Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by TWErvin2, Sep 24, 2014.
Congrats. Are you able to write more during summer vacation?
Yes, I accomplish more writing in the summer. Hopefully this summer I will do better as I will not be grading e-course work.
Thunders Wells in audiobook is doing pretty well (Thunder Wells Audio #1 at Gryphonwood Press), which is cool
Writing wise, I've worked on updating my website and a newsletter release, but no words added to any project.
School wise, the seniors had their last day yesterday. The juniors have another week. One of the last things I did with my seniors was to make pipe cleaner animals. If you've read The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which was our class novel this year, you'd understand. It was a good way to end they year, and at least for English, their high school career.
Congrats on the success of Thunders Wells.
Thanks, Stormburn. It's moderate success, but better than nothing
Well, the 2016-17 school year is completed. I have some projects to focus on over the summer to prepare for next year, but nothing that requires constant, immediate attention, like grading, lessons, communication with parents, and state mandated evaluator paperwork.
As I won't be grading e-course English this summer, that will free up time for additional writing. The per hour rate of financial reimbursement for grading e-course work is on average greater than the time put into writing, but such grading correspondence with students having difficulties isn't really of very much interest. It's important, but teaching over the internet has its limitations.
I wrote on my blog about some audiobooks I have been listening to so that I might refresh my grammar and usage skills related to my writing (and teaching) and some to support knowledge to improve my fantasy writing endeavors.
Here is the link of you might be interested: Efforts to Improve Knowledge and Skills for Writing
Sent out a newsletter, announcing the release of Thunder Wells in audiobook, and offered some free copies through Audible. Had a couple takers. While audiobooks are becoming more popular, they still lag in wide popularity or interest.
Not much else. Probably should get writing, eh?
Although it might need a bit of refinement, a fun line I wrote last night on a new project:
They were big and burly and, seemingly like everyone else, on the grimy side of the soap debate.
Mainly, I have been working on what would be termed a LitRPG novel. Fantasy, for me, loosely associated with a Role Playing Game.
I decided to give this a try because it's something that I can write quickly. Since June I am already over 30,000 words into the first draft. Science Fiction, which is another project on my plate, Relic Shield, which I have started, takes a very long time. I am also in the middle of Cavern, a novella in the Dane Maddock Kindle World Series.
The sad thing is that I can only write one project at a time. I don't multi task well. But I want to use my summer efficiently, and possibly get pretty much 2 LitRPG novels written before school starts, and the novella. Then, as winter sets in, finish the SF novel. That just requires a lot of research and calculation, and adherence to what has already been established in the previous two novels in the series, so it takes a lot longer to write. The bits of research are something that I could effectively fit in between lesson planning and grading and other things.
Two novels (I don't think they'll both be fully revised by mid August) and a novella is an ambitious goal for me, but something to shoot for.
In other news, I had a pretty successful presentation last week Thursday (Here is a link for pics and info for the follow up on my blog: Follow Up from Westerville Presentation on World Building), and I am part of a panel this Thursday in Bexley, Ohio at their library (Info here: Building a Better World Through Fiction ).
I have two events in July, and two in August (one I was just invited to). I will post info on those, for anyone who might be interested, as they get closer.
Anyway, got to go off and do some writing.
Follow up: The presentation on World Building went well as did the panel last night, discussing Building a Better World Through Fiction.
More on that in a second, but first, some cool news. Two Ends of the Pen posted a review of Thunder Wells Maybe click on over and see what Debra Martin had so say.
Link: Review: THUNDER WELLS by Terry W. Ervin II
I will say that it's become increasingly difficult in many respects to gain reviews on many sights simply because the reviewers are flooded with requests. I have a couple that I and my publisher have established a relationship with over the years (some of which recently stopped reviewing ) and having done that helps.
So, if you're so inclined, check out the review and maybe leave your thoughts in a comment.
I have been very busy (yes I am on vacation, but I usually have at least three things to accomplish each day. Such as yesterday, I had to have blood drawn for my physical next week, took my daughters to the Columbus Zoo, and then had the panel in Bexley last night (so two trips to Columbus in one day). Then I finished an interview/answering questions for a student (I think she's in Australia) who had a project and came across my name from an online article I'd written (probably eight years ago). Today I have to write, and do some press releases for an upcoming event next month.
I think carving out time is a challenge for every writer.
Anyway, a little commentary about yesterday's panel:
Yesterday's panel at Bexley’s Public library, discussing “Building a Better World through Fiction" was interesting. Normally I do panels at Cons or an occasional book fair. At this one I only disagreed with the professors once. I was the only author on the panel.
