(Continued from CKR: May 2006, Part 1...)
Monday, May 15, 2006
Monday, May 15, 2006
If anyone thinks writers only write, they’re sooooo mistaken. Our hats are many, and real success requires competence in sales, promotion, marketing, target marketing, public relations, accounting, economics, networking, advertising, speech writing, public speaking, and patience. Lots of patience. And I wish I could concentrate on one project at a time, but I can’t neglect Immortal Bonds, the Pens’ Anthology, my web site, my other web site (TheOfficialRealm.com), or my house and family. Or my mother. Or my grandmother. Or my friends. Or my writer’s group…Plus I try to submit short pieces to contests or magazines now and then, to get my name out there. So I submitted my short story “The Pens” to an Open Fiction contest today and did some research on potential web sites for promoting my stuff, including this blog (which, as of this date, hasn’t been “officially” posted online yet—but it’s happening soon). The money’s steeper than I expected, but you get what you pay for, right? And I trust the guy behind my web presence with my life, so that’s a bonus. (How many people can say that about their web designer?)
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
My head is much clearer than a week ago. And I don’t feel like throwing up. Out of curiosity, I Googled myself (in quotes) and got 7 results. Got 179 for Scott, but—as far as I could tell—only one of them was actually my Scott. I tried The Bloody Pens, too, but only got a couple actual reference pages. (If you’re interested, our freebie homepage is at http://www.TheBloodyPens.FreeWebSpace.com, and that’s my plug for the day.) I also worked on Chapter 25 (formerly 23), where the protagonist weaves through yet another unfortunate predicament.
So what if he worked on some stupid radio show, he was still the guy in the back seat and not the one up front with ready access to firearms.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Worked on the concert chapters (26 and 27, formerly 24 and 25—God, this is confusing). I’m pushing hard to finish this manuscript draft, because I’d like to lead a normal life again and I don’t think that’s going to happen until I’m done. I’ve got the framework for the scenes, but I’ll definitely need to go back and add detail. Plus I could use a visit to the amphitheater here in town. As many times as I’ve been there, I don’t remember many specifics about the layout. But detail is my biggest weakness in the first draft, nearly every time. Right next to “add more action to the dialogue” and “show more of the characters’ thoughts.”
When people discover you’re a Kid Rock fan, they automatically assume you’re a foul-mouthed, stoned redneck who doesn’t have a pot to piss in but still believes his shit doesn’t stink./And in Ted’s case—especially at this point in time—they’d be absolutely right.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
When I set a goal for my first book, I chose $30,000—the amount I could have earned in a year working a “real” job—which means I’ll have to sell roughly 15,000 copies to consider it a success. But with CKR, the goal has to be bigger to reflect my expectations. Last night, I decided my goal for this book is to sell more copies than Paris Hilton and her dog (meaning no disrespect, of course, to Merle Ginsberg and Jeff Vespa who wrote Paris’s book, nor to the ghost writer who penned “The Tinkerbell Diaries”). I’m not sure what that number is exactly, nor do I ever expect to discover the actual sales figures, but the heiress’s memoir was at the top of the NYT Bestseller list for five weeks. Which says something sad about our culture. I mean, come on! Are people really that interested in a clueless, skanky blonde whose best publicity came from a leaked sex tape? Oh, wait—that could apply to more than Paris Hilton. Forget I said it.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Say you’re a chick getting ready for a party. You spend two hours fixing your hair and makeup, slip into the red dress it took you months to find, and stand in front of the mirror. Everything looks perfect, you think. Won’t everyone be impressed? When you get to the party, your friends squeal with delight over your new dress. “It’s beautiful,” they say. “You must have spent a fortune.” But, then one of them asks, “Why didn’t you buy the blue dress?” And that starts the flood. “Yeah,” someone agrees, “blue is a much better color on you.” “And why put your hair up when it looks fine draped over your shoulders?” “Can you move the hair clip to the other side?” “Did you want that much cleavage showing?” “Shouldn’t you have worn different shoes?” Makes you want to run, crying, all the way home. That’s how my critique went with the Pens last night and all we read was the Book Proposal and Synopsis. They haven’t seen the new first chapters. But, as hard as it was to hear, their suggestions were “spot on.” There’s an underlying theme to the story that’s not coming out. Maybe I can see it, but the Pens can’t, and that’s a big deal, because that means the reader (that’s you) won’t see it either. I make jokes about this book, saying I’m creating a new genre (a.k.a. Redneck Fiction) by targeting people who don’t read (it’s a huge untapped market!), but, obviously, it still needs to meet the criteria of a “sell-able” novel. The story has to arc, meaning it needs an obvious beginning, middle, and end. The protagonist has to develop and change, based on the experiences he has throughout the story. It might be entertaining to drag a character through strip clubs and NASCAR races and rock concerts, but each scene has to contribute to the plot. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t belong.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Scott put Live Trucker back in his truck. I knew he wouldn’t last long.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Worked on Chapters 27 and 28. The big finally. I’m not liking the way the narrative is unfolding, but I’ll go back later and smooth it out. I’d rather get the story down first and edit later. I do like the ending, though. It was a surprise even to me, because I’d planned to do it differently. I’ve mentioned it before, but, sometimes when I’m writing in the zone, the characters start to talk and move and think on their own. It’s hard to explain. And, no, I’m not schizophrenic. Although, I do feel a little “off” most days. I also mulled over a few suggestions from the Pens concerning the hook, which, as expected, is nowhere near what I started with. It will now most likely be something like this: Ted Seever was devastated when his wife asked for a divorce, but he’s got one last chance to get her back. All he has to do is make it through the weekend.
