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Nope that’s not Flash Fiction! (WWU #12-17)

I got up this morning and “BOOM” it was Friday. Then it hit me like a sledge-hammer, Joe you going to post a blog this week?  That sledge-hammer has a name, Tiffany Miller, who owns The Marketing Mill and handles my marketing, and trust me I ain’t easy to market. Any who it was her text message that brought the hammer down. So before I get another knot on my head I present to you for your reading pleasure Joes Weekly Writing Update along with some writing tips that answer questions like how many words are in a novel, flash fiction or a short story. Maybe you have a desire to write a novella or maybe a novelette. I have included all the word counts and a brief description of each in this weeks blog.

Weekly Writing Update

  • Thunder Bear Cover Voting: Voting concluded March 26, 2017 and the votes have been counted. The winner is TB-5 with 94 votes, taking Silver was TB-3 with 89 votes and taking Bronze TB-1 with 77 votes. To see all the covers click  here.
tb-5

Copyright ©2017 Rick Chappell ©2017 Joseph Clay

  • Witch’s Dilemma Video Trailer: Due to no fault of Jayce Boynton owner of Capture Scratch Productions, LLC.. the video has ben pushed back at least a couple of weeks. Yep I know you are putting the puzzle together and thinking. If  it ain’t Jayce’s fault it must be Joes. Correct you are my friend and you have earned the title of Watson!
  • Thunder Bear the Novel: The manuscript has been completed. Total word count 91,109. Thunder Bear has a scheduled appointment with Clare at Human Voices  on Monday April the third and will arrive on time.
  • The Tales of Joe: One new story in the writing stage. Revenge or Justice is a dark and twisted tale.
  • The Erotic Tales of Joe: 4 – 1 = 3 are in the writing stages. Across the Hall – One Door Down is near completion, stage 2 of 3 and is a new story. The next three tales of heated passion come from the manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment. To read about that manuscript click here. They include the following short stories.  Learning to Please – Christina’s Story, Keeping the Unit Intact, and One Date and Done. All the stories that were pulled from West on the East – Noon Judgment are in Stage 1 of 3 of the writing progress with the exception of One Date and Done, which is in stage two.
  • New Project – One Date and Done. This erotic tale is the minus one from above. I was going to included it in The Erotic Tales of Joe. However when it got into stage two of the rewrite the word count quickly escalated. I was well above the short story word count and was pushing the word count for a Novella. After reviewing  it I decided to pull it from the short story collection and make it a single book.  For more on word count and book categories read the blog below.

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As you write you shouldn’t worry about word count. However once the manuscript is complete you need to know what type of book you have written. The type of book will  play into your marketing strategy, how you price it, and who to market it to. For example, The Erotic Tales of Joe is a short story compilation. According to definition a short story has a word count  between 3,500 and 7,500 words.  One Date and Done is pushing 30,000 words, which is a novella and to long for a short story. Why does that matter. The reader is expecting something they can read in one sitting, only a few characters, and one single episode. Below you will find a general break down of word count and a definition of each type of book or tale. Now these numbers are not in stone and each genre within each category has its on rules.

  • Flash Fiction (53 – 1,000 Words). Flash fiction also known as short, short stories, micro fiction or postcard fiction. These stories are extremely short and normally deal with a single event.
  • Short Story (3,500 – 7,500 Words). A short story is basically fictional prose, written in a narrative style. However, the narrative style may either be first person or third, or whichever the author chooses. The short story is one of the most common forms of writing and does not usually involve major twists and conflicts, and involvement of various sub-plots and multiple characters is not common. Traditionally, short stories were meant to be read in a single sitting. They are usually published individually in magazines and then collected and published in a collection.

The words “novel,” “novelette,” and “novella” come from the Italian word “novella,” feminine of “novello,” which means “new.”

  • Novelette (7,500 – 17,000 Words). A novelette is also a narrative fictional prose. Back in the day, the term “novelette” referred to a story that was romantic or sentimental in character.

[Writers note: Novelette’s are a thing of the past and the term is hardly used. This is where you can fudge on your numbers and expand the Short Story and Novella count.  The Novelette word count consist of 9,500 words. (17,000 – 7,500). If we divide 9,500 by two we get 4,750. We add 4,750 to the end count of our Short Story which was 7,500 and we come up with a new ending total of 12,250. As you will see the beginning count for a Novella is 17,000. From that we subtract the 4,750 and we get, 12,500.]

