Favorites in Writing

Hi Jim,
I was wondering, do you have any difficulty re-reading your previous work, after it’s been published? My first book is hard for me to read, just because my writing has gotten so much better since then, I’m almost embarrassed to read it.
Is there one in particular that you go back to regularly? Just curious.
Thanks,
Sallie

 


Hi Sallie,

Sometimes. Writing styles are fluid. They’re always changing with the more we read and write.  As time goes on, one of our older works are likely to begin to look like they were written by a different person all together. However, there is good news. Many publishers, especially self-publishing, gives you the option to update your work as you see fit, though I would recommend a round of editing if you do decide to do this. Also, you may void your copyright registration if you’ve gone this route. Just be prepared that there is a lot of work that may need to go into doing something like this.

To your second question… actually yes. Gravestalker was definitely the most fun to write and it’s a book I revisit regularly. I always keep a copy nearby just in case. It always helps to get reintroduced to an old friend whenever I’m having trouble writing.

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This came after the hardest story for me to write, ‘Tears of the Fallen’ because admittedly direct sequels aren’t my thing. However even then, the ideas for Gravestalker were flowing, but I had to set the stage for everything that happened in Gravestalker first. The characters had to be hurt and terrible things had to happen before the redemption story can take place. It was a labor of love, but it was a labor nonetheless. Thankfully the payoff was more than worth it and Gravestalker remains my favorite of all the books I’ve written.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Also, if you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

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Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There?

Hi James,
I am stuck at the editing part
Unfortunately editing costs more money than I have at the moment, but it doesn’t stop me from keep on writing stuff. I try at least an hour a day, sometimes I just write a short story in one day from draft to publish on my blog.
Thanks for posting this list by the way.
/thumbs up

 


 

Hi Yakster,

It can be tough. Not only the price, but you’ve also got a lot of charlatans out there that I’ve talked about before. People who say they’ll edit it and then do a half assed job as quickly as possible of the first chapter before asking for money… and then there’s the places that charge like $.15/Word, which doesn’t seem like much… until you do the math: $.15/word becomes thousands of dollars when we’re talking about a novel-length story (80k words on average).

Luckily you do have options. Goodreads, among others, have message boards with students who are looking to jump into the field, are quite scholarly, and will do the work for usually $100-200. They’re young, but they’re quite scholarly and I myself employed one or two in the past.

The other option, as my friend Eric alluded to in his comments is to join a writing circle. This will occasionally take you away from your own writing, but it is worth the time as you have the opportunity to experience other writing preferences, styles, and strategies, which in turn will help you improve your own.

Readers, do you have any other recommendations for getting around the hefty price tag?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Hard Times In Writing

 

Hi James,

I’m starting on writing my first story. I’ve never really done more than a short story that only spans a couple of pages. What do you feel is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome in order to get a satisfactorily publishable book and how do you deal with them?

Thanks,
Jan


Hi Jan,

 

Congratulations on taking that first big step into novelization. Creating a whole new world with dynamic characters! That first step is a huge deal, because you’ll be dedicating months to possible years on your first book. (Divinity took me 3 years to get right and was the 4th book to be published!)

So there are SEVERAL major hurdles you’re going to need to overcome… which ones are the biggest hurdles is subjective to the writer. So you may have an easier time with some over others. For me, they are as follows:

  1. Time management.
  2. Avoiding Burnout/Writer’s Block.
  3. Editing.

Let’s address each one, shall we?

  1. Time Management:
    This is no joke. Setting aside the proper amount of time to work is absolutely crucial. You can’t spend all your time working on your book. You need to make time for your family (if you have one), as well as other responsibilities and just self-maintenance in general. Personal well-being, including exercise, socializing, etc. is a must. I say this because too many writers, myself included have to fight the temptation to just keep writing and let all else fall to the back burner. You can’t let this happen. Which brings us to #2.
  2. Avoiding Burnout/Writer’s Block:
    As I said above, don’t spend all of your time writing. You will experience this if you do, and even if you don’t, you may experience it. You may become disillusioned with the book, feel like the story went in a direction you didn’t want it to, or feel like it’s laborious just to get the good parts that you want to write about. Be prepared for this. This can be tempered if you really develop a relationship with your characters. Write out a set of questions and have them answer them. Get to know your characters before you start in on them. Once you do that, you should be able to get through almost anything. If that doesn’t help, there is plenty of great music out there to help you get the creative juices flowing again. I have included a massive playlist on my blog where I post (usually) daily songs that I use and where I use them.
  3. Editing:
    So this one is tough. For one, you’re working with another person. DO NOT RELY ON YOUR OWN EDITING! Yes go through and fix mistakes, but don’t just assume that this is all you need. Allow another set of eyes to go through your book and make sure they’re impartial. No family members or people who won’t be painfully blunt with you. I told my editor to rip the book apart and be as blunt as possible. I wanted it harsh so that I could fix anything and everything that came up.
    Boy did I get schooled.
    So this is why editing is a hurdle… because what makes sense and sounds right in your head, doesn’t always translate to the written word as well as we may want. You have to be open to the idea of having to change scenes, perspectives, and even cut rather massive amounts of story. It’s not going to be easy and you may not want to do it, but you’re going to need to be prepared for that. This is especially the case if you want to release it to the public.

