Blog Blackout and Submitting Novels

Greetings.

It has taken longer than I anticipated, but Part Time Novel is back up and running. I obviously did not realize when my family and I moved that there would have been a gap in internet coverage. Thankfully, I have the local Tim Horton’s (Tim’s) to replenish my cravings of internet must-haves like celebrity gossip, Facebook’s IPOs rise and stock downfall, and the heroic sprint of a stray dog across China! More seriously though, that dog is amazing. Check it out.

Running Dog

 

Moving has brought about a new urgency in my submissions process. As I packed my old notes, half completed novels, and finished drafts into boxes last week, I realized it was time to get going. It is time to submit my novel.

I finished my latest draft back in February and I believe I have allowed enough time to pass for proper distance. I have allowed this disconnect from my novel to pass my book out and to collect ideas on how to make it better. I have also investigated how I might submit it and even located a few books that I wish to compete against. Over the next few weeks I will keep you up to date on my progress, provide tips I have found about the submission process, as well as anything else that might be helpful for the beginning writer/submitter.

If you have anything to add to the dialogue, please let feel free to contribute.

Cheers,

Bob

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Short Story: The Finest Prose Form?

I started several short stories and have yet to finish one. My excuse is that my stories are too big. The true reason, one that I hesitate to acknowledge at times, is that my writing is unrefined.

Short stories are an enigma. I cannot remember the last time I read one, but they stand as an important bulwark of the prose continuum. When the remodeling project is done at my new house (yes, I understand I might never be done remodeling!)  I plan to sit down and try to finish a few. Why? Because it is a wonderful way to improve your writing. You have to be choosey with your words. You cannot simply throw some dialogue here and some description there for as many pages as you well please.You have to limit yourself. Therein lies the challenge.

As there are more remodeling projects to get to today, I will leave you with a few thoughts from the experts. Their analogies prove closer to the mark than my feeble ones ever could.

Keep writing my friends.

Cheers,

Bob

Project versus Platform

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“time is the most valuable thing that we have, because it is the most irrevocable.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison.

I’ve been seriously writing for about five years. I’ve finished two novellas, one novel, and have begun work on another novel. Soon, I will begin the task of putting together book proposals! I am excited for the next step in my writing life (submissions) but there is a lot of work to do in the meantime, namely building my platform here.

This is where the friction begins. While it is fun and it is still writing, blogging is not the same as working on a novel. It is tough when you are trying to build your platform on the fly as well as finish a book and have other obligations as well. There is constant give. Poor blogs mean better novel writing. But poor blogs also mean less of an audience. It is a constant give and take. A constant reevaluation of my time, how I can spend it and still be the most productive possible.

How do you do this writer? How do you balance the rigors of life with the challenges of building a platform and writing your novels?

Cheers,

Bob

Are The Characters In Your Novel Bored?

When I write, I like to put myself in the shoes of my characters. I like to imagine the way they would react to circumstances that arise. I do this for two reasons. First, because I want to display the surroundings and situations as vividly as possible, and second, because I want to be sure that the story is interesting to them so they are intrigued and want to venture further down the rabbit hole I’ve created.

I am reading a book, which shall remain nameless, where I believe the characters are bored. They are trying to solve a mystery, and each one of their fates are tied to it. They are also competing, though he is unaware of it, with the director of an orphanage. It sounds interesting, but once they are on the path of solving the mystery, the characters meet every day at an appointed time to try to solve it. This goes on for about three hundred pages, until a new idea comes to them. Yikes.

Get that carrot!

If you know me, I can be picky. I get easily bored with a novel. I want mystery, I want pace, and I want subplots.I don’t like to read a “filler” chapter. (This is a chapter on back story, a new character’s perspective that does not pertain to the plot, or a chapter that is written for the sake of being written and is otherwise disconnected with the story).

Each chapter should have some sort of dangling carrot in it. Something that makes your characters step across to the next page wondering where their life might take them.

Have you discovered a lack of subplots? Are your characters bored in your novel? If they are, chances are your audience will be.

