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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mining for Ideas

A lot of writer's I know talk about the arduous task of finding good ideas to write about. Many write once they get what I call the "Trigger". For example, Stephen King said the idea for "IT" came when he was walking across a small footbridge and imagined a troll(or some equally unpalatable creature) lurking beneath the bridge by the water. That is a "Trigger" around that you build your ideas. Personally I don't believe you always have to wait for the Trigger. I believe that everyday we walk through life we pick up information and store it in our subconscious and don't really bother to look at it very much. Sometimes what I do is literally sit and think about the things that transpired in a given day and try to stick certain things next to certain circumstances and see if they spark any kind of story idea. For example if I saw a strange person getting into an elevator, I might start thinking about what could transpire with that person and the elevator? What if the elevator went down and the doors opened and it was Hell? Something like that. Sometimes I just think and think until an idea comes, simply by putting one strange circumstance next to another in your mind. Kind of like making a puzzle when you're looking for the pieces. You keep trying and eventually two pieces will fit together. Then you keep going until you get all the pieces together into one big puzzle where you can see the entire picture! Story writing (any kind of story writing, short story, novel, play, movie) is a lot like that. Just a though. Works for me anyway. As usual, let me know your thoughts! Hope to hear from you!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Writer's Block vs Writer's Fear

I think there are two types of writer's block that an author can experience. The first and more well known one is the one where you just can't think of anything good. Most people have this kind and it is frustrating. The other kind is what I call Writer's Fear. This one's a bit more insidious. In this one you might have an idea of what to write, but your afraid you might screw it up because you don't know how to phrase things, or don't know the proper information. In this case I suggest simply getting a pad and writing down ideas longhand. If you brainstorm long enough you will find you come up with a series ideas that you can then link together. That big blank page really sucks sometimes, and it takes going back to the tried and true old method of pen and paper to get things rolling again. Just my thoughts. Works for me. Any other ideas, please do post a reply!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Short Stories vs The Almighty Novel

I truly believe that there is a misconception out there about short stories. Someone asks you what you write and you tell them you are a novelist, immediately their eyes arch and they nod, very impressed. On the other hand if you tell them you write short stories and they nod also, but this time with a kind of a "that's nice" smile. It's just a natural thing I guess. Most novelists seem to garner more credibility than those writers chose to write collected fiction. Possibly because a novel seems more epic, more expansive, more complicated, and thus takes much more skill to write. This is very true. A novel is a very hard thing to write. Take my word for it. I'm over 30,000 words in on one of my own, and with an aching case of writer's block with it right now, and I can tell you it's definitely hard work. I myself have always considered myself a short story writer. I just happen to really like the format? It's probably because I have such a short attention span. I've read my share of novels and I am a notoriously SLOW reader. So I think short story collections are very viable. I think they will enjoy a comeback with the rise of ebooks. I myself do tend to prefer a tangible book, but I have come to really respect the Kindle. The one with the electronic ink. I bought my wife the Kindle Fire for Christmas because she didn't have a tablet or iPad like I did, so it was kind of an all in one deal for her, but you can't beat the regular Wifi or 3G electronic ink/digital paper reader for reading outside or on the beach in direct sunlight. And the battery lasts a good long time!

I think now is a PRIME time for short story writers who have had a hard time in the past getting short story collections published because publishers shunned it because collections by unknown or little known authors didn't sell well. Well, Amazon KDP, Barnes and Nobel, Smashwords, and Apple iBook have changed all of that. True, it still requires talent and skill. But at least now there is a good, viable outlet for authors besides traditional publishers.

In the past it has been big name authors like, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, and Richard Matheson who had the clout to make a living selling short stories and the occasional novels they wrote. Now it is within the grasp of the rest of us! I think people really love short stories. Think about it, just about every drama TV show...heck every TV show really...that you've ever seen is basically a short story right?

So I put as much as I can into my short story writing, because the writing is THE most important part. Getting people to see and find and read your stuff is something that will come in time with vigorous promotion. But nothing can replace talent and good story telling and devotion to the craft!

What do you think? Look forward to any and all comments!

Keep Reading and Writing!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Getting the Word Out!

If you're like me, or many authors for that matter, you may have grown frustrated with getting your Novel, Novella, Short Story Collection, Poetry, or Non-Fiction writing exposure. It isn't easy, that much is for sure! I've seen a lot of small books doing great sales with content that is very simple. They have high rating and good sales, so they must be doing SOMETHING right. Right? So in this Blog entry I am soliciting people for some brainstorming ideas. Ideas that you who have been selling books and doing well have found have worked well for you. The list starts off with the obvious choices:
1. Blogging
2. Creating your own web page
3. Contacting other writers and exchanging links
4. Amazon KDP (and KDP Select will get you some exposure too)

Feel free to add to this list! I am looking for some new ideas. Hope anyone who drops by will leave some suggestions!

Hope to hear from you and keep writing and reading!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I decided to give Amazon's KDP a try to see what happens. I just self published this eBook about a rebellious young boy who is made to stay after school one day, only to find out the dark and malevolent secret side of the School's Faculty...and what they REALLY do in the after hours when the rest of the little tykes have gone home! It's a pretty quick read. Feel free to take a peek if you like. It's on Amazon's lending library for a little and then goes to regular sale. Just $0.99 for anyone who may be interested. Thanks to all who read and write. Keep those words flowing!

Here is the Amazon Link if you would like to take a look at "Staying After":