Productive Weekend

I had a very productive weekend with regards to my book. I was able to get the text formatted for Amazon’s CreateSpace, as well as the Kindle and the Nook. My wife made a great-looking cover; she’s really amazing at that kind of thing. I also submitted the interior and cover to CreateSpace, and got the approval this morning. I’ve ordered a proof copy, and once that comes, I’ll go over it and look for any spelling or other mistakes. After I’m happy with it, it will be ready to sell. I’m thinking possibly by the end of next week.

I also came up with an overall plotline for my next book. It’s going to take place in the same setting as my first book, but take place over a longer time period. It will have a new main character, but it is one that had a small role in my first book. I’m planning on making it much longer as well; this one turned out kind of short, and I don’t want another short book. I’m aiming for at least 120,000 words; we’ll see how I do.

Finally, I started working on a separate page for my book that will go up on this blog once I have “for sale” links to the various places. It will feature the cover, and a link to download a sample PDF of the first few chapters. Look for that probably late September.


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Calling it Done

I’m calling this book done. Mostly. I’ll probably continue to tweak it a bit here and there over the next day or so, but I plan on beginning the formatting process either tonight or tomorrow. I’m going to create a version to publish using Amazon’s CreateSpace service, and then take the text from that version and create Kindle and Nook versions. (I’m doing that in case I make any changes while formatting for the print copy).

Things left to do:

  • Get an ISBN. CreateSpace offers free ones; I need to check with my wife and see if that’s what she used, and if not, why not.
  • Design a cover. I have some rough ideas, and my wife is pretty good at that, so I’ll probably work with her on that.
  • Write text for acknowledgments, about the author and back cover blurb. I have a rough back cover blurb done.
  • Decide on a price for the print version. This will somewhat depend on how many pages I end up with in the formatted version.
  • Decide on a price for the Kindle/Nook version. I’m leaning strongly toward $.99, partly because that’s a good price for a first novel, and partly because it’s a bit on the short side.
  • Add a page for the book on this blog. I’ll do that once I have a cover and back cover text.
  • Start annoying everyone I know, asking them to buy my book :-).
It’s been a fun process, starting from the first idea and getting to where I am now. I’ve been reading a bit about formatting books, both for print and Ebook, and I have some strong opinions on how they should look already. I don’t want it to look amateur, and I’m pretty sure I can make at least the inside of the book look fairly professional.

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Novel First Revision Complete

I had the previous week off of work, and I spent a fair amount of that time reading through the first draft of my novel and making changes. I fixed a lot of things and added a little over 4,000 words to the text. Most of it was expanding descriptions, but I did write a couple of new scenes that (hopefully) explain certain things a bit better. I also deleted a bunch of unnecessary words, and changed some of the ones I tend to overuse. It still needs work, but I think it is in much better shape that before I started the process.

After I got all the changes put back in, I printed a new copy and gave it to my wife to read. I’m hoping she’ll find more things I can fix, and maybe suggest more ways to add to the word-count. I’m still under 70,000 words, so it would be good to get a longer book if possible. However, I’ve decided that I will probably just go with whatever length I end up with. If it’s right for the story, I hate to add unnecessary padding just to reach some arbitrary size.

It was an interesting experience. I didn’t completely hate anything I had written, and there were several parts I still really liked, even coming back to it after two weeks. For now, I’ll have to wait and see what my wife thinks. I’m counting on her to give me an honest opinion; then I’ll decide what to with the book, if anything.


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Short Story Submitted

Last night, I had my wife read through my first completed short story and review it. She found a few things, which I fixed. A couple of them would have been embarrassing to have left in, so I really owe her for finding them. Over all, she liked the story, so this morning, I reformatted it to match the submission guidelines of most of the science fiction magazines, and submitted it to one of them.

The average response time is five weeks, so it will most likely be some time before I heard anything one way or the other. I’m honestly not expecting to sell my story on my first try, but I’m happy with the story, and I do think I have at least some chance of getting it published somewhere. I submitted to my first choice, but there are plenty of other markets I can try if I don’t succeed here.


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Short Story

So in an earlier post, I mentioned I would probably write some short stories before I started on the second draft of my novel. Shortly after finishing the novel, I sat down and brainstormed half a dozen ideas for stories. I picked one, and started writing.

About 1,400 words in, I decided it wasn’t working. But that’s OK; I’d rather find out sooner than later. So I abandoned that story (for now at least) and started another one. This second one really spoke to me, and I wrote 7,000 words in the space of three days. Pretty good for part-time writing.

I’ll still need to revise it, but overall, I’m pretty happy with it. I decided to write it in first person point of view, rather than third person, which is what I wrote my novel in. I mainly did it for a change, but I think I like writing like that. It gave the narrative a more lively feel, and let me expose the thoughts of the narrator more readily.

Anyway, at this point, I’ll probably take a break from all writing for a couple of days, then start revising this story. I think it has real potential, and assuming I can get something good out of if in the revision process, I will probably try submitting it for publication.


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First Draft Done!

Today I finished the first draft of my first novel. It came in at just under 63,000 words. That is a fair amount less than I had hoped for, but it’s a good start. I already know a few places I can expand on in the second draft, so I’m not overly disappointed.

