April 30 writing update

This post is about 400 words.

There’s a quote attributed to Anton Chekhov that goes something like this:

  • If there is a gun on the mantle in the first act, it must go off in the third.

mantle

In other words, don’t put in unnecessary details, especially when they seem to promise something that will never be delivered. I’m sure we could endlessly debate the literary merits of this kind of thinking, and we probably should. At a later date. And over beers.

I was reminded of this quote today when I realized that I had my own version of a gun on the mantle and it was never set to go off. At least, not in this book. Writing to resolve this situation would have added at least a chapter, or another couple thousand words. I’m already a bit concerned about the novel’s length, but more importantly, I didn’t want to accommodate this need.

But I really wanted to keep the passage.

I love fairy tales and folklore. I love rhymes and songs, and I partially attribute my affection for Tolkien to these things. Inevitably, they make it into my own writing. I was particularly proud* of a bit of verse I’d written earlier in the week. Besides the fun of writing it and the whimsy it conveyed, like most nursery rhymes, there was a cautionary tale within the words about a particular creature. A creature that never appeared.

Then I had a literary epiphany. You’ve probably experienced the same thing in your own writing: you’ve written yourself into a corner and you’re certain your hero will not escape. And then, the answer comes out of nowhere. The solution to the problem. It’s so simple and effortless, you can’t believe it works. And while you’re happy, a small part of your brain nags you for taking so long to figure it out. That’s OK, because you have a solution and it feels natural.

There’s an element of surprise that the solution creates, so I won’t spoil it. However, don’t forget that, when you’re creating words and creatures, the definitions of those things can be exactly what you want, especially when your story uses general English and made-up languages.

So now, the gun has gone off and I’m very happy with the results.

WaterPistol

Until next time!

–Michael

Enjoy what you read? Leave a comment or like the post and we’ll ensure that you see more like this from Michael!

*”Proud” is usually followed by a feeling of abject despair when, upon reading the passage, I realize it’s rubbish.

© Michael Wallevand, April 2016

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You can’t only focus on the writing.

This post is about 300 words.

Sometimes you need to step away from the manuscript because you’re so close that you only see parts, not the whole. Or it’s become all-consuming and you need to think about something else, if only for a little while.

When I need a break, I work on the other aspects of bringing a book to life. The marketing plan. Sketches. Mailing materials. Business cards? Sure, why not?

To be honest, I probably spent too much time on Amazon and Office Depot browsing colored envelopes, custom address labels, and sealing wax.

Oh yeah, you read that right: sealing wax. For me, it’s all about presentation. There’s a story to tell in the presentation itself. And while authoritative might not be the first word used to describe that author you know, that person has absolute control of the world being created.

I think that extends to the other aspects of bringing a book to life. From the moment you join me on the journey, whether the website, a mailing, or an in-person discussion, I will have put considerable thought into how I want you to begin that journey. Among other things, that includes fonts, colors, word choice, and imagery. The various social platforms I’m using all have different strategies, so you will see something different on Tumblr or Instagram than you will see here.

Assuming everything goes (roughly) according to plan, I intend to look into other ways of changing your experience as a reader. For example, a leather book cover as an add-on to enhance your reading experience. I don’t just want to take your mind to another world, I want your eyes to see, your fingers feel, and nose smell a different experience than you might otherwise have in your reading chair.

And the words on the page can’t do that alone.

–Michael

Enjoy what you read? Leave a comment or like the post and we’ll ensure that you see more like this from Michael!

© Michael Wallevand, April 2016

April 26 writing update

This post is about 100 words. Lame.

This is a lame post, mostly because it was half written, mostly uninspired, and the result of not thinking I’d have writing time tonight.

I have writing time tonight!

So. I’m abandoning it, having scrapped most of the junk. Which is good. On to the real writing after this briefest of updates. I’ll hit 70,000 words tonight, the result of about four and a half months into a pretty decent writing routine. Not a great routine, but a better output than I’d originally hoped.

–Michael

Enjoy what you read? Leave a comment or like the post and we’ll ensure that you see more like this from Michael!

© Michael Wallevand, April 2016

The Prince Influence 2 Me

This post is about 700 words.

I love the process of creating art. For me, it’s writing. I love hearing successful people talk about their own trials and influences. I could watch Inside The Actor’s Studio, Behind The Music, and the audio commentaries of movies for days. I’ve read Stephen King’s On Writing a dozen times. But I also love talking with fellow hopefuls about our own struggles.

Prince

It is in this spirit that I share a piece of myself tonight. I lost an idol today. A one-way friendship with a person unaware of my existence, although his music spoke to me as though he did.

Prince.

