Monthly Archives: September 2012

My Story, Jake’s Story: The Writing of a Novel

Foreword

Some time ago I drafted an essay for an English Comp. class. I ran it past a well-acknowledged literary professional at a local writing center, and they believed the writing to be quite good. The essay begins with a prologue to my novel, not included here, and discusses the technical process of writing (what it takes to develop a masterful writing style), as well as the up’s and down’s of the publishing world. I wrote in a style characteristic of one of my novel’s characters, an Irishman by the name of Aedus Butler. It’s much less formal and much more witty.

My Story, Jake’s Story

This isn’t my story. Far from it. It’s about Jake Laskaris, a seemingly average teenage boy with extraordinary powers. While my tale, my yarn of a narrative, may not have my novel’s, The Labyrinth of Cosa Nostra (LoCN), explosive properties, it literarily packs a punch. Yes, literarily is a word. I had my doubts too. If it was literally, you’d have a very sore jaw right now.

To avoid common stereotypes of writers, I’d be wise to clarify about my novel journey and myself in particular. I like adventure. No, scratch that, I love adventure, and not just writing about it. When I first went zip lining, I was a bit shaky in the legs, just like I usually am after giving a speech, but I knew I was going to have an amazing time, so I went for it. White water rafting was… well, insane to say the least. While we navigated the malevolent, white crested river, our guide told us all the ways we could die. If we were to, say, make a mistake on the next bend, our boat would be pulled underwater and we’d be crushed.

This is to say, I have experienced my share of adventures. Therefore, I am quasi-qualified to state that writing a book is just as thrilling, just as frightening, and just as worth it. Though that comes later. Before I could be up to bat with a novel, I needed to prep myself, just as I had to sit through the safety protocol of one of these events.

My first lesson was a fun time because it involved reading, one of my passions, and something, despite my other shortcomings, I’ve had a sure grasp of. Certain novels were a bit trying though. I had been told, through books by authors of bestsellers and all across the grand internet, time and time again: READ READ READ. All caps, I realize that’s yelling, but I would’ve deserved a scolding if I had disregarded this simple tip. Reading is the bread and butter of any good writer. And if I couldn’t have gluten, then it would be the gluten-free brand. That is to say, if I was not at the level where I could read high-level books, I had press on until I got there. Because until I had at least a partial comprehension of the English, The Count of Monte Cristo, and not the kiddy version, I wouldn’t have the literary comprehension I needed to proceed and succeed in the various genres of the writing world. Therefore, I took this advice, and I read.

I took reading classes, not because I was behind in the game of comprehension, but because I knew I had to press forward to find the golden nuggets that would provide me with the wealth of knowledge that I so desperately needed to be up to par with the amazing writers of this world.

Once I had read a great deal, I wrote a great deal. I finished a novelette in ninth grade, wrote a serial, submitted short stories to a contest, and finally, when I felt comfortable that I could write something worthwhile, I drafted my current novel. It was slow-going at first, until I reached scenes of passion, action, and humor. Then it all began to flow so much easier.

In my mind, it was as if a film were playing out. I could see the story going by in completed form, in all its grandeur. I longed to see it become a reality, so I wrote. I wrote till’ my faculties were spent, then I went to Barnes & Noble’s Starbucks and started writing again, this time munching on a blueberry scone. I sat staring at the blank paper until the next antagonist was presented, until the next bullet let fly and I would record the event in a flurry of pen and paper. The pen is mightier than the sword, for the pen may envision. It may create. It makes declarations of great import. It captures the human element.

Writing this novel wasn’t just a simple process of envisioning a story. At the end, I did not just experience euphoria, I felt a part of the tale. Now as I contact agents, ascertain a publisher, and the bookstores are persuaded to carry my book, it shall be shared with the world. A sentiment I could not have imagined back in Middle School, because I was so far from my goal. Even now, I have those areas that I struggle with.

I struggled to write fluid paragraphs, with neat transitions and sufficient imagery, while not going overboard into superfluity. I did the latter for far too long. I cringe when I look at my past manuscripts. Stories which I started, but didn’t have the confidence to finish, and then stories that I finished, but that I didn’t feel were worthwhile to share. It felt like a hopeless endeavor. As if I were on a weight loss plan, starting off a one-thousand pounds and making my way down to a hundred. An extreme example, yes, but it is truly telling of the emotions that were at play in my heart. With time, however, which equated to many years, I started to notice my own progress. I began to like my own writing, and instead of being my own worst critic, I built myself up through constructive criticisms, and by heeding the advice of others.

Now I struggle to get it out there. It, being my novel. It, being that stack of papers that I, as the cliché goes, poured my heart and soul into for many, many hours every day. There, being the world. What stands between me and my readers, is no longer just myself. It’s the agents and publishing companies. After my first query letter, my first attempt at pitching an agent who would help me make it to Barnes and Nobles shelves, I received a rejection within about twenty minutes. Oh, and it wasn’t a form rejection either. It was only five words telling me they were passing on my project. No reason, whatsoever. I moved on, because I wasn’t going to give up after I had gone so far. I tried another agency, followed by a couple more. I altered my pitch to sound better, give them what they wanted to hear. I waited. No response. In the traditional publishing world, no response is as good as a rejection. Nevertheless, I moved forward. To this day, I still don’t have an agent, but I will. I must.

