Summer 2015 Update

I know it’s been a while since I posted any updates, and I apologize. Life has a way of stepping in sometimes and showing you who’s boss.

I’m in the middle of a writing workshop right now, this one on building a career, and I’ve just been accepted into a Publishing Master Class workshop that will be held in Oregon in October. Really excited about that one, as it will be taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch, both of whom I have learned a ton from over the past couple of years. And I also have to admit to being a bit intimidated by being around all those other writers, some “pros” and some not, but all immensely talented. Should be a blast!

Work continues slowly on The Novelist, and though it’s progressing at a snail’s pace, I’m really happy with what I’ve got so far. I’m hoping the rest of the novel goes fairly quickly, as I know where the story is headed now and I look forward to seeing how it ends. No kidding. I had no clue what the ending would be when I started. That’s called “writing into the dark” or “pantsing” as some writers refer to it, meaning you’re flying by the seat of your pants. This has been somewhat of an experiment for me as I’m usually an outliner. And although I did outline the first third or so of this book, I kinda veered off course, so now the story has taken on a life of its own. I love when that happens! However, the downside of that for me has been that the writing has gone slower. My outlines have run that gamut from orderly and tidy to messy and illegible. When I was writing The Killing Vision I used a typewritten outline that I actually cut apart and assembled on my office floor; even though I sort of had an idea of what was happening, I needed to adjust things for a specific timeline. (And to be honest, until I assembled my Frankenstein monster outline, I had no clue who the killer was going to be. None.) In any event, the new book is moving forward and that’s all that matters.

Until next time, happy reading, and remember you can find me on Facebook and Twitter and always right here as well.

November 2014 Update

Autumn was short-lived here in Kentucky this year, and it seems we have gone straight to winter.  As I write this we are under a winter weather advisory for this evening, with one to two inches of snow predicted overnight.  It’s always pretty to look at, especially with the holidays just around the corner, but it sure makes for a treacherous commute.

Work continues to progress on the new horror story, tentatively entitled The Novelist.  This is a book I wrote in the ’80s but which I have decided to rewrite and give a horror twist.  The original was just literary fiction, and focused on a best-selling author suddenly stricken with writer’s block.  If you’re a writer, you understand how truly terrifying that is.  I’ve decided to up it a notch, and throw in some hints of the paranormal and out and out horror.  However, it won’t be ready for a January release as I’d first hoped, but look for it in the spring.  More details to come.

I’m taking another writing workshop from Dean Wesley Smith this month.  This one is all about moving from idea to story.  I’m really hoping to get a lot out of this one, as I tend to have lots of ideas, but sometimes have trouble generating a real story from them.  Anyway, Dean is the best, and I’m sure I’ll get more than my money’s worth.  I hope to one day attend one of his in-person workshops out on the west coast; immersing myself for a week in nothing but writing and learning with other authors sounds like heaven.  And to do it on the beautiful Oregon coast is the cherry on the cake.

I still plan to have a book special during December, so stay tuned for more information.  Watch Twitter and Facebook for the latest.

That’s it for this month.  As we head into the holiday season, I hope everyone stays happy and healthy and is surrounded by family, friends, and love.

Happy reading!

November 2013 Update

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perfection.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a wonderful blog post last year about how the pursuit of perfection can actually harm your writing.  Her husband, Dean Wesley Smith, also a great blogger on the business of writing, says (and I’ll paraphrase here) that you have to reach a point where you call the work finished and then stop caring about making it perfect.  Unless you are a writer, you probably don’t understand how difficult that is.  We’re taught from our earliest school days to strive for perfection.  Personally, I was never satisfied with myself in school unless I was making A’s.  B’s were like the ugly step-sister – good, but certainly only second-best.  C’s made me feel as though I was already failing, and anything below a C was just plain devastating.  College was the same, and I remember ripping open the envelope with my grades after my first semester at college, seeing all A’s, and bursting into tears in relief.

