Confessions of a Spoiled Indie Writer

Just write, and quit feeling sorry for yourself.

My mother was a writer. She wrote a couple of books, and many screenplays. All of them she submitted to publishers who turned her down usually with a very impersonal rejection letter. She would get the “it’s not what we are looking for,” or “you need to put this together the right way. Meaning she didn’t send her manuscript in a box, with the pages loose leafed. Back in those days you had to jump through many hoops just get your book read.

Later in her life she actually did sell a screenplay. It was a story about two couples who are opposites, end up getting the same hotel room by mistake, and have to stay in it together. Kind of like the Odd Couple on vacation. A few years later my mom succumbed to lung Cancer.

Where am I going with this…?

I guess my point would be how spoiled I am as an indie writer. I have published many short stories, a couple books, and I have been in an anthology. Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, maybe you’ve heard of it. If you haven’t you can get it here.

I guess the whole spoiled notion came to me while I was browsing Facebook. I’m friends with many authors on there, so I get to see lots of different insights through other authors eyes. Some are doing very well for themselves, while others… not so much. And it is the later few I want to talk about, and say this. Just the sole fact that your stories are being read is a miracle by past standards. Back in the day independent writers were looked at as the ones who couldn’t cut it. They were the weirdos with weird-looking books, and they were not taken seriously.  They were the old history teacher that would sit outside of bookstores and sell half assed copies of their books out of a trunk. They were your friend that would hound you to read their book.

We are spoiled now.

There are tools to make your book look professional. There is social media to get the word out. And there is ways to connect with fellow authors to get insight, and encouragement. So… Quit whining. We live in a time when the gatekeepers have been burned at the stake! You can write what ever you want. And even if it’s not that good someone will read it. It is the greatest time to be an author. Quit feeling sorry for yourself, and get writing.

My mother never had this chance. She died just a bit to soon. But she would have taken advantage of indie publishing, and she wouldn’t have complained once. She would have loved it. Because she would have been doing something she loved anyway… Writing.

THE POOL SERIES

5 Resources for Self-Editing

Editing… Ugh! Editing anything can be a daunting task. As a indie writer on a tight budget I have to edit all of my own stuff first before I send it to anyone else. I do this to cut costs, and to not look like the blithering, grammar challenged ding dong that I am behind closed doors. Putting out your writing can be a very scary task when you don’t know if all of your letters on the page are in the right order, and have all of their little symbols in the right spot.
It has been said that editing is the most important part of the writing process, and I couldn’t agree more. If you’re into percentages, I would say your actual writing is about 15 percent of the process, and editing takes up the other 85 percent. I spend more time editing than I do actually writing my stories. Fortunately we live in a time where the internet is chock full of resources for our problems. Yes guys it’s true. The internet isn’t just for cat videos, and porn anymore. Who Knew!

I am not saying you don’t need to have an editor, but Self-editing will help in the process, and save you lots of money.

I found a ton of information for writers who are feeling over burdened by editing like I was. Here’s a list of five.

1) I found a site that has cut my editing time in half. It’s called Pro Writing Aid. This site is awesome for the story writer like me, or for the person that needs to write a blog post, or hell even a business letter. And get this, it’s will cost you the big F word! Yes you heard me! No not that F word Captain Dirty Mouth! The F word meaning FREE! However, if you want to use their more complex editing tools packages start out at only 35 dollars a year. Here are some of the features with Pro Writing Aid.

  • Check for hidden and passive verbs
  • Identify overuse of adverbs and glue words
  • Locate repetitive sentence structure
  • Replace commonly overused words
  • Reveal repeated words and phrases
  • Eliminate vague, abstract and complex words
  • Remove clichés and redundancies

2) The book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne & Dave King is a must have for anyone that wants to learn more about the craft of writing. Renni Browne was once the senior editor at William Morrow, and has founded The Editorial Department , which is a national book-editing company. Dave King is a contributing editor at Writer’s Digest, and is an independent editor. So these two know what they are talking about when it comes to the written word. You can pick it up on amazon for a few dollars. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers description.

“Hundreds of books have been written on the art of writing. Here at last is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stories.

In this completely revised and updated second edition, Renni Browne and Dave King teach you, the writer, how to apply the editing techniques they have developed to your own work. Chapters on dialogue, exposition, point of view, interior monologue, and other techniques take you through the same processes an expert editor would go through to perfect your manuscript. Each point is illustrated with examples, many drawn from the hundreds of books Browne and King have edited.”

3) Scrivener is writing software, but it does have some editing capabilities. I use scrivener to write everything. With it’s ability to move chunks of text around, and the cork-board feature, it’s like having another brain. If you are serious about writing, Scrivener is a must have. The software cost $40 dollars and you can get it here.

  • Corkboard – In Scrivener, every document is attached to a virtual index card onto which you can jot a synopsis; moving the cards on Scrivener’s corkboard rearranges their associated text in your draft.
  • Outliner – View and edit the synopses and meta-data of your documents in Scrivener’s powerful outliner. Organise your ideas using as many or few levels as you want and drag and drop to restructure your work.
  • Scrivenings – Scrivener’s innovative “Scrivenings” mode allows you to move smoothly between editing your document one piece at a time or together as a whole.
  • Statistics and Targets – A live word and character count of the current section is always in view at the bottom of the screen, and you can set a word or character count target for each section.
  • Full-Screen – Because sometimes you want to blank out the rest of the world while you write – or at least the rest of the screen. One click in Scrivener’s toolbar and you can leave the rest of your desktop behind and write distraction free.

