Nicholas Reicher

Writing Your Next Blockbuster Film or Novel

Month: October 2017 (Page 1 of 3)

Book Review Platform

I’ll start this review by saying – I don’t get anything for reading this book or reviewing it. I paid for the book. I get no commission.

Platform Michael Hyatt

Critics of this book say that essentially, Michael Hyatt re-purposed his blog content, and sell it in the form of a book.

He sure did. He even tells you he did. And I’m going to tell you WHY you should buy it, instead of just clipping articles from his blog into Evernote. If you buy the book, you’re committed. If you just find the articles for free and clip them, then they sit there unread in your Evernote. Buying his book forces you to put it into practice, because you spent money on it – you’re invested in it. To borrow his term, you’ve got “skin in the game.”

Before you buy the book, let me recommend you get a small ruler, and some colored pens for underlining. You’re going to need them. I’ll include his affiliate link, so that Michael gets his commission on the book.

The book is fifty or so chapters long, each chapter roughly around 600 words or so. Michael tells you this because again, these were originally blog entries on his web site. I made a mistake and threw the book cover away too soon, because I should have clipped my pens to the cover (I ripped the first 20 pages or so slightly by sticking the pens into the book for safekeeping – I should have just clipped them to the cover, THEN thrown it away when I was done.). Why did I throw away the cover? Preference. I think hardcover books look better without a dust jacket on them. If you don’t mind colorful book shelves, keep the cover on. His book looks great either way.

No Cover

Read this book with an expectation you’re going to find a dozen nuggets in each chapter. It’s not the slowest book read I’ve ever had – that award goes to Karl Iglesias, because his book had so much sheer gold in it I thought I’d miss something if I read more than a paragraph a day! But it certainly took me about a chapter a day to get through it (some chapters I didn’t highlight anything, because I’d already saved them in Evernote and studied them). You don’t want to read this book any faster than that, or you’ll miss something.

When you see something important, highlight it. I have seven colored highlighters, and I was going through them twice in some chapters. Even in chapters I thought really didn’t apply to me, I was able to find at least 5 nuggets to highlight.

P

The book starts with developing a wow product or service. Don’t skip over that, thinking, “I’m a novelist – that doesn’t apply to me”. What’s your WOW product? You. Your writing. How can you build that? How can you improve that? A good idea is, after you finish the book, go back to that part and re-read it. Study it. You’re marketing YOU as a writer. Are you WOW yet?

The section on building your platform should be read slowly and studied. I’d recommend you coincide this book by taking the Hootsuite Academy classes after you finish his chapters on Twitter and Facebook. Michael doesn’t talk about LinkedIn much, but you definitely need a LinkedIn profile – it actually will drive more responses to your website than Twitter and Facebook put together (according to CoSchedule).

The takeaway from the “Platform – Get Noticed In A Noisy World” book is that this is Michael’s step by step, trial and error method of how to get successful. He tells you what worked, what didn’t, the mistakes he made. He even wraps it up in the end with a story about fear. If you’ve ever wished you could just talk with someone who got successful and tells you how to do it, this is the book. I’ve had other books by other people, such as Lee Iacocca’s book on “How to Sell” (I wish I still had that!). “Platform” outperforms them all, because Michael gives timeless principles.

I bought this book because I wanted it. I paid money for it. I get zero considerations for writing this review.
It’s $14, and you can’t afford NOT to buy it.

8 Simple Steps to Make your Dreams a Reality

The hardest part about “getting there” is this – the waiting.

Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

I’m writing. I’m doing everything right. My writing is good. My productivity is through the roof. I’m working with a film company . I’ve sold scripts.

It’s the waiting.

People who don’t write but love books (that’s probably most of you) all probably wonder what it was like for Baldacci, for King, for every writer who finally made it… what was it like before then?

Frustrating!

I KNOW that if I could just get enough time to write, I could finish up enough projects to get something sold and into production.

My first novel just has a minor structure problem, and then it’s probably publish ready.

My second novel is publish ready.

My third novel needs a slight re-write, then is publish ready.

I’ve got about 30 film script projects that have log lines done, and just need time for me to beat sheet them (I think I’ve got about 12 beat sheets done).

The way I write, 30 film scripts would probably take me 2 years. I know that it usually takes other people about well… 30 years to write 30 movies. I kind of work really fast.

It’s just the waiting. It’s just the tapping your fingers, waiting to get somewhere.