Cheers,

Bob

Also, if you are a blogger, please visit the previous post about my need for guest posts. Thanks.

Guest Posts Wanted!

As some of you may know my family and I are moving to a new house! This means that my life will be up in the air and there may be some gaps in internet coverage. I am looking for posts to fill in the periods where I will not be able to follow through to my weekly audience.

This is where you come in, guest blogger.

I am not looking for works of fiction or poetry, but more or less tips on writing, tips for getting published, or anything relating to the life of a wanna-be published author. These will be used on May 24th, 25th, and 28th.

Please post your ideas/links in the form below.

Cheers,

Bob

Like books? Visit my friend Josh’s blog and comment. He is giving away 4 free books!

Josh Mosey | Writer

Here’s how this is going to work. I’ve got four books that I am giving away. If you want any of them, leave a comment with your order of preference. If you don’t want one of the books below, leave it off your list. Easy enough.

Full disclosure here, I borrowed these descriptions from the publishers.

In the concluding volume of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, Lisbeth Salander lies in critical condition in a Swedish hospital, a bullet in her head.

But she’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll stand trial for three murders. With the help of Mikael Blomkvist, she’ll need to identify those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she’ll seek revenge–against the man who tried to killer her and against the corrupt government institutions that nearly destroyed…

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The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart

For those of you familiar with the children’s novels The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, you may not be aware that a prequel to the series is now in stores. It stars none other than the genius  narcolept Mr. Nicholas Benedict himself, when he was nine years old. I am about halfway through it and am loving the charming language and immediate allure of the puzzles and mystery within.

If these books are unfamiliar to you, try this post by my friend Josh over at Josh Mosey Writer for a very brief, yet perfectly concise review of the trilogy The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Below is a trailer by Little Brown.

Cheers,

Bob

Your Favorite Place To Write

My family and I are moving in the next week and a half. The excitement of moving into the new house is mounting as well as the thrill of having an official place for my writer self to call his own. Previously, we have lived in apartments and have not had the space for a desk. We’ve kept the bookshelves, but I have lost that creative space that I believe is tremendously important to any writer.

Recently, I have been scouring various websites for an inexpensive corner desk, albeit a small Scandinavian one. Which brings me to the reason for writing this blog: The importance of a writer’s space.

Some writers need certain music. Some writers need to visit the same coffee shop at the same day each week which I usually do with my friend Josh. Some writers need to dress the part and some simply need their desk. I am one of these.

What do you need to write? Is is coffee? Is it music Or is it a quick kickboxing round while listening to the Eye of the Tiger before getting down some words? This may be a silly question. However, if you are having trouble writing, my guess is that something has disrupted your routine.

Cheers,

Bob

When Characters Do What You Do Not Expect

There have been times when a friend has read my manuscript and told me something about my novel that even I did not know was there. It might have been, by pure accident, something clever or something deep and meaningful that I did not even realize I put into the text. This is one of the several reasons why I appreciate the art of writing.

Other things can surprise the writer of a story as well. Unforeseen plot twists, misadventures that add depth to the plot, and characters that at one point meant nothing can become crucial to the story are just a few examples of surprises that await the writer of any story.

During my first draft of the Tale of Calleleth, I wrote a one liner about a character that went something like this:

“Aeneia, a girl who sat three desks over from Custos smiled smugly at the rest of the class, most especially at the students who translated incorrectly. She was a beautiful girl two years younger than Custos but incredibly unbearable.”

Aeneia has a small speaking part thereafter, then disappeared into the netherworld of my story, to be forgotten by all, well at least everyone but me.

Elbow your way into a story

However, this was not the last of Aeneia of Calelleth. She morphed during my second draft and flourished in my third to become someone of dire importance. To be honest I was shocked, not because she was now a pivotal piece of my story, but because it was so natural to include her in the story. It was as if she was always supposed to be there.

How does this happen? How does one character who is inconsequential in the first draft become detrimental not only to book, but future ones?

Even as the writer I do not know. Has this ever happened to you?  Has a character, or some other element in your story, elbowed their way to the surface and demanded to be written?

Cheers,

Bob