Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Week of Learning

Willamette Writers


Short entry today as I am in terrible need of a nap before I head out for nerd night (AKA D&D night).

At this time last week, I was wrapping up a class at the the Willamette Writers Conference, getting ready for a meal, followed by more classes, followed by two more days of wonderfullness. At the conference, I did one major thing I’ve never done before: I pitched my novel! I received some great feedback and advice, and comments that made me realize I am not the only one who thinks I have a decent idea 🙂 . I also fought through my fear, and read in class. I even walked up to complete strangers and introduced myself. What I learned is, I am no longer the shy guy, I LIKED doing that! I LIKED reading my work for people! My heart pounded, my breathing quickened, but I did it anyway, and it was FUN!

Today I sit back and think about the week and all I learned, not only in the conference, but in the days since, reading, tweeting, surfing. It’s been overwhelming at times, but so entertaining. I’ve connected to other authors, editors, agents, publishers, and more on Twitter, started this little blog, and found dozens of great articles all about not only the craft, but also the business of creating a novel. I read this one today and it was very helpful.

This week I have learned about:

Small Press Publishing

Offset Printing vs. Print On Demand vs. Small Batch Printing

Author Royalties, Wholesale Discounts, and Returnable Books

YA vs. NA vs. Adult (still a little fuzzy on some of that, there is conflicting info out there!)

The Querying Process (before I started this venture, querying to mean meant starting a sentence with SELECT * FROM)

and more.

I still have so much to learn about this process and so much more work to do.



First Draft at 100%

I completed the first draft of The Honor Among Thieves today.

The main story was done last week but I had one nagging little chapter to do, and I finished it at lunch. At 141K words, many people have told me it is “too big” for a first novel, and based on my experiences at the Willamette Writers Conference (#willwrite15) last weekend, I can see there is a lot of backstory I can take out in editing, but I also have many reminders peppered throughout the document that say “Don’t forget this” and “Need more description here”. Will that mean a net increase or decrease in the first rewrite? I just don’t know, it’s probably up to the editors, agents, and publishers more than it is me.

It was an interesting process to write a novel, to have the story unfold like that. I look at my original synopsis, and the finished product does not resemble it much. The characters revealed themselves to me as I wrote, and soon it changed from being my story, to being their story.

The next step is rewrite/edit. Having never done this before on a novel (I’ve written/rewritten software!) I am doing research on effective methods. One author at the #willwrite15 said she works chapter by chapter, perfecting each one before moving on, with the intention of never going back. I might try this approach, it seems reasonable. My BIG DECISION now is how much of my first two chapters to keep. There are some good themes in there, but so much of it is backstory, I believe I can cut much of it. I need to do this because I have two agents wanting samples of edited/polished work. I’d hate to send them material destined for the trash.

So wish me luck, from what I’ve heard, the writing was the easy part.