Being a Better Writer: So You’ve Discovered Writing is Work, Now What?

Hello readers! Welcome back to another glorious Monday Being a Better Writer post! Yeah, I’m in a good mood this morning. The Halo novel pitch draft is coming along nicely, I’ve got a fairly relaxed topic for the day, and a bunch of new music to listen to while I work!

This work included. Which doesn’t include too much in the way of news before I dive into it. Just one or two things coming up worth discussing.

First, the long-promised wrist post, complete with pictures and a sequence of events, will go up this week. Look for that around Wednesday or Thursday. I have to keep the actual date a little fluid, because tomorrow I find out whether or not I’m going back to work Wednesday, and from what I understand my job has been extremely strapped for workers lately.

It’s amazing. It’s like locking wages for seven years and paying below average market value with really bad hours (9 PM to 4 AM is common, with no compensation like most jobs would have for such a late shift; in fact it’s the lowest-paid job in the place) makes it really hard to keep employees. Especially in a place where the cost of living is currently skyrocketing. It’s like people want money or something in exchange for their labors. Weird, right?

Anyway, long way of saying that they may, if I am cleared for work tomorrow, have me in ASAP because yeah, they don’t have nearly enough employees.

Second bit of news? My books are almost at the halfway point for the end-year goal of 400 reviews and ratings. Seriously, three reviews away. 197 out of 200. So … close!

And that’s it for the news! Like I said, just one or two things. Now, onto today’s post!

So, this post may sound a little familiar to many of you. And that’s because I’ve written a bit on the subject before. Today’s is just from another angle, because surprise surprise, this topic is one I hear requests for constantly.

And in part, it’s because there are a lot of young writers out there who, well, to put it bluntly, with no sugar, think that they are different, that their situation is unique and different from the other new writers when it’s really not. I’m sorry to have to pull the band-aid off, but let me make something clear: It’s not. You may feel that because of the story you’re writing, or your circumstances, or your characters, or your genre, or any number of other reasons, that your story is unique, that if you were working on any other story or if it were some other individual’s writing, the trials you’re facing in these early moments wouldn’t occur.

But you’re wrong. Sure, there might be a small detail here or there that can make your situation a bit different, but at the end of the day?

Writing is work. Even when you love it.

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OP-ED: Can I Be Blunt? I Can’t Stand Modern Cover Design

There, I’ve said it. This post has been a long-time coming (it was actually planned for the week after LTUE, but then that big bit of metal fell …) but today we’re finally getting to it. And the title pretty much sums it up.

I don’t like modern cover design for books. At all. And the more books move toward this modern design, the less I enjoy it.

What’s not to like? First and foremost, the size of everything. There was a time when a book had three primary things on the cover, in addition to some smaller things that could sometimes appear. You had the name of the book. You had the name of the author. And you had the cover image itself. And these were displayed with a decent hierarchy in mind. The cover image was usually foremost, followed by or sharing equal billing with the title.

Now, however … that’s not the case. One of the trends right now is that the author’s name has to be AS BIG AS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE, dominating as much of the cover as it can. At first it was just under the size of the name of the book. Then it became the same size. Now? On a lot of books, it’s even bigger. You can find book covers with the author’s name taking up over a third of the cover. Or more.

Personally? I can’t stand it. I get that there are “reasons” behind it (I heard about them at LTUE, and you’ll definitely hear them from the Indie crowd), but even with those “reasons” I still can’t stand it. Especially as the driving force behind it is … well, it’s kind of childish personally. It’s the old “Bigger is better” idea.

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Being a Better Writer: What to Cut?

Wait? Could it be? Is this a new post? A new Being a Better Writer post, back on its Monday schedule?

It is! Your eyes do not deceive you! I am writing!

Now, granted, this post will still probably be a little shorter than normal. My wrist is still a good ways from being normal. But hey, who cares? I’m back!

So, really quick, some one-sentence updates/recaps in case you’ve missed them before we get onto the post. First, if you’re a Patreon Supporter, check out the newest supporter reward, because it’s a short story! Second, if you’re Alpha reading Hunter/Hunted be sure you’re leaving comments so I can track the progress! Third, if you want to be an Alpha Reader on Hunter/Hunted let me know, as the sooner the Alphas get through the sooner Beta can start! And fourth, if you have suggestions for future BaBW post topics, post them so I can see about adding them to the list!

Right! News is done! So, let’s talk about editing. Because yes, that’s what we’re looking at today. Specifically, one of the most difficult parts of editing: knowing what to cut.

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A Multitude of Various Updates

Hey readers!

I know. Content has been light the last few weeks. Thankfully enough, that’s about to change, starting with today!

First, I can’t tell you how good it feels to be writing again, even if I’m only at the moment doing about 1,500 words a day. Which all things considered is pretty good. But doing more than that makes me pretty sore. And it might get cut down slightly now that I’ve started physical therapy, which has given me a rash of exercises to do that, well, if you’re familiar with how physical therapy works, they wear the recovering area out.

But I’m doing my best to bring things back up to speed. Things may be a little shorter than normal for a while, but I’m trying. But today I’ve got some updates for you on how Unusual Things will be coming back on track. Upcoming features, current projects, etc. And then at the end of it all, a Being a Better Writer topic call! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of those!


