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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Critiques and Editing

I can’t stress how important critiques, both getting and giving are. Same goes for editing. To be a good writer, to learn, to progress, to improve your craft, you must get your work critiqued as well as critique others. You should find a way to hire an editor.

Critiquing does several things. It gives you insight into your own work to help spot your own errors, tendencies, and it expands your knowledge as a writer. Receiving critiques, helpful ones, lets you see those areas you need to work on. Yes, in the end it’s your story, and you need to know where to draw the line, but a good critique group is priceless. I’m in one here where I live and in two online. They have all helped me develop immensely. From harsh crits to gentle ones. I’ve learned more and faster this way than I could have on my own. Being in a group also helps you to interact with people. Writing being the lonely profession that it is. Having said this, there is an art to critiquing, which I will deal with on another day. For now, find a group, get involved. Get some beta readers. It’s well worth it.

As for editing, what made me mention this are the amount of books I’ve read, both Indie and traditional that  could have used some more editing or editing period. Finding a multitude of errors in a book is a turn off. My writing samples here are drafts, done before any editor got their hands on them. I’m sure as I go through an editing draft of my own before sending my work to a professional editor, I’ll find plenty mistakes and changes I need to make. Personally, I feel putting out a book without having it edited is sheer laziness. Sure, there are plenty of excuses. I just cannot accept them. I’m a nobody, sure, but I’m also a reader. If I pick up a book and I see terrible editing, I’m putting it down and never touching that author again. I’m positive many other readers out there feel the same way. As an author, your work is your legacy. It should mean something and make an impression on your readers and make them want to come back for more. Doing the opposite by not getting your work edited is failing before you even start. I’m sure they are going to be authors who say to me, “Hey, I edit my own work and I do fine.” More power to you. I just can’t see how you cannot be biased toward your own work. Maybe, it’s just me.

So for you indies out there. Critiquing, beta reading and editing is of the utmost importance. As with most things in life, your talent will carry you a certain way, your hard work another, and your reputation will decide a lot for you. All go hand in hand.

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Game of Thrones finale = Great TV

Last night was the season finale of Game of Thrones. For the most part the TV series has been fantastic. The finale did not disappoint one bit.

There were so many great scenes. From Sansa and Joffrey with the heads on spikes. Then Greatjon’s speech. Cat and Jaime’s scene was pretty stirring. We got to see our boy Tyrion finally get acknowledged by his father and assigned to become the Hand of the King.

“I always thought you were a stunted fool, perhaps I was wrong.”

Daenerys gets to see what’s left of Khal Drogo—what her son’s life bought her. Which of course was a man that may as well be dead. Her revenge was as good as it was in the book. The recital of the Nightwatch vows to Jon by Sam, Pyp and Grenn to prevent him from leaving and losing his head, literally. Varis and Baelish scheming and devious and so well played.

The endings themselves were epic. Lord Mormont’s speech to Jon and The Nightwatch marching out.

“Are you a brother of the Nightswatch or a bastard boy who wants to play at war?”

I got goose bumps as I followed Ser Jorah’s boots into the ashes and saw Daenerys the Unburnt huddled in what’s left of the funeral pyre, rising up to reveal her three dragons. Much better than I envisioned.

Needless to say. If you haven’t watched the series or read the books. Do both. For the most part you won’t be disappointed until maybe your favorite character gets killed off. But still worth it, regardless.

As for me I can’t wait till next season.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Announcements, Reviews, TV

 

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Being a Father

Ah, the joys of being a father.

There was a time when I thought this the day would never come. To express myself without going too deeply, there has been too many struggles and obstacles in the way for both me and my wife to count. Yet, somehow we overcame, and here we are with our beautiful daughter of two going on three.

I think the first year of her life, I still couldn’t fathom that I really had a daughter. It was amazing and still dream- like to me. So much so that maybe I missed that connection. Then one day it clicked, and everything seemed so much brighter, clearer, more joyous. Life took on new meaning.

I grew up in a home where eventually my mother and my father would split. I lived with my father for several years. Then for another 6 years with my mother. Traumatic? Yes. But it made me who I am today. The good and the bad. More good than bad, I hope.

I always wondered what my time as a father would be like. I promised myself, as much of us often do, that my children would never struggle or want for anything. I would be there. So far, that part has been a success. I intend to keep it that way. Enough about that.

I stand amazed by what comes out of the mouth of my daughter. The way she learns, how fast she picks up on things, how she follows my lead, how she emulates her mother also. She is both my wife and myself in one bundle of joy. It’s a glorious thing that I wouldn’t trade for all the money in the world. Her first step, her first real words. Until now when she can run, hold entire conversations and is constantly asking questions. How she likes to sleep on my chest or have me read to her. Her favorite questions “Daddy, what is this? Daddy, what you say? Daddy, I love you very, very much.” Those last words there mean the world to me. It’s the plain and simple truth. Love gets no purer.

A smile comes to my face when I think of a particular conversation. The wife and I had a disagreement, and well, we were upset with each other. Pretty normal thing. My daughter woke up and came into the living room.

