Day 10: My post of penance

For some reason, my ears just started ringing a few minutes before I started composing this post. I'm not sure what that means as I haven't had any earaches or sinus problems for weeks now.  Oh well, just push through it.

Last night's post was a bit of a self-pity post.  The original draft (which I published for about 24 hours) was way more self-indulgent.  The new version of that post hides some of the bitterness and cantankerous vibe that was coming out of my fingers into the keyboard last night. 

Anyway, onward and upward.  As I said at the end of last night's post, I live in the United States of America - A free country.  I get to publish books on the side.  While they aren't the source of a substantial income, they are still something and I they seem to be the thing I have been most excited about creating for a long time.

The Writing Experiment

So, I'm still working on my first story.  The great news is that I have rounded the corner of the first book's third act.  Along the way, I have taken a couple of liberties from my original outline (a chapter by chapter template) and so the book will be slightly longer than I had originally planned.  Regardless, that will turn out to be a good thing.  As I write this, I have a title for the first one. 

A quick review if this were one of the first blog posts you are reading about my "experiment."  I will lay it out below:

  • Find pre-made covers that range from between $14 and $30 to buy for ebook covers.  
  • Develop a cool central character to have adventures and stories with in a series.
  • Develop one outline that each story would follow loosely.  Some deviation is expected, but this will keep things rolling and on track.
  • Develop an outline for each of those ebook covers that is more specific to the image and planned title for the book.
  • Write at least 500 words of fiction every single day for a month.  Track this progress and then report it daily on the blog.
  • By the end of the month, see how things go.  One novella (for ebooks this doesn't matter) can be any length and is definitely possible.  Two novellas in one month would be awesome.  Three would be amazing!!!
  • Publish the books in a slightly staggered fashion (with the covers of the other books in the front of each book to inform a new reader of all of the great adventures they can read about this character).
  • Write punchy action, brief and concise dialogue and really hone in on writing something you would want to read.
  • Publish books under a pen name.  

And there you have it:  My 30 day writing experiment.

Daily Starting Total: 14 274

Daily Finishing Total: 15 419

Daily Word Count: 1 145

Day 2 of the Writing Experiment

Jumping In with Both Feet!

Well, it's the first time I wrote consistently for two days in a row.  However, this might be the first time I have worked to track my progress.  I woke up a bit later today than I had yesterday.  I still made writing a priority.  I haven't calculated the total as I write this sentence, but I think I ended up getting carried away and writing over a thousand words.  If you take away some of the minor interruptions I had to deal with this morning, I would say it took me about 45 minutes.  

A Little More about this Project

So, a while ago, after reading about all of these Kindle authors who wrote at super fast speeds and then possibly went over their work one time before publishing it, I thought I would implement some of their experiment.  It seems like the reading public is wanting this more pulpy-style of writing.  I don't know if it's true or not, but I wanted to experiment.  

As I said yesterday, The Son of San Diablo is still finding its audience and I have been working a very long time on the sequel.  However, that becomes a boring drudgery and slog after a while and it starts to feel like you can't tell which way is up and which way is down.  I had been looking at pre-made eBook covers around the holidays and it dawned on me about a month ago:

What if I purchased some of these lower-priced (but still lovely) pre-made eBook covers and then conceived of a series of stories that could be set around them?

And that is exactly what I did.  I decided on a pen name that had been rattling around in my head for a couple of years and then went to work.  I chose about 10 color covers and had a rule that none of them would exceed $30.  I kept that rule for all of the covers I had purchased except one.  That one came in at around $35, but it was so beautiful and fit what I was looking for that I couldn't resist.

The next part of the plan basically involved coming up with a central character who would find himself in various scraps and situations that would lead to something that the cover conveyed.  I developed a couple of supporting characters as well and then I set to work on outlines.  

The outlines were based on a very simple outline I had already conceived.  The question I asked myself when I first started out on this project is:

Can someone write a story that is exciting, engaging, a little philosophical and addictive?

Having read nearly all of the works of Ian Fleming and much of Edgar Rice Burroughs, I had concluded that yes, one could do that.  It just would take focused, concentrated effort and an economy of words.  

I now call the approach: 'Flemingway Block.'

'Fleming' for Ian Fleming and his love of the flair that comes with the adventures of one James Bond.  These adventures were always punchy and forward-moving, but had a lust for life in the sensual pleasures that included how food and drink tasted, what a beautiful woman looked like or the pain that Bond would feel at the hands of his enemies.  I love his writing.  It is especially good if you've ever heard a well-known British actor read it aloud.  So, there was that.

The 'way' was a reference to Ernest Hemingway.  Recently, I heard someone say the only people who read Hemingway are high school students and it’s usually because they’re being compelled to. That’s not entirely false. He wrote the tightest prose, so it only made sense to abbreviate his name in this title.  Like others I’ve spoken with, I have found his stories a bit difficult to get into, but have read enough to appreciate his desire to have an economy of words.  Therefore, from him I have taken that.  I also have worked to keep things on the surface without digging too deep and losing the reader.  I have tried to avoid too much exposition.

Finally, 'Block' for Lawrence Block giving me the inspiration to try this.  Also, because having read a few of his detective novels, I have found his free-flowing prose to be liberating and economical all at the same time.  He pulls one in unlike many others.  I wanted to homage some of that.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I don't think I have the skills, talent or body of work to stand next to these men in any kind of peer-style relationship.  Instead, I want to emulate these three and see what happens.

More tomorrow.

Daily Report

Starting Total: 9115

Finishing Total: 10027

Daily Total: 912