World Building 101

Using more than vision is a must!

I am taking a break from the world of the virus to talk about our world.  No, not the one with the virus, the one that we have in our minds.

I critique a fair amount of writing for peers, friends, and yes, even some family members.  A CP or critique partner is a two-way street and is invaluable to a writer.

One of the things I see most often is a flat world.  What do I mean by that?

I think examples go far beyond talking about them, much like showing instead of telling.  I am going to world build for you.  The first example is flat….

David followed the carnage throughout his realm. It was easy to tell where they had been by the sacked villages in their wake.  From the burned out buildings to toppled statues, whoever was doing this had complete disdain for the locals.

In this paragraph, we are introduced to David.  Who he is or his relevance to the story is anyone’s guess.  We can assume he is after the people doing this to the locals, but again we don’t know.  I do give you a clue to the hate by the toppled statues.  Burning their villages is one thing, but toppling statues shows us that there was more than purpose to the destruction.

Ok, let’s try again; this time, let’s show a little bit more.

Sir David left the castle in response to news from his realm.  Invaders had moved in from the West, showing total contempt for him, his kingdom, and his kind.

The scents of the pines were quickly replaced by the acrid stench of burnt wood, animals, and people alike.  The skies turned dark, the closer he came to the first village.  Once the pride of his kingdom, not one structure was left.  Even the sculpture, honoring his mother the Queen, lay in ruins with the head, smashed into a fine powder.  Charred remains of his people smoldered in piles of ashes of what used to be their homes.  Viewing the ruins through angry prisms of tears, he pressed on.

You will notice that both paragraphs relay the same information about the scene.  Except now in the second one, we learn who David is, who that statue was of, why it was so meaningful, and we learn more of the hate of David’s mother.  We still don’t know who the enemy is or why they hate his mother, but, we would turn the page to find out.

When world-building, you are a god.  This is your world.  You have the divine power to create as you see fit and destroy as you will.  If you want readers to be interested in your writings, remember to use as many of the senses as you can.

In painting, if you look carefully, you will see that white is not white.  If I am painting a lady in a white blouse or dress, you will find multiple colors in the fabric.  If it is a warm shadow, there will be warm colors, and conversely, a cold shadow will have more violets blues and so on.  Not only will there be many different colors but many different values.

When I write, I try to grab the reader by the …yes that.  I want to draw the reader in so they can smell the burnt flesh, or perhaps the aroma of the rose.

Much like the art, I paint my paintings and scenes with the same passion, and that means I use composition.  In a painting, I seek to draw the eye of the beholder in toward the center and have their eyes go more or less in circles as they see all that is.  How do we do that with our words?

We paint with our words.  All of the values and colors must be represented by our words.

Here is a trick that you might wish to use.  In your mind, when you are writing, you have an idea of what the scene looks like.  Many, even some of the great authors, do not do this justice.  Here is the trick.  By the way, if you want more of these hints, tips or tricks, hit that follow button.

The trick is to go out on Pixabay or just google a scene like you are trying to write and post it where you can see it.  Now, as you world build, paint that scene with words. Don’t forget the temperature, time of day, and for God’s sake, add smell or scent or odor in the painting.

One of the most powerful senses we have is the power of smell.  Unlike a painting, with my words, I can incorporate smell.  The sense of smell is one hell of a kick in the memory department.  If I mention the scent of toll house cookies in the oven, the odds are good you will dredge up some memory, hopefully, a happy one involving toll house cookies.  You might even remember eating the raw dough when your mother told you no.

If I mention biting into a lemon with the bittersweet taste, your saliva glands will more than likely respond, just by the mere mention of it.

When we write erotica or racy things, yes, in both men and women, things respond not only anatomically, but in your brain, chemicals are released.  That is what we are going for in our art, whether it be words or oils.

When you world-build or tell your stories, trigger those reactions that you want in your reader, so they become part of the story.  We wish to have them feel empathy toward your David.  Have them ride along with him experiencing all the disgust and scorn that he does.    Just maybe your David is riding on a dragon.  Maybe your David can shoot fire from his fingertips.  It is your world.  You are the God of your universe.

One last bit of advice I would leave you with during this blog entry is this.

Enjoy what you are doing.  Live in this world that you are creating.  Feel the cold air on your cheeks as you take flight on your magical beast.  See the forest below you, and notice the smoke in the distance.  Plan your strategy for taking on the vermin that dare to come into your realm.

Yes, I just made all this stuff up in about ten minutes or so.  I write about one novel every three months, give or take, and that includes holding down a full-time job.

Currently, I am 36K words into my newest novel, which is about a young lady who discovers through a vision that not only is she blessed with magical powers, but she is about to be forced into a confrontation with a government skunkworks program.  It would seem that the government is using genetically modified food to promote a unique genetic change in the minds of children to encourage telekinesis. They are unaware that what they are doing will turn an army of people lose on the world with powers the likes of which they have never imagined.  Bethany, my main character, is a witch that will soon be pressed in to service against a human-made evil.

The audience for this novel is the Harry Potter, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and the Spirited Away crowd, with a bit of Stranger Things added for spice.    I think the book will be about 80K words give or take, with options for more if the story takes off.

