Friday, February 28, 2014

Author Interview - Jayson James

Hello, and welcome to my blog! Today I will be interviewing Jayson James about his novel, T.E.D. After the interview, you can find out more about him, follow his feed, and take a look at his works in the links below.

1. What is your book T.E.D. about?
T.E.D. is about three diverse guys Tim, Eric and Delsin, whose lives are intertwined as they each face their own struggles.   The story takes place around entries Tim made in his journal while Eric and Delsin provide the back-story of the events taking place.   Tim is a kid you feel sorry for and you want to give him advice how to better his life, and eventually you want to tell to quit being a wimp.  Eric is a character hiding his fear of being discovered by picking on others.  Delsin is supportive and does what he can, but is dealing with his own issues.  These guys are all flawed, yet likable characters.  It was important for me to have real people that my readers could identify and relate. 

2. What inspired you to write it?
The idea for the book I had a little over a year ago.  I jotted down some ideas, and then I has some more ideas, so I would jot them down.  One day the ideas for the book simply clicked.   Although I knew there are quite a few books out there about bullying, as far as I have ever seen none of them were written like my book. 

3. Have you written other works? If not, then what else are you working on?
I have four other published works, which take place chronologically one after another.  However, I wrote each of them as a stand-alone book.  My readers started calling the books the Finding Our Way Series and the name stuck.  After many requests, I released the books together in a series collection.
Finding Our Way is about after one night of drinking and going too far these two friends, Derrick and Justin become aware of their own sexuality. 
Tormented Discovery explores Derrick and Justin being who they are and how others around them handle it.   The readers get to read more about Hayden and get a closer look at his and Ryan’s relationship.
Drifting focuses on what happens in a relationship when one loves someone but is questioning whether they both are in love anymore.   This time readers get to read from Ryan’s perspective and what is going on in this shy guy’s head.
I also have a few published novellas.  Summer Escape is about two friends who on a weekend away decide to live by their own rules.  I thought it would be a good way for new readers to sample my writing.  Far & Away is about two guys who meet online, fall in love and realize life is too short to stay apart. 
My current work in progress is something unlike anything I have ever released before.  It takes place back in 1988 and is a coming of age novel about this guy and girl who are best friends who growing up and coping with life’s changes. 

4. What writers inspire you?
Mainstream, would have to be Stephen King who has been my longest running inspiration.   I would be delighted to have half the success he has had in his lifetime of writing.
The gay scene is Nick Nolan who I met after I read his book Strings Attached  and left a review of what I thought of it.   Nick is a talented author, one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and someone I am glad to have made friends with him.

5. Where do you get your book ideas?
The preverbal question I did not think I would ever see another author ask.  Someone once said, “Write what you know.”  I guess my ideas would come through life and experiences.   However, I want to write about book from the point of the view of the killer someday and I do not plan on killing anyone to know what I am writing about.

6. What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Time, energy and ideas coming together.   It feels like I have two out of the three and yet so rarely all three, which is what it takes in order for me to write.

7. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Believe in yourself and keep close those who believe in you.  Seek out constructive criticism and value those who are willing to tell you when something stinks as well as what they like about your work.  If you publish, celebrate your success, being each book you sell is one more than you had previously sold.

Interested in more Jayson James?
Twitter: @jaysonjamesbook

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Give Me A Break!

           “Give me a break” and no, I don’t mean from that Kit-Kat bar. Writing is hard because you can’t just write, you have to write effectively. For example:
           Give me a break! vs. Give me some slack!
           Both mean the same thing, right? Wrong.

The first one is more forceful, and it would only suit a dramatic scene. It implies that they have been ridden harder than a donkey through the Grand Canyon.

The other one is more passive aggressive. This is great if you’re writing a scene that’s meant to be funny or informative, as it adds just the right touch of drama and tension.

Be careful in how you write, because if you just wrote the most fantastic book, that is technically correct, one sentence will draw them out, and every time you do that, they aren’t believing in your book. It doesn’t take a lot of sentences like that to make the reader feel that way. And out of those 100,000 words you took to write the book, you can’t afford for the reader to get tripped up over those four above.              

Monday, February 24, 2014

Overlooking One Small Thing Can Ruin A Big Thing

               Today I got in trouble at work. I did a good job doing something, but I overlooked something that snowballed into a big issue. In relation to writing, this is important too. If you overlook small details and forget the world you created on the page is a real place, it can upset the balance of the entire writing piece.
               For example, in my novel the Director of an orphanage leaves for an important duty somewhere else. Yes, this is an important and well-done plot, but I forgot to mention who is going to run the orphanage in his absence. Details like this are important.
               As a writer, you can be so into your story and focused on making it a great work, that you forget the readers think it’s real, and they’re not going to believe that thing you overlooked. The result? That pulls them out of the story, and that is something a writer never wants to happen.

               Remember, the devil is in the details.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Writing Ideas

               Coming up with book ideas can be hard, but even the bestselling authors can struggle with this. A completed book idea doesn't just pop into your head! Sometimes, we can think of book ideas when we least expect it. For example, Stephen King, my writing idol, was walking across a bridge when he thought of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, and wondered what it would be like if a troll lived under a city. That birthed “It”.
               He came up with another when he was listening to a religious radio channel and a preacher said this generation would destroy the world. That birthed The Stand. One more example: Stephen King’s son, Owen, almost got hit by a car, and he wondered what he would have done. That birthed Pet Semetary.
               Personally, I came up with my idea from the lyrics of a song. I like this method best because songs, of course, are art, and art is open to interpretation. So if I hear a song that’s abstract, I may just be able to build a story after it. After all, songs are just mini stories.
               Another way to come up with ideas is to re-imagine old tales just like Stephen King did with The Three Billy Goats Gruff. If you get stuck, just play the what-if game.
               I think that it’s important for writer’s to just be able to go off in weird tangents. For example, another author friend of mine, S.G. Redling, came up with her book idea Flowertown because she was using hand sanitizer and thought to herself ‘what if this is a biological weapon?’ 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Writing and Editing

