Thursday, October 31, 2013

#threewordscarystories

Twitter had a trend for three-word scary stories tonight (Halloween!), and I thought it was a fun challenge. I legitimately thought up these up on my own; I did not steal these from other users.

Feel free to re-tweet these!



Since this is on my blog, I might explain a bit further here. This one reminds me of the house next door to mine. It's vacant, so how scary would it be to see a shadow of a human in the window?





What if the mirror... almost... followed what you do? Like, the Mirror has a mind of its own...





Blood in the shower is never good, no matter if it comes from the body hanging in it or from your own body.





Ever go to a funeral and get afraid that the body might suddenly move?





What if you heard more than the ocean when you put your ear to the shell?





Walk into the kitchen... every single drawer is open. That would be so creepy.

Anyway, have a happy Halloween.

Monday, October 21, 2013

One Year Ago Today – The Day I Put An Ending On My Book


October 21st is the anniversary of me putting an ending on my novel. That was a pretty momentous day in my life, because The Unraveler has been the artistic vision I’ve kept inside me for the past ten years. I had tried writing it a hundred times before, but I simply did not have the fundamental skills I needed to bring it to completion. So, I wrote other novels. Two others, not fantastic works (and never to be seen again, lol), but doing them was a learning experience. Those, plus graduating from an English program, gave me the ability I needed, and I made it happen.

 But, yesterday, was also a pretty momentous occasion. I finished what I’m calling, my 3rd draft.

It’s sort of a superficial number, since my “draft” is really whatever number I feel merits it, however I’ve been very cautious about what I think accomplishes a new draft. Here’s sort of a rundown of what I’ve done since putting an ending on my novel:

Ending written
Quick Read-through Edit #1

Printed the entire thing out, editing with a red pen, line-by-line
Quick Read-through Edit #2
At this point, my good friend Matt sent me extremely insightful feedback
Using his feedback, I majorly reconfigured several plot points, and made major cuts (including several character cuts). His feedback also made me refocus my novel toward my ending, and write new scenes based on things that felt missing.
Quick Read-through Edit #3


And that’s the point where I considered Draft 1 to be complete, and I started Draft 2:

I took a break period from working on it, and instead focused on researching rookie mistakes that first-time authors make and the little things that instantly send manuscripts to the slush pile.
I did a scan edit here, with my research in mind.

I also started drafting a synopsis and query letter.
I did another full edit here, this time listening to my entire novel through a text-to-speech robotic voice. I did this with the intent to focus on storytelling. What felt natural, what hurt the flow of my novel, etc.
Quick Read-through Edit #4 Was / Were / Started to / Began to Edit of Doom – I noticed that my novel could use stronger verbs, and that I was using pre-actions way more often than I should. So, I did an edit where I highlighted many of these words and decided if they could be deleted or restructured to flow better. This was the hardest edit I did, but it was worth it. Print Out Edit #2 Voice Edit – I decided that I wanted to do an edit focusing on giving all of my characters a voice that was more unique to them. Also, I wanted to change a few things like ages, looks, etc., and so I did a line-by-line edit to promote better all-around characterization.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Caterpillars of the Commonwealth, a poem and song by Harrison Aye



caterpillars of the commonwealth by Harrison Aye

for every leaf you consume, a string constricts the caterpillar.
You call them young believers, but that's more than this moth can chew.
You're heading towards the light now, you call it higher intelligence,
your wings can take you there now, and awestruck you will die.
It's when you cut down all the things that make them,
chop off both their wings and break them that you ground them and keep them grounded.
And you can pull off both their legs and choices,
a quiet room and cricket noises,
ground them! keep them under glass!
and it'll all go nova when that last moth hits the fan,
your bloodline boils over in a whirling blade hurricane
and yes I wonder why,
you fly against the wind,
to find reality
is to live in doubt of it

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Don’t talk about money – AKA, Daydreaming – AKA, what I’m spending my movie deal money on

I don’t have a movie deal. My novel isn’t even published… yet. I’m not delusional. I realize what the chances of becoming the next J. K. Rowling are. 
 

