Weekly Writing Prompt #2

Weekly Writing Prompt Image

 

This Week’s writing prompt is a piece of poetry I wrote.  Poetry can sometimes unlock different patterns of thought about images and words, as well as shifting one’s perspective on their uses. Don’t worry, if poetry’s not your thing, there will be another writing prompt next week!

 

Teacher

 

She is

A tree;

Auburn leaves —

Over pale Shoulders.

 

Long limbs

Uphold

Works of Keats

And the Bard Himself.

 

She is

A well.

Depths reflect

All the light that shines.

 

Occult

Springs feed

Endless font

For drawing wisdom.

Weekly Writing Prompt #1

Weekly Writing Prompt Image

 

Write a short story, poem or vignette using the following three element prompt:

Person: Mime

Place: Rocket Launch

Thing: Briefcase containing ???

If you get something awesome, and would like me to read it and give you feedback, email tcmedia@hotmail.com and put Writing Prompt 1″ in the subject line. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Happy Writing!

~*~D~*~

Formatting That Manuscript

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I have typed in Word for years, and I’ve maybe used 10% of the tools it offers.  Two features that I haven’t used until venturing into self-publishing are the Space After, the Section Break and the Page Break.  Surely, the return key is just as good, right?  Well, maybe for regular use.  When you go changing the format of your document though, they make a big difference in how the finished product looks.

In his CreateSpace Article, Self-Published Authors: Don’t Make These 5 Newbie Book Layout Mistakes , Joel Friedlander outlines several common mistakes and how to fix them.  To be honest, I glanced over the article and thought, ah I won’t have any of these problems, and proceeded to make some of the very same. While I didn’t have any blank right pages, I had some very odd spacing problems, and I had no idea how to get Word to skip more than the first page with the page numbers.  I went back and read the article again.  This time I took notes.  Then I went and found the Createspace article A Step-By-Step Guide to Formatting Your Book’s Interior, and took some copious notes from it as well.  Much of what I learned was from those two articles.  Basically Sovling most of my fromatting problems boiled down to following simple suggestions like:

  • After creating your title page, copyright page and Thanks page, go to your layout tab and select “Section Breaks-Next Page.” This will create a separate section and allow you to start page numbering from there. You can create as many sections as you want, but this is the important one.
  • Once you type and center your chapter headings, instead of hitting the enter key, click on the Paragraph dropdown and select “space after”, and enter a number.  Friedlander suggests 42.
  • At the end of your chapter, instead of hitting the enter key until you reach the next page, select “Insert” and then “Page Break” This will keep the ends of the paragraphs from running into the headers and keep the spacing where you want it when the manuscript goes into the formatting “sausage grinder” that is electronic publishing.

 

There is a lot more to it, but these are some of the snags I ran into and a couple of the helpers I found on the CreateSpace website.  Best of luck with your work, and hope to read you soon!

*~*~*~D~*~*~*

 

So… I made some mistakes…

I got the first proof copy of my book a couple of weeks ago, and there were more than a few formatting errors, even though Createspace said everything was fine.  It turns out that unless you have the formatting in mind when you create the document, there are going to have to be some adjustments made even after the document is uploaded and looks fine on the online proofer.

This is actually working out to my advantage though, as it has given me time to do another search for the title and subtitle, and I found that more than one series was using the series subtitle I had settled on, and one of those is also an urban fantasy.  No worries, I have a backup.  It’s not as cool, but that’s what happens when you take your time sometimes.  It’s still a first novel, and I’m sure there are lots of goofs I am too close to see. (I’ll be adding a photo of the new cover to the book page for Bone Sliver shortly.)

With any luck, my beta readers will all be getting back to me soon with their thoughts.  I want to give them plenty of time and not be a pest.  Of course the waiting is killing me.  Patience is not my strong suit.

It’s a weird place to be.  Finished, and somehow not quite ready yet.

In the meantime I’m getting ready for the August Newsletter! If you’d like to get in on some brand new, never before seen content, Photographs and more.  Sign up today, and you’ll be one of the first to receive my free quarterly. I’ll never send your e-mail addy to anyone else, and I won’t bug you with a bunch of spam.  I hope you’ll join us, it’s going to be a twisted journey!

