- 17. Notebook: I am very much into the digital age so I don’t use notebooks, journals or anything that I have to handwrite. I used to have a much better penmenship but these days, it is clear I’ve not used a pen often. I probably couldn’t write cursive to save my life!
- 18. Favorite Work In Progress: Every WIP is your favorite at the time! You pour your blood, sweat and tears into the work. Of course, you want the writing to be the best every time. It doesn’t always turn out that way and you will find yourself wanting often to go back and rewrite passages or chapters in your books, but like children, sometimes you have to let them go, cherish them as a whole including flaws.
- 19. Writing Group/Buddy: I don’t belong to any writing group currently. That’s something to think about though. I do have a small circle of people who read the work and critique it for me on occassion but I don’t have anything formal.
- 20. Writing Spot: No “spot”. I have more of a “get it down and done” philosophy than a Zen Garden spot for writing. I have bought a new writing desk which I am absolutely in love with but it’s not a necessity for me to write.
- 21. Writing Snack: My key ingredient to a lengthy writing session is caffeine so I tend to mainly drink instead of snack. I do have plenty of favorite snacks but I hold off of those while writing.
- 22. Ways to Prewrite: I am a big proponent for backstory and character depth. If you can visualize or get into the heart of the character before the story writing takes place, you’ll have a better understanding of that character’s POV and how they would realistically react. One of the infernal sins of any writer is to have unrealistic or unlikely character actions. If the action slaps the reader in the face then they are thinking it over in their mind versus being in your story. You lose credibility and story immersion in one fell swoop!
- 23. POV to Write In: That’s easy. 3rd person. I have some 1st Person but it definitely is a challenge for me.
- 24. Pantser or Plotter: I have covered my eccentric, obsessive need for outlining so there’s no way I could even pretend to be a writer that flies by the seat of his pants. I have at the very least a simple “beats outline” to write by and keep me on track.
- 25. Favorite Villain: Far as movie villains — the usual list of suspects being The Joker, Pinhead, Pennywise the Clown, Jack Torrence. My own written villain would have to be Auste, the Pale Chaos Mage, from Consequences Within Chaos. He had cause to want vengeance but the means that he took made him so hateful. It was that core of pure evil in him that turned another character, LLasher, from the evil path to the repentent hero.
- 26. Favorite Bookcover: I wish I could say it was one of the ones I have done for my books, but to be completely honest, my favorite is The Bleeding Crown’s book cover done by artist Joy Landa. It truly brought to life that character. One look at the cover and it just pulls you in!
- 27. Favorite Heroine: Signorney Weaver’s portrayal of Ripley in the Alien franchise was always a fantastic inspiration on how to write a female character. Strong and independent one moment, sensitive and compassionate the next. I think that many women have the mix of the two and many men portray only one side. My favorite heroine that I wrote would be hands-down, Princess Letandra. I am really chomping at the bit to write the third installment of The Wyvernshield series and give you all a glimpse into the hell she’s been put in and what she must do to save Wyvernshield.
- 28. Writing Cup: Nope. Don’t have one. I think it’s because I don’t drink coffee or tea.
- 29. Favorite Book on Writing: The writing book Save the Cat that I did a blog on has become very instrumental to my writing and I would still credit, Structuring Your Novel and Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weland as a fantastic set of reference books to help any manuscript!
- 30. Favorite Writing Inspired Quote: Not much of a quote person. I like some but don’t memorize them.
- 31. Favorite Halloween Tradition: My father and I started making my Halloween costumes at a very young age (I think maybe 5). It was the chance to really explore my creativity and imagination. The holiday meant a lot to me and I still like to dress each year.
Save The Cat!
by Jessica Brody — a Writer’s Resource & Reference Guide
Released on October 9, 2018 — 311 pages
Narrated by Jessica Brody
So, one of my bi-monthly goals in June (as per the post, Looking Back & Looking Forward – Bi-Monthly Goals) was to read a writing craft reference book. This awesome book,Save The Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need is it. A fantastic guide on how to evolve your stories organically, captivate the reader with the pacing and structure, and how to win lifetime readers over with incredible themes and character arcs.
Originally Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need written by Blake Snyder was developed as a way to help screenwriters. He found an almost universal pattern in every award-winning film. In his book, he shares his discovery and shows you the master template he crafted based on his findings.
Side note: The title Save the Cat! is a phrase pinpointing a decisive moment when the protagonist demonstrates that they are worth rooting for. Especially needed in cases of an anti-hero like Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones or Frank Castle of the Marvel Series, The Punisher. “It’s the scene where we [first] meet the hero”, in order to gain audience favor and support for the main character right from the start.
The first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, which reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.
Novelist Jessica Brody presents a comprehensive story-structure guide for novelists that applies the famed Save the Cat! screenwriting methodology to the world of novel writing.
Revealing the 15 “beats” (plot points) that comprise a successful story–from the opening image to the finale–this book lays out the Ten Story Genres (Monster in the House; Whydunit; Dude with a Problem) alongside quirky, original insights (Save the Cat; Shard of Glass) to help novelists craft a plot that will captivate–and a novel that will sell.
I found this book very well planned out and down-to-earth. She lays out this master template for you in simple and defined terms, but also how you can still follow the template without “the dreaded F word”… that F word being Formulaic!
Not only does she give multiple examples taken from great novels like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle to modern classics like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Misery by Stephen King, and The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, she provides in depth analysis to show where theme and story are laced together seamlessly.
