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

 

Another Life, a Netflix Bomb

As a sci-fi writer on rare occasion, I will see what Netflix or the Sci-Fi channel has to offer.

It has been years since I sat and vegged in front of the TV.  With over 33 Novels, out there, I have a purpose for not wasting time watching mindless stuff.

The last sci-fi I watched that was worth my time was Arrival.  I loved the way the writers came up with depicting ‘outside of time and space.’  They were actually quite brilliant.

As of today, I made it through two episodes of ‘Another Life.’

There can only be two explanations for this writing.

A:  The writers are depicting what the world will look like if we keep dumbing our people down as we are currently.  ‘Astronauts’ by definition represented in this miserable excuse for science fiction would have to be morons.  They are almost as bad as sending monkeys into space.  At least the monkeys would not mutiny. Pffft!

B:  The writers are the monkeys, and are not only a product of common core but, have no clue what goes on to train to be an astronaut.   Never would anyone with mental aberrations ever go into a program like this.  Nobody in his or her right mind would breathe air on an alien world, which by the way would have been Effing cold since it was a rogue planet.  Depicting the moon like a red hot sun…huh?

Didn’t see it when they approached the planet?  What?  Wouldnt they orbit the planet first?  Doh!

This is no slam on the actors or producers, this is just horrible writing.  It is the defacto example of one thing we writers stay away from ‘but fortunately!’  Folks you might as well have brought out a flux capacitor that generates oxygen.

I was turned off by the first episode, but I was in hopes that the second might be better.  I don’t think I can watch a third. Nobody can be this stupid.   Truly, Sharknado is a better film than this. With that film, at least you were entertained.

Let me say something good.  The little girl is adorable, and her ‘father,’ his actions are believable thus far.  The puzzle of the artifact is this series glimmer of hope. Kudos to the writer who is creating that.

Currently, we have a ship full of morons competing to be Gilligan’s island in space.  All we need is the ‘professor and Maryann’….pffft

If this is what we can look forward to with Netflix creating material, it might be time to look elsewhere.

Disagree, tell me why.

I call them as I see them.  I wasted two hours of my life that I cannot get back.

-Chow

 

Dialogue and You

Many writers don’t understand how dialogue works in screenplays, novels or TV

How many of you are blogging to just pontificate?

Tonight I want to talk to the writers out there who are struggling with dialogue.

If you have not been introduced to the concept of the SFD allow me to ‘splain’ it to you.

The first thing you write is the ‘Shitty First Draft.’  Own it!

I wrote Under Roswell four years ago and just recently re-wrote it.  Writing over 30 novels since that one, I have learned a thing or two.  There is no reason in the world that book should now not be a real contender in the science fiction genre.  Before the re-write oh hell yes.

When you write something and cannot find fault with it, you are blissfully ignorant and that might be ok.

Firstly, when you write you need to create a character or characters that your readers will either hate or love.  They must relate to them or your story will go nowhere.  We do this through dialogue and by that I mean dialogue that ‘shows’ the story.

Dialogue is really about action, not backstory or characterization.

“Lexy you soppy bitch! You have been doing this same stupid drunk bullshit for years now.  Your life is spiraling down the tube and when you hit bottom, you will have pissed off all of your friends including me. When the hell will you learn to take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming everyone else?”

That dialogue tells you plenty, very cleverly I might add.  You the reader will read on because I have not said this:

“You know Paul, your friend has this drinking problem which has been going on forever.  Her car ends up with new dents every day, and she blames people hitting it in the parking lots.  She is constantly out of money calling on all of her friends for handouts.”

“Dave your right, do you realize that she has pissed off most of her friends that she had years ago?  Now when they see her number pop up they just ignore it.  You can’t blame them, really.”

“No, of course, you can’t blame them for Christ’ sake, nobody wants to listen to some drunk drone on about how she is a victim and have you got a few extra dollars they can borrow just to see them through to they find another job?”


Shit, those three bits of dialogue brought me down and I am creating it. How many books have you set down because of crap like that?

We feel sorry for Lexy but we can identify with her and can relate to the person who is frustrated with her trying to give her a jolt or perhaps is going to haul her sorry ass into some recovery program.  In the last exchange between Dave and Paul, we get bored rather quickly and depressed as these two guys are just jacking their jaws about their drunk friend.

