Tag Archive: writing



Don’t trash that crappy first draft!

Oh it may be full of grammatical errors that would send your high school English teachers into hysterics but that’s not reason enough to throw it away.  And maybe the plot line may move like a 1920’s Model T going backwards up the crooked mile, still is it truly worth destroying?  And perhaps most of the characters may be as shallow as a puddle, and probably deserve to be drowned in one, but do not throw that draft away!

Instead I want you read every last word, even if it’s hard as hell to get past the first few pages, keep reading!  Do not stop until you’ve read the entire thing.

Why? I hear you ask.

Because, that shitty first draft may be the most important one you ever write.

I’m being serious here folks.  And no I’m not going to be going on about how every journey in writing starts with a first draft, or something like that.  What I am going to tell you is that first drafts, even the lamest ones, have value.

When I first started writing “The Door”, it was going to be the second book in my Para-Earth series.  Mainly because it was going take up exactly where the first book “The Bridge” left off.  I thought there was no way I could possibly put another story in between the two, even though I really wanted to focus on the second lead couple (Cassandra Elliott, and Julie Cloudfoot) and their blossoming relationship.  My original plan was to develop their growing love in the second book, but things were getting too complicated.  Too many characters, too many subplots, I had to scale back.  So after writing almost 70,000 words in “The Door”, I said enough and set it aside.  Instead, I followed some “bread crumbs” I’d left myself (see my blog entry from January 31st https://akrummenacker.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/follow-the-breadcrumbs/) back in “The Bridge” and found an opening.

I had clearly stated that a month had passed between the climactic battle and the events that happened in the epilogue.  I had also sent Julie and Cassie over to the west coast.  I had plenty of room for a story in between that would involve just the two of them, as well as leading them back to witness the events that took place during the epilogue of “The Bridge”.  Thus, “The Ship” was born.

But even after I finished “The Ship” and published it, I was not ready to back to “The Door”.  Instead,  a new character had captured my imagination and I began work on “The Vampyre Blogs”, hoping to release it next, before returning to “The Door”.

However, after finishing the first draft of “The Vampyre Blogs” I realized I wanted to release it around Halloween and the time had passed.  So I sent it off to my editor for corrections, even though it was a first draft.  I know it will go through many more changes, but in the meantime, I needed to get back to “The Door” because it had to come before my vampyre’s first tale.  I needed to finish the underlying story arc that was running through my first two books.  It’s turn had come and I needed to finish it.

By this time it had been over two years since I last looked at it, so it was with experienced eyes that I pulled it out and started to look at the first few pages.  Originally, I thought it would be easy to insert just a few scenes and continue the flow I had started, but it didn’t work out that way.

Thanks to “The Ship” so many plans and ideas had to be scrapped.  And my writing style had changed.  A number of people told me how much my writing had ‘matured’ and now I could clearly see it for myself.  So much had to be changed and rewritten.  At times it almost seemed too much.

I began to doubt myself and wondered if I was really up to the challenge.  Could I really make this story work?  Time and again, I kept running up against ideas that no longer fit, and characters who needed to be removed from the story entirely.  I began to question myself and ask, “Should I just trash this and start over from scratch?”  But then I’d run across scenes that were perfectly fine and still flowed beautifully with the new stuff I was creating.   In fact, it felt like what was I creating now was way better than what I’d originally done.  And at the same time, the overall storyline was still following what I had wanted all along.  In fact, I’d found ways to improve it.

But I was still running up against obstacles and areas where I just wasn’t sure what to do.

Then by sheer chance, I was scrolling through the new draft which was being built on top of a duplicate file of the original first draft.  But I overshot where I had left off and found a scene I had completely forgotten about.  Pausing I re-read my words and was taken aback by the power of the scene and the beauty I’d created.  This scene HAD to stay, I told myself.  Then I began thinking, ‘Are there other scenes like this one I’ve forgotten?’

So I did the unthinkable…

I stopped work on “The Door” and took a few steps back.  Instead of writing, I decided to read every word and every page of the original first draft.

It hasn’t been easy at times, but I’ve been unearthing scenes that to me are absolute treasures.  I’ve also been cutting and removing other scenes and characters who no longer have any place in this book, but might be good for another story down the road.  I’ve saved those sections and preserved them in a separate file folder.  Those who’ve been following this blog know I always urge writers to do this.  What may not be working in your current book, might be just the thing you need in another one down the road.

As for the scenes I’m keeping, I am breathing a sigh of relief.  Some of them are better than I anything I might have tried to replace them with.  New ideas and ways to move the story forward are opening up to me.  But I still have to finish re-reading that ‘shitty first draft’ before I start writing new scenes.

