Truth From A Nominal World

I recently read that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, said he learns more about life from fiction than nonfiction. Now, whether you like Mr. Bezos or not is not the point. The point is someone who is very powerful in the business world, a world some might consider unequivocally different from the world of writing fiction, values it – and highly so.

My good friend Andy Rogers sent me a video a while back that explores this topic. Below, Mac Barnett, a New York Times bestselling author of children’s books, discusses the bizarre overlap of truth in nominal and very real worlds.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Cheers,

Bob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Succeed at NaNoWriMo

Before I begin I must be forthright. I’ve never attempted NaNoWriMo. But that does not disqualify me from sharing advice about a literary sprint such as this. How? I’ve done the 3 Day Novel Contest. Yes. NaNoWriMo – in three days.

That contest produced a 25,000 word novella with a wide cast of characters, weaving plot, and horrendous grammar, just like your NaNoWriMo project will.

Know you can do it! Super cliché right? Removing this mental hurdle is key. How do you know you can do it? Break it down. 2,500 words a day = a 75,000 word novel. This is more than adequate for any market.

Remove distractions. Turn off the wifi connector on your writing device. barricade yourself in your room or garage. Whatever you need to do to ensure you have absolute focus. One of my friends listens to music. Another requires silence. Do whatever it is that makes you dial in.

Be healthy. Take breaks. Get proper sleep. Go on walks. Spend time not writing. Spend time reading. Maybe choose one day a week where you don’t write. Don’t avoid it but don’t let your creative well run dry. This is paramount. Write 1,000 words and then go stretch your legs.

Don’t edit. This might be hard or not. But consider this – have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who interrupts you all of the time? Annoying yes? Let your inner artist out. This is not the final draft anyway. If you were a sculptor, your finished draft would be like finding the precise stone to chisel. Believe me, this is an essential ingredient to ensure you do not fall behind and win the competition.

Have your ending in mind. Plot all you want or not at all but have a solid ending. This will keep you going and make sure it will not be a chore to finish, because it can be. And also having your destination in mind will ensure you do not spend 30 hours and 30,000 words on something that does not work or does not interest even you.

I hope you are prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally.

If you have ideas for how you are going to get through this, share them below.

Cheers,

Bob

On Writing Characters Your Readers Will Love to Hate

I like most real people. I don’t often have day dreams of killing anyone. But if you asked me about Thomas from Downton Abbey or Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter or The Governor from the Walking Dead, my blood boils.

I keep waiting for them to get hit by a car or a spell or turned into a zombie! I mean come on already!

I know I’m a horrible person. But aren’t the writers of these books and shows genius?

There you are, hoping for something to happen to the character you love and cherish, and suddenly so and so knows your character’s dark secret or shady past and they can use it to their advantage. Your audience groans (maybe even throws your book! That would be grand, eh?).

This is the power of good fiction. This is the unfortunately life of the characters your readers will love. Inevitably, maybe even for reasons beyond their favorite character’s control, a bad dude gets to have power over them or even have their day.

This is the fun part. This is why your readers will keep reading. What will happen next? Will this greasy or terrible person use this nugget of power now or will they hold onto it and use it when the moment is best for them and worst for the character your audience roots for?

This is why I keep reading and watching.

This is why your audience will too.

Write these villains well.

Cheers,

Bob

 

Excuses – And Why They’re Your Fault

I can think of a billion reasons why I have not sold a novel or taken over the literary world. Is it because I am bad? Lazy? I don’t think so. It’s because I constantly throw stupid hurdles in my path just like you.

They’re called excuses.

  • I’m too tired.
  • The yard needs raking.
  • I don’t have a good idea yet.
  • I’m waiting for inspiration to strike!
  • I have to do laundry.
  • I can never been like xyz writer. So why bother?
  • I’m bad at grammar.
  • I’m not smart enough.
  • My novel is terrible.
  • I just don’t have enough/adequate time.
Leaves
A picture of someone else’s backyard. I’m too ashamed to show my own.

Some of these are responsibilities. You should see my yard. It needs raking.

But why is it so easy to create this list?

I believe, if we are honest, we are the ones permitting ourselves to stop pursing our dreams. Whether you want to be a novelist or news anchor, it’s so much easier making excuses or finding other things to do.

But if it is the thing we love, the thing we long for and maybe even hold inside because we are too worried about what people with think or say if we uttered it aloud, we must stop this excuse business. Stop it now.

It’s up to you my friend. Are you going to keep making excuses or go and get the life you want?

Me?

I’m going to publish books.

Cheers,

Bob

Short Bursts – Not Burned Out

Hemingway used to be one my least favorite writers. Now, he’s one of my favorites. I thank him and his advice in his book – A Moveable Feast, for my current progress.

His advice is simple and genius.

Write the scene in your mind and then stop when you think of the next one. Sounds silly, right? Why stop?

The simplicity of this advice is that you never come to the page empty. You always bring something with you, and are ready when a spare moment presents itself.

This is how I’ve written lately and it has allowed me to have a consistent flow of words and I’ve not had to sit and think where I am going next.

I am never empty.

Never lost.

This is genius because then the well of creativity never runs dry. You always leave a little in there. A little sip to keep you going.

If your well is dry. Try to do things that fill it. Then don’t drain the tankard in one gulp.

Cheers,

Bob

Timelines

Bob Evenhouse:

Great tips! Best of luck to all who attempt NaNoWriMo.

Originally posted on Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling In The Storage Room:

With Nanowrimo coming up in a few weeks, I thought I’d share some tools I’ve been playing with to keep track of a novel’s timeline. One of my works-in-progress involves multiple generations and interwoven plot lines, so a chart was just not going to cut it this time. Have you tried either of these systems? Opinions? Additions?

Aeon Timeline – So far, this is my favorite. If you already use Scrivener, this program makes Scrivener an even more powerful writing platform because it syncs with your Scrivener files. I can’t impress upon you enough how awesome that is. When I add an event in Aeon, it asks me if I want to create a corresponding file in Scrivener. When I write a new scene in Scrivener, I can put the date and time of the action and Aeon will create a new event on the timeline when the projects sync. It’s like magic.

There…

View original 147 more words

What We Pass Down

Last night I told my daughters a story. It was about a boy who found a secret door in a bookstore which led to a world where he was small and everything else enormous. His name was Errol and he escaped a hawk then grew hungry as he could not find his way home. After help from some plucky squirrels, he made it back to the door, hidden in the knot of an evergreen tree.

My daughters loved it and begged for another but it was time for bed. I closed the door and walked away with a smile.

As a writer I love to create stories. But I love sharing them infinitely more and getting a reaction. I know my children look past the story’s inconsistencies – like why don’t more children disappear through the secret passage? And, wouldn’t the police get suspicious and arrest the bookstore owner and close the whole thing down? What about time paradoxes and the like? Legitimate questions. But not in this world of stories. I don’t want to focus on boring realities. We’re after wonder here.

I want to pass on wonder and longing and truth. To give them something to chase, things deep and moving and noble. Fiction is real life dressed up in story. This is what I want to share.

What do you hope to pass on to your readers? I hope it’s not just a book to cover your mortgage.

I hope it’s wondrous, whatever it is.

Cheers,

Bob