Dialogue should be dynamic, moving fluid and action-filled.

When Dave confronted Lexy after tossing the bottle of scotch out the window, Lexy cried when she heard the glass bottle shattering on the street below.  She had sold blood to buy it, and he foolishly tossed it away!

Dave cares for her and is trying to make an impact.  We see her desperation when we learn she sold blood to buy scotch.

This subject may hit too close to home for some and for that reason, such a story might be of interest to those who are dealing with addicted loved ones.

That brings up the next point…Emotions.

I don’t give a flip how intellectual you are or what your IQ might be.  Your characters have to resonate with your readers and using large words that only a few might know is not the way to get there.  I am guilty of this to some extent, as I write science fiction.  In my latest novel which I am working on, I reference a Pulsar.  My audience will know what that is but, some of you reading this blog might not.

As a writer, you must connect with your audience and that means know who that audience is.  My science fiction audience I can use larger words with because they will most probably have that latitude in their vocabulary, and will not be slowed.

If I am writing for YA, I would probably guard against overly large words.  Writing for a 7th-grade education is probably one of the toughest things I do as a writer.  I am updating this blog, weeks after I wrote it, as I learned something else about this topic.

Some write for a third-grade education.  Huh?  Is that smart?  Do we want to make it too easy for our readers?  Personally, I think it is a sad statement that in order to sell our works we must keep it to a third-grade reading level.

One professor teaches that your readers are smarter than you are. “Cough … Bullshit!”

Some of my audience is smarter than I am, but…  I know, not humble…sorry I am not humble.

A smart writer knows who their audience is and writes for them.  Romance writers, for example, do what?  They put lots of emotion into their ‘dialogue.’  Why?  A large percentage of romance readers are who? Not men.  Erotica is probably men, a pure knight on the white horse coming to scale the castle walls and take on the kings men…that is going to be ladies.  Just the facts ma’am.

Yes dammit, we want to make you cry, or laugh.

So how does dialogue work with many characters?

Each character must have its own voice.  What do I mean when I say that?

Lexy is a person who took to drinking for whatever reason and now is near the bottom of the barrel. What happened to her that she did that?  Perhaps she lost someone important to her.

If we make the reader care about Lexy, then we have the emotional investment.  We also have to realize who the audience is and tailor the story for them.

For argument’s sake, if she were a street person who managed to be at the right place at the right time and found Mr. Right.  Yes, the pretty woman saga.  They are living high having a great old time until an old boyfriend finds her.  “Does he realize where you come from?  You better play this right you still owe me money.”

“I am not asking him for money Joey.  Look, what we had didn’t work out, I fucked so many people for you… now just let me be.  I have a shot at a life!”

“Bitch, you might clean up pretty, but you’re still trash from the south side.  You will always be trash, but you are my trash, and don’t ever forget it!”

Now we suddenly care about her.  We see that she is trying to pull herself out of the hole she has been in.  We want her and the rich guy to hit it off, and we love happy endings.

How will Joey play into this?

Each character has their own voice and they also have their own vocabulary.  I was at a seminar where we were told to actually do a Myers Briggs profile on each character and keep it handy so your Joey’s and Lexy’s and whoever is consistent not only with their vocabulary but their personality traits.

We can have Dave and Paul take Joey out and skin him alive but since this is a blog about ‘dialogue’ I will leave you the reader to come up with an ending.
“let me know how it turns out..” 🙂

Depending on what you are writing, whether it is for film or novels will depend not only on the amount of dialogue you write but, the kind as well.

I like internal conflict, science fiction type stories and I like naughty stories.  I write for the intellectual and I write for those readers who would like to bring some fantasy to life through my words.

If I were writing a screenplay, my dialogue would be different from that of a novel.  My story would be more action for the eyes and fewer words for the ears.

Instead of, “You know you want me.  You know you want to feel my flesh under your hands.  I don’t know why you enjoy treating me like that but when you do it just makes me so …fucking horny I can’t stand it.”

“You like it because you know you are going to get your reward.  You know I am going to fuck you so hard that you will scream for me to stop, and then you will beg for more!  What will you do for me? Will you submit to my ways?”