Here’s where it applies to you.

If you’re not at this point, the dreams remain a dream.

Every day you are not working to make your dream a reality is another day where nothing happens. Whatever your dream is, you have to have a plan.

Then work that plan.

I developed the saying years ago (I’m sure someone else has said it) plan your work – work your plan.

So years ago, I sat down with two packs of 3X5 cards, a copy of “the Making of Trouble With Tribbles” by David Gerrold, and a pen, and I talked with a couple of guys I did karate with. “Let’s make a movie.”
They agreed. “What’s it going to be about?”
Well, Sho Kosugi was popular then, so… “Ninjas!”
Step one. Start buying Ninja props.
Step 2. Write a script.
Step 3. Get a production company.
Step 4. Get funding.
Step 5. Film it,
Step 6. Produce it.
Step 7. Get someone like Cannon films to buy it.
Step 8. Market it and release it.

Literally, we got to step 4 before things fell apart. HALFWAY.

Here’s where things went wrong. The funding fell through, and then the producer decided to try a different script, on a karate tournament. So I started writing that. The production company ended up dissolving before we could get to step 5.

What should we have done? Kept going with Script one, sought financing elsewhere, and KEPT GOING, while I wrote script 2! If this had been today instead of the 1980’s, I’d probably have a string of really bad martial arts movies credited to my name, and I’d probably have been writing novels and movies for the last 20 or 30 years.

I just literally gave you a plan to get your dreams done.

Plan the work.

Then work the plan.

One final key – do not stop. To quote one of my favorite movies (The Untouchables), there’s a Kevin Costner line that he actually delivered well… “Don’t stop fighting until the fighting’s done.”

Whatever your dream is, it requires the notebook paper, or creating a new note in Evernote or a sticky note on your desktop or whatever your system is for keeping track of it…!

  1. What is my dream? Write it down. I’ve read recently about the incredible power of writing something down. I’m not weirdly superstitious, but I know from a logical standpoint that writing down a goal in a place you’ll see it every day forces you to confront it, and make moves to get it done.
  2. What will it take to get me there? Let’s say you want to be a virtuoso violin player. How are you going to do that? Back in thew 80’s, there was a lot of talk about “visualizing’ things. Sorry, but essentially, that’s telling you to daydream. Daydreaming accomplishes nothing but wasting your time. You need to determine the steps you’d need to be a virtuoso violin player.
  3. Write down the steps needed to get good at it. If you were going to be an artist, maybe the Joy of Painting TV series on DVD? Set up a TV and DVD player in your art studio? Buy enough canvases, gel medium, paint brushes, pallet knives, thinner, paints, etc to stock your art studio? Or if you’re a writer, get scrivener, get some books on writing, decide on 25 short stories you’re going to write, write loglines for all 25, write Save The Cat for all 25, set up Scrivener, set up deadlines in Microsoft Outlook, and begin writing!
  4. Begin working at it. I’ve read statistics that say 15,000 is your magic number. You need first of all 15,000 hours of whatever it is to get good at it. Whether it’s gymnastics, Karate practice, writing, painting, sculpture, etc. I can remember LONG hours of just working on a side kick. I can remember LONG hours of working on roundhouse kicks. I can remember the long hours of taking a roundhouse kick, morphing that into a side kick, then a crescent kick, then a hook kick. It took HOURS. 12 hours a day for over a year. Other people never got that good, because well…. They didn’t work at it. If you’ve had a dream that’s been a dream for years, why is it still a dream? Work at it!
  5. Intermediate goals. The one thing I keep forgetting is that your first novel, painting, screenplay, is not going to be your Mona Lisa or your Sistine Chapel. You need to have short term goals, intermediate goals, long term goals. It doesn’t matter what your dream is – you have to work at it. Each step is a milestone. Each step fills you with confidence. It’s like Mark Spitz said after winning so many Gold Medals. “It’s just a lot of swimming.” Without knowing it, Spitz had set himself up for success. If he’d determined to do 10,000 laps in a pool, each lap was a goal he could reach. “One… Two… Three…”
  6. What do I need to make my ultimate Goal? You know, as I’m writing this, my mind is jumping back to Go Rin No Sho, or A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, a 16th Century Samurai. The subtitle is “a book of strategy”. It took people centuries to understand it, but Japanese Businessmen literally spend time each week reviewing this small little book, and checking their progress against it. Sounds stupid? Not really. How successful is Sony? No kidding, that’s how they became a success. Determine your goal, find your intermediate steps, review, and keep correcting until you’re there. You have to have a PLAN to get there.You have to Review that plan! My goal is to get movies sold, which in turn will lead to my getting signed to a publishing deal with a major publisher, which will lead to a home in New England, where I can sit and write, happy as can be. What do I need to do to get there? I need to write good product, get it publish ready, get a literary agent, get published. I need to get Michael Hyatt’s book on Writing A Winning Book proposal. I need to get more film seminars on writing by Dr. K, and by Karl Iglesias. I need to write, write, write!
  7. Review. You need to constantly measure your progress. If you were going to be a gymnast, you need to be almost brutal about your floor routines. Is it Olympic Caliber? If not, find every flaw, work that out. If you’re trying to be a painter, does your artwork still show signs you didn’t visualize it? Have you gotten the feel of loading your brush? Did you cheat a line or a corner? Spent the time learning the feel of that brush? If you’re a writer, have you run your writing through Hemingway, to find your flaws? Mine is complicated compound sentences and excessive passive voice. Compound sentences come from my heritage, so I’ve got to work that out. Passive voice comes from growing up in Rhode Island, where everyone speaks in continuing passive voice. Have I made my goals? Did I work on them today? How can what I write today be better than what I wrote yesterday? Have I read books on screen-writing and writing novels? Have I began to put into play what I’m reading? Have I started working on my books to make them flawless?
  8. Accomplish. This is the last part. You can dream about being a painter. But you need cold hard reality, twenty or so masterpieces. Until you get that, you cannot have an exhibition. Until you have written a lot, your dream novel shouldn’t be done. Once you’ve got it, is it ready to send to a literary agent? Have you written your query letter? DID YOU SEND THE QUERY LETTER OFF? At this point, it’s time to STOP DREAMING and DO.

