Chapter Two of DinoLand is live at Geek Eccentric today!

Picture 1It’s the first Sunday of April and that means that DinoLand’s second chapter is online today at Geek Eccentric.

This month’s chapter features a new point of view character, a brachiosaurus with a problem and a possible business deal that could cause even more problems for the people at the park who love the dinosaurs. Oh, and a child disappears.

Head on over and check it out, sci-fi and dinosaur lovers.

 

Chapter 1 of DinoLand debuts today!

Chapter 1 of DinoLand is live over at Geek Eccentric right now. DinoLand, Ch. 1I’ve just run around the house yelling “Ahhhhh, it’s alive” and now that I’m settled down, I’m posting here while I can sit still.

If you like dinosaurs, sci-fi, or thrillers head over to Geek Eccentric and check out Chapter 1. If you really like it, return on the first Sunday of each month for a new chapter.

(FYI: I’m going to be changing this page today so that you’ll be able to access the latest DinoLand chapters right from the menu at the top.)

I really, really, hope you enjoy this. Rawr.

 

Things I’m learning from my first foray into serial fiction.

I posted a little while ago about DinoLand, my sci-fi novel which will be serialized, starting this Sunday, over at Geek Eccentric.

photo credit: Scott Kinmartin via photopin cc

photo credit: Scott Kinmartin via photopin cc

Well, it’s almost dinosaur time and I’m as nervous as an attorney staring down a T-Rex in the rain. Since this is a brand new  process for me, I thought I’d write a little bit about what I’ve been learning so far.  Here are some of my first take-aways:

 Starting out with a lot of material doesn’t necessarily mean you have less work to do.

I started this project with more than 200 pages of DinoLand, written over a period of two or three National Novel Writing Months, including a ridiculous amount of backstory. When I started importing all that into Scrivener, I realized that unless I write a prequel, I’m not going to use all of this material. Also, the work that I am using needed several rounds of edits. So while I have six months of DinoLand written and outlined, months 3 through 6 still need edits and work. (Chapter 2, for April, is already edited and turned in to the artist.) Speaking of which…

Working with an artist is an incredible experience. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by that.

Working with Max Farinato has been my favorite part of the DinoLand project so far. It’s amazing to watch his sketches develop, and even more amazing is the way I’ve seen the world I invented taking shape in his art. Every time Max sends me a sketch, I gush uncontrollably about how much I love his work, which is true, but maybe not helpful to him.
There should be some sort of guideline for working with an illustrator, because I suspect that I haven’t been easy to work with. For example, I probably should have sent him rough ideas of what my principal characters look like so that the art and my prose will match. I forget that I haven’t described everyone on page one of chapter one. I should probably also ask more often what he needs from me to make his job easier.

Oh my god. The comment section. Oh my god, the comment section.

Despite the fact that I’ve been blogging for a long time, it has somehow just occurred to me that people will be able to comment directly after reading my chapter. It’s not like I haven’t gotten comments on fiction before — short pieces of mine have been published in journals with comment sections — but I think of novels as something that are put out to the public as a whole. If a novel receives criticism, it’s in the form of a review on another site, not in a comment section. So despite the fact that I consider myself a Big Damn Progressive Child of the Internet, I’ve still been thinking about fiction and novels in a very old-fashioned way.

And lastly, Does serial fiction work differently from a novel? I’m not sure.

While comment sections are relatively new, serial fiction is not. I’ve spent a lot of time in the last two years reading novels that were originally published as serial fiction: Anna Karenina, The Count of Montecristo, Bleak House, Great Expectations. I don’t know if anything was changed before they were compiled into novels, but it seems to me that there has to be some repetition if a novel is released serially. If you’re releasing a chapter every week or month, you need to remind your readers of certain things that they can’t just flip back and check if they’re holding the book in their hands. Of course, now we have links – I can just link chapter two to chapter one – it’s the one thing I can do that Dickens could not, Still, every chapter should be able to stand alone, right? That way, if someone stumbles on chapter three before reading one and two, the reader won’t be totally lost. How do comic writers do this? How do television writers do this? Am I overthinking this? I might be overthinking this.

Those are my thoughts so far, at least until Sunday, when the fictional dinosaurs stampede out of the gate at Geek Eccentric. I’m sure I’ll have more to say then.

I could get used to radio.

WNPR, Colin McEnroe

Just after we got off the air.

Wow. That was fun. I’m just back from Hartford, and wanted to update the blog quickly and let you know how the show went.

First of all, the Colin McEnroe Show was a lot of fun. Colin, Lucy, Brian and Chandra had a lot to say about the state of the novel. The hour went by more quickly than I thought it would.

I really enjoyed the discussion. We heard “crap” used as an adverb in a clip, someone called in from Rwanda to talk about why e-books are such a gift to her, Lucy told us that the novel is called a novel, because it was a new art form and novel means “new” (which I guess I knew but never thought much about) and Game of Thrones was discussed. Repeatedly.

If you missed it, you can hear it online and see photos: click here for the show’s web page.

Oh, and I didn’t use my index cards at all. I had them out and I shuffled them on the desk in front of me, but I didn’t use them.

But then, I knew I wouldn’t.

 

Headed up to Hartford for Colin McEnroe’s radio show.

It’s almost time to depart Bridgeport for Hartford, Conn. in order to appear on Colin McEnroe’s radio show at 1 p.m.

index cards, author appearance, Colin McEnroe

Honestly, I can barely read these.

As I wrote Friday, I will be appearing with three other authors to talk about the future of the novel. (Is it dying? Is it being cheapened by popular fiction?)

If you want to listen and you’re in CT, the radio station is 90.5 FM. If you don’t live in CT, you can listen to the live show here. The live show is a call-in ((860) 275-7266) and starts at 1 p.m. A rerun of the show airs at 8 p.m. or you can listen to the podcast here.