Instead of that, I would have this half-naked guy standing in a dimly lit room, with his foot on a chair.  The smoke from his cigarette would curl up past his chiseled chin.  His shirt would be unbuttoned and we could detect a bulge in his pants.  He might be holding a small leather paddle or possibly one of those lovely floggers that they sell at Adam & Eve.

As she walks into the room, she pauses to see him standing there.  The camera pans up from her ruby red high heels, up past her long legs to her short skirt.

The dialogue would now be something like this. “So you heard that I have been naughty?”

The rest would be action.

Who is your audience?

What kind of writer are you?

Give your audience or readers the credit they deserve in figuring out where you are going with the story.  Many of you still have your mind stuck in that last scene, don’t you?.

Read Nudist of Shangri-La if you want a naughty little romp with Judy dealing with her demons.

Screenwriting is about 80% writing for the visual effects, and 20 for us to hear or the audience to hear.

I think it would be fun to write a screenplay or even for a film.  Which are you? Are you a novelist or are you a visual person? I like the idea of film as that tends to be created more off the lot, or on location. I like the idea of filming on location and writing for that. Can you imagine the work that went into Lord of the Rings?

I have over 30 novels under my belt and have several projects in the works as I type this blog for you.  I think it important to give back to the writing community and that is why I do this blog.

Here I share my successes and failures.  I also try to educate you by telling you what I did to fix the screw-ups.

If you wish to contribute in any way, might I suggest that you share this blog with your readers, who you know might appreciate what I am writing?  That accomplishes three things.

  • You are paying it forward by assisting your followers or writers.
  • You are getting something out of it.
  • You are assisting me in getting some more followers so I have a valid reason to spend my time casting these pearls out upon the winds.

I have a day job and I write.  My goal is to have one of my novels, just one, go viral.

Many of you have already read my work and I do appreciate it.  Those checks that come in from Amazon around the world are the thing that keeps me pushing forward.  Running the analytics, I look at what is selling and what is not.  I then try to figure out why?

Under Roswell had lackluster performance, and I did not understand why until I read it again.

I had made many of the mistakes that rookie writers make.  I rewrote it from the ground up.  The story and the plot were too predictable, so I added a computer that has a loose screw, and is not exactly of good character.  This Robot can and does get into the heads of those around it, and has them do things that it can feel.  For instance, it had a couple make love where the computer could sense both of their orgasms at the same time!

‘It is an alien computer so our understanding of how computers work is not what the aliens created.’

Nothing like a little AI in the bedroom…LOL

As always I love feedback, comments and so on.

I truly am here to assist other writers so don’t be afraid to stop by and say hello.

Much love people.  It is late and I need to get up in the morning.  I have more to say on Dialogue at a future date.  If you find this interesting, please let me know.

Chow!

Interview with AuthorTWScott

Are we on the same page?

Hello… I hope you are doing well.

One of my followers wrote and asked me some questions.

How do you take an idea, to a published novel, that people will wait in line to buy?” 

I tell people all the time to write for the passion of writing, not for fame and fortune, as the latter is a road fraught with frustration and disappointment.  Since I started this journey, I have taken learning this craft to heart.

Years ago I used to play golf.  I sucked at it. However; business executives complete many business deals on those green stretches of land.  Needing to be ‘acceptable,’ I had to get my average score, 100 or lower.

Put another way, I had to be less sucky.  It didn’t hurt for them to win, but I needed to at least be a contender.

Finding a pro, I spent hours learning the game, body mechanics and so forth, until I identified my weak points, and I had a target.  Once I had an aim to shoot for (in this case my five iron), I went to a ‘par-three’ course and only used the five iron.  I drove, pitched and putted, with that five iron until it went from my worst club to one I was not afraid of using.

I take the craft of writing, painting, playing the guitar, and what have you, with that same raw determination.

I feel like a broken record when I say the following.  The novels I have written were fishing expeditions to see who bought what.

I enjoy writing, but after reading what I have over the years; I thought to make money with this talent was not a bad idea.  How?  How do you turn a passion into dollars?  I would argue that you follow the path I have been on.  Supply to the customer what they want.