4) After The deadline is editing software that is free for personal use. It checks spelling, style, and grammar, among other things. It also has tips on how to become better at editing. http://www.afterthedeadline.com/

5) NewNovelist Version 3 Second Edition (Windows 8.1/8/7/Vista) Is affordable writing software for beginners.

  • Help and advice on how to write a novel
  • Tried and proven writing methodology with creative writing advice
  • Dedicated novel writers word processor with voice recognition dictation and read-back
  • Facilities to build up plots and characters to implement into your novel
  • Advanced review and publishing tools

I Hope this helped all my writing friends. If you find any other resources please let me know in the comments below. I look forward to your feedback. As always you can find my writing on Amazon. I’d wish you luck, but you don’t need it. By the way I am sure there are editing mistakes in this post. Thank you for noticing. 🙂

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Nothing to see

Nothing to see

“Excuse me, are you Steven James?”

The guy looked like a CIA agent, complete with plain black suit and sunglasses, that were not needed since it was almost dark. In one well manicured hand he held an envelope that had the name in question written in what looked like old cursive, or calligraphy. The envelope was old, it was browning at the edges and looked like it would fall apart at the slightest touch. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Every time I glanced up at the man, my eyes would dart back down, as if the paper were made from a magnet exclusively for the two round objects that fit neatly in my skull.

I was not Steven James, the mysterious man who gets hand delivered letters from guys dressed up like secret service. No, I wasn’t him, but at that moment I wanted to be him. It seemed his life was a lot more interesting than mine. Bet he wasn’t an assistant manager of a gas and sip, who came home every night to sit alone and watch bad TV and eating bad food.

The man extended the envelope towards me, and not even thinking I said “Yes I am,” and snatched the note from his hand. He gave me a smirk as if saying he knew damn well I wasn’t who I said I was, making me instantly want to give him the envelope back. “Humanity thanks you.” He said. The man tipped his head as he walked away. I could hear his footfalls echoing, each one making the foreboding feeling that had come over me almost unbearable. I turned around to tell him the truth of my identity, and give him back the letter, but he was gone like he had become one with the molecules in the air.

The envelope seemed to burn in my hand. It wanted to be open, the note wanted to be read.

I opened the envelope. The brittle paper crumbled in my hands. Glue that had been sealed long ago obliterated into dust, leaving my hands a chalky yellowish color. The note looked newer, and was folded in classic letter style. I unfolded the paper methodically, relishing the moment even being overcome with the most horrible fear. It said in big red letters, “Look behind you.” As I turned I felt the cold hand of death on my shoulder, and then I was staring it in the face.

The emptiness is what I remember most. Where my soul resides is a dark place where monsters lurk in every corner. Yes my friends, hell is not the fire and brimstone kind of hell. Hell resides in your mind, on a Tuesday, when your bored, and coming home from work.

Oh are you wondering what I saw…? Well I saw nothing.

Other writing by me that you can find on Amazon. Click the images if you have further interest.

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Flash Fiction “Peephole”

Peephole

James didn’t believe he deserved any of the things in his apartment. The big screen TV sitting on the solid oak entertainment center was a constant reminder of how he didn’t deserve to be alive. His chest moving up and down was a constant reminder. He didn’t deserve to be alive after what he had done. Not after the screeching tires broken glass, blood, and the screams. Oh god the screams. The screams woke him up at night.

Everyone told him it wasn’t his fault, even his parents. But every time he looked into their eyes he saw how they felt. It was there. The place behind their eyes, as obvious as a blinking light. “You killed her.” It said. “You killed our baby girl, you killed your sister.” Non of the late night crying sessions with his mother, or the reassuring pats on the back from his father made the blinking light go away.

Sara never wanted to wear her seatbelt. James never made her. She was 20 years old and an adult, at least on paper. Gone were the days of being big brother. He wished he had endured the eye roll and made her wear the damn thing. He relived that moment backing out of the drive way every day for the last 2 years, going over every detail, the sun setting, his sisters hair blowing across her face, the flash of the truck bumper, the screams, and then silence. He couldn’t relive that moment anymore, and he wasn’t going to. The gun he purchased a day ago would remedy that. One bullet and things would be set right. One pull of the trigger and the agonizing guilt would be laid low like the bad guy in a spaghetti western.

The gun sat like a brick in the palm of his hand as he raised it to his temple. He felt a lightness come over him. In two years he hadn’t felt this good. This is right, he thought.

He almost pulled the trigger when he heard the knock at the door. The suddenness of the rap left him confused for a second and made him think the gun had gone off and ended his miserable life. He looked around the room, and everything was as it was. James got up from the couch and walked like a zombie to the door. He leaned his head against the hard wood, exhausted by just a few feet. He contemplated going back to the couch and getting on with it.

The door vibrated against his head as he leaned. His desperate feeling turning to anger. He looked through the peephole. The image on the other side of the door wavered as James’ eye adjusted finally focusing on a face he had not seen in 2 years. His sisters face looked perfect. Beautiful like he always remembered. He sighed and opened the door, not glancing back at the physical deed done. Not looking at the wreckage that laid on the couch clutching cool hard steel.

If you liked this story, you can purchase my short story, “A World Without” on Amazon. Just click the image.

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