I will publish all these links to all my social media shortly.

At the moment, I’m sitting here with my second coffee. The mad dash to finish up my index cards is upon me. I’m scrawling the names of authors, works they’ve published and years of publication. I’ve got a couple of quotes, the name of a series, and for some reason, the definition of “bowdlerize.” I can’t read half the cards I’ve written. There are arrows from one random word to another. Items are circled for reasons that now escape me.

All this is pretty standard, actually. I write up index cards like this for almost every appearance I do, but I never use them. I read from the top one sometimes, but then I completely forget about them. It doesn’t matter. It’s like taking notes in class; the act of writing down the notes helps me remember what I wrote. And anyway, I always feel better having them with me.

Anyhow I have to get moving. Come, listen to me, Brian Slattery, Chandra Prasad and Lucy Ferriss talk to McEnroe at 1 p.m. Call in. Tweet to me. Join our chat about the novel.

So excited: I will be on WNPR’s Colin McEnroe Show Monday.

Guys. GUYS. I’m going to be on WNPR on Monday. On the Colin McEnroe show On the radio.

I will be on the air with three other CT authors: Chandra Prasad, Brian Slattery and Lucy Ferriss.

We will be talking about the future of the novel with McEnroe, who is himself an author, at 1 p.m. on Monday, and folks, it’s a call-in show. This is the number: (860) 275-7266.  Call in. Ask lots of questions. The show airs on WPNR-FM 90.5 in Connecticut, but if you don’t live here, that’s okay, you can listen live (or listen to the file later) by going here.

UPDATE: If you miss the 1 p.m. show, a rerun will air at 8 p.m. Thanks to Betsy from WNPR for letting me know.

I’m going to be honest; I’m a little nervous to be on a panel with these authors. They’re all extremely accomplished. But I’m also excited; I can’t wait to talk with them about writing in general and the novel in particular.

For those of you who are not from Connecticut, Colin McEnroe is kind of a big deal. He was on AM radio when I was growing up and he must have been on at a time when I was home from in school, because his was one of the voices I heard daily.

I could go on and on, but I will make a long story short: in 2009, McEnroe moved to WNPR, which is one of CT’s NPR affiliates. He’s got a show that runs from 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays, and that’s the one I will be on Monday. He’s great to listen to; he’s a wit and he’s smart as hell and opinionated as a radio host ought to be. I once read a piece that described him as “The Hunter Thompson of Connecticut Journalism.” I don’t know if that’s really the case, but I aim to find out.

So guys, listen, call in. Tweet about it. It’s going to be fantastic.

January appearance in Colchester, Conn. and other bookish news.

Hello folks. Just a brief post to make a couple of announcements:

First off, I will be appearing in January at Books and Boos, a brand spanking new bookstore in Colchester, Conn. I will be talking more about the appearance as it approaches, but here are the basics – I will be reading on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 12 to 2 p.m. They will also be carrying Beware the Hawk, in case you happen to be in the area when I’m not there.

I will be the second VBP author to be reading there; on Saturday, Dec. 8, Kristi Petersen Schoonover will be there to read from her book, Bad Apple.

In other news, I’ve finished the very first draft of the sequel to Beware the Hawk! This is only the first step in a chain of drafts. I still have a lot of work to do before I can even hand it to my editor, and I can’t guarantee that she will accept it, but if she does, you can bet that the story will go through a lot of changes before it makes it out into the world.

So the big news here is that the draft exists, which is huge for me, because one of my writing fears is that I will fail to imagine a full plot. Now that the plot is in place, I’m free to go back into the story and refine what I have.

That’s it. I hope you’ve all been enjoying the long holiday weekend.

I’m on the The Fairfield Writer’s Blog today!

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Alex McNab, a novelist and journalist who writes for the Fairfield Writer’s Blog, to talk about revision and drink caffeinated beverages. McNab began reading The Garret a year and a half ago when I began revising my novel, and – since he’s revising his own novel – he was interested in knowing more about my process.

His post about our chat went up this morning. I am so excited about it, and I hope you check it out.

We talked about re-typing work, when to look at notes from writing workshop during the revision process, strengthening prose, and returning to written work after a long time.

I should disclaim here: This is just my process of revision, and it’s an ever-evolving mishmash of ideas and tips I’ve picked up from members of writing groups, books I’ve read and professors I’ve had.

Behold: The finalists of the Name My Character contest! Now I need you to vote.

The names are in!

It’s been kind of a neat two weeks. I received a dozen name submissions which ran the gamut from Sarah (as in Sarah Connor) to Devon Sharktopus (thanks, Phil.)

But alas, as in Highlander, there can be only one. And because I like to make up arbitrary rules, there can be only three finalists.

One of the three names below will be the real name of the protagonist in my novella, Beware the Hawk. And to keep it a secret until the big reveal next installment of my story, I shant be revealing the winner until the next piece is published. (Although if you can do math and see the poll results you’ll probably be able to figure it out.) The winner gets to name the character, obviously, and will get a signed copy of the next story featuring her.*

Below are the finalists.

Vanessa Pye, submitted by Daisy Abreu

Hendrikke Penelope Brackensfeld, submitted by Beth Callahan

Harleigh McManus, submitted by Karen Morrissey Covey

You can vote here or on my Facebook page. Hell, vote once here and once on my Facebook page, twice a day, from different computers. Vote for your favorite name. Vote for your favorite person on the list. Just vote a lot, because I really want a clear winner.

And anyways, it’s not like this is a race governed by the elections commission.

The poll is below. You guys have until next month (August 19) to vote. So vote often.

*There’s no money or anything else attached to this prize, as you know. Just glory and a free story. Hey, that rhymes.