Written in Stars

Scavenger Hunt has a 3 star rating on Good Reads! Some nice person took the time to head over there and assign a few stars to my work! I am amazingly grateful!

I know it takes a stupid amount of effort to review/comment/whatever. It’s kind of like going to a chain restaurant and receiving a feedback form. You mean to fill it in, you definitely intend to let the guys know about your experience with the servers and sausages and cut-price tequila (okay, you guessed it, classy joints aren’t my natural habitat). You really do mean to go online and let them know that you loved the tequila, adored the server but weren’t keen on the sausage. Then the kids get sick, the significant other has to get a coat hanger removed from their leaking cranial orifice. The dog passes her driving test. Things take over and the feedback goes to the bottom of the list.

So, if you read around here and you clicked that star on Good Reads, thanks. I love you for it!

From here, 3 is an okay score, too. It’s not the top, but it’s not the worst. It’s a solid average, right there in the middle and that’s okay. I’d like to be better than okay though.

I’d like to write stuff that people think is good, that they enjoy. I love putting down words and I’d really like for whomever reads my work to think to themselves ‘yeah, this Grimaldi guy is all right, he’s  good. I spent a little money and it paid off, I had fun reading this book’. To do that, I’ll need to know where I went wrong, where in Mona’s tale I slipped from ‘yeah, I like this’ to ‘okay, yeah, okay’.

If you pushed those stars on Good Reads, and you hang around here, please feel free to drop me a line, let me know what didn’t fly. Like I said, I’d like to be better.

Oh, and if you didn’t leave the Good Reads stars but you’d still like to tell me what you think was less than awesome, let me know. I’ve always got an ear for you.

 

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Down with the Sickness

I’ve been a little quiet for a couple of weeks, mostly because I’ve been nailed to my pit while masked apothecaries burnt ancient herbs and injected my suffering carcass with new, cutting-edge drugs. A surgeon lurked in the corner, sharpening his scalpel and ready to hack up any new mutated bot fly lava that crawled from my pores or slithered from my nostrils. Although the air is clearing up, the taint of death and rotten body fluids still lingers in my clothes and linens and…

And that’s probably enough of that. I’ve had a lovely touch of tonsillitis for the past fortnight, so I’ve not really been able to do anything other than sweat.

You probably didn’t need to know that.

Four Hour Failure

I’m not an impulsive guy. I don’t like surprises. I like to know what’s going on. I’m definitely not a pantser kind of writer. I can tell you this because 4 hours after booting up my work machine and typing a line of text, I’ve managed to churn out 1.5k words and give myself a massive headache.

I’m not going to say it’s because Smith’s method is rubbish. With the 1 draft concept backed up by cycling (write a bit, edit, write a bit, edit until finished), I’d say it’s a feasible method of churning out work. Feasible, that is, if you’re not me.

I guess I lack the necessary spirit of adventure to throw caution to the wind and embrace the character of on-the-spot creation. As Smith says, there’s no one true path in this game. Mine isn’t his.

If you are fond of writing by the seat of your pants, it may be worth picking up his book. If you’re an avowed plotter though, I’d probably recommend picking up something different.

Suicide Sunday

Writing into the dark appeared in my Amazon suggestions list a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been thinking about it (and shivering) ever since.

As I’m the kind of guy who likes to have a pretty solid outline before  writing a shopping list, the idea of writing a novel blind seems both bizarre and, frankly, terrifying. It turns out, those were good enough reasons to part with more money than I’d usually spend on an e-book.

The author’s arguments for writing without an outline seem fairly compelling. The book’s written in such a way that  I found myself shrugging my shoulders and mumbling ‘Okay, I see your point’. I also found myself thinking back to a now-vanished Wikipedia article on the advantages of a certain brand of karate using a vertical fist when punching, rather than the horizontal strike. The article on punching was both compelling and a steaming pile of pseudo science. Smith’s book seems to amount to the same thing.

Going by Smith’s Amazon author page, he’s a very busy bunny. He has around 15 pages of work listed, which is a lot by anyone’s standards. Although I don’t have time to check out every single product, I did check a few and noticed they range between 14-25 pages. There may be longer works on later pages, but I would imagine he uses his blind-writing system mostly for novelette and novella length works.

Anyway, I should probably get to the point. It’s Sunday and as I mostly take a break from my main projects on Sundays, I’m setting myself a new challenge. Today, I’m going to put any misgivings behind me, ignore the fact I’m idea-light this morning and churn out something with my eyes closed. Although Smith advises to ignore things such as word count targets and write until the story is told, I’m going to aim for long novelette/ short novella numbers.

Since the last time I did this was after snorting at how to write a novella in 24 hours, I’m starting to think I should have titled this blog ‘Writing from Incredulity’.

Anyway, I’m closing my eyes. Wish me luck.

 

Scavenger Hunt

In retrospect, I should probably have done this the second I published Predayne’s Spire and Scavenger Hunt. From what I understand, the indie writing game is as much about self-promotion as it is about actually writing books. Unfortunately for me, I’m not so good at the former as I am at the latter.

Since I’m pretty sure I haven’t put my name anywhere on the blog so far, if any of you guys wanted to check out my work, you’d probably have no chance of finding my e-books.

With that in mind, here’s the covers:

Scavenger Hunt is the story of Mona Kit’s betrayal and enslavement in a toxic, post-nuke world. It runs in at around 25k words long and is the first in my Trouble in the Wastes series.

Predayne’s Spire is a fantasy novelette running in at around 10k words and deals with the adventures the outlaw Yuz and his otherworldly companion as they try to save a healer from ancient evil.

Structural Analysis

I’m a week into April, and therefore a week into plotting the second adventure of Mona Kit. I thought I’d have a pretty solid outline scribbled down by now, but that’s not the case. Sure, I have something. I have a bare bones idea of where things are going, the major plot points and the characters, but things just don’t feel solid.

The lack of detail is both frustrating and surprising. Scavenger Hunt was outlined on a napkin in a couple of hours. Sure, I had to tweak it as I went along, but I was up and writing in no time at all.

Maybe it’s time to reevaluate my process. Sure, I’d love to have an in-depth map of where I’m going but maybe I should look at the possibility that’s just not how my brain works. No, I’ll never be one of those glorious Panster maniacs, but maybe it’s time to consider that I’m less of a solid plotter than I thought.

I’ll take a quick look at my outline, scribble in a few connecting lines. After that, I’ll hit the first draft and I’ll let you know how it goes.