There are ten complete novel templates broken down defining each of the original Ten Story Genres (including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill)
Brody takes you through the Opening Image, making it hook your reader and keep them on the edge of their seats, to incorporating meaningful themes, then shaking things up with Debate and Catalyst moments in your stories.
Jessica Brody narrates her novel and brings a ton of energy and excitement, she WANTS you to hit the ground running!
Jessica Brody is the author of more than 20 books for teens, tweens, and adults including Sky Without Stars, Between Burning Worlds, The Chaos of Standing Still, Better You Than Me, A Week of Mondays, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and the Unremembered trilogy.
She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants.
Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and several have been optioned for film and television.
In summary, I took a lot from this audio book even though I had heard some similar story structure techniques before. This book was different and impacting in an all new way — it showed how theme can be woven in and character growth is essential to the outline.
I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to any author, rookie or veteran! The master story template has been there right before our eyes all this time, but now it has been brought out in a clear and organized manner for all of us to craft our own unique worlds!
It has been a while since I did a “Goal Blog” and I wanted to highlight what this Bi-Monthly System has done for me and what it can empower for you.
This is in no way a bragging post or “look at me” kind of thing. I’m listing these completed goals to be an example how much one could actually accomplish.
COMPLETED Goals since July, 2017:
(The goals crossed out are ones that I deemed not needed after all. The list of Uncompleted Goals are listed below as well. Also, not all of these goals were finished in the expected deadlines, but were completed and that’s why they’re on here.)
Finalize my Chapter Outlines for The Bleeding Crown
Complete the First Rough Draft of Bleeding Crown
Complete 52,000 words written (52 days * 1000 words)
Outline first two books of Elude Series
Write out three more Elude Sections
Compile and create an Ebook on the Writing Craft from my past blogs (completed but didn’t publish)
Design bookmarks for my books:
Get the character portraits from artist by August and start getting Poker Card and Calendars made
Complete two Giveaways (one on Kindle Review and my own Indie Book Giveaway)
Complete one Newsletter a month
Create a book trailer video
Outline first two books of Elude Series.
Develop the list of Elude characters and develop their background
Create a NaNoWriMo Prep Folder in Scrivener and complete the list of development items.
On October 1st, start editing phase for The Bleeding Crown.
Design book cover for Rookie: Pitfalls of Year One.
Write new book blurbs for all my works and revamp all of the Amazon ads.
Complete a newsletter for each month.
Find a part-time post or two – extra income to help with new bills and investment in writing projects/marketing.
Start a new series of blog posts.
Complete NaNoWriMo Challenge: 50,000 words
Start Round #2 of Editing for The Bleeding Crown
Create marketing campaign for CWC Audio Book
Research Arizona Book and Comic cons.
Send out Monthly Newsletters by 15th of month
Keep up The Hidden saga on website every 2 weeks
Complete the 2nd wave of edits for The Bleeding Crown — Finish by 3rd Week of Jan
Start 1st wave of edits for Elude #1 — Begin by 4th week of Jan
Work on Cover for The Bleeding Crown — Begin by 2nd week of Jan
Complete story subplot and finalize The Bleeding Crown (25,000+ words) — Begin by 2nd Week of Jan
Finalize work on Marketing Campaign for Consequences Within Chaos Audiobook — Begin by 2nd week of Jan
Write a separate blog entry outside of goals and The Hidden Saga — Finish by 2nd Week of Feb
Complete Elude #3 book (30,000 to 40,000 words)
Have Elude #3 self-edited by the end of January 2019.
Professionally edited and published by the end of February 2019.
Set up another couple book-signing events for 2019
Complete the last chapters for The Hidden web saga
Started another web saga (Juxtaposed)
Look into the options for booth setups for my book showings.
Thinking about setting up a service to other authors for possible book cover design
Outline Elude new chapters for subplots and additional material – Finish by 2nd week of March
Finish writing new subplots/additional material – Finish by 3rd week of March
Complete 3rd Wave of edits & send out to Beta Readers – Finish by end of March
Complete 1st Wave of edits for Elude #1 – Finish by end of April
Complete the Cover for The Bleeding Crown – Finish by end of March
Get feedback from beta-readers – Finish by end of April
Complete the 4th wave and final edit for The Bleeding Crown – Finish by end of April
Complete the total outline for the third book of the Wyvernshield Series. Highest Priority.
Maintain a two-week production of the chapters for the web series, Juxtaposed.
Develop and begin the Evade Series outline.
Find a cover artist or design the Wyvernshield book covers myself
Read one writing craft book a month
Prepare for book convention in Tucson
Get booth banners
Write 1,000 words per day – blogging, outlining, writing (61,000k).
Sign up for at least two comic-con/book festivals for 2019.
As of today, May 7th, 2020, I have 3 novels, 5 novellas under my name (starting back in 2016). I plan on writing through rest of my life, but it is amazing what I have worked through and accomplished by using these guidelines.
Truly it is all down to making a plan, sticking with the plan and persevering through the obstacles.