So, first and foremost, the current editing project: Hunter/HuntedHunter/Hunted is currently in the Alpha, and has been distributed to several Alpha Readers, and now I’m just waiting for them to work their way through. Once that’s done, we can move to beta, and once that’s done? Well, the usual. Out to the public with it! Or at least, the side of the public that’s made up of my old guard fans.

At this point, though, it’s up to the Alpha readers to go through it. I’m excited to let this one out into the wild, but not until it’s ready to survive and thrive.

Which reminds me, I gotta find a new artist for the cover.

Now, onto more news!


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Classic Being a Better Writer: Health

Hey folks!

My wrist still isn’t back at 100% (I’ve still got another week to go before I’m even at the minimum recovery time), and while I can write, it’s not comfortable to do so. At all. I can get some stuff done, but I end up risking pain the longer I write. While I’ll like start writing on that Halo book this week … I’m holding off for a few more days as my wrist is still pretty battered.

No joke. I’m up to maybe ten pounds of pressure now. As in, I can handle something with up to that weight before my wrist starts to hurt. Which is better, but not ideal. More healing to come. And it’s still pretty stiff (though again, not nearly as bad as it was). I may be able to go about my day-to-day without the brace soon, and default back to an ace bandage.

So it’s with a bit of a laugh that I decided to pick today’s Classic Being a Better Writer post in lieu of writing my own. Next week, guys. Next week I’ll write a new one (believe me, I want to).

But for now? Well, let’s check out this classic post on staying healthy.

Yeah, this topic choice did bring a smile to my face.


It occurs to me, as I sit down to write today’s post, that it is quite often that I start these posts with some phrase similar to “Today’s topic might seem strange …” or the like. Not that it’s an incorrect thought, after all. I do tend to say that a lot here. But I always say it with purpose. It’s a way of saying “Hang on, don’t go away just because the title isn’t about how to string words together in the proper sequence up front. Stick around for a bit. This will all make sense. I promise.”

Today’s post is another one of those days, and once again I am going to repeat myself: Stick around and humor me for a moment, please. As odd as it may seem, today’s topic is one that’s actually quite important, not just to your life in general, but to your writing specifically. Yes, you read that correctly. This topic is more important than you’d guess.

I want to talk about your health.

Why? Well, it’s one of those topics that seems to take a backseat whenever we’re talking about writing. Go to writing cons and writing classes and you’ll hear all about prosaic styles, show versus tell, hooks, prologues, and many, many other important bits of writing. But one thing you almost never hear about is the author taking good care of themselves.

And personally, I think that’s a bit of an oversight.

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Price Drops, Wrist Report, and Other Updates

Hello readers! Again, I apologize for the lack of material these last two weeks. This arm injury really threw a wrench into everything writing and life-wise. And right now I’m battling to get my worker’s comp (and may, it seems, need to get a personal injury lawyer) so that’s taking up time … Ugh.

You know, things would be a lot nicer if companies would just be nice, ethical, and legal. Or at the very least not attempt to bury their screw-ups and take responsibility for their mistakes. I’m not looking forward to going down there today, let me tell you.

Anyway, that does tie in with the arm. How is it? Well … improving. I’d say I’ve got about 50% of the mobility back in my wrist, and the swelling has gone down. I can hold something that weighs a pound or two without too much strain now, though position matters. And the brace helps.

All said, it’s getting better. The gash is healing too. Still looks ugly, and will probably leave a scar, but … that’s life. It still aches a bit when editing and writing, so I have to take breaks, but they’re getting less frequent. Another week, I’d say.

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Classic Being a Better Writer: Some Advice for Starting Your First Book

Afternoon readers!

My arm is still recovering. I’ve regained some finger movement but my wrist is still heavily restricted and even this little bit of typing hurts. So writing a new post is out of the question.

Good thing I’ve got several years of archives, right? So that’s what we’re looking at today. Today’s post will be a classic Being a Better Writer from time past. In this case, we’re jumping back to February 1st of 2016, with a post for those who’ve always said they’d like to write a book but just never quite gotten around to it. The leader will be in italics, but after the jump you’ll find yourself in the original post itself.

In the meantime, I’ve got to get some stitches taken out and some editing to (hopefully) manage!

So, this is it. The time has come. You’ve finally decided. You’re going to sit down and start that new book you’ve been waiting to write. You’ve done other projects before, short stories and the like, but this time, you’re going for the novel. Long chapters. A compelling plot. You can see the final scenes in your head. You grin with glee, sit down at your keyboard, and …

Nothing. You wait for the words to spring forth, but they aren’t coming. You’re paralyzed by indecision. Suddenly you’re aware what a huge project this is. You’ve never attempted something of this size before! Your fingers seem frozen.

Relax. It’s understandable. Starting a book is a big project, one that brings a lot of pressures and requests to the table. And it’s different from a short story, fundamentally so. It’s going to take some alternative approaches to how you’ve worked before.

Maybe this is you. Then again, maybe it isn’t. Maybe you’ve sat down without any prior writing experience whatsoever and tried to write out a book only to realize you weren’t quite sure what you were doing. Maybe you’re struggling through it anyway and want some tips. Or maybe you haven’t started one yet, but you’ve been watching this blog like a hawk, thinking “Soon, my time will come.”

Well, today might be that time, because today?

Today we’re talking about what goes into starting a book.

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