There are more scenes and ideas I’ve forgotten about, of that I’m sure.  I may not want to keep all of them, but I suspect even if I don’t keep any of it, they will give me knew ideas.  So don’t give up completely on that first draft.  Save it, learn from it, and build from it.  You might even want to preserve certain scenes from it.

All stories start with a first draft that can be more than a little rough around the edges.  But without a first draft, you can’t begin your story.

Until next time, take care of yourselves my friends, and keep writing.


 In case you hadn’t heard, I started attending the California State University at Monterey Bay in August and the workload had been fairly manageable, until recently.  Things are heating up and I have less and less time to work on my novels, including “The Vampyre Blogs”.  I had planned on getting the latest draft finished, edited, beta-read, etc. so I could have it out in time for Christmas.

Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.  I’ve said before I will not release a book until it’s had all those things done to it.  Currently, I’m still trying to finish the 2nd draft and I’m still not entirely happy with the piece.  Plus I haven’t even started on a cover for the book.  I have one that I made with the computer.

However, I’m not totally sold on this version really.  I’d prefer to try and do a soft pastel piece and then super-impose this image on top of the scene I create with the pastel.
Furthermore, with the holidays getting closer and closer, there’s not way I could expect any of my beta-readers to go over the book and give me their feedback on the eve of major cooking and shopping.
So I’m putting things off until next year.  Mind you, I’m still going to be posting more mini-stories of my vampyre Nathaniel and his friends over at The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition.  If you haven’t checked them out yet here’s the link:
At this point I want to let you all know you won’t be without anything new from me this holiday season.  I’ll be putting together a short story that I’ll release through Smashwords just in time for Christmas.  Smashwords carries e-books for Nook, Kindle, Sony, Apple, or even PDF for those who don’t have an e-reader so you can enjoy it on your regular computer, laptop, or even your phone.  This will be a holiday tale that will involve a crossover of sorts.  My vampyre Nathaniel will be interacting with several characters from “The Bridge”.  Who will appear, I won’t say at this time.  Just be assured you’ll be seeing some familiar faces within the pages of that story.
Finally, I want to also let you all know that you won’t have to wait until October or December of next year for my next novel.  As soon as I get a break from university, I’ll be getting back to work on “The Door”, which will star Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra.  The story will take up where both “The Bridge” and “The Ship” ended and will answer a number of questions that have been hanging over both novels, including the secret of Brandon and his white-haired nemesis.
Where will I go with my Para-Earth Series after that?  Well here’s a list for the next 2-3 years and what they will involve:

Mid-2015 “The Door”

Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra face a new threat which is connected directly to Cassandra’s family dating back over three hundred and fifty years.

October/December 2015 “The Vampyre Blogs – Homecoming”

  In 1862 Nathaniel Steward was only sixteen years old.  He left home to fight in the Union Army, knowing the experience might change him.  He had no idea how much it would.  Now, 150 years later, he’s finally coming back to what he thinks is an empty manor.  What he doesn’t know is someone has been waiting, and some ‘thing’ is following him, a being that does no belong in this world.

Mid-2016 “In The Shadow Of The Door”

Cassandra’s ghostly protector Brandon has always been an enigma to many.  Now, we get to hear his story which will lead directly up to the events that took place in my third book, “The Door”.

December 2016, “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”

Nathaniel is back and he’s not alone.  A mystery involving a member of his family has arisen, but so has an old enemy.  New dangers arise that threaten not only those he loves, but his entire hometown.  Like any soldier he will fight to protect his place of birth, but it may cost him his very existence.

Mid-2017 – No Title Yet

Brandon’s story continues as he and his uncle continue to struggle with the family curse that everyone believed was over.  The threat has been thwarted but not ended and time is running out.  Soon the door will be reopened and nothing will be able to stop what will come out of it if they don’t seal it for good first.

December 2017, “Harlequin House”

When Alex was only twelve he entered inside the most haunted place on the planet with a team of paranormal investigators.  Most of the team died before his very eyes and he barely got out with his sanity intact.  Now, twenty years later, he’s going back.  Will he be as fortunate this time?

So there you have it folks.  That’s my plans for the next couple of years.  Most of this will depend on how much time I have to write in between my studies of course, but I’m going to do my best to keep to this schedule.  I hope you like what you’ve seen here and look forward to the books as they come out.
That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading and take care of yourselves.  And as always, keep writing.

