March 22

I’m off to the races!

Today’s a big day. I’m proud to announce that my first novella, Crucible of Dust has been published on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Crucible of Dust marks my first novella in the setting of the Clockwork Ascendancy, a fantasy world in the throes of an industrial revolution. The Holy Ascendant, the appointed ruler of the Clockwork Ascendancy, struggles to hold together a fractious empire intent on tearing itself apart. Steam-powered war machines called avatars stride alongside soldiers on the battlefield, wreaking havoc on their foes.

Worse yet, a terrible cataclysm has torn a hole in the fabric of reality in the lands of the Order of the Penitent Blade. No one knows what caused it, but the horror of the event has driven everyone to the edge, and there are whispers of terrible creatures, monsters of the Aetherium that seek to undo creation.

Enter Hammond Flynn, a former knight of the Penitent Blade. Fleeing the destruction of his homeland, he has abandoned and buried everything he once was. But when a powerful criminal syndicate kidnaps Flynn, events are set in motion that will force him to return to the place he has done everything to forget. A crucible of dust awaits Flynn, and it will either destroy, or remake him.

I plan on writing two more novellas to introduce the major characters in this setting, and then I will begin on a full length novel. As my first novella, I learned a lot about writing and e-publishing, which I’ll share in future posts. For now though, it’s a thrill to get my first novella out there. It’s a single step, but getting started is almost always the hardest part.

And as always, please feel free to share any feedback you might have. I’d love to hear from you!

March 4

The Gnomish Idea Factory… or, How do Writers Generate Ideas.

I’m gearing (Ha! Ha!) up for my first release, which I hope to have online in the next week or two. I’ll be fleshing out the content on the site during this time and have things to actually, you know, look at. But in the meantime, I wanted to discuss something near and dear to my heart…

Ideas.

Coming up with ideas is perhaps one of the hardest (although I wouldn’t say THE hardest) aspects of writing. An idea has to be creative, unique, something that no one’s seen before or an older idea that’s turned on its head to give it a fresh appearance. Before I started this blog and my writing efforts, I did a lot of research, and it seems there are two common answers writers give when they’re asked how they come up with ideas.

 1. Apparently, there’s a team of gnomes that live in a tree and do nothing but come up with ideas that writers can buy.

 Or

 2. Everywhere.

 Neither answer is really any help. The first one is usually the snarky, anti-social answer that basically means, “Stop talking to me.” The second is, well… a bit broad. As if someone asked, “Where can I find a bird?” and the reply is, “Outside.” Sure, it’s true, but it’s not very helpful.

 That’s not to say that writers are loathe to share their secrets, hoarding them like a dragon hoards gold and maidens. The fact is there’s just not a good answer for the question. It’s not something that can really be quantified, the process boiled down to its essential elements.

 It’s true enough that ideas can come from anywhere, at any time. Mind you, it’s not likely that you’re going to come up with a fantastic idea while staring at a washing machine, but you never know. The point is to remain open at all times, because you never know when inspiration will strike.

 It also helps if you have an idea of the genre you want to write in. That’s how I usually start depending on my mood. Some days, I’m focused on Sci-Fi, others steampunk or fantasy. I’ll start thinking about interesting scenarios, characters, and putting the fragmented pieces of these disjointed elements into a cohesive story.

 The initial result is usually quite sad. But that’s ok. The idea is young, unformed at this point, just being born into life. For me, idea generation is an iterative process. What I start with is always very basic, with very little depth.

 And that’s when the real work starts. I ask myself, over and over again, how can I add depth to this? How can I complicate the situation? What would my characters do in a given situation? How would it complicate the story overall?

 One pass is not enough. I have to do this several times until I feel I have enough depth that I can actually write something from the idea.

 There’s a dangerous trap I have to avoid when doing this. The character’s should drive the plot and the situation, they should generate the complications. It’s important not to come up with a fantastic situation and then try to shoehorn the characters into it. Why? If I approach it from this angle, it comes across as false. An improbable series of events just strung together with the characters along for the ride. And for a reader, that’s just boring. Ultimately, the writing should be about the characters and what THEY do.

What about you? If you have a technique for coming up with ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Category: Writing
January 30

The First Step is Always the Hardest

This is my first post. It’s always hard to know where to start. I know where I want to end, but taking that first step is a scary prospect.

It always amazes me when I think back to what I wanted to be when I was a child. At first, it was a scientist, until I realized I don’t really like math. Or science for that matter. In the 2nd grade, I decided I wanted to be a writer and that dream stuck with me for a long time.

For most of us though, and I was no different, that early dream is stamped out and replaced by something dictated by reality. When I entered the work force, I went through a bit of a crisis. I’d look up a job I’d enjoy doing, and I’d find generally the same advice which went something like…

“I’m glad you’re interested in profession X. But be aware that you will NEVER, EVER make a living doing it. You will live in abject poverty, likely in your parent’s basement, eating Ramen Noodles and Chef Boyardee. It’s not going to happen, so suck it up and get a real job.”

Now, while I enjoy the culinary delights of Chef Boyardee as much as anyone, I found myself not wanting to live in a cardboard box. And so I became a white collar worker, punching away at a keyboard for my faceless corporate overlords.

Now, at 29, I’m looking around and thinking, “Why didn’t I ever try? Why did I listen to all those people who said it was impossible. To just buck up and accept it?” There comes a point when you get tired of being told you can’t do something.

That’s why I’m here now. That’s why I’m taking this first step. I want to use this blog to chronicle my journey. Writing is a hard thing, and there’s so much misinformation out there that makes it even more difficult for someone to break in.

So, I hope you join me as I embark on my journey.  I intend on talking about the writing process, my experiences with world building, generating story ideas, and e-publishing. My hope is that not only do I learn and grow, but that you the reader can benefit from my shared experience.

Godspeed.