Follow me here for updates, as I work every day on this novel.  Unlike my other thirty-odd books on Amazon and Smashwords; I am going to attempt the Query process once again.  I will not make a job out of it, however.  Each letter takes no less than four hours, and that is at least a chapter in a new novel for me.  If, by chance, you are in this industry, and like the concept, save me the query process for a leg up on representing this novel.

Much love to you, my faithful followers.  BTW, I have taken the time to visit many of your blogs, I have commented on a few of them.  Hang in there world; things will get better.  –TW

 

 

 

 

“If you’re going to get stuffed, get stuffed by your friends.”

How about we don’t stuff anyone?

 

Years ago, too many to mention, I had a ‘friend’ tell me that once.  In my current work in progress, one of my characters is supposed to play the part of a used car salesman.  He denotes his distaste for them as they are all mostly dishonest.

Why am I writing to you about this rather than working on my novel?

This novel is about a young lady who discovers that she is a witch.  While learning her ways in the world of magic, all hell breaks loose.  There is a dark force attempting to convince all witches to be in their coven.  An undercurrent of government conspiracy is in the heart of the novel.  The conspiracy is yet to find its way to the screen.

As I was writing about a car salesman, I thought back on the day when a friend of mine was a used car salesperson.  If you saw Matilda with Danny DeVito as the unscrupulous dealer, that is what my friend was.  We soon parted ways as I don’t associate with dishonest people.

I was in the market for a car.  Instead of being honest with me as a friend, he tried to sell me an old Chevrolet that they had rolled the mileage back on.  When they invented reverse drills, it was an easy way to change the odometer.

From sawdust in the gearbox to super thick oil to keep it from smoking, they did it.

Taking my chances with a car from the paper; my friend was incensed with me for purchasing a car. In retrospect, the person that sold it to me had put super thin oil in the crankcase as the oil pump was going out.

He told me, and I quote, If you are going to get EFFED, you might as well get EFFED by a friend.

Is there truth in that?  What do you think?

I needed a roof after a terrible storm and elected to allow a person at my church to have their company put a roof on for me.  It cost more than those of the people around me, took over a year to get it right, and they put on cheap shingle instead of what I originally had. What’s worse is there were no drinks and no kiss afterward.  Not that I would want one, just saying, some pillow talk would have been sweet.

Speaking of shady, the same people that worked for the other fly by night companies are the ones that put my roof on too.  I got nothing for the extra thousands of dollars.

I used to travel a lot.  There is one state out of fifty that I have not been too, and that is Main.  In one state, I was talking with a person who was justifying effing his neighbor. He told me, and I quote, “I need to put cheerios on my table too.”

I shook my head and walked away from the deal.  If you cannot do business and treat your fellow person correctly, you should do something else.  There is no justification for effing your neighbor, and you certainly never do it with friends or family.

Arkansas, I swear you folks take the cake at times.  This one-man was talking to his friends at a local diner.  I listen to people as I get ideas for stories or characters.  This guy was bragging to his friends that his wife’s mother’s tractor needed a simple fix but, he convinced her it was not worth it to get a new one.  When pressed, he told them, she gave me the broken one, and when she dies, I will get the new one too and the land that goes with it.

Whenever I need an asshole in one of my novels, that guys face comes to mind.  I almost choked on my coffee when I heard that.

Life goes on.  How are you all doing?

Look for updates on my newest novel; I am going to try and find an agent with this one.  I have over 32 books out there published, so why not see if I can lure an agent into my lair.

This is a young adult, coming of age story of a witch.  What is cool about this story is I make a compelling case that anyone could do it.  We live in an escapist society, and with the current events, you can see why.  We escape through the TV, video games, and yes novels.

Why not write a fun novel that will engage the reader?  After taking hundreds of hours of writing courses instead of watching TV, I have pages of notes.  From Dan Brown to Judy Bloom…Wow, everyone had an opinion.

After I get this one polished and marketed, I will be going back to my published novels and making changes to the ones that are underperforming.  I love it when I get to a point, and you get that ‘ahaa’ moment.  You know the one where you say ‘shit, is that why?’

The original Ailani series I might go back and rewrite the whole trilogy and condense it into one novel.  It is a great story, but I think 350k words might be too much.

While I write and visit the cutting room floor, you all don’t forget to follow me here and, of course, on Twitter.

Much Love and Stay Safe -TW

 

Taking a break from Hell on Earth, and talking about writing.

Let’s control what we can and let the world take care of itself.

Hello fellow earthlings,   I know life has just sucked the last few weeks, and I feel that it is going to suck more before it is over.

Let’s break away from the news of the day and talk about writing.  I feel many of you that follow me are writers, want to be writers, or are authors who want to see how others do what they do.

With over 32 novels selling around the world, I have learned a thing or two.

Let me start by talking about the reasons to write.  I am sure I have addressed these before in a previous blog, but let me do it again for those who are new to this site.

The only reason for you to write is that you love writing.  Unless you work for a paper or some other institution that has hired you to write manuals or something, we writers write because we love to write.

