A Hiatus, Only Smaller

It happened again. As much as I tried to stay consistent, I found my attention focused on things other than The New Writer’s Journey. Granted, the thing I’ve been focused on was the reason for founding the blog, but that’s beside the point. While I have been working away, pen to pad and hands to keyboard, I feel as though I broke a promise to myself. I told myself that I would begin this blog and not stop, preferably ever, or at least until it could no longer be the New writer’s journey.

Now, that isn’t to say that over the last few months that I haven’t been busy, because… well, I have been. The most prominent of which, is working on The Drive Home, and trying to finish the first draft of my sci-fi novel One Last Hunt. And per my new year’s resolutions, that’s what I’ve been doing. I finished my most recent draft of The Drive Home, and as I began to read through it again, I couldn’t help but begin my fourth draft (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, editing will forever be my nemesis). But I’m making more progress on it than I have in ages.

In regards to my sci-fi novel from NaNoWriMo, I’m working on the very last chapter. The page count has already blown my first novel’s out of the water, which was my plan all along (onwards and upwards, as they say), and I know exactly how I want it to end. It’s nearly there.

So, in this last year, in which I began this blog, how much have I accomplished? In my opinion, and that of a few others, a hell of a lot. In one year, I’ve written two novels, started two others (just a few chapters a piece), and a couple of short stories. Additionally, to expand my repertoire towards more aspirations, I’ve begun writing four television scripts, and two feature length film scripts. I’ve authored a blog, began a number of the hurdles that need cleared before publishing, and I’ve made just enough money to keep food in my belly and a roof over my head. To me, that’s a hell of a lot, and there’s so much more to come.

It was after realizing what I’d accomplished, that my drive to do what I love for a living, telling stories, increased exponentially, and boosted my confidence. I can see what is both a finish line and a starting line, and it’s just on the horizon. Once I finish the grueling process of editing my novel, I can begin a new chapter that will eventually lead to me being able to tell stories for the rest of my life. So, now that I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus, I can resume posts here on The New Writer’s Journey, while still focusing on my projects and moving forever forward. I’ve planned my next post to be the one I promised to post which will be the first excerpt from The Drive Home, and I swear, it’s coming soon. 

*Raises a frosty glass of cold, delicious beer*

“Here’s to what’s still to come, and a future worth writing about!”

~Cheers

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Resolutions: A Little Late & A Little Early

Much to my surprise, NaNoWriMo took a lot out of me. I still find myself recovering from thirty days of staring at a computer screen for at least eight hours a day. My most recent issue has been that any time I look at a computer screen for more than thirty minutes, my head begins to ache severely. I’m not sure if that’s a large issue, but I’m already beginning to get over that, hence this new post. Another persistent issue though, is my aching ass from all the sitting. That hasn’t changed, and most likely won’t until I can afford a more comfortable chair to write in.

But I think the majority of my pain has passed. I’ve taken more than enough time to give my brain a well deserved rest, and now it is time to come back with a vengeance. I have been keeping up with the editing of my first novel, The Drive Home, and I have dedicated myself to the goal of having a “presentable copy” of the book by early January. Very early January. So far, in my editing, I am about the 3/5 the way through manuscript and a lot has changed since my early drafts. Near the start of the New Year, I will have a version of my novel that I can comfortably start showing to friends and family without that fear of inadequacy.

Late, 2013, Resolution #1: Have a finished, polished draft of The Drive Home, in the New Year (this New Year!was my resolution at the start of 2013, but it took a bit longer than expected).

That is only the beginning. This is where I will start powering out newer versions of my novel, editing like a mad man, and making it perfect. I mentioned this once before, but Hemingway re-wrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms, thirty-nine times. As much as I would like to avoid that being the case for The Drive Home, I’ll do whatever it takes to make it perfect. I would love to hire a professional editor, which is highly recommended for self published, or any sort of published, authors, but I am more broke than I care to admit (you didn’t just read that). I hope to find a decent editor to review my work as both a copy editor and a content editor, but until I find one that’s inexpensive, my friends, family, and myself will have to do.

That brings me to my first resolution for the New Year.

2014 New Year’s Resolution #1: Finish, and I mean finish, The Drive Home.

I have a plan, a production schedule and even a business plan, to begin uploading and printing, and selling my novel, in six months. Half way through the year is my goal. If I can accomplish this sooner, outstanding, otherwise, six months is a reasonable goal with a finished novel. But don’t any of you worry; you’ll be the first to read sections from my novel, before it goes into publishing. I said I’d do that, and I won’t let any of you down.