Eight simple steps. Simple planning. Simple execution. But if you don’t plan it, you’ll be where you currently are – still dreaming.

Stop dreaming – do.

Getting Caught Up

Have you ever bought a book that got you so caught up that you just stayed home to read it?

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

I haven’t read a book like that in a long time.

When I was in college, I’d gotten a book from the grocery store (more books are probably sold in grocery stores than book stores), and I’d started reading the book that night before bed.

When I woke up, the book was still in my mind. So, I decided to skip classes and stay home and read it. I remember it was a really cold and rainy day, which in Rhode Island meant it was anytime except for June through August.

Don’t ask me the name of the book. I honestly can’t remember it. But back then, I had no real taste for what was a good book or not – I just know that it had to grab me for me to like it. Some books were good, some were bad.

I don’t know where I’m going with this except to say – some books just grab you. You can’t put them down.I now know two of the secrets of that (short sentences and directing from the pen), but essentially what the book has to have is a working hook, just like a movie pitch.

“It’s about a guy who…”

If it’s not interesting from that point, it’s not going to grab you.

“It’s about an ex-cop who is trying to recover from the death of his wife, when suddenly all chaos breaks out around him as millions disappear, and he finds himself trying to get a small band of survivors into hiding in the sub-arctic before the pursuers catch and kill them.”

Does it grab you? It’s really got to grab you from the elemental level, the “it’s about a guy” pitch or it’s not going to fly. This is why actually the screenwriting has moved me into being a better novel writer!

So the question for my fiction readers is this: What books grabbed you? What was it about the book that really kept you reading, to the point you stayed in bed, covers pulled up and the book in your hands all day?

Hootsuite Vs. Buffer

I’m doing the Hootsuite training right now. Hootsuite Academy actually trains you in how to use and optimize your social media outlets the best. They take a lot of time to explain slowly how things work, what people look for and use, the demographics (such as if you market products for women, you should concentrate on Pinterest), etc.
I don’t know exactly how much I’ll get from them, since I only just started the training. All of it is free, unless you want to be listed on the Hootsuite Professionals page – then the last training session is about $200 or so (might be something nice to put on your LinkedIn profile).

I did find one big difference between Hootsuite and Buffer. I just want to schedule my tweets right now – I don’t want to have the engagements from all my social media in one place when I’m just trying to schedule my tweets and eventually LinkedIn and Facebook posts. So that’s a plus for Buffer.

Both Buffer and Hootsuite have Analytics pages, and I can see what was my most popular tweet! That’s what I like about Buffer, and Hootsuite according to the training has the same feature. So they come out even on that.

