Your Plot in 140 Characters

Have you seen this slide show of all the Pixar movies being summed up in 140 characters? It’s awesome. My two favourites are the one for Toy StoryA cowboy toy and an astronaut toy must overcome their differences to find their way back home to their loving owner. Hilarity ensues.—and the one for UpThe world’s saddest montage is followed by an old man’s trip to S. America via a lot of balloons. Neighbor, talking dog, and odd bird join. The opening to Up is one of the saddest things on film. I still don’t feel like I could make it through without a real life breakdown.

How easily can you guys sum up your stories—or your favourite stories—into 140 characters? Does it still sound like a good story? Could you pitch that tweet and convince someone to read your book?

I tried to sum up Catalyst in 140 characters. It’s wasn’t as easy as I thought.

A former Luddite discovers who is behind his family’s murder and uncovers a plot that sheds doubt on the integrity of the leaders of Earth.

Here is Beacon.

An AWOL soldier has to find a way to defeat an invading fleet while avoiding the general who’s trying to take all the power for himself.

The only thing I don’t like about these is I want to read more from you but they are too long to include hashtags. If you write one include it in the comments or hit me up on Facebook so I can read it.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

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Smaller Word Counts

When I was writing Catalyst my daily minimum word count was 5000 words. I finished the first draft in a month. It was awesome. I thought I was the master writer and made 5000 words my new minimum.

Except that I was single back then and only worked one day a week at my day job. Now I’m married, have a car payment, more responsibilities at church, and simply don’t have the time or energy (some days I don’t have the mental health either) to write 5000 words a day.

For a while this was getting me down. I’ve been writing for years now. Shouldn’t I be getting better at it? Now I don’t worry about these things. It doesn’t serve a purpose to compare two totally different life situations and blame myself for not getting enough work done.

Instead I set a new deadline for the projects I’m working on. Then I estimated how many words my projects were going to be (The Ronos books have always been between 90-100k and I don’t want my general fiction book to be more than 70k), subtracted what I’ve already written, and divided it by how many days I have until my deadline.

That gave me 650 words a day.

Very doable.

Now if I’m having a bad writing day or feeling like I’m not doing enough I can always remind myself that I don’t have to write a book today. I simply have to get it done before June 21. As long as I’ve met my word count—650 words—I have done what I need to do for the day. Of course some days will be better than others and I’ll go way over my word count which means my projects will be done even sooner than my deadline which just makes me look like a superstar to my boss…who is me…or possibly my wife.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

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Music I’m Writing To

This is the music that is getting my creative juices flowing of late.

The Gaslight Anthem—Get Hurt
The last Gaslight album was a bit of a dud. Sure there were a few solid tracks—45 is one of their best—but there was a lot left wanting. Get Hurt is a much better album. The tracks you need to check out for sure:

  • Get Hurt
  • Helter Skeleton
  • Stay Vicious

The Rural Alberta Advantage
They sing more than one song about the city of Edmonton. How can you not love them? Plus I’m from rural Alberta. Song to check out:

  • The Deathbridge in Lethbridge
  • Edmonton
  • Terrified

July Talk
Just go listen. Right now. Stop reading.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Conspiracy Theory

Good news! The first teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron will be shown during Agents of Shield this Tuesday!

Oh wait.

That’s the word we got this week. But then a day or so later the teaser was put up on YouTube. Why? Why make the big announcement and then drop it early for seemingly no reason? I have some theories about this.

It was about to get leaked
Marvel dropped it early because it was about to get leaked. They didn’t want a crappy comic con recorded version of their trailer to be seen before the real thing was released. So they uploaded the teaser and cut off anyone that might have tried to use it to boost the likes on their channel.

Something is going to happen to Agents of Shield (Ain’t no one got time for all those periods)
Maybe after they made the announcement ABC let them know that might be a bad idea. It’s possible the struggling TV show is about to get cancelled. Or maybe they figured out that no one was going to tune into the show just to watch a teaser that would end up online anyway.

DC was about to steal the spotlight
Batman V Superman: The Dawn of the Worst Title Ever doesn’t come out until 2016 but there are already rumours swirling about footage, possibly even a teaser trailer. It’s possible Marvel thought that DC might try and one up them by dropping some footage and decided to release the Avengers trailer early.

