DIY it yourself

May 3, 2017

There’s a great interview with Mike Sacks wherein he says, and I’m paraphrasing here, that if you want to get something done, you have to do it yourself.

For the last year or so, I’ve had someone1 submitting my work to different, smaller, independent publishers. And, spoiler alert, it’s been rejected by all. Granted, I’ve heard some nice comments, but none of them want to publish.

Which is pretty much what I expected. Sure, I had hoped for someone to say, “This is the writer we’ve been waiting for!” And then there’s a huge advance and a book tour and so on and so forth, but that’s not going to happen.

So maybe it’s time to go the self-publishing route.

I think the main reason I haven’t considered it in the past was because I just want a book, an actual, physical book I can hold in my hands and throw at people who said I would never amount to anything.

But with self-publishing (and this is something Mike Sacks goes into), there’s far more control. I can write whatever I want to write. However I want to write it. I can even design the cover in whatever fashion I’m capable of.

What artist doesn’t want control like that?!

Of course, there are a couple of things I need to take care of first. One, I need to find a reputable self-publishing outfit. I’m leaning towards Amazon because, well, I don’t know, Amazon. If either of you have any suggestions, recommendations, or thoughts, please let me know.

Two, I need to seriously edit one of the books I’d like to publish. So that may take a while. But I’ve got another book I could go ahead and publish straight away. Which is nice.

Three, I need to make absolute sure my non-agent agent has exhausted all possible publishing avenues because, come on, y’all, book tours.

Fan boy followup

March 9, 2017

Turns out last night’s… show? Experience? Whatever it was with that happened last night with George Saunders, it did a number on me. I can’t tell you which number, specifically.

First, the Scottish Rite Temple here in Dallas is pretty amazing. Ornate, odd, and Egyptian. It was a great place to hear a writer who often deals in weirdness.

Second, since Saunders’s book, Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel, is something of a multi-character piece, multiple actors read from the novel. So now, of course, I can’t wait to start reading the book.

But it was the Q&A that blew me away. Saunders was always gracious. He complimented people on their questions and responded to every one thoroughly and without hesitation. And his answers to matters of craft were like a masterclass on storytelling. So many new things to try, I couldn’t wait to get home and get started.

Through it all, Mr. Saunders seemed… delighted. In everything. The questions, the audience’s response, the performance, life… Everything. After the Q&A, Jenn, our friend, Clay, and I went downstairs where Mr. Saunders signed books. The line was long. A couple hundred people, perhaps? We were toward the end. But when we got up to the table, we found Mr. Saunders still in great spirits, still exceedingly grateful, still delighted.

On the way home, I had a slight to moderate epiphany: I’m angry. Like, in general, I’m an angry person. I’m not sure the source of the anger1, but I know it’s there and I know it doesn’t take much for the anger to bubble to the surface. When Mr. Saunders talked about his characters, he said he loved all of them deeply. And I got to thinking about my anger, about how I could never approach many of my antagonists with complete, unconditional love until I let go of some of this anger.

So how do I do that? This, of course, is for both of you readers, but it’s also the question I’m going to ask myself as I travel down life’s highway. Which reminds me, a lot of my anger is the result of traffic and driving and cars. No duh, huh?

Per yesterday’s question: Did Mr. Saunders’s “performance” meet expectations? I should say so.

I am an old fan boy

March 8, 2017

I’m giddy. Almost to the point of giggling. Though not really since giggling and laughing and guffawing — it’s all too much. Still, I’m stoked. And giddy.

I get to see my favorite author speak tonight. Geoerge Saunders. Like, in person. It’s kind of a weird thing, seeing an author speak since speaking isn’t what authors do. They write. Still, I haven’t had a bad experience yet seeing writers whose work I enjoy. With the exception of the time I, a somewhat misguided child, made my mom take me to see William F. Buckley speak. Sheesh. Never again!

But I’m pretty sure Saunders will not disappoint. Though I’m not entirely sure what I expect to get out of it. That sounds a bit ungrateful, but I don’t mean it to be. And maybe that’s why I’ve enjoyed seeing all of the other writers – I had no idea what to expect and I got far more than I could have asked for.

One thing I would like to walk away with is a renewed sense of purpose for my own writing. A little jolt to the system, if you will. It’s happened before and it actually worked for a while. Maybe this one will last a little longer.

