Friday, February 24, 2017

Failed to Launch!

That’s right, I’ve failed to gain traction as Bastard Black. I think about the first day I put
out Warrior, and on that day I garnered 3 reads, and I haven’t gained a single read
since. Therefore I’ll give what I’ve done to date some thought.

I have three options.

*Continue, and hope I can get somewhere in the future. New book, same me. Keep
my grimdark leanings.

*Stop, keep the pen name going, but in a different genre. Maybe crime thrillers.

*Or, drop Bastard Black completely. Dump the name, the book, and the blog.

I see no real reason to continue a story that is going nowhere. Yes, I wrote it to
read in the second person POV, and that can throw readers off. I could have done
it in the first or third person POV, but I liked dealing with twin souls stuffed into
one body.

Writers are like actors in many ways, and one of them is to take a difficult role,
and own it. Stretch those acting muscles. Writers take the difficult story, and try to
stretch their storytelling muscles. Own it, only with words.

Now, I can keep the pen name, and I do have a project (new genre) in mind for
that pen name, but I’ll have to give it some thought.

Or, I can dump it all. Name, book, blog. Stretch myself in other directions. I have
to decide on what I want to do.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Hard Part of Research is Actually Doing It!

Without getting into our word substitutions exercises, I want to give you Lester’s
view on craft. Mainly . . . research. So, I’ll start with his words, and add mine.

Unique locale? Easy. Selecting one that fits in with the murder method and the
treasure--thing that villain wants--makes it simpler, and it's
also nice to use a familiar one, a place where you've lived or worked. So many
pulpateers don't. It sometimes saves embarrassment to know nearly as much about
the locale as the editor, or enough to fool him.

Here's a nifty much used in faking local color. For a story laid in Egypt, say,
author finds a book titled "Conversational Egyptian Easily Learned," or
something like that. He wants a character to ask in Egyptian, "What's the matter?"
He looks in the book and finds, "El khabar, eyh?" To keep the reader from getting
dizzy, it's perhaps wise to make it clear in some fashion, just what that means.
Occasionally the text will tell this, or someone can repeat it in English. But it's a
doubtful move to stop and tell the reader in so many words the English

The writer learns they have palm trees in Egypt. He looks in the book, finds the
Egyptian for palm trees, and uses that. This kids editors and readers into thinking
he knows something about Egypt.

In this day and age, you can take a virtual tour of just about any locale, if not
more. That’s the reason behind Google Earth, Google Maps, get down to street
level, right? What do you see? What might you hear and smell? How does the grit
feel under your feet?

Movies, documentaries, and picture books not available seventy, eighty years ago
can also add to your descriptions. The main thing is to do your research. There's
more than enough great stuff out there, all you have to think about are the sounds
and smells, and feel, each street may have.

For the imaginary world, one that doesn't exist on this Earth, know it in your head.
Draw a crude map, just for you. Label the streets in a town, and maybe the
businesses there. Do what you must to know what's where. Think touch, sight,
sounds, smells. If it's real in your mind, it will be real for the readers.

Here’s the thing. Today’s movies, they have crafted fantasy worlds, and things
work thanks to the many, many minds that have added to these creations. What do
they mean to you? What are the elements you need (and if it was organic, the
connective tissue involved) to make your world-building work?

You give your creations life. You do it with words.

Now think about how you use description. People, readers, they know what
ordinary mundane things look like, and they can and do use their imaginations.

In a fantasy world, here’s where you can get creative. If your world is unique, get
descriptive. Paint that picture in your reader’s head, using your words.

Yes, I got a smaple up. And then I realized my error, and got my sample up and
running . . . It’s like every typo you see, you hold it against me . . . fuckers . . .

Show your support for indie authors. Don’t hesitate to read a sample, and
actually buy. It’s the only way to find out how the story ends.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What and Why

I’m waiting to be approved for the Smashwords Premium Catalog, before I’ll be
distributed elsewhere. It can take a few days.

I’m now tossing ideas around for part two. If I was to write this story straight up,
full novel from beginning to end, I have to think about the first 30,000 words as an
introduction. I’m introducing the world, the characters, the situations, and
problems as they exist in that world. It’s all inclusive. I’m building on the first 30,000
words, making sure my next 30,000 words keep ramping up the action and suspense,
and the last 30,000 words lead to an explosive and satisfying finish. Beginning, middle,
end, I shoot for the WOW factor.

Fiction has to make sense. But, there’s more to it than that.

Why did I chose the Second Person Point of View? Did I read Fight Club and get
inspired? No. I get to delve deeply into the emotions of my protagonist. That’s it.

How will that be? Don’t know yet. My protagonist will show me the way. That’s
what all my characters do, and have done since I wrote my first word on my first
story. Almost nineteen full novels later, I’m not about to change. My story will
either work, or it won’t.

First, Lester Dent. I want you to understand his words as I do, and understand why
his simple formula is beyond classic, and will always remain alive within writers

If you don’t know who Lester Dent is, Google him. Learn something new.

This is a formula, a master plot, for any 6000 word pulp story. It has worked on
adventure, detective, western, and war-air. It tells exactly where to put everything.
It shows definitely just what must happen in each successive thousand words. No
yarn of mine written to the formula has yet failed to sell.

The business of building stories seems not much different from the business of
building anything else.

Here's how it starts:


One of these DIFFERENT things would be nice, two better, three swell. It may
help if they are fully in mind before tackling the rest.


You can twist this formula right here and now to include just about every genre
and sub-genre known to humanity. Even graphic novels within their visual confines.
Mystery, thriller, science fiction, horror, urban paranormal, fantasy, whatever.

Think of it as a word substitution exercise for romance and erotica (or any genre).
"Murder method" is now "love interest," and "villain" can be "overall situation,"
depending on your personal point of view, and I'm not talking first, second, or
third person POV right now. I'm talking people. What you think, and what your
character’s think.

To take it a little farther, we'll use science fiction. The word substitution exercise
for this genre might be, "murder method" is now "possible encounter," and
"villain" can be "alien threat" or "new discovery."

For fantasy . . . "Murder method" is now "big problem," and "villain" can be
"person, place, or thing." Fantasy is the world that might never exist, so can be
whatever you need it to be. You are only limited by your imagination, so I suggest
you keep working to improve your imagination.

Why did I make number 4 bold? It’s the words “WHICH IS TO HANG LIKE A
The word menace is just a word. It can be subbed
with words like, overall situation, new discovery, or person, place, or thing. To
continue with Lester . . .

A different murder method could be--different. Thinking of shooting, knifing,
hydrocyanic, garroting, poison needles, scorpions, a few others, and writing them
on paper gets them where they may suggest something. Scorpions and their poison
bite? Maybe mosquitos or flies treated with deadly germs?

Now change murder method to big problem. Choose your word substitutions
carefully, and make (hard copy) notes!

The importance of notes will become apparent as we further explore this method,
and how Lester's outline can help us. The one thing I want you to take from this:

They’re all we have to work with. Our words are everything . . . one word at a

I’ll get more and more into this with each successive post. And no, I’m not going
to post every day. Once a week, if I can, is good enough.

Show your support for indie authors. Don’t hesitate to read a sample, and
actually buy. It’s the only way to find out how the story ends.