Today marks the start of Bouchercon 2013. Bouchercon is the annual international crime fiction convection. It is held in a different city every year. I’d wanted to attend one for about ten years now, but I’ve never been able to make it happen. This year, the stars aligned for me. The con is being held in Albany, NY. If I only go to one, this would have to be it. The location could only be more convenient if they held it in my back yard. Posting is likely to be light for the next few days. I will try to have a movie quote up on schedule. Provided I can come up with a good one.
As I’ve alluded to in a couple of previous posts, I’ve been busy with a major writing project. Long story short (pun partially intended), at 9:57 pm on Monday night, I completed my first novel. Now, I’ve written short stories before. Some of them are (or have been) published in various online venues. One was included in an ebook anthology from Untreed Reads. And there are still a few sitting on my hard drive, yet to be seen by the reading public. But a novel? Well, I’d started a few of those, but never finished. Never even got halfway finished. In fact, I don’t think I ever got past the 10% completed mark on any of them. So, needless to say, this was a big deal for me.
A little history: I started this novel in December 2010. That’s when the file containing the manuscript was created. True to form, I didn’t get very far with it before quitting. Sometime last year, I got it in my head that I needed to get my ass in gear and get to work on it. So in the spring of 2012, I started in on it again. I tried to write some every day. Some days were better than others. By the fall, I was just past halfway done when I realized that I hated this book. It sucked. Best to not waste any more time on it. So I tossed it aside and went to work on… nothing.
This spring I was reading an article by some novelist in which he stated that he always reaches a point where he hates every novel he writes. But he just powers through and gets it done anyway. So I figured it was time to go back to work. To that end, every day I’d open the file containing my manuscript. Some days I worked on it. Most, not at all. Pathetic.
A few months back, I was reading writer Dean Wesley Smith’s blog, when I saw a post wherein he announced his intention to blog his experiences writing a novel. He’d post his progress every day so we could all see how he goes about his business. The target length of the novel was 70k words. His time frame: 10 days. Yeah, you read that right, he planned to write a 280 page novel in 10 days. Then he went and did exactly what he was going to do. I was impressed.
So I got my novel out and started pecking away at it. If Mr. Smith could do 7k words a day, I could at least write… some. But it was a slow slog. Then, earlier this summer, Mr. Smith did it again. This time he was going to blog his writing progress on a daily basis for the next year, starting on August 1st.
I decided it was time I was more goal-oriented in my writing. So I set a daily writing goal of 1000 words a day on work days and 2000 words a day on days off. A few times I came up short. Most days I hit my target. Often times, I exceeded it. Sometimes by a lot. From the beginning of August until typing “The End” on Monday night, I wrote about 28k words. Total word count is just shy of 75k. And I wrote more than a third of that in 19 days. While holding down a full time job. For all I know, the book is complete crap. But I finished, dammit!
Okay, now a bit about the book. It’s a heist story. It’s told in first person with a criminal protagonist. Think Richard Stark’s Parker, as written by Jim Thompson. As I mentioned above, it clocked in at just under 75k words, which translates to about 300 pages.
What I have now is a first draft. I wrote it over such a long period of time, I’m certain there are a number of problems with it. There are probably some inconsistencies. And some themes that were important to me in the beginning fell by the wayside later in the book. Plus, there are probably the usual spelling, punctuation and grammar error, not to mention overused words and phrases. So there is more work to be done. But not yet. I’m going to let some time pass before I look at it again. That way I’ll have a fresh perspective on it. In the meantime, I have some other projects to work on.
But it does come with some awesome fringe benefits, like a take-home car…
Even better than a Smart Car.
I figured today might be a good time to pimp some cool websites and books out there in the wide-wide world of the interwebs. So, without further ado:
Wyatt, the nom-de-blog of a Philadelphia Police Detective who blogs at Support Your Local Gunfighter, has co-authored a novel. It’s a police procedural titled, Only Son. It’s available in paperback and e-book at Amazon.com.
And speaking of books, frequent commenter and friend of Nobody Move! blog Pat Downey is an author of three excellent true crime books. His most recent, Legs Diamond: Gangster, is now available in paperback and e-book at Amazon. Pat blogs about New York gangsters at Dead Guys in Suits. Check out his blog. Then buy his books. Good stuff for true crime fans.
Fans of pulpy sci-fi might be interested to know that “Harry Truman vs the Aliens”, by Emerson LaSalle, is free for Kindle at Amazon for the rest of the day. It’s a short story that serves as an intro to LaSalle’s novel, There Are Aliens Behind Uranus, Mr. President. Hurry, offer ends soon. Operators are standing by.
Missing the holidays yet? Then check out “Tight”, my holiday-themed tale of larceny and impulsiveness over at POWDER BURN FLASH. Thanks to Mystery Dawg (AKA Aldo Calcagno) for publishing it.
Just for the fun of it, I decided to resurrect a couple of my flash fiction stories as ebooks. “Complications” appeared in the zine Flashing in the Gutters in 2006. “Have Plastic, Will Travel” appeared in DZ Allen’s Muzzle Flash in 2008. Both zines have disappeared from the internet, so I figured that it might be fun to turn the stories into ebooks. Both stories are now available in multiple formats, including PDF, at Smashwords. Links to both are in the blog’s sidebar under “Stuff I Wrote.” Both stories are free. There’s no way I’m charging money for stories that short (>1000 words). Especially when they’re written by a hack like me.
E-book publisher Untreed Reads is holding a 25% off sale until the end of February. This means that the anthology Discount Noir, which includes my story “WWGD?” is on sale for $4.49 for the rest of the month at the Untreed Reads store. It’s also on sale at Amazon.com for $4.50. Pick yours up today, while supplies last.
Hey, kids, today is Cyber Monday, the online equivalent to Black Friday. If you’re still looking for gift ideas, and you haven’t maxed out your credit cards yet, you may wish to consider buying a copy (or two, or three) of Discount Noir, an anthology of flash fiction crime stories that take place in a certain big-box store. It even includes a story by a member of the Nobody Move! creative team. Discount Noir is available as an e-book in multiple formats from these great retailers:
The Untreed Reads Store (40% off for Cyber Monday)
Chapters Indigo (Canada)
Rumor has it you can also find it in the Apple store and at many other fine e-book retailers.