Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rewarding Risks

All though my life I've taken chances. Not the gambling kind, and not stupid ones like getting involved with drugs or anything illegal. Just small risks. Like going white water rafting or taking up in line skating in my fifties. I had to give up the skating when I discovered that falling down at that stage of life hurt a lot more than it did as a child.

The most satisfying risks involved learning something new. In my career, I often volunteered for projects I'd never done before. Then I'd panic. Unwilling to fail, I'd learn what I needed to make the project a success. This boldness often led to promotion and reinforced my desire to seek out and conquer other challenges.

Writing novels has been one of those challenges. At the beginning I was convinced that I was not a creative person and I had no stories inside struggling to be told. However, I was bored, so I sat down at my computer and a whole new world opened up to me.  As the story evolved and the characters came to life, I found the excitement I'd been looking for.Within six months I'd finished my first novel.
It was only after that I read books on writing, joined writers groups, and went to seminars.

The best part of writing is that it necessitates continual learning. I've researched anatomy and Mayan mythology, mastered new formatting techniques and computer shortcuts. I've joined facebook and learn to blog. Tweeting may be next.

The world I grew up in is nothing like the world of today, but instead of feeling like an outsider looking in, writing has been my key to keeping tuned in, turned on and feeling young.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Writing Contests

Amazon is holding a contest for new authors. There's only two categories, general and young adult and you can only have one entry. I considered entering Double Down, but one of the judging criteria is originality. Double Down is a murder mystery. Yes, the plot is original but essentially follows the same pattern as most mysteries. The Crystal's Curse on the other hand has a completely original plot line. However, it's my first attempt at writing and as such not a polished.

The first step is to write a 300 work pitch. You can't imagine how difficult it is to compress a plot that takes 70,000 words to unfold in to 300 word teaser.  However, I have learned and can probably spruce up the one I have into something that might intrigue the judges.

If you pass that stage, they'll read the first 5000 words. Now I've written a killer prologue. Generally if you hook the reader in the first few pages, they'll stick with you while  you set the stage and give them enough background so that they can identify and care about the characters. Then you carefully unwind the plot until they're hooked and can't stop reading until the end. But if your book is being judged on the first 5000 words, you don't have that leeway.

So before submitting my entry, I'm editing The Crystal's Curse for the thousandth time, trying to make it as tight and compelling as possible. If I leave out some of the background to make it more exciting in the beginning, then its hard to identify with the characters. At one point, I gave up and wondered why I was bothering. The chances of winning were probably as astronomical as winning the lottery. Why put myself through it? I haven't answered that question yet. I only have until the end of January to decide.

Friday, January 6, 2012

DOUBLE DOWN Now available

I got tired of waiting for the publisher to return my emails, so I've decided to publish my murder mystery, Double Down, as an eBook on Amazon and Smashwords. As a bonus I've included with it a taste of the my new mystery, Jealousy, again featuring Valerie Peterson.I hope to have Jealousy ready for publication by spring. My goal is not so much to make money, although that would be nice, but to have as many people as possible read and enjoy the books I've created.

If you love me, or even if you just call me friend, please go to Amazon or Smashwords and at the very least hit the like button next to my books.