            “No writer is entirely without sin…” Stephen King states here, in a profound way, that every writer makes mistakes. The sin of the writer is always as black as the ink he writes with, and there is no writer that is without it. It is that black sin as well as that black ink that defines writers. Both ink and sin must be poured and splayed onto the paper to achieve better writing skills.
            When focusing on writing, it is critical to focus most on the subject. You MUST have a goal. For example, if someone is writing about the Kalam Cosmological Theory and its base links on temporal relations, then say so. Even if the subject is complicated the subject does not have to be, and it can be understood by anyone even if they do not know what the subject it pertains to.
            Once the subject is identified everything must correlate to it. The subject is god and everything else is simply a creation of it. If there is something in the paper that is not created by the subject, then there is another god, and the monotheistic quality of the paper is lost. That is simply heresy. The paper should be uniform, concise, and religiously devout to the subject. 
            If one must formulate their own subject, they must create it carefully. It is not only the spoken word that can be misinterpreted. One can write a research paper with the subject “People are wicked” and give the most irrefutably true contentions. However, not all people are wicked. The subject itself is flawed, and therefore the entire work is flawed. The subject should have stated capability as opposed to existence by saying “People can be wicked”. A slight word change such as that can save an entire work from becoming irrelevant.
            The organization of the paper helps keep the focus of the reader. If the information must be reread to understand a new concept introduced, the reader will become agitated. Just because someone wrote something does not mean everyone should read it. The reader is trusting the work to be good because they are investing their valuable time in it by reading the material. The author owes it to the reader not to waste it, because the author works for the reader- not the other way around.
            The organization and presentation of the material is dependent on the purpose. If the paper must be organized by chronological order, such as how to do something, then that will always take priority. However, if there is no chronological order, then one must organize the paper by hierarchy or importance. This paper is ordered by title, main points, sub points, and conclusion.    
            The collection of main points is critical. Every point must be necessary to get the overall message across. If there is something missing or if the main contention is not the strongest it can possibly be, then the paper is weak. To create a great work, every point must leave no doubt as to its necessity.
            The organization of sentences must be ideal, and this is the most complicated of all organizational skills. Any sentence can be grammatically correct and still not feel right. If the flow is bumpy, then all of that structure, organization, and careful planning will be for naught. This asset is part intuition and part skill. The most helpful thing to do is to take a break. A lapse in time enables you to come back to your work with a more objective eye. Then, read it aloud and see if it sounds like honey dripping. If it does, the writer has done well!
            Selecting the format for a paper is the most covert writing skill of all. For example, the reason tabloids and newspapers have narrow columns that happen across two or so meager rows of the page is because they want the reader’s attention. Quickly finishing a line every second or two and finishing the article in less than a minute surmises a sense of accomplishment and silently strokes the reader’s ego.
            With that being said, the purpose of the subject and the application of it is important in identifying the format of a paper. If the text is going to go in a newspaper or tabloid, choose the format previously mentioned. If it is going to be submitted as a college work, use APA format (or as directed by the instructor). Selecting proper format can assist students’ grades or attract readers.
            When formatting, it is also important to know who the audience is. In college, APA format is used in research papers because it is a formal format and can be viewed as a pedigree. Books have multiple formats. If the audience is young adults, the font is typically bigger and less words per page. Typically, quotations are stand-alone paragraphs. If the audience is adult, the words are more per page, smaller font, and the quotes are incorporated in the paragraphs.
            It is also critical to know what the purpose is of what is to be written. There are many purposes that a paper can hold such as informational, humorous, poetic, etc. There are many styles to each purpose of writing. In college, the most common purpose for writing is informational, which is to include research papers. For each purpose, there are multiple formats to select. Although many college papers are APA format, not all of them may be. The most appropriate format must be selected in order to deliver a truly perfect coup de grĂ¢ce.
            Without any shadow of uncertainty, editing a paper is a screamingly important stage of writing. Editing is the saving grace of all writers. It does not matter the mistakes made before, because everything can be redeemed by this process. To be perfectly honest, most of the rough draft looks nothing like the final draft. At least, that is true if the author’s skills are superb.
            The creative stage is the editing stage- not the rough draft. The editing stage is where an author can reread their work, find new pathways with better views, and still get to the same destination. That is exploration; that is creativity. The ways that are least obvious are often the most beautiful, and whomever the author may be, it is their dutiful obligation to show the reader to it. Do not lure the reader down a road of mud when there is a flowing river nearby they can walk along. The author’s writing shoes will be cleaner for the good of it all, too.
            Every word in a paper is meant to count. If one was to take out a single word from a sentence and the sentence still be complete, then that word must go. Every sentence, every syllable, and every letter must be absolutely necessary and advance information continuously to the reader without repetition. If the author attempts to annihilate every word he created and reduce his work to a blank page once more, then he successfully wrote and edited his work.
            The skill of editing is a tough one to learn. To edit, one must first ensure everything before this paragraph in this paper is complied with. Once that is completed, edit paragraphs by properly separating new ideas and keeping same ideas together, edit sentences by creating smooth flow and proper structure, and edit each individual word by spelling and necessity.

            While these are not the only skills in writing, each one of them has multiple approaches and strategies to them. If the reader of this paper remembers nothing else, remember that editing is, debatably, the most important strategy to writing. “To write is human, to edit is divine.”