Learning through Failure

A year and a half ago I began this blog for a myriad of reasons. It’s a great way to build an audience, or as other writers told me, creating exposure. I write conversationally, as comfortable as I can, to provide the best possible window into who I am. I also wanted to have something else to occasionally write, thus taking a break from my novel which I’d been attempting to write for years. It was Summer 2015 and my original plan, naive as it was, was to have written it in time for publication that Fall. I failed at that but did manage to complete a full first draft that November.

I kicked off 2016 revising and re-writing. I worked with an artist, my amazing daughter Anni, on special characters and came up with an idea for the cover. I even went so far as to announce it publicly, for a second time no less, that it would be ready by May. resilienceMeanwhile I was pouring over the first few chapters only, attempting to make them perfect. In the process I watched May come and go, once again without having reached my goals.

After that failure, I set a personal one for Fall again. This time keeping it mostly to myself due to losing a little momentum and even some faith in my ability to finish. Clearly I didn’t make that goal either.I took some time to begin a new novel rough draft in November then a break from writing all together through the Holidays.

When I sat down in January this, I had a epiphany of sorts. I felt like Neo in the Matrix as I suddenly could see how my story is to come together. What is going to fit and what won’t. the-matrix-animated-gifWhere a certain scene is needed while removing another, or combining multiple characters into one for clarification. I began making real progress. I’m over half way through the book now and moving along a good pace. Enough that I’m starting to believe I really might make my latest goal date of mid-to-late March for beta readers. Originally, I chose March due to a Self-Pub book contest in early April. A potential new possibility has presented itself making this newest deadline attempt still valid, but a bit more fluid. My main goal now is to finish with the best product I can at this time and we’ll see where it goes from there.

In the past year and a half, from 2015 to now, I’m amazed at the transformation my writing has gone through. I have to thank my failures for showing me the right way (write way?) to do this crazy thing I dream of accomplishing. I’m learning from failure and not failing to learn. How about you? (Side note, I actually wrote this a week ago and for some unknown reason, believed it to be posted already. Oops! Thankfully I’m hanging in there and still making great progress with my novel. I’ll keep you posted!) galaxy

 

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The Big Picture

Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s good to be back! Thank you for sticking with me during that long stay away from the Writing Fisherman Blog. Really nothing new to tell in the fishing department as time on the water has been scarce and my luck when I do has been worse! So let me catch you up on what else I’ve been doing while away.shiny-purple

I finished NaNoWriMo and went into early December with most of my next novel written (34,000 words give or take). During which it has developed a sequel that slowed the process due in part to tie-ins between the books I wanted to figure out. I then took a couple of weeks away from writing to focus on family during the Holidays and my wife’s Winter break from college. Have I mentioned that I’m married to a college hottie? Wowza! I’d be remiss here if I didn’t also mention that the day after Valentines will be our Anniversary! Twenty years with my best friend, and true love, and it feels like only yesterday I was eating every meal at Dairy Queen just to get to know her.

My writing in January started slow at first but once I discovered key elements my story was missing it all began coming together. Since the end of the month, I’ve been on fire re-writing chapter after chapter. Character conflict and resolution, a story arch, new character insights, and fixing how to advance the story without giving away the end. I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with a current goal of March for a potential release of Nine-Mile Bridge. I’m going to do this! Then I take a earlier chapter to my writing group which I’ve missed attending for some time and that’s when I got the “bad beat.”

This is a poker term meaning you had the best hand with the cards available but are beaten when the last card falls (the River), revealing a better hand for your opponent.

rounders-o

Pretty close to my own reaction. Thanks Teddy-G and “Rounders”

It’s happened to me in Texas Hold ’em Tournaments. My worst was when my ace-high straight was beaten by a  diamond flush on the River. These can’t be helped as it’s blind luck they got the card needed to beat me. The worst is when I’m so excited by what I’m holding that I don’t see what’s right in front of me. For example, I was thrilled to have pocket aces (two A’s in your hand) and a third is on the table. The rest of the cards are mostly crap, no pairs, nothing that could make a straight. When I push in my chips, my opponent smiles because I failed to realize there are three clubs on the table for their flush. Those times are the worst. When you’ve beaten yourself because you weren’t paying attention.

