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Week 42 2016 Gearing up for #NaNoWriMo and Halloween 

So I made it one chapter through the workshop and had a mental breakdown and decided to give #NanoWriMo aka National Novel Writing Month a go. 

So I am heading to the beach for Halloween and first week of November to immerse myself in trying to complete a first draft of my book in a single month. 

A win is considered 50,000 words.  I will need more in the neighborhood of 100-125k to accomplish a serviceable draft. Putting my inner editor on hiatus will be a challenge, but I need the discipline. The old adage is you have a lifetime to complete your first publishable book, and only a year for every subsequent book. Well, that seems pretty standard for the authors who stay published for many books after their debut. So I hope this helps.

If you are doing NaNo, you can find me under E.M. Goldsmith. We can be buddies if you like. 

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Week 28 2016 – Turn Off the World, Please

I’d like to get off at the next stop before the world plummets over that proverbial cliff. I suppose history will call it World War III or perhaps simply the Fall of the West.  School children will little remember the minutia, the division inside countries, the politics or religion of it, the bad actors,  or the names of the leaders who fed the crocodile until it finally ate them as well. They won’t know of the terrorist attacks on Paris and Nice and Orlando. They won’t know about police officers being executed on the streets of great American cities. They will only know once there was a country, a beacon of freedom, and somehow it fell and disappeared. The year 2016 may not appear as an answer to some multiple choice question about our demise. It is a slow thing and we will suffer through it, most of us in denial. I believe the Romans did the same until the food stopped coming, until the barbarians were at the gate and there was no where for them to escape.

In time and after great sorrows and tribulations, peace will come again when darkness devours us back into a new dark ages. The school children of this brave new world will not study Rome anymore. Nero and his fiddle will mean nothing to them. They will read about the fall of the United States of America , and how, like when Rome fell, a dark age followed, taking the entire world with it. They will little be able to imagine how advanced we were, how our technology took us to the stars. How in a world of plenty and idleness, we became petty and bitter and destroyed ourselves.

A thousand years will pass, leaving us to the dust bin of history, with a few hundred looking very much like our middle ages. The children who come after the fall will study a different restoration, romantic age, and technology revolution, little guessing that they are retreading already worn paths of history.

Once time circles around once more, when a new and far off generation once more sails the stars and send their signals invisible through the air, they will have learned the lessons we so quickly forgot.  With the help of the survivors of this time of torment, generations will appreciate the one before as they march through rebuilding the world, and those future children will be humble and kind instead of arrogant, entitled, spineless, and lazy. They will build on the ruins of all we made, some of them wondering, who were they? How could they construct such magnificent cities and buildings only to fall? Perhaps, our ghosts will answer them, warn them.

I hope I am wrong, but that will require a miracle. I believe in miracles. I am simply uncertain that this generation deserves one.

 

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While Waiting To Take a Bath

So I do not believIMG_0151e I have been banned from the publishing industry. In fact, I think that despite myself, that my trip to New York to attend the Writer’s Digest Conference was well worth the money, sleep deprivation, and steady attack of nerves. I won’t say my pitch was perfect but good enough to get a fair number of requests for pages and one full request from well-respected agencies I would not otherwise have access to. I am excited so now I am going to take a bath. I rarely take enough time to do the bath thing- it’s usually a shower in a hurry. Sometimes I forget to take off my clothes. I am still so surprised that they come off. But that’s another story.

So I guess the real work begins. I must now write a 2 page synopsis (gulp and I’d rather face a fire-breathing, garlic eating dragon), compose a much improved query letter (I hope), and do one last intense edit of my 487 page manuscript.  I would like to give a big thanks to Janet Reid (Janet Reid’s blog) and her wonderful seminar on the query letter at the Writer’s Digest Conference.  I really needed this. I can write a lovely 150,000 word manuscript, but that 100-200 word query letter…well, like I said in my last post, I was crap at. Let’s hope I am much improved. On we go…until next time

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There’s a Chance This Could Be Whiskey

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So I finished a 150,000 word book, finished it. It took seven years of late nights, long weekends, giving up sleep, drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee, and not nearly enough whiskey. It is the first of seven books in my series Idylls of Alleysiande. And I am not talking a first draft. I think this baby went through at least 106 revisions.

Anyhow, I finished writing a book. If you ever wrote a book, then you know what a huge thing this is – unless you happen to be James Patterson or Brad Thor and finish writing a book every week or so. Honestly, I don’t know how some authors do it. So I took a deep breath and formatted the manuscript carefully, made 10 copies neatly bound for carefully chosen beta readers (the greatest things ever). For the most part, I did not know these beta readers well at all. I wanted honest feedback, and I got it. Along with some very astute suggestions, and a few grammatical edits, I was rewarded with people who really enjoyed the story. So now, I feel ready to seek an agent, and thereby get this book published.

