Work In Progress Challenge

I was recently “tagged” by Shannon Howell in a book interview of sorts. I am glad to have this opportunity to share about my work in progress and thanks to Shannon, and Eric, and to all those down the line who continued to pass this challenge along.

1. What is the title of your book/WIP?

Yikes. Writing this down is sort of like cementing a message in a sidewalk. Once it’s there, it’s there. The pending title is The Tale of Calelleth. I originally got the idea to call it a “Tale” from John Gardner. See the link to my post here.

2. Where did the idea for the WIP come from?

It came from being witness to a sudden and vicious storm. Also, from the book How the Irish Saved Civilization see this post Where Do Ideas For Novels Come From?

3. What genre would your WIP fall under?

It would be fantasy. However, I could categorize it under high adventure fantasy, because it is a mystery and my characters do not have super powers nor are there fantastical creatures…yet.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Interesting question. I figure Russell Crowe back in his Gladiator days as my antagonist and recently, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as my protagonist. I know strange protagonist choice, but did you see the Dark Knight Rises? He was excellent.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your WIP?

The Sage in Waiting Hailea and her bodyguard Custos discover a terrible secret just as an innumerable army arrives on the steps of the city. Will they be able to solve the mystery and save the city? See a full synopsis here.

6. Is your WIP published or represented?

Certainly no publication yet and no representation yet. I am working on that now.

7. How long did it take you to write?

Seven years to develop and write. I have already started on the second book (about 2/3rds done) and have the others plotted out. See my 3rd draft post here.

8. What other WIPs within your genre would you compare it to?

Right there with you Shannon, not sure, still looking. Thought Stephen Hunt’s Secrets of the Fire Sea is close.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this WIP?

C.S. Lewis, Jules Verne, and I know silly, but J.K. Rowling. I really like the coming of age stories set in a time of nobility and chivalry.

10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in this project.

My story contains all of the elements you are looking for in a YA book. My target audience is 13-19yrs. Meaning there are episodes of first kisses, rival dormitories, daring sword fights, an obstinate but charming horse named Aleutian, teachers, libraries, struggling students, young love, broken hearts, death, terrible sadness, and reluctant heroes.

One last thing…

Tag, You’re It:

As a final step of this Work In Progress blog post, I’m supposed to tag other writers who are then “it” to make a blog post of their own.

Here’s my list:

Josh Mosey

Andrew Rogers

Wo3lfMad

Julie Catherine

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Blogging 101: Maintaining Readership

Unlike writing, blogging can be a science. If you follow certain rules and maintain a certain rhythm of posting, the blogger can be successful. However, once you are established in the blogosphere, and your friends no longer check your FaceBook page to see if you have posted anything new, the beginning blogger might lose some steam. I know I did.

So, how do you maintain this platform? How do you maintain and acquire new readership? (Obviously this post is for novice bloggers. However, it is always good for the veteran to brush up on the basics). Here are three reason your readers might be running.

The Trithemis Aurora is a ...zzzzzz
The Trithemis Aurora is a …zzzzzz

1. You Don’t Keep to Your Theme– This is the simplest reason bloggers lose traffic. If you are a blogger, writing about say, hockey, be sure to include it in each post. You can share a little anecdotal back story of how you sharpened your skates on the pond behind your parents’ house when you were three. However, if you inked a heart-wrenching story about a certain species of dragonfly and how they were going extinct, it might sound a bit off like a stray note at a concert. Your hockey readers might flee for something a bit more on topic.

2. You Don’t Post Rhythmically– What does this mean? This means that no matter how often you blog, be sure to have fresh content at the same time. I see writers who update their blogs monthly, daily, or every second Tuesday of the month. However you do it, find a schedule — and stick to it. You can stray a bit from time to time, but 99% of the time, do what your readers expect so they know when to visit your blog for new content.

3. You Stop Interacting – The most successful blogs create little communities. The readers know what to expect (theme), they know when you are going to post (rhythm). They want to know about your topic, but they want to share their bit too. And it could be an invaluable bit. A new book, a unique way to sew a pair of trousers, whatever. You might learn something from them, and that is the point isn’t it? Learning, growing, making your blog a tight little band of misfits who all enjoy, or are all striving toward, the same thing.

These are three simple things. Do you know of other tips that would help a blogger gain or maintain readership? Please share below! If you have posted something similar on your blog, please feel free to include the link below in the comments section.

