Tag Archives: continuity

My Kingdom For a Marketer. My Kingdom For a Marketer. Oh, Loathe The Nasty Bugger, My Kingdom For a Marketer.

writing-man-geeze485x244I have written numerous short stories, a weekly blog and am in the latter stages of publishing my third novel. Even with this small amount of success, I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the writing process.

If I were to break the process down as I understand it (taking the word understand with a grain of salt) then happy is the day I actually begin a new book. This sense of elation stays with me each morning as I arise just chomping at the bit to get started.

Once the book is complete, I move to what I call a continuity edit. That’s where I make sure the first half of the book jives with the second half of the book. For instance, if Hank marries Ramona and has a boy named Lucius in Chapter Three, then Hank dies in Chapter Fourteen, we can’t have Hank and Ramona returning from vacation with a daughter, Lucy, in Chapter Thirty Two. I realize the last sentence was three times longer than it should have been; however, you must remember this is my blog and I do what I want to do. Anyway, you get the jest of the continuity edit (which if I haven’t mentioned, I don’t particularly care for).

Next comes one of my lesser favorite parts of writing, even more so than the continuity edit, and that’s the line by line edit. I believe I would rather have someone set my head on fire then edit a book. Nuff said.

Then comes my absolute nemesis. The period of my life where I turn from Dr. Jekyll into the hideous Mr. Hyde and this little labor of love we refer to as “marketing” begins. With the mere mention of that accursed word (marketing) I feel my blood pressure rising and a wretched anger building from the bowels of my soul.

So with that, I shall drop an adequate number of Valium and make for my happy place.

So long until next week when we will explore…I ain’t figured it out yet, but I’ll throw something together, hopefully for your enjoyment.

The Valium is starting to kick in, so I’m off to my happ……

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Swinging Sticks at Little White Balls Confuses the Writing Process. There, I Said It!

I’m working on the fourth book in a series I’ve entitled, “Rising Tide.” I discovered that by the time you’ve reached this deep into a particular work and previousgolf books have been published, idiosyncrasies begin to surface.

Now, it’s important to mention that most of these quirky little problems bother no one but me and, in my mind, should be corrected to maintain continuity throughout the series. Of course, it’s almost impossible to do. I mean, how many publishers are going to re-release a book because the author believes changing two sentences will enhance the series by leaps and bounds?

That being a rhetorical question, I’ll continue on to the “stuff” portion of this post, which answers the question, “why?” When an author wants to change stuff in the novels earlier in the series, it could be because of continuity or to a lesser degree, related to his eccentricities. This is just a nice way of saying he has OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder.)

This also could simply be a case where the author wants his readers to stand in awe at his ability to look into the future as he pens his first novel of the series. The reader would say something on the order of “how could he have known the incident in the fourth book would coincide with the incident in the first book and be reinforced by the incident carryover between the second and third books?.… Wow!”

This brings about another possibility. Perhaps your publisher requests that you rewrite portions of your first novel in order to revamp the entire series. If you’ve never played golf, this is referred to as a Mulligan, a term that means, “second chance.” Now, as I mull over the last paragraph I can’t help but remember my days spent on the links…

You’d think there’d be nothing more relaxing than enjoying a warm sunny day in a lush green setting among beautiful scenery with a group of friends. Well, let me tell you, there’s nothing further from the truth. I am firmly convinced that the game of golf was conceived for the sole purpose of the downfall of mankind. It can be the most maddening, frustrating, serial killer developing sport ever devised. You’re competing against no one but yourself. If half of you is really good and the other half really bad, you have the makings of an internal conflict to begin with. This so-called game will cause you to throw metal clubs, beat inanimate objects with metal clubs and bend or break these weapons of mass destruction over your knee.You will utter words (from the same mouth you kiss your mother) that you didn’t realize were in your vocabulary. Then after a relaxing five hours of bad behavior and high blood pressure, you schedule a time to do it all over again.

I don’t know what makes us do the things we do. I’ll let you figure it out. Right now I need a couple Valium and someplace to stretch out. If the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be talkin atcha next week.

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“Just Because No One Seems to Like It Doesn’t Mean that Anyone Does.” Words of Comfort from My Heart to Yours

When I’m working on a novel, I incorporate short chapters with several different scenarios at the beginning. These situations may consist of groups formed by humans,cartoon characteris groups formed from anything but humans, or groups mingled with humans and anything but humans working together. Occasionally, a single human or otherwise may wing it alone.

These groups usually share a common goal, although they may expand or decrease in number, meld together, or disappear completely, splinter groups may peel away or totally new groups may appear.  That’s where the excitement comes in. You’re not sure what will happen until it happens.

What if you were to take a human from one of the groups (we’ll call him Bob)? Now, remove one of the anything but humans (we’ll call him, Splurch Flap). Let’s say that Bob wanders into a Clargovian minefield in chapter 8 and is blown to smithereens. (Smithereens in this case equaling a couple trillion pieces.)

Three chapters later, Splurch Flap falls into a dry well and is consumed by two famished air breathing guppies. To bring the point I’m trying to make home, in chapter 49, we find Bob and Splurch Flap have returned and are taking the vows.

One thing you want to remember is to maintain continuity in your writing. Publishers tend to frown on the author killing off a character and then bringing said character back as if they were never gone. I don’t believe, “I forgot,” would wash very well as an excuse.