*~*~*~ D.E.~*~*~*

Sticker Shock

Sticker Shock

 

When you first venture into self-publishing, you know there are going to be costs involved.  Hey, if it was cheap, it would be a whole lot easier to break in, right?  But there are some things that might escape those keen observation skills starting out and sneak up to bite you in the–wallet. (This post will be updated as I encounter more so stay tuned…)

The first one I’d like to share is the cost of printing out copies for beta readers.  Honestly I kind of wished I’d never considered this, but as I was trying to figure out how much ink I would need to print out six copies of the manuscript, it just kind of happened.  My printer is an hp, and it takes number 61 black and tricolor cartridges. At the local Wal-mart they cost about $15 each.  A ream of copy paper costs maybe four bucks tops.  If I figure my total pages (at the time the page count was just under 250, not a door-stopper, but respectable)

Adding it all up, I reckoned that each copy would use most of an ink cartridge and about half a ream of paper.  $15 + 2 = $17 +1.50 for the box and 8.00 for the shipping =$ 26.50 each one…  Wow.  You can buy two trade paperbacks for that money!

So, while I love my readers, and especially those who volunteer to be guinea pigs for my early stuff, sending everyone the nice signed paper copies might be a little too much for me.  Fortunately, my beta readers chose mostly pdf files, so I only had to send two.

Bone Sliver Complete and More

Friday was a big day for me.  I apologize for not posting sooner, but the first novel in The Nova Chronicles is complete.  I put the end on Bone Sliver at around 12:30 am CST Saturday morning, and I guess I took the rest of Saturday to recuperate and crow a little online.  It’s been amazing, and I’m not done yet.  There’s still a lot to be done if I want to launch it well in October.  I have started a separate blog for Twisted Candle Media, and you can find that and my other blog post about finishing the book here.

I hope you’ll join me for the rest of this fascinating journey.  I don’t know what’s coming around the corner.  My path’s always been a little–twisted.

Love y’all.

D~

Nineteen and Counting

Nineteen

Hey Y’all,

If it seems like I haven’t been posting as much lately, it’s true and here’s why…I’ve been working on finishing Bone Sliver. I’ve got about five or six chapters to go before the first installment of The Nova Chronicles is ready to go to beta readers.  Beta readers are very important in an indie author’s work.  They provide the first voices of input to help get the author where they need to go in the story.  The better the betas, the better the book at the end.

Beta readers have to be willing to give constructive criticism.  That is criticism which helps the author grow and makes the writing better.  By telling them what works and what doesn’t in the work that is read, mistakes are eliminated and the writing is improved.  Sadly beta readers can be very difficult to come by.  Sure, everyone wants to read your new book, but they also have busy lives of their own.  Life happens, and lots of times it is hard to get the sort of direct specific advice the author needs in time to do any good for the first book. Sometimes ever.

This is why time distance is so very important for a writer.  I’m not saying this is wisdom gleaned from working my way up to best-seller status (which by the way I haven’t…yet…) but it seems like good advice to me.  You HAVE to put it away for a while, AFTER your first draft is COMPLETE.  Then do something to further your craft.  Take a class, read, go experience something that affects your heart or your worldview.  Then in a few MONTHS, come back and work on the rewrite.

Though I am only nearing the end of my first novel, and it isn’t even published yet, it is really easy to see what this distance has done for the book I am working on.  It’s literary dogma for a reason.  Normally I don’t go in for dogma, but this shit is for reals.  Lots of things have become clearer after leaving it sit for a year.  Big things and little details that will help readers be able to see my world more clearly and not be bugged by the mistakes every first draft suffers. There may still be some, but hopefully my beta readers will catch them, and help me eliminate them for the final draft.

October is sliding up fast, so I’m done writing here, time to go make words.

For all my writer friends out there… I know you want it done, and you’re really excited, but put it in the drawer.  I promise, it will still be there when you come back to it, and your readers that are pestering you for it now will be grateful you made them wait.

Be Well,

D.

Entertainment Value: or, There’s This Thing I Won…

When people speak of “entertainment value” they are usually talking about what the audience gets from being entertained.  This is about the other thing.

