Where did that file go?

Where did I put that file? I know it is here somewhere. Nope, not in that document either. Now this is getting frustrating. It has to be here.

Oh! Hi there. What am I doing? I am looking for my list of names that I use for my novel series. But it seems to have wandered off and is hiding on my hard drive.

Something I am sure new writers have run into, and maybe even some not so new writers.

Regardless of the computing platform, operating system and word processor program used. No matter your filing system and how careful you are. Something gets misplaced. With two of us trying to ad bits and pieces to the project, we ran into a sharing issue and a permission issue. Any well meaning computer expert, pro or not, will be more then willing to tell you it is easy. Until we start laying out what we want to do. They try to help but what we are looking for does not work, and then the expert gets a puzzled look.

Oh dear, I am getting side tracked.

We looked at and read about many writing programs to help get our ideas into print. Started the project with what came with the systems we have, while we hunted around on the internet. Tried some demo’s, tried some free. You get what you pay for. Finally I asked my mentor, what he uses, and we checked out what he recommended. After we looked at the video how to’s. That was different, and read what we could find from the company web site. We took the plunge and purchased, yes I said purchased the program. Not as expensive as we were thinking. Now we have two, one for each of us.

Then the fun really began, transferring all the story material to this program. Cursing curve, I mean, learning curve? YES. Two books down and working on the third, and we are still smoothing out how to best use this program. Is it worth it. YES YES YES. The character list alone is worth the cost. For those that need a character sheet, with stats, background, mannerism, looks, bio, etc. You just might be able to create a character and his/her life without getting into the story at all. The same goes for the places sheets. With the places folder and the character folder sitting off to the side of your document, you can quickly look over and get the name of your town or supporting characters spelled correctly, check a location to make sure that is the right setting that you need, not sure if a character is left handed or right handed, open the character sheet and double check. Very helpful for a series, when the character was introduced in book one and you are now on book four.

Then there is the programs out put capabilities. You write with font and style that is comfortable for you, and when your done and have to submit, now the receiving end dictates how things should be. With more cursing, um, I mean learning, you get the desired results.

Ah! There it is! I found the list. Now why is it in that folder?

Oh sorry. Where was I, oh yes. Is this super program right for you, or just what you need. I don’t know. What you are using may suit your needs. So you ask what is this super writing program I am plugging.

Actually I am not really plugging the program but some of the elements that some writers worry about. The look of the trees, cars, buildings. What the man or woman look like, are they in this town or that town. All the stuff the crops up while writing, and all the stuff that can confuse not only the reader, but the writer as well.

I like to think of these elements as the little details that can make or break the consistency of the story.

Well, thank you for visiting and putting up with my rants. Oh. You, still want my super duper writing program. Ok. It is Scrivener from literatureandlatte.com

Thanks for visiting. Keep writing.

What is success for a writer/author?

What is the measure of success for an author? Some might say getting on the New York Times best seller list. Some might say enough income to retire and just write for the rest of their lives. Some might say having their story made into a blockbuster movie, or even just to be made into a movie period would make them successful.

In the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre, some might say that being compared to authors like McCaffrey, Brooks, Clark, Heinlien, Hicks, Asimov, Bradbury, Crichton, Rowling, Hawking and the list goes on. To meet any of these fellow authors would be a feather in the ego.

All these things are great. It would be nice to slide into any of these areas. Money is good. Praise is good. Comparison is good.

I am a budding author and I believe I have succeeded, at this early stage, and for non of what has been said so far. The first story I put out was good, not great, but good never-the-less. The second story which has turned out to be the first book in a series is better, much better, but not great.

No, what makes me feel like a success is that someone, who is not a big fan of fantasy is reading, Demesne’ Aithera, and says that they forget that they are reading a story and are caught up in the story.

This person is known for speaking their mind. If they don’t like something they say something about it. Tactfully some times, sometimes not so tactfully. If they like something they say so as well. So for this person to say that they are into the story means, for me, that I have done the job I set out to do. To tell a good story.

Some will not find the story good. Some will find the style is not to their liking. Some will find anything that they can to not like the story. That is fine. If those are vocal, that will hurt, but it is their opinion. But their is ONE person in the whole world that really likes the story. I have succeeded. Anything more is icing on the cake.