Writing a novel wasn’t the romantic journey I expected. I didn’t get there right away, and it took a lot of hard work. That’s the American dream having the opportunity to succeed, and working hard to achieve your aspirations. It’s been worth every moment. The thrill I feel in writing transcends the action I experience in the physical, and I want to share that sentiment with everyone who is willing to open up my book cover and relish the words within.

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Post A Day 2012: Hiatus

I have made the decision to remove the PostADay2012 and Photography Challenge 2012 widgets.

I feel that having them up, while only posting a few times a month, is inappropriate, and casts a negative image on the blog – focusing on the lack of activity, in light of what could be a very productive goal.

After the immensely successful and fun PostADay2011, I would love to get back into the swing of things. However, that does not seem to be a possibility now. I have not even had the chance to post reviews, as I had been hoping to.

Engaging in scholastic pursuits, contacting literary agents, and developing a marketing strategy for my novel, paired with various other daily occupations, makes for a full plate. That’s not to say I don’t have the time to publish a daily blog, simply that I do not currently have the focus, and I believe that blogging demands a deal of attention.

I will continue to make posts and the occasional tweets for the Adventure Writer’s Blog on an occasional basis, until such a time that I may post on a daily basis.

Thanks for reading!

Adventure Writer

 

eBooks: Two Sides to the Story

From Freshly Pressed on WordPress, to self-pub aggregators [1][2], and many of the top news corporations and papers [3][4], eBooks are a hot topic.

Millions have already embraced the digital world of reading, and self-publishers are taking advantage, some making their stories exclusively available through eReaders, forgoing the traditional bookstore. Yet despite this, there are those who simply prefer paperbacks and hardcovers. They argue there’s nothing like the feel of paper in your hand, to have something tangible to interact with. My High School English teacher was one of them, and I frankly enjoy something more solid as well. eBooks being relatively new, and print being the tradition, this is no surprise.

eBooks have a sort of revolutionary feel to them. They’ve made ground in the last couple of years, even outselling print in some cases, as Amazon reports [5]. It’s an exciting concept, and certainly a lucrative one for Amazon and Barnes & Noble who are leading the market with their Kindle and NOOK respectively, as well as authors who have been able to capitalize by a further purchasing route that is more accessible to readers. It’s the age of convenience, and print had to make the transition sometime.

I first delved into the world of eBooks when I was told of a short story contest, held by the Lulu Corporation. Yet, as tends to be so, I didn’t stop with an entry. I pursued this new concept, and thoroughly researched it. I couldn’t believe there was such a simple way to publish, to distribute, and to make connections with readers.

It will be fascinating to see how the eBook develops, as innovation comes, as well as the opinion of print-advocates.

 

 

“Tweeting” – An Alien Phenomena

Instead of a love-hate relationship Twitter, I’ve had a confused-understood one.

While I’ve begun “tweeting” myself, at fairly regular intervals apart from Publicize, I am still detached from the bunch that manage to tweet at an hourly basis. Sure, I could say I’ve been munching on a spicy, bacon and vegetable roll (which incidentally had a piece of plastic wrapped in. How did that happen? Maybe I do have some good material here. 1h “Almost choked on a piece of plastic.” Comedy gold… right.), reading textbooks,  jogging about the house in between reading sessions (and taking bites of that roll after each session. Well, that was before the plastic.), querying agents, watching the DNC, RNC (I watched both to maintain a balance and stay openminded)… but is all of that really monumentally intriguing? And in the time that I’m typing up the tweet on my Blackberry, couldn’t I have read another paragraph on prepositions and repetition (not that it would be more intriguing, only more productive)? Couldn’t that witty remark be saved for the next blog post or novel?

I can see how Twitter may be a monumental aid in advertising and connecting with friends, family, businesses, fans, etc. but I’ve also observed how so many tweets are just lost in the void. Whether or not they are of superb quality, profound implications, they are like chaff to the wind in the midst of thousands, millions, billions of voices clambering for a moment in the spotlight.

Consistent tweeting works for some people. They have hundreds of thousands of followers who may chuckle at their quips, or snarky observations. Their tweets are generated at a breakneck pace, an unrelenting flow of information. It breaks off into personal streams, where it is redistributed again and again.

That’s the beauty of it. If you make it big, if you get notice, you can make an impact with your career, get your message out in quick bursts and frequent intervals.

In my case though, I think I’ll be sticking to a few times a day, if that.

You’ll find the AW Blog here, with occasional publishing updates, political remarks, and other bits and pieces.

I personally like it that way. What’s your take on Twitter?

 

Misconceptions of the Wise

Rainbow

Rainbow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve begun taking English composition, Psychology, and Government courses at a local university.

I am surrounded by people of all ages, with as various dreams and aspirations as the hues of the light spectrum. Yet they all manage to flow together and coexist.

For differences do not make dissonance. It is often our generalizations, reservations, and purported revelations that are inharmonious.

‘Your hands have made me and fashioned me, An intricate unity; Yet You would destroy me [1].” 

(This quotation is drawn from Job 10:8. It illustrates a point which is in itself is a misconception. See 1 Cor.)

Of all the Christian Bible, I am most continually drawn to 1 Corinthians 13, which I have drawn upon before. I would argue that it is a universally acknowledged truth, whether you are an adherent to Christianity or not. The relationally corrosive properties of selfishness are all encompassing.

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whetherthere are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love [2].