A Forgotten 1st Draft…


For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you’ll remember I’ve mentioned a number of times about saving your work on Google Drive, or on a Memory Stick, or even a CD.  I’ve also suggested that when you edit your work, if you’re going to cut a scene to save it in a special folder.  I say this because even though the scene, or even a character, doesn’t fit in the story you’re working on you might be able to recycle it for another story down the road.

The thing I forgot to mention is that occasionally you should go and look through that folder every so often.  Especially if you’re looking to start a new project, or have hit a bad case of writer’s block.  Something in that folder may be just the thing to help you get your scene going again.

I also have another special folder that holds works in progress that are unfinished.  Or in some cases, are pretty much a complete first draft... (said under my breath while looking away in embarrassment)

You forgot you had a completed 1st draft?

“Yes, I’ did.  I got caught up in other things,now be quiet Roscoe!”

As I was saying, yes I found I had a complete first draft in that file folder.  It needs reworking of course, but the entire story is there.  Unfortunately, it will be a while before it sees the light of day.

Why?  Because it is a historical period piece that involves Brandon Elliott, one of the major recurring characters in my Para-Earth Series.  His spirit appears frequently in order to watch over Cassandra Elliott, his many times great-grandchild.   However, her story is not finished yet and I cannot tell his tale until hers is finished (sort of).  The two are intricately connected in such a way I have to finish telling her secrets, before I can reveal his.

However, this will be resolved soon.  Cassandra’s secret will be revealed in “The Door” which I hope to have ready in May 2015.  Then after releasing the second installment of “The Vampyre Blogs” in December 2015, I will aim to release Brandon’s story in early 2016.  His story is so big it will take at least two or more books to do it justice, but I’m looking forward to doing it.

Anyway, getting back to my original point…

You actually forgot you had a completed 1st draft?

“Yes Roscoe, now let it go please… sheesh!”

As I was saying, the practice of keeping special folders and backup copies of my work has helped me on a number of occasions.  I’ve even got a 50% finished first draft of “The Door” waiting for me to get back to.  Like the other works I have on the back burner, having some of it already waiting for me to get back to it, actually gets me eager to return to it.

So remember, save those parts you edit out and keep checking the folder you put them in. You never know when you might find a treasure in those folders that can totally turn your work in progress into something fantastic.

Until next time…

He actually forgot?  Oh that is rich!

(sigh)  He is just not going to let this go is he?

Until next time take care and keep writing.


Okay, you’ve written your latest masterpiece.  It’s finished.  You’ve got your cover ready, the editor has done their work, the proofreading is finally over, you got a back cover blurb, dedication page, table of contents, etc.  In short, your baby is ready too be published.

You’ve only got one thing left to do, make it available.  So you go to Smashwords, Kindle, Lulu, whoever you use to publish your precious labor of love, and you start getting asked a bunch of questions.  What’s the title?  How many pages?  The name of the author?  Do you have a synopsis ready?  A blurb?  Then you reach “What genre is your work?”  “What label do you want to put it under?”

Now, if you have an agent…

No not that kind, the other kind, the ones who represent books.  Curse you Marvel!

Anyway, if  have an “literary agent” you already know what genre you were working in, because one of the key elements in finding an agent is knowing what genres they represent.  In turn, your agent would’ve shopped your work around to a publisher who specializes in that genre.  So you should be okay.  But what if your an Indie Author?  Then this question can become more problematic for you.  Not always mind you, but sometimes.

I for one am finding myself slowly falling into that latter category.  Why, you ask?  Simple, I’m one of those authors who crosses genres sometimes without even meaning to.  My Para-Earth series covers mystery, horror, paranormal, and even science fiction, all in one book.  But it doesn’t stop there!  Oh no!  I brought in a gay couple into my work and now I have another section of audience I might miss if I don’t label the book correctly.  In fact, I’ve had to use a few different labels for “THE SHIP”, as compared to the ones I originally put “THE BRIDGE” under.

You see, I emphasized the gay aspect of the second book because of my main characters were a lesbian couple.  Now they appeared in the first book and played a large role in it, however they were the second lead couple and the focus was not as fixed on them.

So even though both books are part of my Para-Earth Series, and the characters were recurring ones, the focus had shifted thanks to who was the lead couple this time.

But this is only the beginning, my friends.  The more I’ve researched genres, the more I’ve found things have changed.  What was once horror, may now be considered Fantasy, or Paranormal.  Thrillers can be set in modern day or in the future (wouldn’t that be sci-fi?).