You can’t put the name “Kid Rock” in the title of the book and NOT have a concert scene. Anyone can go online and read reviews by music critics for nearly every concert he puts on, so I’m not giving up anything new. However, I hopefully added something to the experience that most fans don’t get to see.
If Ted had a dime for every stupid thing he’d done in his life, he’d be sitting on a nice nest egg. Or at least a couple hundred bucks.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
The Pens tore through the new first chapters (1 and 2). It was relatively painless, so I have to wonder if they’re not feeling sorry for me at this point. General consensus seems to be that I’ve got a much better beginning than the first go-round, though, so I’m encouraged that I haven’t written 200+ pages of crap (which would suck). Someone in the group pointed out that there’s an overabundance of cursing, even in the narrative, so I’ll likely edit a good chunk of the profanity out. But there’s plenty. I read a while back in Stephen King’s On Writing (and I’d quote it, but someone’s borrowed my book) that you can’t be afraid to tell the truth when it comes to dialogue. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, what word jumps out of your mouth? It’s been my observation that even the most religious souls will scream “SHIT” in that situation. But I also don’t want to curse simply for the sake of cursing, especially if it detracts from the story.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I have to say I’m feeling almost “normal” again, if there is such a thing. Being on the boat today helped. I also forced myself to go for a walk a couple times last week. (This profession is great exercise for the mind, but it does nothing for the ass.) I’m eating better, sleeping better, and have reconnected with my family. When you’re overwhelmed (okay, obsessed), it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Last week, one of the Pens made the comment that I’m “so caught up in the cuteness and pizazziness that [I’ve] created, [I] have lost sight of the most important, fundamental part of the book: the relationship and the complications surrounding that,” and he was absolutely right. It took a few days to sink in, but I see now that too much of my focus lately has been on the novelty and promotion of this project. It was a nice detour, but I need to get back to the story and start crafting it like I know what I’m doing. Besides, who ever heard of promoting a book before the damn thing’s even finished?! But I’m not totally off track. I had the opportunity last night to chat about the book for a few minutes with Scott and one of his life-long friends, who, like Scott, is not a reader. He is, however, married (with child) and a fan of racing, fishing, Coors, and everything else in this story. In other words, he personifies my target audience. He asked good questions and seemed genuinely interested in the concept—and that’s the stuff that keeps me believing I can pull this writer thing off.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I wrapped up the last chapter (28) today. All I have left is the Epilogue and the two chapters I skipped (22 and 23) because I haven’t met with the radio producer yet. (It’s a long story that involves my not having a car for 3 months.) It’ll be great to have the first draft finished—maybe within the next couple of weeks—but I know I’m a long way from done. As I write, I jot down notes on my chapter outline, so I can go back and add, delete, or change things when I do the first re-write. Some notes are chapter-specific, but others (like lines of dialogue, scene or character descriptions, etc.) might simply be something I’d like to add “somewhere” in the story. It’s easier than trying to play catch-up every time I have an idea, although I do plenty of that as I’m writing, too. Not everybody edits as they write, but I do. It slows the process (a lot) a bit, but it makes edits and re-writes easier because I’ve already got a good foundation to work with.
You might think you know how it ends, but don’t be too sure.
“Nice fuckin’ hat.”
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I thought I’d take this opportunity (while I’m not writing the book) to address editing a little more, because, when I first started taking my writing seriously, editing was the part I understood the least. If you think writing is all about creativity and using your imagination, throw that thought out right now. I mean it. Sure, the writing part is important (duh!), but no piece is finished until it’s crafted, and that’s where the real work comes in. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure there aren’t glaring typos or grammatical mistakes, but you also want your story and your characters to develop gradually and logically. And you don’t want to begin a chapter with your character in a green shirt then end with a red one—unless the character changed clothes, of course. If you’re serious about writing, you MUST learn the craft, which could mean joining a class or a writers’ group or simply subscribing to Writers’ Digest or participating in one or more of the online communities on the Web. Crafting—polishing, editing, re-writing—is not an option, it’s a necessity.
(to be continued...)