How is the first revision of “The West Wind” going Don?

Ummm.  Well.  Not so well.

I’ve heard much about the fear and incapacitation caused by a blank page.  I am suffering the opposite.  The sight of a full page of my prose sends me running the other direction.  I keep finding plenty of other things to do…  such as…

I was flattered to be asked by David Mark Brown to beta read his latest work “The Austin Job.”  If you are a follower you recall that I had read and reviewed his first work: “Fistful of Reefer.”  This next installment brings back some “love to hate” characters from the first book and a few “easter egg” references for readers of Fistful to discover.  David continues to develop his narrative skills as he begins to explore the “punk” side of the v1.0 Xpunk genres.  Ever present are the over-the-top characters and action that I enjoyed from his first work.  Expected release date of “The Austin Job” is on or about December 24.

In the meantime… back to not doing what I should be doing…

New Writers Resources

Finally, a topic about which I am almost qualified to dispense advice. Being still a new writer and all.

Slight detour…

I just returned with my family from Great Lakes Games, a four day annual invitational event for about 100 friends and family to get together and play boardgames. Boardgames and board game design is another of my frequently exercised hobbies (see “Other Publishing Credits”). This was the ninth year and we have attended all but the first. The timing is such that several of the folks in attendance have just returned from the Spiel in Essen… meaning lots of shiny new games unavailable yet here in the US. It also means getting together a number of game designer friends who are regulars. Exciting and notable this year was the placement of Hawaii by Greg Daigle on the FairPlay Essen scouting report – one of the more reliable predictors for commercial success of a game and pretty remarkable for an American designer. I am extremely happy for Greg – he has worked very hard at his craft and deserves the success and recognition for his work.

So what does this have to do with writing? Well not a whole lot really, but over the weekend I had a number of folks asking whether I had any games in the works. I always have games in the works, like stacks of half finished designs, however this time around they have all taken a back seat to this new writing thing. Several folks were surprised, several others shared their interests or desire to also write. The next question was how did I get myself up and going…

1) Preparation – I attended Michael Stackpole’s “21 Days to a Novel” seminar at Gen Con 2010. In an hour, he was able to explain in simple terms a number of writing exercises that would help prepare and construct a novel. Subsequently I found “The Secrets” podcast available at Stackpole’s site and iTunes. I listened to and enjoyed these podcasts. A portion of this podcast covers the 21 days process with examples. There is also an eBook available at his site and on Amazon.

2) Technique – Hands down the best source of information is the Writing Excuses podcast. Short, fun, and very educational. This should be recommended listening for anyone learning to write! Start at the beginning because they are that good.

3) Technology – I spent a great deal of time trying different writing applications. YWriter was the best application I found for the Windows platform. But hands down the program I prefer is Scrivener. I suffered through the Beta version of the application on Windows long enough to discover its true potential. Finally broke down and bought a Mac, the native platform for Scrivener. Haven’t looked back.

4) Encouragement – Wherever you get it, however you get it, it comes in handy. Give NaNoWriMo a try (adequate preparation is necessary to succeed), take a couple of Continuing Education classes at nearby community college, find a writer’s group, enlist your friends and family.

Enjoy! And best of luck.

Shameless Self Promotion – More Content Ahead

Welcome to those of you who are visiting for the first time through the efforts of my shameless self promotion.  I am planning on carpeting Gen Con with “The West Wind” business cards just to bring in more visitors.  With that in mind, I am planning a bit of a content blitz starting 8/1 and leading up to Gen Con itself.

What you are likely to see:

  • Character introductions
  • Plot highlights
  • Recounting my agonizingly slow writing progress
  • What I want to do next with my draft
  • Random ramblings
  • A few book reviews as I get caught up on my steampunk reading
  • References to some of my favorite writing podcasts
  • More Random Ramblings

So welcome first time visitors, welcome back others that have been here before – lets get out the brass goggles and feed the firebox… it is going to be a fun ride.

Writers Group

I was introduced to a new writers group tonight – some really great folks and a couple of old friends from writing class.  I enjoyed attending and hope that I get to spend more time with them in the future.

Quick progress update…. I have 1 & 2/3 chapter to complete the first draft.  I have to get it done before heading off to Gen Con next week.  Have to keep it under a year!

I can’t believe I am doing this…

As I said in my opening of the blog, writing a book was something I had always wanted to do.  And I am doing it.  I have been printing chapters as I complete them, a tip I had picked up early on from Micheal Stackpole’s podcast, to help ensure you have a backup and to prevent co-mingling writing and editing.   Holding the fat binder also has the benefit of making you feel like you are accomplishing something.  Hard to deny when you see the stack of paper growing.

I took Stackpole’s seminar at Gen Con Indy last year.  I had decided to finally take my writing seriously.  Since then I have taken two writing classes, won NaNoWriMo and have over 106k words on the West Wind complete.  My hope is to wrap it up and head down to Gen Con this year with a sense of accomplishment.   No great expectations of course other than doing some networking.  But it does have a sense of bringing things full circle.

Just finished an Eli chapter, two more of his POV to go and only one more Rachel chapter until I am done.  Can I do it this long weekend?

What was I thinking…

I swore I would never get a blog.  Also said I wouldn’t get a Facebook account.  Now I have both.  What was I thinking?

I was thinking that this is one of my first steps to becoming something I have always wanted to be: an author.  Someone that writes stories that will give others the type of enjoyment I receive from the written word.  And this blog, dear reader, is where I plan to share my growing pains.

Just a couple of quick notes on what you will and will not find here…  Starting with the not finding:

  • Long winded rambling self indulgent posts – I don’t like reading others’, why would I inflict mine on you?
  • Instructive content – I am not going to teach you anything, I will likely learn more from you.
  • Links to music videos, xbox, or flash web games – I am not going to take content advice from my teenage son despite how cool he thinks it will be.

What you will probably find:

  • Impressions and expressions as I explore the craft of writing.
  • Updates on my current projects.
  • Occasional off topic posts to other things I find myself doing, which may include postings on music videos, xbox, or flash web games just to maintain some harmony in the Beyer household.

Thank you for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere.  Feel free to browse around leave me a comment.

Apologies in advance as I figure out this whole writing thing, I hope it will be as much fun for you as it will be for me.

Don