This is not a new issue folks.  I’ve seen this going on for decades.  HP Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu Mythos, is a prime example for “What genre did he really fall under?”  Many consider him the master of the macabre and automatically put him under Horror.  Yet, a number of his creations like the Old Ones, or the Elder Things from “The Mountains of Madness” were beings from outer space.  Outer space?  Doesn’t that fall under Sci-Fi?  I’ve found him in books stores under both Horror and Sci-Fi (a fair solution).

But what if you find yourself telling a love story, which is impacted by a huge mystery, that involves ghosts, psychics, and beings from an alternate reality?  What do you call that?  Horror?  Mystery, Paranormal Mystery?  Some people suggested a genre called “Dark Fantasy” which seems to combine these elements under one label.  Great solution right?  Wrong!

When you go to Smashwords, Kindle, Createspace, etc.  you don’t see Dark Fantasy as one of your choices to answer the question “What genre is this book?”  Instead you get: Horror, Gay/Lesbian, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, etc.  You don’t get ‘blended’ options.’  Oh you get offered sub-genres which will let you add some of those, but the main genre you place your book under is the first label people will see when they do a search.  And if that label doesn’t fall into their usual reading choices, you probably won’t even get them giving your book a ‘sampling’.

Determining the genre of your book is a huge thing.  But there are other problems.  Even within those “main” genres, there’s a lot of disagreement about what falls under them.  Which is going to be the subject of my next blog entry, because I’m running out of room on this one.  And the topic is a big one that a lot of writers struggle with and I want to give it equal and fair room for discussion.

In the meantime, if anyone would like to share their thoughts or experiences in dealing with how to define your book by genre, please leave some comments down below.  As I’ve stated many times in the past, the purpose of this blog is so we can all learn from one another.  As readers and writers, we’re all in the same boat, so pooled knowledge can be a powerful tool for us all.

Until next time, take care all and keep writing.

 


Greetings everyone.  I wish to make a couple of announcements.

First, after careful consideration and evaluating where things are at, I’ve decided to aim for releasing the book in time for June. This way people can enjoy it as part of their Summer reading.

As a result of this decision I’m declaring the Kickstarter a failure and ended.  Mind you, I am not angry or upset by this. In fact I think it may be a blessing in disguise.  I will have more time to rework the book and possibly have some Beta-testers read it to get a better idea how my unpaid team and I do at getting it edited as best we can. If there still seem to be a lot of problems, then I may try another Kickstarter or find another way to raise the money for a professional editor.

I’d like to take this moment to thank everyone who did pledge to the Kickstarter.  The Kickstarter was not going to succeed, but I do appreciate your belief in me and your support.

Remember “THE SHIP” is still coming. I am not giving up on it. I’m just giving myself more time and breathing space to get it in the best shape possible. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks.

ALSO: I will be appearing in an anthology being printed over in England soon, so I’ll keep you all appraised about that as I hear more on that front.

On a final note, I will also be releasing another book later this year. “THE VAMPYRE BLOGS” which is destined for a Christmas release, since that will be the time frame of the story.  In the meantime, you can read entries by the characters on my blog that is dedicated to that novel. Keep in mind, the entries you read online will NOT be appearing in the novel. They are merely to help prospective readers become a little more familiar with the characters and their histories, before the book comes out.   After all, I can only fit so much into one book. (grin)

Thanks for your attention and support. Take care and keep writing everyone.

Writing and Rubik’s Cubes…


Okay fellow writers, here’s a question for you all.  How many of  you find yourselves working and reworking a scene because something just isn’t right?  In your mind, you know what you’d like to happen, but something just doesn’t seem to be working right.  You make a change here, then a slight a tweek there and suddenly everything goes KAFLOOEY!    You suddenly hit a dead end, or the entire plot has taken a detour to No-wheres-ville.  When this happens to me, I get the same feelings I had whenever I tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube.  I know all the parts and where I think they should go, but they’re just not in the right spot.  And trying to get them in their proper place can be a nightmare some days.

 

Now this has happened to me on a number of occasions.  Some people tell me to have an outline, but that never works for me.  Why?  Because my characters start going in other directions by saying or doing things I hadn’t originally planned.  Admittedly I let them get away with it, but only if what they’re doing seems to be working better than what I originally planned.  Sometimes this works, but not always.  When it doesn’t I do one of two things:  I’ll delete it completely and try again OR  I’ll save the scene in a separate folder on my computer.  You never know when an unused scene can be useful later in your present story, or could wind up being perfect for another book entirely.