If you decide to write a book because you want to live in a gated community on the ocean in California, or Kiawah Island or, perhaps, Martha’s Vineyard, let me just wake you the hell up.  Your first novel will most likely be horrible.  Sorry for the truth of it, those are the facts.  You can work and research your heart out, but your first work will suck.  …probably…

When I wrote my first few novels, I appealed to an audience that was not looking for literary genius.  My craft was not developed enough to appeal to a high brow audience.  What I was looking for is writing something that people would buy for a couple of dollars, and hopefully give me some feedback.

You see, the truth of it is, Beta Readers that are not your family are hard to come by, and you might have to pay someone to read your crap, and give you honest feedback.  Too Harsh?

We need to be honest with each other, and we must learn to accept rejection.  Rejection, no matter how hurtful, should be taken as part of the learning process.  Feedback is terrific, even if it sucks.  Only when we can step away from the forest of our writing, can we see the mistakes and missteps we have made.  Only then can we see the weeds.

My advice to you is to write your first novel, polish it as best you can and then self-publish it, and then beg for feedback.  Make it easy for them to go to an e-mail address and tell you how badly it sucked, and they want their $1.99 back.  If they tell you why and what is wrong, I would send them the $2.

Writing books is a labor of love.  Writing is hard.  As a writer, you must form a habit of writing, even if it means you climb your butt out of bed an hour earlier.   It is a lonely profession.  I work till three or four in the morning many nights.  Oh, and I have a day job.  ‘I love to write.’

There are times I don’t like it too much, but I love to write.

Form your habit and stick to it.  Much like exercise or following a diet, it is all about practice.   There is an advantage to writing early in the morning.  Your brain produces certain types of waves, and one of them are theta waves.  When you get up in the morning, you have more theta waves going on than during the typical day.  Taking a shower, your brain produces theta waves.  Ever wake up with an epiphany or perhaps have one in the shower…?  That is why.

I think the hardest thing to swallow is this; nobody cares.  Your parents will lie to you and care because you wrote it, your spouse really doesn’t give a shit, and your friends will manage to distance themselves from you if you require them to love your book.  Nobody cares as you do.  It is your baby, and you are the one that needs to love it, nurture it, and then send it out into the world to see what happens.

I have said this before too.  You cannot be a one-trick pony.  I know writers who have been working on the same book for tens of years.  OMFG…self-publish it and get on with it.  Amazon will make a few dollars off you, the government in the place the person is in that buys it, will get some tax money from you, and if you are lucky, you might make a dollar for your labor of love.

Most new authors who self-publish make about $10 their first year.   Damn, I know that hurts if you have never heard that before, but I speak the truth.

I know too many authors who pour a fortune in their book, ‘that sucks’ to have it professionally edited, pay to have a cover designed, and then pay people to market it.  I have read their books, and they suck.

  • I make a point to purchase books from new authors, that manage to sit inside the local book store.  Why?
  • I want to be supportive of them.
  • I want to speak with them and learn from them.
  • I get their signature and put the book on the shelf after I read it.
  • I can tell you after the first few pages if the book will hit or not, never missed once yet.
  • I want to encourage these authors to keep writing.  Don’t stop.

Study the craft of writing, read books like you are disassembling a watch, that you must put back together.  Examine the structure, story, and character arcs and ask yourself if you had written it, how you would make it better.  Do that with terrible books as well.   Where did the author go wrong?

The craft of writing is not something you can just do.  Unless you are ‘somebody’ and can afford a ghostwriter to take your crap and make it better, you need to learn the entire craft yourself.

That is why I trumpet the idea of writing for the love of writing.

As an artist, I thought my first painting was pretty good.  Today when I see pictures of it, I wish I could find it, I would burn it.  The same is true for my writing.  I have been writing since I was a kid.  That was more than a few years ago.

The practice is crucial and doing it because you love it is the only reason to write.  Once you perfect it, publish it on Amazon, or Smashwords, and see what happens.

If you follow me here, and if you would like some feedback, I might consider giving it if you would be willing to reciprocate.

I pray that you are all staying safe and staying home during these times of uncertainty.  Live in your worlds that you create, or read some of my novels, and live in one of my worlds.

Much Love -TW

How do you handle bad reviews?

The problem with reviews like this as they add another obstacle to what we want to accomplish.

The problem with reviews like this as they add another obstacle to what we want to accomplish.

Below is the tease for one of my novels.  Sound boring to you?  Have I not identified my audience?

When a preacher’s daughter rooms with her childhood friend in college, things go way past her comfort zone, causing her to question everything.  After they graduate, the real drama begins when absence makes the heart grow fonder.  The love between two young ladies is not complicated enough, as her friend’s mother decides that she too has a thing for the young woman who should be a supermodel like she was.

As Melissa is transformed, Joan explores her own demons, which run askance of her lover’s career path.

Adult Erotic 18 plus.

This happens. I don’t pretend to understand why someone would take the time to buy one of my books and then write their own version of fiction.

If you read what they wrote, after reading the first few pages…I gave up.  Then what they didn’t say is they went online and flamed the novel as they were the first to review it and the first to sway public opinion.

If you were on the ‘shelf,’ would you plunk down $3.99 after a review like that?  Probably not.  This jerk and those like them make it harder to do what we do. 

If you cannot say anything nice then keep your damned mouth shut!  

