Monday, April 29, 2013

Writing...The Long Walk

You know the book. Stephen King’s first novel, later published under the name Richard Bachman. The contestants walk at four mph until there’s only one left. The winner gets anything he wants. The losers…well, they don’t keep walking.

Today I’m feeling like a walker.

I remember when I first started blogging; I was so fresh, so eager, so excited. I set up a Twitter account. I started sharing my thoughts. And followers came. I reached out to other bloggers, unsullied writers seeking the same interaction. We were a collection word walkers, some farther along the trail than others, all seeking to stay ahead of the pace and claim the ultimate prize. We entered contests and shared stories. I emailed a few almost daily we shared passages and encouragement.

That was two years ago.

Today I still love writing. I enjoy blogging. I enjoy twitter. Many of the other writers are gone, though. Some announced their lives had changed and they wouldn’t be updating any social networks regularly, only to slowly fade away; others posted great writing advice one day, then nothing…silence.

And I’m still writing.

It feels different. Quiet. Maybe I took a wrong turn and am on a different road. Perhaps everyone left me in the dust and I’m a straggler. I don’t know. But like the book where the walking never seems to end, here I am. Still writing, still walking. I read somewhere that a professional author is an amateur that didn’t quit. I’m not quitting. I love writing too much. That’s why I’m here.

If you are out there writing and creating—I salute you. We share the same road. You, like me, are a walker. You’re still there, dreaming and working toward the future. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Two Weeks to Go

This has been an active spring. Between work, school plays, sports, family time, writing, preparation for vacation, music lessons and concerts, hiding from the weather, my church calling, and a new commitment to regular exercise, I rarely get a moment to just relax.

Wait. Here’s a quick moment. Deep breath. Sigh. Okay, the moment is over. That was nice, though.

I get to go to a writers conference in two weeks. It’s the only writers conference I regularly attend and, honestly, my only opportunity to take an extended break from reality for a day or two. Yeah, it’s LDStorymakers and I can’t wait.

For me, going to an event like this is energizing. It’s a chance to renew my passion for writing while absorbing information from authors, editors, and publishers. I have a ton to learn and there’s always more than enough great information. In fact, the hardest part is choosing from so many great classes. I also love the interaction with other authors because it’s the only chance I get for 365 days.

I’m especially excited this year because I have a new project under my belt. I signed up for the boot camp and can’t wait for the feedback on the first chapter—even though my table might chase me away and tell me I’m crazy after they read it. Shh. Don’t tell them. It’s about a zombie in high school. I had a great time at boot camp two years ago and fully expect an equally fantastic experience this year.

So if you’re going to Storymakers13, don’t be a stranger. Say hi, tweet me zany messages during class, and tell me all about your soon-to-be bestseller! See you there.

~ Jamie

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rearranging the Furniture

I don’t like to get comfortable for too long. I stare at a room and imagine what I could change to make it…different. There’s no rhyme or reason, save the singular goal of changing things around. It drives my wife nuts and it helps me to keep a fresh perspective on things.

I’m feeling that way now about this blog. It needs changes. Nothing subtle, no that wouldn’t do. Something drastic. A name change?

Here’s the thing: When I started writing novels I had one type of story in mind. When I was ready to venture into the world of social media, that story dominated everything I was involved with. A six book series about a young faerie and her quest to overcome the tragedy of her choices. The blog reflected that.

Now there’s a knot in the rope. I wrote this other book, this secret book that has nothing to do with anything I’ve talked about on this blog before. I want the blog to reflect what I’ve written, but also what I’m writing. Does that make sense? It needs to say me. Right now, it doesn’t. So I’m gonna make a change and I’m telling you this because I want you to convince me not to. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013


This week, I gave a copy of my secret zombie novel to a beta reader. She loved it. Then she asked, "are you really going to end it that way?" My initial response was, "well, of course. That was always the plan." The more I think about it, though, the more doubt creeps in about my idea to end the book. It's not what happens at the end that bothers me, it's the approach.

Every book is different, and every denouement has to be handled in its own way; however, there are common elements that readers expect at the the end of a story. I understand that. Or do I?

After the feedback, I looked at my ending and came up with a handful of questions that remained unanswered from the story. Part of me wants them to remain unanswered, leaving room for a sequel; the rest of me knows that I can't get away with it. I need to wrap things up better.

Here's my question for you: How do you prefer your ending? Do you like cliffhangers? Do you prefer a chapter of resolution, or a few sentences to tie things up? Do you like it when the characters spell out everything from the story to put the pieces together, or do you enjoy being trusted to do that yourself? I appreciate any and all feedback about this. It's definitely critical to this story. Thanks.

~ Jamie