Now to continue on for 2020…
January thru April’s Completed Goals:
Edit Evade Book #1, Book #2
Craft Book Blurb
Designed YouTube website with book trailers for all 5 books & series
Purchase/design book covers for all three books
Set up Beta-readers of Evade #1
Publish Book #1
Once per quarter do an ad (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Amazon)
Connected with Pubby.com for book reviews
Bought a new table & cart for book signings
Found a new set of book stands
Established a Writing Prompt Series done almost bi-weekly
Completed a week-long course on Amazon Ads & Campaigns
May & June Bi-Monthly goals
Donate older book versions to libraries
Connect with my beta-readers for Evade #2
Continue writing and complete Evade #3
Maintain the Amazon Ad campaign
Research to see if anyone is doing book signings in August
Write Fantasy or Horror Writing Prompt stories every two weeks
Do more exclusive posting on Patreon
Get a writing craft audio book
Design new metal bookmarkers for Evade and The Hidden
Work on a way to expand my Email Subscriber List
Thanks again to everyone that checks in on me, supports my efforts, and provides a lot of beneficial assistance!! I truly could not get it all done with out you.
Definition of Resistance
The “Resistance” is constant but not futile (a tiny joke and a nod to my fellow Star Trek fans out there). Resistance is the inner voice that every creator, writer, inventor or artist out there hears deep inside. That annoying, grating, self-indulgent nay-sayer who keeps you from pursuing your dreams, goals or from even putting one foot forward to start on your journies. The voice trapping you behind false masks!
Resistance is born from our insecurities, busy outside lives and the lack of faith in our skills. The questions it seeds our minds with grow into trees of self-fulfilling prophecies. In other words, its true purpose is to give you excuse after excuse why you cannot or will not write today. We all have hundreds of unique excuses and seemingly valid reasons for not putting pen to paper. Everyone has lives and everyone has their own agendas. Yet if you give in to Resistance, you set up a habit of self-destruction and a pattern of sabotage.
Symptoms of Resistance
- Procrastination — This is a big one for me. I give myself an out by saying, “I just don’t have the energy” or “I’m too tired tonight. One more day and I’ll get to it.” Lies I tell myself. Resistance provides a nice pillow for me or it provides a comfy couch for me to binge-watch my shows on instead of battling to find the right words for my chapter.
- Confusion — You are “stuck” or have a minor case of “writer’s block” because you may have written yourself into a tough scenario and don’t know how to write yourself an escape. Or your outline is vague in this spot or too general and now you find you have to fill in the nasty missing link.
- Loss of creativity — “How can you be expected to write your masterpiece tonight?” Or another accusation from Resistance, “I’m not feeling it. The scene isn’t going anywhere.” We stare at the screen or the blank paper for a few seconds then let Resistance “save us” and we jump ship.
- No motivation/muse — Similar to loss of creativity is lack of motivation or the infamous “muse”. You actually know what you want to write, have the story events in your mind but at the same time doubt nags you or a lack of confidence keeps you from even trying.
Causes of Resistance
- Low energy — One of the common and easiest ways to let Resistance get over your walls and breach your defenses against it. You have to discover the right time for you and when you are at your peak energy output is key to writing quality work. When are you focused?
- Illness — Poor health or unexpected events are going to happen. Yet if you plan with “life” in mind, you will give yourself some back up or make-up time. Myself, I have been using Bi-monthly Goals and Writing Sprints to understand better on what to plan for and if they are possible in my given time table. I have also been working on my health and trying to approach those goals like my writing goals. In essence, good health and energy IS a writing goal.
- Poor planning — By knowing your projects, your actual production limits, and keeping in sight holidays and/or special events in your life, you can keep Reistance at bay often. Also using efficient and beneficial planning for your writing will make it easier to progress. I struggle a lot if I don’t work out my outlines well enough or if I have left a spot too general or vague. I stall without direction. I know this about my writing so I need to adjust accordingly in order to fend off Resistance.
- Internet distractions — The internet is a double-edged sword for all writers. We use it constantly in our wordcraft, research and even inspiration. However, it is super addictive, highly distracting and often a vicious time-killer. There are actual websites online that prevent you from accessing other websites or email during a programmed time. It protects you from YOU!
- Lack of character knowledge — The next two are related to poor design or poor development of story elements. If you have a limited idea of what your character is going to do in a scene, no idea of how they might react under pressure or if you have someone with barely any personality, this will leave you with limited material and limited ways to progress your story. Resistance feeds on lost productivity like this.
- Off course of plot/storyline — Writer’s Block at its finest can be broken down to another version of “don’t know what to write”. The blank page spans for eons in front of you like a white desert, barren and desolate of life. Yes, of course, when a character goes offscript and drags you and the story into a whole other direction, it could be magical and inspiring, but if you find your story has ground to a halt and Resistance is boiling up, you need to re-examine your original story or outline to find your way back. Resistance could be using your detour and “magical moment” as a way to derail your progress!
Answers to Resistance
- Maintain a better life & work balance — Nothing is easy and finding the perfect blend of writing and having a family life is a difficult but necessary tool to stop Resistance and your writing production. A great way to see where your actual time goes each day is to track your activities and how much each action takes. You can also learn when you are the most productive by listing the times you write, for how long, and what your word count was for the session.
- Create a Time Table for your week/writing commitments — A great way to beat Resistance is to make writing routine and habitual. Craft a chart for listing 3 Goal Items: Writing Commitments, Process/Project Tasks, Personal Ojectives. What will be your Writing Commitment this week (example: a 25-minute session for 5 days of the week as a success)? What is a Process or Project Task you are going to spend time on (like marketing, editing, etc)? And other Personal Objective you want to accomplish during the week?