E.L. James, author of 50 shades is worth 80 million. In this modern-day, what author does that and how?

I read her books as if taking apart a watch, which I must put back together.  What could I learn from her books?  Why are people buying them?

One of my twitter followers described herself in her bio as a “cyber slut.”

“What the hell, why does she do that?” I researched her, to find that she models on a webcam for men (or women) who will pay to watch her.

There is a somewhat darker side to this which I hesitate to mention.  Some people will pay per minute, to have the model watch them… perform…  I find this disturbing on the #metoo level of disturbing but… I am not judging them. I don’t understand that behavior but again…deny who you are, and your behavior can skew from your programming.

“Did I say programming…?  Another blog for another day but, yes I did…”

That is an underbelly of the internet I was unaware of but, it was also a story.  A story I wrote called Cyber Subs.  Cyber from the world of the internet, and Subs from the world of BDSM. (50 shades stuff)

Yes, that novel sells well, and it sells in the UK more than any other place.  “Why?”  If you folks know, give me a hint.  I suspect that it has something to do with our Puritan heritage, but I might be all wet.

The material sells it but, why the UK more than the US?  That is still a mystery.  That novel has been pirated, and you can find it on web sites in countries, which I cannot make heads or tails of the language.

Lesson One…

Always write under a pen name as your neighbors and friends might take objection to what you write.  You need to keep your private life, separate from your writing life until you are E.L.JAMES rich, then you hire security guards.  With that kind of money, your family will be in your back pocket…LOL, Those that still judge you, or who are jealous of you and speak poorly of you, are toxic, and you don’t need them in your life. True with me, your mileage might vary.

My passion is Science fiction.  Knowing physics and science, I can write a story that people will want to read.  My best-selling novel is The Saga of the Starduster.  That novel sells well around the world.  I incorporate modern-day issues, as our characters cannot have it too easy, or everything is lovely.  That is boring.  They must have challenges to overcome, and they must have flaws. It is also a wonderful way to “arc” your characters and your story.

*Of all the books you have written which one do you like the most within each style? 

Knowing I do not stay away from controversial subjects, in fact, I gravitate toward them in my writing, my favorite novel is a book about falling in love with another woman.

Donna lost her husband at a young age and withdraws from life and hides her emotions.  She conceals them behind her work as a tough bitch English professor until fate plays a role.  Diamond Joe is by far my favorite novel, of the over thirty on the market today. If you can handle two women loving each other, I recommend reading that one.  I am working on the cover art, so I will also offer it in paperback shortly.

Saga of the Starduster is wonderful in the science fiction genre, and I love Kelly McGuire in my action genre as Presidential Assassins.  While Diamond Joe is YA, the rest are Adult reads.

Many of you have discovered others that I thought were wonderful including The Girl Nextdoor. With well over 30 novels and that number grows quarterly you have plenty of choices to choose from.

*How many books have you written?

Well over 30, I am not even sure at this point.  When assessing who you are, “enlightenment” figuring out your gifts, and your shortcomings are paramount to growing as a human.  One of my gifts is, I write fast.  In the literary world, I am known as a pantster. Literally, it means I write by the seat of my pants.  I can do this as I write fast.  Those that are much more pragmatic, or dogmatic in their writing might be known as plotters, which means, they might want to use a program like Scrivener to keep their thoughts together as they write.

*Do you have a literary agent? 

No, I have spoken with several, and I have friends that are agents.  From the query letter process to a contract is a long road, again fraught with peril.

There are people in this trade who we call predators.  These people cannot make it as writers, so they use their craft to “assist others” for pay.  ‘Those who can do, those who can’t teach.’  I would remember that adage as I sought to purchase help. If they are worth their salt, why are they trying to earn money from you?

While I paint this picture with a broad brush, even the most skeptical among you know that there is more truth to that statement than fiction.

  • With an agent, it is all about “who they know.”
  • Do they know an editor that will take a chance on your work?
  • Does this editor know a publisher that when refined, will buy your manuscript?
  • Who have they published before?
  • An author should never have to pay anyone to get their work published. That rule is one worth remembering.

Not all that offer to assist you for money are predators but, buyer beware. The horror stories I have heard could fill a large book about what not to do.