The professors began discussing (responding to a posed question) how readers would want to live in a post-apocalyptic world--sort of a start over with a clean slate. One referred to the first season of The Walking Dead, where the men went out to hunt and secure the area while the women took care of the homestead for them, intimating that it would be a simpler, more satisfying time?
I chimed in, saying most authors, and probably readers would not want to live in the world of the novels they wrote (and readers read), especially during the conflicts that almost all of them have--very few novels are written about utopias. Anyway, I described a post-apocalyptic novel, with no communications, electricity, medicine, food distribution, etc. Everyone in a nursing home would die, if someone needed heart medication, they'd be dead, your eyeglasses get broke or the prescription changes, too bad, if you need surgery, such as an appendectomy? You're dead, or you'll have to endure surgery without anesthesia, which might very well kill you even if there is a skilled surgeon around to perform the operation. Your world would shrink, no communication, very few creature comforts.
I didn't add that life would be a harsh struggle that only the most devoted of survivalists would look forward too. Not a weeklong camping trip after which you could return to civilization, and get a shower and catch up on FB with your family and friends (well, because FB would no longer exist, and most of your family and friends would be dead, and probably died not in a peaceful manner).
They discussed that when you read about post-apocalyptic setting, you're of course reading about the survivors, and I indicated that those novels had something that most need, hope. But I guess I could've hit upon the sadness and despair, but that the survivors are too busy trying to survive to be too sad and mournful, plus it wouldn't make for a good novel (That was why, in Thunder Wells, it was taboo to discuss lost family and friends—it would potentially depress the survivors, and not advance the plot of the novel), but better I thought for the audience to decide upon their own, and we moved on to another question.
Really, only two of the three professors were able to make it, and they were interesting and quite insightful. Just one area where we disagreed, probably because I had thought about it a lot more, having read a few post-apocalyptic novels and having written a few, most recently Thunder Wells.
Anyway, it was a good time and discussion. I talked to the librarian about coming back for a presentation, and he was very open to the notion. So we'll see. Any Writing Forum Members living in or around the Columbus, Ohio area may have another shot of showing up and heckling from the back row!
That's an interesting view. I've spent a lot of time living outdoors. I think that people who consider that kind of life as simple has ever actually lived it. I experienced a taste of the 'post-apocalytic' life style when I spend a month and a half in New Orleans after Katrina.
I would have loved to hear your panel about world building. I'm currently world building for my fantasy series and it seems at times like cat herding. It's getting done, but, it's taking time and I wonder if I'm doing it the most efficient way.
Great post, keep it up!
I think one of the hardest things with a post-apocalyptic situation is that the world is changed, forever. The 'government' or 'FEMA' isn't on the way and you just have to hold out for a while. People are dead and many won't survive...and life will be difficult, and dangerous, with a lot of potential pain and suffering, and worry, and never return to what it was.
I am closing in on finishing the first draft of my LitRPG novel. Over 60,000 words, and expect it to end before reaching 80,000. I've been pressing to get it finished, wanted to prior to the end of the month, but it's not going to happen. Probably by July 4th however.
Was contacted by a the editor for the Dayton City Paper, which focuses on arts and events in the Miami Valley, to be interviewed prior to my author event in August. That's pretty neat.
I've decided to run to get reelected to my position on Village Council. Will pick up the paperwork today, after taking my daughter to go practice some soccer kicks and moves before it gets too hot outside. Have a few other items was thinking to post here in my journal, but will probably do that later...as she's ready to go and it's only going to get warmer. Hopefully later tonight, or Sunday. I'll be out of town tomorrow, on the road by 5:00 am.
Started collecting signatures for my petition to run for Village Council. Always fun and interesting.
Need to get to work on my novel in progress, but figured I'd pop in here and post first.
I have an event coming up July 20th, in the Toledo/Perrysburg, Ohio area from 4:00 until about 7:00 pm. If you're around that area, I'd be great to cross paths with you! Here's a link to an event page on FB for details: Author Event Terry W. Ervin II
My brother and I finally finished emptying and cleaning my mother's home on Saturday. She passed away almost year ago, and it's taken that long (he lives in Michigan and I live about 2.5 hours south, yet still in Ohio). Over 50 years of accumulated treasures and memories (and some junk) sorted, donated, shared or tossed. It's the house I grew up in, so a lot of memories.
This has repeatedly happened, and recently did again. I find it interesting and not annoying, and a little frustrating.
For many years I was a member of online crit groups, and moderated two of them. They were hosted on a forum, like this one, but were closed groups, that only members of the specific group, and admins could see, and post on within that established forum. There were usually between 4 and 7 members, and members rotated in and out as their interests, time, health and such developed or changed. A good part of the time I was part of a crit group, I was a published author, as were a number of members of the groups over time.