Besides, I wrote a book! I’m very excited. This is the longest single thing I’ve ever written. When I started this back in June, I wasn’t sure if I would really be able to finish, but I was determined to give it my best shot.

So, what’s next? For now, I’m going to let it sit for at least a couple of weeks. I have a week off from work starting August 29th; I think I’ll probably use some of that time to start thinking about the second draft. I may or may not start on it—that may still feel too soon—but I’ll at least give it a read-through and make some notes.

Anyway, yay me!


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My Writing Process

I’ve always found it interesting to read about other authors’ writing processes, so I thought I would document mine (such as it is) here. Understand that since I’m working on my first book, this may change. However, it has worked for me so far.

First, I started with an outline. That was probably the best decision I made. I don’t know how I would have made it as far as I have without some kind of roadmap. It has made sitting down to write easy, because I already know what needs to happen in each chapter. My outline is pretty simple; just a list of chapters, and what happens in each chapter. I have changed it a few times as well, as I’ve discovered that something wasn’t working, or that I didn’t have enough happening in a chapter. But having a good solid outline before I started writing was essential. I can’t imaging writing a book without one.

Once I had the outline, I started on the book itself. To save me from having to switch between the outline and the main document all the time, I just pasted the outline into a new document, then made each chapter description start on a new page. That way, I could just scroll up a bit to see what I needed to write for that chapter. Because of this, my original outline document is now out of date. Any outline changes I made were just done right in the main document. I think this worked out well; trying to keep both in sync would have been extra work that wouldn’t have gained me anything. Once I’m done with the first draft, I will probably move the chapter descriptions back to the outline document, and make sure they are up to date with what I’ve actually written.

I’m still a full time software developer, so I don’t get to write all day every day. Instead, I find time wherever I can. That means before or after work, lunch time, and weekends. I don’t always work at the same computer, so I set up Dropbox on all the computers I might work on. That way, no matter where I sit down to write, I have the latest copy of my document ready and waiting for me. It has worked out really well, plus it gives me even more backups of my file in case something goes wrong.

I haven’t reached this point yet, but my plan for once I’ve finished the first draft is to let it sit for a few weeks before starting the second draft. I’m still considering how I might approach the second draft. I’ll write another post once I get that far.


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Writing a Book

When I originally started this blog, it was because I thought I might be getting into iOs app development. However, I have just not had the time to devote to that that I wanted to. Since I still have the domain registered, and the blog all set up, I decided I might as well use it for something productive.

I’ve always thought about writing books and short stories, but until recently, have never pursued it. That changed a few weeks ago, when I had an idea for a science fiction novel. I made an outline, mainly to see if I could. I was pretty happy with the outline, so I started actually writing the book. Now, several weeks later, I’m closing in on the end of the story. I have about 55,000 words written so far, with a few chapters left. I plan on fleshing out the story a bit more, to get the word count up around 80,000 words if possible.

So what am I going to do with this book once I’m finished? I’m not sure. I may try to get it published with a traditional print publisher, or, more likely, publish it myself. My wife has published her first book using Amazon’s CreateSpace, and on Kindle and Nook, so I do have some experience with that (I helped her with the Kindle and Nook formatting).

Before any of that, thought, the book will require at least a couple more passes. I know the early parts need lots of work; my writing definitely improved as I wrote more. I’ll probably take some time between drafts, just to let it simmer a bit before jumping back in. During the break, I think I will try some short stories.

Of course, all of this has to be a sideline to my day job and family responsibilities, so progress will be slower than I would like. My goal is to have a first draft done by mid-August, and the final draft no later than the end of the year. If all goes well, though, I could have something well before then. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Supporting Multiple iOs Version

One thing I hadn’t given much thought until recently was the necessity of supporting multiple versions of iOs with any app I write. And I’m not just talking about supporting future releases. I also may need to target my app to older (pre-4.2) versions. Since I haven’t given it any thought, I have no idea how to actually do this. Do I need to have older versions of Xcode or can I keep up with the latest version and still build apps that work on older iOs versions? What about testing? So far, I’ve been keeping my iPod Touch current with the latest versions of iOs. I can’t afford to buy multiple devices for testing. I know the simulator has at least some capability of running older versions, but is that enough? Neither of the two books I’ve been reading addresses this at all.

I’m definitely going to have to do some research into this before I start working on my first app.

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iOs Dev Books

What are some good iOs development books? I’m currently working my way through iPhone SDK Development (The Pragmatic Programmers) and I’ve also looked at Beginning iPhone 3 Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK. So far, I like both of them, for different reasons. The first one seems to get into more detail, but later chapters assume you fully absorbed the first chapters, and leave out a lot of the details. You pretty much have to have the code downloaded from their site if you want to follow along. The second book moves more slowly, which is nice, but at times it does feel more like a beginner’s book. While I am a beginner with iOs development, I’m definitely not a beginning developer. Still, I’ll probably finish both of them, although I may skim chapters somewhat (for example, I skimmed the chapter on Core Data in the first book).

What are your favorite iOs books?

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