Why do we call them predators?

They have us at a disadvantage.  Sitting through my first critique session I was coy knowing what to expect.  Other writers want to prove their prowess by ripping your shit apart. Not all, but many.  Especially if you are successful, they want to prove to themselves that they are better than you are.

(Think I am wrong?  I found a typo in Robert Mckee’s book Story. For a few seconds, it thrilled me, and then I was ashamed of myself for feeling that way.  We all do it.)

I know this about human nature.  On a return flight from California, I saw under me hundreds of wind turbines.  Creating a short story in my head called Tipping Point, that evening I wrote a ten thousand word short story in about three hours, created the cover art in another hour and published it that night before I went to bed.

I gave it away on Kindle unlimited for the value of the story, not the literary genius.  Yes, I did the basic edits but, not the fine detail one might do before submitting to an agent or publisher.

Many of you read it, and nobody said too much.  It was a lunchtime read.  I got some science geeks that read it, picking my story apart on the scientific claims, but nobody said anything about the literary constructs.

(Yes, the wind is a product of weather and from the sun, mostly, the jetstream is not, science geek people.)

I handed it to my cohorts in that format, not touching it.  Days later, they all looked like the cat that ate the canary as they approached the table waiting to pounce.  I knew what was coming but, this was a learning process, not so much for me, but for them.

Critique partners must be synergistic!

Creating a group of people who you can trust and work with takes time to build those relations.

One of them scolded me for publishing something so crude.  Another did not like so much of it, the paper was red.  FFS!… I chuckled to myself as this was not unexpected.  Drawing the ire of one, pleased me as the writing evoked emotions which all of your writing should, unless you are not writing fiction.

One of the others upon leaving the table said and I quote…”I thought they were far too nice!”

This was what I hoped for.  This person allowed their feelings to be exposed, and this is what needed addressing.

During this process, you do not want to tear down your fellow writers, but build them up. I always look for what they did correctly before I even think about making suggestions which I think would be helpful.  This is what any of your fellow readers, critiques etc. should be doing.  This is what you should do when you assist a fellow writer.

A few of them were not in the “how shitty is this?” camp, and offered some salient advice.  These people earned my respect that day.  Since then, the rest have but, it has been a procedure.  One advised me that the story deserved to be more than a short story.  Now you can read Earths Tipping Point on Kindle Unlimited for Free and it is almost 100,000 words if memory serves. Enjoy it!

Now, back to the main question of predators, we as the creators of our story don’t have the objectivity we need to discern our trash from our treasure. If we wrote it, then it is gold.  We know with the help of this person, we will be on the NYT bestseller list.  PFFFT!   Don’t fall for it.

Folks, I did not need the humbling by my friends at that table, what I needed was honesty.  I know that my work could use a fresh perspective, and that is why I offer you the reader the ability to communicate with me through the website, or this blog.

*Do you do your own marketing? 

Yes, I had to teach myself everything about it which, again if you read the first part of this response you know that it was from trial and error.  Social media is a critical part, and that is something you should be all over when you first think you want to write.

Marketing involves much more than social media.  They did not ask about cover art, and that is a subject tied to marketing and needs to be addressed, as it is paramount, your cover is of a quality that will sell your work.

*Are you self-publishing through Amazon or anyone else?

Yes, Amazon gets the bulk of my business, but I also do business with Smashwords.  Smashwords will upload your work to multiple different vendors including Apple, Barnes & Noble and the list goes on.  Smashwords is a booger bear to work with. Their interface (meaning your book formatting) must be perfect, and that can be tough.

The process is arduous, and their method of allowing your work into their “premium catalog” adds to the difficulty.  If I were them I would spend the money and time to fix their “meat grinder” as Draft to Digital has.  If you want to capture the market share, your interface must be easy to use, while friendly to the non-programmer. Amazon and Draft to Digital understand this.

We are writers, not programmers.  This again sets us up as targets for the predators out there who know how to format your novel to pass by the meat-grinder. I am a capitalist, but I don’t want to pay for services that I can do with a little time and patience.