Here is what to look for with reviews like this.  Firstly he or she uses a pseudonym which I automatically discount.  When I am reading reviews, if they are not real names, they are not counted.  If you are going to flame someone’s work, man up or woman up and tell us who you are.  Own your bullshit.

Better yet, go to their website which is published in the book, and go to the contact page and send them an e-mail.  Most authors would love to hear from you.  Why was it dull?  What would have made it better?  Did you read the first few pages online before buying it?  I love feedback and will genuinely consider it. 

“No not upset, I see this all the time with other authors.  I don’t understand this mentality.”

Secondly and more importantly you can read the first several pages of the book for free before you buy it.  When I go to the bookstore, I open the cover and read a little.  When I purchase novels on Amazon or another site, I look at the first few pages and see what I think.  It is, in fact, common sense.

One of my other novels, another person did this with Saga of the Starduster.  Still, my best seller to date.  You can tell by the review they never read the novel.  There is a machine that turns them into nymphomaniacs.  Not enough sex? pffft!

While Kitties Titties and Winks is a read for after-hours and could be a one-handed read for either gender if that is your goal. The novel also has a story with a plot, romance, and love.  The story is complete with taboo situations, rags to riches, preachers run amuck and young boys driving an expensive car.  If this person indeed found it dull, I would love to know what they find exciting.

Not only do the character’s arc, the story arcs nicely.

Now, look at this little gem…. Case in point …

starduster review

The Saga of the Starduster, on the other hand, has had two more reviews that I had nothing to do with. As you can see, they more accurately reflect the novel.  If I were that egocentric I would not have written blah blah blah…Just saying.

As a writer, what can you take away from this?

For someone to write that kind of review, maybe they were having a bad day. Perhaps they are tough to please. Perhaps they are an author and don’t want the competition.  Maybe they are just assholes.

Here is what I would like you to consider.  Follow the link and go check out the first few pages of the novel.  You can do it for free.  Comment here, and tell me if you think it is ‘very dull.’   Kitties Link  It is an adult read, which I have a tendency to create every now and then. 

Honestly, if you do think it is dull by all means, see if you can articulate why.  This is not  ‘literary genius,’ but it is an excellent 99K words of a racy story.

Here is a breakdown of the novel.

We introduce College graduates to the world of modeling.  We take them on a tour of the seedy underbelly of the industry, and we take them to a clothing-optional beach.  From there, we introduce more characters who become sexual partners.

Untangling one of their lives, we get her friend out of the way by hooking her up to a company in the UK. This company specializes in BDSM movies and magazines.  This happens to feed the demon inside her friend.

The story takes on some interesting twist as emotions come in to play as her lover tries to manage things awkwardly.

Meanwhile, the mother is a bit a significant twist as she also loves the girl in her own lesbian way.

Of course, it is fiction and way out of the norm, but that is what people like to read.  We want to escape our world for a roll in the proverbial hay.

Anyway, if you should choose to read it from cover to cover, I would appreciate a ‘real’ review rather than this hit piece.

‘How did I handle this?”

I opened the novel and re-read it, asking myself is there any truth to what this person alleges.  That is what I would encourage you to do.  My beta readers loved this novel, and this is not really their genre.

If you get a hit piece like this on something you write, do what I did, and if you need assistance, let me know.  I can look at your first few pages, and I will be honest with you.  As someone with over thirty published novels, I don’t claim to know it all but, I know this person would probably enjoy stepping on baby chickens.

Follow the link and tell me what you think.  As always, I appreciate you and look forward to another day when Writing and becoming a published author is our central theme.

Tell us what you are working on if you are a writer.

Much love -TW

Marketing your Novel

Greetings, and welcome to yet another week. I know; it is Monday! I know you all are thrilled to be doing your thing whether it be in a cubical or on a plane. Some of us are sitting in a converted bedroom office on the phone, or tied to the keyboard manipulating spreadsheets to make sense of things.
When you are writing, you must first consider who your audience is. This is paramount as you are crafting a story to tell them. Who are the ‘them?’
When I was a kid and we did the sleepovers, I knew if I tried and made it spooky enough, I could make them scream. We all did it as we knew who the audience was. We knew they were impressionable.
As an adult writer, nothing has changed. I write different genres for different audiences. Scifi is my favorite, and I am pretty sure I can depict the audience. Thrillers are the same way, I know who you are. Naughty Nighties, one of my wicked favorites, is a little gray, several shades of gray, pardon the play on EL James stuff.
Adult erotica is just fun to write. It takes little research and a good imagination. I know who you are too and not only do I not judge you but, here is a cyber hug, just for you. And you…and you…yes you too.
One of my fans asked me why I write that kind of stuff. Because I can. Here is the real reason, and I won’t blow smoke up your…rear. E.L.James is worth over 80million for 50 shades. Guess what, that stuff is easy to write, and many of you know it because the market is full of it.
People like to travel a road less traveled. They might want to read about an illicit love affair that takes place on some island where the couple is stranded. That trope is so done to death but, add a twist to it. What if they are two men or women and they fall in love. What if the two are from wildly different cultures where the one might want to kill the other, but realizing he or she would be alone, they have to grow as a human.
Amazon tells me little in analytics, but it does tell me where the person was who bought the book or books. When I say ‘was;’ I am talking country. That is still nebulous information at best.
With Tweets, which I use vociferously, I can tailor them to the audience. Social media is free and easy to use if you put some thought into it. From hashtags to keeping your brand out there in front of them is essential.
Some programs will render analytics on your tweets. Which worked and which ones didn’t. Now take it the next step and ask why.
Your website is vital and you need to have one. Whether you have one novel or three hundred, you need a website. Because they want to sell that service, as it is reoccurring revenue, they have made sites simpler to create.
There was a day you needed an experienced programmer to make an excellent looking site. Not so much today. If you can use Word you can make a website.

