Sunday, November 13, 2011


Just finished my first rough draft of Mind Trip a few minutes ago. I'm really, really happy with it, and I'm ready to start something new.

Audrey will be here any day now. The next couple of months, I think, writing's going to go out the window for a while. When I return, I'll take a couple of months off of Mind Trip and work on revising my first book, The Dead Rise. I can't imagine a publisher ever wanting to read it, so I'll reread it, tweak it, and sell it on Amazon. Not that I imagine anything coming out of it. But otherwise, it'll just sit around on my hard drive forever.

I'm really excited about life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


It sort of feels weird, how quickly I got over Mrs. Shadow. I spent over two years writing it, mostly because I really didn't want to go back and finish it. More than anything I've written, it felt personal. When I started nearing the end, I didn't want to stop writing.

My brother asked me what I learned from it, and honestly, it boils down to one thing: have a plan. I had the first hundred pages of Mrs. Shadow figured out, and I decided that the rest would come 'organically' - that I'd leave it up to the book when the time came around to write it. Sometimes, that works out pretty well. The Cherubim had a few twists that I totally didn't expect when I started working on it. Mrs. Shadow was different. Most of the feedback I've had so far is that it meanders during the second half, which is fair.

Right now, I'm at the halfway point of my latest book - the last thing I'll write before my daughter is born. I know it will probably be a year or so before I can really get back into writing, and even then, I won't be able to spend as much time on it as I do now. I won't want to. But I'll have this first draft finished, and after things settle down, I'll polish it. It feels WAY more commercial than anything I've written before, less personal, but that's okay - I think this one is going to be my big attempt at being published.

Mrs. Shadow taught me that sometimes, the best thing to write isn't by chance, but by planning. Right now, the plan is to finish my latest book in three months. I finished the first draft of Mrs. Shadow in three months, but that was two years ago, before I started my day job. Two reasons this is going so quickly:

(1) I've set up a schedule. Four days a week, 1500 words a day. I have time to recharge creatively and get stuff done during the work week. This is really, REALLY helpful.
(2) I've started working with a skeleton. I bet a lot of writers do something like this. When I started, I divided the book up into a beginning, middle, and end act, with the basic idea of what I wanted to happen at the beginning and end of all three acts. Before I start on an act, I divide it into three smaller sections and figure out what I want to happen at the beginning, middle, and end of those sections. Then, a couple of days before I start the section, I figure out exactly what will happen and an approximate word count.

I mean, this is a huge help. I have a sense of the Big Ideas - the things that will definitely happen in the book - but I've given myself room to breathe and to add new ideas as they come. I really liked one guy I introduced, so I made him into a major character. It's not going to screw up any of my future writing, since it's still not fleshed out. In fact, I was able to use him in an upcoming plot point. Someone else who was meant to be a main character isn't working out, so I can push her to the background a little.

It's stopped being a chore. I'm having fun writing again, which was the point in the first place.

Monday, August 8, 2011


After two and a half years, I have finished the second draft of Mrs. Shadow. I don't remember ever feeling quite like this after finishing a work - a little melancholy. I started this book before Rebecca was pregnant, before I started working at AIM. I started off with a plot that was just a metaphor for puberty, and it ended up as a book about Bad Things Happening to Nice People. I like it a lot. After Rebecca finishes helping me edit it, I think I'll start to query again.

Happier news: over the next week, I'll start writing my next book. More and more is coming to me, and I think it's going to be a much, much faster book to write. I only have three months before the baby is born, so I'd better take advantage of the quiet time while I can!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Ghost of Christmas Future!

We just got back from an ultrasound, which was the sequel to what was supposed to be our last ultrasound. It all went a lot better than last time.

The halfway-point ultrasounds have one purpose: TERROR. Last time, the doctor told us that the baby had a choroid plexus cyst, a echogenic intracardiac focus, and a sandal gap toe. There could be other problems, but the baby wouldn't hold still long enough to let them look any further, and we'd probably want to get a genetic test for Downs Syndrome and Trisomy immediately.

And then no one ever called back with the test results. When Rebecca checked a week later, the doctor said oh, yes, everything looked fine.

All that gibberish above - those three problems? Those are fairly common things found in ultrasounds. It's just that when they're all together, the odds are slightly higher for genetic disorders.

The ultrasound today went just fine. The 'choroid plexus cyst', or 'little white spot', went away. The sandal gap toe ... well, no one could actually make it out this time. The baby seems to have a mild micrognathia, which seems to be an overbite, but - so do I, and the lower jaw is supposed to grow a lot during the third trimester. Everything's growing at the right rate and all the organs seem to be working out fine, so that's pretty good news.

And it's almost certainly a girl. I think we're leaning toward Miranda Harper as a name. We'll see.

I'm only thirty pages or so from the second draft of Mrs. Shadow! The other day, the plot for my next book came to me... and it's REALLY exciting. I'm ready to get on it!

Monday, July 4, 2011


Originally, I wanted to make this blog entirely about the process of writing. Which doesn't make for an entertaining read. It isn't like I'm inspiring future authors, so whatever. This doesn't have to be a Blog of Serious Times. We can sit back and post about ant farms instead!
BUT: just for today, I'm going to post a little about my new writing process.

Way back when, I had this idealized image of writing as a flow of creativity. You sit down, the wisdom and beauty spurts out, you fill your jug o' words, and then - WHAM - the faucet slowly dribbles out a few last spurts and, smiling proudly, you bask in your day's work.

No. Not really.

The thing is, it took longer than it should have to figure that out. Every day I planned to write, I'd sit down and procrastinate. Browse the internet, pick the perfect background music... anything but actually write. It wasn't any fun. Once I was maybe half an hour into it, it went fine, but until then, I dreaded actually working. It wasn't what I imagined writing SHOULD be. I figured that maybe it was that I wasn't making steady money off my art. Or maybe it was that I wasn't writing what I wanted to write.

Here's the truth, though: I'd set myself up to fail.

I wanted to work on my book four or five days a week. When I edited, my goal was to get through ten pages, and when I wrote, my goal was two thousand words. That makes for some fast progress, true. But no wonder I never felt like writing. I'd done the right thing by setting up a schedule, but I'd turned it into a chore.

For the past month, my schedule's been two days a week, Wednesday and Friday. Five pages edited a day. It's working out really well. Before, I used to take off a day or two a week just because I didn't want to get started. Now, whenever I write, I don't feel burned out by the previous day. I've ended up deleting something like thirty pages of drivel I wrote during my last stint, when my goal was just progress, progress, progress. I've replaced it with twenty solid pages. For the first time in a while, I think the second half of this book is shaping up to be something special.

Granted, I guess that the next book I write isn't going to be finished in three months. But it'll probably be a lot more fun to write.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I know, I know, I know. I haven't updated in over a year. So here's where I've been.

It's much easier to not write than to write. Somewhere near the end of 2010, I started revising Mrs. Shadow. I was nearly two-thirds of the way through when... the holidays happened. So I couldn't work because it was about to be Thanksgiving. And I couldn't work after that because it was about to be Christmas. And then I couldn't work because it was a new year...

Procrastination. My thirtieth birthday started to loom, and I thought: If I don't finish this, I never will. So I made a calendar.

One month later, I've edited nearly 40 pages and deleted another ten. If everything goes as planned, I should finally finish in August, nearly two years after I started writing. When I reread what I've finished so far, I'm REALLY happy with the book for the first time. So. We'll see.

But I'm back. Thirty years old and, in five months, I'll be a father.