- Set up a writing routine/writing space — Finding routine is essential for habit-making. What works for you as a writer? Does going to local public places like libraries or coffee shops help you get into your writing zone? Do you need a designated place in your house, a specific hour or quiet atmosphere? Would mood music help you produce more or shut out the noise from Resistance? All of these questions are key to learning the writer you are and what will boost your spirit into writing.
- Freewriting sprints — Sprints are timed freewriting sessions in which you silence your inner editor (Resistance’s bastard cousin) and produce as many words as possible. Leting go of any obstacles or any normal objections you have. Many writers also use these sprints to get past the initial “blah” to writing. Once you have made it past five or ten minutes, you’ll most likely push through to your daily objective.
- Delve into your backstories — I touched on this above, but not having any true direction or finding your character is too flat to come to life on paper begs Resistance to block you. My advice is to work on their prior lives. What happened to them before your story? Was there an event which guided their behaviors or personalities? Do they hide from stressors, have character flaws, have unknown strengths or are there secrets in their past you could work out which can add depth and color to your character portrait?
- Research your subject or develope more of your world — This tip is a balancing act. Resistance can hide here and disguise your efforts at world-building or learning historical or scientific facts as a lengthy distraction and keep you away from your true goals of writing. If you are stuck on a specific area or if you need motivation, use this with precision to get through the part. Limit the time donated on this aspect and you should find it a great way to fight back against Resistance.
- Reward yourself — If you find Resistance is still putting a wedge between you and your work, add a reward for accomplishing your writing goal. It doesn’t have to be big (special food, coffee, or maybe video game time) will be enough spark to push through. If you want bigger, use the reward to honor completed sets of sessions. An example could be taking the family out for a dinner at the end of the week of completed writing sessions. This gives you and the family quality time together and rewarding those who are in your life supporting your writing.
- Set your Goals and writing plans realistically — Becoming overwhelmed or finding yourself missing out too much on family events or nights out with friends will invite Resistance into your life guaranteed. It’s a part of that Work/Life balancing act I talked about. If you have too many projects hanging over your head, you’ll lose the thrill to writing. When everything about writing becomes a chore, you will know you have to revisit your goals and what you can accomplish. I recently did some timed sprints myself and learned that I can at the moment produce 400 words of quality writing in 25 minutes. I’m tracking this and hope to continually build this word count up. If I set goals now for myself to write 2000 words a day, I know it will take me almost three hours. I have a full-time day job and a family of five to support and I want to spend time with as well. Three hours a day would be unrealistic and unfair to those who support me — I would quickly become overworked, stressed out and extremely grumpy. I don’t want to live this way nor do I want to put my family through it. I would love to only have writing but it isn’t financially feasible as well. Plotting out the year with this knowledge however and understanding how illness and holidays will interfere, I can better set up realistic goals.
Remember, being an accomplished, seasoned writer or a brand new novelist doesn’t change the fact Resistance will always be there. Resistance has infinite lives and many devious forms. These tips will help and you will probably find even more ways to keep motivated and strong, but give yourself a break. You will not always be able to ward off the demons of Resistance all of your writing career, but once they rear their ugly heads, cut them off cleanly and quickly! Use drive, planning and organization to keep yourself ahead of the game!
Good luck and great writing!
With the New Year almost upon us, I have been working out my upcoming goals and what I’d like to see as far as successful production for 2020.
With a lot of excitement, I am hoping to publish my new suspense/supernatural horror series, Evade! And with a lot of joy and sadness, I will be wrapping up my epic fantasy collection, the Wyvernsield Series. While this may be a “goodbye” to current beloved characters, I am already toying with a story idea with new characters beginning this time in Aberrisc!
As you know if you have been reading any of my goal planning posts, I like the bi-monthly process breakdown. This method has proven to generate the most goal success for me. I’ll be continuing the process, but this time with a larger “arching” picture in mind. I’ll be planning the entire year, broken down in two-month objectives by Work In Progress.
Overall Goal Summary: This year’s production goal is to publish four books — Evade Parts #1,2 & 3 and the last book in the Wyvernshield Fantasy Series.
Works In Progress Goals:
January – February
- Complete writing for Book #3 (anticipated 25,000 word count)
- Edit Book #1, Book #2
- Craft Book Blurb
- Purchase/design book covers for all three books
- Publish Book #1
March – April
- Edit Book #3
- Publish Book #2
May – June
- Publish Book #3
WYVERNSHIELD BOOK #3
March – August
- Complete writing (March through August — anticipated word count 100,000)
- Edit book (September through November)
- Publish in December
April – May
- Purchase cover
- Write up a book blurb
- Look into a future Set Collection of all three books
- 125,000/12 mos
- Evade Book #3 25,000 — 12,500 per month, 3,125 per week, 625 per 5 days
- Wyvernshield #3 100,000 — 17,000 per month, 4,250 per week, 850 per 5 days
- Once per quarter do an ad (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Amazon)
- Buy new table & cart
- Buy banner stands
- Find/design a book stand
- Buy Metal Bookmarkers for new books
- Once per quarter do a local book signing
- Participate in one national comic convention if possible
- Expand email list
- Once per quarter do a giveaway
- Donate older book versions to libraries
So this is the 2020 Plan but as they are “goals”, these are subject to change, subject to incompletion, and subject to postponement! LOL
While 2019 was a tough and emotional year for me and my family, it turned out overall a very important and rewarding year. In the end, I learned you just have to have faith all will work out and have faith in yourself that you have the strength to see it through!