One thing that I would ask members to do is to at least post a review of my works, on Goodreads, their blog or Amazon or whatever, when they were able (They'd probably read most of the novel, at least in an earlier draft form from the final version). The other published authors did help each other out. Did I always get 5 star reviews and blog posts or whatever? No, as was to be expected. But we often did more for each other to help promote works and the like, and share ideas and promotional opportunities. For the other members, still working on reaching publication, published members provided advice, resources and information, links, to help them along in the submission process, or maybe reviewing a potential contract for a short story--a whole host of things, beyond critting work.
I would estimate that 80% of the writers who were not published, did very little, to nothing, to help the published authors along. That was okay; that wasn't part of the group's guidelines. But, what I do find interesting is that off and on for years (I've not been in a crit group since 2014--and now the forum is gone) I've had former members contact me to read their novels, and post reviews and to share links and everything, telling friends and readers and even folks in my news letter about their new release.
I do help them out, but don't make it a priority. It's not passive aggressive. It's just reality of the situation.
A recent email exchange (paraphrased/condensed) might clarify:
Former Crit Partner: Hey, I've got a new book out, my first one!
Me: Cool, send me a link and if it looks interesting, I'll get a copy.
FCP: Can you review it?
Me: Sure, if I pick it up and get the chance to read it, I'll be sure to do that.
FPC: How about a cover blurb, I can change the cover or back cover easily.
Me: I can do that, if I pick it up and read it, and enjoy it enough to put my name behind it.
FPC: You don't need to buy a copy, I'll send you one. I really need something to generate some interest now.
Me: I have three other books on my TBR list that I have promised to read and review. You know what my schedule was like when we were in the same crit group. It's gotten busier since then.
FPC: That's just it. We were in a crit group and we helped each other. I helped crit , __________ and _________ novels. You why aren't you willing to help me now?
Me: Have you posted reviews on Goodreads or Amazon or your blog for __________, ___________ or ______________?
FPC: No, but I will.
Me: We were in a crit group together. I posted crits of your novels, always. Answered questions to the best of my ability. Back then, I made general requests to all members when my works were published to share information on the books, and post reviews if you enjoyed the work, and if you think your friends and others might. If I recall, you indicated you thought they were good novels back then. You chose not to do anything, if I recall. That said, I am not saying I won't read your work and share and post reviews and such. It's just that I have others ahead of your work, already made commitments to those authors. Getting their novels finished first is my priority. If you send an ARC (advance review copy) next time, there's a better chance for me to get it read prior to the release. There is only so much time in the day.
FPC: Thanks for nothing.
End of conversation.
That one is more on the extreme end of the conversations. Most understand the time issue and appreciate my willingness to read and review when I am able, and acknowledge now they understand why I asked. One said (paraphrased): Well, you had a publisher, and already had one book published, I didn't think it'd matter. I get it now. If someone helped me out in the past, I am more willing for prioritized reciprocation, with the understanding that if my reading and enjoyment is a 5* experience, or if it's a 3*, that's what it is (I generally won't post a negative review without letting the author know and agree. I'll just send my comments privately via email, and maybe it'll help with future works or if they decide to revise and reissue the work if self-published). I had one former member author send me a fantasy erotica type novel. That just isn't something I read, and he was cool with that. So I am not trying to say everyone is like the conversation above, just a few.
Anyway. I need to get writing. Figured I'd share that experience.
What I have found is that authors and writer, in general, are a group willing to help each other. The way I see it, it isn't a zero sum game. Actually, the more good books that are out there, the more people will enjoy them, fostering a continued or greater interest in reading.
Time is a factor...and I just spent a chunk of it on this forum journal post Now to get down to finishing that first draft! I am already behind my schedule.
I'm impressed you've gotten to the audio book stage of your career. That's a great milestone.
Thanks, GingerCoffee, but really the credit goes to my publisher who locates and contracts with the narrators. I am fortunate also in that my publisher allows me input as to whether I think the narrator (voice/tone etc.) is right for the novel.
I think I've said before in this journal, but it really is a neat experience having someone read your novel to you.
Late last night I typed 'The End' on the first draft of my current novel. It came in at 70,895 words. Probably will be a little longer after edits and revisions.
The working title is:
Magic, Maces and Monsters: Outpost
A LitRPG Novel
Yesterday, I actually added a few bits to the first draft I typed 'the end' to the day before. That added 330 words.
Then, began working on Cavern again (a novella in the Dane Maddock Universe--like Rock House, published in February). Worked on editing/revising to get back in the story, also taking notes. Ended up, after cutting and adding, increasing the current word total by 48 words.