 

Personally, I kind of like it when I can just delete the scene because then I get to point and laugh at my characters saying, “See?  I told you this wasn’t going to work… NEENER-NEENER.”   Unfortunately, I tend to do this out loud and get some really strange looks from anyone within a 30 foot radius.    It’s at this point my unseen characters got to point and laugh right back at me, which is really annoying because they know I still need them and can’t kill them off.  Damn, my creations can be annoying at times.

 

Anyway, getting back to my original point.  Writing a scene can be quite frustrating and difficult at times.  But, there are many ways   of tackling this problem:

-You might change who’s in the scene, keep the ones who are most poignant and add someone else from the cast.  This can change the tension levels and the entire feel of the moment.

-Change the location where the action is happening.  Maybe the setting is the problem and you can get more out of a different location.

-Is a major piece of information about to be revealed in this scene?   If so how much of it do you really have to unveil at this moment?  Maybe you should only reveal a portion of the information.  You can whet the appetite of both the characters and the audience with this method.  By doing this your characters can go off half-cocked, which can make for some very interesting scenes as they make any number of mistakes or jump to wrong conclusions.  I personally like this because the character who isn’t perfect, and learns from their mistakes, is someone the audience can really relate to sometimes.  On the other hand the characters can aware that something is still missing and we can follow their efforts to learn more which can lead to some very tense and exciting scenes as well.

 

So, don’t be afraid to tear apart a scene that’s frustrating you.   Try some really different ways of reworking it.  And if you find yourself still hitting a wall, ask yourself  if the scene is truly relevant in that particular point of the story.  Maybe it can be replaced by an entirely different scene that can serve a similar purpose.    Who knows, you may wind up with something that opens new avenues for your plot that are even more interesting than what you originally had in mind.

 

What other methods or tricks have you come up with?  I’m sure everyone reading this would be  interested because we’re all trying learn from one another when it comes to writing.  So please leave your experiences and suggestions down in the comments section below.

 

And for the record,I did finally defeat the dreaded Rubik’s Cube.  Mind you I did not remove the decals and change them around (which is something my wife did when she was kid).  Nor did I take the cube apart and reassemble it so the colors matched up.  What did I do?  Simple, I spray painted the entire thing silver and used it for a paperweight.  A very creative solution, don’t you think?

Thank You, “Doctor Who”…


Today, I’m going to be setting aside progress on my writing and giving advice to praise one of my all time favorite shows that just turned 50 years old, “Doctor Who”.  This show has been a part of my life since I was 3 years old at least.  How can I be so certain?  Because it was way before I entered kindergarden that I saw a creature that captured my very young imagination, a Dalek.

Daleks

It is said among the Doctor Who fans you never forget your first Doctor, for me I never forgot my first villain. These oversized ‘Pepper Pots’ fascinated me to no end.  So every time I happened to run across them again, I was able to realize a show I’d loved had come back.  Or rather I’d found again.  Being so young I’d had no concept of time and what day of the week it would be showing again.  My first Doctor was Hartnell.  Mind you I’d also caught the Peter Cushing movies, but when I saw him in the role I thought, “I remembered the Doctor as being older with white longer hair.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I was watching the show from the day it started.  I was still inside my mom when the show began, plus I was in America not England.  No, I’d caught some re-broadcasts that had come to America I’m guessing.  In either case, I was hooked.

 

However it wasn’t until the early 70’s that I really could keep up with things.  Once more I spotted that familiar blue police box while changing channels and out came the Doctor.  Still with white hair, but much taller and agile.  I’d discovered John Pertwee, the 3rd Doctor.

Tardis

Again I was entranced and was soon introduced to the concept of regeneration and Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor.  The problem with the show for me was of course it disappearing from time to time from the TV stations in New York.  I found Tom again during the Pyramids of Mars.  Then the show was gone again.

Tom Baker

Luckily, after moving to California I found the show once more on PBS.  Tom was still doing the Doctor, but the show was being interrupted by a PBS Pledge Break.  At first I was annoyed.  I thought, “Here we go, scrounging for money for television…yadda-yadda…” But then I saw the phone banks were filled with people in costumes from the show.  It was the Sacramento Doctor Who Fan Club.  Having just moved I had no real friends and was wondering how I could meet some.  Thanks to Doctor Who, I’d just found a way.  I found out where they met and began attending meetings and quickly joined.  Not only did I make a bunch of life-long friends,  I alsoI met the woman who would become my wife Helen Henry.  Over twenty years later we’re still devoted to each other and are still watching the show with all the enthusiasm we had back then.