  • Novella (17,000 – 40,000 Words). Novellas have been called a long short story or a short novel. It can involve multiple sub-plots, twists, and characters. Its length constraints mean you’ll find fewer conflicts in a novella than you will in a novel, but there will also be more nuance and complication not found in a short story. Novellas are more often focused on one character’s personal and emotional development rather than with large-scale issues. Unlike novels, novellas are usually not divided into chapters, and like short stories, they are often meant to be read in one sitting. They are considered to be an awkward length and it may be more difficult to get a novella published. The internet is turning that around as an eBook really doesn’t take length in to consideration where traditional publishing (paper and hardback) do and use length to determine if it is feasible (price wise) to print. Most erotic tales are nothing more than Novellas.
  • Novel (40,000 – Plus Words). The novel is one of the more common works of fiction. A novel often involves multiple major characters, sub-plots, conflicts, points of view, and twists. Due to its considerable length, a novel is meant to be read over a period of days.

[Writers note: Here is where things get messy. The word count of a novel is really questionable. The only main rule that seems to be firm is the minimum word count needs to be greater than 40,000 words. This is also where the different genres came in to play. Some editors often consider a novel has a word count between 80,000 – 120,000. Romance novels, however, can be shorter than that and fantasy, horror, and science fiction usually see works of greater lengths.]

Remember there is a story in everyone’s soul begging to came out. What is your story and who better to tell it than you.

Till next week keep reading, writing and smiling,

J.C.

 

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Is Knowing How to Spell and Type a Must (WWU #11-17)

Before we get into the blog part of this week’s update, let’s quickly cover what has been happening in Joe’s World of Writing.

  • In the coming weeks watch for the video book trailer in production for Witch’s Dilemma by Jayce Boynton owner of Capture Scratch Productions, LLC..
  • Voting on the book cover for Thunder Bear is still open. The polls will close Sunday March 26, 2017 at midnight. The winner will be announced in the weekly writing update posted in the week of 3-28/4-3, 2017. At this time TB-5 is in the lead by 6 votes. To see all the covers visit here.
  • Thunder Bear, the manuscript, is still on schedule to be completed and submitted to Clare at Human Voices for a manuscript review by the end of the month.
  • The other projects The Tales of Joe and The Erotic Tales of Joe, are still in the works with no new progress at this time.

Blog #11-17 Feature

Now on to the short blog feature.

“Do Not Let Your Weakness Define Who You Are And Stop You From Chasing Your Dream.” J.C.

At meet and greets, book signings and other events at least one person will make the following comment.

“Man I wish I had your vocabulary and could spell as well as you. So I could write books also. It would take me forever oh. I hunt and peck when I type.”

Well if any of you remember me from high school, college or in the work force y’all know I can’t type, my vocabulary is that of an eighth grader most of the time, and I can’t spell worth a damn. I was told more than once and by more than one teacher.

 “Joseph you need to buckle down in English, because punctuation, grammar, and spelling are important. Work on your spelling, its atrocious. Sound the word out syllable by syllable. You will need these skills to survive in the real world.”

Sounding out syllables is fine and dandy if you speak properly. I’m from the Deep South and spent some time in Texas and mix the two dilects and the drawl. So I don’t speak the English language the way it is meant to be spoken. Sounding out the words with me doesn’t work. If I spelled the way I speak “Dog” would be spelled “Dawg”, “Climb” would be spelled “Clim”, and “Atrocious” would be “Nutrocious”. Toss in the fact that any word that ends in “ing” I drop the “g”, example “running” would be spelled “runnin.”

Well to everyone’s surprise I graduated college and hit the work force. From day one there was always someone to check my work, mainly spelling and grammar. Sure it was shabby and I had to change a lot but my mechanical ability and math skills outweighed the bad English. After the first year or two I moved up, and from then on out had a secretary. When I left the engineering field in 2014 I had two patents under my belt, held the positions of Chef Engineer for a Fortune 500 company, Document Control Engineer for one of the biggest suppliers of car parts in the US and China and a Project Manager for the east coast for another company.

