by phisme72

Stay in the Write

Hi there, how’s your 2017 going so far? We had a rough start in my hometown, some nasty tornadoes ripped through the area pretty good. Thankfully no one has died due to the bad weather though.

I’m hard at work on finishing up the dystopian novel, book one of an intended trilogy. I’ve gotten feedback from a good friend and writing buddy, and I’ve decided to make some revisions. I’ve been working on this one for a while now (since 2012), and at times I wonder if I’ll ever get finished. I’m heartened though that whenever I make adjustments, the story seems to pull a little bit tighter together, so it still feels good when I look at the whole picture.

I’ve got a short story submitted to the Wundor Editions Short Fiction 2017 Contest in jolly old England. Wish me luck! I’ll find out if I won by late March.

The Bayou Writers Club has resumed their meetings for 2017. Lisa, our organizer, is doing her part to make sure everyone not only has incentives to write, but also specified goals to work for. I think it helps people who may have considered writing for years but never sat down to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to do the work and get it done. It’s not easy, for sure. I compare it a little to the exercise mentality. You know how so many people (perhaps even yourself) say after New Years: “I’m gonna get to the gym this year and get in shape!” Then, what happens? I have a gym membership myself, so I can see it – a lot of people go in January, but a few months into the year (if that), people drop off.

Motivation is good, motivation is important. But persistence is the key. Keep yourself to it. Imagine the finished work. Think of why you’re doing it: to be published, make money, or just to get something out there. I go back and forth on why I write. At the end of the day, I care about the story, and sharing it. Of course, I wouldn’t turn down the chance to make gobs of money, but I still enjoy making the story work, and hopefully interesting to other people.

Ok, that’s my piece for now. Stay in touch!

Moving Write Along

Hello again, I hope things are going well for you, wherever you are. The weather over here has gotten progressively warmer in recent days. Fortunately the evenings and mornings are still on the cool side for now. I’m sure that will be ending soon. At least the garden stuff is growing more now these days – just wish the grass wasn’t growing as quick 🙂 #honeydolist

Anyway, sharing some exciting news from me in the writing realm. I have indie published my novel Leave from Absence last month, and it is now available on Amazon.com in Kindle format! The print copy will be available shortly. I’m super excited about this, as this book has been several years in the making. I believe I started this one roughly as far back as 2012. It has seen several rewrites and a few critiques, and has weathered much. I’m very happy with finally being able to share it with you, and I hope you enjoy it. It’s a story from the heart.

In addition to releasing Leave from Absence, I’ve been hard at work revising my dystopian manuscript.  I plan on having this one ready to pitch by mid 2017.  Right now I’m retooling it, and tightening it up.  Feels like the story is there, just trying to smooth out the bumps.  Also, I have some short stories in the works that I hope to be getting out in the next several months, so be sure and stay tuned for that one!

On my last post on this blog, I mentioned writing goals.  I’m glad to say I’ve been able to reach a few of them, and even surpass one.  Here’s a recap of my goals for 2016, and where I stand with them:

  • Get to 700 followers on my twitter account,@tanis2112 I’m up to 718 followers and counting.  If you’re on twitter, look me up!
  • Write four blog posts over the year [counting this one? maybe ] This one is halfway there.  Two on the year by early April 🙂
  • Either self publish or query my general fic manuscript (title forthcoming… I like surprises lol) Done!  Off and running with the Kindle version, print version forthcoming!
  • Complete two short stories and submit them either to contests or for consideration to be Kindle Singles  In the works currently.  Need to revise, so that’s on my to-do list.  
  • Make significant progress on my sci-fi manuscript (title forthcoming… see above about surprises) Also in progress.  

I understand several members of the Bayou Writers Club recently attended the Jambalaya Writers Conference presented by the Terrebonne Parish Library system in Houma, LA.  I’m looking forward to catching up with them on this and will pass along any tidbits I hear on this.  I’m hoping to work in attending writer conventions at some point in my future, if nothing else I want to attend the Writers Digest convention in New York when it’s time to pitch my dystopian manuscript, but that’s still a bit in the future.

Anyway, that’s my piece for now.  I hope you are keeping busy, being creating and just enjoying life wherever you’re at.  All the best to you!

Happy writing!

Writing Goals!

Greetings, I hope your 2016 is going ok so far.  We’ve sure had a bumpy start, with all these iconic musicians and actors leaving us so early in the year.  Hopefully we won’t have much more bad news for awhile.

My writers group Bayou Writers Club held their first meeting of 2016, and it was suggested of the members that we come up with writing resolutions.  Ya know, kind of like New Year’s Resolutions but writing related?  Typically I’ve shied away from these and New Year’s Resolutions in general, because I just haven’t had a lot of luck with them in the past.