Cheers,

Bob

Advice For Aspiring Writers

 

Stephen J Cannell died a couple of years ago. I probably would not know who he was if he was still alive. However, when obituaries are posted around the web and condolences flood it, I get suspicious. It was then I discovered one of the writers for the A-Team, one of my favorite shows from the 1980s. 

Mr Cannell wrote every day for 5 hours! He co-wrote or co-created over 40 TV shows and wrote several novels. Below is a fantastic interview for writers who are in the grand struggle of producing a work.

Here’s a couple of clips:

Find some time to write this weekend.

Cheers,
Bob

 

How Does a Writer Measure Progress?

Every now and then I look back on the Unmentionables that are my first drafts. I see the path of my writing and, though it has sloped a little way up the hill of mastering the craft, I see I have come a long way.

As I thought about this more, I wondered. So, if I have come “far”, how does a writer measure that exactly? Better yet, How do I, as a writer, measure progress?

The answer for you could be simple. It could be that you now have 30,000 words, and you had 5,000 a year ago. It could be that your vocabulary has grown tremendously, that your scenes of harrowing danger and swashbuckling duels are now believable, or that your love scenes are now devoid of most of their cheesiness.

I believe it is a smattering collection of these things. I see that my writing is cleaner. I see that I don’t use that that often, (pun intended). My words are more diverse and the dialogue is smoother.  However, I am at a loss. I know writers learn by doing. They learn by mastering the craft in order to abide by the laws and break them at their will.

But, How do you measure the progress of your writing?

Keep Writing,

Cheers,

Bob

Everything Has A Story

It’s been almost three years now since I’ve had a space to write. My two daughters took precedence over a writing area and this, alas, left no room for a desk or study. Now, however, the time has come for a writer retreat to take form in the basement of my fine new abode, and I am thrilled beyond words.

As I unpacked the items that would comprise this writer’s retreat I thought of the essentials. Books? Of course. A desk? A must have. Lamp? Yes indeed. However, as I pulled out a few other items from long forgotten storage in my garage, memories of when I bought these items or the individual who gave it to me flooded my mind. I realized these belongings, though second hand and quite old, have stories of their own to tell.

The first item I would like to draw your attention to is in the top right corner of the photo. It is a picture of two warships. I know it might seem silly to have a couple of random war vessels plastered on the wall, but these are not random. They are not mere warships but, rather, photos of two ships my deceased grandfather Robert Evenhouse served on during the Korean Conflict.

The next item that might (or might not) catch your eye is that simple black chair that sits in front of the desk. That belonged to my grandparents when they managed an apartment complex. They bought this chair, and an identical one, after my grandfather had a stroke. It exudes comfort and I am grateful to have inherited it.

Now, onto the prized possession of that plain light colored desk I use to compose my stories. That my dear friends cost me $85.00. Why would you pay $85.00 for a desk that you could probably buy for $30.00-$50.00? Simple, I was swindled by a salesman at a second hand shop. I have absolutely no clue as to what thinking at the time. I wager I was just too excited to have something to write on, apparently no matter the cost.

The last item, but not the least, is the futon. “Anyone make that mistake?” As Jim Gaffigan jokes, “There is never enough fu in the ta. It’s like sleepin’ on a grill.” This beauty was purchased eleven years ago and has served as a couch and bed in my dormitory at collage, the first couch my wife and I ever had, and is the current bed for my in-laws or sister-in-law to sleep when they visit.

All things travel.

All things have a history.

And, therefore everything has a story to tell.

Keep Writing,

Cheers,

Bob

The Best Writing Advice, Ever

Since watching A Midnight In Paris with Owen Wilson, I have wondered what it be like to have Hemingway deconstructing my sentences. Then, I thought, what would it be like to have Gertrude Stein dissecting my novel or discuss my novel with the various writers or artisans that graces Paris in the twenties during that Movable Feast?

I have a lot of writing hero’s and writers that I admire. If I could resurrect any writer I think it would either be Jules Verne or Tolkien.

Why? I love the pace of Verne’s stories. They are simple tales indeed but, he is an expert of pace. The stories start out with a recruiting section. Once the adventure is plotted and the characters are selected the race to the end begins.

Tolkien, its obvious isn’t it? I would need his help developing my world. I have no plans on adding languages as that is a bit further that I would want to go, however, his expertise in realm creation would be appreciated.

How about you? Who are you writing heroes and why? Who would you seek for the best writing advice, ever? Post your answer in the comment section below.

Cheers,

Bob

 

 

Are You A Writer or A Blogger?

Sit down for a moment writer. Pour your tea or coffee if you must, but let’s take some time to reflect.

Survey the last week. Think about the time you spent writing. Whether this has been a productive week for blogging or working on your book, or journaling, it does matter. But I challenge you place that time in three categories: Book, Blog, Personal.

Okay. Now, think about this question: What do you spend the most time on?

I find that a lot of times how we spend our time is who we are. But, in our mind we pretend we are something else. I know I do. If I take this survey of my writing time I see that I spend more time working on my blog and less time working on my novel. Albeit, the fun part of the novel is over. Now it is editing, writing proposal pieces, and gathering names for agencies and agents.

I write this blog post to recommit to my novel. To give it not thought, but time.  After all, what is a writer’s platform if he has nothing to share from it?

Write this weekend my friends.

Cheers,

Bob

I did a blog post for my friend Josh Mosey. It is titled Advice for the Writer’s struggle.

Josh Mosey | Writer

My good friend Bob Evenhouse of the blog Part Time Novel was kind enough to send me a guest post while I am trying to catch up on my sleep (new babies are cute little time vampires). Enjoy!

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Writers struggle. It’s our most consistent state. We struggle for the correct word. We struggle for the proper word. A word that is rhythmic, fitting, mood setting, decisively explanatory, and altogether perfect. Doing this once can be exhausting. Doing it one hundred and sixteen thousand times can be debilitating, especially when you are at the bottom of that hike looking up at the grand snow capped Himalayan-like…

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The Dust Jacket of Calelleth

The Seige of Calelleth

Yesterday (see here), I promised to post the synopsis of my book as I continue to work through sections of my proposal. I am pleased to say I got a bit closer to the place I wanted to be, though there is always a (perhaps obsessive) need for the writer to refine and improve.

I have to admit I was a bit depressed by the perpetual mustering of strength  my synopsis required. I was trying so hard and focusing all of my energy on writing a synopsis that is good and gripping and inviting that I nearly tired of writing altogether.

Now, I know it is only a couple of hundred words but I am proud of them. Proud enough to hope that the thrill of finishing this portion of my proposal will be able to carry me through the next. I also hope it offers a potent enough spell to banish that depressive Bob that rears his ugly head every now and again to tell me I’m not cut out for this. You can go to seed, dear friend. This novelist no longer needs you.

Custos is a Humili – both farmer and volunteer in the Calellethian guard. Though war hasn’t happened for centuries, opportunities abound for a young man to display his talent with the sword and bow during the Harvest Celebration. However, before Custos is able to participate, he is chosen to fill a revered post that becomes available once in a generation: The Guardian, the protector of the future Sage of Calelleth.  

After Hailea is elected Sage in Waiting, but before the people of Calelleth discover they are not alone in the world, she befriends her bodyguard Custos and together they uncover a nasty secret buried beneath the city: a labyrinth of passageways leading to ancient ruins and piles of decayed bodies.

As Custos and Hailea struggle with the gravity of this discovery amid the political squabbles and backstabbings that usually encompass their daily life, an innumerable army arrives at the Calellethian gates demanding to have their captive families released to the utter bewilderment of the city leaders.

Will Custos and Hailea be able to devise a plan to appease the ferocious force in order to save Calelleth? Or will the city of Calelleth and its inept army be obliterated by the consequences of a forgotten past?

Keep Writing.

Cheers,

Bob

What Is Your Novel About?

I am having trouble coming up for the synopsis for my book. Funny right? I am the author and even I don’t know what my book is about. It’s not that. It’s just I am having trouble with finding out where my synopsis begins.

My story is one of suppressed histories and nasty secrets that eventually come back to haunt the characters in my book. So, I thought, I should start with the secrets. No, I don’t want to give too much. Should I start with the discovery of the secrets? No, I want that to happen during my novel and not giving it away in its explanation.

I’ve written about twenty drafts of my synopsis. All of them are terrible. I was sitting down in despair because this is a huge part of the proposal. It has to be good enough to capture the agent or reader to spurn them on and create an appetite to continue reading.

My wife eventually said why not start with a quote from my book, something a character says? Or why not start with the beginning of this novel only? I know it seems simple, and it was. Thanks to her I have a great start on description and I will finish it and post it tomorrow.

How about you? Are you having trouble with any particular portion of your proposal? If you’ve written one, what was the most difficult part?

Keep Writing.

Cheers,

Bob