Added 1466 words to Cavern yesterday.
It's a little slower writing this story than the previous one that I just finished the first draft. I expect Cavern (co-authored & I am doing the first draft), however to be a novella and not a novel, thus, in the end, fewer total words.
In essence, no new words for Cavern yet today. I reworked the plot as it wasn't developing as much like a Dane Maddock Adventure should...or I think it should.
What I have now will turn out better, and will only require a little revision to what I've already written.
Might get some words in this evening yet.
Been doing a lot of author stuff besides writing and have a number of events coming up. Plus, regular life stuff...
I worked on updating my website today and traveled some, and will be appearing on the Dueling Ogres podcast. Also, I have the Art Affair on the Square in Urbana, Ohio this Saturday and a books signing at Gathering Volumes Bookstore in Perrysburg, Ohio on the 20th. Also, I have been contacted by The Dayton City Paper and the Toledo City Paper, about interviews--they are Arts and Entertainment Papers circulated in the named cities.
I have to start thinking about returning to teaching in a little over a month. Time sure flies.
Just finished tonight's Village Council Meeting. Interesting as always. Also, have 52 of the 50 minimum signatures needed for my petition to run for office again. I intend to get at least 70, in case some are considered invalid, for whatever reason.
Had the Art Affair on the Square this past Saturday. Did well. First time using my PayPal card reader, and most of the sales were through that, as opposed to cash--although I believe some of the purchasers would've paid cash.
I have a book event in Perrysburg, Ohio this Thursday at Gathering Volumes Bookstore. It's a bit of a drive for me, but I am sort of doubling up, meeting with the local fantasy reading group that meets there after hours. If you're in the area, that would be great if Writing Forums folks could show up. Plus, the Toledo City Paper will be there just prior to the book event, doing an interview with me.
Here's a link to the Facebook Event, if you want details: Author Event Terry W. Ervin II on July 20th
Also, recently was interviewed by the Dueling Ogres podcast. If you want to hear (and see) me talk a bit about writing and my works, as well as many other topics including processed meats, classic television, realism, accuracy, and relatable content in writing and so much more!
Here's a link to the Dueling Ogres site, to access my interview and/or the YouTube Version: Episode 119: Viscount Me In, an Interview with Terry W Ervin II
On Wednesday, I have a phone interview with the Dayton City News, in preparation for my August 14th event in Centerville (at the public library).
As far as writing...made some progress on the novella Cavern, but not as much as I have hoped. Will get some words accomplished tonight.
Completed the phone interview with The Dayton City News on Wednesday, and yesterday, just prior to my book signing at Gathering Volumes, I was interviewed by a reporter for the Toledo City News. The book signing went slow, but I did not expect massive crowds. It original reason to go to the bookstore was to meet with the fantasy book club, and as long as I was going to make the two hour drive...why not have a book signing prior. Most of the book club members picked up one and many two of my novels. I also read the novel they read for that month's meeting and participated in the discussion, which was both fun and interesting.
Also, scheduled book events have led to interviews with newspapers (arts and entertainment focused) so even if you sell a dozen or half dozen or two dozen books at an event, the potential for word of mouth and the ability to reach beyond the event is beneficial, I think. Sadly, during the school year, I just don't have the time to maintain such author-related activity. One of the questions a reporter asked was, if I began earning millions through writing, would I give up being a teacher. I think I surprised him by saying I didn't think so. I enjoy teaching as well. It would be terrible to have to get up every morning and going to a job I dreaded. I am fortunate that I do not.
Anyway, I have a two more events before school starts, and I have two scheduled, one in September and one in October. I had to turn down a couple other events...only so much time to meet so many other obligations.
Thanks for keeping us updated. Its great to hear that you enjoyed teaching. The public image of teachers paints a very rough picture for a group of professionals that is vital for any society. Thanks for all of your hard work.
Teaching isn't an easy job, but a lot of careers are that way. So much is out of a teacher's or even a school's control. All you can do is go in and do the best you are able despite the constraints and hurdles. But then, again, a lot of careers are that way. Thanks, Stormburn, for reading and for the complement on the work put into teaching.
Haven't managed a lot of writing. Been doing mini vacation trips with the family, practicing soccer with my daughter, doing yard work and more.
Did turn in my petition to be placed on the ballot for village council this fall. Two weeks early (August 9th) and with 67% more than the minimum number--in case some are disqualified for a myriad of potential reasons. Collecting signatures is both time-consuming, but also worthwhile as I get to chat with potential voters and find out what's on their mind, and they can ask questions of me.
Separate names with a comma.