I now use a program called Vellum, which by far is the best way to create and format your manuscript. Vellum only works on MAC which makes it an expensive proposition if you are a PC person like me.  I now own two Macs and several PC’s.

*Who does your editing?

Editors charge around $30 an hour, and there are several kinds of editors from line editing to compositional editing.  You could drop over $1000 to get a professional editor.  I would ask for references before I plunked down that kind of money.

There are multiple respectable tools on the market, starting with the grammar checker built into Word.  From there, I like Grammarly, and there is also a tool called ProWritingAid.

Nothing makes up for talent, and that you must gain from doing, and learning.  If your passion is writing, then prepare to be humbled as you forge your way through the valleys of despair and rejection, while looking for that one good phrase to encourage you to push forth.

Yes, that is a golf analogy…One good shot keeps you returning for more humbling, again and again. 

I try to get friends and family to read my work and comment.  Realizing they are not editors and might fancy themselves as grammar Nazis, there is a fine line between proper punctuation and your voice.  I would rather hang a participle than lose my voice.

*Are any of your books on audio?

Not yet.  If I find someone who can read well, with plenty of inflection, I might try to work a deal with them.  I know a lady who does voice work, and she and I are friends.  “It is not what you know but who.  Connections in this industry are vital.”

*Did you get your ISBN numbers on your own? 

No, they are expensive through Bowker.  Amazon and Smashwords will provide them, but there is a hitch.  Well, there are multiple hitches.  Smashwords will give you an ISBN that is only good on the Smashwords distribution channels.  Amazon will just provide you with one when you offer a paperback.  Again that ISBN number is only viable through Amazon sales.

Here is an update on the ISBN stuff: 8/26/19

Meta Data is part of the SEO and other invisible parts of the cyber world are tied to ISBN numbers.  Let’s say you allow Amazon to give you your ISBN for free.  No matter who searches on that ISBN number it will show Amazon as the owner, not you.

ISBN numbers are a racket in that they are very expensive and it is just a number.  There is nothing magical about it.

Since there can be multiple books with the same title the differentiator or unique searchable part of your novel is the ISBN number.  Check out the example when I google the ISBN of my best seller.

isbn image

You will note it does not say TWScott publisher it says Amazon.com

 

*If I remember you have three types of books – what are they and which do you like the best?

  • Science fiction
  • Action Romance
  • Adult, or what I affectionately call, Naughty Nighties

https://www.AuthorTWScott.com will take you to what they are, and where to find them.

I love them all but, the naughty novels are the most fun to create.  Science fiction is the most difficult to write but, the most satisfying, as I love to use my physics and scientific prowess to make sure that what I am putting forth, is not the “flux capacitor,” but actual science that might work.  As you know, some Science facts of today, started out in the minds of science fiction writers like myself.  The Geosynchronous Satellite is one.

*When you refer to the masses – who are they? Whose lives do you desire to touch?  

The masses are those of us who still read, vs. sitting in the front of screens while having their minds ripped from them through the dissemination of garbage, which impedes the thinking centers of the brain.  Even in my naughtiest of novels, I speak of enlightenment.  Who is that person looking back at you from that mirror?  Do you know him or her? Together, we explore that in story format.

I can write adult novels because we are all sexual beings, and we all have those desires that need to be sated.  Those that deny them, are the people are in danger of doing something terrible such as pedophilia or accosting Page Boys. Vows of celibacy, in my humble opinion, are setting them up for deviant behavior.  Some cultures deny human sexuality to where bestiality is ok, but acknowledging who and what you are is not. They created us to procreate, period. Our brains are wired for it, and to deny it is foolish.

One young lady was telling me she only dated Christian men…  “Why?”  Because they don’t think that way…!  “Where do you think little Christians come from?”  

Hormones and other chemicals like endorphins drive us. Those that read my novels learn many things about themselves while enjoying a story that takes them to another galaxy, or perhaps a stranger’s bedroom, or possibly over their lover’s lap. With a fair warning and a free percentage of the novel for their perusal, I offer no apologies.

The masses are your audience which each writer must identify.  Who are you writing for?  We have an idea who E. L. James is writing for but, how about Clive Cussler?  What about Agatha Christie or even Hemmingway?