What I learned in Club that night is that, although everyone enjoyed it and spoke on my much-improvedness (my own word), there was something confusing chronologically speaking.  I’d created multiple sessions of dialogue which would cover long periods of time without consideration that the world around shouldn’t be stopping. In particular my characters were discussing essential story information for hours on end at the restaurant they work at. I had them preparing for a dinner rush which, according to how I wrote it, wouldn’t have started until very late evening. That doesn’t vibe realistically with any eateries I know. I looked at other chapters and I’d done it there as well. Crap! How could I be so blind?! In trying to make my characters react realistically to each other I totally created a non-believable timeline of events without realizing it.

In the end, these mistake are going to make my story stronger through new editing and writing-is-hardpaying proper attention to the world around the characters. Namely their timeline. Thank goodness for Write It Now software which allows me to see the individual chapters so I can cut and paste scenes as needed. I’m also so very grateful for being part of a writing group that helps identify problems I could no longer see. If only my poker game came with such occasional help!

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you again soon!

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Still Fishing

I’m alive!

Greeting readers and thank you for sticking around! I won’t be taking much of your time today as this is merely a notice that I’m not gone. Nor have I quit writing. IMG_2217On the contrary, I’ve been writing a lot which is where most of my focus has been these last few months. I just wanted to take a moment and let you know I haven’t forgotten you. I really appreciate you sticking with me for as long as you have. You are amazing! I also need to give a special thank you to my newest subscribers who’ve been checking me out even when I haven’t been writing for the public. Thank you!

I will have an official new post soon with my usual ramblings on life, writing and reading, and my sad lack of fishing of late. Mostly though, my upcoming post will be on how I learned my poker game sometimes correlates with my writing. Interested yet?

It should be ready to post at least by the weekend, maybe sooner. Thank you once again for tuning in and reading what this old fisherman has to say. Until next time!

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Keeping Up with NaNo-Writing Goals?

Hello, hello fans and friends alike! Welcome back to another exciting episode of The Writing Fisherman. Oooh, what will he talk about today? I’m sure my readers are just bouncing with anticipation for what I’ve been up to of late, aren’t you?  Okay, enough of the self-aggrandizing. I’ve not written a post in a while so I feel like a little boy bouncing off the walls after drinking a jolt cola cappuccino blend. I’m just excited to be back and making time for you, which I really should do more of.

downloadSo who’s doing NaNoWriMo? This guy right here is but, admittedly, sadly, I’m really struggling this year with keeping up in the word count. To be honest, it’s not so much the keeping up as it is the making time to write. As of yesterday, I’d not written a single word of my new manuscript in just over two days! At an average of 1,600 words per day to keep up, plus I was already 2,500 words behind schedule prior to this, that puts me at nearly 6,000 words behind schedule. Egad, the horror!

A little secret though, just between us. It’s IMG_1138not bothering me as much as I thought it would. Shocked? I mean, yes, I’d LOVE to finish my first draft this month. That is the whole idea behind it but, for right now at least, I’m not overly concerned. As always, I’ve got a lot on my plate going on right now and I’m learning new things about my writing style and habits.
Things like writing at the dinner table with a nearly two-year-old grand daughter running around is not conducive to progress. Even when I retreat to the garage to my work bench and attempt writing in solitude, I’m too often allowing myself to get distracted by any fishing tackle laying about awaiting organization. But I’m still not panicked about the numbers because I know I’ll get there. I gotta say, it’s a nice place to be.

That being said, I’m pretty thrilled to be working on a new novel. It too is a thriller but with a scifi slant. Preparing for this novel has been a blast, especially when I got to do a Q&A session with a retired science teacher to run some things by him.  That was a fun day!

Speaking of, I suppose this novel ain’t going to write itself so I suppose I should make time now to write. How are you coming along with your word counts? Are you doing NaNoWriMo or just sticking to your own writing schedule? If you are doing it and want to add me as a buddy, you can find me here and we can push each other along. Until next time!

 

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Loose ends- and a Contest! — Heir of Nostalgia

Originally posted on “Heir of Nostalgia,” the author page for a friend of mine, Steve Muse. You should absolutely check it out as he’s offering a free download plus a great contest! Absolutely worth your time.

Couple of things- First of all, thank you for taking the opportunity to download A Gathering Darkness, Book One of the Valerian Saga. If you love the idea of modern day adventure mixed with just a touch of magic and mystery, then this book is for you. BUT did you know, Book Two is out […]

via Loose ends- and a Contest! — Heir of Nostalgia

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Happy Book Birthday, Distant Horizon! — Stephanie Flint – Author and Artist

Awesome new release from an author friend of mine, Stephanie Flint, and her newest novel, Distant Horizon!  I’ve had the pleasure of getting some sneak peeks at it and I cannot wait to get my copy. Read all about it below.

