your story and start there. Just write it out. Don’t worry about sentence structure or punctuation or anything else, just write.
After a while, you’ll get into the rhythm of the story and it’ll start to flow naturally. As you’re writing, you’re going to be thinking about where the story naturally is going to go, instead of following bullet points on what you want to tell and in what order.
Starting to write a story can be the most challenging part of the book. Perhaps not as challenging as the ending and the numerous rewrites you’ll make there, but that’s another blog post!
For every person you hear say that literature is dying, you’ll find another who says it’s thriving. It’s hard to really point to anything beyond book sales to gauge this, but it’s more likely that the industry is shifting more than anything else.
Today, it’s easier than ever to publish. It’s not so easy to get noticed. With a lot of publishing houses only going for guaranteed ROI (return on investment), fewer new authors are getting a push. This, however has given rise to the self-made author. This is basically a person who is a writer, a marketing exec, a distributor, a printer all wrapped up into one. It’s not easy work, but it can be done.
The names John Locke and Amanda Hocking come to mind when you talk about successful self-publishers.
Locke very famously sold over 1 million eBooks on Kindle within five months, making him a millionaire. He was the first self-published author to ever make #1 on the best sellers list. His strategy is rather common sense, but as with everything, it requires dedication and hard work.
The internet contributed greatly to Loche’s success. His web blog was, and still is, a simple site designed to give you the goods without a lot of fluff. Readers can download samples easily and get into the story without forking over a lot of cash. He gained readers as well by smartly pricing his works at 99 cents, which is the lowest you can set for Amazon’s Kindle network.
You can learn more about him at his website.
Amanda Hocking’s story is a bit less about marketing and more about persistence. She was writing as a hobby and started self publishing in 2010. Since then, she’s made over $2million in sales of her pop culture, quirky girl, action filled stories that are available for the Amazon Kindle. After her huge success on her own, she signed a deal with a publisher to put out four more books.
At first, her sales were modest. But she worked with what she had and learned how to promote her work and gain an audience on the web. After a while, she went viral and her sales skyrocketed.
Her sales jumped to 6,000 units a week on Amazon. She’s settled herself into the niche of paranormal romance ala Twilight. Readers caught on and began devouring her series of books online, which she sold for relatively low prices. Hocking claimed that to be one of the reasons she’s done so well, citing that many authors – especially new authors – price their books too high.
There are tons of stories like these out there, and we’ll be highlighting independent authors and small press publishers over the next few months. There are a lot of great stories out there to read. There are stories out their to inspire authors. If you are a writer, and think you can’t do it, look to others for inspiration and then look to yourself for what makes you unique. There’s nothing keeping you from being the next Hocking, Locke or Meyers.
Mastermind of the classic horror films Hellraiser and Candyman, as well as the author of such fantastic novels like Imajica, Weaveworld, and the young adult series Abarat – Clive Barker, suffered for seven days in a coma after a routine dentist appointment.
He recently commented on the incident on his Twitter page.
My friends,Clive here.I’m at home now after a while in hospital,thanks to a nearly fatal case of Toxic Shock brought on by a visit …
…to my dentist.Apparently this is not uncommon.In my case the dental work unloaded such a spillage of poisonous bacteria into my blood..
…into my blood that my whole system crashed,putting me into a coma.I spent several days in Intensive Care,with a machine breathing for me.
..Later,my Doctors said that they had not anticipated a happy ending until I started to fight,repeatedly pulling out the tubes…
…that I was constantly gagging on.After a few days of nightmarish delusions I woke up to my life again,tired,twenty pounds lighter…
..but happy to be back from a very dark place.And here in the world I intend to stay.I’ve books to write ,films to make and paintings ….
…to paint. I seem to have come home with my sight clearer somehow,and my sense of purpose intensified.Thank you all for your messages…
…your prayers and love.What better reason to wake to life than knowing I have such friends? Again,thank you.My love to you always.Clive.
Thankfully, Clive is still alive and kicking. We look forward to the continuation of The Art series, the second book of Galilee and the final two books of Abarat.
Some time ago I posted about Clive Barker’s lack of activity with his series. He’s got three going that are over a decade old and none of them have been completed:
The Art trilogy (2 of 3)
Galilee (1 of 2)
Abarat (2 of 5)
Well, it seems our wait is over for one of these as Abarat: Absolute Midnight is finally going to be released next month on September 27th. I adore this series, and cannot wait to see what wonderful, weird, colorful and outrageous things Barker has come up with for this latest installment.
The trailer is here. If you’re familiar with where book 2 left off, there’s a pleasant surprise right at the beginning of this. The art direction is pretty darn good too.
The first in “The Dark Epic” series has been released. Paris – The Dark Epic is now available in paperback, eBook and Kindle formats.
Split between this world and the next, three souls weave their way through a tale of natural corruption and supernatural adventure: Paris Drezner, an aristocrat who was slain in his youth and has returned as an Unborn; Michael Scottsdale, the second son of the famed Scottsdale clan who have sat as titans on a mountain of money and power; and his wife, Traci Scottsdale, a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into the limelight as the wife of one of America’s most sought after bachelors.
For them, the world is not as it seems. Revelations of the past force Michael Scottsdale to confront his family’s own secrets, and also challenge him as to his own nature. Traci, in a desperate attempt to help her husband, delves into a world which she could never have imagined. It is the world of Paris, and his world is anything but normal.
The wars between the Daridum Brotherhood and the Unborn have spanned many decades, neither side gaining a clear advantage and both hiding in the shadows of normal men. The time has come for this conflict to come to a head, and Traci finds herself in the middle of an ancient and bloody war that changes her life, while Paris fights with his destiny to be part of his new world, or watch it burn to the ground.
From the humid, fast paced streets of Miami’s South Beach, to the soaring heights at the top of Norrumpatholah … from the boardrooms of America’s top industries to the bohemian back alleys of Baltimore, Paris takes the reader on a journey through two intertwined worlds of the human and the supernatural. At the end, each character will stand at the precipice of disaster or desire, and their choice will bring earth shattering consequences to the whole of mankind.