I know what you are thinking, how in the heck did he become a writer. Easy, that’s what I decided to do. I still type around twenty to thirty words a minute and over half are spelled wrong. But in today’s world we have spell check and auto correct. Be careful with those as auto correct will insert a word that is close to the spelling which may not be the word you wanted. See last week’s blog for an example. When I spell a word so badly that spell check or auto correct has no idea what the word is supposed to be I turn to my personal assistant, Siri. I also have a Dictionary on my desk and there is one built into word. For my extended vocabulary I use a Thesaurus, which is also on my desk and built into word. Most of the posts that appear on my author page are proofread before posting by the Queen herself, or shortly thereafter by the Tiffany whose company The Marketing Mill handles my marketing. 75% of all the blogs I write are edited and proofed, I manage to sneak a couple by  their watchful eyes. I have a professional editor/proofreader who handles all the published works.

You see writing a book is not about how well you know the English Language, spelling, a huge vocabulary, or knowing the rules of the language. Writing is a passion that comes from within. Something you feel you must do. Your reward is a simple one, you make peace with your soul. The icing on the cake is your writing allows those who read it to escape to another world and forget what ever troubles are weighing them down, or bringing them pleasure on a rainy day.

Till Next Time,

J.C.

Q and A with Tiffany Miller – The Marketing Mill #6-17

The Q and A with Tiffany Miller – The Marketing Mill has been relocated to Independent Artist of America (IAA).

From the Desk of Joseph Clay – Author Weekly Writing Update #5-17

ripping-files

Hello again. This week I’m going to focus on the manuscript that should be heading across the big pond to the editor by the end of February or early March. I figure it’s about time Clare―my editor/proofreader and the owner of Human Voices Editorial Services―gets it back, since I had the first review from her in August of last year. I’ll start from the beginning.

The characters in Demons of the Jungle and Witch’s Dilemma came from the first manuscript I wrote, West on the East – Noon Judgement. I won’t spend a lot of time telling you about how that book or the manuscript review went. To read all about that, visit ‘Numbers to Words: My Journey from Engineering to Writing’.

Last year, while Witch’s Dilemma was going through editing, proofreading, formatting and all that goes into the final stages of getting a book published, I went back and dug out West on the East – Noon Judgement from the file cabinet. The process of dividing it up into several shorter stories began. From there, I placed the stories into two different series, with the first series called ‘The New Era’, and the first book in that series titled Rise from the Ruins.

[Note #1 to new authors, a rule to remember: never list in the back matter of your book the title of your next release, unless it is already written, edited and waiting to be published. Keep reading and you will find out why.]

Rise from the Ruins, just shy of 143,000 words, was completed and sent to Clare for a manuscript review on August 8, 2016. I figured since I had already written two books, I had this down pat, and I could possibly release Rise from the Ruins in mid-December in time for Christmas.

While the manuscript was being reviewed, I was writing the blogs and preparing the book release/signing party, with the help of The Marketing Mill, for Witch’s Dilemma, never giving Rise from the Ruins a second thought. Like I said, I’ve written two books, what could go wrong?

Later in August, the 23rd to be exact, Clare sent the manuscript review back (yes, she is fast and thorough). I opened the email thinking I would make the changes needed by the middle of September and get it back to her for editing and proofreading, and then to the publisher by November 1 for the December release.

This is the first paragraph from that manuscript review:

“I really enjoyed Rise from the Ruins. There’s a good mix of the supernatural and the real (eg: mental health issues, a very human story about a man trying to fill the shoes of the people who came before him). I also thought there were lots of humorous moments and witty dialogue, which balanced nicely with the darker material.

“Here are my suggestions.”

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, that’s about all the good there was in the four-page review. As a writer you know you are in trouble when there’s a Plot Graph Triangle on the first page, attached below.

 plot-graph

(During the edit of this blog, Clare informed me where the above chart came from. I ventured on over and read the post in its entirety. The blog is titled, ‘To plot, or not to plot – that is the question …’, written by Kate Forsyth.)

[Note #2 to new authors, a rule to remember: remember this graph; it comes in handy when writing and checking your plot structure. Plus, take a few minutes and go read Kate Forsyth’s post, after you finish reading this blog, of course.]

With Clare being the professional she is, in each section (Plot, Writing Style, Characters, Settings) she always started off with the good, and then proceeded to the bad and ugly. Below is another excerpt from her manuscript review that sums it all up.