Today’s the day! Distant Horizon is now available!😀 Isaac and I started writing Distant Horizon in 2010 after playing a tabletop rpg that Isaac was the gamemaster for. He created the world, most of the characters (except Jenna–she was my character), and the plot. Eventually, I decided I wanted to write everything down. Thus, the concept for Distant Horizon was […]

via Happy Book Birthday, Distant Horizon! — Stephanie Flint – Author and Artist

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Q&A Tag, My Turn

Welcome back fans! I’m sorry for leaving you out of the loop for a while. No time right now to delve into what I’ve been up to as I was tagged to do the immensely popular Q&A Tag by another WordPress author, Hannah A. Krynicki. Gee, thanks, Hannah! Seriously though, this might be pretty cool as it is yet another way for my readers to get a little more insight into who I am. So let’s get started!

Simple rules to follow:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions you were given by that blogger.
  •  Nominate 10 bloggers, give them ten new questions, and let them know they’ve been tagged.

The Questions:

1.Favorite book/story in the Bible?

I guess that would to be in Exodus with the story of Moses. This probably goes back to my childhood and watching the old Charlton Heston movie every year. Still love it today.

2.Chocolate chips or Skittles?

For a snack food I’ll go Skittles unless we’re throwing the chips in some dough for cookies! Otherwise the chips are just too messy to just eat up alone.

3.You get a five-minute public broadcast interview with an influential person in your government (President, Supreme Court Justice, Prime Minister, etc). What do you say?

I would like to meet with our President, whomever doesn’t matter, and discuss respect and kindness to our fellow man and how do we, as a nation become more united? One caveat I would have is no political answers. Must be just two people talking with simple answers.

4.According to this test, which Disney character are you?

I am Hercules! “Some of your strength comes from your muscles, but most comes from your kindness.” (I realize I’m a great guy but this is what it said, verbatim! LOL)

5.If you could choose to live in another time period or an alternate universe, where would it be and why?

Easy, I would live in the old West. To live simply in the foothills of some mountain range would be fantastic and peaceful.

6.Can you write something in a different language? (No translator help!)

Nope

7.What was the last dream you had that made you laugh?

I’m actually having a difficult time remembering what I dream about lately. The last one which comes to mind is months ago where my wife (in my dream) purchased me a small boat of my own for use in my fishing tournaments but, as I learned on the water, it wouldn’t hold me and my gear and stay afloat! So long as I was cruising along, it would float, or rather skid across like a stone with the same results when I started to slow down.

8.Do you know how to build a fire?

Indeed I do

9.Amazon.com or brick-and-mortar stores?

I do occasionally purchase online through Amazon but I so prefer getting to go to a brick-and-mortar store! My local one just closed however so I guess I’ll be either buying more online or forced to travel further for my books.

10.What is one real-world problem that truly bothers you?

Kind of goes back to my answer for #3, the lack of Respect and Kindness to one another. How hard is it to say, “Please,” and “Thank You.” ? The list goes on.

11.Bonus: What would you do to change the problem in #10?

It starts with yourself. We can’t just write about it online or cry to friends and love ones over others behavior. Be the person you wished others would be like. Be an example of gratitude, and kindness while showing respect not just to those in authority, but those who rarely get some. The young person in the drive thru window taking your order. The kid tearing your movie ticket and showing where the theater is. Hey, next time it’s raining buckets, or a blizzard is blowing outside, leave a little ‘thank you’ note in the box for your postman who still has to get out in that weather. If everyone was doing little things like this. Acts of kindness, we could make the world a little happier.

 

Okay now for my 10 bloggers. Please understand, I know we all have very busy lives so don’t feel rushed, or even obligated to do this. Heck it took me a week to do it myself! That being said, I nominate, Stephanie Flint, Roger Colby, Eva Blaskovic, R.M. Kinder, James Young, The Amateur Angler, Flynn Gray, and the first 3 people who “LIKE” this post not already on this list. Your questions are:

  1. Cookies or Cake? (your choice of flavors)
  2. You’re able to visit with any one person in history for the next 2 hours. Who is it, and why?
  3. If it could be anywhere you wished, name your ideal writing spot, and your least ideal.
  4. Name your dream job or, in case you’re doing it, name the one job you’d always like to try.
  5. You just became the last animal you  read, or wrote, about. What are you and are you now in danger?
  6. Ebook or physical book?
  7. You wake up and find yourself in a remote area of the most recent book you read/are reading. Beside you is the one tool you’re happy is with you. Where are you and what is that tool?
  8. Can you change a tire on your vehicle?
  9. Your next story/blog post is guaranteed to be a massive success that will change your life forever. As often happens,success comes with a cost. What will your newfound success cause you to lose?
  10. List three things about yourself that you haven’t told your readers before now.