I wish all of you a successful and happy new year as well!
My friend and colleague, Andrew D. Michaels, has a running set up to interview writers for his Facebook page. You guessed it — I am next up on his rotation!
Today on the chatbox, we have our own Derek Barton! He’s here talking about his upcoming multiverse and check out his website below for free excerpts and shenanigans!
DB: I am a self-published writer since 2016. My favorite genres that I write in are the same that I love to read: Horror & Fantasy. I tend to blend my work with elements of horror in all that I create. In other words, my epic fantasy has some rather dark elements. I guess you’d say that I am primarily a horror writer.
ADM: That’s awesome! Would you say that not only the horror genre has severely influenced your writing, but any authors in particular?
DB: Like most writers of my generation, I can point to Stephen King’s influence and I do so proudly! He’s a master at creating characters that are so meaningful and powerful that you never forget them. That is one of the key goals I have in my stories. On the other side, fantasy writer Piers Anthony influenced me at first then R. A. Salvatore (of the D&D Forgotten Realms literature). Also, Dean Koontz, J RR Tolkien, and Stephen R Donaldson inspired me. Even to this day, I get inspired by them. Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes got me so excited by crime horror that I wrote my Elude series because of the unique way he twisted real-life with horror factors.
ADM: I can relate to those! So, what was the catalyst in the transition from reader to writer?
DB: I had given up striving/dreaming of being a writer since I was never able to write a full story out. Had tons of half-finished work. Then I learned during the writing of Consequences Within Chaos (my first book) that I was a ‘’plotter’’! So, what that means is that I had to have every detail planned out and couldn’t sit at the computer and just write by the seat of my pants (what’s called a ‘’pantser’’). After learning how to better develop and structure my work, it was easy to see the dream come true and be an actual writer. My good friend, Doug Sanburn, from high school, had belief in me and he was an accomplished, published writer, so I took the leap of faith. And never looked back! In my opinion, this is the greatest time in the ages of man to be a writer. There’s so much reference material and writing craft detailed out there on the net that you can simply watch videos or read articles and find you can do and write anything!
ADM: It’s always good to have someone on the team. Now, you have published many books since then, what was something that you were surprised to learn along the way about the writing itself, or as an author?
DB: Other than how precise and formulaic stories have become in structure and themes. It’s not a bad thing, but it was surprising to see if you knew what to watch for in any story. I think another thing that surprised me especially was the fight scenes. I never anticipated how daunting they could be. You must choreograph everything, everyone and every hit long before you write it out. Too much rides on getting those details right and they can totally throw your story off or derail a great plot. My first battle scene so scared me that I stopped writing for several months before finally braving an attempt. It was stage fright but for writing!
ADM: That sounds like a challenge. Were there any scenes that you were proud of, or perhaps a personal favorite?
DB: Each time you finish a story it becomes your absolute favorite child. Then you write another and that suddenly becomes your favorite. As far as a favorite scene I can’t narrow it down that precise, but Elude, my crime/horror story I cannot help but feel the happiest with. I get excited by it every time I think about it and what happened overall with the storyline.
There’s another crime-horror story I am developing which has a couple common elements with Elude, so it is called Evade. I get literally giddy thinking about its story. Guess that doesn’t really answer your question, but I am just so thrilled and happy with the complete tales I have been able to piece together and share with my fans.
ADM: That’s awesome though. Is Evade the next release we can expect from you? Care to share something about the story for those that aren’t familiar with Elude?
DB: My current schedule for my works in progress go as the third fantasy novel in my Wyvernshield series (the end of the trilogy) then the first Evade, then possibly publication of a web series I am doing called Juxtaposed, a fantasy/dystopian tale. As far as Evade goes, it will be a police drama (the main characters) and it takes place in Philly. My first horror novella, In Four Days, took place in Philly and a character from In Four Days will come back and crossover into Evade. I did the same with Elude where one of the main characters, Detective Ellis, was a character in In Four Days. Essentially Elude and Evade are tied to the horror novella In Four Days.
My fantasy world is connected, and my horror story world is connected. By the way, I put a lot of free excerpts of the books and stories on my website. The first five chapters of Elude #1 were on there for instance. Something fans can take advantage of!
ADM: It sounds like that while each series is separate on its own. But are they are all tangentially connected?
DB: Yes! I think it adds a lot to the back story. I remember that as a fan reader when I found that Cujo, The Eyes of the Dragon, The Dead Zone and The Stand all were connected in subtle ways by Stephen King, it really made a big impact. This was of course before you had the Marvel Universe and things like that. I think King kind of pioneered that front.
ADM: Agreed. So, with that in mind, was there any significance to the titles when you chose them?
DB: Elude and Evade were meant to give you the sense of chase and desperation. An air of frantic suspense. Consequences Within Chaos and The Bleeding Crown which are my two fantasy stories are titled based on the content. In Four Days too could be said to be titled for content as the demon that hunts for lost souls in Philly toys with his victims for four straight days before he takes them. In Evade one of the supposed victims of the demon in In Four Days suddenly shows up on a street corner… and that is all I can hint about that!
ADM: In having multiple series, was the first book more difficult than the others to write or vice versa?