Another thing that confounds me came about when I was searching for an agent. Who am I kidding? I’ve been searching for an agent; I am still searching for an agent; and if you ask me after the earth makes another trip around the sun, I’m fairly certain my answer will be, “Yep, I’m searching for an agent.”

This search, believe it or not has produced its share of ups along with the downs. Several agents have taken the time to write complimentary replies which I very much appreciated. One in particular went so far as to inspire the notion I may have an honest chance at representation.

Then I spied it; near the end of the last paragraph, that phrase that dashes hope to dust. It knocks you down for the sake of something to kick. What is that phrase, you so innocently inquire? With a lump in my throat and my eyes beginning to well, I answer in a low trembling voice, “Unfortunately, it’s not what I’m looking for at this time.” Once again (to quote Bon Jovi) “shot through the heart.” Nuff said

And what about this thing, this endless chasm, the bottomless pit, the slush pile? Each agency has one and even though most consist of virtual paper I feel fairly confident I’ve spent a significant amount of time drowning in more than one.

In fact, if slush pile aerobics were an Olympic sport, I have no doubt my collection of medals would be quite impressive.

I certainly understand a literary agent’s dilemma; thousands of manuscripts, with but a few spots to fill; a daunting task to say the least.

My first novel, “Rising Tide,” did rather well. My mother liked it and if that’s not a barometer of success I don’t know what is. I guess what it boils down to, is this business of writing, publishing, marketing, selling and starving is another feather in the antidepressant industries hat.

And I guess it’s pretty well accepted, that writing and starving are the easiest of the lot. Still we eagerly jump behind our keyboards and follow each letter as it flows across the screen. With anticipation we tap, tap, tap, turning letters into words, words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages and pages into completed works of literary art.

Now saddle up, hold on tight, and get ready for the ride your life. You’re going to be thrown off, trampled, kicked in the head, spat upon, dragged through the mud and left for dead.

You’ve got two choices. Turn tail and run or climb back on your ride and get a better grip this time.

By the way, you hungry yet?

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My Kingdom, my Kingdom for a Decent Pile of Dirt

Coincidentally my blog post this week mirrors last weeks. I guess you could say “the more things stay the same, the more things stay the same.”

Pause for uncontrollable shudder……

The statement I just penned (by my way of thinking) makes sense. It shouldn’t and that scares me.

I’ll force myself to man up and plow through.

Have you ever tried to maintain continuity throughout a long novel with many characters in different situations? Your ultimate goal is to bring them together in a glorious climax rivaling the works of Tolstoy, Hemingway, and Whitman.

After reading through your first draft, you realize that the poor dead tree you hold in your hand wouldn’t give Jughead, Archie and Veronica a decent run for their money.

A lot of this is due to continuity. You can’t murder your heroine in the middle of the book, then forgetting she’s dead, have her reappear as a cage dancer in the final chapter.

Think of the disasters this one unfortunate event might set into motion. The protagonists (we’ll call him Bob) heartbroken from the death of his main squeeze (we’ll call her giblet) who is still very much alive.

Bob falling into the depths of despair begins to drink heavily. He takes notice of Penelope, the kingdom’s fairest maiden. In actuality Penelope is covered in bumps and bruises due to being poked and prodded with ten foot poles by the townsfolk. to

Looking through beer goggles Bob takes Penelope for his wife. Unbeknownst to either party, Bob’s father is Penelope’s mother’s brother, which makes Bob and Penelope first cousins.

This becomes evident when their first offspring is a three headed baby. They are forced to move to the land of three headed babies, where Bob continues to drinks heavily and Penelope designs armor with triple neck openings.

Giblet not understanding Bob’s shenanigans falls for Bob’s head scribe and pedicurist, Leon. They inherit the kingdom, birth nine single headed babies and start the first medieval baseball team.

See how easy it is to turn what began as a romantic comedy into a work of stupid, all because of continuity or the lack thereof.

It’s similar to climbing Mt. Everest….Okay it’s a stretch but hear me out. Sir Edmund Hillary probably took months if not years planning his attempt to climb the highest peak in the world. He would have to hand pick his fellow climbers and Sherpa’s.

Be certain there were adequate supplies to meet nutritional needs for the entire team. Portable shelter, ropes, oxygen and a multitude of items I could not begin to speculate.

They would begin at base camp and methodically worked their way up the mountain.

Then came that fateful day, the assault on the summit. It was for this very day that all their plans and months of work had come down to.

They bravely made their way upward after a breakfast of dirt soup. They donned the latest in woolen Bermuda shorts, tank tops instead of oxygen tanks, flip-flops and the cutest little beanies with propellers removed to avoid an unplanned takeoff.

Making the summit they planted their flags in a teary-eyed celebration and were promptly arrested for trespassing on old man Crowley’s property. A second charge for destroying a large mound of topsoil was later dropped.

The defense argued that dirt was dirt and since no precedent had ever been set, now is not the time to begin such foolishness. The prosecution was awarded punitive damages in the amount of eight dollars and forty six cents to cover the cost of several trampled lilac plants.

So you see whether you’re climbing a pile of dirt or writing a book on the subject of climbing a pile of dirt.

It’s continuity… Continuity… Continuity.

And just to set the record straight, it wasn’t Sir Edmund Hillary but Ed Bugmeyer and his three rat terriers. It seems Pauley over to the general store bet an already inebriated Ed a six pack that he couldn’t shave his dog’s slick as a baby’s bottom and climb that pile of dirt.

So now you know…

 

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