Soon I found myself doing costumes and working pledge breaks as one of the shows villains, “The Master”.

the master

Sadly, I do not have any photos of myself in costume to share right here, as most of my stuff is in storage after we moved to Santa Cruz and then Marina in the last 7 years.

In any case, the group also introduced me to conventions, which captured my imagination even further.  I made more costumes and even a replica of the Doctor’s mechanical dog K-9, but with a twist.  Since I was doing the Master, I made a black and silver version which had moving ears, light up eyes, the head went up and down and it could move by itself thanks to the remote control tank I’d used for the basis of it.  It made a huge hit at the conventions and on the pledge breaks.
FYI, as soon as I can get my old VHS tapes out, I’m going to transfer all the pledge breaks I have to my computer and post them onto YouTube for all my old friends who lost their copies.

Anyway, to continue.  Doing all these fun things got my mind working in another direction as well.  Writing, I did my first Fan-Fiction piece about one the doctors showing up on the set at one of our pledge breaks and mayhem ensuing partly thanks to me being dressed up as the Master.  NOTE: The Doctor’s companions make great plot tools especially if they’ve only heard a description of the Master, and said companion is a female warrior who’s always spoiling for a fight.  Needless to say I was not the hero of the piece as much as the comedy relief.  In any case, this was my first journey into writing and I found I enjoyed it.  Over the years that followed more fan-fic’s came into being and I soon joined other sci-fi fan clubs and did more ‘very amateur’ fan-fics for them as well.

Eventually though, my writing style matured more and I realized I had come up with so many different stories and ideas that many of them did not fit either Doctor Who or another favorite show from my childhood “Dark Shadows”.  In fact, I could easily leave out established characters and create completely original ones to go along with my original storylines.  (Sorry for the repeat of the word there, but it’s  the only way I can describe what happened)

Now, several years later, I’m a published Indie Author.  My next book will be out in early 2014 as many of you are aware and eagerly awaiting.  But my origins as an author go back to Doctor Who.  That funny little man in a blue police box, and TV’s first good-guy vampire Barnabas Collins in the original “Dark Shadows”.  But it mostly goes to the Doctor.  So, on this day, 50 years after he first landed in an old junkyard on Foreman Lane, I want to say “Thank you, Doctor.  You made a huge difference in my life and I can’t wait to see where you lead my wife and I, and all our friends, next.”  

12 Doctors

Short Story Sunday….


Today, instead of a one of my usual posts I decided to change gears and try something a little different.  I thought some of you might like to see a sample of some of my other writings that are not related to the Para-Earth Series.  So here’s a piece I did for my creative writing class a couple of semesters ago.  The premise was to write a scene where something unexpected happens.  Well, I went beyond that and created an entire short story.  I hope you enjoy it.

BAD HAIR DAY

By

Allan Krummenacker

Jane couldn’t believe it, the call had come.  They had wanted to see her the next day.  She had spent the previous evening going through her clothing for just the right look.  Glancing over at the corner of her bedroom, she could still see the pile of rejects she’d tossed aside during her quest.  They seemed to glare at her with resentment for being treated so poorly.  She promised to give them all a good washing and to put them away nicely when she got back.  Right now, she had to get ready.

Quickly she moved over to the sink in the bathroom to fix her make-up.  Everything had to be just right or she’d be sunk.  Everything was lined up just as she had left it the night before.  Lipstick, eye-liner, blush… all of it was just waiting there for her.  Then she looked up and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and cried out in horror.  Clutching her chest she backed up into the wall, eyes wide, mouth gaping… BED-HAIR!  But not just ordinary bed-hair, no this was possibly the worst case on record.

“Why, why today of all days?” she wailed and sank to the floor.  The interview was in an hour.  What was she going to do?   Pulling herself together she grabbed a brush and went at the tangled mess with a vengeance.

No good.  Instead of taming the wild look, her frantic efforts had only made things worse.  She looked like a poodle who’d tried pissing on a power transformer.  Dropping the brush she made a dash back to the bedroom in search of a hat.  That might at least help calm things down.  She searched high and low but only found a baseball cap.  That wouldn’t do… or would it?  No, with her luck, the interviewer was probably a fan of a rival team.  No she’d have to think of something else.

Maybe she could shave her head and say she’d been going through treatments?  No that would be disrespectful of people like her sister-in-law in Tennessee.  Not that she ever cared for the woman, but still.

“What am I going to do?” she moaned and sank down on the bed.

She could see it all now.  As soon as she walked in the receptionist would take one look at her and hide behind the desk.  One of the other candidates would smirk and ask her long it took her to get her finger out of the electric socket.

