Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jumping the gun...

     After finishing the first draft of my novel, I was determined to start a blog, join Twitter, and make a name for myself. I'll admit it, I jumped the gun. I still only have a first draft. I am on Chapter Four of Seventeen in editing my novel. I have a ways to go. Instead of focusing on the blog and Twitter in the beginning, I should have been focusing on my novel. I still should just be focused more on my novel.

     The most important thing is to have a finished and cleaned up draft. I am glad that I get a lot of advice about the publishing process and even the editing process from other blogs and Twitter, but I was doing too much reading and not enough doing. You read all the time how in writing that you should "show don't tell" and I need to do a bit more "do don't read" in my life.

     I am making progress. Slow and sure. It is going to be a long process. I will keep updating my blog from time to time and I will be on Twitter. But, I need to make sure I do things in their time. I don't want to be the guy that talks about his novel that he is working on. I want to have a finished novel that I can shop around. Something that I wouldn't be embarrassed if people actually asked to read it.


  • Edit! Edit! Edit! Rewrite!
  • Get the novel finished! 
  • Keep up with blog and Twitter but don't make them the focus
  • Continue to read articles and applying advice to the work I am doing 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Doubts and Motivation

     Last November, I wrote a novel. An entire YA novel. Since then, I read a book about editing a novel, I started this blog, and I made a profile on Twitter and began following authors, publishers, book critics, and editors. I was pumped up about beginning my journey as an author. Then, I went on "Christmas break." I stopped updating my blog, I no longer checked Twitter, and I no longer edited my book. It's now mid-January and I still haven't started back.

My doubts:
  • I doubt my ability to write a novel good enough to get published. 
  • I have doubts that even if I do write something that I am very happy with that I will struggle to find someone willing to publish it. 
  • I have doubts that I have the stamina to keep writing and keep striving towards success. 
  • I doubt that I can succeed. 
     These doubts have lead to a lack of motivation. It is much easier for me to give up before I even try to succeed. In many ways, I just fear failure. Bill Cosby (surely decked out in an awesomely bad sweater) once said, "In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure." Granted, I don't know if he actually said this because I found it on the internet, but I like it, so who cares he gets the credit. I try not to focus on negative things, but I can't help it. That's what kept me from even starting a novel for so many years. Now, I have something to work with. I accomplished something great. I finished a first draft of a novel. I have to keep going. I have to see this through.

     Starting right now, with this post. I am back. My blog will be updated from time to time, and I will be on Twitter. Most importantly, I will begin editing my book again. I don't have to do it quickly. I can go with slow and steady. I do have a full-time job and a social life after all. But, becoming a writer is something that I want to do. It is something that only I can make sure that I accomplish. I must keep working towards it.

     Now, I leave us all with a quote from the great and powerful Oprah: "Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness." I really need to keep that in mind as I continue on this long and fulfilling quest to become a published author.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Editing Begins

     I have been putting off editing my book for some time. I did want to put a little time and space between my finishing the book and when I began the editing process, but for some reason, I dreaded the start of the process. I think I may have been fooling myself, believing that it was going to be good enough, but not wanting to face the problems the book obviously has. Last night, I had a moment when trying (and failing) to fall asleep where I wanted to scrap nearly the whole thing.
     The book is better than that. I have read that it is much better and easier to fix a bad page rather than start with a blank one, and I agree with that.
     After just four pages, my manuscript was covered in red marks (I may change colors to something a bit less depressing than purple of green). Most of it is just minor changes to punch up the wording; to make things more clear; to make sure the story is being shown, not simply told. I wrote my first draft so quickly (29 days) that there are a lot of problems with my writing, because I didn't edit as I went.
     This is just the beginning. I enjoyed editing more than I thought I would. I think it is much easier to do it on a printed manuscript than it would be on computer screen.

Here are some of the major things I am looking for on my first run through:
  • Clear writing
  • Making sure verbs are present tense
  • Good dialogue mechanics (this needed a lot of work)
  • Believable dialogue
  • Strong voice both from characters and in narration
  • Making sure I SHOW not tell.
After all of that, I will clean up my manuscript and send it out for more people to read. After all the writing is better, I can focus more on changes to plot that I need to make.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How I became a WRITER

I have spent a lot of time and money to be a librarian. I have a Masters to show for my work, but not a job as a librarian. The market is tough, especially in libraries. I am thankful to have a decent job in a mailroom, but it is definitely not library work.

