Status Update

Once in a while it’s good to take inventory of where you are in order to see where you’re going. Things have been a bit busy in my writing world and triggered me to remember that it’s a good time to take stock of each story I’m working on.

Spirit Hackers

My second beta reader finished the book a couple of weeks ago and we’ve e-mailed back and forth a bunch of times getting her feedback and answers to my multitude of questions. Next stop: round 3 of editing!

Loopback

I must say I’m quite surprised and happy about the progress I’ve made within Loopback. Since starting this novel I’ve written 22,840 words which is great because I have a lot going on in my life that takes away most of my time. I’ve fallen into a groove of writing on my two days off and I’m also keeping close to my 3,000-word-per-week goal I established a few weeks ago. The book is already more than 25% done and we’re rocking & rolling.

Project X

Wait, I’m working on a third item?? Didn’t I JUST say I wasn’t?? Well project X is a quick thing I’m working on that I AM able to work into my writing schedule. This is a short story (no more than 7,500 words) that I’m working on for submission into an anthology. I’m already 3,400 words into Project X so this is something I’ll have wrapped up soon.

This short story is something that really intrigues me and I’m excited to submit this out to see if it’ll be picked up. As things play out I’ll provide more details but for now this is where my writing energy is going. Now Loopback is not on hold or even taking a back seat. I’m simply working on Project X for a few days since there’s a deadline involved with that.

We’re turning the corner into very exciting times in my writing world since Spirit Hackers is that much closer to a querying stage and Project X coming out of nowhere.

While I’m holding on for the ride and remaining positive for results I’d love to know how you’re juggling your projects!

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Lyrically Speaking for May 12

Last time the chosen lyrics were a bit out of left field for most people. The Calling is likely considered a ‘one hit wonder’ band and people don’t give them much of a second thought. This week we focus on a song that’s performed by a band with a extremely loyal following: Dave Matthews Band.

This song builds on itself similar to Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D (I’m sure there’s a technical musical term for this) with a mellow jam session. I don’t know why ‘Lie In Our Graves’ holds such a special place in my music collection but there’s something about the combination of melody and whimsical lyrics that come together to make something special. Also during the jam session, I always imagine a graduation speech or important words of wisdom being said with this song playing in the background. Perhaps you’ll envision it the same way.

From the album Crash this is Lie In Our Graves:

When I step into the light
My arms are open wide
When I step into the light
My eyes searching wildly
Would you not like to be
Sitting on top of the world with
Your legs hanging free
Would you not like to be ok, ok, ok?

When I’m walking by the water
Splish splash me and you takin a bath
When I’m walking by the water
Come up through my toes
To my ankles
To my head
To my soul
And I’m blown away

When I’m walking by the water
Splish splash me and you takin a bath
When I’m walking by the water
Come up through my toes
To my ankles
To my head
To my soul
And I’m blown away
I can’t believe that we would
Lie in our graves
Wondering if we had
Spent our living days well
I can’t believe that we would
Lie in our graves
Dreaming of things that we
Might have been

I can’t believe that we would
Lie in our graves
Wondering if we had
Spent our living days well
I can’t believe that we would
Lie in our graves
Dreaming of things that we
Might have been

Would you not like to be
I can’t believe that you
Would not like to be
Would you not like to be
Ok, ok, ok

Sharing My Knowledge

UPDATE: Looks like I posted just a few hours too hours too early because the speaker schedule has been posted! I’ll be speaking from 1:55 – 2:05 PM so be on the lookout for me after you’re done with lunch!
———————

I’m taking a break from ‘The Weekender’ this week in order to bring an announcement I’m really excited about. Earlier this year I had heard through Twitter that the well-known 140 Characters Conference was coming to my neck of the woods, Long Island. The event is centralized on Twitter & social media and is a place where people can share their knowledge and passion for using this powerful tool for whatever we need in our lives.

Once I saw a local version of this event was heading my way, I signed up right away to speak and just recently I found out I was accepted to talk! Now Copious Notes is a writing blog and Twitter isn’t very good for writing (140-characters does not a plot make) so you may be asking yourself: “Self, what’s the connection here?” Well I’m glad you asked. 🙂

My topic for the conference will be writers and how we find & join communities through social media. I’ll be focusing on Hashtags and how I was able to utilize them to find a community and also get my book Spirit Hackers completed. In addition I’ll also be telling a cool story about how we are all connected in this crazy world.

If you’re within driving distance to Long Island, I’d love to see you at this conference on May 26th. You can use this link and save 10% off of your tickets. If you can’t make it, keep an eye on the website because the entire event will be live-streamed and you can watch my talk from the comfort of your couch.

We live in awesome times for communication and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned to those who think that writing is a completely solitary task. Hope to see you there!

Yeah, About That Second Book…

It’s funny how the grand picture in our heads gets us to think we can do anything. In a perfect world we have time to work on all our projects, work our jobs, and do everything we want to do with our lives. The reality is that even with time management, we’re limited in what we can accomplish.

I now bring your attention to this post in which I talked about the benefits of Self-Publishing. I posed a simple question: Can you have your cake and eat it too? My answer was a resounding ‘yes’ and I said how I am going to write a second book that will be pre-determined for self-publishing. That hasn’t quite worked out for me, or at least not yet.