However…

I’ve also done pretty well with goals for myself, so I’m opting to think of these more as “goals” than “resolutions”, since aren’t resolutions kind of apt for being broken?  Gym workout resolutions, anyone??

So, I figured I’d put my writing goals for 2016 here so you can see them and I can come back and update you throughout the year on my progress.  Now some of these have to do specifically with writing, but not all of them do.  Some are for more of the complimentary stuff for writing, like getting twitter followers or (ahem) blog posts.  Ok, here we go, in no particular order:

Paul’s 2016 Writing Goals:

  • Get to 700 followers on my twitter account, @tanis2112
  • Write four blog posts over the year [counting this one? maybe 😉 ]
  • Either self publish or query my general fic manuscript (title forthcoming… I like surprises lol)
  • Complete two short stories and submit them either to contests or for consideration to be Kindle Singles
  • Make significant progress on my sci-fi manuscript (title forthcoming… see above about surprises)

So that’s it!  I’m trying not to go too far with these, so I have goals that are reasonably attainable, but not TOO easy.  Wish me luck!

Happy writing!

Tis the Season…

And here we are… another Christmas is upon us.  Are you ready?  Well, it’s here.  I hope you all have a wonderful time with family and friends.  Or, if you find yourself without on this holiday season, I wish you every happiness possible, and hope that you can find some hope and joy in this time.

I’m so thankful to be finally wrapping up my first manuscript.  It’s all over but the formatting at this point.  I will be putting the finishing touches on it in the weeks to come and I hope to make an announcement on it at some point in the spring of 2016!  Also very excited because this means I can focus on my dystopian manuscript, which I intend to get ready for pitching by 2017!  Plenty of work ahead.

My writers group Bayou Writers Club will be doing a lot in the coming year, from wrapping up their group book project “Swan of the Seas”, to unleashing a new website (I haven’t even seen it yet.  Can’t wait), and hosting many more presentations on all the different aspects of writing.  I’ll be helping with at least one presentation on Scrivener, the writing tool.  Ever hear of Scrivener?  I’ve been using it exclusively for writing for over a year now and it’s wonderful.

Anyway, the eggnog is calling me.  I will see you all again soon, may you have a wonderful Christmas, New Year, and holiday season!

Manuscript Update, Who are you thankful for?

Hello again, a little review of some irons in the fire and a little more introspection.

I’m almost finished making revisions off the latest critique of my first general fiction manuscript. It’s about a twentysomething guy who is a bit aimless, having just dropped out of college and summarily kicked out of his house by his folks and left to figure out what he wants to do with his life. He works through some interesting, occasionally uncomfortable situations with his two closest friends, who also are dealing with balancing work, friends, love, sex and that irresistible lure of social media.

Hmm, I sound like I’m writing back cover copy. Hey, it’s late and my mind is wandering, bear with me 🙂

Another quick pass to tighten up a few things like grammar and I believe I’m ready to put this one to bed – meaning, send out some queries and see what happens. I’m pretty excited and of course a bit nervous about this as well. Will keep you posted once I launch into Query mode on this one, which should happen by early 2016 if not sooner!

Hot on the heels of the general fic is my dystopia. My nutshell description of the main character is she’s kinda a cross between Joan of Arc, Wyatt Earp, and perhaps Sarah Connor (in badass mode). Plan for that one is to work through that over the course of 2016 and get it ready for submission. More details on that one to follow.

About a week and a half ago I attended a software convention. At this convention, professional speaker Seth Mattison gave an incredible presentation that went into the whole affect that the new culture of the millennials is having and will have on the existing unwritten rules and guidelines of the workplace to date. It was fascinating stuff to me. As a Gen Xer, I suppose I kind of have one foot in more of the “old school” approach to business, aka when you’re new at a company you keep your mouth shut and pay your dues and then maybe if you behave long enough you get to contribute and have your say.

That being said, I like to think I have a little bit in the social media slash newer approach to idea sharing (hello have you been reading this blog?) But I know I’m not at the level of many of the younger crowd, instagramming and pinteresting and such all over the place. But being out there and just checking things over is pretty fun. It’s tough to maintain that balance though, between having fun and keeping myself on track to things like the finishing of the two manuscripts I mentioned.

Another point Seth touched on, which really got to me, was to show gratitude for those who have helped you get to where you are. At one point in his talk, he asked everyone in the audience to write down the name of one person who had an impact on getting ourselves to where we are today. Without thinking or hesitating, I wrote my mother’s name down. Then, Seth encouraged the audience to contact that person to thank them, if we are able to.

