Tag Archives: novella

Thematically Unfortunate

16 May

So you get to a point in your story where you run out of outline… and you’re still only at 40k words. I don’t want to stay in Novella, that great netherland of my writing, but I’m not sure how to expand it. Well, it turned out I just needed another storyline!

The story I’m working on–let’s call it “historical technothriller”–is mostly a spy novel. Which means that I’m following my two heroes, the bad guy, and the guys following the bad guy. But that left me in a terrible pickle; because that’s a lot of stories to balance out, but no where to expand. Then my writing partner came up with the solution; the political angle!

There is a major problem with adding the politics to a technothriller, and it’s a problem that any author in the genre faces. You can’t use real world people in those positions because… well, they can sue. So you can either use lesser politicians (who knows who the Deputy Director of Intelligence is at the CIA?) or you can create fictional people. The second you do that, though, you’re telling your audience that you’re in an alternate universe… and that might jar them out of the story.

So I want to avoid that. Thankfully, my writing partner also came up with more outline that allows me to continue the story without adding in yet another storyline. We both decided to save that for the 2nd Draft. But this story is really testing my ability… but thankfully I’ve got help.

Have you ever run into this situaiton before? Let me know in the comments below! If you want to see what some of my finished books look like, check them out! But if you’re not ready to commit that much, download one of my stories for free!

Working with Writing Partners

15 Apr

After talking yesterday about getting creatively burnt out, I met with my writing partner yesterday, and felt a lot better. Working on a project WITH someone is an unusual experience, but can be great… if it balances right.

I’ve worked on MANY collaborative writing projects. When I finished my first novel-length story–Manifest Destiny–it was because of me and my friend decided to work together on this massive outline that we had come up together. When it was finished, it printed out to 500 pages of glory, and… I discovered that my writing partner had stopped reading after 300. At that point, we were living in different cities, and I had to email new revisions. But… it’s really hard to read off the computer, so… he didn’t.

I love that man like a brother, and I’ve forgiven him for that, but I certainly haven’t forgotten. This was back in 1996, so it was prior to the self-publishing revolution, and so when I sent my magnum opus to publishers they said, “Thanks but no thanks.” I revised it into a 200 page book that just had the first part of the story and got the same result. Once I learned I could self-publish it, I’ve tried to go back and revise it again, but… for a technothriller, it is SO dated that it’s not worth publishing. Plus having to re-read your old work is a certain level of hell. Which is why you won’t see my first novella, Suicide Kings and Drama Kings, written when I was 17, anywhere on my available books page.

My second experience with collaborative writing was a play-by-email game called Tech Infantry. Now the problem I had with PBEM games is that you told the GM what you were doing, and the GM wrote several stories to each of the players telling you what you did. This is very time consuming on the part of the GM and leads to burnout… fast. So that first experience was short enough to get self-published later as The Daughters’ War.

When we did it again, this time, everyone got the SAME story, and you could follow everyone’s story. Then the players wanted to write much of their own material, with me editing for grammar and game play, so it became a collaborative writing project. So Rage Against the Dying of the Light became a HUGE writing effort, spanning 10 months, with a 20-page excerpt every week, and was rather enjoyable. Eventually, that burned everyone out. A couple years later we tried it again with The Middle Kingdom which was similar, except it lasted 5 months, and everyone rather enjoyed it. In that experience, I learned what it meant to be an editor, as well as having to balance your writing vision with other people.

However, I also learned how to crank out a lot of words in a short amount of time–it’s a pretty amazing experience. If you’re wanting to find out what this looked like, click here. Out of this project actually came a couple stories. Because this was a shared universe, there were a few GLARING plotholes, so I filled in one by writing my own novella called Prayer for the Technocrats, which you can buy now. My dear friend, Editor Ed, also took his story out of Tech Infantry, revised it heavily, and published Predatory Practices… which is one of my favorite stories (that I helped write). So I thoroughly recommend it.

Now I’m working again with another friend, but in this case, he wrote the outline, I’m writing the story, and he’s editing. I can’t go into any greater detail than that, because the novel is still gestating… one doesn’t want to announce anything until it’s born. 🙂

As long as you have clear expectations of what each other’s role is, then you’re more likely to be successful. In Tech Infantry, the players could write what they wanted, but they understood I had editorial control. In this, he has the background knowledge and the story idea… but can’t write. I can write, but don’t have the background, so he’s able to edit technical mistakes that I miss. Of course, our collaboration still leads into needlessly long discussions of gun calibers, how to build a Faraday cage, and bitching about the news… but a writing partnership is not just work, it’s a friendship. You’re going to get off topic.

Have you had a writing partnership? Did it go well? Did it go badly? Let me know in the comments below! And after you type that, check our my books, some of which were collaborative, but many are not. However, if $1.99 is too high to pay for curiosity, go ahead and download one of my stories for free.

When Novellas Attack!

29 Jul

Yes, I just wrote a post about how much short stories suck, but these are short novels! 🙂 Thanks to my brother-in-law, who’s got a lot more experience with publishing, I’m now providing an e-book/Kindle version of my killer novellas – Prayer for the Technocrats and Virginia is for Lovers – for the low, low price of $1.99!

What are these books about? Well…

It’s a classic story of boy meets girl, boy gets girl, and then girl drugs boy and steals his money. Unfortunately for the thief, Feliz Castanada is the leader of the local crime syndicate, who needs to avenge the affront to his honor by killing the woman. The thief, Desiree Winters, doesn’t make that easy for him. A master of disguise, with the use of cosmetic implants, with a command she can change her appearance at will. Can Feliz take her out before his superiors find out? Can Desiree escape the city with her life? And what is it about the other that they find strangely compelling?

Humanity is under threat and no one is concerned. After all, the Earth Federation has survived countless invasions, civil wars, and ruthless dictators. After centuries of war and bloodshed, one more invasion shouldn’t make much of a difference. But how do you fight an enemy who can’t be killed?

As civilization falls apart, four people must brave the impossible. Miranda, the scientist, searches for the enemy, and the key that might save humanity. Ivan, the fighter pilot, seeking to warn anyone who will listen of the coming danger. Amanda, the politician, trying to keep civilization together long enough to fight back. Demar, the sergeant, whose skill can fight legends. And who is Vin Dane, the mysterious colonel who can bring these four together?

Hope you enjoy this–much more convenient version of my stories!

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