Last semester a guy in my Writing For Mass Media class named Matt told everyone about the Tulsa Review and that they publish student and faculty stuff and that they would be having a spring contest.  I thought maybe I’d just send something in and see if it would make the cut for publication.  Matt encouraged me to enter the contest, as they also considered the contest entries for publication as well, and you never know…

As it turned out, my little poem was awarded first place.  When they sent the award email, I read it three times before it sank in.  They didn’t say which one won, (I’d sent two) and I half-believed there would be a follow up email saying, “Oops, the last email was meant to go to so-and-so.”  So I shared my teary-eyed news with my husband and Facebook friends (And newsletter subscribers…hint, hint…) and waited for the other shoe to drop.  No email came, so I wrote back inquiring as to which poem won.  They told me it was “Carroll After Dark”, a work I’d sent in on a whim, and asked if I could attend the release party to do a reading.  I figured it would be the other one, which I won’t name here, as it is now under submission elsewhere.  Wiping the gratitude off of my cheeks again, I replied that I would be happy to do the reading.  The release party was everything a budding writer could have hoped for.  Some of my professors were there, and classmates new and not-as-new.  Friends all.

Nervous even after a great practice reading in class, I made it through without too many big fumbles and by the time the whole party was over I was walking on air, and crying as I left.  These were faces I would likely only see in passing for the rest of my life.  If I was lucky.  I was going to miss the talented, kind, and generous people I’d been surrounded by for the last three years.

Once home, my husband told me he was proud of me, and I bounced like a schoolkid.  I doffed the dress clothes, slipped into my comfies and sat down at the computer. The effort had been worth it.  It was the first time I’d ever won first place at anything I’d done with my brain. What’s more they’d genuinely liked something I wrote! They were entertained!  Even now, I sit and shake my head, half-disbelieving.  Hell, you’d think I’d won the Pulitzer.

So that was the charge they all talked about!  That was the high.

It wasn’t so much the winning.  It wasn’t the prize (I really hadn’t remembered there would be one).  It was watching their faces as I read.  All those faces got it!  They laughed.  They enjoyed it.  Irreplaceable. Priceless.  That meant more than anything. I may not always win, and I may never place again.  But it doesn’t matter as long as someone enjoys reading or hearing the work.

I know it won’t be everyone.  It won’t be all the time.  May never be again.  but I will always have the memory of that perfect day just before the first of May, when my readers and listeners were actually entertained, and I got to see it.


 

If you’d like to read “Carroll After Dark”, here is the link to the poem on the Tulsa Review website.  Go check them out, there are a TON of great poems, stories and works of art–all by Tulsa Community College students and faculty.


 

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Bone Sliver Back Matter Idea

So I’m thinking that since Bone Sliver is written in first person, the back matter should be too.  Let me know what you think!  Hit me up on Facebook or by email!

Thanks,

D.E. Chandler

BONE SLIVER

So, I’m the guy who failed.  I failed to save the world, and it’s officially gone to shit.  There are so few normal humans left that we’re in danger of going extinct, and it’s all my fault.  I did manage to save one woman though.  In all this shit.  One person.  She’s in a coma.  I have to figure out how to be human.  Especially now that nobody’s sure of what that means anymore. This is my story.  This is how the world as you know it ended.  Use this information wisely as I think the shadow council is active but undetected in your time.  For fuck’s sake, don’t let them win this time.

Agent Maxwell Edison, Office of Human Defense.

New Semester and Chapter 9

School will be starting Monday for me, but if my grades hold, I will graduate with my Associate’s degree this year.  Starting Fall 2015, I plan to be pursuing my Bachelor’s.  Still looking at transfer college options, but OSU and NSU are likely candidates.  Not sure what I’ll do after that, but I plan to go for it all the way at least to an MFA.  Not just because I want the degree, but because I want to bring readers a quality read.

In short, I want my readers to have a good time, whether it’s one of my short-shorts or a novel, I want it to be as good as it can be.  (If it still sucks, my deepest apologies.)

This weekend, in the midst of getting everything as ready for school as possible, I will also be doing the re-write for chapter 9 of Bone Sliver.  Lead Character Max has gotten himself into a hell of a pickle, and I’ve got to figure out how (and if) he gets out without divine intervention.  Not to give it all away, but things are really not rosy for our Max right now, and they may never be again.

Intrigued?  I hope so.  Also, I’ll be looking for Beta Readers again soon, so stay tuned, and let me know if you are interested in being a Beta Reader.  The only requirement is that you can give an honest opinion about what you liked, didn’t like, and what might be improved upon.  Be kind, though.  Tough, real, but not hateful, please.

If you’re interested, drop me an e-mail at d_e_chandler@live.com and let me know.

Thanks so much for checking out the work, and being patient as I work toward creating better and better stories for readers like you!

D.E. Chandler