Image courtesy of Penywise  morguefile

     I have been asked what I am currently working on, so I thought I would share with you what has been going on.  Over the last two months, I haven’t done much work on my novels.  Having offered up my first novel for a beta read and deciding not to continue working on the third novel until I finalized the first two, for fear of creating an inconsistent mess, I turned my focus to the second novel in the series.  I would sit down with a broad vision of what I wanted to happen and words would make their way onto the page as I tried to build the bridges I needed to reach my destination, but something just didn’t feel right.  Something just kept gnawing at me, preventing me from making any real progress and for the longest time, I just couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was.

     Even after getting feedback from the beta readers, I wasn’t gung-ho about getting back to work like I had hoped.  I thought that maybe I just needed to stew on the feedback and work things out mentally, but it wasn’t that simple.

Image courtey of Arthur Tress

Other than a few notes here or there, I had absolutely no drive to write and it was making me so anxious that I didn’t know what to do with myself.  So, when faced with a case of what I like to call “writer’s dunce”, I did what I usually do; I turned to reading as a means of clearing my head and gaining a fresh perspective.  After reading three novels, I still didn’t have the urge to jump back into my work and I still hadn’t pinpointed the source of the problem.  Normally, before I’ve even finished reading one novel, I’m filled with ideas and the urge to get back to work, so this was troublesome.

     In addition to reading books, I started reading critiques and discussion boards, not only on the books I was currently reading, but on others in genres similar to my own work, that I had read in the past.  Some of the discussions helped to bolster my confidence that I was doing some

things right, avoiding some of the pitfalls that caused the most grief for readers of my intended genre.  I think somewhere along the way, I subconsciously began to realize why I was having such a hard time continuing with my own work.  It wasn’t immediately apparent to me, but the more discussions I read, one by one eliminating the doubts that were clouding my thoughts, the clearer it became.  My problem, it would seem, is that I had completely lost the essence of what I was trying to achieve.  

     I had set out to write a vampire story laced with romanticism.  What I ended up with, was something altogether different; a romance novel with a vampire twist.  My main character was a watered down version of who I wanted her to be, of who she is, epitomizing the weak, dependent females so often featured in romance novels.  This was not what I had wanted at all and the further I had written into the story, the stronger this theme seemed to weave its way into my novels.


Image courtesy of imagerymajestic

How could I be expected to keep writing when my work was starting to get on my own nerves?  I think that somewhere deep inside, my main character was trying to tell me that I wasn’t writing her story correctly.  Sure, the events were unfolding as they should, but I hadn’t painted her in the the right light.  Vampires are meant to be hardcore; so dark that they terrify you, but at the same time beguile and intrigue you.

          Now that I have identified the problem, I need to work out how to go about fixing it.  It seems that I have quite the challenge ahead of me.

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     Over the last month or so, I have been too unfocused to do any real writing.  To clear my mind and focus my thoughts, I turned to reading. Between beta reading for fellow writers and reading a few self published novels, one thing became blatantly clear.  A little editing can go a long way.

     In a 2009 article entitled “The Importance of Editing Your Writing” the author explains why editing is so critical.  Any author that wants to get published via traditional means, should already know that publishers look for work that is polished and well written.  If you want a publishing company to take your work seriously, you need to not only captivate them with your story, but show them that you are serious about your work.  Misspelled words and poor grammar send publishers a message that you are unprofessional.

     Don’t think that editing is any less important if you intend to self publish your work.  Although you may not be trying to woo a publisher, you still need to keep your readers in mind.  Some readers are extremely adroit and will notice every mistake you make.  This can lead to a frustrating reading experience that may cause the reader to stop reading and perhaps even be turned off from any of your future work based on this poor experience.

     For those readers that are not as easily swayed by typos, it can still lead to a poor reading experience.  Some readers use books to escape to far away worlds or to take a journey with the characters, focusing more on the entertainment factor.  But if an author makes poor word choices or words are missing or misspelled, it can break the spell of the story as the reader tries to make sense of what is written.  Even if the reader makes it through the story, they may be turned off from reading any more of your work.