Hootsuite has an ability to (with one click) Rehoot something, where a Twitter Tweet is reposted X number of times over the next 2 months automatically, the number of times and days automatically they say is the best way to do it. If that works, then that may edge out Hootsuite over Buffer even better, as you’d have to manually ReBuffer a tweet yourself. I’m not sure I want to see a tweet by anyone over 21 times, but according to Hootsuite, a tweet has a lifespan of 30 minutes, and then is buried by all the other tweets on someone’s Twitter feed.

Conclusion

In the interests of fairness, I’ll say that all I’m using right now is Buffer. I haven’t added any services to Hootsuite, simply because when I set my tweets to post, I want to get in, get that done for the week, and then I’ll check Twitter later on. It’s up to you which service you’d prefer. And I’ll also add I’m using the free services of Buffer, and to really get the full impact you have to pay for either Hootsuite’s personal or for Buffer Awesome.

Have you tried Buffer or Hootsuite? Which do you prefer?

Unexpected Free Writing Tool!

Recently, as I attempt to go through and learn how to embrace the social media scene, I’m learning how to do Twitter. As Michael Hyatt promised, it’s having a radical effect on my writing to learn to get everything under 120 characters.

I know you’re supposed to write 140 characters, but if someone retweets, Twitter adds in RT@NSReicher. So now that’s 12 characters minus 140 equals 128 Characters to retweet! If you don’t understand that part, then get on Twitter and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

So, I try to keep below 120 characters. “If you want to change the way you write forever for the better – Scrivener! Bit.lyaBcDefG #writingtips #scrivener” is a Twitter “Tweet” I have written. It’s at 113 characters

This helps both with Screenwriting skills and with fiction writing. I now am getting programmed to write my thoughts in very short sentences, which is doing a LOT to get my brain organized for writing.

Screenwriting, you write in incomplete sentences, and ONLY what you see and hear.

Twitter is one thing you have to try to really understand, and to my surprise it really is quickly sharpening my skills for writing!

Have you tried Twitter yet? What’s holding you back?

Busy Time of Year!

Busy time of Year!

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This for me is a busy time of year. I’m hoping things will finally settle down soon, and I can get a lot of writing done. One of the first things I’d like is to get a lot of sample writing on this website! I’ve got what essentially is an entire book about 33% done. I’d like to get some sample scenes from my movie scripts up as well.
I just don’t have the time!

So I’m hoping that in two or three weeks, things will settle, and I’ll have time to work on everything. I need to get blog posts online, get a whole bunch of social media stuff prepped, etc.

It’s amazing to me how much time getting this website up and running really took. I’ve done web sites for years, and this one took far more time, because it’s the first time I’ve really had to mess with SEO, and getting images on a website, etc.

So bear with me! I’ll have something soon for you!

What do you want?

What do you want?


What do you want when you read a book? See a movie? I can’t count how many movies I walked out of when I was younger, thinking, “Why didn’t they just do this instead?” Simple little things sometimes, major plot points or different endings.
Most of them I can’t remember any more. I remember thinking as I left the Day of the Dead movie that Bub should have spoken at the end of the movie, after he shot the captain.

I remember thinking as I watched Star Trek V they never should have filmed that sorry movie.

I remember thinking that the Deep Impact movie needed a re-write when I watched it. Very sad.

There was a World War II movie done in the 90’s I remember thinking should never have been filmed. I can’t remember what it was, but it seemed like every Hollywood star was trying to get in on it. Sean Penn was in it. That movie was terrible. There was a truly terribly-done scene where a man is mortally injured when he lands on a hand grenade, and people laughed at the scene as this man dies of shock. See Dr. K’s first golden principle, The Imperial Stormtrooper effect.
I don’t remember watching the Road Warrior in the Jane Pickens movie theater, except to say, it ranked as my all time high number of voiced complaints as to what they should have done – and first on the list was to hire someone else to write the soundtrack.

There are scenes I’ve seen where I wondered, “Why did they even include that sorry, uncomfortable scene?”

Arachnophobia missed on the chance to make a statement that would have been emotionally satisfying, and provided a laugh at the end of the tension – at the end, when the homeowner shoots the nail gun, he should have said… “…nailed him.”

Things like that.

I know you’ve done it too. You’ve walked out of the movie theater and complained. “Man, I can’t believe they did that!!!” I’ve heard people do it. I think it’s a universal theme. “They should have…”

I resolved years ago that if I ever got the chance, I would make the kind of movies that I wanted to see. I would write the kind of books I always wanted to write.

The first movie I ever saw where I said as I left the theater “I wouldn’t have done it any differently! That’s exactly how I would have made it!” was Aliens.

I’ve seen a few like that. But most I walk away from, thinking, “I’d have done that part differently.” It’s bad when I walk away saying, “That movie should have been in the reject pile.” The only assumption I can make is, it got tossed in the wrong pile.

So, my resolve is, make the kind of movies I always wanted to see. Write the kind of books that I always wanted to read. Like opening the Star Trek Technical Manual as a kid, seeing the Dreadnought, and saying, “They should make a TV show about that!”

That was a visceral reaction. When you get that, pay attention to it.

What did Star Trek fans want to see? A war with the Klingons and the Romulans! Certain Star Trek episodes were popular because they were action, not because of the lessons in them (although as you get older, you appreciate them!).

Like reading a book I got from a used bookstore and thinking, “That would make a really good movie!” Can’t remember the book, alas.

And I think this is a universal feeling. You see some movie, and you think, “That was terrible.” Or worse, “That was good – but they should have…”
It ruins it for us when there’s the feeling the movie would have been perfect IF….
Or they make a boneheaded mistake. Deep Impact – for all its well written pathos (it’s a tear jerker, seriously), is considered a comedy in Virginia, where half of the movie takes place. It seems that the characters are saved by climbing a mountain in Hampton, just off the interstate.

Um… There’s no mountains in Hampton. And the highway sign there reads, “Virginia Beach 14 miles”, not “Virginia Beaches 14 Miles.” A lot of people know Virginia Beach, because a lot of people are in the Military or grew up in Military families.

The point is, I absolutely hate it when I watch a movie, and the next phase, the next object to make it emotionally satisfying is completely disregarded. I think in many senses, this is why most sequels are terrible. The Must-have step is always ignored.
Really, it takes reading your script through a different way. You have to read it and ask, “what am I feeling?” Can you SEE the movie as you read it? The project I’m working on right now, I wrote one episode completely based upon this premise – write enough scenes and ask myself, what do I FEEL must come next? I don’t want the person seeing it to say, “He should have…”

Like the “You earned it” scene in “We Were Soldiers”. Cut from the final movie, but it really added a emotional fit piece. You promised us something with Joe Galloway as the reporter, you showed us the transformation into fighting soldier, and when we saw the payoff was coming it… was cut from the movie.
I want to write the kind of movies where you’re completely unaware how uncomfortable movie theater seats are. If you’re thinking something, then the movie is dragging or lacking.

Audience members should almost never walk out of a theater, saying, “They should have…”

Like World War Z. You know, guns are lying EVERYWHERE, and the hero keeps walking away from them! And takes on the zombies with a crowbar. Yeah, I understand the premise, but hey… it’s just ridiculous. Gerry should have picked up every gun he found lying around. If you’d been in his situation, you’d have done the same thing.

Dawn of the Dead remake – when Max Headroom is dying, and Ving Raimes sits facing him holding the shotgun. What was the needed dialog there? “How long do we wait?” “The rest of your life.”

So I resolve that my career is to write the kinds of books and movies where you leave, saying. “That was perfect!” and not, “why didn’t they…”

What do you want to see in movies? What do you want to see in books? What is it you like? What is it you don’t like? What movie have you seen where you think, “They went the wrong direction!” “They should have…” “Why did they…”

4 Forgotten Facts about “Pay to Upgrade” services

You know, the best things in life aren’t free. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

A few years ago, many companies began looking into renting you software. This way, you don’t pay $75… you just pay $10 a month for years.

They make a lot more money that way.

The surprising benefit to this is that certain applications have been developed that give you great but limited features for free… but they hold out the better features for low cost subscriptions.

When you’re debating whether you want to invest in something – like Evernote – stop and ask yourself a few questions first.

  1. Do I need to pay for the upgrade? Recently I got a full month of Evernote at its ultimate.It was a wow moment that I could literally clip indiscriminately and still only reach 3% of my monthly total! That showed me that I want the next step up, and don’t need the premium …yet!
  2. How many other programs and services do I need to invest in? I could pay for extra submissions to search engines, get Buffer Awesome (or whatever they call that) and an Evernote step up subscription. With the costs associated with my blog though, it looks like a poor idea until I begin to make more money from my writing.
  3. What is the yearly cost of all these programs and services? $3.99 for Evernote. $10 for Buffer. $19.95 for Search Engine ranking submissions for my website.At $35 a month, I can get a lot of career oriented benefit. But that’s $425 a year! It doesn’t seem like a lot at first, until you add it up. Like Buffer. I thought “$10 is reasonable.” Until I did the math, and suddenly it’s $120, not $10. Can I commit to $425 a year for these benefits? I’d love the benefits! But really, that’s a lot of money.
  4. What can I afford? Writing is an expensive hobby. There’s so many seminars, books and etc you want to buy, that I could probably make millions just selling to people who want to write books and movies for the rest of my life!
Conclusion

If I were making a lot of money from writing right now, you better believe – that and a cup of coffee! I’d be subscribed to Buffer or possibly CoSchedule. I’d probably be paying for the top of the line Evernote subscription. I’d be paying – without question – for the extra search engine rankings. I’d cheerfully pay for that and more! But when you’re not yet on Hollywood’s go-to list, when you’re still working on your novels to get them published, you’ve got to put certain things into the “When I’m making money from this…” category!

What services have you paid to upgrade?

The Truth about Fiction Writing

I’m sure that many of you would like to write a book, whether fiction or non-fiction. I’m sure many of you have tried.

I remember my first attempt at a book – it was a Star Trek novel, and I think I was 10 or 11 years old. I’d written little stories, but never anything that was 120 pages!
So, I took a pencil or maybe a pen (it was after all a few years ago…) and some notebook paper and I dutifully wrote chapter one on the top, began to write some sentences, got stuck, put it on a shelf, and decided to try it again tomorrow.

If I knew where it was, I’d start on it again.

How many of you have written books like that? The kind of thing where you’re writing 12 years later? I’m sure most of you.

Here’s the truth about Fiction writing.

Truth #1 About Fiction Writing – It’s done in bite size tasks.

Once I took a seminar on business. It taught me a lot about getting organized, about writing business plans, etc. One of the tips we got was a three-month starter pack for Daytimer, including a cassette tape on how to get organized. One trick they recommended is this first truth about fiction writing:

When you have an overwhelming job ahead of you, use the swiss cheese method. Do one little part of it, make a hole. Keep doing that, and sooner or later the project is done.

And trust me, writing a novel when you’ve never finished one seems overwhelming.
If you’ve been paying attention and paid the $40 for Scrivener, you go and do your front matter – the cover, dedication page, about. 3 pages done. Figure 297 pages to go.

Now you populate your Scrivener Project – chapters and scenes. Set your word counts per scene. Your writing limit per day is 1667. For a 300 page novel or so, it’s going to be… three months of writing.

Three months? Yup.

Professional writers – whether Screenplay or Novelists – set goals. “Today I’m writing seven pages of script.” “Today I’m writing 1667 words.” Those literally are my goals.

You can set different goals – I’m given to understand my page count per day in Screenplay Writing is “Unreal”. My Producer calls me half in jest a “Writing machine”. But the idea is – if you split your novel up into bite size bits, it’s doable.

Truth #2 About Fiction Writing – you have to plan it out!

I’ve said it many times – “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”

“Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.”

“You’ve got to know where you’re going before you can get there.”

You wouldn’t drive from Florida to Denver without looking at a map, and deciding “This is going to be a X day drive, so we’ll stop here”, etc.

So why sit down, put paper in a typewriter and type, “It was a dark and stormy night…” without stopping to say first, “It’s about a guy who…”

When you’re writing a book, you first plan it out. You should know that so and so saw or stole or discovered or killed or whatever it was, and this was the result and etc. I’ve got several articles on how to plan out and format your novel.

Chunk number one – done. Page number done… zero.

Once you know who what when where how why and who shot john, it’s time to do the easy part – and write it!

Truth #3 about fiction writing – you have to write every day!

If you decide you’re going to write on weekends only, it’s roughly the same as people who decide they’re going to work out on weekends only. Writing is like a muscle. You have to do it to strengthen it.

To achieve your goal of writing a book (but only on weekends) will require a phenomenal 5835 pages every Saturday and Sunday. On another post I defined snippet scenes, short scenes, medium and long scenes by wordcount. Really, you can get your word count per day by writing 4 snippet scenes!

Just write every day. Weekend writers don’t finish books.

Truth #4 about fiction writing – you need to love what you’re doing!

If you don’t love writing, if you don’t find yourself getting ideas for novels and books – don’t do it. Prof. K advises that if you don’t love this, and just want the writer lifestyle, then get into real estate instead. With the right drive and determination, you can make more money. If I worked as hard at getting a real estate license, getting and selling properties, going to auctions, etc… as I do to my writing, I’d probably be retired already and sitting on my boat.

Karl Iglesias takes his audience through the “lottery” dream. “If you won the lotto, and could buy everything you wanted, what would you do day one after getting your house, boat, car, etc?” If your answer is not, “Why – I’d start writing my next novel or Screenplay!”, then – this is not for you.

Truth #5 about fiction writing – you need to hide your first novel once it’s done.

I’m not kidding! Everyone’s first novel or screenplay is usually terrible. Put it in a drawer, keep your Scrivener project in your Dropbox, and don’t look at it again for 10 years. Don’t show it to anyone. Seriously!

And begin working on book number two. I made the HUGE mistake of planning on my first novel being a keeper. It’s book one of my series, and I’ve got a major headache in how to fix the time-line and structure of it! I’m tempted to simply scrap it and re-do it from scratch!

Plan on making your first novel a “novel”, not “one of a 30 part series.” And plan on it being the best novel you can write.

Then be prepared… to start book #2!

Conclusion

Writing a novel is work. You can make this really hard… or really easy. I’ve written three novels in a relatively short time using these methods. Don’t dream about writing.

Be a writer!

Have you finished more than one novel yet?

7 Essential Keys to be happy with your Writing space

One of the relatively unknown keys to successful writing is to have a dedicated space for your writing.

Photo by Grovemade on Unsplash

Some people who live in small homes don’t have rooms they can use, so often a writing space is a chair in front of a window or bookshelf.

Whatever your home office or writing space is, you absolutely must make it a happy, dedicated space in order for you to make your page or word counts. I find that if I’m near my wife, and put on some headphones, I can do everything except beat boards.

For that I have to be in my office.

How so you make your writing space conducive to writing?

  1. Put something personal in your writing space. A souvenir or keepsake is often a good idea. I’ve got several personal items in my writing space, such as a piece of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie set, a 1940’s Lionel Train engine, and other assorted objects.
  2. Dedicated to writing and writing business only. Be obnoxious about this rule. Once you start breaking it and letting other people use that space, you never get it back. This has to be a sanctuary, some place where you use it for writing. The reason is, it sometimes can take a while to shake the world, and write.After a while, just sitting in your writing space or office starts putting you in the writing mindset!
  3. Comfortable. This space has to be comfortable. I don’t recommend that you have to buy a thousand dollar ergonomic chair, but it has to make you want to stay there. A cluttered, cramped or uncomfortable space will inhibit the ability to write. And when you’re stressed or bone tired, you need as few distractions as possible to keep you from writing, or make you give up early.
  4. Clean, Organized. If you are disorganized, it shows up nowhere faster than in your writing. Keep it clean, keep it organized, and don’t let ANYONE put anything in your writing space, pile books or other objects on there.
  5. Put your writing reference books in that area. You’re going to need to refer to all your reference books as you go along – no sense having them in another room! This way you’re not interrupting your workflow to go get something! Workflow usually doesn’t survive interruptions.
  6. Art work. Are you motivated by beaches? Get a print or two of them, and hang them in your writing area. Waterfalls, forests? Hang them there. Whatever your motivation is, get photos or prints of them. I tend to prefer forests and woods. And since I’ve made a life long study of Asian things, my wife surprised me with a print from a Chinese artist. I love the ocean, but not beaches. So, I’ve got a photograph that I found where someone took of the ocean during a winter storm. If it motivates you, if it interests you, then get prints of that in your writing space.
  7. Make it professional. If you plan on being a full-time writer someday, this area needs to be treated like an office where work is done. Once I’m making enough money from writing to retire from my day job, trust me – I’m going to be there Monday through Friday, 7-3.
Conclusion

Ease of mind is required to try to write. To be creative means no stress, depression, anger, anxiety, etc. Setting up your writing space correctly can help to have a space where all those emotional problems and upsets go away immediately – and that’s something you’ll need if you’re going to be a writer.

How have you set up your writing space? What personal things do you have in yours?

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