Whatever the reason, it is strange that Marvel would contradict themselves to quickly. We may never know the reason.  In the meantime watch the trailer again (I’ve seen it only 3 dozen times).

Also, here are some things you might have missed in the trailer.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

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Short Story Boost

Writing novels takes a long time. Even if you publish your first draft (don’t you dare publish your first draft) it still takes months to write that. Then you have rewrites all over the place—if your lucky. Sometimes you have to start over completely with zero words. I’ve done that twice with Book 3. Sometimes it feels like I haven’t accomplished anything.

It feels so good to finish a project so it is demoralizing when it takes a long time for it to happen.

To avoid getting down about it every so often I switch gears and spend a day or two writing a short story. Specifically a King and Wakefield mystery. I give them a case to solve and then write until it’s done. The longest word count is 11k and the shortest is only 2.5k. At the end of the day I finish a story and feel like I’ve accomplished something. I now have four King/Wakefield short stories sitting in my back pocket.

I don’t know what I’m doing with them yet. Maybe I’ll wait until I have a dozen or so and then publish them all at once Netflix style or maybe I’ll draw it out like broadcast TV. Maybe I’ll stick one at the end of Book 3 for fun. That’s a decision for later.

The point of this blog is that short stories offer a break from the stress of novel writing. It especially helps for me that each story has the same protagonists and I know everything about them so it is easy for me to slip into their heads and solve crime.

Sometimes I wake up and look at the work I have to do and get exhausted. but if my distraction from novel writing is short story writing then at least I’m getting something done.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

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New Writing Goals

I took some time off from being serious about writing. Mostly because I was not in the mental state to day dream about Mac and Lynn fighting an invading alien fleet. It’s been over six months. Time to get back to real writing. That means making goals and setting deadlines.

Goals
Write two books by June 21.
One book will be Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy.
One book will be something I will try to sell to book publishers. It will be easily marketable to middle-aged women.

Deadlines
I want to finish both books by June 21. But I’m not sure that means you will be able to have book 3 in your hands by then. It’s possible but it depends on how the current draft goes. The deadline for this draft of book 3 is the beginning of December.

Book 3
Whilst I was going through my life trauma I got some feedback from my first wave of test readers. It was very constructive. Unfortunately they pointed out some major flaws I didn’t pick up on that now require me to rewrite the whole thing.

Basically I’m moving a character from storyline B to story line A and changing the perspective of storyline B. So I might as well redo everything and make it awesome. Don’t worry. I’ve been pecking away at this for the last few months. No really solid writing days but a couple hundred words here and there. Right now I’m on chapter 5 and this book should have 20 chapters like Catalyst and Beacon did.

Untitled general Fiction Novel
I don’t’ want to say too much about this book yet. It revolves around a family that goes through a tragedy, doesn’t handle it well. It’ll might make you cry but it will for sure make you laugh. I don’t know how long it’s going to be —I’m doing my best to keep it around 70k. Right now I have 20k words.

I think I can easily finish the next draft of both of these books by that date. However I’m going to do my best to get book 3 published (fingers crossed/pray for me) by then and to at least have the other book out to test audiences.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Posted in writing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Year of Science Fiction

It’s been a good year for movies—better than I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be the year of lulls before the awesomeness of next year, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars Episode XII: Revenge of the Gungans (title unconfirmed).

But I was wrong and very excited to be wrong. Not only am I excited for good movies but the best movie of the year so far (Guardians of the Galaxy) and the most underrated movie of the summer (Edge of Tomorrow) are both science fiction. Real, fun exciting, genuinely good science fiction.

I’m also crazy excited for Interstellar coming out in a couple weeks.

This is probably the fallout from Gravity last year. Now with Guardians being the best movie of the year so far science fiction is becoming even more popular. If Interstellar is good enough then it could be two years in a row when a science fiction movie has been in serious contention for best picture.

Why bring this up? Mostly because I’m curious about what the next trend is going to be. Vampires are done. I’ve also heard that publishers aren’t buying anymore supernatural YA manuscripts. How cool would it be if science fiction became the next trend?

Books usually lead these trends. Then when those books become super popular they get turned into movies. Now that the studio has seen that science fiction can do really well at the box office maybe they will start making popular science fiction into awesome movies.

How cool would it be if they made a cinematic Ronos Trilogy?

What science fiction story do you want to see adapted for the big screen?

20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy

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“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Posted in Movies, writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments