REVISE TILL YOUR EYES SEE THE PRIZE (Writing Wednesday)


I am neck deep in the revisions on book two. It is going well. I wrote the first draft and topped it out at 59,000 words roughly. So I only need to go in and add about 20,000 to bring it up to my contracted word count. No problem.

Except there is a problem.

Revising for me is to go in and trim and cut and rearrange sentences in a way that cuts the word count. I take those long-winded, lackadaisical sentences and I chop them up into little, tiny pieces! Why? Cause I am a cold-blooded killer that’s why! I am the Ted Bundy of my manuscript, the Richard Ramirez of my plot!

No, seriously, I do it because there is one very simple rule you MUST keep in mind when revising.  Ready for it? Is your little heart going pitter and patter?

YOU MUST MAKE EVERYTHING PAY FOR ITS TIME ON THE PAGE.

It’s simple. When you write your first draft you are in story mode and you are firing on all synapses just blurting out the story. Every idea is zinging around your braincase like one of those crazy rubber balls you find in a gumball machine. Bing, bing, zing, bang, boing! Crap is flying out of your mind and onto the page. You get everything in there. Your characters grocery list, your grocery list, characters motivations, their childhood drama, their preference for wheat over white, boxers over briefs, Coke over Pepsi…..you get the idea.

So now, in revision, you get out your hatchet and your scalpel and you go to work. You pare out every superfluous piece of prose and prune away every unnecessary detail. And when I say everything must pay for its time on the page I mean it. If you have a conversation between two characters then it either has to further the plot or serve for characterization.  Even your speech tags (which should be a thing you take a hard look at) should serve a purpose. Use them sparingly and only to keep the order of the conversation going. Most of them should be replaced with a physical action that will clue the reader in on some aspect of the character speaking.

ex: I set my fork down on my plate, careful to keep it from making a sound. “I advise you to not do that.”

“Shove your advice old man.” Grimy fingers belonging to Black Bart moved down to grab my wallet from the linen tablecloth. I thought about the smudges they would leave on the cream colored cloth. What would the matre d’ do?

The steak knife still in my hand buried itself in his arm. Blood shot onto the table like spilled Cabernet Sauvignon as he screamed like the girl who found a spider in her hair. Grimy fingerprints didn’t seem to matter anymore.

I picked up my fork. A square of rare steak hanging from silver tines. “You should always listen to good advice.”

The steak was delicious.

Now that is rough. I just whipped that up on the spot, so don’t judge me, but you can see how there is not even one I said/he said. I used physical action to frame the conversation. I also told you Black Bart was an outlaw who didn’t bathe enough. the setting is a restaurant, probably high end with the linen tablecloths and matre d’, the protagonist is an old man who is cold-blooded and tough as nails.

That’s how I do it folks. Your mileage may vary.

Write well, y’all.

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RED UMBRELLAS MAN (or Tattuesday part deux)


First of all, thank you one and all for your continued support and love for Tattuesday! I really appreciate it. According to the stats on my old blog here Tattuesday was a big hit last week.

So here we have another Tuesday and another tattoo, two tattoos actually.  These are both on my friend and customer Shannon Murphy, or Murph as we call him. Murph is an abstract painter. He is very creative and artistic, delving in to many techniques to give his art the fullest depth he can. You can find a lot of his artwork hanging at Family Tradition Tattoo as well as galleries around town.

Murp is a cool guy.  He’s really one of the nicest, most laid back cats I know. He gets weird artsy tattoos cause he’s cool like that. This is an example.  I have several pieces of artwork, done by different artists all with umbrellas in them. Tattoo artists all try to find offbeat things to paint and someone did a cool umbrella. Well, the idea sparked and next thing you know a lot of people put umbrellas in their stuff, all on their own. So it became a thing. Kevin has one and now Murph has two.

They are both red and both cool as hell.  Kinda new school, kinda traditional.  Click on the pic to make it bigger. Enjoy!

GENRE MONDAY


Welcome to Genre Monday. On monday I will talk with you about all things Genre and give with my opinions.

So new stuff.

Teen Wolf on MTV.

It’s not bad. We are I think 5 episodes in and it is very very watchable. In fact I actually like the actors in it. They all do a great job. Some of the FX are a little sub-par, but it is a tv show so that happens sometimes. Overall, despite it becoming racier by the episode and thereby putting it in danger of being off limits for the 14 year old son, it is a pretty well-made and entertaining show. They went old school werewolf on this one with some good things associated with wolfsbane and the like.

Falling Skies on TNT

Another very watchable show.  I like the interplay of characters. I like the way it seems to be setting up an American Revolution allegory. I liked Noah Wylie’s character having an Independence Day moment without ripping the movie off. I like the outlaw leader.  The cast does a great job, the FX are pretty damn good, and the story is peppered with things that lead me to believe that this show is well planned out.

The Nine Lives Of Chloe King on ABC Family

Light, very light, but not bad. It’s not a sock knocker like The Vampire Diaries, but I will give it another go or two.  The lead actress does a good job and the show actually has the start of a good mythology going, so I will hang in there a little longer.

I Am Number Four

EXCELLENT! This movie got a lot of things right. It was more of a superhero movie than most superhero movies are nowadays. And I LOVE superheroes. I am a fanboy from wayyyyyyy back. Been reading comics since I could read at the tender young age of 4.  I loved the special effects, the actors did a fine job. The plot was a bit wonky at times and it could have been a touch grittier, but very enjoyable. Highly recommended. I will own this one day.

And old stuff

I have discovered a way to put comic books on my Nook. It is glorious. I have spent the last several days reading JSA and Criminal Macabre.

JSA is excellent. I love the Justice Society of America. I have since I was a kid. This is a new version of them. The original Green Lantern Al Scott is there,Starman,  The son of the original Atom (Atom Smasher), Wildcat, Mister Terrific, The Star-Spangled Kid, Hourman, Doctor Midnite, Black Canary, Sand (Sandy The Golden Boy), Doctor Fate, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and Jay Garrick (The Original Flash).

I have enjoyed the new incarnations and the storyline. I am only 30 issues in, but it is wonderful.  Truly a flash back to my childhood.  The artwork is stellar and the covers are amazing. These are classic DC heroes and they are paid the respect they are due.

Now Criminal Macabre.

I am about 3 issues in to the first miniseries.  The artwork is creepy thanks to Ben Templesmith and the storytelling by Steve Niles is first rate.  Cal Macdonald is a messed up occult detective who stays stoned to deal with all the weird crap he deals with on a day to day basis. Now occasionally it is hard to follow because of the style of artwork teamed with the sparse storytelling style, but that never lasts more than a panel or two. If you like urban fantasy you NEED to read this series. I also recommend the book Criminal Macabre which collects the three novellas about Cal Macdonald. Get it, read it.

Go forth and enjoy.

Now tell me what you think of the shows I listed and the comics here. Go on, comment away.

SIX SENTENCES ON A SUNDAY (kinda)


It wasn’t long before I found the first rat.
    It was a sewer rat, grown to mutant proportions by easy living in the sewers under the zoo. Its head had been ripped off. Its body crushed and misshapen. My imagination flared and I could picture the Nosferatu using the rat like a beer. Popping the top, drinking it down, and crushing the empty.

Welcome to Six Sentences On A Sunday done my way!  I will be randomly picking six sentences every Sunday to post. They could be from what I am working on, random snippets that appear in my head that I write down, something from someone else’s work, a quote, anything that is six sentences long.

This selection is from a prequel short I am working on for the Deacon Chalk series. The plan is for it to be given away to promote the release of BLOOD AND BULLETS from Kensington Publishing.

Hope you enjoyed it. If so, leave me a note and say so. If you hated it, well, leave that note too.

FIVE THINGS MAKE A FRIDAY


Welcome Loyals and True Believers to another new themed day.  From now on, barring a change of heart, or a special occasion, or the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse Fridays will be spent here with five random things.

Here we go, hold on to yer assets!

1) J.K. Rowling announced what Pottermore is. You will now be able to buy the Harry Potter books in e-book format for the first time ever. She will also have new material on there and a marketplace. If you didn’t know J.K. Rowling is a genius.  My take on it: Welcome to your second billion dollars Mrs. Rowling. Well done.

2) Comics legend Gene Colan passed away. He was one of my favorite artists growing up as a comic book fan. Tis sad.