So I hope this helps, but let’s open it up to the general forum:

Readers – What are your biggest hurdles and how do you overcome them?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Writing Secrets Are Better Shared!

Hi Jim,

I’ve been writing for some time now and was actually wondering what made you decide to give out writing advice on your blog. Isn’t that like giving away all of your secrets? Couldn’t you wind up giving advice to someone who may wind up outperforming you?

Just wondering,
Craig


Hi Craig,

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Just kidding. Honestly, if that happens, great! If honestly I give someone advice that helps them become the next Stephen King, I’ll be happy! (Though a little recognition for it wouldn’t go unappreciated *hint, hint*)

Honestly, I don’t worry about it. No matter what happens, you’ll always have people who enjoyed your work and will always come back to read more as long as the writing keeps up. It’s not like you’re giving out advice to help them write exactly like you do, far from it. You’re just giving them a push in the right direction.

Finally, what is knowledge if it isn’t shared? Of what benefit is it? I struggled through the writing/publishing world with no foreknowledge of the industry because I didn’t know anything about it. So if I can help someone not make the same mistakes and experience the disappointments that I did early on, then why not help?

As to your other question ‘why’? Well there are a few reasons. For one, I like receiving emails from my followers/fans… though I may have shot myself in the foot by promising a personal response to all of them, but I feel I must also admit to a more selfish reason as well.

One of the few pieces of advice I was given when I started trying to get published was to get my name out there. Join a blogging community and contribute heavily to it. That’s how you get notoriety. So I figured the best way was to write about things I knew. I wrote about history, writing, social commentary (which i’ve now stopped unless it pertains to writing, because the world is already saturated with politics.), and fantasy. Before long, I started getting questions about my writing and decided to make an email to accept and respond to fanmail/ questions.
That’s when I found my niche; writing advice. I’ve been doing it ever since.

So while I’ll admit that my motives haven’t always been altruistic, and are a good way to promote my books, I’ve come to really enjoy answering questions and offering my opinion.

Readers, do you have any follow up for Craig? What are other ways you get your name out there?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

The Reality of Child Sex Trafficking Rings…

In the wake of what’s been going on in Hollywood recently… I felt the need to repost this…

James Harrington's Blog of Geek and Writing

… I don’t want to post this. I REALLY don’t want to post this. As all of you know, a lot of my writing advice and posts lately have been about the realities and forms of evil.

Well if you remember yesterday, I posted about just how rare true evil actually was, and how sometimes even the most evil people believe that what they’re doing is for the greater good…

This isn’t one of those times. This is one of the other times I referred to, a complete and utter breach of everything moral and ethical, a violation of taboo, and… I really can’t say anything else.

To anyone who knows who he is, Sargon of Akkad is a fairly prolific Youtuber who does a great deal of political/social commentary. He’s far from unbiased, I’ll admit, but he does a fairly good job of going after both sides of the…

View original post 459 more words

Sequel Block and Work-Arounds

 

Hi Jim,

HELP!!! I’M TRYING TO WRITE A SEQUEL, BUT I CAN’T COME UP WITH ANYTHING! I JUST DON’T HAVE THE SAME INSPIRATION WITH THESE CHARACTERS AS I DID IN THE FIRST BOOK! I GET HALF WAY THROUGH, AND JUST CAN’T SEEM TO GET THROUGH IT BECAUSE IT BADLY CHANGES THE CHARACTERS PERSONALITIES AND THE DYNAMIC OF THEIR RELATIONSHIPS!

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE???

THANKS,
KHIMBAY


Hi Khimbay,

First of all, you don’t have to shout. Do you know how many internet etiquette laws you’re breaking by typing in all caps? You’re breaking one; Do Not Type In All Caps!

Okay, on to your question… I’m in the same boat. I know that there has been a lot of people asking about Soul Siphon’s sequel and I tried to give the audience what they wanted. However I couldn’t get anywhere with it…

What was holding me up? Well for starters, I spent a lot of time writing Mary Kelly. I was very careful to portray her in a way I think would be like who the actual historical MK was… if she was resurrected and lived for another 130 years. However I couldn’t replicate that in the second story. Why? Because all the mystery behind her was gone. We know about her soft side now, we know that her bitterness was shield against her own problems. I kept trying, but I wasn’t happy with how she was coming out.

The second issue was writing the devil. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get her (yes, HER) right. I wanted her to be flamboyant, outgoing, and an all-around like-able character,  but that came off too much like a certain TV show we all know and most of us love.

So I tried again with the devil, trying to make her lose her memory so that the one lacking her previous history isn’t even and the group is left with the moral conundrum of what to do with the devil, who may not actually be the devil. Again, it went nowhere and I couldn’t get her right in a way that would have made people like her.

So… sorry everybody, the Soul Siphon series is… at this point in time, defunct. Will I revisit the universe at some point, yes. I still have things l’d like to do there, but I doubt it’ll be in the form of a direct sequel.

So… unfortunately Khimbay, I can’t help you as I don’t have an answer to this problem either. My solution is to simply wash my hands of the whole situation and simply say ‘That’s it, no more direct sequels.’

This is something I did with Damnation. I refused to drag the characters from Divinity back out into another adventure when the characters already been possessed, beaten, one had been tortured, raped, and murdered, while the others had been put through LITERAL Hell. I know they’re characters that I just made up, but to me, that’s just cruel, and I’ve honestly seen how mean-spirited writing hurts a story.
However, I knew I wanted to do a follow-up to show the effects of what happened in Divinity and needed to find a way around that. So I created new characters and wrote a whole new story around the events of the previous novel. Yes, a few of the old characters made appearances, but they were strictly cameos.

I’m actually planning on doing the same thing with Drakin: The Story of Raiya after its published. There will be other stories (hopefully many) that take place in the same world. Yes characters from  The Story of Raiya may make appearances (if they survive), and will get honorable mentions, but the follow-up stories will not be about them. A post-apocalyptic world where humanity is recovering from literal decades of bloodshed to the point where they were facing extinction, opens up the possibility to a plethora of stories that can be created. The potential is there and the characters are waiting to be written… and I personally can’t wait. I plan on spending a lot of time in that world. Who knows, maybe we’ll see a familiar face or two along the way.

So that’s my advice to you, Khimbay and I apologize for going off-topic a little. If you don’t want to write a direct sequel, but do want to do a follow-up? Write a new story in the same universe. It’s technically still a sequel.

Hope this helps, but maybe our readers have other ideas, so I’ll open it up to the floor. What does everyone think? Do you have advice for Khimbay? Let me know in the comments.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Advertising, Get Your Name Out There!

 

Hello, Jim–

I’ve followed your postings for a while through WordPress, and was wondering if you had any advice for jumpstarting crowdfunding for publishing a novel.
I currently have a novel-length project on Unbound.com that, despite some initially generous support from family and friends, has been stuck at the 20% mark for months, and the well of (ideally free) options for promoting it is dried up, or so it seems. I used to provide regular updates that included details about the characters and backstory, but I feel I’ve reached the point where I can’t share anything more without spoiling the novel, and I wasn’t getting much of a response anyway. One thought that’s come to mind (thanks to your writing playlist posts) is to include Youtube lyric or music video links to songs from the multiple playlists I go through when working on a project (Random Mix, Soundtracks, Classical, etc.). Has the playlist posting approach worked for you in terms of drawing attention to your project(s), and if so, would you be bothered if I adopted a similar method? And what other venues or sites would you recommend for trying to reach more readers and donors?
Sincerely,

 

Hi Mark,

It’s an age-old problem to be sure. How do you attract an audience. Well to be honest there are a lot of ways. Your crowdfunding page certainly caught my attention, but really word of mouth is everything. For starters, I would update your kickstarter listing. Offer autographed copies as a perk. Collectors (like myself) love that sort of thing. We eat it up and… given how much I spent on a Lady Mechanika #1 that is autographed by the writer and artist (no I will not give a dollar amount), we’re willing to spend more on them… even if the artist is start up.

Second, I would update the kickstarter to include “advertising” as to where the funding goes. If you’ve really exhausted all other options, then you are going to need to put some money into advertising whether you like it or not. Fortunately there are plenty of advertising companies that can help you for fairly cheap. Amazon is really a great place to do it as many of their ads show up on Audible and that’s often how I find new books to read.

So I also took a look at your page as well and I don’t mean this in a negative way, but I found it wanting. What I mean by that is that you have no footer, nowhere on there other than your Amazon page where people can interact with you or get updates other than WordPress… This is very important because… most readers typically don’t have wordpress accounts. They come here for the articles, but most won’t be writing anything.

Go into wordpress, got to ‘My Site> Configure> Sharing.

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If yours doesn’t look like mine (yes I know, I need to update the Linkedin one), then you’re not doing everything you can to advertise your work or yourself. Sign up for an account on each of these and spend a few hours here and there reaching out to people. Comment on the things they post, off your opinion, and/or offer help (like I do here). This is how you build a community and gain yourself a following.

A few weeks of doing this gained me a few thousand followers and a considerable boost in traffic to my pages.

The playlist has definitely gained me a following, mostly of writers looking for something to listen to while they brainstorm, but it has helped. This isn’t a method I have copyrighted or anything, so if you feel like it could help you, go for it.

Anyway, I hope some of these ideas help, but let’s open it up to the community;

Readers, do you have any ideas that could help Mark spread word of his new book??

Thanks,
Jim



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim