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

 

Character Interviews: Raiya

Host: Hello everyone and welcome back to character interviews! Today we’ve got a very special guest with us! Please give a warm welcome to the leading lady of her own soon-to-be-published story, Drakin: The Story of Raiya. It’s a pleasure to have you with us, Raiya!

Raiya: What… you’re implying I had a choice? One minute I’m heading north, heading for the ruins of Worcester, and suddenly I appear here!

Host: Yes, this is actually a very typical reaction we get. Don’t worry, we’ll be putting you back where we found you and you’ll have no memory of what happened here. In the meantime, would you mind answering a few questions for us?

Raiya: Again… do I have a choice?

Host: Not really.

Raiya: How about I just kill you?

Host: You’re not the first character to threaten me, you won’t be the last.

Raiya: Fine… it’s not worth the effort. What do you want?

Host: Well… why don’t you tell us about yourself and where you come from.

Raiya: My parents are dead, I look like a freak, and I’m hunting the dragon that killed my father, not much more to know.

Host: Your parents died? I’m so sorry… did you know them well?

Raiya: No… my mother died soon after I was born. I don’t know who my father is… but he likely died during the Richmond Massacre.

Host: The Richmond Massacre? What was that?

Raiya: And I thought I was out of touch… The Richmond Massacre was one of the bloodiest battles during the Red War, you do know what that is, right?

Host: No… can’t say as I do.

Raiya: Wow… okay… The Red War started years ago when a group of massive winged lizards from another world landed on Earth. They immediately attacked humanity and quickly began procreating to increase their numbers. Thirty years later, humanity has been reduced to a fraction of their original population and the lizards… which they call dragons for some reason… are winning the war. Little by little, human cities are destroyed and people are left destitute.

Host: Wow… that’s pretty bad. So humanity is fighting at the end of its line. So where do you fall on all of this?

Raiya: Richmond, Virginia was attacked by a massive dragon lord. The dragon lords are the original six dragons that landed on Earth. He killed my family… and I want its head.

Host: How will you know him when you see him?

Raiya: I’ll know… he’s said to have yellow eyes and black, red-tipped, scales. I’ve never seen another dragon like him.

Host: Fair enough… so where are you looking?

Raiya: Everywhere… I’ve listened for rumors among the nomad clans and war dissidents. He moves around quite a bit.

Host: So how do you plan to take him down?

Raiya: I’ve been on my own since I was 10 years old. I spent my time learning how to fight. I know dragons, and I know what their weaknesses are.

Host: And once he’s dead, what are you going to do then?

Raiya: I… I don’t know… I’m not exactly welcome in the cities. Usually they call me “freak or monster.”

Host: Why is that? Hey… is the light to much for you?  You’re keeping your hood pretty tight on your head.

Raiya: Mind your own business.

Host: Well… All right, is there anything else you’d like to say?

Raiya: No…

Host: Nothing else we should know about you that would draw readers in?

Raiya: Readers? What the hell are you talking about?

Host: Oh um… nothing, never mind.

Raiya: *Sigh* look, I’m a young woman in a desolate world with an all-encompassing war going on. When I’m not avoiding dragon attack, I’m hiding from canbans! How much more interesting do you need?

Host: What are canbans?

Raiya: You don’t want to know.

Host: I believe that… well I think that’s all we have time for. Thanks for joining us, Raiya.

Raiya: Are we done here? You can send me home now…

Host: And a special thanks to all the readers who took the time to be here with us today! See you all next time!



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

 

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

 

Marvel Comics Endsong…

Perhaps it’s time for Marvel to consider ceasing production of its comics. I think we’ve gotten to that point. They’ve pretty much proven that they don’t know what they’re doing anymore or they’ve taken on the disastrous business model of trying to appeal to extreme political ideologues who are too busy being offended by things to read comics.
I mean it’s bad enough that they keep altering their characters with no Rhyme or Reason or explanation in the name of diversity, but to then accuse all of their readers of being racist for not liking this, it’s just really telling of how out-of-touch these creators actually are. Now they’re even pulling a Paul feig and attacking the people who sell their comics with accusations of bigotry.

Diversity is and always will be a great thing, but that’s only if it’s actual diversity. Wiping one group of people off the pages to make way for another group is not diversity.

Example: Marvel did a run of the X-Men where the team was all women. That’s not diversity that’s gender segregation. Essentially they took a team that had characters from nearly every region on Earth, as well as a fairly balanced gender percentage, and made it less diverse in the name of diversity.

Stan Lee and Chris Claremont, both pain the idea to age out their old and create new ones to replace them as time went on and the need arose. This would have enabled Marvel to bring in far more characters from Minority backgrounds that they otherwise wouldn’t have. This would also have had a lot less people taking issue with it. Instead they took the disastrous approach of altering characters with no explanation other than it’s an alternate universe we can do what we want. Well you can to a point, but once you’ve reached the majority of your audiences suspension of disbelief, you’ve gone too far. What’s worse is that Marvel apparently doesn’t know how to write these characters. I’ve read some of the Iceman comics, and they are so stereotypical that I can’t imagine any homosexual person reading them wouldn’t be offended.

America Chavez has been openly criticized for being offensive in a stereotypical manner towards Latinos. So their efforts to become more diverse by throwing what they considered diversity in people’s faces, they’ve actually created archetypal stereotypes of actual characters, that could easily be compared to their respective representations version of black face.

The problem is that these writers do not treat these characters as people. They treat them as a means to promote an agenda. As a result though this may not be the intention, they’re not seen nor treated as people. Thus they are never viewed as equal in the eyes of the other characters or in the readers. 

This was not the case in the old comics. Yes they had their problems but for the most part every character was treated as a person. They were looked at as living breathing people first, and while they’re superficial traits were addressed they did not take Center Stage. Instead the focus was on telling a good story.
Marvel Comics has, for all intensive purposes lost this ability. Every single Marvel subscription that I have had through my local retailer, I have cancelled after a few comics for this reason. The story simply aren’t good, the politics is in your face and offensively preachy, and Marvel either doesn’t seem to care or doesn’t understand that. So while I think Marvel for seven decades of great stories, I think I’ll be sticking to independent comic books and in some cases DC for my reading material.
My only advice to Marvel going forward would be to keep the writers working on your Comics away from your Cinematic Universe. It is pretty much the only thing keeping you afloat at this point.

But that’s just my opinion, readers what do you think? Is it time for Marvel to cut ties with the comic book industry? Has their day in the Sun come and gone? Can they bounce back? 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