After a long break I’m finally back to writing somewhat consistently, getting at least one day per week where I get stuff done. Right now I’m about 75% through the high-level outline for my next book The Gray Shift. I thought it would be fun to share how I’m trying to outline this book. Continue reading
Not all of the parts that got edited out of Full Coverage were cut because they were bad. In this Deleted Scene, we will go over a scene that was cut to improve pacing and to change when a character introduction happened. There will be some mild spoilers involved in describing this scene, so if you haven’t read Full Coverage: An Action Comedy yet, please go and check it out on Kindle or paperback on Amazon first and then come back here.
This scene is from the last third of Chapter 2 in Rev 07 of the book. This was the first full version I sent to my awesome editor for her to read over in May of 2016. The final version of the book is Rev 10 and the text for that was finished in March 2017. This scene would take place right after Chapter 5 in the final book, but as you are about to see, the timeline this scene existed in is very different from the final book.
One of the fun parts about self-publishing your own book is making your own cover art! I’ve dabbled in artsy stuff my whole life and my books are a fun way to go from amateur to semi-pro artist once in a while. The Full Coverage cover art changed pretty dramatically over the 6 months I was working on it. Below you can see a gallery of the evolution of the cover and if you click on each thumbnail you’ll see more info about each one. Enjoy!
Well it’s new years resolution time and what better way to kick off the new year than to start on a new book. I haven’t really done much writing wise since I stopped running the Facebook Ads for Full Coverage. My goal this year is to self publish at least one more book. Sorry this won’t be a sequel to Full Coverage (though I am collecting ideas for that right now and if all goes to plan that will be the 4th book I self publish), but this will instead be something completely different. I haven’t quite nailed down the tone I want yet but it will be called The Gray Shift and will be a Dr. Strangelove meets 24 dark satirical thriller sort of thing. It’s always tricky explaining how the various bits of my books come together (Well, you see there’s assassins and bioprinting and health insurance and they all go together in a way that makes sense. Wait, where are you going?) especially when I haven’t even finished the outline yet. Continue reading
A while ago I posted a deleted scene that was my “Michael Bay” moment. It was a scene filled to the brim with action and sounded like it would have looked really cool, but it raised no stakes and had no lasting consequences on the characters or the story. One article I found a while ago that helped convince me to cut that scene and write better replacement ones is this article from iO9 called “Why You Should Never Write Action Scenes For Your Blockbuster Movie”. It goes into just enough detail and gives some good examples to help you tell if you are making a kick-ass plot driving Matrix style action scene, or a time wasting pointless Matrix: Reloaded action scene. This part in particular makes things very clear:
The second big action sequence: rescuing Morpheus. The choices Neo makes and abilites he shows actually evolve the story and his character. He’s learning about the nature of the world. Learning to sacrifice. Going from a watcher to a participant. The action is simply the lens through which we see this growth — the visually arresting, badass lens. This sequence is particularly noteworthy, as you can actually track its internal three-act progression of Neo quite clearly.
“I may not be the One, but I’m going to help my guy.”
“You moved like they do.”
“Holy shit, he is the One.”
I’m starting to plot out my next book and now that I know these things beforehand, I hopefully won’t waste as much time writing chapters that will just wind up getting cut out completely.
In my early drafts of Full Coverage (before meeting my awesome editor!) I fell into the same trap that many indie writers do. I described things in way too much detail and let the world building kill the pacing and drag the story down. In this Deleted Scene, we will go over one of the most egregious instances of this and what I did to fix it. There will be some mild spoilers involved in describing this scene so if you haven’t read Full Coverage: An Action Comedy yet, please go and check it out on Kindle or Paperback on Amazon first and then come back here.
This scene was the original beginning of the book. Kyle has been captured by the Latin Yakuza boss he was hired to kill and is chained the floor of the “event” cell with a machete stuck in his enhanced arm. In the final version of the book these events take place in Chapter 2, but this was the original start of the book until Rev 08. For comparison, the final released version of the book is Rev 10. Continue reading
When I was first outlining Full Coverage, my original idea was to make Kyle a total asshole in order to show how when compared to an insurance company even a total asshole like Kyle seemed like a good guy. This was not a good idea. Writing a book filled with nothing but self-centered assholes isn’t very fun and it wouldn’t have been fun to read either. It’s like watching a sporting event between two teams you hate. The only thing you can root for are injuries and maybe a meteor.
This led me to put a note in my OneNote outline sheet saying: Error on the side of FUN. If it isn’t fun to write it won’t be FUN to READ!
Even with this new focus on making things fun, my early readers consistently told me that I needed to make Kyle more likable. While doing some research on how to do that, I found this article called: Of Assholes and Antiheroes: Morality in ‘Borderlands 2 over at popmatters. It’s a really neat analysis comparing Max Payne (antihero), Kratos (asshole), the Vault Hunters (antiheros) and Handsome Jack (asshole). Sure it’s about video games and not books, but the idea is the same. Continue reading