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     During my own recent experiences, I’ve been tripped up due to poor editing or a complete lack of editing.  I could see the potential of some of the authors, but their rush to get their work published led to poor execution of their visions.  Initially, although I knew I would need to edit my work, I thought that it would be something I could do myself.  After seeing the short comings of not having work edited by an expert, I can now truly understand the value of paying for the service.  Beta readers are great for giving feedback on plot points and character or world development, but for a truly polished novel, it is worth spending the money to have someone go over your work with a fine toothed comb.

I’ve been so busy this week that my mind is complete mush. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t think of a topic for this week’s blog. So instead of the usual literary drivel, I have decided to complete and share a recent piece that I have been working on entitled “So Cliché“.

A thin line between love and hate.
So thin that it is virtually invisible;
Causing us to inadvertently cross over it again and again?

Pleasure and pain; two sides of the same coin.
Is the outcome truly as fickle as the flip of a coin;
The pursuit of pleasure oft times causing pain?

What you see is what you get.
But have we not been taught that we should never judge a book by its cover?
Is what I see truly what I get or merely a projection of what I wish to see?

Actions speak louder than words.
Show me, show me, you really love me.
But every so often, don’t forget to speak the words I long to hear.

Beauty is only skin deep.
Rather than focusing on the vain and waning superficial,
Let the beauty deep within your soul resonate and shine through to the world.

The eyes are the window to the soul.
The deeper the soul, the deeper I want to dive in,
Submerging myself in the essence that is you.

Seeing is believing.
Is not the very definition of faith, to have absolute belief in something you cannot see?
Beware of believing everything you see or you might get lost in the illusion.

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     For a while, I have been trying to figure out how to use media like YouTube to help promote my writing.  First, I thought, maybe I can record myself reading some of my poems or short stories and add music, like an audio book.  I’m not really photogenic though (even less so in video) so that didn’t turn out the way I had planned.  Then, I thought, maybe some still images and text screens like those videos people post of song lyrics.  But I didn’t have the software or resources I needed to do that, not to mention the lack of time to find them.

Image courtesy of pichart99thai /
     A few months ago, right around the time the thought first came to me, I came across a book “trailer” so to speak.  A NaNo author had created a video ad for her book The Night Circus and I thought See, now that’s what I’m talking about.  If only I was artistic enough to come up with my own visuals.

     Recently, I’ve come across an even more clever book trailer for Life After Life.  This one is even better than the first because while it is still comprised of images, they seem to move and rather than just having text with a soundtrack, it actually has a narration.  Again, my thought is If only I were artistic enough to do something like this.

     I fall flatly under the category of “Jack of all trades, but master of none.”  I know how to create PowerPoint slideshows like the one used in The Night Circus’ video, but at the time that I was originally considering this, the only place I had access to PowerPoint was at work, and as much as I would rather be working on my writing or writing related tasks, my job is not the place for something like that and I had all but put it out of my mind for a while.  Not too long ago though, I used a Google docs presentation file to create a slideshow of my casting wishlist if the Eye of the Vampire series were ever to be made into a movie (of course, given how much work I still have to do before the first book is even published, not everyone will still fit the bill if this were to ever happen.).  I know how to create a presentation, fancy effects and all, and I know how to get free stock photos that I could potentially use, but I still have the slight problem of needing music.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan /

     And even if I could find music that I’d be able to use, the whole thing would fall flat to me now that I’ve seen the Life After Life book trailer.  No matter how much programming and software I teach myself (hence the Jack of all trades, master of none), I’ll never be able to create something as imaginative and captivating as that.  And my cursed introversion prevents me from venturing out and asking anyone to help me with any concepts I do come up with.  Also, did I mention the fact that I am trying to do all of this while spending as little to no money as possible?  You get what you pay for and right now, I’ve got nothing!

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan /