Skimming the surface of the Death Star, the pilot tensely gripped the controls in the cramped cockpit of his X-Wing Fighter. He dipped the nose and swiftly disappeared below the surface into a channel just wide enough for his craft. Anti-aircraft fire crackled around him. His forward shields continued to hold off this onslaught. Squinting into the lens of the targeting computer, he strained to hold the craft steady just as Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter dropped behind him in pursuit. Approaching the target zone, he armed his proton torpedoes. “All most there,” he whispered. (In honor of the thirty-sixth anniversary of Star Wars)
Like the Star Wars rebel fighter, I am “almost there”. In my continued time warp continuum, this post involves writing about events that began in the third quarter of this year or three months in the past. The actual date is October 31, 2013. To accelerate to the present, I am including the events that actually occurred this month (October). Next month will be in real time!! May the force be with you.
As I previously mentioned, I reached the point in my story where all my main characters had been introduced. Then an event occurs impacting all of them. This event challenges them in numerous ways. It also challenged me.
My beginning story line, up until this event, was clear to me. As I proceeded, the characters rose from cloudy images swirling in my mind and became more substantive once they appeared on the written page. They grew and changed. I had fun developing them, but then the one issue occurred that all writers fear. Writer’s block!
I had no idea how to move the story forward. I have always known the beginning and the end. I had no clue on how to join them. I was stuck. Then a light bulb went off. In my class at the Loft, Kate Ledger, our instructor, advised us on how to get around a writing block. Using her advice, I began to figure out what each character would do next.
Instead of writing about events in sequence, I began to write chapters concerning each character. What would Dash, my male Navy Seal, do next? Once he decided on a course of action, where would it lead? Using this technique my story evolved and moved forward.
The defining event represented approximately 150 pages of text. By blasting through my writer’s block, I doubled my page count by the end of October. With my target for my novel being around 400 or so pages, I am getting close to finishing my rough draft.
As mentioned last month, the power of networking continued. It has definitely taken a village to help me compose this story. In August Bob and Mary Mersky introduced me to Mark Levine at Hillcrest Media Group. His company focuses on bringing top quality resources to authors who desire to self publish. From editing, cover art, printing, and marketing, a writer can have Hillcrest do it all or pick and choose among the various resources. Mark and I had a great conversation as he enlightened me about the world of publishing and writing.
Next, I met an editor at a Minnesota Book Publisher Tweet Up. You may recall from last month that Ken Olhrogge, a member of my informal writer’s group, introduced me to this event. By attending, I found out that the next step, after the rough draft is done and honed, is to obtain critical feedback from work shopping. This process involves writers reviewing your material and advising what does and does not work. We had a great discussion about my story and the process. The editor then mentioned an interim step of doing a critique before work shopping and offered to do one for me.
Toward the end of October I was also able to connect with Norton Stillman, a publisher. My meeting with Norton was set up by one of my golfing buddies and good friend, Buddy Shapiro. Norton’s company, Nodin Press, focuses primarily on local writers who seek local distribution. He suggested I would need a broader scope for my book. Norton did give me additional contacts that I plan to follow up with.
Buddy also introduced me to another editor through a contact of his. This editor asked me to send ten pages from the middle of my book for review. Just before this post, we met. Next month I will reveal what happened.