So going to a mindset where everything doesn’t have to be perfect is almost like telling me I can sprout wings and fly across town.  What if someone reads my story and finds a major flaw in the plot?  What if one of my characters says something in Chapter 2 and then completely contradicts herself in Chapter 10?  What if the sentence structure in that one paragraph on page 170 is stilted or awkward?  What if, what if, what if?

You know what?  The world’s not going to end.  I’ve had these fears lately about the newest book I’m about to unleash on my beta readers.  There was a lot of research involved, and naturally I’m afraid I’ve missed something.  If I have, hopefully my readers will catch it before it goes to final edits.  Even if they don’t, all I can do is remind myself that I wrote the best possible story I could at that point in time.  Then move on to the next book.  It’s a learning process.

You see, the time to care is when you’re writing.  When you’re creating story.  That’s when you have to do your best.  But caring about your story isn’t the same as trying to make it perfect.  It will never be perfect.  I look back on August  and Drum and think, sure there are phrases or details I could rework, or sections I could rewrite, but I won’t.  Because I’ve moved past those stories.  I did the best I could when I was writing them.  That’s all anyone can do.  Ten years from now I’ll look at The Island or The Killing Vision and think the same thing. Once the book is out, it’s finished.  No more rewriting.  Move forward.  Or as Dean says, stop caring.

In reality, that’s an incredibly hard thing to do.  It’s also a very freeing thing.  The pursuit of perfection can stifle your creativity.  It’s impossible to allow the creative side of your brain to take control if the critical side is constantly acting as overseer and second-guesser.  And if you can’t let go of a story you can’t go on to the next.  I’ve really worked on that all through 2013, and I have written more in the past twelve months than I have in the prior ten years.  Stopping the critical voice while I’m in creative mode, knowing when to stop finagling around with the plot or details and send the story out into the world – all of that has unleashed a tide of creative juices.  It’s been a great ride.

In book news, the illustrations are now finished for Brock Ford.  At least two of the paperbacks will be released before Christmas.  I’m eager for my readers to see these handsome drawings Brian Bowes has created.  I think you’ll agree, he has really brought these stories to life.  Stay tuned to the usual places – here, Facebook, and Twitter – for more info on release dates, etc.  Also, join the mailing list on my Contact page and be among the first to learn about my new books.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you next month.

 

September 2013 Update

Lots of writing going on in the Overby house these days.

The Devil’s Catacombs is coming along, although a bit slower than I had hoped.  I am probably right around the halfway point, so I’m a little behind schedule.  I really had hoped to finish this book by the end of the month, but it’s looking a little doubtful right now.  My next project, Moon Shadow, may be pushed back a couple of weeks.  That actually may be all right, since it is basically an update of a novel I began during my senior year of high school.  I’ve always had a special spot for that book, as I can really tell my talent started to mature during its writing.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  First I need to finish The Devil’s Catacombs.  One project at a time.

The Island will be released at the end of this month.  I’m getting some good feedback from beta readers, and I’m doing the final edits right now.  Watch here, Twitter, and Facebook for updates and release dates.  Once again the multi-talented Kit Foster is designing the cover, and he’s come up with a sophisticated look that we hope to carry through the next few books – part of my author “branding.” Anyway.  More details to come.

I finished up the Pitches and Blurbs workshop with Dean Wesley Smith.  I truly learned a lot during these six weeks.  I’m going to be revisiting all the blurbs for the existing books and most likely tweaking them or completely rewriting them.  It’s amazing all the flaws you can see when you know how to spot them.  Additionally, the assignments forced me to come up with a ton of ideas for new books and stories; I now know what I’m going to be working on for the next year at least.  But the best part of the workshop?  I paid for it with money I earned from my writing.  That feels really good.

So. . . staying busy.  Weekends are full of writing projects now and look to be that way for quite some time.  Which I love.  I really feel like I’m hitting my stride and I’m having so much fun and even making a bit of cash, too.  That’s all anyone could ask for.

See you next month.