DB: No, I am finding that the end of the series is the challenge! Everyone has “fallen in love” with your world and your characters thus you can’t let them down (aka GAME OF THRONES SYNDROME!). I worried that Elude wasn’t going to live up to expectations, but so far, I have been getting a lot of positive feedback on it. I hope that the third Wyvernshield will have the same result. Right now, I am struggling with the title. It’s either going to be Swimming in the Ashes or Sentinels of the Shield. Then down the road I want to do another whole fantasy trilogy in that same world but with a new set of character/creatures starting in Aberrisc (readers will understand that reference!) versus starting in the sister world of Tayneva like I did with this series. I think since I didn’t get going until I was 40 that all these stories have piled up in me and are dying to get out now! I keep having story ideas come out of nowhere and won’t stop running around in my head until they get released!
ADM: Sounds like you’ve got a lot planned out! So, tell us, is writer’s block something you believe in?
DB: No. But you must know yourself as a writer. Like I said before, I found out that outlines were my lifeline. Without a good outline, I would flounder in my story, get writer’s block or lose interest and story momentum. With the outline, it became technically my first draft. For instance, with Consequences I had a bullet outline that was 70+ pages and 80+ pages for The Bleeding Crown. My fantasy stories are long and involved with several plots, etc. My horror stories tend to have “beat outlines” which are usually less than 20+ pages. They’re complicated tales too, but it’s usually the protagonist versus the villain/monster and how badly the main character is “almost” screwed. In other words, it is like the difference in needed outlines for the movie Jaws vs The Lord of the Rings. Great stories each but Jaws is a bit more cut and dry so to speak.
ADM: Any anticipated release dates coming up?
DB: Unfortunately, no. I try to write daily or work on editing/marketing every day, but I’ve got a new and very involved day job as a marketing supervisor with an insurance company. The change from night shift to day shift has impacted my production heavily. I am working at finding ways to get more done, but my “expensive hobby” doesn’t pay my bills thus the day job has to be in my reality. Right now, 2020 and 2021 will have work produced & published. Elude is almost set to have an audible version in the next month or so! I am excited to hear it. The voice actor, S.W. Salzman is fantastic!! And of course, the voice actress, Laura Richcreek, who did the fantasy novels will be doing the third book when it’s completed. Her talent has no limits!
ADM: Fair enough. That’s exciting for the audio release! Do you attend any writing events like NaNoWriMo or Camp Nano? What has your experience been with these events?
DB: I have participated in Nanowrimo and while I see the appeal and the motivation it can provide, I found it just didn’t work for me, especially schedule-wise. The first year I “won” with Elude but then the following year I tried to write fantasy and my outline was just not complete enough. I don’t think I’ll do it this year, but I haven’t fully decided. I write all the time and the idea of only writing for one or two months in the year kind of blows my mind. My production goals require me to get to it faster I guess is what I am saying. If I didn’t have the extra responsibility of a day job and a family of three children to raise, I would probably be more engaged with it. No one wants to see themselves fall behind and fail.
ADM: I agree. Well Derek, thanks so much for talking with me. It’s been a blast and I’d love to catch your release party! Do you have any parting remarks for the readers?
DB: Thanks again for this great opportunity! Writing is now just a facet of me that won’t stop or go away, so I just want fans to know that I am still writing, still carving out worlds and tales to entertain them. Please be patient with me and I’ll always try to make it worth the wait!
ELUDE Ebook Trailer:
Back in late July of 2017, I started working with the concept for Bi-monthly Goals introduced to me by Kristen Martin in her Youtube video: How To Crush Your Goals in 2017 + My Jan and Feb Bimonthly Goals.
With little tweaks and experimenting with my own additions, I obtained my best production and career momentum ever in 2018! I managed to go from producing one novel a year to producing last year a novel and two novellas while increasing my posts in a weekly blog and a monthly newsletter. More than doubling my word count productivity.
I wanted to write out and give you the scoop of my research:
- What are Bi-Monthly Goals? Concise goals written specifically with clear expectations, a set prioritization and a detailed impact to your objective all with a two-month deadline. By deciding where you want to go, how to get there and when you are going to make it happen, the goal’s success and outcome are almost a given. Be exact and as realistic as you can be when developing these goals in order to have a satisfactory and critical improvement outcome. The purpose of the goal is to be obtainable and to further you along in getting to your overall desired dream. Take time to think of what you really want with that goal, see it in your mind how you can do it and visualize what it will do for you by accomplishing that goal.
- How many Bi-Monthly Goals should you make in the two months? I have tried to push myself and have around ten to twelve goals. Other times, I have lowered the pressure and gone down to less than five goals. It is really determined by you and what you can handle. Also, don’t be afraid to shift the number about to account for busier times in your life — like if holidays are going to interfere then prepare for them. The outcome is not to have the most listed goals, but to have the most completed and successful goals set up.
- Why do you need to prioritize them? As often with “to-do lists”, one tends to wander or scatter their efforts on several goals at the same time or work the easiest first. To have a prioritization factor on the goal, it helps keep you focused on the biggest and most important items. I set the prioritization as Highest Priority, Important Priority and Least Priority. Working the priorities as ranked has the highest chance of success. Meaning if I can accomplish my Highest and Important Priorities then I can still get minor goals completed in the timeframe. However, if the Highest Priority is still sitting there near the end of the two months, I know I should not even think about spending energies on the Least Priority objectives.