If Hemmingway or even Shakespeare were to start out today, in this world of competition you and I have, would we ever learn of them? I would offer to you that there are many great writers out there, languishing in the millions of novels on Amazon that will never be discovered because they don’t understand marketing.

These same authors might also sit in slush piles waiting for an agent’s twelve-year-old to put down the smartphone long enough to read the query letter.

While some agents troll Amazon, and other e-sites looking for the next new voice, their inboxes are engulfed with query letters, and pitches from teenagers, to senior citizens who now have the time to write. It is neither a good nor a bad thing; it is a fact. You must stand out from the rest.  ‘How,’ is the question…

*What type of feedback do you desire from your readers? 

Honesty… If there are clear flaws, I would love them to contact me via the contact page on the website which many do, and visit with me.  In Diamond Joe, for instance, I had some severe age discrepancies I had to deal with.  Feedback is paramount to making any writer a better one.

I know an author who would not alter their work as they loved it.  The agent said, “next.”

The Saga of the Starduster had its first review which was one star.  Reading what the person wrote, it became clear he or she never read it.  They were, in fact, flaming it, as it offered too much competition for something they were writing.  Very sad!  The next review was five stars, and it looked like something I might have instigated, but I did not. I have far too much integrity for that.  Since it is still my number one seller years later, speaks to its validity as a contender in the field of science fiction, I think we can assume what I have stated is correct.

I would never pay attention to anyone who posted a review under a pseudonym. I would also never flame another writer’s work, no matter how bad it is.  I offer the reader a large part of the novel to read for free before they buy it.  If it were as bad as he or she alluded to, why would they buy it after reading 20% for free?

In the About the Author, after the Epilogue, I ask people to consider leaving a review if they liked it.  Contact me via the website if you hated it and tell me why.  While we never stop learning, we must strive to improve what we do.

*Do you have a group of people that support you in your writing – to read your drafts, to make suggestions, to encourage you when in doubt or feeling good at what you have written?

Yes, there is a group, but I did not always have that.  The feedback from readers was all I had to nudge me in the right direction.  Forging alliances with fellow writers has been the single most important step I have made regarding the craft of writing.

This is a two-way street.  Many forget about this, which is the downfall of so many groups.  We think about our needs first, and in such a group it is the needs of the many. When I assist other writers with their projects, it is not only gratifying on a personal level but strangely enough; I see things they are doing I also do but don’t see it in my work.

While this is a two-way street, I love the group, the writers and I enjoy our time together.  I also blog about things like this to reach the writing community around the globe.  A rising tide lifts all boats or ships, and that is something I find worthy of my time, talents and energies.

If there is enough interest, I will write about character arcs in a future blog.  You need to let me know if that is something that interests you, as these blogs take hours to produce.

My novels are inexpensive. If you are of the mind to, read them.  Feedback is critical to the process.  I have a day job, not rich from sales but I am humbled that many of you purchase my novels and read them.

-TW

Mars..Are we from there?

It would be fun to write a blog on the men are from mars and women are from Venus book. Different topic…

It is no secret that I am a science fiction writer.  If you did not know that, you are not reading things too carefully.  I was looking at this old picture of mars.

Mars-NASA

Here you can see what they are calling the Grand Canyon on Mars.

I would think this is more like the Marianas Trench on mars.

maxresdefault (1)

It takes little imagination to see that there were once great oceans covering the red planet.

mars

  • What happened?
  • Was there life on Mars?
  • Did we come from Mars?

Whether we are descendants of the red planet or not I think it would behoove us to learn where the atmosphere on Mars went and where did the water go.

As I was researching this I found that scientists are finding plastic bags and other forms of trash in the Marianas Trench.  Just possible we should go look in the trench or grand canyon on Mars for trash or other signs of a past life…or the water…

Thoughts comments and conjecture on this subject are welcome here.

The revised version of Tipping Point now 92K words is on Amazon and it is a free read on Amazon Kindle Unlimited.  Jeff Bezos is getting a divorce and his ex-bride needs money…So read my books, and help her out… 🙂

If you like my novels please consider leaving feedback.  Once a book receives over 50 (feedbacks) Amazon actually starts to assist authors like myself at that point and suggest it to other purchasers.

-TW