I’ve been working hard to make time to write and get as close to my 3k per-week word goal on Loopback. In doing this, I’ve already made the decision on some level that this second book will not be written any time soon. As it is, I will need to balance this WIP and Spirit Hackers once I delve back into editing that based on my beta feedback.

The prospects and excitement of self-publishing are really exciting and I haven’t given up on it but I also want to produce quality work that people would want to buy. For the greater good, I am focusing my creativity into Loopback and seeing where it takes me. When the opportunity presents itself for this other book to start its life, I’ll be ready.

The Weekender for April 29 – May 1: Negative Advice

Welcome to another blast from the past! The Weekender series is here for another critical thought for your writerly minds. This week I want to talk about writing advice. Two weeks ago I was at I-Con 30 and took the opportunity to sit in on two writer panels: “Managing Your Writing Business” and “Breaking Into Print”.

The business writing panel was really about financials and managing your taxes. This is good information for those who are knee-deep in freelancing or working on their own but for this guy, I was out of my league. Luckily after 10-minutes my friend called that he had arrived and I had to quietly slip out to meet him & get his badge / ticket.

The “Breaking Into Print” panel was much more interesting and featured a number of authors, editors and others who deal with the ‘industry’. The information was nothing new: perseverance is key, keep writing, you’ll get a ton of rejections but if your work is good you’ll get an acceptance, follow submission guidelines to the letter, beware of people trying to scam you.

One interesting point that was made was a panel member stating that we should all be trying to network with each other and them as well. The opportunity to speak to people within the industry was there and we need to make the effort to speak to them. Everyone took the hint and at the end there was a big rush to the table to get some words in. I took the opportunity to thank some of the panelists for their time and advice and then focused on one writer who has been published. This is when things got strange.

I asked a question I’ve heard conflicting information about: ‘how many people should you query at a time?’ My question was met with a vague response on how it doesn’t matter and to simply query. He asked me what I write and when I said novel-length work I was told his company is only looking for short stories. He suggested I write some. I told him I really only write novels but I have a complete work that I’m looking to send out. His answer: You may think it’s complete but it’s probably not. This was said in a dismissive tone. At that time I accepted his business card, smiled and left the room.

I’m not sure where these were from or their intent but it felt condescending and gave the impression that I am incapable of writing a novel-length (80,000 word) book unless I’ve written short stories. Personally I think this is completely wrong and to pass on advice like that is guiding people in the wrong direction. Spirit Hackers is almost 73k because that’s how long it is. I intend for Loopback to surpass that word count.

So was this advice I was given out of line or do shorter works really contribute so heavily to novels that we’re doomed without dabbling in them first? Sound off and let me know what you think.

Enjoy your weekend.

Lyrically Speaking for April 28

Welcome back to the return of Lyrically Speaking! Since it’s been a while, I’ll quickly re-introduce this part of Copious Notes. Music is really poetry set to sound. It can inspire and really move us emotionally. The purpose of these posts is to help generate the spark of an idea that may hit you.

So with that said, today we’re featuring a song that happened to come up on my iPod last week that just has a great melody but also passionate lyrics. I’m not a big fan of middle-of-the-road generic rock but I make an exception for The Calling.

From the album Two this is Anything by The Calling:

I will be there
Always waiting
Waiting for you
To let me inside
Where your fire burns
In a city of angels
Just like a river rushing straight into the sea
I’m the one thing meant for you and you for me

[CHORUS:]
Whatever you want
Whatever you need
Whatever it takes, I’ll do anything

And as you sleep
Eyes to the window
I’m watching you dream
Well are you dreaming of me?
So why can’t you see
You’re all that matters
You know if this earth should crack
I’ll be your solid ground
I will be there to catch you when you fall down

[CHORUS]

If I have to crawl
Get down on my knees
Whatever it takes, I’ll go anything

I’d take the stars right out of the sky for you
I’d end the world give you the sun, the moon
For all of time, forever loving you

Whatever you need
Whatever it takes, I’ll do anything
If I have to crawl
Get down on my knees
Whatever it takes, I’ll do anything

The Picture in My Head

I’ve found it interesting that throughout the past few years I’ve been seriously writing, I’ve heard many ways in which people get the words onto the page. I never gave this much thought until a few years ago.

Back around ’06 I went with my wife to see Jodi Picoult speak about a new book that was coming out. After her reading she did a Q&A with us and someone asked about how she gets her ideas. Without hesitation she said that voices just come to her and she writes what they are saying. The characters are real people within her mind and tell her their story. She channels that and *boom* she has a novel.

Now in ANY other realm of work this would be chalked up to her being crazy or having a multiple personality disorder. Not in the writing world! In our sandbox, she’s making bank.

I’ve heard many others since that day speak about how they write and here I am throwing my method out there too. For everything I’ve ever written, I literally have a movie playing in my head. I can see my characters moving along the streets of New York or fumbling in a lab. Of course some places are real locations I’ve been to but that just adds to the realism of the motion picture of my mind. It’s a theatre of one.

Spirit Hackers was all visual and Loopback is following in the exact same way. I don’t know if writers change methods depending on the book they’re writing but for me, I like my cozy, private screening where the food is free and no cell phones are going off.

So what’s your writing method? You hearing voices in your head or talking to invisible people? Perhaps your private theatre is across the street from mine. Let’s hear it!

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