Nicholas Reicher

Writing Your Next Blockbuster Film or Novel

Category: Musings (Page 1 of 3)

Journaling tools

One of the bigger problems I’ve run into is journaling. So few people journal, that journaling programs are few and far between.

And you know software reference places like Alternative To don’t understand Journaling and its functions when they list alternatives to RedNotebook that include Evernote. OneNote. Cintanotes. These are note taking and planning programs (I refuse to say “apps” – it’s a program, people!), not Journaling programs!

One of the Reviewers of RedNotebook had the following comment – “Rednotebook is permanently broken. Everything that made the program great no longer is present in the program.”

He’s right. The tag cloud, showing tags, was really helpful. But they took that away, and still wanted you to enter tags that you now have no access to!

In addition, RedNotebook now takes three times longer to start than any other program on my computer. Literally, I sit there wondering if I started it or not! If you choose to use RedNotebook, don’t go any higher than version 1.14.

Most of the other Journaling programs either are pathetic, lightweight, or premium that cost you a lot of money. Programs available from the Microsoft Store tend to be REALLY annoying, and take up your WHOLE window, making switching from program to program. People, this is a bad idea. Let’s drop that, okay?

Writer’s should most definitely make use of a Journaling program. Your musings may end up being the fodder for another novel or article, or even short story.

The only problem is – which to use? I’m trying Journaly right now. I’m not happy with it, but we’ll see.

I’ve tried journaling in Evernote, which I may end up going back to – I’m just completely dissatisfied with all of the available journaling templates, and I ended up forgetting to journal in Evernote, which is not good.

What are you using?

2018

2018! This is it. This is the year you will discover is your breakout year.

This is the year you’re going to read those books you never finished.

This is the year – if you’re an author – you’re going to get published.

This is the year that TV series is sold, that movie script is bought, that book or script writing contest is won.

A change of mindset leads to a change of actions.

Feel the excitement. This is your breakout year.

Set your expectations. Your reality expands to fulfill your expectations. If you expect big things, big things can happen.

But if you expect only trials, tribulation, and troubles – you won’t be disappointed.

I can’t speak this any more plainly. The Law of attraction is not a law, it’s a broken theory. People struggling with poverty are not dwelling on their poverty – they’re focused on wealth. Why? They’re desperate. The law of attraction does not work.

But if you focus on possibilities, then things become different. Why? You’ll take chances you never took before. That job you’re not qualified for? You won’t get it if you think you’re not qualified for it, because you won’t apply for it. But if you say, “There’s a chance…” and try for it… there’s a chance.

And you may discover that what the company really wants is not the person with a 4 year degree in English literature, but rather someone who can get the job done.

You may walk in the door with an attitude of gratitude, an enthusiastic disposition, and a willingness to try something new. And the corporate person may know that those kind of people turn the world upside down. And suddenly you find you’ve got a $110,000 a year job.

That stuff doesn’t happen, you say? You’re wrong. One of my relatives had that happen to them.

“I Can’t” is one letter too many.

I cant small

What didn’t work this year?

It’s easy to get focused on “What didn’t work?” You can get discouraged.

How many of you tried Nanowrimo? did you succeed in writing your book?

What got in the way?

How are we going to eliminate that this year?

Was it lack of planning? That’s the most common cause of failure to write a book. Writer’s Block is really just that you don’t know what to write. If you’ve pre-planned effectively, you won’t get writer’s block. Seriously! I have MANY blog articles on planning! Start reading them, because I’ve written several times how to write a novel, step by step!

Was it doubt? Doubt that you can? Listen, pre-planning is your lifeline! If you can preplan your book and get it written, then stop doubting! Once you do 50 or 60 story sparks, I guarantee you have it in you to finish that book! Doubt no more!

Was it Fear it’s not going to be good? Your first novel or screenplay is NEVER good! you are never good at anything. Name a professional writer, and I’ll guarantee the first thing they wrote was terrible. Name an athlete, and I’ guarantee the first time they tried skiing or whatever it was they were horrible at it.

