Monday, October 23, 2017

Greg Owen #3 - The Prodigal Girl

This morning I begin work on the third mystery in the Greg Owen series, this one’s called The Prodigal Girl.

I’m keeping all plot details to myself, because I consider just about everything that happens in the book to be a spoiler.

The Greg Owen novels tend to run 60K and this one will be no different. I’ve got a high-level outline prepared and am feeling good about the story and character arcs.

I think I can write the first draft in 7 days.

Now that goal comes with a caveat. I have jury duty on Thursday. Because of my legal background, one or both attorneys on the case will want me nowhere near the jury box, so it's unlikely I'll get selected. But still, I will probably spend a chunk of the day Thursday at the courthouse, during the time I would otherwise be working. In the unlikely event I am selected for jury duty, then my goal of writing this book in 7 days goes completely out the window.

Either way, I’m off to the races again. It took me 3 weeks to write (not edit) a fantasy novel, so you might be wondering why I think I can write a Greg Owen book in 1 week. Here are some reasons why it’s do-able:
  1. I don’t have to create a whole new universe. Greg Owen’s stories take place in a world that’s exactly like ours. No magic, no strange creatures, no people/clans/lands/religions, nothing like that I have to give serious thought to and invent myself. He owns a pool hall, has a daughter, and is trying to make a living in a real-world setting. All things I can relate to.
  2. This book will be half as long as The Bastard’s Refuge (TBR).
  3. I’ve written a ton of mysteries already, so I understand the formula on a more intuitive level. TBR was my first heroic fantasy novel.
  4. I know who Greg is. I know who the supporting characters are. With TBR, I had a general sense of the characters before I sat down to write but the first draft was as much about discovering who they were and what they would do as it was telling the story.
  5. The Prodigal Girl is already up for pre-order! Now if that’s not reason enough …

Time to get cracking.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Latest Insane Idea

Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year. It carries none of the sentiment other holidays do. People get to act wacky and break from the routine of being their "normal self" for the day. That character from that movie I've always loved? Tonight I get to pretend I'm them for a few hours. It's a lot of fun. And I love a good scary movie too, though good scary movies are difficult to find.

Anyway, I'm toying with the idea to write a horror novella and release it on Halloween.

Yes, today is October 20th and I have not written a word of it, nor do I even have an idea of what it would be about, so it's an absolutely, utterly ridiculous idea.

But, ohhhhhh, is it tempting.

I love giving myself random challenges like this. And in this new world of indie publishing, I could do it too. It's possible to write, edit and release a novella in 11 days on Amazon.

Could I do it?

I think so.

Should I?

That's another question, with probably a different answer. Or at least, a much more nuanced answer.

Going to give this a lot of thought today ...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Off-Topic: Sixers Fans Need To Chill Out About Markelle Fultz

76ers fans, I'm here to tell you that Markelle Fultz will grow into a good NBA player and it's WAAAAYYYYYYYYYY too early to worry about him.

Here are three reasons why you should not be worried.

  1. It's the NBA. Fultz is only 19 years old. All rookies experience an adjustment period where they learn the significant differences between the college and pro games. Fultz missed a chunk of Summer League due to injury and then missed half the preseason due to injury. Like all other rookies everywhere, he just needs time and reps. Do not make the mistake of comparing his rookie campaign to that of Simmons or Embiid, both of whom got to sit out for 1 and 2 years respectively and study the game, before lacing them up.
  2. He's changed his shooting form. I don't know whose idea this was, but if I was the shooting coach of the 76ers (Brian Colangelo, please give me serious consideration for that role if you need somebody.) I would NEVER have tweaked Fultz's form. He shot at a 41% clip from deep in college! With all the open looks he will get on this team, due to Embiid's ability to warp time and space on the court and courtesy of Simmons's uncanny vision, Fultz can thrive in this environment. Admittedly (and oddly) Fultz was a below average free throw shooter in college, so perhaps that's why he/they/someone getting paid a lot more money than me thought this was a good idea, but rather than tinker with a form that is good deep and fundamentally change the way he shoots, why not just see if his foul shooting improves over time? Even if he's only a 70% - 75% free throw shooter, that's okay on this team. Redick and Embiid are both great from the charity stripe and we've got other good foul shooters that can come off the bench if the other team employs the Hack-a-Shaq style at the end of the fourth quarter in a close game.
  3. He's playing off the ball now. In college, Fultz was the guy with the ball in his hands. He created scoring opportunities for himself with his change of pace, herky-jerky style of movement. Now he's on a team where he's not the primary ball handler and has to find scoring opportunities while moving off the ball. That means learning how to run off screens like it's a track meet and also learning how to catch and shoot. Yes, Fultz was always a scorer, but this is a different kind of scoring, a different way of literally thinking about the game and seeing the floor. It requires a change in mindset and habit, and a trust in his teammates that they will get him the ball to score. All of these things take time. (If somebody asked me to write a romance novel, for instance, I could get it done but it wouldn't be on par with my other work.)
(Speaking of which, if anybody out there wants to give me a six-figure advance to write a romance novel, here's my email address: 

