Hello and welcome back to the blog! I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Our middle child was sick with a stomach virus on turkey day. I took our other two kids to my parents for a Thanksgiving lunch, while my wife stayed with our ailing child. Around midafternoon we swapped roles as she took the two kids to her parent’s house while I stayed home. It made for a hectic day, but such is life with children.
That was a bit of an off-topic ramble, which happens to be the topic of the day. It’s well suited then, I guess. It’s been kind of an off week for me. As a result, I’m not feeling a topical blog post at the moment. Since I run the show here, we’re going to go on an off-topic ramble for today. We’ll return to a normal topical blog post next week. Or maybe not, depends what mood I’m in.
Let’s get rolling.
In my opinion to be a good writer you have to do two things, read a lot and write a lot. Not only do I write every day, but I also read every day. For a writer, reading is part of the job. Think of it as a job requirement, if that suits you. Don’t be mistaken, most writers enjoy reading, including this one. However, our minds turn in different directions when reading a book. Sure, we pick apart the holes in the plot just like every reader would. We also look at the depth of characters, how those characters interact with each other, the writers voice, the writer’s motivation for doing what he/she did, why in the world he would do such a thing when I would have done something completely different, etc. This is just a long way of saying that the worst critic of a book can often be other writers.
I’m bringing this up because of the book I am currently reading. Though I haven’t finished reading it, I’m close enough to the end to have formed an opinion about the writer of the book. Since I haven’t quite finished and my opinion could be swayed by the last three chapters, I won’t reveal who the writer is or what the book is called.
I decided to read the book for two reasons: the book’s description and it was under the umbrella of Kindle Unlimited. A books description is very important. It’s the key factor in deciding whether I will read a book. While the book’s description was accurate, there was a ton that the writer failed to include, which I felt should have at least been hinted at. It felt like misrepresentation to market the book as one thing when it clearly was something else. The author lost me at that moment, probably for good.
The trouble is that the bones of the book are very good. There are characters with depth whose interaction with each other bring an aura of unpredictability to the novel. The tone was just right for what appeared to be a supernatural horror novel. I even enjoyed the writer’s voice to a certain extent. I was hooked. Then aliens appeared in the middle of what I thought was supposed to be a ghost story. A plotline must be in the realm of believability to keep my attention. It turns out I wasn’t hooked, just snagged. Too aggressive of a tug from the fisherman and that hook was released. You almost had me, but I got away.
This hasn’t been the best of weeks for me as it pertains to writing. As I said earlier, my middle child was sick on Thanksgiving. Earlier this week my oldest threw up in her first period class. Gross, I know. As I write this my wife is currently down with the same stomach virus. Thankfully it’s to a lesser degree than with the children. I’m a dad and a husband first, so taking care of them is priority. With that being said, it hasn’t made for the best writing environment.
The strange writing environment is probably the reason I had trouble with my most recent story. It’s a short story for a collection I hope to release at some point in the future. It’s a science fiction story, though not my usual genre, I’m still comfortable there. The words were hard to come by this week. Most days I average one thousand words an hour. This week that was cut in half. I also wrestled with decisions as to what should happen, when I normally go with the flow and let things fall where they may.
Yesterday I finished the story. As difficult as it was, I think the story ended up being pretty good. That’s weird for me. I always know when a story is going to be good. I can feel it in my bones, or I fall into the zone while writing it. The words in these stories always come easily. With this one I had to fight for every word and delete a fraction of the story. Yet I feel more than satisfied with the end result. The final edit will hold the truth.
With that short story finished, I will be turning my attention to my next project. What is that? I have several options from which I haven’t completely made up my mind. Breaking Character is formatted and awaiting a cover, I should be posting it in the coming weeks. I am planning the next book in the Breaking Character Series, which is likely where I turn next. I already mentioned I have been working on a short story collection. That collection sits at five stories and twenty thousand total words combined. That could be it or possibly not. I honestly have no idea. There’s also the first draft of a novel that needs attention.
That’s quite a list of things that need done and I’m only one man. I know some will be saying that I should multitask. I wish I could. Most of my mornings are spent at my day job. I pick up my youngest daughter from pre-K on my way home. After lunch I write in my office while she either plays or watches cartoons. That’s two hours Monday through Friday plus most of my Saturday. I only have time to focus on one project.
I can’t imagine releasing Breaking Character: The Craven House without at least starting the second book. So, I think that solves it. Breaking Character #2 is next. Thanks for being patient while I worked that out.
As promised, this has been a bit of a ramble and it’s time to call it a day. Until next time, remember to follow your dreams, no matter how much they terrify you.
Stephen Michael Roth