Douglas L Perry, The Author blog

August 31, 2009

Writing is Hard

Filed under: Thoughts,Writing — douglaslperry @ 8:21 pm
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Almost sounds like that truism “War is Hell”, but today on the Adventures in Writing blog I talk about what would happen if Snoopy was a cat.

Well not directly, but you’ll find out.

Check it out.

August 26, 2009

New Book – It’s number 4

Filed under: Thoughts,Writing — douglaslperry @ 4:02 am
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I’m so excited. I just started a new book. I don’t want to talk about what it’s about, because that will ruin it for me.

Also since I just started, I don’t really know what it’s about. I know the basic premise, but I don’t yet know all the characters, or the ending. I have a vague idea, but I may change it.

Since this blog post will record when I started, it will be interesting to see when I finish. I’m guessing it will take a year, but we’ll see.

Stay tuned.

August 24, 2009

Another post on Adventures in Writing

As always on Mondays you will find me at Adventures in Writing

Today I write about my friend the murderer.

August 21, 2009

Dueling Hyperbole

Filed under: Thoughts,Writing — douglaslperry @ 10:29 pm
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main-hyperboleIs this what our country has finally come to? I mean I’m probably naive, but I can’t think of a time when there has been so much hyperbole thrown around on both sides of recent issues, such as healthcare. Is shock really the only way to get people’s attention anymore?

I’ll admit I’m not a Left Winger, but then again, I’m not a Right Winger. I think both of them take their messages way too far. Does that mean I’m a Libertarian? Nope, same problem.

I feel like I’m stuck in the middle, but if I had to say which way I was leaning, it would probably be slightly to the right. Does that mean I believe everything they say? Far from it.

What’s got me going is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any candidates in the middle anymore. Each side is trying to push their agenda, and there are not just slight differences in beliefs, they are diametrically opposed. Worse, it seems to be the only way for each side to get their message across is by throwing out inflammatory hyperbole around their issues.

I’m sorry, that’s not helping anyone. All it’s doing is polarizing each side against the other.

And it’s making things worse. When one side gets a small advantage they feel it’s necessary to try to do as much as they can before the tide turns, and a stalemate ensues. Even worse, it seems the stakes for each issue are raised higher and higher.

So what do we do about it? What’s the answer?

I honestly don’t have a clue. The obvious answer would be to elect more middle of the road candidates, but given the current polarized environment, where are they going to come from? What party is going to get behind them?

Both parties are too busy developing hyperbole.

August 19, 2009

Do you use Audible?

Filed under: Books,Thoughts — douglaslperry @ 12:15 am
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I love reading(?) books from audible.com. I listen to them in the car while driving to work, I listen to them while working out at the gym, I listen to them when I am waiting for the wife to finish her shopping.

It’s a great service with a lot of great books. I do have one complaint. I wish their website would list the author’s book in order of publication.

If there is one thing that I hate, it’s reading a book from an author that uses characters from a previous work, and I haven’t read that work. I know that the author shouldn’t rely on the fact that you’ve read the previous book, but I have found very few authors that do it well. In my  opinion it’s better to read the author’s book in the order they were released. That way you get the entire story.

Audible does list the books in order of audible release date, but I have no idea whether or not that relates to the published date, and also can’t tell if this was the third book the author wrote, the first, or the tenth.

But really it’s a minor complaint compared to the quality of material they carry, the level of professionalism of the narrators, and overall ease of getting books from the site. It’s great.

August 17, 2009

Writing Deadlines

Filed under: Books,Writing — douglaslperry @ 6:31 pm
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Every week on Monday I’m posting over at Adventures in Writing.

Today I am talking about writing deadlines.

August 10, 2009

Seven Pounds and Agent Feedback

Filed under: Thoughts,Writing — douglaslperry @ 6:06 pm
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Watched the movie Seven Pounds this weekend on the tube. *Spoiler Alert* If you haven’t seen the movie yet, there will be secrets given away, so please flee right now.