- How do I score my success with the Bi-Monthly Goals? Completing all of the goals in the two-month timeframe, of course, is a “100% Win”, but often, factors and unforeseen events will come up and interfere with your plan. I shoot for the “100% Win”, but realistically 85% is the common “Win Success”. Be flexible, be patient and always remain confident that these goals can be completed the next two months — there is no failure! Highest Priority percentage is 25%, Important percentage is 15% and Least Priority would be 10%. In example, if I were to have five goals at 90% = (2 of the Highest, 2 of the Important and 1 of the Least Priority goals) set as my Bi-Monthly Goals and I completed 2 of the Highest and 1 of the Important (65%) then overall it is a “72% Win”. To be a successful “Win” then I would have had to complete 2 Highest and 2 Important then I’d have 80% of the 90% which comes to “89% Win”. Yes, it is easy to slip in a Least Priority goal, but it is important to follow your priority ranking so as to be sure you are making the most of your time that you have and accomplishing the items that most matter to you!
Bi-Monthly Goals are incredible motivators as well as a rough draft guide to your overall business/writing plans for the future. These simple milestones will advance you in small baby steps every two months to acquiring bigger and better dreams and objectives at the end of the year that you’d never thought could happen for you!
Three years ago, I created this blog and established my site and social media footprint in order to advertise my book and to give my fans a place to reach out to me. This has been a crazy but fantastic ride! So thankful to all of you who’ve come along as passengers on my little quest.
Here’s the growth from year one to now:
- 2019 = 70 WordPress, 11 Email & 488 through Twitter & Facebook.
- 2016 = 11 Email
- 2019 = 4,488 — 2016 = 1603 views
- 2019 = 2,475 — 2016 = 659 visitors
- 2019 = 61 — 2016 = 19 different countries
- 2019 = this is the 115th post!! (26 so far this year)
- 2016 = 37 posts
GIVEAWAYS: 18 Individual giveaways for Book, Audio, Amazon or Metal Bookmarkers!
As you know if you’ve been following my goal blogs, I use a bi-montly process that has actually been quite effective. Here are the goals made and fulfilled from July, 2018 through June, 2019:
- Complete the Audiobook for In Four Days. Now out on Amazon, Audible & Kindle!
- Create/organize this year’s 2018 Indie Fantasy Book Giveaway with several other independent authors. Was a decent success — this year’s increase in participation & what we are giving away is a nice testament to that!
- Find at least two places to do a book-signing appearance. Did four book signings but due to finances and low turnout I couldn’t justify doing more…but with several books released now, I will be on the prowl for another couple signing spots this year! Would also like to get into one or two comic-cons, but cannot promise that due to having to usually register months in advance.
- Finish editing for Elude #1 & #2.
- Design the book cover for Elude #1 & #2.
- Write the end of Elude #3. The entire series has been completed, book covers designed then redesigned, and soon to be released in audible format by the end of the first quarter next year!!
- Send out Monthly Newsletters by 15th of the month. I have been successful with this and plan on continuing.
- Keep up The Hidden saga on the website every 2 weeks. Accomplished this and have published the entire series on Amazon & Kindle!
- Start my outline for Book #3 for the Wyvernshield Fantasy series. Still trying to get through this one. Coming up with the battle plans and the intricate plots is a whole lot more complicated than you’d expect! Plus, with this being the finale, I want to do better than “What-did-you-do-to-my-Game-of-Thrones?!”… UGH!!!
- Write up and prepare for writing in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Challenge in November — Book #3 will be my focus for NaNoWriMo! (50,000 word count goal!) I participated in this last November, but my outline had too many holes so it only garnered 26,000 words… However, it’s a good start!
- Craft a video book trailer for Consequences Within Chaos and The Bleeding Crown. (Can you say strettcccchhhhh gooooaaalll???) This will happen — but trying to make Wyvernshield #3 a priority right now.
- Start another web saga? May have to have a survey for which genre to pursue — fantasy or horror. Decided to do a Dystopian/Fantasy saga: Juxtaposed… Now working on Chapter Four.
- Thinking about setting up a service to other authors for possible book cover design. Maybe… I did get this off the ground and have had some success doing covers, editing & proofing for other writers. I plan on continuing this as the work has been sporadic and not too overwhelming so far.
- Begin a four-part guest blog swap with fellow writer Adam Mitchell and complete a Blog Interview with him! (This will be my first ever blog swap and should be a lot of fun!) This has been a success — our final and fourth blogs are due out this month. Check out Adam’s here! For my blogs, click here!
Thanks again to all of you for your continued help, support and following me along this bumpy road! It has been the greatest adventure of my life!!
Well…this has definitely been a challenging yet rewarding year. Unfortunately, events have substantially impacted my writing production.
At the beginning of April, I gave you my goals for April & May. Now, I won’t go into detail or give any excuses, but me and my family had to face and overcome some serious medical obstacles followed by financial hardships. I was so derailed that I lost most of June as well still working things out.
The dust has settled and overall, we are sitting better than where we even started the year. However, like any sudden change, it takes time to recover and adapt.
I do want to apologize to you, my core fans, and ask for your forgiveness and patience.
My work schedule has done a 360 degree shift on me and thus, my writing time has been severely compromised. One of my priorities this month will have to be to determine when and where to write. As I have stated in the past that I write mainly after 10 PM when my family goes to bed. Now I am working from 8 AM to 4:30 PM versus 11:30 AM to 8 PM — not too mention the two hours of driving time… But, I repeat, I am not wanting to give you excuses, only facts which I’ll have to find a work-around.
I promise you: Writing and developing my collection is too important for me to throw away or forget about. Adjustment, flexibility, good attitude and drive will help me find a path through.