If Fultz were facing only one of these challenges, it would be reason enough not to get alarmed by his (extremely limited) play so far. But Fultz is facing all three, at the same time. Adjusting to the NBA game while changing his shooting form and learning how to play off the ball? Frankly it's amazing he's played as well as he has.

Give him some time! One day Fultz could be the 2nd option on this team, maybe even the 1st. Only time will tell. Until then, trust the process. If Embiid stays healthy and the kids learn to play together, the 76ers make the playoffs this year and, in a diluted Eastern Conference, might make some noise when they get there.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What now?

Over the past month I've built up a lot of writing momentum. Writing is inertial, so rather than take some time off I've decided to pivot immediately to something else.

I've mentioned this before, but earlier this year I wrote a psy thriller, The Young Woman Next Door, that I wasn't crazy about. While working on The Bastard's Refuge, a few ideas came to me that would make the psy thriller so, so much better. So that's what I'll be working on this week. The changes will only require a few days to make. If I keep pushing, The Young Woman Next Door should be ready to launch in November.

I also want to finish book 3 in the Greg Owen series, this one's called The Prodigal Girl. I just put it up for pre-order on Amazon. Here's the cover:

I don't want to give any details away about the plot, because EVERYTHING is a spoiler.

Last but not least, I'm exploring marketing options for The Bastard's Refuge. I want to launch that story in November but I need to build some anticipation for it before I do. I've got a few different ideas ;-)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

HF Novel Update 10/14/17 (Day 28)

Editing Time: Zilch.

Didn't get to the book yesterday and that was probably a good thing. When I woke up this morning, I thought of a couple tiny things I wanted to tweak, but those can wait till after the proofing is done. These are really minor, minor changes, ones that don't significantly impact the story. As in, ADD THIS ONE THOUGHT HERE and OVER THERE.

But honestly, I could publish the story without making those changes. Between now and when I release, I'll continue to get ideas about how to "improve" the book but I know from past experience that this will happen no matter what. It doesn't mean these things must be done to make the story "perfect." Hell, I still think about how I should have done XXX in the 2nd book in my paranormal thriller series, and that story has been out for 3 years now and it's doing just fine.

Any more changes I want to make at this point to The Bastard's Refuge are probably just my subconscious's way of stalling.

So with that said, the book is effectively done.

I failed in my challenge. It took me 28 days instead of 21 to write a publishable book. Oh darn ;-)

It's funny when I look back at the first post I wrote about this challenge. It's either prophetic, or just a self-fulfilling prophecy. And I quote:

"So what if I fail?

If it takes me 28 days as opposed to 21, I'VE STILL WRITTEN AND EDITED A FULL LENGTH NOVEL IN A MONTH."

Maybe my brain knew all along I'd need a little bit longer with the book than I thought. When I set out, I was picturing a 90K story. The book grew into 110K.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

HF Novel Update 10/13/17 (Day 27)

Editing Time: 4 hours

I'm happy with where the manuscript is, though the story is wearing me out. I had planned on editing for 6 to 7 hours, but I just didn't "have it" yesterday.

Now this is where you might be thinking, "Evan, you should have set the MS aside and come back to it later. You've only edited for a week and you're already burned out!"

To which I would respond, "I always get burned out editing, even when I set the book aside for a month or longer. And by quick check, I've spent ~50 hours editing this mofo. I suspect that, no matter when the editing happened, I'd be burned out after 50 hours of it."

Today I won't get much time to edit but that's okay. To borrow an artist's expression, I feel I'm tickling the story at this point. So I'm ready to step away from the book and fire it off to the proofreader. I don't want to look at this story again till I hit PUBLISH next month.

Because this is a new genre for me and I'm releasing it under my real name (which has no other writing credits on Amazon), I do need to do a ton of marketing before the book launches. I'm considering trying Instafreebie for the next 30 days to build up some anticipation for the release. After the launch, I'll try some ads as well.

That's all for now.