That said, isn’t it fun to dream big? Wouldn’t it be cool if someday my characters were action figures? Give me my Unraveler lunchbox. My Unraveler jammies. Unraveler Halloween costumes. Man, how cool would that be?

I’m an artist at heart. I would have written this novel (and all my future projects) even if I never had the intention of making a dime off of them. However, I want this to be my business, too.  I want to not only be an artist, but be a moneymaking artist. For me, this is imperative. I don’t really have a choice in the matter, really. 
My pimp ride. I owned a Cadillac once... it was awful. It broke down on me all the time. I do not recommend. 

I HAVE to become a moneymaking artist, because I’m honestly not cut out to do much else. I’m a writer, not by choice, but because every fiber of my being commands me to create. I hope this doesn’t sound as hipster-snoody as it does read aloud, because it’s the most direct way of putting it. I’m an artist because I’m not good at being uncreative.

So, dreaming big. I love to daydream about spending the ba-zillions I’d love to make from my novels.  
If the big check arrived today (you know, when Warner Bros. sends me my movie deal payment ;-) ), I often think about what exactly I would do. It would be very weird to go from poor-as-beans to megarich, right?

The first thing I would do is hire someone to handle my money.

Bam. Make sure I don’t destroy myself or accidentally forget my taxes or something stupid like that. Someone with the nerve to hit me across the head and tell me not to get a underground swimming pool with electronic night-sky and full sized movie screen… ehh..

Friday, October 11, 2013

How to set up a social media presence for a writer (Twitter, Facebook, linking, Blogger, YouTube, etc):


…by someone who had no idea what he was doing when he got into this:

TRUTH: pictures make people look :-)
As a writer who has been trying to learn about what I need to do to make it in the business, one thing I was told to do over and over was build myself a social media presence. Somewhere online, I read that the best time to start promoting your book was three years ago. So, as someone who didn’t even have a Twitter yet, this was tough news.

Before, I was a one-platform kind of guy. In high school, I used Xanga. Then Facebook finally opened to my University, and I made the jump (and got rid of my Xanga). That was it, though. For so long, I had only used Facebook and nothing else. Then I decided that my only goal in life was to become a professional writer, and that had to change.

So, this blog post will be beginning at the very basic level, and I won’t claim to know it all. If you have input on something I missed, please let me know in the comments!


STEP 1: Setting up your blog

I use Blogger, because Google owns my soul. I started out trying to use Wordpress, but honestly, I found that platform to be confusing and illogical in it’s setup. So, if you want help with a Wordpress, try someone else.

Blogger, however, is simple. Set up an account, push the button to start a blog, and then pick a basic design. Done! Now, my blog has a customized background image and banner. You can use the “Customize” button on the “Layout” tab to add a better background image. You can do what you want, but make sure your readers can actually READ the text on your blog. Don’t add so many glowing stars and half-transparent boxes that your blog is hard to read. Make sure you use high-contrasting colors for the text, for example, dark backgrounds need bright colored text. Dark on dark is bad. SEE???? White on white is bad. Reading is the most important part of a blog, right?

Also, for artwork and header banners, if you want a transparent background for any art you make, use .gif formatted images. These are the ones I use for my “Unraveler” logo at the top! I hand-drew most of the artwork for this blog, by the way. After drawing, I use computer software to color and darken it. I might do a post about artwork later!

BIG TIP! When you upload photos, upload them using the Google Upload button. DO NOT DRAG AND DROP. I’ve found out the hard way that if you drag and drop a photo into a blog post, it causes your blog feed to automatically cut off. That means that, even if you select “Display 7 posts at a time” it will only show the one with the dropped photos and then force readers to “Click to read more.” Using the Google Upload Photo option corrects this issue.

Also, when posting a blog, using “headers” will help Google file you in their search engines. Also, change up the size of the font, the colors you use, and other things. Visually striking blogs are always the ones that get the most traffic for me! Also, using that cut-paper icon will chop your blog up for the main scroll, making your blog look a little more clean! Speaking of which...