Here were my goals and results from April & May:
- Complete the outline for the third book in the Wyvernshield Series — partially completed; more chapters to work though.
- Complete the outline for the new web saga, Juxtaposed — succeeded on this goal, but need to publish the third installment.
- Complete the outline for the new Evade Series (crime/horror series) — no writing or outlining yet done on this storyline unfortunately.
- Rework the covers of my books — partial success as I revamped the Elude Series which I’m quite happy with. Still need another artist or somehow figure out what I want for my new covers for the Wyvernshield Series.
- Begin a four-part guest blog swap with fellow writer Adam Mitchell and complete a Blog Interview with him! — success as I published the interview (see here if you haven’t had a chance to read it) and have done 3 of the 4 guest blogs with him so far.
And by the way…I recently did an in-depth interview with my voice actress, Laura Richcreek on the Wyvernshield Series. That is in the editing stage but soon to be released. STAY TUNED FOR THAT! It was fun to do and we get into a lot of the minute details and reasons behind the plot twists in the two books. >>SPOILERS ALERT<<
My Goals for July & August:
The last goal blog, I proposed goals and put some dates of completion with them. This time I’m going to try putting Priority Levels on them — I will work from the top down which will keep me focused on what’s most important for me to complete.
- Complete the total outline for the third book of the Wyvernshield Series. Highest Priority.
- Maintain a two-week production of the chapters for the web series, Juxtaposed. Highest Priority.
- Develop and begin the Evade Series outline. Medium Priority.
- Find a cover artist or design the Wyvernshield book covers myself. Medium Priority.
- Develop a book trailer for Wyvernshield Series. Lowest Priority (stretch goal).
There are many other things I want to do, but time is very limited so I hope these goals can be accomplished. With luck and with the better financial position, I hope to do more appearances, giveaways, and book signings by the end of the year! Thanks for everyone’s support and I appreciate everyone sticking around to see what’s in store for the future.
Time for a goal check-in!
In January, I opted to break away from the Bi-Monthly goals and introduced a new goal system. As you may recall, it was a goal system defined by Sarrah Cannon in her YouTube video How To Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet.
The essence of her system revolves around Main Goals, Projects, and Tasks. You set two or three “main” general priority goals to focus on. Then you break down those goals by deciding on Projects that will accomplish those general Main Goals. With each Project Goal, you detail and define what Tasks you are taking to get the Project finished.
Here are the goals I worked up for the first quarter:
My MAIN GOALS are as follows:
- Increase my site visitors by 25% = 232 visitors — (2018 1st Quarter’s results were 186 visitors) ACTUAL RESULT: 243 visitors (Success!)
- Complete one of three books for the year 2019 ACTUAL RESULT: Published Elude: Part Three the first week of April (Partial success).
PROJECT GOALS are as follows:
Goal to Increase Site Visits —
- Three Monthly Giveaways
- Two Book-signings
- Weekly Blog Posts
Goal to One of Three Books for 2019 —
- Write & Publish Elude Part Three
TASK GOALS to Increase Site Visits as follows:
- Develop three unique site giveaways (signed book copies, amazon cards, audiobooks)
- One Book-signing set in January (Superhero Saturday); call and set up another for February or March
- Update each week a blog post (web sagas, goal-setting blogs, etc) for a total of at least 12 blogs in the 90 days.
TASK GOALS to Complete Elude Part Three as follows:
- Complete Bullet Outline
- Write the rough draft (30,000-word count left)
- Go through 3 waves of edits
- Cover & Blurb (already completed)
- Publish on Kindle & Amazon by 3/31/19
While I did accomplish my goals, I felt like the extra month gave me too much leeway — gave me an out and I was not as “driven or pushed” as I have been with the Bi-Monthly goal system.
A couple positives did come out of the trial run: I was able to get a weekly blog done for the three months which was a nice plus and also I increased my site traffic by almost 31% versus the 25% I was shooting for.
So… I may not have felt like I was productive, I did accomplish some objectives. That being said, I’m going to try to do a combination of the two systems and see if that works for me.
First I am going to set myself five Main Goals that are a bit more specific than the general “Main Goals” as with Cannon’s approach. Also, I am going to give myself a bit of an established timeline completion date (not a deadline but more of an expectation).
MAIN FOR APRIL & MAY GOALS:
- Complete the outline for the third book in the Wyvernshield Series (possibly titled Swimming in the Ashes). Due date by May 15th.
- Complete the outline for the new horror web saga (no title yet). Due date by April 30th.
- Complete the outline for the new Evade Series (crime/horror series). Due date by May 31st.
- Rework the covers of my books. (I have been hit over the head several times by more successful authors that my books were not cohesive or didn’t express the right genres. “If you confuse the reader immediately, they will not bother figuring it out and move on.” I write in two genres so I’m going to have to do a better job at making it more obvious.) Due date by May 31st.
- Begin a four-part guest blog swap with fellow writer Adam Mitchell and complete a Blog Interview with him! (This will be my first ever blog swap and should be a lot of fun!) Started by April 15th – the interview and First Blog on May 1st.
My April & May months may only 5 goals for the Bi-Monthly system which usually had 10, but these are some tough objectives and come with imminent goal dates. And along the way, I want to get a video done for my fantasy series as I watched several videos on book trailer production and think I’m up to it…but where can I get in that extra time?
WISH ME LUCK!