Friday, November 18

Exams: A break, but not really

It's easier to write a story about a student, than to be one myself. His life is now on hold, since it is time for some exams of my own. However, I am not going anywhere without my notepad, where I keep track of my ideas, plot points, character development and so on. 

So, it will be some time away from the keyboard, but I believe that this could be good for the writing process as a whole. I can't write all day, every day. As long as I use the time in between exams on the many ideas that I want to develop for my book, I am confident that progress will be made soon after the final exam of this semester is over. 

Since I'm writing a book about the death penalty, its effects on people, and the principles behind it, I tend to read more and more news items on the issue. Today, Idaho executed Paul Rhoades after 25 years on death row. That is 8 more than the 17 years that has gone since Idaho last executed someone. 

A comment on an article by The Idaho Statesman has bothered me much. It reads: "May his punishment be carried out swiftly, without any further delay ...and my God have mercy on his soul. Amen." (Source)

It led to a Twitter update still left unanswered. How is it that Christians are able to put themselves as a judge on who to live and who to die? How is state-supported murder any different from non-sanctioned murder? Does God, if one choose to believe in him, make a difference between state and non-state actors? It's hard to go into the theological matter, but the question raised last night on Twitter has always left me without an answer. 

My book will try to dig into this, but also from a more ideological angle. How can people who support a smaller state allow state-sanctioned deaths? These are tough topics, but they need further enlightenment. I hope that I could make a difference. My book will not only go at this from an abolitionist's point of view, which you've probably figured out, I am an advocate for. My character, Jack Colson, will be tested, his thoughts on how the world ought to be will be tried, and nothing will seem to be straight forward again, especially not the issue of the death penalty.

Thursday, November 3

Moving on from introduction

As this is my first novel that I'm trying to put together, everything is new. Nothing I've ever written has come close to this. Then, it is important to manage the different phases in a good way. That's the trick I'm focusing on right now.

I have a draft of my introduction quite ready, and I'm ready to start punching down those plot points that create the story. What’s the point with my characters if they don't do something, right? The transformation, however, seems hard, and I'm kind of in a rut. I'm trying to compensate for that by just writing down the plot points that have developed the most inside my head, and go from there. To patch it all together will be a task for a later day. I thought I could write the novel from A to B, but it just isn't possible. Does anyone really do that? 

I'm glad that I've come to this conclusion, because it's the plot points that I am writing on right now that is going to define my novel. It is exciting to move on from the introductory phase, and start the plot, drive the story, engage in the dilemmas and the moral dilemmas. Well, I'm off to the writing again!

Please, if you like my project, click like on my Facebook page for the updates!

Thursday, October 27

The hard work that is the synopsis

As I am working on my first novel, I come to think of a lot of questions. How to do several tasks involving my novel, except from writing it. I think that's going pretty well right now. But what about the synopsis?

Writing a story is hard enough. How to build up the plot, when to give the reader some ease, and how to introduce characters. All that is bridges that I must cross, but the synopsis is something that I'd really want to shine. I've tried a few times, and this is what I have at the moment.

Jack Colson is a political science student, currently living in Texas. He is an idealist and a dreamer. He refuses to 'grow up', which to him is the same as giving up principles and replacing them with pragmatism.
In an attempt to make a difference, he gets involved in a death row inmate's final struggle. His principles will be put to the test, in a struggle with the reality that he suddenly finds himself in.
Do I give too little of the story away? Is this enough to persuade people to purchase the book? It will probably not cost more than $2-3, but to get those clicks, the synopsis has to stand out. This is probably just a very early draft, and I will most likely write and rewrite it several times. Any tips?

Wednesday, October 19

First Excerpt

Earlier today, I opened my Facebook page by publishing a first excerpt from my book. It is a draft of the two opening paragraphs of the books.

The setting is a dorm party:
"I hope they just give him the needle. He so has it coming!"

"Are you serious? No, it’s just not right! The state is there to protect us, not killing those who break the rules. No, you listen to me. What gives a judge the right to kill, and is there really a civilized society out there if we continue to avenge murder with murder? The idea of an eye for an eye should have passed away with the burnings of the witches and slavery. I don’t care! A murderer is still a human being, not something for the state to kill to please voters, to create a stir and an illusion of safety and justice. Now, admit that you’re wrong. Either that or you are just as damaging to society than a murderer."
I can reassure you, that not much of the book would contain monologues, but this intro, I feel, is important to create the main character in the book. He is Jack Colson, and is the one mouthing that second paragraphs.

I'm not trying to push my story into a conform way of doing it, and hopefully I succeed. I will try to enlighten both political issues like the death penalty from more than this one side, but also create characters that are life-like and believable. As a new writer, I believe that this is my greatest challenge. In my mind, they spring to life, but it's up to me to make them live on paper as well.

The zero-word days

I have only been at this for a few weeks, but writing my own book has now become such an important part of my day that I really miss is when I don't get the chance to sit down at the computer and write. Yesterday was such a zero-word day. 

The best part of not sitting at a desk, hammering away on the keyboard, is that I could be elsewhere, namely outside. I have found that my phone is even more of a treasure now than before, because when I'm outside, taking a walk, I suddenly get new ideas for the story. New locations, new character traits, and new plot points. So, although I miss the joy of seeing the page count increase, I had a productive day. Today would be much of the same.

I have come to the point where my story is introduced, and I'm doing the hard crossover into the territory of the main storyline. Now I give myself time to adjust, and to get more thoughts jotted down on my phone, wherever I am, so that I have even more foundation to begin writing again.

I really hope that the story that is living its own life in my mind, would eventually make a good result on paper. Being published, even if it is self-publication, is probably going to feel pretty fantastic!

Monday, October 17

Designing the cover

I have started to design my book cover. I have only made one sample yet, and as I'm not sure that it reflect the story enough, I'm still working on it.

Death is, of couse, involved in a novel depicting issues like the death penalty, but how bloody do I want the cover to be?

What is your opinions on this cover? What kind of book do you think is behind it? Is it a gory horror book? Is it possible to have a romance developing in a book with a cover like this?

I am all new to both writing books and designing covers, but the inspiration to write this book is so strong that I need to learn more about it. I'd really appreciate your input!

Thanks to @TortugaTess who suggested another font. I'll consider using it.

Update: I have been asked to include a short synopsis so that it could be easier to give feedback, so here I go. Jack Colson is a political science student, currently living in Texas. He is a stubborn idealist, and a dreamer. He refuses to 'grow up', which to him is the same as giving up principles and replacing them with pragmatism. In an attempt to make a difference, he gets involved in a death row inmate's final struggle in his final days. Later, his principles are put to the test when his life is brutally changed. 

Sunday, October 16

My first book project, Fighting Death
"The only time Jack is apathetic about politics, is when it involves politicians." Jack Colson is somewhat of a socially awkward student, an idealist who gets into a struggle with his own principles.

As I am still in the early fifties - that is, on the page count - I still have a long way to go. The plot outline is, well, outlined, and I write in every spare moment. My goal is to self-publish it as an e-book, and I've recently started to browse various sites offering those services.

I will use this blog to ask questions, discuss writing, share frustration and joy. I'd hope some of you will bear with me, and follow this project.

You could follow me on Twitter as well. There, I could be found as @Fighting_Death.