Novel Revisions & Life Updates

Wow I haven’t written anything here in a while. A lot has happened since…damn May 4th was my last entry. Anyway here’s what’s been going on.

A couple weeks ago I got to spend an hour with a professional editor from a publishing company and have her critique the first chapter of The Exile’s Violin. Man that was an incredible¬†privilege. I’ve been on the editing side of things before. She reached out to me after she had rejected my manuscript. That kind of thing almost never happens. The hour we spent going over the opening chapter was extremely productive. We identified some problems and worked out ways to fix them. After that hour I had a mission: to completely revise my manuscript and make it even leaner, tighter, and hopefully better.

So that’s what I did. Starting that afternoon and going up to about two days ago, I spent almost every free minute going over that manuscript. I cut over 6,000 words and rewrote a couple of chapters. I sent the polished manuscript out to a couple of beta readers yesterday. Hopefully I’ll get some good feedback. I’m feeling real good about the whole thing.

I haven’t worked on The Price of Loyalty in a while because the editing/revising took up all my time. Plus… I have a full time job now. So yeah working 40 hours a week also cuts into my writing time, but I’m not complaining! At this new job I’m learning all sorts of crazy cool stuff about SEO and internet marketing. But most importantly…it’s a job…that pays money. That’s really all I could ask for.

Oh I also had a birthday over the weekend. Yay me!

I’m feeling good. The last few months were tough with the whole unemployment thing, but it looks like things are starting to turn around. I got that great opportunity to have my manuscript looked at, I got a job, and I had a birthday all within a couple of weeks of each other. I’m going places baby!

Anyway tonight I’m getting back into the writing game. I’m not going to dive back into Price of Loyalty just yet. I kind of want a little bit of a break from the novel stuff. Instead I got a brand new short story outlined and plotted. Tonight I’m starting the heavy lifting. Wish me luck!

Oh and IN SITU has a release date: July 8, 2011. Mark your calendars. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

The Teller of Stories

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of posts by other authors where they talk about how they first started writing. Many of them say things that make us plebes feel left out like, “I started writing at age 2. I actually started writing before I learned how to talk. I got my first story published when I won a national contest at age 6 with my heartbreaking tale of a stuffed bear dueling a miniature unicorn. It was actually a commentary about the fall of the Soviet Union.”

Sidebar: I’d actually read that story about a Soviet flavored teddy bear & unicorn fight. That sounds rad.

For me, those kind of accounts (while probably rare in real life) make me feel like I’m missing out somehow. I didn’t start writing stories until I was in college. I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t start creating and putting pen to paper–well, fingers to keyboard–until fairly recently. Then I realized something today. Just because I haven’t been writing very long doesn’t mean that I haven’t been a storyteller for years.

Back when I was growing up my brothers and I loved to play with Legos. Our favorite thing to do wasn’t following the instructions and building the sets properly. Instead we’d build our own spaceships–things inspired by Star Wars and videogames. Not only would we build them, but then we’d battle them. Mostly this consisted of us putting them on the floor, moving them around, and making “pew pew” laser noises and explosions. Somehow our Lego games evolved. I started developing a story for our battles. I came up with reasons why my forces were battling my brothers’. I drew maps and created coalitions, confederations, empires, and republics. An entire universe with characters evolved around our Lego battles. I was creating story.

I guess I forgot that being writer doesn’t just mean generating pages. A writer’s job is to tell stories, and I’ve been doing that for years; it’s just now that I’m actually sharing them with others. What about you all? Despite my good natured teasing up above, I’m really interested to know how other writers got their starts. Please sound off in the comments.

Me? I’m going to go start an outline for that teddy bear vs unicorn story.