You get better. Every time you write, you will get better.

I guarantee you have more than one book idea. Here’s what you’re going to do in 2018 – you’re going to make several books in Scrivener or in WriteWay, and you’re going to write in one or another of them every day. Get the “Don’t Break the Chain” calendar from the Writer’s Digest shop. It’s a free download. you just print it out, hang it in your writers space. Make an X over every day you write. The first day you miss, you break the chain.

We’re going to aim for 365 days of writing this year, one day at a time. If you can write 1600 words a day, I guarantee you’ll finish not one but SIX novels this year, with time for revision and re-edit!

That’s something I’m sure that will get the attention of a writing agent or publisher – you’ve got six novels in the can. It tells them you can meet deadlines, don’t need your hand held, and have enough written that if everything sells even a medium amount, you’re making up for it in sheer volume!

Was 2017 a good year? If so, 2018 is going to be better. Was 2017 a terrible year for you? Then 2018 is a new beginning.

Ready? here we go…

The problem with Holiday Time

One of the biggest problems we’ve got as writers is that holiday time has so many obligations on us. We have to see family, or go to Bangor for shopping, or out to Bigfork to see the holiday lights.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

it keeps us from our schedules.

We’ve got writing to do. There are demands on our time.

There are times you have to be resolute. When you’re not making a living as a writer, you need to get downright possessive about your time. “I have to do my writing.” If you’re doing it as  a hobby, and it’s only going on the internet, then you can be more relaxed. But novels take time to write. Screenplays take time to write. If you aim to be a writer (and nothing else), then you need to do just that – write.

In my case, my family time is important to me. The person making demands on my time is – me! So, this is where I’ve got to be resolute, and say to myself, “Get it done.”

Schedule time to write. What gets scheduled gets done.

If you’re working on several projects at once, write in no more than two of them at a time.

Keep social media time down to a minimum. If you spent 5 hours on Facebook, you’ve spent waaay too much time! Get back on your novel or screenplay.

Set deadlines. My deadline with myself is to have my books edited and publish ready by April. Get it done! I’ve got screenplays that need to be written and re-written. Get it done!

BUT.

Don’t make the mistake of pushing family away. Again, my time with my family is important. I need to spend time with them. I just need to prioritize!

Family.

Then writing.

But get the writing done. Quit procrastinating.

And oh, yes – go to the holiday lighting event in New Haven.

Progress

I’m writing this as of Nov. 12.
My blog entries are written up to the 23rd.
Twitter tweets are written in advance up to the 21st.
Facebook posts are done.
Next month I set up my LinkedIn page, and I’ll have about 30 of those to write for the month.
I’ve got about 6 or 7 meme’s made in Adobe Spark.

Ideally, I’d like to get to about the 10th of the month, and have everything finished for the month.

Plan your work, work your plan!

Stuck in my chair on Thanksgiving Day

I’m writing this on thanksgiving. I’m stuck in my chair. My cat has pretty much decided he wants to eat a lot today. When he doesn’t get his way, he goes everywhere else for a while.

Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash

Then he comes back and sits on my lap, putting all of his body weight – only about 12 or 13 pounds – into holding me down. There’s a big difference between when he’s resting in my lap, and when he’s trying to punish me.

You’d never think that 13 pounds would pin you down. But Burmese I guess are known for being big, heavy cats. Yes, you’ve got your 23 pound Maine Coon. But I guarantee your 23 pound Maine Coon does not way as much as a 13 pound Burmese.

Every Burmese owner is nodding right now. And grunting in agony over the heavy load of a Burmese crushing their thigh bones.

In 59 minutes, I have to push my cat off of me, so I can go prep up the turkey. Let’s get this out of the way…

Ignore turkey cooking directions. a 13 pound turkey (ironically, weighing much less than a 13 pound Burmese) supposedly only takes 3 1/2 hours to cook.

Hah hah hah hah!

No.

Have you EVER had a turkey take precisely the amount of time to cook that the directions say it does?