Yes, I know, the movie came out like years ago in the theater, but I don’t go to the theater except for really big blockbusters anymore, and even then it’s a struggle. It’s simply so much easier to throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave, and hit the buy button on the remote. I realize that this is all a cable company conspiracy to keep us under control, at home in our houses, but what can I say? It’s working. *grin*

So back to the movie. I didn’t really like it. It starts out with a pretty gut-wrenching scene with Will calling 911 for his own suicide. Cool, that was well done. It provided enough tension to get me into it. But I think that was also part of the problem. It seemed that the tension was on high for so long that I didn’t really care what else was happening, I wanted to figure out what the heck was going on so I could understand the rest of the story.

If it was a book I probably would have been skipping forward, or maybe read the last chapter.

Tension without showing me something more interesting or a stress relief, can make a movie, or book, difficult to stay with.

So what would have made it better? That’s a tough one. This is why agents have a hard time providing feedback to writers on their books.

I guess having another stressful scene with a different character, and a tension reliever to soften the feeling, may have taken away some of the stress, but how would that story have fit with the main story? Would it have completely changed what the writer was trying to accomplish? Would it have diminished the impact the writer was trying to bring to the main plot? I don’t know.

I can see how an agent experiences the same quandary. Without knowing what you are really trying to get across, the feedback may take you in a completely wrong direction, leaving you worse off than you started.

It could be like adding more romance in Lord of the Rings, or adding more humor to Pulp Fiction. Bad for the story.

While Seven Pounds wasn’t a horrible movie, it wasn’t great either, and don’t ask me how to make it better, because I honestly couldn’t tell you.

August 6, 2009

Rejection #2

Filed under: Books,Writing — douglaslperry @ 6:03 pm
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Yep, got another one this morning. I could tell that the first one wasn’t a form letter. The actual feedback that I got was pretty much right on, though a little bit ego-busting if I’m being honest.

I couldn’t tell if this was a form rejection or not. I suspect that might have been the point. If I am firmly affixing my tinfoil conspiracy hat, I would say that the agency went out of their way to write a rejection letter that lets you down easy and tries to sound like it’s not a form rejection, but really is.

There’s just enough detail in this one however, that I’m not sure.

I have resolved that I need to do another pass on this book in any event. So even if all the other agents come back with a rejection, I’m OK with that. I will resubmit when I fix some of the issues.

Who knows? I could get lucky with an agent that can see the potential and is willing to have me make the changes.

August 4, 2009

Powerpoint Scene Guide

Filed under: Books,Writing — douglaslperry @ 10:15 pm
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I’m using Powerpoint to critique the scenes of my latest book. Lots of the pro writers use a system similar to what I am doing, but they use colored index cards.

Lisa Gardner at Thrillerfest talked about how she does her rewriting and editing. After each draft, she creates an index card for each scene, and lines them up based on chronology and character. This gives her a high level view of her book so she can see if there are flaws in character development, plot, or other issues with the book. She uses different colors to represent different characters, whether the scene is moving the plot along, or the scene is meant to do character development.

A few other authors have blogged about a similar technique.

I started to try it myself, but then I realized, I’m a geek. I can’t use index cards. That’s like 19th century technology.

Instead I brought up Powerpoint and I’m creating a text box for each scene. I plan on lining the vertical edges for chronological scenes, and each row to represent a different character. I’m not sure how well this will work, but so far it seems to work better for me than a spreadsheet.

What do you use to organize your scenes?

August 3, 2009

Still waiting to hear

Filed under: Thoughts,Writing — douglaslperry @ 1:26 am
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As I mentioned in an earlier post I sent out 11 partials to agents from Thrillerfest. I heard back from one agent, and he didn’t think one of my characters was strong enough. (He’s right).

So I spent the last week tuning up the manuscript, cranking up the tension on the character named Ellen. She’s the protagonist.

She is trying to get away from her overcontrolling husband, William, even though he’s just restored her sight. He didn’t do it medically, you’ll have to wait and read the book to find out.

Anyway I haven’t heard from the rest of the agents yet. It’s only been a couple weeks, so I’m going to give them a lot more time.

Meanwhile, I’m working on the next one.

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