My Online Literary Experiment: Holiday Break!

One of my heroes!Sometimes like a coach, a writer has to make the right call for the team or athlete, no matter how unpopular the decision might be. (I am assuming this, I know nothing about sports.)

See, I realized today that it would be impossible to really create a first-rate chapter in time for this friday because of the holiday.

I have two little kids, and family to visit, etc., and the fact is I will be losing too many evenings writing. (Seriously, almost all of my evenings! It would’ve been hell and stressful. Not Christmas-y at all.) So I have decided that it would be best for the book that I delay the release of Chapter 23 by one week.

Yup, Chapter 23 will not be released now until January 4.

For those that might be worried that somehow the book/writing experiment might be in trouble so near the end, let me say loudly: NO WORRIES. I have a good first draft of the chapter ready, and if it was a normal week ahead there would have been no problem at all.

And also, do I want to be stressing this week about a chapter, writing until the wee hours, or instead waiting for Santa by the window with my kids? Sorry, readers the answer was obvious to me.  I’m a believer in the man in the red suit and the white beard.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a nice holiday. Rebecca, Jenn, Vince, Marty, Mary, Viv, Gordon, Steve, Ralph, Lilly, and even Bob will be back in the new year to end my new novel, Permanent Spring Showers.

(… Oh, and buy my new book A Jane Austen Daydream. It is quite lovely and filled with writing surprises [and only 99 cents on amazon right now!];  and will help you as you wait for the return of my little/massive experiment.)

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My Online Literary Experiment: Half of the Writing Hurdles

This Friday, when I post chapter 13, I will pass the halfway mark in my book. With that publication I will exceed 175 pages in the book, mapping out a book that will roughly be about 350 pages in length.

Those are the numbers, but they hardly express the emotional and wear and tear of the process to get to this point.

Recently, I had someone on Twitter ask me how many drafts I create of a chapter before I post it. It’s a great question and in a typical book, I would have numerous drafts of a book. There is the initial draft of a first draft when I do what I basically need to do; the other drafts are as it is updated to fit the rest of the book that is coming together; and finally the master drafts as the book is melded together into one beautiful whole.

Yet in Permanent Spring Showers that is not how it works out. I move forward, because the book moves forward. So I can only hope that the work when completed as a whole will feel like a complete whole by the end. Right now, I’m feeling really confident. That is probably the main gift reaching the halfway mark has given me. Continue reading

My Online Literary Experiment: The Joy and Agony of Reaching 100 Pages

100 pages has always been my writing hump.

I can’t explain why this is true exactly, but it has been for each of the six books I have written (three published, and one online), but I do have some theories. By 100 pages, I will have presented and introduced much of the plot, the style of the work will be firmly in place, and by then each of my major characters would have stepped forward and taken a bow. The only time I can remember this not being true was when I wrote A Jane Austen Daydream and the main love interest would not emerge until almost page 200.

Sometimes this 100 page marker can be a book killer. I have abandoned work and actually started over from scratching after reaching that mark and not being happy with what I did building up to that almost holy number.

When Chapter 8 goes up on Friday, I will have reached 100 pages for Permanent Spring Showers, and with it, just like noted above, much of the plot and all of the major characters will be introduced. Yet, because of how I am creating this work and sharing it the feeling of relief I usually get at this point does not feel the same. Continue reading

My Online Literary Experiment: Passing the 20% Mark

Updates, updates, who wants an update?

Calling From the Future…

So somehow, without my realizing it, I got a chapter ahead.

I know, I know this sounds impossible but it really did happen and I didn’t plan it in the least. It was all a nice little surprise or present or whatever you want to call it.

See, one of my goals in creating the book was to force my creativity to keep up to the demands I had put upon it. Put myself to the test, as it were. So the table of contents I created before I did the first chapter were done on a whim after a quick glance at the screenplay plot which is interestingly disappearing as the book charges forward, more on that in a bit.

Anyway, I wrote this really long chapter with two major points of action happening, it was only when I was about to share the chapter online that I realized I had made a mistake. Chapter 4 is the first part of that initial draft of the chapter, The second half was supposed to be a bulk of Chapter 5! So because of that little glitch in the Scott brain, Chapter 5 and 6 are almost done and Chapter 5 is scheduled for this Friday. Continue reading

Adapting One’s Precious: Why most new novelists should personally avoid adapting (or thinking about) the inevitable screenplay

It’s always funny to me how often, when speaking with new novelists, that they are already planning the movie version of their “epic”… sometimes even before they finish the book.

We are a very film-focused society and it is hard to escape the world of movies, especially for someone excited for the world to embrace their first major story. What can I say? We writers are nerds and we want everyone to love us and think of us as popular. Movies are the “cool table” in the lunchroom; novels are the table near the library.

Oh, you are different? You never imagined a certain actor playing one of your characters? Reading one of your lines?

Yes, the dream of adaptation can be like a drug for a writer and, like a drug, dangerous; since it can effect how you write your novel. The fact is each of the storytelling mediums are different with different pros and cons, and if you allow yourself to think too much about, for example, movies while writing a book it can limit the possibility of the book.

How are the storytelling mediums different? Well, let me explain: Continue reading

A Bit of Madness…

Yesterday, I wrote about my own experience with the artistic mad genius moment (you can read it here). During my experience, I created a novel that might be unpublishable called Maxmillian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare (One of my favorite of my works, to be honest).

Today I thought it would be fun to share the first chapter from this work. I hope you enjoy it.

CHAPTER 1
The Dreaded Invitation

It is with great trepidation and very little pleasure that I begin this next chapter in the life of the great Maxmillian Standforth. For many long months I have debated with my soul and conscience on whether to share this work with you, faithful reader. But in these hard times, my wallet and empty stomach has forced me to share this chronicle no matter what misgivings I may have at the task ahead. Yes, hard times have forced my unsteady hand and pen, but I will share no more of that now. No, it’s not important. If it comes, it will come later in these pages. For now, let me warn you of the morbid and sad tale ahead of you. This is a tale filled with horror, dear reader- dark passages, ghostly apparitions, and deaths I would give my last shilling to forget. A tale, I am sad to say that even tested the mind of one of our country’s greatest citizens…. The outcome of that test you will see shortly if you dare continue. Continue reading

My Mad Genius Moment

Every artist has a mad genius moment in their past that they can point to…. And if they can’t, chances are they are still in the midst of it.

My mad genius moment came when I had turned thirty. Let me paint the scene- my wife was in grad school; I was working a lousy evening temp job which made it so I only saw her one to two hours a day, if at all; my literary agent at the time was still uncertain how to represent my books, which I truly loved and thought should have been published yesterday; I was continuously hitting walls when I applied for creative writing positions on the college level; and I was turning thirty, which kept reminding me of how many writers and poets said the best work was created by people in their 20’s…. AHHHHH!!!

For any artist, feeling this level of burden and frustration, how could I not put the white lab coat on, mess up my hair and laugh loudly and evilly?

What came out of my mad genius moment is a book that will probably never be published. It is called Maxmillian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare. Continue reading