I’m now factoring in an extra 90 minutes to any cooking time I see, because let me tell you, my turkey is still pasty and gobbling at 3 hours into cooking.

I’m surprised there aren’t widely publicized statistics of people starving to death on Thanksgiving over the incredibly long delay in waiting for your bird to finish its cooking.

This is a time to celebrate tradition, a slice of American life, Thanksgiving, where my mother would head downstairs at 5:30 in the morning, full of resentment over all of us wanting to eat this massive feast of yams, dead bird, some bread and raisin concoction jammed inside the body of the bird, and of course, cinnamon candies boiled in water and added to apple sauce. “Mom, where’s the marshmallows?”

I’m calling the rules committee on this – you just can’t take a dead bird and stick it in oil. No. That’s a Chanukah thing, not thanksgiving! The bird gets butter smeared on its corpse, and jammed into an oven wrapped in foil like a tasty culinary mummy of some kind. If you cheat on this, I guarantee you haven’t kept Thanksgiving, and you’re going to need to repeat it 30 days later so you can get it right.

Barbeque turkey… okay, it’s a neat idea. But this is thanksgiving. You smear the thing with butter, salt, pepper, and that,s it, because that’s how the Pilgrims did it, as advised in their Ye Olde Better Homes and Gardens Cookbooke! Save the Barbeque Turkey for the Superbowl or something.

And it’s called stuffing. not dressing. See the thanksgiving rule book. I’m calling foul on most of you!

Or maybe it’s fowl.

I’m delirious with hunger now, because my cat has me pinned in my chair.

Sigh.

Gorilla Slippers

I used to have a set of Gorilla slippers. I think my wife bought them for me as a joke. I got frustrated with them, because they got my feet sweaty, and when I sat down, I couldn’t cross my feet, my favorite way of sitting in a chair.

And it seemed like my feet were bigger, and I was endlessly tripping.

But on a cold morning, there’s nothing like a set of Gorilla slippers. Your feet are finally warm, and not touching the hard wood floors, which of course are a passive form of refrigeration, and could probably keep raw meat below safe levels in all months except the summer.

So I went looking for my Gorilla slippers. I was sure they were in my closet. I’ve lost all feeling in my feet, and one of my toes seems to go numb from the cold.
I can’t find my gorilla slippers.

I start moving my boots. I joke with myself and tell myself, that when I retire and just write for a living, I’ll wear sneakers the rest of my life. But of course I know that I’ll probably wear khakis and pants with cargo pockets, and boots, just like Carpenter (a character in my novels).

No Gorilla slippers.

The numbness is now spreading to my ankles.

When they find my cold lifeless body in the spring, please…
Bury me in my Gorilla slippers.

Updates

My web site has been around only for a few months, and I’ve got a lot of content on stuff that interests me, and hopefully one or two things that interest you?
I’ve also got a checklist of things to do.

Updates

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Moving To WordPress
Moving to WordPress has been a huge job. I must not have done it right, because it moved everything over – but it didn’t move ANYONE over who was subscribed to the blog! I can’t read and comment on your blog, if you don’t subscribe to this one!

I installed All In One SEO, and that has almost doubled the time it takes to get a blog post on-line. What is it? It is a Search Engine Optimization tool that allows me to enter meta-data for use with anyone copying an article to Facebook or Twitter, and also for what shows up in Google. The good part of All In One is I’m able to get myself higher in the search engines that way. The bad part is – it takes almost as much time to enter keywords and meta descriptions as it does to write the post! I still need to go back and add Meta’s to about 60% of my blog articles. How will anyone find my ramblings on Godzilla if I don’t’?

Adding Images
I’ve finally started getting images entered for every blog post. That was something I was delaying, because pure and simple, it adds yet another 5 minutes of work per blog post. When I once had a hobby blog, I could just write it up in Windows Live Writer and post away! Now, I write it in Scrivener, copy and paste to the website later on, tweak the formatting, enter keywords, enter SEO Keywords and Meta tags, and NOW I have to add an image!
Oh well. That’s what professionals have to do!

Photo Session
Need to get some photographs of myself on the website, and edit the website header image to include a picture of me. Not for me, I know what I look like, but it’s the professional thing to do. Done!

Social Media
So far, I’ve got my Twitter account set up. Still need a Facebook and LinkedIn.

These are my big to-do’s… what’s yours?

Travato!

Winnebago Travato

I want one of these! Right after I make enough money to move to Rhode Island, buy a house, etc… I’m buying one!
Winnebago Travato!

Winnebago Travato

This way I can go see the Grand Canyon, etc… and still meet writing deadlines!
…and bring the kitties with me everywhere we go!

Winnebago Travato

Someday soon!

Interacting With Your Favorite Authors

You buy the book… and it’s written. You think to yourself that “Wow, it would have been great if Stephen had just…” whatever.
Favorite Authors

Photo by Lou Levit on Unsplash

One of the major issues facing readers of fiction is – you feel like you’re after the fact. Like a sport game after it’s done, and you get to find out who the champion skier was. Who got the gold. Etc. (Is it still Jean-Claude Killy?)

But you’re essentially separated from the authors.

I remember my dad had some Arthur C. Clarke in the house, plus his collection of strange “secret government” genre books (my dad was in the Marine Corps, and actually spent much of his career in an organization that a lot of supply clerks in the army try to pretend nowadays they’re a member of… and he used to tell me “This book is not fiction.”)

I added in Robert Heinlein, and some other books like that.

I never wrote a letter to Robert Heinlein or any other science fiction author. Back then, you had to put paper in a typewriter, and type. Then make out an envelope, put a stamp on it, and put it in the mailbox. So it was much harder then.
Kind of a shame.

Today, things are different. There’s social media. There’s blogs. You can go nowadays to any author’s website and leave comments. You can interact with them on Facebook or Twitter.

I think personally it’s great. I would love for readers to tell me later on, “Wow, it would have been great if Lynch had…” And then I can explain that Lynch ended up taking on a life of his own, and actually threatens to overshadow the antagonist in my books – so I have to reign back Lynch just a little!

But the “German” that the Inner Circle members talk about – Rolf Offenstath – I can literally make him as scary as Lynch, and not hold him back.

In my fourth book you find out a little of Lynch’s past – a little. And I’m hoping my future readers will make the discovery and want to know more (hopefully, some will pick up the hints).

Indeed, the way things are today, you can actually suggest ideas to your favorite authors! If Frank Herbert were alive today, I could have told him how he could have wrapped up the Dune series – and he certainly went in the wrong direction with them very early on. The last two books were horrible. I haven’t read them since the 80’s.

Get involved with your favorite authors! That’s why I have a commenting system. That way, you can get in on the ground floor before I’m published and my work is filmed!

Don’t be afraid to say, “I thought you should have had Carpenter blah blah blah…”. Authors (unless they’re temperamental like JD Salinger) love to talk about their book, why they had their characters do what they did. Often, as the author is explaining it, he’s figuring it out himself!

And if you start talking to the author on their website in the comment section, or on Facebook, you might be surprised and they answer you! (I wrote a letter once to a football quarterback when I was 8 years old, and to my surprise, he wrote me back, and sent me an autographed picture. Not bad for a kid who really didn’t like sports!)

Interact. Dare to interact. Often, authors only get interaction by seeing a paycheck. Some prefer it that way. I guess I’d be a little disappointed if all I got for feedback was a paycheck (not that I’d complain about it!). I’d rather hear from people and have them say, “I wish you’d given Terrell a bigger role, because I really identified with him…”

I know! I wrote him that way on purpose! I wanted to have a character that most people could identify with! There’s Carpenter, who most of us wish we could be, there’s Yossi, who’s really similar to people I know (including me!) and then there’s Terrell, who most of us will say, “Hey… that’s me!”

Conclusion

What do you think? Do you read books and then wish you could talk with the author, find out what was in their head? Have you ever read a book and thought, “No! You should have done this!” Talk about it below!

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