26 May 2013

Dem Bones: No Tears Outlining

This is the second installment in the continuing story of "Editing Mister D," a joint project to coach British nonfiction writer Pete Oxley through completion and publication of his first novel-length fiction work.

We've all heard that an outline is the first step in writing a story or anything at all lengthy.  I'm like you, though.  I hate outlining.  Let's face it: outlining a story is about as inspiring and feels about as creative as copying the first 100 pages of the phone book with a golf pencil.  The sheer drudgery of it can take the wind out of your sails before you've even begun to get creative.  Just the Roman numerals alone are enough to put me off outlines and just plunge right into the fun stuff: writing.

There's just one problem with this: you still have to outline.

25 May 2013

Editing Mister D: A New Project

I've been contemplating branching out into editing for years now, and I've finally taken a concrete step toward that goal. I ran a short contest at Wattpad and found a talented writer named Pete Oxley, who is working on a kind of steampunk series featuring a mysterious character known only as Mister D. We're going to be collaborating on a project to get Pete's intriguing stories refined into a finely tuned, hugely marketable ebook for sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all the usual suspects.

As this project progresses, I'll be blogging selected excerpts of our work, our communications, and behind-the-scenes activity of getting a manuscript from draft to print. We'll even be building Pete's social media platform and doing some basic promotion. If you're a writer, you'll learn a lot by following along. Even if you're not a writer, this ought to be an entertaining look at the brave new world of ebook self-publishing.

I've just asked Pete a whole slew of questions to get a better handle on where he's going with his stories, and as soon as I get some answers, I'll be posting some of our work here. Stay tuned...

23 May 2013

Four Techniques for Sparking Your Creativity

Today I'm guest blogging at Steamed! about how to spark your creativity.

Readers often ask me, “Where do you get all of your ideas?” as if they’re hoping I’ll share some magic formula, or perhaps a link to an online idea consignment boutique presenting prepackaged suites of novel concepts attractively priced for struggling writers.  My stock answer to the question “where do you get your ideas” has always been “from everywhere and anywhere,” which—while true—isn’t a particularly helpful bit of advice to an aspiring writer.  Upon further reflection, I realized that I hadn’t devoted much conscious thought to the murky mechanics of my creative process, and I didn’t really care to, either.  Like turning on the lights at a séance, I feared a dispassionate analysis of my own creativity might break the spell for good.  I’m pleased to announce that I’ve conquered that fear, it didn’t hurt a bit, and I have actually gleaned some useful (I hope) insights into the creative process.  I’ve identified four techniques I had been using all along without really thinking about them.

Read more>>