Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Having your cake and edit too.

Okay, so enough with the bad puns. I couldn't help it, but it is apropos to the post, as you might see a bit further on. If you have been following me on Facebook or my blog, you may know that I am at that magical time; that wonderfully tremulous span of getting my book edited. I figured as a debut author, I would share my thoughts on this part of the process. Those of you who have been through this may sympathize and those of you who are pioneering their way for the first time may get a few tips on what to expect.

Let me tell you what I expected; First, the wonder. The beauty of finally being able to share your child with someone else. Finally the chance for another person to acknowledge the pure awesomeness of your writing talent. You will, after months or years, get that first glimpse of the critical acclaim you have been striving for and craving. (Admit it liar! You just worked your posterior off. Slaving ALONE for days on end, with no one else. You know you want it. It's okay to admit it at this point. You are set to bask in the adulation you deserve.)

What you will get in reality however, is far different. You will receive, for all that aforementioned hard work and struggle, the equivalent of a swift kick to the groin. What is going to add even more to the delicious irony of it all is; you're going to pay for it too. (Add maniacal laughter) I mean it, hard earned cash, to get told you have all the leet skillz of an eight year old Kalaharian Bushman seeing the English language for the first time.

A pretty smart guy named Splitter once told me about the editing process, "At this point you have a great story, NOT a great book." I should have listened but I succumbed to the one inborn affliction I can not escape, I am a man. That means, I have gonads and sometimes they are so large they actually block out my hearing. Gonna have to trust me on that image if you suffer from severe gonadial bereftment syndrome, (Or girl for short.) I get the trademark on that BTW.

I went into this with all the wide eyed wonderment of a child at Christmas and came out with all the shaking and self revulsion of anyone who paid to watch, "Human Centipede" in the movies. (Please add in the groanings of Side-show Bob here)

I am NOT knocking my editor. I actually have the best one I could have hoped for; supremely talented, endlessly upbeat and just basically an angel of a human being, to put up with my bottomless question pool and newbie status. She is doing EXACTLY what I paid for, which is make my good story into a great book that will engage more people than I would have on my own. The problem lies within my own soul. Editing is NOT a trial for those weak of self image or backbone. For me at least, I had to adjust my view from inward, my skills and my talents, to outward, expanding the books potential readership and thereby earning me an even greater reward.

Every time you get back a chapter that you thought was incredible, with all the nit-picking little notations AND all the glaring errors you over-looked, is not an indictment on your talent. It's a chance to take something that's beautiful and make it shine brighter than anything you could have hoped for. The problem on this, is all with you and not your editor. (As a note; there ARE bad editors. Those who don't respect your 'voice' in telling the story, those who are fascist and demand their way or the highway and trample your vision as an author. Even those who simply don't do their job well. Those are for a different post.) This is just for getting your expectations correct.

After I got over my initial dismay, well disguised between gruff guffaws and silent tears hidden in the bathroom and blamed on cat allergies, I found something out; my editor was right. This process that I thought was solely designed to strip me of any lingering testosterone, was actually making my book a better story and vice-verse.

So if you are at that point now, buck-up snowflake. It's just a small sharp kick sending your gonads/ovaries straight into your esophagus. Then it's an eternity of a polished, much better work of art, presented to the public for their consumption. You can do it. I know you can. I can't wait to see the diamond you have, after coaxing it from the beautiful rock you started with!

By the way for anyone interested in a great editor, you can find some info on the person I have been blessed to work with here;


Knock twice and ask for Amy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A little about 'Wolf Song'

For years I had an idea running around in my head. I wanted to write a book about vampires and werewolves. But years later when I finally started the story, it was no longer easy to say you were writing about vampires. The question now-a-days is; 'Which vampires?'

There are so many different types out there, love-sick, angst ridden ones, a type that is almost like an alternate life form that evolved along with us, those that were turned by some disease or experiment, etc.

I didn't want any of those types. I needed old school vampires!  So I went back for the arch-type I wanted. Back past the sparkly love-sick ones, back past the homo-erotic Ann Rice vampires. Till I got to the silent killers in the night. These were the embodiment of evil with no shred of compassion, preying on humanity for their own desires. They were the ones called, "The Prince of Darkness." Foul creatures returned as the undead with incredible powers and a malevolent will to turn humans either into food or lackeys. (Anyone old enough to remember Renfield from the earlier Dracula stories?) These were the ones I inhabited my novel with.

The werewolves have a great back story and I tried to make it believable. No more, "It was a curse that turned him into a lycanthrope." With new technology and scientific enlightenment, we get better answers than the superstitions of ages past. An honest and hopefully believable take on these powerful beasts.

Mostly I wanted action. The type that I would plunk down a great deal of money to see in a movie. I wanted suspense, burning questions that are answered later in the book. Along with hate, betrayal, redemption, sadness and fight scenes. Not, "Ohh you punched me." but scenes that would draw on the unbelievable power of these titans that walk among us. Wall breaking, sidewalk shattering fights, as age old enemies attempt to destroy one another in the modern day.

I have posted a sample, in a tab beneath the blog title called, 'Wolf Song' Sample.

Come along and join: Jon, Aldus, Father McTeague, Dr. Beaumont and the Vampire All-father and his 'family' as a single incident spirals into a cataclysmic fight for the survival of thousands.

 As always, thanks for letting me ramble on. I really do think you will enjoy the book, I would love to 'hear' your comments!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hey, what's with the title of this blog?