Sadly, I’m not able to. Lost my mom in 2013. However, her influence over me is as strong today as ever. In addition to the countless carpools, homework help, cooking, cleaning, etc mom did without any thought of reward over the years, she supported my writing ambitions. She insisted she get to read the first draft of my general fic manuscript. Who was I to say no? Not only did she read it, she emailed her thoughts to me. Ever loving, caring and supporting. I cherish that moment with her as one of many examples of how much she supported me.

Who in your life helped you get to where you are today? Have you thanked them? Are you still in touch with them regularly? If not, and you’re able to, why not reach out to them to thank them for what they did for you.

That’s all for me for now. Hope you’re all doing well out there!

Chase Your Goals

I recently watched two distinct but (in my mind) somewhat related movies about goals and reaching for them.  “Everest” and “The Walk”.

“Everest” chronicles the doomed 1996 expedition to reach the summit of Everest, where most of the people making the attempt to ascend the mountain were lost at some point due in part to a severe winter storm that came through while the climbers were at or near the summit.

“The Walk” recounts Philippe Petit, the man who walked across a tightrope suspended from between the then twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York (quite illegally at that).

Now, what do these two have in common with whatever I’m trying to say here?  I’ll tell you.

I’m a big goals person.  If you know me at all, you know I usually have one or more goals in mind.  Years back, it may have been preparing a piece of music in grade school or high school to be judged in a solo and ensemble festival.  Later years, my goals included things like getting my grades up in college after a tough semester, or studying to get an IT Certification.

As of late, several of my goals are writing related.  Publishing short stories, novels, etc.

I think it’s not only good to have a goal, but to do whatever you can to strive towards it.  I watched “The Walk” and it really locked in with me, the struggle of Petit to do something big, to make a statement, no matter how over the top grandiose or extremely dangerous it was.

I’m sure he felt the danger.  Watching the movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s great portrayal of Petit, stepping out and just enveloping himself in his dream, his goal.  It really resonated with me.  I think of my writing goals often, and while I’m not exactly scaling the World Trade Center or climbing Mount Everest, they are every bit as important to me as I’m sure Petit’s walk and those climbers of Everest held their aspirations.

One of the climbers depicted in “Everest”, a Japanese woman named Yasuko, evidently had a goal to ascend the seven highest mountain peaks in the world.  Her ascent of Everest in 1996 was the seventh and final ascent, and she made it.  Tragically, her story didn’t end well afterward.  But the spirit she had to aim for that goal, and press on in spite of what turned out to be insurmountable odds, touched and inspired me deeply.

Maybe it’s easy for me to tout having goals, sitting at a laptop and typing away, where my biggest threats are likely eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome.  But I feel inspired by people who reach out and strive to accomplish.  It’s a part of life that I think makes things worthwhile.  It’s not the only thing, but it is a tremendous part.

Whatever you’re doing, wherever you’re at in life, whatever your dreams are, don’t just cherish them.  Chase them.

Dystopian Manuscript progressing!

Very excited that I’m done with the writing phase of my dystopian manuscript!  I’ve been working on this particular piece on and off since about mid 2013, so this is a great accomplishment.  Currently, the manuscript is approximately 86k words in length and is what I’d say about the third draft.

Mind you, I may still have a little bit of rewriting in order on this one.  I plan to read it from start to finish though.  The way I wrote this one, very little of an outline… it seems necessary to go back through to make sure what I’ve written and anything else I intend to write to fill in the gaps fits with the story.  Otherwise, I’ll just be writing end on end forever.  At some point it’s got to be finished, right?

My hope and plan for this is to be fine tuning and polishing this manuscript up throughout 2016, and then start presenting/querying this to prospective agents by 2017.  I’m giving myself some time to get it together so it feels right.  Seems better for me to have a goal, but not one so imminent and close that I rush things.

I still have the 2nd half of a critique of my general fiction manuscript to work through as well, so I’ve got something to break up my train of thought a bit too.  I find that helps me from getting stagnant.

Anyway, plenty of writing and rewriting work in my near future.  Now I wonder if the Bayou Writers Group will be sending their novel length project for me to edit as well.  Busy times!

I hope you’re all well and are able to write and read plenty!

When do you write?

Besides the challenge of coming up with all the different elements of a story and making them all fit together in an entertaining way, I find just having time to write lately is a challenge.  Do you have this problem too?

Some members of the writers group I belong to, Bayou Writers Club, suggest to determine a good time of day for you to write, and develop a habit of always writing at that time.  Some people like to write early in the morning, others, late at night.

Lately, my best time has been around lunch time at work.  I may only get 300-500 words in at a clip, but it’s writing time.  Enough days of writing around 500 words at a clip and I’ll have a good amount of material to work with in short time.

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my blog and website!  I’m going to be sharing information about the books, stories, etc as I publish them and will be sharing insights I’ve been getting into the world of writing.  Hope you enjoy your stay, and please feel free to bookmark or comment!

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