2014 New Year’s Resolution #2: Finish writing, then editing, my NaNoWriMo novel, One Last Hunt.

So, I have one finished novel, but during the month of November, I wrote another, completely different novel. I didn’t quite finish it during November, but I did get very, very far with it. Since November, I’ve added another seven thousand words and I still have about five chapters left to write. For the first draft, at least. But my priorities are in order, and the first thing on my docket, is to finish The Drive Home.

I have many more plans for the coming year, but most are dependent on those resolutions above, and the success of each project. Once I near these goals, I’ll keep everyone updated on my progress, my plans, and how I went about achieving these goals. But until then, I’ll keep writing, slaving away at something I love (if only everyone could be so lucky). I hope everyone had a merry Christmas, and have a great New Year, I know I will.

Lastly, if anyone else has any any writing / creative / storytelling, resolutions for the New Year, I’d love to hear them.

Write Your Own Story, Or Publish It

Over the last few months, I’ve been studying up on the art of publishing, and thinking to myself: “I hate waiting for and relying on other people to do things for me.” This thought really began to cross my mind after I started submitting my novel to publishers. I find myself checking my email every ten minutes hoping someone will send me an email reply . And don’t even get me started on weekends, when lots of companies are closed until the following Monday. Then, I can’t sit still as I wait anxiously for a response that is most likely not going to show up in my inbox. So, what does all this frustration mean?

Essentially, it means that I prefer when things are solely base on my performance. That I thrive when no one else is to blame but myself. To sum it all up, it means that I have been considering going the self publication route for my writing. Now you might be asking yourself a few questions:

First question: will I make as much money self publishing? That entirely depends on my effort and the quality of my work. If I hit the ground running and continue to market my work with my growing enthusiasm, then, I believe that I can make as much money. In addition, the royalties are usually higher. The royalties for eBooks when self publishing can, on average, net the author up to 85% of their list price.

When it comes to print books, the royalties may not be exponentially higher, but they are still much better, especially the books sold directly through amazon.com. Using their print on demand method of printing, authors don’t need to print ten-thousand copies of their book, and then find out how to sell them all. The author doesn’t even need to worry about printing at all, essentially, every time someone clicks “buy,” Amazon prints a copy and ships it to the consumer.

Second question: how can my marketing compete with that of big publishing companies? From all the author testimonials I’ve come across in my research, big publishing houses only do extensive promotion if your a previously well selling author, or someone really, really, believes in your novel. Otherwise they tend to leave the author to publicize at their own discretion. So, essentially, it’s a fairly level playing field. I’ve made a number of connections in my past and I plan on using as many as possible to help further my own goals, and maybe do a few favors to further some other friends marketing goals as well.

And the third major question is: how would I even get started? Major publishing houses have been around for nearly a century and have the market fairly well cornered. But, as I mentioned, I’ve been researching this quite a bit and there are a lot more resources available to authors on the subject, now more than ever. With the options mentioned above, I can sell my book through a number of venues and not pay a dime to get started. Through Amazon.com, I can sell a print version of my book by merely allowing Amazon to take a percentage of the sale each time a copy is sold. So, not costing me anything out of my own pocket. Additionally, if I choose to pay an additional $25, I can allow my book to be purchased wholesale by large retailers, such as Barnes & Nobles, which allows for greater distribution. When it comes to the eBook side of publishing, the two best sites I’ve found for publishing are Smashwords & Lulu. Each of these put your eBook up on on a number of sites and on all major eBook reader stores. And again, they only take a percentage of each sale, not requiring you to pay any upfront fees.

There are a few more steps in regards to self publishing that I have been working on and preparing for. I’ve written an ever growing, 15 page business plan, with market projections and production schedules. If i choose to self publish, I’ll want to make it a self publishing company, so, I’ll need to create a business name, register with the local government for tax purposes, and open a bank account to do business as that company. Websites will need to be created, contractors may need hired for work that I’m not as skilled with, such as cover design, and there are some more steps which I have been slowly working out as well. But so far, I’ve come quite a long way from anxiously waiting for someone to sift through an enormous pile of manuscripts, hoping they’ll get to mine next, to being ready to “write my own story,” so to speak.