Enjoy, and I’ll be back soon with my next post. Until then, thanks for stopping by!

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Guilty Pleasures: The Movies

Hello readers! Welcome back to another thrilling episode of the Writing Fisherman. I’m thrilled to report I did in fact get to do some fishing about a week ago and had a most excellent time. Within the two hours of the time allotted I lived up to that part of my self appointed moniker, enjoyed a superbly aromatic cigar, and enjoyed the overall escape before returning once again to life.

Originally I’d began writing a piece on patriotism. It’s in the news a lot of late and a subject dear to my heart. I’m passionate about it so the vitriol I spouted in that original draft instead released my feelings like a page in a personal journal and I realized I WILL NOT be posting it. Perhaps come Veteran’s Day I’ll re-write it for what is the true heart of it. We shall see. Instead I dipped into my drafts within WordPress and found this little gem I’d never finished, and may make a series out of. In a previous post, I talked about reading, “Ready Player One”, by Earnest Cline which I loved. The story references many old movies, and television shows from my childhood in the 70’s and 80’s, naturally resulting in reminding me of many others.  Over time I’ve collected many of these old movies on dvd only to realize they have not held up. By my telling you about these movies, I provide a window into me and what helped form me growing up.  Try not to judge too harshly.

lone-rangerThe Lone Ranger was the epitome of the classic, good-guy cowboy. White hat. Sharp outfit. A horse of unmatched speed and intellect. And that mask which hid his identity apparently as effectively as Clark Kent’s glasses. So when Hollywood put out The Legend Of The Lone Ranger, circa 1981 I was thrilled. Cue the William Tell Overture! It starred Jason Robards, Christopher, Lloyd, Michael Horse, and in his “lone” acting credit still to this day as the Masked Avenger, Klinton Spilsbury. Unfortunately for Klinton, we still don’t know what he sounds like as his voice was dubbed by James Keach (uncredited).

I was ten years old when this came out and had been the Lone Ranger for Halloween twice already! I had the lunchbox, collected the action figures (which I still have a few),lone_ranger_650x300_a01_1011 and a couple years ago I got the dvd for Christmas. Funny how time can romanticize something which was such a stinker. Still I enjoyed it and couldn’t deny the thrill I felt at times especially when that thrilling music played, but Oscar material this isn’t. Although Christopher Lloyd as the bad guy in this pre-Doc Brown performance was pretty great and Jason Robards is always fantastic. Something which really struck me is that this one from 1981 actually holds up against the recent re-boot starring Johnny Depp even without the huge budget. They’re both bad in overall, but also so fun to watch and if you care to check it out you can find this one in its entirety on YouTube here.

megaforceFrom the wild West to the future of 1980’s warfare, I give you: MegaForce! A year after the Lone Ranger where I rode stick ponies around the neighborhood and avenged the poor, my interest was drawn to the future with this rapid-fire movie. Starring Barry Bostwick, Michael Beck, and Henry Silva, I was awed by the mystique of a secret strike force with cool vehicles and technology that could swoop in and save the day. There was also the feathered hair and ridiculous outfits which were throwbacks to the 1970’s idea of cool and, ashamedly, I wished I had. megaforce_onesheet-7Instead I cut and painted sheets of cardboard to decorate my bicycle MegaForce style complete with toilet paper tube rockets! What can I say?
The movie dazzled me in my pre-teen youth and when my wife got me the dvd for Christmas (same year as the Lone Ranger dvd) I had myself a little throwback movie session. My own ten year old son, the only child who’d watch it
with me, was himself dazzled by the spectacle complete
with many, “oohs”, and a few, “Whoa!” Meanwhile I chuckled, shook my head and groaned inwardly at what had become of something I once loved. But it wasn’t the movie that’d changed.
I knew it was adulthood that had its’ grip on me and it was likely that
many of my old favorites were going to be lacking that sheen of awesomeness I’d once felt, so long ago. See the trailer below and I believe it too is fully on YouTube.megaforce-01

Since that amazing Christmas of throwback movies I have learned that there is a way I can still enjoy these classics of my childhood. The key is moderation. That fateful Christmas, I received and watched 4 of my childhood favorite movies and was let down by all but one. Once in a while, if my mood is right and I have the television to myself, I can slip one of these old movies in without shame and just enjoy. True, I often need to turn off my brain to stop the critical thinking and allow the inner child to gleefully re-emerge. But getting in touch with that kid once in a while is still fun, and perhaps that is the point. Maybe it is the key to staying young? I just don’t wear the silly outfits anymore. Or at least not when anyone is home. “Hi Ho Silver!”

