Monthly Archives: July 2008

Last Things First

Question: When is it ever ok to put the cart before the horse?

Or in other words: What do you do with a horseless cart? Much the same question perplexed me when I circled the first blank page of chapter nine. I wondered, How was I ever going to pull that load?

Tons of anxieties, like little darts, pricked at me. What idea could I build on? Could I overcome my nervousness? Would I live up to the expectations of the other accomplished writers on the team? What if they hated my chapter? After all, I was bringing all their hard work to a closure.

Understandably, those all played a part of my perplexities. But, I believe the crux was in the nature of writing a final chapter itself. A person does not wake up one day and simply say, “Hey, I think I’m going to write the last chapter of a novel today.” That’s ludicrous! They begin in chapter one, progress through the mid-section, build to the climax, and deliver the conclusion. But there I was, staring at the first blank page of the last chapter.

I panicked. Inwardly, I felt like an unborn babe, asked to start life in adulthood, bypassing development stage in the womb and infancy where others would dote over me, skipping over toddlerhood where I could run about and cause mischief, and I won’t even discuss the adolescent behaviors I’d forego … But there I was, selected from a hat to bring the work to maturity. As a writer, I did the only thing I knew how: I schemed.

I began by pouring over chapter one, two, and so forth, taking notes. I brainstormed, asking myself questions like: What did all these chapters have in common? What theme was a repeated guest? What could I add that would complement the other chapters in tone, without rehashing previously written material? And I asked a whole lot of other questions.

Many of my bunny trails led to Alice in Wonderland holes, while others led to forks in the road where I had to choose a direction. Messages were exchanged between the other authors and me, discussing characters and plot developments. I must have written a dozen outlines and tossed nearly as many away before finally settling on a feasible one. Even then, after the writing began, I had to constantly recheck previous chapters for facts and re-plan my direction when obstacles popped up. After all that, I still wondered at times if I’d fashioned a suitable cart.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t exchange the experience for anything. Working with the KvP Alumni on this project has been first rate. And my answer to the initial question: “It’s ok to put the cart before the horse when you know the team of horses that will pull it.” Writing chapter nine was not a solitary endeavor. I got to know the 8 chapters that would make “Ageless Dawn” relevant. You could say that I built my cart to order. Not too big, fancy or awkward, but hopefully just right.

But you can be the judge of that when you pick up a copy and take it for a spin around the track. Check back soon for the August publication date!

– drjeantre16

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things we’ve learned: Part II

Okay, some more things we’ve learned from doing this first project…maybe a snippet of something will be of some help…

5) The needs of the of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one. Okay, so I borrowed this from “The Wrath of Khan.” But so what? It fits! There are times when you may disagree with the rest, or when you’d rather cut out and catch a movie when you should be finishing your final rewrite which everyone expects by morning, but you suck it up, and do what it taked to get it done. That is the the #1 rule in collaborating.

6) Deadlines are fluid. Never forget this one. It’s more important to get it done right than to just get it done.

7) Respect. When you’re working with 7 or 8 or 9 other people, remember the old song: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  The first time you screw up by not respecting someone’s viewpoint, you have lost their respect…probably for good.

8) Artistic types need guidelines, not walls. If you are an anal type, like myself, you cannot expect an artistic-type person to stay on a leash and follow strict rules and conditions. They do, however, like guidelines to help them along.

These 8 guidelines aren’t carved in stone, but I guarantee they’ll make your project, and your life, move along a little smoother.

-Whig

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cover unveiled!

We have finally decided on the final cover, and here, for the first time, is the cover for “The Artifact: An Anthology.”                                       

                                                                   

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things we’ve learned: Part I

As we come to the last couple days before sending our novel (“The Artifact: An Anthology”) to print, we are beginning to think about some of the paths we chose, and things we’ll do differently on the next project…

1) When the book is done, it’s not really done. Last minute third party endorsements, and emergency re-write, and art issues are just a few of the things that we didn’t factor in our initial time frame.

2) Outside influences always change. Fanlib, the entity that brought us together, closed down. It is also where we were doing the bulk of our communicating, so we had to find a last minute replacement for the fanlib forum.

3) The Little Details count. Small things can drag final editing out a day or more, such as single or 1.5 spaced lines, and which symbol do we use for paragraph breaks. Yeah, they seem small, but they do matter!

4) The weather has a hand in the book. When you all live across the country, and the web is your only form of communication, a storm that knocks out the internet for a day or two can really hurt!

The list will go on, but as you can see, there are always things you can’t plan on. And, for a schedule-freak like me, it can be very frustrating. I think I need some Rolaids. Uh, oh…is Rolaids a copywritten name? Can I use it in this blog? (Just another last minute issue that can come up!)

Part II tomorrow.

 

-Whig

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where do fan writers go now?

With the demise of Fanlib, thousands are flocking to other fan fiction sites, such as Myfandoms.com and fanfiction.net.  Why? Because they gotta get their “write” on, that’s why!

Now, these sites are all good. The definitely offer people of like tastes and writing desires the ability to express themselves in an accepting community.

However, I believe that those people can take kick their passion up a notch.

It’s easy to use fan fiction sites as a crutch. It’s comforting to know that you can put your 2500 word story on a site where almost everyone will give you praise, and you will do likewise for their work. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s that type of encouragement that gave me the marbles to start writing after 25 years of laying dormant…

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goodbye, Fanlib…we barely knew you

As the old saying goes, “All good things must end.”

And so it is ending for Fanlib, the entity that brought our group, and thousand of other fans, together. It was a website that would let us all express our creative sides, and take the characters we knew and loved from tv and movies to a whole other place.

And, now it’s gone.

They just announced that they’ll be turning off the lights on August 4th. In reality, it’s just a business decision made by the owners of the site. But in our reality, it’s shutting the door on a place where we could unleash our creative souls.

But, another saying tells us that when a door is shut, another one opens…

I will always remember and be thankful for Fanlib. It helped me realize a dream that’s been building inside me for 25 years. Instead of continuing in meaningless jobs with my “music” dying inside me, Fanlib introduced me to my hidden talent, and to a community of people with similar dreams and aspirations.

And, Fanlib gave me the opportunity to meet the people who are collaborating on this project.

So, I guess as I’m looking for an appropriate tribute to a great website (Fanlib) that only lasted a year and a half, we’ve got the perfect one right in front of us…

…to carry on with this, and future projects, and to never let the music die within us.

Thanks, Fanlib.

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Artifact: The Commercial!

Esr960 has produced an amazing commercial for our book…enjoy!

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