Friday, December 14, 2012

First Person Problems

I like to write in first person. It allows me to tell a story from inside someone's head, with all the associated thoughts, perspective, and missing information that we know from our own experiences. I love the immediacy that it lends to a story, and I enjoy the twists and turns I can throw at a protagonist because of their limited perspective - and when I can surprise the narrator, I know I can surprise the readers, because they don't have any more of a view on the world than the character does.

It has some problems, too. I don't worry about the meta-narrative implications of needing to explain why a story is being told from a first person perspective; I don't need to introduce the narrator as the purported author. I like to think that my readers are smart enough that they don't need an artificial construct to explain why they're reading the story; hopefully they can simply enjoy the tale. But what happens if a protagonist dies? How can the reader be as invested in the story, even if it continues from another viewpoint? That immediacy, that sense of knowing the protagonist from the inside, becomes a bit of a liability when the reader's attunement to the narrator is suddenly thrown aside.

If you've read my first novel and are waiting to read the second, I bet you'd like to know if and how this applies to City of the Lords. Tough luck! I won't tell you! You'll just have to wait and find out yourself! On that topic, City of the Lords just broke 100,000 words today (hooray!). Parts 1 and 2 are finished (at least with the first draft) and Part 3 is probably halfway done. I'm tentatively hoping to push it out in early spring of 2013. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book Signing this weekend!

I'd like to remind everyone that I'm having another book signing at Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha this weekend as part of a Westside Independent Bookstores promotion! Four excellent indie bookstores in Aloha, Hillsboro, and Tigard are all hosting signings and events on Saturday, Dec. 8th - come out and make a day of it! I'll be at Jan's Paperbacks from 1 to 4 PM. Come on out and say hi!

In other news I'm up to 90,000 words on the sequel to Lord of the City - probably 3/4 of the way through. Great progress is being made!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writing progress and another book signing!

Good afternoon everyone! I'm making steady progress on the sequel to Lord of the City; I'm about 2/3 of the way through the first draft as of right now.

Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha has invited me back for another book signing on Saturday, December 8! If you weren't able to make the first one, this is a great opportunity to come out and snag your own signed copy of Lord of the City. In addition, Jan's Paperbacks is working with three other local bookstores to cross-promote multiple signings around the Beaverton-Hillsboro area so you can make a day of it! There are few things more enjoyable than spending a day browsing through indie bookstores and meeting several local authors.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thank you!

I'd like to thank everyone who came out on Saturday to the book signing. I appreciate your interest!

For those who didn't make it, I left a couple of signed copies at Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha, OR if you'd like to purchase them there, or you can get one directly from me.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Signing - Oct 6th!

I'm pleased to announce that I'll be participating in a book signing at Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha, OR ( on October 6th from 1-4 PM for Lord of the City. You can see their page for it here: I'd love to see people there!

Continuing progress

City of the Lords continues along, though not quite as fast as I'd like. I'm making steady progress on Part 2 and have the beginning laid out for Part 3. Due to the way the story works out, I'll be writing parts of Part 3 before I'm done with Part 2 - the two occur simultaneously in certain chapters, and I want to make sure to keep things consistent. I've got a fairly complicated timeline worked out, more for my reference than anything else - the story doesn't end up too complicated when it's written, but one thing I've had hammered into my head from decades of reading other peoples' work is that consistency matters. Few things bug me more than reading someone's story and realizing that it simply couldn't have occurred the way they laid it out.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Different Perspective

Part 1 of City of the Lords is done! Well, the first draft, anyways. On to Part 2... in which, for the first time, I approach this world from a perspective other than Kenton's. To find out why you'll need to read the book!

It's an interesting experience. I find it much easier to write using first person perspective than others (third person limited would really be my other choice here, at least in the way that I have the book planned out), but all of my writing so far has been from one specific person's view. Like any of us, Kenton has a particular perspective on the world around him that is by necessity different from that of the others around him. I'm grappling with that different tone in Part 2, but the task is made somewhat easier by the way in which this part of the story begins. It's not that it's hard, really - in fact I'm pleasantly surprised so far by how easily I slip into a writing from this alternative viewpoint and making it clear that it's not Kenton who is talking here - but it's a new experience for me and a little disconcerting. I find the protagonist thinking about people very differently than Kenton, and having to reevaluate all of the supporting characters in this new light.