Or even worse, they might take one look at her and ask security to remove the homeless bag-lady that had wandered in.

Oh what was she going to do?

Just then there was a knock at the front door.  Groaning she started heading towards it while the pit of despair grew larger and larger in her mind.  Then suddenly she stopped.  What if it was someone who could help her?  Maybe it was one of her friends?  A fairy-godmother, come to render aid in her hour of need.  Hour… she looked up at the clock, only 45 minutes until the interview.

Panicking she raced to the door and found a man in a UPS uniform standing on her stoop.  He had a pleasant face and was holding a package, along with a clipboard and pen.  “Unnnghhh….” was all she managed to say as he greeted her warmly.

“Oooo… that’s some hairstyle you have there, Miss,” he chuckled.  “I haven’t seen a case of bed-hair that bad since my days in cosmetology school.”

Jane perked up. “You did hair?”

“Well yeah but…”

Grabbing him by the hand Jane hauled him inside and closed the door and locked it.  Leading him to the bathroom she babbled an incoherent explanation of what was at stake and how she needed his help.  Then she handed him the scissors and comb and told him to get to work.  If he was fast enough, she’d still have time to make the appointment.

The man tried talking but she told him they could talk after he was done.  There was an edge to her voice that she hoped would block any further protests.  It worked.

With a resigned shrug, the fellow went to work.  Ten minutes later he stepped back and let her take a good look in the mirror.  Jane screamed.  The sides were uneven, her bangs were lopsided, it was worse than before.  She hadn’t thought such a thing was possible.  “I thought you said you went to Cosmotology School!” she cried.

“I did,” the man explained backing up.  “But I sucked at it, that’s why I wound up getting a job with UPS.”

The wail of frustration Jane uttered took them both by surprise.  She never knew she could hit such a high note with her voice.

As the for the failed-hairdresser, the he stumbled backwards into her bedroom and wound up tripping over the pile of discarded clothes.

Jane watched in horror as the world slowed down and the poor guy fell backwards and cracked the back of his head against the corner of the nightstand and then the floor.  He did not get back up.  Nor did he move.

Eyes wide Jane started to let out an unholy, “OH MY GO…”

“THAT’S GOOD, WE’VE SEEN ENOUGH!” a voice from out of nowhere announced.

Turning toward the front of the stage, Jane stared out at the darkness where the director, the producer and the playwright were sitting.  “Could I do that last part again?” she asked, “I don’t think I really captured the mood when Tony went down.”

The director waved a reassuring hand, “Don’t worry.  You were great.   In fact you’re exactly the person we’re looking for.  You’ve got the part.  Why don’t you gather your things and we’ll see you back here tomorrow at 2 o’clock.”

Delighted with this turn of events, Jane squealed with glee and rushed off the stage.

Once she was gone the trio slowly made their way onto the stage and glanced down at the still unmoving figure in the postal carrier outfit.  “It worked,” said the producer.

“I can’t believe it,” said the director.

Only the playwright smiled, “Well, you won’t have to worry about your little blackmailer anymore.  It will be ruled as an accidental death.  See, I told you I know how to write killer scenes.”


As most of you probably know, my beloved laptop died a few weeks ago and I have yet to replace it.  I will be getting a desktop computer towards the end of the month luckily.  But in the meantime, it’s been hard not being able to access my novels and work on them.  At least, that was the case until yesterday.  I am now able to continue work on book #2 “The Ship” and am in no danger of losing any changes I make to it (at least as far as I know).  And it’s all thanks to my G-mail account.