A single word that needs a million other words in definition. Fortunately for you, I’ll only use about 700 tonight. The words come slowly, but they come (heh, that sounds like a sentence Prince would approve of, so I’ll allow it).

He’s been one of my biggest influences and I’m staggered by his death today. I’m not a musician anymore, but consider myself a kindred creative spirit (albeit distantly related). When I say he was an inspiration, this isn’t an exaggeration or a lame attempt to connect my blog to the flood of news following his death. It’s a simple truth. Aside from family and Star Wars, I can’t think of anything else in my life that’s been as present or influential as Prince.

As I sat in stunned silence at work today, recalling fond music memories and trying to keep the void at bay, my writer’s brain started organizing thoughts. It occurred to me that I learned four very important things from him.

Prince2401141. Create limitless art. Man, he was fearless. His life seemed to be a constant experiment with music that resulted in beautiful, crazy, innovative, inspirational art. But it wasn’t only music. Look at his fashion over the years. The album covers for Dirty Mind and Lovesexy. He assembled musical groups. Created movies. He absorbed and synthesized musical styles, the results of which were distinctly Prince. His life was art and it knew no bounds.

2. Don’t compromise your beliefs. Whether the symbol-shaped middle finger he gave to Warner Music or his ongoing fight against digital music piracy, Prince stood strong for what he believed in, even if it cost him money. Perhaps more importantly, he knew who he was, what he needed to be, and when he needed to change. He reinvented the word reinvention. Despite this, we never questioned who Prince was – it was obvious. We might not have known what we’d see next, but we knew it would be 100% Prince.

3. Strive to master many different disciplines and styles. I just mentioned his style reinvention, so I’ll speak to his talent with instruments. It’s said that he sometimes showed a musician how he wanted them to play his song, the result of which would be the musician’s realization that he could play better than they could. I heard Tommy Barbarella of NPG say something similar on the radio today. He wasn’t just a brilliant lyricist with an incredible fashion sense. He was a multi-talented musician who was never restrained by the confines of definition or convention.

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Social Foundations

This post is about 400 words.

If you’ve done any amount of writing – and you probably have, even if it was just for school – you’ve experienced that point where you run out of steam. Or inspiration. If you’re like me, you want to keep going, but you need a change in virtual scenery.

Draft One.png

Pay no attention to all those red squiggly lines. I made up those words.

I’m about 70,000 words into the first draft of the first book, and I have maybe another 10,000 to go. I need to fill in some gaps and layer in some detail, but sometimes, it’s uninspiring work. Yet I still want to do something else that advances the writing journey I’ve undertaken.

Enter social media and online marketing, two things that are actually key components of my day job. I can write all I want, but even if I get published, a flashy cover and snazzy title aren’t enough anymore, are they? A writer needs to drive awareness and engage people who are interested in the genre. And nowadays, it seems like that often has to happen before the book is even finished.

So, I’m building some of the infrastructure of an online marketing plan, centered around this website and a diverse social media presence. Want progress updates or to participate in conversations about writing? Visit our Facebook page or this website. Want to see photos that capture the scenery in my head or inspire my writing? Check out our Tumblr or Instagram. I might even leverage that business juggernaut, LinkedIn. Heck, you could go to our Google+ page, but frankly, that’s just an SEO play.

cosmic_muse_by_razielmb-d784y83.png

Eventually, I’ll be asking you to take a journey with me. A couple journeys, actually. We’ll walk through the lands of Empyrelia with our heroes, fighting slither-withers and trolls or riding dragons and flying on fairy wings. But our journey together – yours and mine – starts here, virtually, if you’re so inclined. For now, I’ll play it cool, and by ‘cool’, I mean quietly. I’ll slowly be adding content to all the sites so I’ll have a robust library of information by the time I’m ready to dip my big calloused toe into the social waters. For now, this will keep me busy whilst my muse takes a coffee break. She looks a lot like this.

If you’re the first person here, cheers! We’re in for one heck of a journey, faithful travelling companion.

–Michael

Enjoy what you read? Leave a comment or like the post and we’ll ensure that you see more like this from Michael!

© Michael Wallevand, April 2016

Greetings!

This post is about 300 words.

Fancy RWelcome to the website for my fantasy book series, The Lost Royals. These books follow the royal twins, who were thought killed when their kingdom was invaded.

Unlike a typical book where the point-of-view switches between primary characters, each book in The Lost Royals focuses on one of the twins. So, in our first adventure we walk with the princess in the forests of the south. When it concludes, we journey north in the second book to explore the ice fortress where the prince is being raised. Each pairing of books occurs over the same timeframe, so for example, when the princess sees a Dragonflight racing north, we see them soar into action in the prince’s story.

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