Updates soon.

Wah

February 24, 2017

It doesn’t take much to get me down. As a writer, at least. Today I learned of another rejection of my novel and also heard about a local festival that I had no idea was taken submissions. Missed opportunities and rejection. Does the trick every time. But we get back up, dust ourselves off, and we do it again, right?

Sure.

Question for you writer types

February 23, 2017

This is quite possibly the lamest writer question ever, but here goes: How do all y’all writers organize your work? I’ve got, say, a dozen big things (novels, plays, screenplays) in various states of completion. I’d like to have something, like a notebook, app, whatever, where I can log notes and statuses. Something that lets me know what I need to do to get something submission ready or, if it has been submitted, where it was submitted and when.

So… Who’s got suggestions?

Rock and roll!

Addendum

A million years ago, I was part of an amazing show called the Dr. Paul Slavens Texclectic Radio Hour. Paul described it as A Prairie Home Companion meets Frank Zappa. I couldn’t think of a better analogy. One of the things I got to do in the show was read these… absurd, let’s call them, essays. They were ridiculous and usually got a few laughs. I’m thinking of reviving this old dead mule and posting them on Medium. Medium has a much larger readership than this blog (>2), so I figure it’s a way to get my silly notions out to the world while maintaining the intimate integrity of this web site.

The only thing I need to begin my takeover participation on Medium is an idea for an essay. Do either of you have one? All I need is a word. One word. A subject. Anything. Hit me. Hit me with your best shot. Fire away.

Crap.

I’m trying to reach 300 words so the little SEO monitor I use for this blog says I’m good. Isn’t that sad? In my quest for universal approval, I include a WordPress plugin.

Isn’t life crazy?

Crap. I’m at 282 words. La la la la la! I need more words here are those words is this enough words let me do a check yes it is I’m done now thank you.

The first step

February 7, 2017

Am I the only one who’s ever had a real problem with gaming? And I’m not talking about real investment, big time gaming, but little crappy games. Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Solitaire, Two Dots, and so on?

Well, I’m here to tell you folks: I have a real problem with these games. So, two days ago, on Sunday, I deleted them from Facebook and my phone. And I’m still free of the games. At least that’s the plan. I’m actually writing this on Sunday after deleting the games and I’m hoping that I’m still free of them.

The problem is procrastination. I’m a serial procrastinator and have been my entire life. So I’m writing a play about it. I talked about not being able to work on something or not knowing if it was any good or whatever. Well, I’ve decided to ditch it because, after much thought, I was married to the name and not the story. Of which there wasn’t one.

Then I remembered a great article by Marsha Norman called “On Playwriting” where she basically says, “Find a time in your life when you were really scared and write about that.” I’ve been thinking about this article quite a bit and whenever I think about it I think about this one image from a long time ago and I’ve decided to write about that one image.

I already feel more energized about it than the last one, so that’s a plus.

Also, today’s post marks one solid week of posting. Hooray for me.

Oh, and how did I do with my cold turkey gaming situation? Check the comments.

Hi, I’m the grammar guy

February 6, 2017

 

I’ve been watching the Comma Queen lately. I love her. And she has reminded me of a few English languagey things that I think need to be pointed out. Mostly because this is my party and I’ll cry out if I want to.

First, I don’t understand. “I felt like a third wheel.” I mean, I can understand feeling like the outsider, but I don’t understand the analogy. In some cases, like on a tricycle,  a third wheel is necessary. Without a third wheel on a tricycle, you have a bicycle or a Segway®. If you want to feel like an outsider or unnecessary, you are more like a fifth wheel. But, I get it, in most cases the “third wheel” is also the “third person.” Still, use this one around me, I will scowl.

Second, if you tell me “I could care less,” I will invite you to do so.

Finally, a long time ago, I heard someone lament over people using “party” as a verb instead of noun. Now, people are doing the reverse with a lot of words and it needs to stop. Words like “solve” and “ask” are verbs. “What’s the solve?” is grammatically incorrect. Perhaps there’s some sort of condition that prohibits people from using saying “solution” or “request” without experiencing great pain, but I doubt it. It’s just a weak attempt to create new business terms.

And business terms, as we all know, are an idiot’s attempt to sound intelligent.