I’ve moved on and I think I’m ready to take my future into my own hands and be responsible for my own success or failure. But anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t take kindly to failure, and that I will sweat and bleed for this opportunity, because I know it’s what I enjoy, it’s what I want to do, and if I can access a bit of my “good old fashioned Irish luck,” I may just hit the big time. That’s the end game though, and we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has experience as a self published author, about the ups and downs, success or horror stories. Don’t hold back, I can take it, and I’m more than intrigued to hear what anyone has to say!

You’re Such A Character!

Let’s talk a bit about our main character in ‘The Drive Home:’ Ben. Who is he and where does he come from? Ben lives in Grants Pass, Oregon and has for the better part of his life. During high school, he moved up to Spokane, Washington, to live with his father for a couple years.  During his time in Spokane, he met an amazing girl that loves him, takes care of him, and most importantly, calls him on his bullshit. That was Lynn.  Although she says that she supports his dream to become a writer, she often feels that she knows best and tends to plan Ben’s life for him. This is apparent when he quits his job of seven years as a line-cook at ‘Frank’s Restaurant.’ He feels as though he’s wasted his life there, so he quits. But she takes it upon herself to secure his former position, “just in case writing is only a fad,” and he comes to his senses.  She just doesn’t seem to realize that Ben quit his job for a reason:  to write his first novel and hopefully, one day, become a well established author.

Ben has never rubbed anyone the wrong way; he never was one for conflict. That’s why his decision to quite was such a shock to everyone.

His friends and acquaintances enjoyed his company, and he enjoyed everyone else’s.  Ben is just a normal everyday guy, who finally made a decision to change his life. Who can say they haven’t wanted to do the exact same thing?

Taylor, his best friend, has known him for years. They have supported each other for their entire lives; even after Taylor left his job at Frank’s to work at a bank. They had the type of friendship that is rare, so when Ben told Taylor of his plans, Taylor climbed on board for the road trip immediately, even though he wasn’t initially invited to tag along.

These two pals embark on an ideal road trip to Washington, stopping wherever they please, enjoying good beer, beautiful scenery, and the freedom of the open road. The trouble begins when a strange trail of bodies begins to follow them up the west coast. Ben’s focused attention keeps him oblivious to the terrors trailing behind them.  While he keeps his nose in his notepad and his mind in the clouds, Taylor quickly and abruptly realizes what’s happening. Suffice it to say, their problems only amass from there…

And, so ends my first character analysis. I hope you enjoyed this fun way to explain a bit of my protagonists background, and give everyone a bit of insight into the beginning of my story of: ‘The Drive Home.’

Let’s Put The Content On The Table

So, I’ve done it. I have finished my first draft of The Drive Home and it feels great. I’m going to ignore it for a week or two and allow a few close friends take a red ink pen to it. One of my closest friends has assured me that he would catch any and all spelling and grammar errors and that he was going to, “make it bleed red ink.”  I told him, bring it on. I love constructive criticism, as an actor in high school, if I wasn’t acting up to par with the directors vision, she would let me know. As much as I enjoyed arguing with her, I took all the criticism and applied it where necessary and I knew it only improved my work. After my editors go to town on my novel, I will take a red pen to it myself and rework, rewrite, and add/subtract whatever is necessary to make it outstanding. Until then I need to keep myself busy, and keep myself writing.

So I have a few posts lined up for the upcoming weeks and am looking forward to sharing more about myself, writing, and The Drive Home with all of you. So for my first post, I decided to upload a sample table of contents in which I made up short, clever titles that I felt summed up the chapters nicely. I thought it would be fun to show it to all of you so that it might spur your imagination about the story. Now, it is just a working table of contents, but looking back at it was a fun trip down memory lane. Enjoy!

The Drive Home

 By

Sean Kelly

 

  1. The Big Fight

  2. A Mistake or Two

  3. Get Outta Dodge

  4. An Old Friend

  5. An Angel in Mt. Angel

  6. Rude Awakening

  7. A Nightmarish Dream

  8. The Best Jerky in Oregon

  9. A Romp in the Woods

  10. Hot on the Trail

  11. Fishing Hole

  12. Walla Walla Sweets

  13. Just Desserts in the Desert

  14. Father of Mine

  15. Up the Creek

  16. Knock, Knock

Can you guess as to what any of the chapters might be about?