“So, you are missing a Midpoint Reversal and satisfying Climax. Essentially you need a moment when all the mounting danger becomes inescapably real, and everything Levi holds dear (ie: the ranch and its people) are unquestionably in danger, when Levi could be about to lose everything. Then there needs to be a climactic scene in which Levi defeats the enemies who are pursuing him (ie: the people who are after Betsy’s will), or at least one of these enemies, who can then set him up to continue the hunt in the next book. I don’t know if you play video games, but it’s like defeating increasingly difficult ‘baddies’ on the way to the big boss – in a series, you need to defeat a baddie in each book to give the reader that all-important feeling of victory that keeps them hooked.

“I have some plot suggestions that could give you these important moments. Of course, these are only ideas and it is your book so you should tell the story you want to tell, but it might help you to see what I mean by showing you in the context of your story.”

There were more issues than the plot, so my first thought was to shred the whole project and begin writing something else altogether. Since I had less than two months before the release of Witch’s Dilemma, I still had blogs to write and post, a party to plan and a manuscript to get to the publishers for printing. I decided that I could shred Rise from the Ruins later and filed the review with the manuscript.

Well, Witch’s Dilemma was released late October, and then before I knew it the holiday season was upon us and a new year had been rung in.

Three days into the new year, I began planning out my year. I had a lot of short story ideas and a lot already penned, so I decided to put those into a book titled The Tales of Joe. Then there were the tales that dealt with the erotic genre. These scenes were in my head or had been pulled from manuscripts. I would build short stories around them, and that collection would be called The Erotic Tales of Joe. Then I pulled out the manuscript review of Rise from the Ruins, and it once again crossed my mind to rip it into shreds, toss it into the bottom of the file cabinet and swear rats chewed it up. However, I trust Clare with my literary life, so I focused on the good and not the bad and decided it could be fixed, with a lot of work. Via email, Clare and I began discussing the changes; most of her suggestions I agreed with, but there were a couple I didn’t.

[Note #3 to new authors, a rule to remember: it is ok to disagree with your editor/proofreader as long as it is done in a professional manner and with respect. Trust me, they have forgotten more than you will ever know. Have a good reason why you don’t want to do it their way―you may want to make sure your idea is better than the one they are suggesting, so think about it first before putting your foot down.]

I thought we needed to add time to the front of the story; Clare didn’t like that idea as the beginning was in good shape and set the story up the way it should be. She suggested that a prologue may be the answer. I didn’t want to use a prologue as that breaks rule number #2 in Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, plus my timeline was laid out so one was not needed, I thought.

I continued to write on the other two projects while I pondered a way to fix this mess called Rise from the Ruins. One day, during a break from the other two projects, I pulled down the two-inch red binder that is full of the notes, bios and history of the non-existent ranch in that story, and the family tree and the timeline through which this land came to belong to the family. Along with those notes I once again removed the bled-all-over West on the East – Noon Judgement manuscript and began reacquainting myself with the complete saga. Remember, I pulled this from the beginning of a huge manuscript written well over four years ago.

[Note #4 to new authors, a rule to remember: keep all your notes on your work and keep them organized. This holds true for any story idea you have, but especially for a series. An outline that you thought you wouldn’t need may be what you need now.]

Once that was done I thought back to any issues I had when writing Rise from the Ruins. One immediately jumped out at me: I had a hard time figuring out what scene should be used to end the first book. Choosing a wrong ending will make the middle and the beginning wrong also, or (as we see from the review excerpts from Clare) cause your editor to show you a plot graph. With all the research complete I saw the problems, and by the middle of January I had it figured out:

  • I had chosen the wrong ending point.
  • A main character had been left out of Rise from the Ruins; he is essential to the story as he is the lynchpin that gets everything going and sets the tone for the New Era series.
  • I was pulling from a manuscript, West on the East – Noon Judgement, that had started off wrong. I found in my notes that, for some reason, I had jumped in my timeline to the opening scene of Rise from the Ruins, not the true starting point of West on the East – Noon Judgement.
  • This meant I was essentially telling two stories in one book. One was boring as it was missing the element of urgency and suspense, and one wasn’t.