Now a lot of you are probably thinking, “Well duh, you simply mail what you wrote each day to yourself and it will be safe in your e-mail.”  That is definitely a method that a lot of people use, but I have a tendency of deleting or accidentally deleting e-mails due to clumsy fingers or a computer acting strange.
What I’m going to talk about today is Google Drive (aka Google Docs).  Now I know Google had provided a  “Cloud”-like service for all who use Google but I didn’t know a lot about it.  It is very similar to Amazon’s Cloud system, where you have a huge amount of storage in cyberspace to save photos, documents, etc.  But I’m one of those who does not jump on the new-tech bandwagon right away.  I always hang back and let time pass for others to give these services a test run and see if there are any bugs that need working out first. After I’ve heard more about the new technologies, then I’ll give it a whirl.  I hate to try things and lose stuff because there were issues that needed to be fixed.  Especially where my writing is concerned.
So, when my laptop started acting strangely I backed up all my writing files onto memory sticks (flash drives).  My wife then urged me to transfer some of the docs from the sticks onto Google Docs, informing me that I already had an account with Google because of my e-mail.  So I proceeded to do as she instructed.  I uploaded my writing files and could access the novels that way thinking I could access the novels on any other computer I could get my hands on.  Right?  Wrong!  Because I uploaded the novels in MS Word, I could not bring up the novels on computers that did not have MS Word.  Our new laptop, which is primarily for my wife’s university schoolwork does not have MS Office or Word on it.
I told my wife about this and she informed me that the files she’d put on Google Drive were easy to access and she could make changes to them.  Long story short, she finally realized how I’d uploaded the actual files in their original program.  Whereas she had simply copied her files and pasted them into a Untitled Google Doc, which is the first option that comes up when you enter Google Drive.  That Google Doc is always accessible from ANY computer and you can make changes, edit, or add to a doc.  So yesterday I got onto a computer that had MS Word, opened my original document and then copied the entire book into a Google Doc.  Then I went home and tried to access it and make changes on the new laptop at home that did not have MS Word.  It worked.  I can now access the novel, make changes and continue to finish writing the first draft while I wait to get the desktop at the end of the month.
I’m back in business and it feels great.  So check out Google Drive (aka Google Docs) and start saving your files over there gang.  Remember, if you want to be able to make adjustments to your doc, copy and paste the file into a Google Doc template.  If you simply want to have a back up copy, then upload the file in its original format.
This is a great tool and I’m so glad it’s available.  You can also make certain files accessible to others like Beta-Readers or your editor through Google Drive.  PLUS… you can make it that no one can tamper with the document while it’s on Google Drive.  They can read but not touch it.
Check it out, it’s really worth it folks.  If any of you have other advice about Google Drive or other similar services please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.  That’s all for now.  Take care and keep writing.

One Size Does NOT Fit All…


Okay gang, guess what I’m up to this week?  I’m redoing “The Bridge”…AGAIN!

Let me clarify, I’m reformatting “The Bridge” specifically for Kindle e-readers.  Last night I got a 3 star review on Amazon, which I’ve been anticipating for some time.  I mean, in spite of all the 4 and 5 star reviews, it was bound to happen right?  Of course.  But when I read the review I was stunned to see where some of the problems were for this reader.  They considered the story itself a 5 star read.  But the editing and formatting were barely 1 star.  Now I’ve known about the editing for some time and have plans in the very near future to get the book the professional edit treatment it needs.  I’ll finally have the funds to do it, I’ll explain how that happened in another post.

But the formatting issues that were raised stunned me and I couldn’t help but smack myself in the head for being a fool.  Especially, when I went over to Amazon and took a look at the sample of what the book looks like in Kindle form.

I had made the cardinal mistake of assuming that when I first created the book on Createspace and used one of their templates, that the system knew what it was talking about when it offered to send the finished product to Amazon for Kindle.  BIG MISTAKE!

Now please understand, I do not own any type of e-reader.  I’m still a “Turn-the-paper-page-by-hand” Man.  So I never considered what the format might look like on an e-reader.  What works for paperbacks does not automatically work for e-readers.

First off, I have a tendency to use space gaps to indicate when I’m changing points of view in any scene.  But I also use those for entire scene changes.  In paperback this is forgivable, but in e-reader format it can be confusing to the reader.  And if the change happens between the bottom of one page and the top of another, it’s even more confusing for which I apologize folks.  These things never occurred to me.

Plus, I got a good look at how the indentations appeared in the Kindle version.  I nearly screamed.  I had no idea the system would reformat things so unevenly.

So I’m reformatting the entire book right now specifically for Kindle e-readers.  I’m also trying to do a bit of editing along the way, but it’s still a far cry from the professional job this book needs.  Yet, I’m also close to having the money to get that done, which leaves me with a quandary.  My KDP Select ends in about 10 days.  Should I just go ahead and take the book down and send it off to be given a proper professional editing job and then put out a really good 3rd edition, along with the new formatting?  Or just reformat for now and then have that much less to do after getting the book professionally edited?

I ask you all for your opinion on this.  Personally, I’m leaning towards doing the reformat now AND then sending it off right away to the editor for a good makeover.  Then re-releasing the book to Kindle, Nook, Sony the  works as soon as the work is finished.  My only concern is that this will leave me with no books on the market in the meantime.  But a part of me thinks it might be worth the risk.  What do you all say?  Please leave your thoughts and comments below.  I really need some feedback on this one.

Thanks.  Take care and keep writing.

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