That brings us to money.
When times are good, you spend your money on advertising, when times are lean, you spend your money on advertising. Budget some money for programs and things to make your job as an author easier.

No, I am sorry, you cannot only write a lovely story that will scare the snot out of kiddoes. You have to sell that story, and make me, or others like me, want to pay money to read it.
One thing I do which you might try is; make good ole Jeff Bezos more money by putting a good story on KU. No, you won’t get anything for it. It is like working as an intern to get your foot into the door. While Amazon will say it has millions on the pool and you get something for each page read trust me on this grasshopper, don’t count on it.
What you want to do is write a story that makes them want to turn the page and…makes readers want to know who you are and if you have written anything else.
That is the only benefit you will get out of giving your work away for free. If your story is forgettable than you are.
Now that I have dashed your plan of financial success on the rocks as you feel yourself sliding into the abyss of despair take heart. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Get Better!
When I started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to tell a story and write something that I would enjoy reading. I did. I love what I write but here is the kicker, as I have written over thirty novels I have improved my craft of writing by leaps and bounds.

Hell, I may even understand the comma.

I attend many writers’ workshops, and I pay attention to what they are saying. I have read more books in my life than I care to admit and when I began to write, I learned differently. Today I read like I am taking a bomb apart and I have to diffuse it and put it back together to be ‘my bomb.’ If that makes sense.
I also give back to the other writers out there, and that might include you. Instead of working on my latest thriller, I am casting pearls into the wind for you to grasp.
Everyone with a pen or keyboard thinks they can write. Truth told they cannot. I got stuck in front of a live TV not long ago where the mother on some sitcom was reading her own novel into a Dictaphone. Now I did not stay in front of the screen long enough to know the show or care but I did stay there long enough to know it was horrible writing.
When you go to the movies or sit in front of the TV, disassemble what is going on.

Analyze what the writers are doing with the characters.
• How are they building tension?
• What promises are they making the viewer or reader?
• How are they keeping the audience engaged so they will stay there through the commercial breaks?
All of this is terrific information to have in your quiver. When you pull out that arrow and want to target a plot point or snag your audience, you will know how to do it.
There is good news for you indie writers out there. There are actually agents who are brighter than most. They will look at the novels on Amazon, and seek out new voices to represent.
Jeff, you are making a killing on independent writers. How about you give them some free advertising for each novel that you host? I realize you want to make money on each and everything Amazon does including sending the file to the customer. Don’t you think giving some marketing assistance to your suppliers would help your bottom line?

Ok, that was my pitch to the richest man around. Doubt he will ever see it but, that is the way we do things in our world.

To my friends and readers, take heart. 2020 is off to a roaring start, and good things are happening.

In my next blog, we will play a what-if game.  I am making notes so I don’t forget.

Hit that follow button on Twitter and by all means here on WordPress.
Much Love -TW

 

What Role do we as Writers play?

Are writers bound by some unspoken rule regarding what we write about?

Did you know Susie was fooling around with Tom at work?

What a juicy bit of gossip that is.  Truth told we love a good bit of gossip.  The reasons are evident to most anyone with a brain.

  • We want to feel better than that person.
  • We are better than that person.
  • We love the titillation that goes along with gossip.
  • Their behavior might justify ours.

We have this duality within us of who we are.  We attend church or work, and we wear this face that we allow the world to see.  While sitting there listening to the pastor drone on about Paul or David or JESUSsssss, we are thinking about what has to be done when we get home from church.

Some of us are thinking about last night and how wonderful it was to be in his or her arms.

A few of us are actually writing in our bibles or making notes to stay awake, and not snore like the fellow in the pew behind us.

I am no better than you.  If the pastor hits a dull moment, my mind is elsewhere.  Much like reading a book where you hit that middle of the road slump.  Your eyes pass over the words but they don’t register because we are looking for the ‘juicy stuff.’

As a writer, we must keep this in mind when we are crafting our stories.  Pacing is essential and so is the ‘juice.’

Who is your audience?

In Church on Sunday, the preacher, who most probably doesn’t want to be there either, is addressing his or her flock.  The flock is us, the sinners.  As a preacher, he must keep us engaged throughout the sermon or we are all wasting our time.  There are no time clocks to punch.  God will not be looking at some history to see how many hours you ‘sat’ in church.

We may all wear this mask of how effing great we are, (yes I wanted to use the F-bomb to get your attention) but inside, we are just us.  If you happen to go to a Calvinist denomination of Christianity, you know ‘because you have been told repeatedly’ just what a lowly piece of shit you are.  That definition does not even underscore how truly rotten Calvinism makes you feel.  I left one of those churches as Calvin was a crazy man, as was Martin Luther.  Both were horrible Anti-Semites who, if they had self-flagellate themselves, I would be grateful.  Too harsh?