3) Happy Birthday Charlie Gollmar.

4) Peter Falk passed away. You will be missed Columbo.

5) Later I will be eating Amy’s Kitchen’s Indian Mattar Paneer. It will be very, very delicious.

WRITING WEDNESDAY!


Ok Loyals and True Believers, today is Writing Wednesday.  I will be blogging about writing. How I do it, things about it, reviewing books about it, etc….. If you ever want to know anything about writing, Wednesday is the day for it!

Today, I am going to tell you about the BEST book on writing ever written.  For real, no lie, I credit this book for the selling of my manuscript that led to my 3 book deal with Kensington Publishing.

Are you ready?

THANKS BUT THIS ISN’T FOR US by Jessica Page Morrell

Go buy this book now and read it. It gives you the practical, easy to understand advice you need. Seriously, I thought I had writtena good book. I was querying and getting responses but no takers.

Then I read this book.

I completely revised my book USING THE KNOWLEDGE GAINED FROM THIS BOOK and within a few weeks sold that book and the two unwritten sequels. So this recommendation is based on my actual use of this book and I cannot praise it enough.

WELCOME TO TATTUESDAY!


Okay Loyals and True Believers we are doing new stuff around here. This si the first post for Tattuesday. What is Tattuesday you ask? Why it is where we talk about tattoos and art on Tuesdays. You may or may not know that I am a professional tattoo artist.  I have been tattooing professionally for over 15 years. I have my own shop Family Tradition Tattoo in my home town of Marietta, Ga.

So here is a portrait tattoo I did on a good customer of mine named Heather. This is from one of the best zombie movies to come out in the last few years Zombieland!

This took about 2 and 1/2 hours and is approximately 11 inches tall. Enjoy this like it was the last twinkie on earth!

Click to make bigger!

THING I DO NOT UNDERSTAND FANFICTION IS THY NAME. (plus some assorted news)


Ok, news first.

BLOOD AND BULLETS WILL BE OUT FEBRUARY 7, 2012!!!

Mark your calenders. It’s Super Tuesday, so go buy the book and read it in line to vote.  Also, my short story “He Stopped Loving Her Today” will appear in the Halloween special issue of One Buck Horror’s e-anthology. You will be able to pick it up for only .99 cents. Stay tuned Loyals and True Believers, I will let you know when.

I finished the prequel short story that occurs before BLOOD AND BULLETS and the plan is to give it away to whet your greedy little appetites for the book’s release. It’s 15,000 words so it’s well worth picking up when it’s available. Again, stay tuned. And finally I am 3,000 words into a Sci-fi Lovecraftian tale that I am aiming at a specific publisher and a specific anthology, so keep your fingers crossed.

Now on to the thing I do not understand.

Fan fiction.  Ok, I understand fan fiction…I have even read fan fiction. I get it, you want to play with cool concepts.  To clarify, I don’t understand fan fiction if you are a writer who is seeking to be published.  Why waste your time?  It will never see the light of day and will lend to problems down the road if you do get published.   I am sure you had fun writing about the shared unierse of DC Comics and Battlestar Galactica.  It was quite fun to have Green Arrow on Galactica and Darkseid working with Number 6.   However, every word you spent in someone else’s playground was a word you will not have to make your own.

If you want to be a writer, a published author, then the name of the game is to create a world of your own imagining and fill it with characters who have agendas, and motives, and weaknesses, and desires, and strengths.  Pit them against each other in a bid for power. Have on character royally screw another one. Turn blood on blood and pull families asunder. Destroy your world in a cataclysmic thunder of armageddon. Have someone find love, have someone lose it. Restore a characters faith in humanity and then rip it away from him in a vicious act of betrayal over a woman.

Go crazy. Be the vengeful god of the world you created. Be sadistically playful with these imaginary lives you have set in motion, after all, they are yours for the destroying.

You don’t have that right in fanfiction. Quit wasting your time and man up. You can write. Do it. No excuses, no explaination.   You could have written 5 paragraphs in the time it took you to try and object or defend the time you have wasted with somebody else’s creations.  Go make your own way.  You will not get lost in the woods. Just trust yourself.

Until next time, write well.