My freshman year in college at Ball State University, I started out as a double major in English and Marketing. I have always loved books, which is why I chose English. I have also always been interested in advertising, which is why I chose marketing. I wanted something that was marketable, something that would hopefully lead to me having a job, which is why I wanted a double major. I knew a BA in English was not likely to be too helpful on the job front. After my first day in Economics my freshman year, I dropped the marketing major to focus on English. I hated the class, the focus on money. I just wanted to learn, to read, to study great works of literature.

After my freshman year, I left Ball State. I didn't want to go to college anymore, I wanted to go to film school. I love movies and I wanted to be a writer/director. Creating art was something I desperately wanted to accomplish. I love all types of movies, all genres. Upon really thinking about it, and learning how much film school costs, I decided not to apply to any schools. I didn't want to do something that I would fail at. Even if I was great, a job in the film industry is VERY hard to get. I didn't want to be anything but the writer/director. I wanted to accomplish my vision, not helping to create someone elses.

I went to community college my sophomore year, then to Anderson University for my Junior and Senior year where I graduated with a BA in English. My plan was to then work. But, I missed school way too much, and wasn't ready for the real world. It was 2008, I should have gotten a job while there still were some. I rushed a late application to Kent State for their MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) program. I was accepted, and started in the fall.

In the summer of '09, between the two years of my program, the bottom fell out of the economy completely and the OH state budget for public libraries (my specialty) was slashed. Libraries cut jobs and went of hiring freezes. I wanted to work with Teens in public libraries. I love YA lately. Some of the best books written today are in YA.

Since graduating in May, 2010, I haven't found work as a librarian, not even part-time work. I worked a few temp jobs, and now I work in a mailroom in a large law firm. I enjoy that my job doesn't frustrate me, and it pays the bills (barely), so I am thankful for that. I now have the time to write.

For years, I have wanted to write, but I never started (outside of school). I don't really know why. I guess it is easy to dream about things, and not do them. Finally, this October, I decided I would finally do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I have wanted to do Nano for years, but never did. I didn't want to try and fail. I didn't just try this year, I succeeded.

My book, Going Public, definitely needs editing, something I am starting soon, but I am proud of my accomplishment. I now know that I can write. Nothing is going to stop me from pursuing this dream now. I am glad that I can write and edit while also working a full time job. I am certain that something will come of it. This is just the beginning of my journey as a writer. Soon, I will be a published author.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Building a Platform

Aside from editing my book, working, seeing movies, and reading, I am also trying to build a platform for me as a writer. I have read that it is important to build a community and to put your name out there in the publishing world. I need to try to have my voice heard above some of the many others who are out there. To accomplish this, I started this blog and joined Twitter (@TperiodKyle). I am following as many authors and publishing professionals as I can. They offer so much advice. Plus, they link to their blogs and articles that offer more tips and tricks. The amount of information I come across of twitter is truly astounding.

I try to read as many of these posts and blogs as I can, but I only have so much time. I hope to continue to build my platform. Continuing to write my blog, post on twitter, and read read read. I want to meet other people like me, and people who are much farther in their journey than I am.

I know that there is more to writing than just a good book. With the way the modern society is with technology and social networking, it is important to market yourself. I hope to have a great book and a community of people that want to read it.

I know this is just the beginning. I have so much hard work ahead of me. But, I look forward to the journey. I look forward to editing my book and breathing new and more complex life into it. I look forward to making friends, reading posts, replying to tweets. It's fun. I want it to be my life. Right now, my job prevents me from putting as much into it as I would like, but that's okay. That's now.

Trying out Twitter embedding

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Starting the Editing Process

Since finishing my novel (now titled Going Public) at the end of November, I haven't touched it. My fiance is reading it now, and making some notes as he goes, but I haven't touched it. I have read a few of his notes, and talked about it with him, but I can't read it just yet.

I have instead been reading  Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. I have learned a lot from this single book, and it is sure to be an invaluable tool for me. Now that I am almost finished with that book, I will soon be reading and editing my novel. That's still a strange thought to me. I wrote a novel. An entire book that people can read. Granted, it needs lots of work, as I didn't edit much as I went along.

I know things that need work. I wrote it in present tense, and sometimes I slipped out of that. My dialogue mechanics need work, as does the actual dialogue. I also need to add some scene setting, showing more of what is around my characters.

Overall, I think I like the structure and story, so I can't see that changing much in the second draft. After I am finished with my second draft, I will have a few more read it to see what the strengths and weaknesses are before I do my third draft. After that, I will probably begin the long query process.

Until then, I will continue to tweet (@TperiodKyle) and blog to get my name out there and connect with publishing professionals (editors & literary agents), and my fellow writers (both published and unpublished).