Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Write Or Die!

I started using Dr. Wicked's Write or Die program earlier this week. I've found it to be a great help to get me writing. I usually start strong in my writing sessions, but as I go, my attention tends to wander, and I want to check out different Internet sites, either for research or to just avoid the current writing session. As you can imagine, the words don't come quickly or easily.

With Write or Die, though, there is no distraction. It's a bare-minimum word processing program, basically just a notepad writer. The trick is you have to keep typing in order to keep the consequences from lashing out at you. Instead of me telling you what the consequences are, just go check out Write or Die from my above link. It's quite self-explanatory. I usually use "gentle mode" because I tend to have my speakers off when I'm writing, although so far the red background warning of the coming consequence has been enough to get my fingers typing again.

This is a great program for first drafts of any kind. It forces you to keep your fingers on the keyboard so you'll actually get words down. Make sure you save your work before you close your window, as it does not auto-save it for you. Anyway, I just wanted to let those writers who don't know about this handy website that it exists and is easy to use. I hope it will help with your output. You can also brag about how many words you wrote by clicking a button on the "Done" screen. I posted my word count on Twitter just a few minutes ago. Anyway, that's enough for this week. Until next time, keep reading and/or writing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I've found Twitter to be a very handy tool for writers. I'm following a bunch of different authors, publishers, and the like, and very often they post great links to articles, blog posts, and other great material that helps with various phases of writing. Check various writing sites to see if they have a link to their Twitter page. Often writing sites offer the best Twitters because they're the ones giving the tips, not tweeting about what's for dinner or the like. When you look at the links they post, check the site for more Twitter feeds. You can get a good list of writing people to follow in a short amount of time. And, hey, maybe you'll pick up a good number of followers, too, so when you post things about your own writing, you'll have people that can check your stuff out. Easy networking, right? For example, I use Twitterfeed to get a link over to my blogs when I finish updating. After the initial set-up, it goes in automatically every time I post here or at Weird Happenings. Simple.

My advice is get yourself going in Twitter as a writer. If you already have an account, great, find some writers and publishers to follow (for example, Writer's Digest is a great place to start). If you want to follow me, feel free. My handle on Twitter is therav.

That's it for today. This was just a quick intro to get you to some of the great articles you may have missed other places online. There are a ton more ways to make Twitter work for your writing. Have fun in the Twitterverse! Until next time, keep reading and/or writing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

General Stuff

This week's post isn't anything exciting. I've caught myself in the trap this week of listening to writing podcasts instead of doing more constructive work. Not that the podcasts are bad--I'm learning and being inspired--but I should be writing more. I set myself a goal that I will write each day for at least 1 hour. That doesn't count constructing plot, character, and all that good stuff for projects, but actual words on paper. So far I've written this weeks worth of Weird Happenings story/blog posts--they're ready to be posted on the appropriate days. Yesterday and today's have already gone up, and I'm planning on posting again on Friday and either Saturday or Sunday, I'm not sure which.

Speaking of Weird Happenings, I'm enjoying writing it. It is starting a bit slow on purpose, but I have plans to really knock it up a notch. I'm sort of giving a bit of foreplay, so to speak, for these first few posts, and then I'll really run poor Jason through the grinder (who knows, maybe literally before it's all said and done).

I also sent out a bunch of short stories this past weekend, so I'm checking my email many times a day waiting for replies that probably won't come for a few months. I got one rejected the day after with a personal attack in it--my first, so that made me laugh. The editor didn't like my story but said I was free to send another story if I ever got an original idea. Made it seem to me that he wasn't holding my breath that it would ever happen. Amazing what he could tell about me from just one flash fiction submission, eh? Ah well, he missed the mark and didn't hurt my feelings, so it's all good. It's a good reminder to anyone submitting any sort of work out there--have thick skin. If you let people get to you, you'll never survive, so just dwell on it for a minute or two and then forget about it. (I know, I know. It sounds like I'm dwelling on it because I'm typing about it in my blog, but honestly it just popped into my head when I thought about checking my email for responses so often.)

Anyway, that's it for this week. Please check out Weird Happenings and let me know what you think. Until next time, keep reading and/or writing.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Blog Ghost Story

I started my new blog today. It's called Weird Happenings. It's a story about 16 year old Jason Bellows who lives in what he believes to be a haunted house. I'm telling the story from his point of view--Weird Happenings is his blog that he started to keep track of the, well, weird things happening in his house.

I don't know how long I plan to continue this project. I can see going for years to come. I don't have an overall story in mind yet other than Jason living with ghosts. I'm just going to write from the seat of my pants four or five (maybe more) times a week. If I get to a point where I see a neat conclusion, maybe I'll write it and start something else. If I keep getting ideas for Jason and his ghosts, I'll keep going with this. I have some vague ideas about where I'd like to ultimately go with this, but I also only have vague ideas about where I'm going to be with it in a week or two. I find this prospect exciting. It'll be seat-of-my-pants writing!

As I said, I plan to update it multiple times a week, but probably not more than once a day. Feel free to bookmark that page and check often to see if I have anything new. In addition, I have a Twitterfeed hooked to it (as well as this blog), so if you want to follow me on Twitter, you can do so at

That's it for now. My first "chapter" is up now at Weird Happenings, so go check it out. I'd love to hear comments as I go, so feel free to let me know what you think. Until next time, keep reading and/or writing!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

1st Draft Done

I finally finished the first draft of my novel. I did a good job of writing 5000 words a week, so really the story didn't take as long as I'd hoped because the entire story ended up to only be about 40,000 words, about half as long as it needs to be to be marketable as a novel. I'm putting it away for a month or so before I get back to it. Basically I want to go at it with fresh eyes when I go back to it. I want to add some to the story, but I'm not sure how much yet. I've read that the e-book revolution wants novellas, which this basically is at this point. I'm not sure if I add too much if it will mess up the story I have now, so I may not want to add too much. Also, after I add content, I'm sure what I have will also be trimmed because of wordiness, so that will cut the word count.

Basically, what I'm saying is I'm thrilled that I finished the first draft, but the real work will begin in a month or so when I pull it out again. I'm happy with it; I think it has promise, but it is in no way marketable yet. I can't imagine I'll add enough to make it a true novel, but I hope to add, subtract, and polish enough to make it a marketable novella. Hopefully some day all of you will have a chance to read it!

I'll have an announcement about a new project I will be undertaking coming soon. I don't want to say too much yet, as I don't have all the details pounded out in my mind yet, but I'll let everyone know soon. Basically it will be a story told in blog form. More on it later. Until then, keep reading and/or writing.