More on the 21 Days and other helpful podcasts

I started sifting through iTunes and the interweb for podcasts about writing. I was driving an hour each way to work and figured it would be a good way to work on my writing while I really couldn’t work on my writing.

I found the audio version of Stackpole’s “21 Days to a Novel” among other advice he offers here on his website (also available on iTunes):

Secrets Podcast

The other source of writing instruction, probably the best most comprehensive that I have found, is Writing Excuses (also available on iTunes):

Writing Excuses

Writing Excuses is the singular best source of writing instruction that I have found in podcast form. On top of being a great source of information, the hosts are interesting and personable. I cannot recommend this podcast enough. Start at the beginning and listen to them all – you will not be disappointed.

Eli Hardy… The Angry Young Man

Eli has been an interesting character to develop….  Here’s a little bit more about him:

Eli Hardy is the only child of Jakob Hardy, the second richest most powerful tycoon in the western territories who will stop at nothing to become the singular richest and most powerful man in the western territories.

Eli has recently returned from studying abroad and is confronted by the real truth behind his father’s success– the brutal exploitation of his employees, the land, and its native population.

Eli is appalled and humiliated by his father’s various attempts to engage his participation in the family business.

The West Wind follows Eli as he struggles to reconcile the gnawing hatred of his father’s methods and the fear of what his life would become without them.

My first 21 Days

Armed with the knowledge, and some pretty good notes, from Gen Con Indy 2010 seminar “21 Days to a Novel” I gave it a go.

My first major investment was a couple of back-to-school spiral bounds and a box of my favorite pens from Staples.  Total cost < $5.

What I liked about Stackpole’s approach was the focus on the character.  The opinion that readers like to read because they enjoy getting to know a character, feeling the conflicts of the character, identifying with the character.  In short, the advice given by Stackpole, and several others I have read or heard via podcast, focus on the character and write character driven stories.  Character driven stories sell.

I religiously started following the 21 days methodology.

Roland Pritchard has a POV and he isn’t afraid to use it…

Roland Pritchard is one of my POV characters in The West Wind.

I had some basic ideas of who I wanted him to be when I set out to work on this project.  As I wrote, I found Roland helping me discover him.

Roland worked his way up from the bottom, a true success story of Her Majesty’s American colonies having built an extensive railroad empire that is the backbone of industrial development in the western frontier.

Despite Roland’s success, the misfortune of being born a “grounder” prevents him from being accepted by the powerful industrial elite that exploit the land’s natural resources to increase their personal wealth and power.

The West Wind follows Roland as he launches a conspiracy of fraud, manipulation and collusion to finally prove his superiority over the greedy tycoons and gain their respect.

Roland Pritchard is aided by his daughter Margaret Pritchard and his brother-in-law Nathan Webber the alleged, though vigorously denied, former outlaw.

2010 Gen Con and 2011 Gen Con

Aw I am daft bugger.  I should have hit the post button before heading off to work this morning.  Sorry steamers, that means you a double tap of postings tonight.

Getting ready to head off to Gen Con this year (again) got me thinking about how I made it this far with my writing.   (queue the flashback effects)

Almost… a year a go I decided to get more serious about this whole writing thing.  I had always wanted to write a book but just didn’t know how to go about doing it.

I had been attending Gen Con for several years and had noticed an increase in the number of seminars for writers.  Either they were increasing or I was just paying closer attention, not sure which.  Most of the writing seminars were focused on writing for game supplements, but there were a few for writing longer works.

For $8 I took Michael Stackpole’s “21 Days to a Novel.”  This was going to be the seminar that would teach me how to do it!  I attended, took copious notes, and walked away with a kernel of knowledge that I needed to get going.  But still absolutely no idea what I was going to write about…

For those of you heading to Gen Con Indy this year, here is a link to the writer’s events:

Gen Con Indy 2011 Writing Events