Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

PBWQ 2015

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Wait a second. What do you mean by "PBWQ 2015"? You just finished the 2014 stretch, and as three people in the world know, PBWQ doesn't start until October of each year.

Well, that was the old PBWQ: the Personal Book Writing Quarter. No, that concept has been retired. In its place we have the all-new PBWQ: the Perpetual Book Writing Quarter.

That's right. It never stops.

Plan. Write. Edit. Repeat.

Very fitting for the Boy Who Cried Book.

And as long as we're on the topic of perpetual book-writing, the current manuscript is temporarily on hold while I work on another facet of my creative endeavors: music. The benefit of this is twofold: 1) I'm back to working on something else that's very important to me, and 2) my brain needs this break. It's important to step back, let things rest, and then return to them fresh.

Posted in Fun |

The Boy Who Cried Book

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Once upon a time there was a boy who wanted to write a book. Unfortunately, there were a few obstacles in his way. First of all, he had a mortgage, and that meant confronting the baddest antagonist of all: the dreaded Day Job. Secondly, he had lots of other interests besides writing books, and those things always cut into precious writing time. Thirdly (and most importantly) he didn't know how to write a book.

But like any good hero, he let none of these obstructions stop him. In fact, not only was he bound and determined to write a compelling work of fiction, he even decided to tell the townspeople about it.

"Townspeople!" he posted on his blog one day. "I shall write a book!"

"Hooray!" cried the townspeople. "We shall read it!"

"Awesome," the boy replied. "You will like this book. It will be about a hero and his or her adventures."

"When will it be ready?" the townspeople asked.

"Soon! You will see!"

Years passed and eventually the townspeople gave up waiting for the boy's book. The boy decided he needed some inspiration. "I know!" the boy thought to himself. "If I tell people I'm writing a book, then I'll have to write one!"

"Townspeople!" he posted on his blog that very night. "I shall write a book!"

"Hooray!" cried the townspeople. "We enjoy reading books. And when yours is finished we shall add it to our reading lists!"

"Awesome," the boy replied. "You will like this book. In it the hero faces a great hindrance and the forces of evil are after him or her. He or she will be hard-pressed to succeed!"

Years passed and once again, the townspeople gave up waiting for the boy's book. The boy wondered if anyone noticed. "Probably not. I must make another announcement."

"Townspeople!" he posted on his blog the next day. "I shall write a book!"

At this point the boy expected to hear a chorus of people shout, "Hooray!" Instead he heard a chorus of crickets rub their legs together.

"But the book will be good! In it the hero foils the bad guy's plot! Good triumphs over evil. And everyone (who has a talent for it) lives happily ever after."

Years passed. And still today the boy keeps trying to write that book.

Because that's what this particular boy does.

Posted in Fun |

How To Write a Novel in Thirty Days: A NaNoWriMo Guide

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Some people find it hard to believe that anyone could write an entire novel from start to finish in just thirty days. Well, I'm here to tell you that it's not only possible, but to show you exactly how it's done in just twelve easy steps.

  1. Write your query letter first. Seriously. Because if you can't succinctly describe and sell the book you're about to write now, you're not ready to write a book. You might learn a lot about yourself at this stage and save yourself a lot of revision time later.
  2. Before November begins, spend anywhere between one and one hundred and twenty months preparing. Plan your book and make sure you know enough about your subject matter to make your writing believable.
  3. During November, write like the wind. This is "Draft Zero", the stage where you tell yourself the story. Concentrate on the story, not the storytelling. Does it have legs? Is it going anywhere? That's exactly what you're going to find out this month.
  4. When the story is done, walk away from it. At least a week, but if you can, just enjoy December and pick it up next year.
  5. In January, print it out and read it. Mark what you liked and what you didn't like. Make detailed notes about what worked and what didn't.
  6. By February you should be able to begin the actual manuscript. We'll call this one the first draft.
  7. Spend two or three months on it. Feel free to self-edit along the way. You might be surprised what hits you now that didn't even occur to you in Draft Zero.
  8. Now it's ready for your first readers. Hand it to them and say, "Please read my book and tell me what you think." Be patient and don't pester them. They have lives too.
  9. When they tell you what they think, listen to them. Don't pout like a baby. Woman up about it. And definitely do not tell them in great detail why their opinion is wrong unless you've somehow also worked out a way for you to visit all ten thousand people who eventually buy your book and personally explain to them why they were wrong about why they didn't like your favorite scene.
  10. Take all feedback (including your own) and start the next draft.
  11. Lather, rinse, and repeat.
  12. When you're absolutely positive you're done, crack open that query letter, freshen it up, and send it off.

And you thought it couldn't be done.

Comments Off on How To Write a Novel in Thirty Days: A NaNoWriMo Guide
Posted in Fun |

My Query Letter

Monday, August 8th, 2011

August 8, 2011

Arden Ward
Top Nacho Literary Agency
2880 Broadway
New York, NY 10025

Dear Ms. Ward,

I'm writing to let you know that my latest manuscript still isn't finished. It's a real shame, too, since I have such a great idea for a story. I'm sure it's nothing like the manuscripts you usually read (well, apart from the fact that those manuscripts are finished and mine isn't).

It's not really my fault either. You see, I was kind of tired yesterday so I went to bed early. Then for whatever reason, I didn't wake up early today like I'd promised myself. Tonight I had to work late and then when I got home there was this really good show on television.

I swore to myself when the show was over, I'd get back to the manuscript. But I didn't anticipate that Avatar was going to be on HBO again. I've seen that movie seventeen times now and I don't regret a single one of the forty-six hours I've spent watching it. Well, except for the two and a half I spent tonight on it.

Anyway, at midnight, I sat back down at the computer and opened up my manuscript. There's this one really cool part where the protagonist solves a Rubik's Cube and impresses all her friends. I then began to wonder about puzzles and spent an hour on Wikipedia doing some research. I started on the main Rubik's Cube page but then somehow ended up reading about John Talbot, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury. I then spent another half hour on YouTube before remembering I was writing a scene about a Rubik's Cube.

I know the finished story is going to be good because I have this great ending pictured in my head. So now all I have to do is fill in about 72,000 words between the Cube scene and the part where the protagonist wins the lottery and saves her family's house. When I get going, I can write about two thousand words an hour, so that means the book could be finished in just a couple weeks. I don't foresee any other problems along the way.

Therefore, please look for my next letter by the end of this month. I'm sure you will enjoy reading --- oh, look! Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan just started! I HAVE to see that again.

Best regards,

Charlie Hills

Comments Off on My Query Letter
Posted in Fun |

Best of Both Worlds

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

The first (and only) typewriter ever in my proximity was an old Royal. I have no idea where it came from or how ancient it was; but during high school, I used to pull it out every once in a while to tap out a few words. I remember just having to slam the keys to get any sort of letters to hit the paper. I also remember waiting patiently for white-out to dry before I could give a letter another whack. It's hard to believe how far we've come in such a short amount of time.

But humans never advance so far technologically that they can't look back wistfully on days gone by. And when the wistful look turns into genuine desire to resurrect, well, then gadgets like this are bound to be invented:

I can't explain why I suddenly want one. Click here to purchase one for me. Christmas is only a few months away.

Posted in Fun |

Query Letter Fail

Friday, August 13th, 2010

post image: wincingWith rare, rare exceptions, publishers do not deal directly with authors. It's simply not possible for them to do so, what with one hundred million prospective authors out there and only the teeniest fraction of them worth talking to. No, the job of wading through the masses falls on the literary agent: that tireless go-between responsible for bridging the gap between the writer and the publisher.

When a writer finishes his or her work, it is time to contact a literary agent. Now, if you've been through this before, just use the agent you used last time. That always works unless one of you did some serious bridge-burning during your last deal. But if you're brand new (or burned some bridges) then you need to find a new agent. And that's where the query letter comes in.

The purpose of the query letter is simple: you are asking an agent to look at your drivel masterpiece. The well-formed query letter tells the agent who you are, what credentials you have, why you believe the the book is good, and (most importantly) what the book is about. It's a sales pitch. In a nutshell, "Hey, look at me! I'm worth looking at! Here's why!" The well-formed query letter is professional, clear, concise, and doesn't cause the agent to post it on the web as a shining example of what NOT to do.


Posted in Fun |