What kind of Writer am I?

The last post I wrote was one year and two days ago. I have to apologize for the tardiness of my posts, but a lot has changed in that year.

  1. I changed jobs.
  2. I had a blood clot which led to a few other minor health discoveries.
  3. There were other personal problems that I’d rather not discuss on this blog.

Since that year, I’ve started working at the local newspaper as a staff writer. I cover county and city meetings and other events around Marshall County. It’s pretty fun. I work my own hours, I cover interesting events including concerts, meetings, etc.

I even get to write my own editorial pieces. It’s sort of like an old time blog. Maybe I’ll repost some of them here.

The question is: what about my professional author status? Burning Willow Press is still publishing my series. The first of which is coming out February 2017.

I have two short stories that have been submitted. I had one other short story that was accepted into an anthology, but the publisher suffered some setbacks and the anthology is probably in stasis for good.

Sometimes I randomly open Stephen King’s “On Writing” for inspiration and insight. Today I opened it to page 141 and found the following:

“Writers form themselves into the pyramid we see in all areas of human talent and human creativity. At the bottom are the bad ones. Above them is a group which is slightly smaller but still large and welcoming; these are the competent writers. They may also be found on the staff of your local newspaper, on the racks at your local bookstore, and at poetry readings on Open Mike Night.”

Regardless of the fact that I think Mike should be Mic, King has an interesting point. On his scale, I am a competent writer. That’s good news since, by his scale, I’m not a bad writer. On the bad news, I’m on the second to last place on the pyramid. Above me lies the really good writers, Shakespeare and Faulkner to name a few examples by King. What gives me hope is that King states that competent writers can become good writers. Something to shoot for.

I’m not sure if King is right in his assessment or if he’s right on the money. Only time will tell.

I will attempt to write a little more on this site so stay tuned. If you’ve read this blog and if you are a writer, then I pose the same question I asked myself. “What kind of writer are you?”

Restructuring

Before I start my spiel I wanted to make aware of something about myself that I’ve only recently noticed. Whenever I start on a big or complicated spiel, I usually start with “Well…” Is that normal? Do you have similar oddities? If so, leave them in the comment section below. I’d love to read about them. Plus whenever a comment pops up, I get an email about and it makes my day because that means that people read my blog.

Well…. I’ve started to restructure the Soul Eater Series. One of the major things is I’ve axed two books from the series shortening it from nine books to seven. Why? It made more sense, the series is centered on a seven demon pantheon so why should I have more than seven books.

I’m also utilizing the four act structure of screenwriting to better structure my books. It worked out perfectly with the amount of books in the series. This way it gives my main protagonist, Timothy, a more interesting and fully fleshed storyline. Hopefully.

That’s an update for all of you that read this blog and hopefully since I’m not working as much this summer I’ll have more blog posts. That’s the goal at least.

I’ve also started centering my writing career around short stories in an attempt to get my name and work out there so I’ll be more of an “Established” author when I resubmit The Book of Roland.

Anywoo, thanks for reading and stay groovy!

Benefits of Having a Real Job

Hello all! Haven’t been on in awhile, but that’s because I’ve been retooling my writing priorities and attempting to juggle the last forty days of my academic career.

The true dream of any author should be, I know mine is, to write full time. I’m far from that goal, but I absolutely love working “a real job”. In order to survive the Writer’s Apocalypse, a dedicated author must be able to support themselves financially until writing full time is within reach. Now when I say “a real job” I’m sure that all those writers out there have heard that phrase once. If not, then allow me to explain in a dialogue between a writer and an average Joe.

Joe: So what do you do for a living?
Writer: I’m a writer.
Joe: Okay, but what is your “real job”?
Writer: I work the night shift at Wal-Mart.

But don’t feel ashamed about working a part time or full time job that doesn’t involve writing! The world is full of rich, quirky, and interesting people that provide hilarious scenes, dramatic exits, and thrilling chases in which you (the writer) can draw upon and create characters in your stories that are based off these real life individuals. Doing so will flesh out your protagonist or even a side character. Nothing is more boring in a story than flat 2d characters.

When famous authors say “write what you know” they really mean it. At one of my few places of employment, I worked with a person that had earned the nickname TooTee. TooTee was an interesting person to work because he/she could go from nice to angry, happy to depressed, and any other emotion at a moment’s notice. The stories and adventures that I have witnessed involving TooTee are carefully tucked into a spare folder inside my brain. When the right character comes along that fits that description, I’ll dust off that folder and bring TooTee to life in that desired character.

The moral of this story is: Don’t feel like you’ve hit rock bottom because you had to resort to working at a gas station, or another menial job, because you failed. Soak up those experiences and character flaws that others exude and make your next story one with juicy moments of tension or maybe the awkwardness of a TooTee.

As always, keep calm and write on my friends!

The New Year and What to Expect

Hello everyone! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted to the site. Several amazing things have transpired this last part of 2014 and even more things are happening this year.

1. This is my last semester of undergraduate school

2. My first novel with Permuted Press is due to release.

With these two events, each have spawned several questions:

1. Will I continue on with my graduate program or concentrate on finishing my nine book series?

2. What problems will I face in getting my book published?

3. Will I continue to work at my current place of employment or do I branch out and utilize my degree?

4. If I continue my education, will I have enough time to finish the books?

I hate change. Pure and simple. This year, however, I almost feel like I’m in a novel and the author has placed me in a situation where the plot of the novel could change viscerally or simple stay the same.

It’s kind of exciting. A few years ago I’d be fretting this kind of proverbial fork in the road, but I know now that as long as I trust in God whichever path I take will be His will and I’ll trust that He’s placing me on that path for a reason.

Anyway, my New Year’s resolution is to post more and get more focused on social media and to promote myself.

This is a start!

Remember: Keep calm and write on!

Planner or Pantser?

I was at my weekly Creative Writing Club meeting at IUSB, if you’re in the area come on down, and one of the members had brought her binder with her that detailed her novel she was working on.

There were a few things that impressed me about this binder. The first was that it was completely organized with fancy section dividers and colored tabs. She had the world the novel took place in mapped out precisely how she wanted it.

The second thing that impressed me was the fact that she hadn’t written a single narrative word. She hadn’t started writing yet!

Now I understand that every author has their own creative method and that’s great. It’s rather inspiring that she had spent that much time detailing the world and storyline. I couldn’t do it.

That’s when she called me a Pantser.

That’s right. A Pantser. I looked at her questioningly and she explained to me that Pantsers wrote on the seat of their pants while Planners did exactly that, planned.

I really love this classification for authors. It fits me and my writing style.

My name is James Master and I am a Pantser.

What are you?

Purposeful Distractions

Whenever I do any kind of long term writing, I tend to want some kind of useless noise. Pandora radio is my favorite. In my current project, the Red Hot Chili Peppers radio station keeps the words flowing.

Being apart of society and having all of their gathered noises is another favorite. I made going to my local Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Coffee is also a benefit to writing at a bookstore.

The last is by watching a film or a TV series, such as Doctor Who. In my hotel the other day I was watching Sharknado, a terrible movie. I believe terrible films are fun to watch. Mainly for their ironically comedic value. Bunnyman is another such film.

What other types of distractions or places are good for writing? Comment below!