So I am off to New York City for the Writer’s Digest Conference. First of all, I am crap at writing a query so it will be handy to get some professional guidance in that regard. Secondly, I will get to pitch my book to as many agents as I can talk to in a one hour period. I make a great first impression…I think. Well, I will either get a couple of agents to look at my book or possibly get banned from the entire New York publishing scene in a single day. It will be interesting to see how this weekend goes. I am nervous and I keep reading blogs about pitching to agent, and they all tell me not to be nervous. So, yeah, there’s a chance there will be whiskey in my coffee cup this weekend.

To be continued…..

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Here There Be Monsters

Dragon“Fairy Tales don’t tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy Tales tell children that dragons can be killed”  Criminal Minds paraphrasing of GK Chesterton

I am not the biggest Criminal Minds fan nor do I read gobs of GK Chesterton but this quote has been sticking in my mind recently.I remember the first time I read Tolkien. Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit told Gandalf the wizard that he thought an attack by dragons might be good for his fellow hobbits. He did not mean it maliciously. He meant that it might wake them up, stir them into their better selves. I sometimes think the same thing when I turn on the news. I think, you know, an attack by dragons right now might be just the thing to pull our collective heads out of our backsides. But I don’t mean it anymore than Bilbo Baggins did when he said it. I write to defy my despair in hope that maybe, one day, the evil dragons can be killed or at least caged and kept away from us. In my stories, I can face the dragon.

Each day some new horror will raise its head and ask us to please “come and see”.  We look. We do nothing. Our humanity fades. Something tantamount to a demon army is marching across the Middle East beheading and defiling everyone who holds any slightly different view than the demon. You would think that would unite most of the world. You would think we could all agree that people who behead babies are not very nice people. In fact, shouldn’t we be well beyond the point of tolerating any beheading? Medieval terrorists with iPhones – it sounds like bad science fiction.

In the Dark Ages, when people wandered across the ruins that were once Rome, I wonder what they must have thought. Ignorance kept them from their history so they could not even envision the thriving civilization that preceded them. Too few were taught how Rome rose and fell in on itself.  Revisionists are doing their best to separate you and I from our history. Most of us don’t know to fear the Dark Ages, but it would not take as much as you think for those times to repeat. Imagine a sickly child happening upon the  remains of Notre Dame or Windsor Castle and only wondering if there were food or if shelter could be had in those ruins. Imagine a woman hiding by the shore and seeing the statue of liberty sinking in the harbor, its torch barely visible above the tide. Neither the child or the woman will know any of our names, not yours, mine, not any kings or presidents. They will be as in the Dark Ages a thousand years ago, hungry, ignorant, and afraid. They won’t know to blame us.

  Children are taught lies baked in half-truths, the media spins reality to suit a diabolical totalitarian mind-control ideology, and people believe the propaganda their favorite celebrities spew at them. They like it because it keeps them from seeing the world on fire as Nero once more plays his symphony and encases them in an invisible prison. They can comfortably argue that it is ok to rip a baby from its mother’s womb and tear its little body to pieces as long as it is for science. They may know the Nazis were bad, but they won’t hear you when you tell them the Nazis made that same argument. They may say that the cartoonist that was shot to death had it coming. He knew these people were violent. Why provoke them?   There is no marker on their life map that tells them “Here There Be Monsters”. So although they may walk right past those monsters every day, they never see them.  They are surrounded by forces pointing them away from the real monsters. Most of the time its the monsters themselves, those proverbial wolves in sheep’s clothing pointing them away from the truth so they believe as long as they say the right things and don’t cause trouble, someone else will slay the dragon.

Perhaps this is why I write post-apocalyptic fantasy…in hopes it never comes to pass.

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The Dread Synopsis

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I want to play video games. Or anything besides what I must do. I must write a 2-3 page synopsis of my 150,000 word manuscript. Apparently, this causes me to have that dark condition called writer’s block. I mean I can write this blog. None of my 5-6 readers are going to deny me representation based on my clumsy summarization of my life’s work. Do you suppose Stephen King has this much trouble writing a synopsis? I bet his publisher doesn’t make him do them anymore. If only I were so talented.So far I have written all of one sentence.

In the year of Twig Crisdean’s birth, almost all the infants born to the Muddy people were slaughtered. It is Twig’s thirteenth year and time for the hundred and forty-four Plague Year survivors to be initiated at the largest Muddy Gathering in history.

So this is a solid beginning. Perhaps by this weekend I will have an entire synopsis written. I mean, I do know what happens in my book. I did write the thing. It’s too late for coffee and a work night so whiskey is just a bad idea. Maybe I’ll read some Stephen King. That usually causes me to wake up about 4 AM and turn on all the lights in the house. I won’t be able to go back to sleep so I will have to write. Only I find this synopsis business more frightening than all the horrors that apparently populate the state of Maine. Oh well. One step at a time.