I should note that God can use the worst of the worst to do his bidding.  From David to Trump, God can use even you, to do his bidding, turning evil to good.   ‘Like how I put you in there so you keep in mind that you are no better than any of them?  I did too.’

That is where we get into trouble when we think we are better than thou.  You might love or hate Trump but, I can tell you with all certainty, he will use him to do his bidding.

We as writers can use what we know and who we know as fodder for stories.  We can use every experience that we ever have to weave them into the tapestry of your dystopian adventure through Never Land.

The issues with being a writer as I see them, we think outside the box, and we take nothing for granted.  We might sit in church and listen as the preacher prattles on about demons or how the streets of heaven are made of gold.  Ok, they are streets, gold is a soft metal; wouldn’t it make more sense to make them with something more ‘concrete?’

‘Did you like that?  Concrete…” C’mon at least smile.

If I took a notion, I could dismantle the Bible in its entirety from what I know about physics and science.

That is a powerful statement, and it is true.  Here is something else I know.  I can absolutely prove to you that there is a God or Creator of all things.  Again, I can use Science and physics to determine that.

Where does that leave us as a people?  If there is a God as I am sure there is, what is it? Where is it?  Who is it?  Does he or she watch over us like Santa Jesus, making notes when we mess up?

No, I mean no disrespect, I am making a point.  Don’t send me ugly e-mails, I don’t have time for them.

The problem with the bible is every part of it is tied to every other part of it.  If you pull on one, lose string, the house of cards falls apart.  They, in fact, become stories.  Allegorical tales meant to put some modicum of understanding of how the world and God worked 2000 years ago.

Have we outgrown God?

With church attendance falling, we see the beginnings of a dystopian world.  How do we as writers, play into this part of the world?  We are part of this world, not merely observers.  Are we responsible for shaping the world with our words?

These are just a few thoughts I have when I witness the violence from Hollywood or the Graphic video games that are nothing more than simulators for death.  What role do we as writers play?

One of my favorite lines from any movie was from Contact.

(Paraphrased) ‘You people have such wonderful imaginations and thoughts, and you have such horrible nightmares.’

This line captures the duality of which I speak.

In my novels, I attempt to speak to both.  We are that Jekyll and Hyde but hopefully not to that extreme.

In Nudists of Shangri-La, I speak to Judy’s Demons.  If you read it, you will recognize her demon as we all have it.  Possibly it is not to that extreme but it is there never-the-less.

As we head into the weekend, I wish you a safe and happy one.  Thanks for following me here and on twitter.

-Best TW

Nude In The Woods!

Tonight I want to tell you about a novella I wrote a year or so ago and recently

re-released it but first….

I bought a book I want to talk about.  Writers, you will want to pay attention to this as it involves marketing.

If you follow me, you know that I write what sells.  I can churn out a story on damn near any topic.  Writing prompts are a favorite pass time.  What sells and why?

I go to book stores and I shop online like most of you do.  So here is this book with all kinds of pants on the cover, including undies of different sorts.  The title is Take off Your Pants.

What the hell, it made me look!

That is what I was talking about in a previous blog, when you want to charm some intern who is going through some agents ‘her mothers,’ slush pile.

You want a title that grabs the reader.

The truth is, I bought the book, but have not even looked at it.  The book is about modifying the way you write, if you are a pantster, as I am.  Hello, what I do works, why change what is not busted?

Why did you buy it then?

I bought it because the title and cover were captivating and amusing.

Now, if you don’t know if you are a plotter or pantster, you might get some mileage out of her book.  It is an e-book that went to my mac instead of my tablet for some reason.

“TW, what is this nude in the woods about?”

So here is the deal. I have been nude in the woods.  I know the honesty just drips out of me at times.  I actually love nature, and I love to be in it as God made me. Yes, it can be intimidating at times and yes, you do feel vulnerable, at times.

When I wrote Land of my People, I captured the first time I did it.  I re-lived that moment, including the ‘thinking tree,’ and much of the other parts of the novel are actually from real life.

I cannot say this enough, if you want to write compelling stories, you have to be willing to pull off your undies, or said another way, live your damned life like you mean it!

The Bucket list spoke to me, not so much for the reasons they had in the movie but, for fodder for gripping tales.  How the hell can you write stories if you only watch TV or read what others write?

Go out and skin your knees, get your skin scraped up with briars, and stand on sticky things with your bare feet.  Or better yet, feel the sun kiss you in places reserved for shadows.  Allow the wind to whistle through your nether regions and live in the moment.  Do it by yourself, so you can listen to the whispering trees.  Learn to pee without getting yourself wet, and if you do, so what.

In this novella, which I hope you will read, you will see some of what I went through to write this story.  Guess what, I would do it again.  I would sit on that hot rock or pick those yellow flowers.  I would dive into that lake with only that old deer as my witness.  When your heart is pounding in your chest, as you pull off that last stitch of clothing, only then can you write about it convincingly.   As you leave your clothes behind on that ‘thinking tree,’ turning your back on civilization, only then can you honestly know what it is like to be exposed, to be truly naked. When you walk through a spider web, and the ‘huntress’ leaves your chest while slowly making its way down your belly toward your…yeah, you are alive!  You think and act without the safety of the remote control.  While respecting all life, could you do what she did?