Making a story

Writing. Writing. Writing. What is this thing called writing? Better yet, what is this thing called writing a story?

In my research for this endeavor I came across lots of advise. The best one to date goes something like this.

Writing has rules, you need to know the rules so you know when you break them, and the rules are guidelines.

Think of the line from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Some authors set goals or xxxx number of words a day, and shoot for that. Some authors set an over all word count of xxxxxx for the story as well. Some authors set on a chapter and go until the rough draft is done, then move on to the next. Some authors spend lots of time working up an outline with extensive character attributes, and location settings.

“So what do you use?” Someone might ask. Let me see. NONE of those. The closest I come to most other authors is an out line consisting of notes for a “Beginning.” “Middle.” “End.”
So here I sit with a beginning, middle, and end, and I am thinking how the character in any part of it would go from point A to point B in that place. In going from point to point, what would be the cause and the effect of what is going on. Causes might happen all over the place. The effects might be seen later on. After some fleshing out and the story seems to be taking shape, then comes the, Why. Why is this going on, why is that going on, why is the character going there, and is all that really important to the story?

In the mean time, nuggets might pop into the brain while sleeping and a note gets put in the story about a certain place or action. I might overhear a conversation and think, “Oh! I could have the character do something like that, just might get him/her into or out of trouble,” or the conversation might just let the brain come up with a thought, totally unrelated to the conversation, but adds to the story. The other part is I yak up the story line with the misses and she might ask why, which leads me off to change, delete or rearrange what is going on.

I have no daily goals, or overall story word count. The story is, what the story determines it will be. When the story is told then I have a word count. My first book had 77+k words, the second has 66+k. Who knows what the third is going to have, possibly 100+k is what I am thinking, and the fourth? Who knows, some nuggets are there and more get added, will see when I get to really working on it. I have sat down and just jotted down a few notes to be looked at later, or sat down and pumped out 2 or 3 chapters. When I get on a roll, it is a roll. I do look, read and tweak daily when in story mode. In between stories, while getting it published, there is some slack time. Then it is back at it.

Let me conclude with this. This is what works for me, as hap-hazard as it seems, there actually IS some rhyme and reason to it. If you could see the notes it might make sense, but since you cannot, oh well. If you are going to write, you have to find what works for you.

What to write

I sit and look at a blank form. All the blog pages we go to, to gain insight into writing and publishing books, say to set up a blog to promote our books. Create a presence. Anyone who thinks this is simple, has more than a penny in their pocket and a little more computer education than me.

Freeway Express, AS has great templates to help get started with a basic web page. Someone around here says, “There is elegance in simplicity.” Not to mention the consensus is, a busy page tends to confuse and frustrate a web visitor. I hope ours is easy to maneuver through and find interesting content.

So what can I possibly write about, that would be interesting for others to read? Other than the books we are trying to promote.

We did write book one and book two of Demesne Aithera and Valley of Mystery out of order. Though New Beginning is the third book in the series. Steve has been working on it between answering questions about Aithera from the beta reader. We have wrapped up Aithera somewhat.

You may have figured it out by now. The SF side of this team works the primary writing of the books and the publishing part and the DA throws in her two cents sometime a dime into the story and does her darndest to keep the web site and the blog up to date. We continue to grow and learn. Keeps the mind active as we get older. If we can make some grocery money with it, then we are moving forward. Nothing worth while comes easy.

Keep Smiling, everyday is a new day.

Lessons Learned

Lessons learned.

When cleaning out web files, be careful what you delete. Web building is a learning experience for those who play with their own web building. Deleting files one shouldn’t, leads to redoing a website or blog. Rebuilding the website was easy since it was saved on a local computer. The blog was lost, so a need to rebuild was necessary. Some might think it actually looks better.

So, with Aithera and Valley of Mystery published and a new book in the works a new blog page is also come to be.

Long winded here, we are not, but we are always interested in your thoughts.

Sometimes you have to delete files so new can go up. It’s another type of cleaning house so to speak or redecorating as long as old photos and memories can be relocated later. So making sure you have a backup before deleting is always good.

Short Stories & Thoughts on writing