Posts tagged writing tips
I’ve often gone on public record to say I seek out inspiration from everywhere. As an artist, I feel it’s my job to see the unseen and find inspiration in unlikely or overlooked places. I’ve worked this way throughout my artistic life and it has yet to fail me.
Recently I announced I was going to embark on a bit of a genre tangent and wanted to highlight what it was that inspired my first purely sci-fi outing.
Many of you probably know by now, I am working with the metal band Unsun. What started out to be a one-off effort has turned into much, much more. I have now submitted to them lyrics for four songs and am now working on a fifth. I’d worked in the form years ago with a band that I was in, so the process wasn’t altogether unfamiliar. So… I thought it would be a fun distraction to chat about my process (along with some tips and tricks) on writing lyrics for bands.
I was riding my bike the other day (as I am wont to do) and noticed a number of new eateries popping up around my stomping grounds. Now, I should mention that Louisville, Kentucky has a LOT of really cool, unique places to break bread that are menu, style, and user-base specific. It’s actually suprising how many great places to eat we have.
I have a point that is universally awesome — stick with me.
On Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 I was villified on Facebook. The lies that were spoken cut deep and were only made worse because they were said by a member of my family. I won’t go into detail, simply because that is not what this post is about. What I want to say to this, however, is incredibly important to anyone who uses the internet for anything. I said it in the title of the post, but it bares repeating (over and over):
Some things cannot be unsaid.
When I first started publishing, I was thrilled at the opportunities. The ability to control so much of the production of a book and then get an actual fair cut of royalties was such a breath of fresh air the traditional publishers couldn’t breathe into my lungs. And having Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble inviting me, with open arms (cue Journey) to take advantage of their services was an incredible opportunity. And all went so well. Sales started soaring and people were really enjoying my work.
But then one of those publishers did something strange that caused the climb to some semblance of success to derail. That publisher? Barnes & Noble.
As everyone in the Jackverse knows, I loves me some horror. I have since I was a child (thank you Sammy Terry). I should have known that passion for fright would lead me on a collision course with a career as a writer of horror. At the moment, I am knee-deep in the gore of working on a number of horrific projects, including:
- Lie Zombie Lie (the fourth entry in the I Zombie series)
- To Be Written (a horrific tale about an arrogant writer getting just what he deserves)
- Lamentations of Madness (a theatrical script for Screampark in Lexington, Kentucky)
So I am quite consumed by the gaping maw of the macabre. With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on exactly what makes for good horror. This could be applied to fiction, film, haunted houses, or some good ol’ ghost stories.
Another working day has ended
Only the rush hour hell to face
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
Contestants in a suicidal race
Lyrics from Synchronicity, by the Police. We all know exactly what they are referring to. Lemmings have been been ill-perceived as a rodent that does little more than follow its fellow rodentia — even to their death. There is no truth to that myth, but the image holds strong. When you see one person doing nothing more than what the person in front them is doing, you think Lemming.
Annnnd we’re back with another episode of Get Jack’d. This time around I have the pleasure of jacking fellow author du’ grim Axel Howerton. As everyone on the Jackverse knows, the getting of jack’d is a deep, funky process… so let’s skip the pleasantries and get knee deep into the big funky.
I not only write fiction, I also write tech articles. I’ve been writing technology-based articles for nearly fifteen years and during that time the one thing that always shocks me is how many people do NOT back up their data. As writers, our data is our life. Imagine the horror of spending months on that new manuscript, only to have a disaster (a broken hard drive or fire) take it away from you. To prevent this type of loss you only need do one thing — back up your data.
One of the most important people in my circle of writerly peeps (who also happens to be the most kick-ass beta reader of all time) puts in her comments for me (This isn’t technically correct, but I know how you like to break rules, so … your call.) And she’s right — I loves me some rule breaking. Why? Because that’s what they’re there for — to be broken.
How can I say that? Simple: If rules weren’t meant to be broken, they wouldn’t be so damned tempting. With that said, I thought I’d share with you some of the rules I tend to break. You can then judge for yourself if I’m a loon or quite possibly onto something so mad, it could be brilliant.
When you think of brand, what comes to mind? Any number of images, sound bites, catch phrases, etc pop up to smack you upside the mind’s eye. Why does that happen? Because marketing execs are paid large sums of money to ensure that those brand names are burned into your psyche. And it pays off. Had it not been for brand, Apple wouldn’t be where it is today. Brand has brought Volkswagon back into relevancy.
There are plenty of books, sites, lectures, and articles centered around you getting your brand out there as soon as possible — in some cases, even before you have that first book published. And they’re all true. It’s hard work that will seem like a constant flow of pimping. In the end, it pays off. But what exactly is it you need to do? Let’s take a look.
Lately I’ve been taking up some of my regular blog spots to address various issues surrounding the indie author scene. I thought I would continue this practice once again… only this time dig a bit deeper into the muck and underbelly of the beast of which I am a part of. And as I dug my fingers deep into the viscera and gore, what I discovered is a cross section of authors on the ugly side of begging and pleading. Their sales aren’t there (yet) and they have resorted to desperate measures and Hail Mary passes. The sad bit of news I have to give them is that it won’t work. Desperation will only lead to more desperation.
Ladies and lovelies of the Jack-verse, it is a damn small world out there. It didn’t used to be. In fact, when I was a child the world was GINORMOUS. Actually it wasn’t, because the interwebs had yet to be born and LOL’d that word into existence. So it was just unfathomably large. Now… that size and scope of the our earthy digs has shrunk to Barbie Dream House size and we’re all dangerously close to being way too up close and personal for…wait for it…
I’ve been in a lot of industries. One of the most recent iterations (I call it Jack 3.0 — which I might be regressing to in the near future) was hair stylist. As a hair stylist it is a universal truth that there are slow times of the year. And so many stylist, across the board, do everything they can to get through the slower days.
Recently a couple of reviews of I Zombie I pointed out formatting issues. These issues only seem to appear in the Amazon version of the book — which happens to be a prime seller. So naturally I wanted to get rid of those formatting issues. After a number of tries (and even more hours of sweating, screaming, and weeping (I exaggerate a teeny bit) I believe I have finally mastered the formatting for Amazon. And of course I want to share how I managed to do it.
No, I didn’t take my favorite zombie in for botox today. What I did was a bit of tweaking to the cover of everyone’s favorite Zombie novel – I Zombie I. Why? Let me tell you a little story.
One of my beta readers for the upcoming My Zombie My came up with a brilliant idea last night for a promotion for the book — a mock “radio station” slash site akin to those used in My Zombie My.
One of my fellow indie authors, Tamworth Grice, has officially declared that Wednesday, June 22nd to be Indie Support Day and I have to say I am one hundred percent behind her.
Every indie author writes about this at some point: “What’s the magic combination of writing and marketing that will finally bring my sales up? We all do this — we struggle with how best to embrace Twitter, Facebook, forums, blog posts, giveaways, back scratches, and dog washes with the hopes of hitting that “sweet spot” where our sales will sky rocket and we’ll be able to quit our day jobs and do nothing but sit back and be fed bon bons as we dictate our next book to our personal girl/boy friday.
Artists are wonderful and interesting people. They are also insanely superstitious to the point of thinking if their routine isn’t executed exactly everything will fall apart. Writers know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, if they don’t burn that exact candle as they write, the ghost of Poe will not visit them during their process and their work will suffer the fate of the tell tale heart.