In Perpetual Palpitation, I write about the antics of two lovebirds who find places on a cruise ship where he takes a picture of her while she performs lewd poses.  Care to guess how many ships I have been on?

You have to live my friends.  You cannot write good stuff if you only do it by reading the works of others.  You have to use all of your senses, and you must remember what it was like when you are at Hippy Hollow, as I write about in Nudist of Shangri-La.   Yes, I know about it, because I was there.

There is a beach in Florida that you will get ticketed if you are wearing clothing on it.  How do I know?

Not from the internet, I assure you.

Tan lines should be a sin.  Until you rip the Band-Aid off, you cannot honestly write about it.

Now I have not written about sky diving because I will not jump out of a perfectly good plane.  I can write about flying because I have spent my fair share of time behind the yoke.  Until the ground disappears beneath you, and you are in control, you cannot write convincingly about it, like I did in Presidential Assassins.

No, I have not killed anyone, so you do have to use your imagination but, and I say this with all due candor, you have to live.  I have killed, hunted, stalked, been stalked, been in the woods nude or naked, and done much, tried much, and would do more if I needed, to experience it, to write about it.

You can get a small sampling of that in Land of my People.  I did spend about a week in the woods, as my main character did.  I describe my first time as his daughter did.  I think you will love it.

I hope that this blog, like most, will inspire you to write convincingly.  I also hope you will assist me by spreading the word about this blog, and my books.

Much Love -TW

Writers Block

I wish I had a nickel for every person who has spoken with me about writer’s block.

I don’t believe it makes a difference if you are a plotter or a panster; at some time in your life, you will experience writer’s block.

How do you deal with the infamous blank page?

I find it useful to examine why I am drawing a blank, or my characters have stopped talking.  Many times it is that part of the novel that we all dread, the middle slump.  Since we all know we want to avoid that, just possibly, we put undue stress on ourselves and cause our stream of conscious to become, derailed.

Keep in mind that it is your SFD or $hitty first draft.  Only you will see it, read it, and know that your characters decided to go on strike.

Some causes for the strike can be that you don’t want to deal with this part of the story.  Maybe it is too close to you.  There are many land mines with writing, and I find it refreshing and often times cathartic when I work my way through a story.

If the words are not coming, turn off your ‘IBM Selectric’ and go do something else.  As an artist, I find if I am busy with some graphic, or a painting, my characters will want to see what I am doing and come out and play.

Now, why do you suppose that might be?

When we are between awake and asleep, in the shower and yes, doing something with our hands like coloring or painting, your brain produces something called Theta waves.  A different part of your brain is active and guess where the characters hideout?  Yes, you have knocked on the door, rang the bell and now you have huffed and puffed the proverbial threat, all while trying to color between the lines.

One thing that I find that assist me is I will put the project up, and work on something else, such as this blog.  Hours, days, weeks, and even months later, I will start at the beginning of the project and reread it.  There you will find the epiphany.  The Ah-Ha moment will become apparent and you will see where your GPS took you on a wrong turn.  You might have to scrap a few paragraphs or chapters, but that is how my process works.  In ten years, I have written well over thirty novels, so I must know something.

The literary process, to me, is the gold standard of how I wish to live.  How can I tell the best there while remaining true to who and what I am?  Truth over lies, love over hate and yes, and a dirty mind is necessary at times to keep it real.

We are the perfect juxtaposition of Jekyll, and Hyde, only most of us ‘hide’ that dark side while putting on our happy face.  In my books, I rip the Band-Aids off.  One of my critics told me that she did not like the F word.  Umm, don’t read it.  If my characters use that vernacular guess what, the F word is there.

Honesty, truth, and kindness will take you far in life.  Knowing who you are will assist you through those bleak times when the blank page is striking fear into your heart.

“Write the shitty first draft and own it!”

 

Much Love -TW

 

Rejection Letters and Negative Reviews

“How do you do it, TW?  Rejection letters suck!”

I didn’t know how to respond to that comment at a recent gathering of writers.  I have asked the very same question in my life, and now years later, I think I have a handle on it.

When I first wrote The Saga of the Starduster, it outperformed and still does exceed my other novels in sales.  That includes the naughty stories, which is somewhat surprising.

My first bit of advice to young writers is this.  ‘Don’t be a one-trick pony.’

It is no secret that I have a day job.  I cannot afford to hire editors, book cover designers, marketing experts and to pay some firm for reviews.  In fact, I use the free ISBN numbers just because I refuse to pay some firm to sell me ten numbers like I won’t pay to register some star in someone’s name.

Rule one is, always have another project going.  Have another story that is a W.I.P.   If you have raised children, you know that we raise them to be independent.  We raise them to make their way into the world much like the sea turtle lays its eggs in the sand, and heads back into the water to start the process all over again.

Your book, your project much like those eggs must hatch and take flight.

Someone purchased The Saga of the Starduster and gave it one star.  They did their best to smear the novel, having it sound like a cure for insomnia.  I read it, realized by the comments that they never read it, and went back to my WIP.