Do you know either one of these movies or do you have ones yourself which is a guilty pleasure? Something which rocked your world as a kid but doesn’t stand the test of time today? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear them and see if I know it too. Until next time!

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Building Walls and Novels by the Seat of my Pants.

Hello once again readers, I’m back! Thank you so much for returning to the silly ramblings that I, the Writing Fisherman, casts out. August came in hard and wet for me and was one of my more difficult months I’ve had in recent memory. Get your mind out of the gutter, my house flooded… again. Like for the third time this Summer!  After that I pulled out all the stops to keep this from happening ever again by building a new, bigger, stronger retaining wall, thereby redesigning the landscape of my yard. It took me all month to complete and I still ache.

But you didn’t tune in to read about my wall even though it appropriately fits in with today’s subject. So let me ask, what type of writer are you? More specifically I should ask, what is your writing style? planster2Do you plan your story out with charts and a chapter to chapter synopsis? Maybe use a cork board with index cards or perhaps it’s more like a crime scene with strings webbed across a wall, connecting the pictures? Or perhaps you just fly through the story letting it flow out of you as it comes? In other words, a Pantser.

I originally never knew what kind of a writer I was. I’ve been working on and off with my current story since 2011 so I might have thought I was a planner. I mean after all, I had the general direction for the story. I had most of the characters and locations fleshed out. Except as accomplished as I felt for planning it so much, I really had nothing to show for it. I think I had a collection of small scenes equating to 2,500 words total.

Then last year, when I decided to get serious with my writing, I took my general direction I had planned out and jumped headlong into NaNoWriMo. I LOVED IT!  The freedom of no thinking, just write it, was exhilarating. I was finally writing my novel and man-o-man was the word count stacking up.  For me, the best part of it was experiencing my characters actually ‘speaking’ to me. They told me their story. Told me what should happen and what they wanted. On more than one occasion, I physically gasped at something shocking they did which I hadn’t planned on! Things I didn’t know about my own characters!calvin376_2 I also learned that writing freely from my inspiration was at the heart of my writing.
Like so many of my posts here, when the inspiration strikes, I gotta run with it quick before it disappears!

After completing my rough draft I took some time away from it before starting the re-writing/editing phase which I’ve worked on devotedly for over six months now. The problem I keep running into is that joy of ‘pantsing’ had created quite a few plot strings I hadn’t planned for. New characters have been introduced which seem to promise things I have no intention of following up on. These minor character gained more attention than I meant to, inadvertently forcing some of my key side characters to suffer from this. That’s not even the worse part of it! The worst is by pantsing, I’ve created side plots which has taken the story in a different direction than where I need it to go! Egads and Gadzooks!

Thank goodness for my writing group for pointing these things out to me now. I’ve been going a chapter at a time (not always in order) and so I’ve not noticed before how crazy my early chapters had become.  Just like my retaining wall, my novel needs some planning to get it done right. Stone by stone, I need to inspect each plot, and character, to ensure what is going on is not only what I planned, but also the right step.

img_2382img_2442

The silver lining to the pantsing, aside from completing a first draft, is that it did indeed create some wonderful things which came forth naturally from the character’s voice. Not from my planning. So I suppose it’s about time to pull out the ‘ol cork board and start double checking the blueprints now, before it gets away from me and I have a bigger mess to deal with.

Has this happened to you? Do you carefully plan out your stories or are you a Pantser as well? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time, see ya!

 

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A Must Read For Sci-Fi Fans!

This week I am offering The Terminarch Plot free on Kindle in anticipation of the release of book 2 in the Five Rims Series: The Terminarch War. In case you haven’t seen the awesome new cover, here it is: The Terminarch War will be out by Friday, but get your copy of The Terminarch Plot now while […]

via Free Books and Book Launch! — Writing Is Hard Work

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