Someone asked me today, why I called my blog, 'Finite Language'. I guess I forgot I'm the only one who would understand that. I always liked to write, even when I was a teenager. I never dreamed I would write anything other than poetry, simply because I have the attention span of an over-sugared hamster.  However, I did take some pride in the the way I could manipulate words. I thought I was pretty sharp actually. Until one day, in my late teens, I ran head first into real life. Someone I knew very closely, experienced a heartbreaking tragedy.

Suddenly the language I was so proud of, seemed to shrink both in the ability to convey what I wanted and its importance. I was abruptly aware of how very small words can be, how paltry they are when it really matters and how limited they always were, although I never saw it.

So I guess the title is a way to remind myself of a few things. First, pride. There are always going to be times that challenge you to open up beyond what you believe. You can accept that and learn from it, or you can become a pig-headed fool. It's good to remind ourselves, that we are not as smart as we think we are, nor others a dumb as they seem to be. Second, words are finite. Yes, with words you can inspire, horribly wound or even change a life, but there will always be a time when the simple touch of another human being will be a thousand times stronger than your words will ever be.

So that's it in a nutshell. The title is just a reminder to be humble, even if the book takes off beyond my wildest dreams, and to not forget there are times when actions definitely speak louder than words. It's good to be a dreamer, but don't forget to be a 'do'er' also.

The next post, I'll tell you a little about 'Wolf Song' and hopefully pique your interest.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The best advice on writing that I can give you!

     Over the last few months, as I talked to people about writing a book, I noticed a few reactions over and over again. The first was support. I am very thankful that so many people have allowed me to talk about writing and my book 'Wolf Song'. It's not easy to listen about anyone's past-times, especially when you're not involved and yet almost every person I talked to was great. They were open and obliging every time I brought it up, and still are even today, as the book sits with an editor getting ready to be sent out to publishers in an attempt to get it printed. I can't tell you how heart-warming and helpful this has been and how much it means to me.

     The other reaction I got a lot is, "I would love to write a book."  So many people have said the same thing, that it surprised me. I didn't know how many people enjoyed writing and reading, it was an awesome discovery for me. Invariably after telling me how much they would love to write, people would ask, "How did you do it?" Now if you are set, I'll give you the best advice I can, on how to be a writer. Are you ready? Here it is; write.

     Wait, what? You're joking right? Nope, not at all. That, in a nutshell, is the best advice I ever received about being an author, and I am passing it on totally free of charge. Here it is again, write. Write on your computer, long hand, jot a few lines or paragraphs, just do it. It doesn't have to be great but it does have to get down on paper or saved on the computer. You can always go back and erase, change or edit anything you wrote, so don't be stingy. No one needs to ever see it if you're not satisfied in the end, so don't be shy either, just write.

      People love to make themselves seem bigger, it's a human trait I think. They will tell you about secrets and formulas and things like that, don't buy into it, not for writing, not for anything. Let's take dieting as an example, only because most of us have some experience with that. Every month, if not week, there is a new fad or bandwagon to jump on. BILLIONS are spent on these secrets and 'new' knowledge every year, but here is the truth of the matter. You don't need to cut carbs, eat only fruit or copy what some emaciated Hollywood celebrity heard from some Indian guru. Again free of charge, here is the only dieting secret you need. To lose weight you must burn off more calories than you take in. Period, end of story, save your money. Here is a link to a story about a nutrition professor who lost 27 pounds eating twinkies and other snacks ONLY. How did he manage to do that? He burned off more calories everyday than he took in. For those who find this impossible to believe, here is the story:

Diet professor loses 27 pounds

Just as with dieting, so is writing. The only way to be an author is to write. There are no tricks, no gimmicks, I would even say that for the greater part of us, there is no inborn talent more than you already have. It's just write, write and write some more, until you get better and get in the habit of doing it. Time is the hard part, I know,  but look at it this way; just like a slow water leak can add up over days and months, so will your words. No one says your book has to be finished in a few months or even years! Scribble a few notes between feeding and bathing the kids, or on your lunch break or those few precious moments of quiet before you go to sleep. You can do it, or anything else if you want, you just have to take the first steps!

Also a few last words. This entire post, as small as it is, is over seven hundred words. Just do that number over and over again, or even less, and soon you will have a novel.

And lastly, if you are trying to write, lose weight, train for another career, etc., I know you can do it. I know it won't be easy, I know you will struggle but I know you can do it, because I believe in you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Thanks for checking out my new blog. Finite Language is a place where I can review books, interview authors and generally blow off the steam, built up in the general chaos of writing a book and trying to get it published. I have learned so much over the past six months, including the main one, writing your story is just the beginning of the saga unless you get incredibly lucky. There's a lot of hard work and heartbreak that goes on behind the scenes of any book looking to get noticed in a very crowded market. Trying to get a literary agent or picked up by the Big Six of publishing is next to impossible for a first time author now-a-days. This leaves independent authors aka, 'Indies' or getting picked up by a small firm These are the strongest options for a debut novel, if you're not a household name already, like an athlete, talk show host, or a black mark on society such as anyone from the Jersey Shore or a Kardashian.

It has been an exciting six months as I wrote my first book 'Wolf Song' and realized how much more I had to do after it was completed. The book is now at the editors and getting ready for me to submit it to small publishing houses So come along for the ride, I'll introduce you to some authors and maybe we'll both learn something in the process. In the mean time, buckle up, I am sure it will be a bumpy ride as I try to hold on and accomplish a life long dream!