Monitoring the sales, their review did not hinder sales of that novel; in fact, they might have improved slightly.  Since then, others have reviewed the book and I am not disappointed with their comments.

As writers, we have no idea who these people are, and if they write under a pseudonym like this one reviewer did, I give it little credence. I think most readers are smart enough to realize that small fact.

Rejection Hurts.

As we spend chunks of our lives, creating the literary works of art, we believe that our creation is the best thing ever written.  That is how we are preyed upon by those who offer services like editing, book cover creation and so on.  ‘I just need a good cover or professional editing and I will be the next…fill in the blank.’

Because we cannot be objective ‘for the most part,’ we are an easy target for those who might be like us.’  They might have tried several times to get something published, and they might know more than you.  Because they cannot sell their stuff, they try to sell their services to assist you.

At this point in the game, you have options.

  • Pay for assistance.
  • Query agents and cross your fingers
  • Learn all you can about each step of the process and do it yourself.

If you follow me, you know that I have opted for the latter, and sometimes the second in the process as I have no idea who is who, in the world of paying for assistance.

Involve yourself in the industry, and you will soon learn the ropes to skip and the ones to jump. I think honesty with yourself is probably the ticket to not being screwed over by the predators out there.

I happen to like what I write and will often pick up one of my previous novels and re-read it and yes, add to it, or take away from it as I deem necessary.  Currently, I am re-writing the Nudists of Shangri-La series and I have learned much since then and I can make it so much better.

The first in the series has already gained twenty thousand words and magic.  While the original text was more cut and dried, and to the point where Judy deals with her demons, now we are giving the demons a voice.

I like where it is going, and I am confident if you liked it the first time, you would love it this time.

My point to this blog is don’t give up.  If your passion is to write, write.  Don’t allow some jerk who writes reviews under a pseudonym to ruin your day or, worse yet, stifle your desire to write.

Many of you who follow me on this blog have your own blogs, and yes, I read many of them.  Some of you have such a gift for writing; you should be writing novels if you are not already.  Have a goal in mind and lay out the path to get there.

Much like planning a car trip, you have the goal, the destination in mind; now, how do you get there?  What does your GPS tell you?

 

Greetings Fellow Earthlings!

Are your books selling well?

 

I hope that this blog finds you all well.  If not, let me know, and I will put you in my prayers, or if you are against such things, I will send you good thoughts.

What is wrong with that sentence?

I genuinely do mean that I will pray for you but, I am appealing to the politically correct or those who don’t believe in a higher power.

You might have noticed that usually, I sign with ‘much love.’

If you are reading this blog or you have purchased one of my many novels, or perhaps you follow me on Twitter, we share a bond.

I can love you without being ‘in love’ with you if that makes sense.

Writers share a bond, and I feel like most of my followers are writers.

Currently, I am going through the process of looking at each of my novels ‘all 30 something of them’ and trying to figure out why some sell very well, and some don’t.   I have asked close friends to read those that are not selling well, and give me feedback.

To improve my craft, I have spent much time and money on programs, classes and yes seminars to see what I can learn that I don’t already know.

If you are a successful author, please comment below and send me a link to your books.

If nothing else, you will sell a book or two.

Do you realize how much of what we write must be perfect to sell?  Not only is the story critical, but the characters must be real.  Once you get a cohesive story with characters that people can relate to and ‘feel’, you have to create the perfect cover.

The brand that you assemble and sell to the world must be one that people will recognize and gravitate toward, before they even read the title.

If your pen name or brand brings people to your books, you are successful.  The cover art must be perfect.  As an artist, I have muddled my way through one cover after another.  I don’t have the luxury of hiring a focus group or think tank to assist in that process.  You probably don’t either.

There is a real benefit to fishing for an agent, a good one. They know the people and companies to contact for the perfect cover, and for the precise editing of said book.

In one of the groups I am associated with, I uploaded a complete novel for them to read, free of charge.  Just give me some feedback.

The novel has enjoyed medium success, but for the subject matter and the type of story, it should be much better.

Here is the truth of the matter, not one person has downloaded it and read it.

If I cannot give a novel away to other writers, how can I expect to sell it?

I challenged them with that question at the last meeting. ‘They don’t have time,’ was the answer.

Allow me to pontificate on what it takes to be a successful writer.

  • Read much and often.
  • Go out of your office and live your life.
  • Pay attention to everything and anyone.
  • Make notes of things and or people that might make fodder for a story.
  • Don’t steer away from controversial issues.

What I was hoping for is for them to read it, and offer some feedback.

From character development to the story itself, what did you like or not like, and why?

‘Why’ is the operative word.

Without ‘why,’ what they tell you is worthless.

One of my beta readers told me just tonight that there were a few ‘eww’ moments.

Ok, great, what are they, and why?

Feedback is critical to the process, and let me tell you, it is like pulling hen’s teeth.

Was that idiom lost on you?

As the weeks and months progress, I will be creating more blogs with helpful thoughts, notes and what have you, regarding writing.

If you have not followed me yet, why not?  Am I asking for money for these pearls of wisdom?  No.

Am I seeking free anything from anyone?  No

Am I trying to pay it forward and assist other writers…?  Yes!

With Christmas around the corner, we have time to write before the year ends, don’t waste it.

Much Love…-TW