She looked from me to my wife, and says to me, “Daddy, you upset?”

I said, “Yes.”

My daughter said, “Mommy, you upset?”

My wife said, “Yes.”

My daughter turns to me and says “Daddy, what you do?”

Out of the mouths of babes eh? I took the blame, smiled, apologized to my wife and became happy. Of course, after that my daughter asked if we were both happy. We could not help our smiles and laughter.

That’s one moment in a thousand. One of the many little things that make being a father so wonderful.

For the men out there who aren’t there for your kids: Shame on you. You don’t know what you’re missing. In turn, your kids are missing out on one of the most important people in their lives.

Get off your ass and make it happen.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Announcements, Personal

 

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Social Media Experience

Things sure have changed.

So, yes, finally I’m on facebook, twitter, goodreads, have a blog, a website and I wonder how much else I will be getting into as I connect with fellow authors and fans.

I remember back in the day when all I had were Aol online chat rooms and things like Blackplanet. Yes, maybe I’m showing my age a little, but it is what it is. Back then, we used to get laughed at for being on Aol in the chat rooms meeting people. Half the time the people you met didn’t even have a picture.  I wondered back then what was the point of it all besides fun.

Around that time was also the advent of Mp3s.

All these things are the forefathers of what we have today. From what I mentioned at the start to the Itunes movement and now the ebook movement.

I feel like any person who has a product of some sort who wants to get themselves out there should get into the social media experience. It’s a must. There has never been a greater, easier way for us to connect, promote, allow fans to get to know us, increase our potential, and in the end show we have a quality product and we care that those who are interested in us get the most fulfilling experience they can from our work.

Do you remember when you would buy an album based off a single and the rest of the songs sucked? Well for writers, you should be looking to put your samples out there. If you’re an indie take the necessary steps to make yourself better, make your work better. Get a cover artist and an editor. Your work will let your potential buyer/fan know that you care about him.

In a world dominated by social media like you tube,  facebook, twitter, myspace and blogs, to do anything less is folly. To avoid using the platforms you have available to you as well as making sure you have a quality product  will be your own death knell.

Our digital world is here to stay. Social media is here to stay. Like in the days when telephones were first introduced, either you get with the times or get left behind.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in Announcements, Social Media, Tech

 

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Emotions and writing

How does your emotional state affect you as a writer?

I asked about this in a couple of my facebook groups, and the answer was consistent. Your emotional state means a hell of a lot when it comes to writing. It affects everything from the quality of your work to what your work is actually about.

Some may think that emotions are more reflected in poems or songs, but as a novelist the heart of your story comes from where you are emotionally. Many times you will find your mood reflected in your characters. From the broken heart to happiness. From anger to disappointment to the joys of achievement. That’s what makes your novel real. The ability to channel that emotion into your characters, connect with them. They feel what you feel and vice versa. Does it sound weird to you? Maybe, but for me I find my best work that way.

On the other end of the spectrum, your own depressed state can block your ability to write. As general happiness can make you produce more. Matters of the heart are where I find this affects me the most. Lately, I’ve found it hard to think, much less write when I’m clouded by issues within my love life. On the good days, I’m a beast cranking word after word. On the bad days, the story is there somewhere, but it’s so muddled I can’t get it out. That’s where I’m learning that I need to buckle down. After all, if in real life there is heart break, why not work that into my story? Still I find it hard to get what I’m feeling just right. It’s as if my will has been sapped from me.

So what’s the solution when you’re in a funk? For me right now, it’s keeping myself occupied. There are other things I can do. For example, writing this blog, facebook, twitter, hit the gym. I find these things help me work the kinks out slightly. As a friend said, treat it like a job, it’s a sick day. Report to work. That means, simply write. Let the words flow. Spill those emotions onto the page. Somewhere in there will be a gem or two to be used.

I’m off to find my gems.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Announcements, Personal, Writing

 

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Sample Chapter updates

Added 3 more sample chapters. Spent much of the night so far playing with the blog and getting used to it since I’m new to this.

Meanwhile, my 2 year old daughter has kept me company while I did some editing. Please remember these chapters are not the final versions after being sent off to my editor. So therefore you get to see this as it evolves the next few weeks before the book is published.

As my daughter would say Ta daaaaa!

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in Announcements, Writing

 

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Hello world!

Hello World indeed. Well, finally I’ve arrived. Blog started and my new endeavor is close to it’s first baby step.

To say the last year has been tumultuous would be an understatement. Everything has happened from job loss, to
personal issues stemming from my love of mmorpgs (which I have since quit.) to more issues that I couldn’t
even begin to discuss.

In the middle of it all, I decided to complete a high fantasy novel I’ve been working on. First in a series of ten.
The first book is entitled Etchings of Power and you can go to my website http://www.terrycsimpson.com to
take a look.

Now that I near completion on this roller coaster ride, I look forward to you reading my work and talking to you daily.
Feel free to read sample chapters I post. Eventually I will also post a novelette I’m working on based on a game I like.
Yes, fan fiction.

Hopefully, I can keep my head on straight and this post is just more of great things to come.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2011 in Announcements, Personal

 

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