Monday, August 27, 2012

Set in the future, Weary Bones is first the tale of an ambitious young reporter from Ithaca, New York, whose future depends on his next scoop. Surviving on a shoestring budget in a down-slope economy, John Walden Steinberg III is about to uncover the most sacred and earth shattering account of his life: America, once known for its majestic mountains and vast plains now features scattered bones, bomb shelters, and the aftermath of earthquakes that have shifted the land towards the equator. Weary Bones is the account of how it fell to one man, Samuel Yordy, a little known Amish minister, to lead his people on an exodus to a new future in ‘the Commons’. Treacherous and perilous, not all of his flock survive to make it to their new promised land…
The saga of Weary Bones will engage anyone interested in how religion can become the main focus and agency for strife, war, persecution, and death – and how it can then be a salvation.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ian McEwan's Take on Writing Inspiration's

It is interesting to learn the differing nuances of writers, and the vehicles needed to get them going on the road to inspiration.  Ian McEwan's views on ideas are that, "…they just pop out of nowhere…" Comparing McEwan's mode of creativity to my own, I mentally noted that we're not so different in the writing process.  I sometimes find myself swelled with a slew of ideas itching to spill over onto paper.

At other times there is total disconnect with the world around me, and I drift into another plane of thinking. When challenged with writers block McEwan states, "…sometimes I force an idea just by writing the opening paragraphs…"  

For my style of writing this does not work to my advantage. Writers block for me can last for hours, days, and oftentimes weeks on end.  However, when the burst of genius manages its way into the folds of my brain matter I take the helm of my word document, and wear down the keys just a tad more on my computer.  I go full bore into the first, second, and third rounds of writing before the bell rings. After my brain settles in its corner for a pep talk I gear up for the final rounds - taking on the agonizing blow by blow of distraction before I'm face down on the mat, and down for the count.

I gather bits and pieces of information here and there.  Snippets of conversations or situation in my travels are the fuel needed to write something down.  From there I will deduce that, "…maybe this situation will fit nicely into a poem, or a joke someone told while waiting at the bus stop is agreeable for a screenplay…"  These are how the wheels of my mind spin when brewing up ideas.  It's like having a bag full of groceries, and knowing that once I return home to unpack I have a pretty good idea of where each item will be stored for later usage.  That's how my mind operates when it comes to insight, and ideas for writing. I hope this tidbit of information is useful to writing novices like me, and even the experts.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ex Nihilo

Where do ideas for stories come from?  The term I like referring to is ex nihilo which is Latin for,  "out of nothing."  The dictionary further defines it as from nothing.  Many writers get their ideas from personal experience  born out of a tragic events or a lifetime of nightmares that are usually converted into memoirs and are published under the category of non-fiction.  But where do ideas for fictional stories get there roots?  As author of the recently published narrative, "Weary Bones," my idea stemmed from lots of observation and what was highly excluded from cinema.  Action/thrillers, comedy, romance and so on are a dime-a-dozen when it comes to repetitive themes.  With Weary Bones, I wanted to do something exceedingly different yet not straying too far from the norm.  The Amish are a people not highly illuminated or given a voice when it comes to the big screen. 

In the 1985 movie Witness, a young Amish boy was a witness to a murder and had to be protected by a Philadelphia detective played by Harrison Ford.  I wanted to go grander than a mere bit part character.  I took my protagonist to an elevated level of importance while casting light on the ways and lifestyle of the Amish people.  The other challenge was to write something for which I was very unfamiliar with and make it - familiar.  It must have been sheer fate or being in the right place at the right time when I ran into my editor who was very familiar with the Amish culture.  She was able to point out mistakes ranging from the minor to exceedingly major flaws in my rough draft.  Overall she produced a clean, more realistic, and culturally accurate text concerning my topic.  And yes this is a shameless plug for anyone interested in utilizing her services for their writing.  I refrain from mentioning her name here but  will put anyone in touch with her who is interested in having their rough drafts given the once over.  Now to steer back on topic.

In this instance, the idea for my story came from what was not apparent in motion pictures and to me that's a big deal. My advice for writers and readers alike is to observe what you do not see as an audience and to further research what you would like to see in books and on film.  This could be the formula for a blockbuster novel or the makings of an impressive narrative.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

In the Beginning...

My writing journey began with a screenplay written back in the late 1980’s. As a high school student I wasn’t aware that what I was fabricating in my mind, and would later jot down on paper would be interpreted as a screenplay.  I even cast actors such as Morgan Freeman and a host of others dictating who would play certain parts.   I included made up characters based off of characteristics from close nit friendships.  I guess I was wearing my director’s hat as well. I never got around to completing it, and it’s still packed away amongst my other belongings. My love for the craft would later come to life more than two decades in the future.  Currently I am studying the art of screenwriting in an effort to see if my passion for cinema is still something I’d like to pursue as a career, or if it is only a fleeting moment of nostalgia. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Keeping it Secret

How can an upcoming newbie of an author divulge information about their upcoming works without giving away genre, character, plot, or whether or not a series will follow?  As a newbie myself this has been a challenge.  The first thing I did was to provide my audience with the less intense writing.  This provided them with a hint of my writing style, taste, grammar and the ability to hold their interest.

An audience needs to be made privy to some degree about who the authors writing influences are in an ongoing effort to build a fan base.  In other words, ‘…show me the money’… or I’m walking.  Too much secrecy is just as damaging as spilling the beans.  Writing is like a romance.  Audiences like to be dazzled with cliff-hangers, moments of intensity, and the element of surprise.

One keyword that can be used to safeguard ones work is ‘untitled.’  Untitled allows for an author to present their works to the public via writing contests, etc. under the guise of anonymity while registering said work with an actual title at the U.S. copyright office.  Copyrighting provides the author leeway for making revisions within a 30 day window of the initial submission date before the window of opportunity is closed.
“Copyright” literally means the right to copy.  Copyright is a form of protection given to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other works.  This protection is available “automatically” to both published and unpublished works” (Literary Work).

So now that we’ve gotten the legalities out of the way, what if fans want to know the genre?  I would only answer this by stating that if you’re a writer who is a fanatic about certain types of genre’s it would be safe to hint to one’s audience that there might be a ‘surprise’ on the horizon of your up and coming works.  Kill them with kindness and never ignore their concerns.  But do not let them break you.  Hold your ground.  You, the author, will be thankful later on that you did.

Literary Work. U.S. Legal, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. <>.