How about Part 1? Well, I need to do a first sweep of revisions on it. Based on my experience from Lord of the City (as well as my first manuscript, which is still unpublished), there'll probably be some pretty sweeping changes. It comes out to a bit under 45,000 words, or slightly less than half the length of Lord of the City. It's a nicely self-contained story, but absolutely necessary to lead into parts 2 and 3 of City of the Lords. One nice thing about having the story separated out like this is that I'll be able to send out Part 1 to F&F (friends and family) for initial feedback without waiting for the whole thing to be done. That's after at least one (and maybe two) rounds of revision, of course, for everything from grammar and spelling to pacing and consistency.

If each part ends up around the same length, I'll end up with a book between 1/3 and 1/2 larger than Lord of the City, which isn't a bad thing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lord of the City available at Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha, OR

Jan's Paperbacks ( in Aloha, Oregon is now carrying Lord of the City, my first novel - see their Local Authors section at Head over there and see the book in person!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Writing progress

Writing a novel while having a full-time "day job" gets difficult. I make the most progress when I don't try to force it and instead wait until I feel inspired (that's the best word I can come up with for the feeling) to write. Which is often in the middle of the day ... when I'm working and can't put words down; not for my personal purposes, anyways. Thus, my progress is very uneven - I might make no progress for a month, then throw down 5,000 words in two hours.

That's how things have gone this summer. Life is busy! I don't make money writing books (at least not right now!) which means I don't have much time to write books. Even when I try to make time, I don't get much done unless I'm feeling it, whatever "it" is. I've written far less than I would like over the course of the summer, though when I do write I feel good about it and am plenty productive.

Current progress: I'm almost done with Part 1 of City of the Lords, the sequel to Lord of the City. Soon I'll see how I do writing from someone else's perspective than Kenton's in this world. Hopefully, it turns out well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why I love to hate automated spell checking

Automatic spell checking tools are great. They're a wonderful technology and have definitely gotten better over time. Without question, they've made life easier for a ton of people and made a lot of students happier with their term papers.

Why, then, is the first thing I do when I install a new word processor turn off the grammar and spell checking?

I'll answer one rhetorical question with another. Why do misspellings of "their" "they're" and "there" really bug some people? Because, like other homonyms, they're all correct spellings according to automated software - which means they don't get caught. While general misspellings have gone down drastically in the last 15 years, homonym misspellings have gone up. Once people started assuming that spell checkers would get all issues in a paper, they stopped paying attention to whether they actually spell correctly.

I'm not going to claim that I spell perfectly, but I do pretty darn well, especially for rough drafts. Typos and misspellings are very rare - and I'll always use an automated spell check tool to go through a draft right before sending it out, just in case I missed something. I'll also admit that I need to use custom dictionaries more to make my life easier. Either way, though, as soon as I start leaning on the crutch that is automatic spell checking and assuming that everything's OK unless there's a squiggly red line underneath it, I'll start losing some of my own ability to catch when I miss a word.

Next time: why grammar checking is just as bad to leave on when you're writing a novel!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sequel to Lord of the City

I've been working on a sequel to Lord of the City for a while now. I'm about 20% of the way through the first draft, but I have the outline roughly worked out and know how the story is going to go. Unlike Lord of the City, the story will be split into 3 parts, and will be told from several perspectives (though Part 1 is from Kenton's perspective - the protagonist from Lord of the City).

No idea when the text will be finished or even ready to send out for feedback to people, but I am hoping to have it completed in 2012. Time will tell.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lord of the City is now available in print!

I'm proud to announce that you can now purchase a physical copy of Lord of the City as a trade paperback from CreateSpace! The book is 8.5" x 5.5" (larger than a standard paperback) with a glossy cover.