Author’s Journal – 12-03-19

On Writing

In his book On Writing (which I highly recommend), Stephen King talks about a question he’s often asked. I’m going from memory, but the gist of it is this:

Question: How many days a week do you write?

King: Every day, except holidays and my birthday (btw, that’s a lie because I write those days, too – but no one would believe it).

And while I’m nowhere as dedicated as King, yeah, I write on those days, too. Here’s what happened over my Thanksgiving vacation.


1. I finished up some editing and the last of my punch list items. The punch list was a series of questions I had around consistency, timing, and other details I’d lost track of. The editing centered around plot holes or other things I discovered during my complete read-through.

I’m down to one last fix, and then the draft is final. I spent a few hours on that last item and I think I’ve nearly conquered the problem I identified. Continue reading

Author’s Journal – 11-25-19

Journal Entry #3. The Muse is withholding all inspiration until I write another update.

It was a tough writing weekend. Not that I didn’t know what to write. I knew what I had to write; I just didn’t know which words to pick.

1. I spent time on Saturday and Sunday working on a query submission for a local agent. It requires a pitch, synopsis, and other pertinent info. The challenge is in the distilling of 188,000 words into a couple hundred. It’s a great exercise, tbh. It forces you to hone in on the core idea of your story. But…..it’s damn hard, perfectionist desires aside. I’ve spent my adult life editing, dabbled in the restrictive word count of flash fiction, and write with the “Murder your darlings” philosophy. And still I struggle to rein in the information overload.

It comes down to the old saying, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote a long one.” Being succinct is tough, and I get why agents push for it.

Prince Super Bowl performance

2. Monday night, I tinkered with the finished manuscript, like a naughty author. Continue reading

Author’s Journal – 11-17-19

Hey, a second entry in a weekend. Doesn’t make it a trend.

Anyway, I worked on three things Sunday.

1. Wrote the first journal post, capturing the work on Nov 15. Happy with it.

2. Started researching literary agents. Since the process will take months, I might as well start while I’m picking at the last nits in the completed manuscript. I found two agents (in researching twenty) that feel like good fits. One isn’t accepting queries; one is.

3. Started writing my query letter. It’s been years since I’ve submitted one. However, since my past inquiries were for children’s picture books, I’m starting from scratch. Not planning to use the old ones for reference. I’m partway through, and taking a break to type up this quick post.

So, it’s 10:30 on a Sunday night as I wrap this up, though I won’t have it post until the morning. I’m not expecting many readers at this point in the evening. Hopefully, this found you during your morning coffee.

Good luck with your writing!

Mike


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

© Michael Wallevand, November 2019

Author’s Journal – 11-15-19

This will never last.

Because I know myself.

There are people who sing the praises of journaling, but I’ve never been able to maintain a diary or similar collection of thoughts. Oh sure, the desire is strong at first. When it becomes work, however, when I’m trying to make time or backfill missed entries, well, then it’s a hassle.

And free time doesn’t get spent on hassles.

With that encouraging preface, I push onward, nonetheless. At the very least, it will amuse me – and perhaps interest you – while it lasts. It’s my intent to keep these simpler and lighter-weight than other blog posts, in which I try convey some interesting update or learning I have had about writing a book. I generally try to edit them for length, content, and grammar, and while the result is more polished, they take time away from other things in my life. For these, I’m looking to knock out a quick post, straight through, with no rewrites and few edits.

Let’s see how it goes.

Friday, November 15, 2019

1. I’m listening to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss on Audible. I’ll use a future post to gush over it, but as often happens while I’m reading, listening, or watching, I got inspired.

The particular scene included the lute of the character’s father. It made me think about a combining of magic and music, and how might a culture use that for things beyond everyday tasks or entertainment. What if the culture developed an interweaving of art into things like defense or warfare? Of the kinds of art in the world – music, sculpture, painting, etc – what if the people maintained their love and awe of these things, yet used them in practical ways? What if they did these things only because they had to or what if these things were incorporated because they were viewed as another skill, like smithing or bricklaying?

I got to work, wrote a few paragraphs about two cultures’ different approaches, and I added the detail into the appropriate books. Book 2 for the Prince and Book 6 for the Princess. Sorry for the tease. Continue reading

Only Some Came Back – Writing Exercise

I find it easier to write when I’m speaking from the heart. As the son of a Vietnam veteran, I believe it’s important to acknowledge Veterans’ Day, so I always feel an obligation to say something meaningful.

This year, it started with a simple thought: “some came back”. It came to me while contemplating the difference between today and Memorial Day, but was also inspired by sentiments my father has shared.

As often happens, a simple idea blossomed into something greater, a working piece entitled, “Only Some Came Back”.


Some came back, wondering why they returned so all alone.
Some came back, their bodies hardly whole.
Some came back, prisoners lately freed.
Some came back, with so many healing needs.

Heroes all, whether wounded, captured, tortured, or flesh unscathed.
Heroes all, though they would never, ever think themselves as brave
Or worthy to have lived when so many others fell in foreign lands.
Or worthy to continue in a world that cannot understand.

Backs bent, carrying the weight of comrades lost, of life post-war.
Hearts pierced by steel, by loss, by unfathomable gore.
Minds burdened by nightmares, grief, and shattered innocence.
Souls broken upon the fields of demarked happenstance.

It’s not a day for politics
Or the whims of money’s end.
It’s a day for remembering veterans,
The women and the men.


 

This piece took about 30 minutes to write. While it’s a work-in-progress, I’ll let this one sit for a time. It’s more personal than it might seem, and there are current political things that cut deeper than I care to discuss.

I share it as an example of writing outside my manuscript. Sometimes the work can be a drag, and creating things that bring you joy can help you get past them. And sometimes, it’s cathartic, too.

Mike


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

© Michael Wallevand, November 2019

Take Joy In Your Craft #1

I was recently re-familiarizing myself with the music of Velvet Underground, and “Run Run Run” on YouTube led me to “Run Boy Run” by Woodkid. I’d missed the song in 2013, which isn’t surprising since I was no longer in the music business and I don’t hear a lot of French artists on the radio.

From the tolling bell that opened the song, I knew I was going to like it. But after three-and-a-half minutes, I felt like I’d just watched a video of my childhood fantasies.

If there was any other kid, aside from Luke Skywalker, that I’d pretended to be, it was Max from Where The Wild Things Are. And so this video, showing a kid playing fantasy and running with monsters? Heck yeah – I’ve watched it ten times in the last week.

OK, that was mostly an aside, but the video is too fun not to share.

Anyway, my enjoyment led me to a live version of the song, and this brings me to the point of the post. Continue reading

A Good Word Is Hard To Find

fun fact - the word setI’m an English major and a writer, which means there’s a notebook on a dusty bookshelf in the attic of my brain that is set aside for fun words. It also means I just wrote a long sentence instead of saying “I collect words.” We’ll delve into that compulsion in a future post.

I was listening to an online session yesterday and one of the presenters used an interesting word I hadn’t heard before. She used it twice, before finally defining it for us with an apology that she had to look it up, too.

What is the word? I couldn’t tell, which meant it was complex, rather difficult to say, esoteric, and oh so tantalizing.

In her context, it meant temporarily joining another team at work to complete a project. She still technically worked for the same manager, but all her duties were tied to this second team.

Since I love words (did I establish that?) and since I couldn’t spell it to write it down, I thought to Google it by the definition this morning.

Easier said than done. Continue reading