The fix: Clare was right. The beginning of Rise from the Ruins doesn’t need to be changed, but it’s not for this book. I was right in that I didn’t need a prologue, I needed a first book―which was already outlined in my notes but overlooked―that led up to the beginning of Rise from the Ruins, and that book needed to revolve around the main character that got all this started. The new title of the first book: Thunder Bear. The title for the second book, I think, will be… let’s just say I don’t have a clue and leave it at that.

[Note #5 to new authors, a rule to remember: learn from your mistakes, as a mistake repeated more than once is a choice and could become a habit. Yes, I have a title in mind, but the story is nowhere close to being ready to be published.]

I really don’t know if I’ll ever use Rise from the Ruins as a title, as the way it’s laid out now it doesn’t seem to fit anymore. [Note #6 to new authors: refer to Note #1.]

Till next week,

J.C.

 

Blog edited by Clare Diston @ Human Voices Editorial Services.

 

From the Desk of Joseph Clay – Author. Weekly Writing Update #4-17

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I hope everyone is having a good week and has recovered for Super Bowl Sunday. Why they don’t make the Monday following the big game a holiday is beyond me. No matter if your team won or lost I think we all can agree it was one of the best Super Bowl games in recent years.

Before we get into the writing updates, there is a few things about the websites I need to let everyone know about. If you will remember in From the Desk of Joseph Clay – Author. Weekly Writing Update #2-17,  I changed the name of my official website to Joe’s Bookstore and More, making it a store and my official page. Well that didn’t go over well at all, so I had to drop some cash, to solve the problem. Oh yeah the problem, it appears people who want to shop, that’s all they want to do, they don’t want to know about the author, how to order books for their store or schedule a book signing; this also worked in reverse. I began the task of separating the two.

I can’t tell you how many times over the weekend I heard, “Steffon, it’s your Franklin, and I charge by the hour, you coming to bed?”

“Not now, Guinevere, got to get these websites separated and operational.”

“I’m going to start with out you.”

“Go ahead Guinevere, what I’m doing is a little more important.”

Once the weekend was done so were the websites and Guinevere. The websites or etched in stone now and are as follows.

Now on to the writing updates:

  • Upcoming Book Review: The G. Michelle book review of Promise Me Always: Gabe & Evie (Bayou Romance Book 1). Has been written and will be sent to the editors over the next week. I have it scheduled to post on Friday February 24, but I’ll try to get it sooner.
  • Upcoming Interview G. Michelle: The questions are still with the G. Michelle. I talked to her yesterday and she apologized, but had good reasons why she wasn’t finished with them yet.
  • Upcoming Interview Tiffany Miller: I have begun working on Tiffany’s twenty questions about marketing and the services she provides. Tiffany is a go getter so, getting her to sit still long enough may be an issue.

Joes WIP:

Tales of Joe – A compilation of short stories that have been written over the years, some dating back to 1977. At the present time the manuscript has five stories in it, with a total word count of a little over 30,000. Once I hit between 50,000 and 75,000 words Volume One will be complete. The titles so far:

  • Memories
  • Night of Dreams
  • Death of a Soul – Birth of a Killer (This tale is one of the darkest I have every written, and I can get pretty dark. It was so dark and twisted I let a few people read it including my editor. People either hate it, or they love it. I got the go ahead, with a few modifications to leave it in the book.)
  • The Birds of Peace.
  • Cursed; To Be or Not To Be. (This one is my favorite to date)

The Erotic Tales of Joe – A compilation of short stories that have been written over the years, but mainly scenes that were removed from manuscripts that editors and publishers deemed pornographic, and had to go. So I pulled them and filed them away hoping one day to get to use them again. See this is the reason you never throw anything you write away. I have begun pulling those files, cleaning them up and writing stories around them. At this time there is only one story in the book. How ever fans of erotic not to worry, if  I had to, I have enough material to write this one in weekend if necessary. Like with the Tales of Joe once I hit between 50,000 and 75,000 words Volume One will be complete. The lone tale so far:

  • To a Princess (I wasn’t sure which book this one went in, so my editor read it and decided The Erotic Tales of Joe was where it belonged.

Rise from the Ruins – This one should be headed to the editor soon and will be the first one to come out this year. This manuscript has been through the wringer so to speak. So next week’s blog will cover this one in detail.

Till then keep on smiling, makes yourself and others feel good along with making a few wonder what you have been or what you or up to.

Joe

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