Monday, December 26, 2011


I’ve encountered a lot of advice on writing. The years fly by and it seems that certain aspects of the art become more crucial and pointed for me, whilst others seem like non-issues. What have I learned from these experiences? I was going to make a list, but perhaps just fragments of thought would be more appropriate (and more for you to criticize!).

(Okay, I’m making a list.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Self-Publishing and eBook Creation

Hello all. Thank you for visiting this blog once again. Kyle & I appreciate it very much.

It's not easy to "reach the masses" these days, despite ever growing media channels. And, perhaps that makes it even more crucial for bloggers and tweeters to keep up, lest they fall behind. We would hate to fall behind.

The order of business in this post is a discussion and overview of self-publishing, and eBook creation.

You'll say (since you've followed ALL of our posts), "Hey, you two fools, haven't you already done self-publishing posts before? I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS." Well, we say, "That's why you're sitting...and something new has come up, so we feel it a good thing to update the STATE." Applause.

I have The Write Message onto Amazon and Barnes & Noble as an eBook. I am very proud. Exciting.

A few posts back I mentioned how self-publishing (and all publishing for that matter) require more than just writing and selling: you've gotta market. Without putting it out there, you are leaving your fantastic, golden baby to die in the annals of The Internet. The annals are a scary place. You don't want that.

Since I have just put my creation to the world in a digital format (other than in print  at the KU Bookstore), I have some words of advice: you'll become the person who people think of as "Oh, here THEY come, shoot. They're going to talk about their BOOK again. I bet you all of the glittering vampires in Twilight. Yeah, that's right -- you're not going to take that bet."

But, it must be done. The odds of your ebook or printed book selling past your family and close friends is low. It's lower than your room temperature, you poor, poor, person.

You'll have to be a bit annoying. And, it will hopefully pay off, assuming you have a worthwhile story.

That being said, publishing your creation on Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble is surprisingly easy and quick. You'll probably want to learn a bit about formatting...seriously. If you spend the time learning how to format either in a word processor, or HTML (that's what epub and mobi use), then you'll be able to nearly obliterate all formatting oddities when you go look at the site previews. I'm not a professional, and I don't have to the time to become one, so I didn't get ALL of the problems out. Just the big ones.

When you've got that ready, for Amazon, go to the bottom of the page for Independently publish through us. Then, assuming you aren't doing print, go to Kindle Direct Publishing (versus print for createspace). And, the rest is straightforward.

For B&N, go to the bottom for Publishers. Then, you'll find information about pubit! That's the service you'll use and in my opinion it's even easier than with Amazon, which is saying something.

You get to set your royalties, the genres (you get 5 with B&N, vs 2 with Amazon), and any information about your book you think the audience would like or needs.

After that, you wait for the processing to go through. Amazon is fast, like Jimmy Johns. B&N is not as fast.

And, that's it for now! You can, of course, check out Smashwords. They also do eBook publishing. I haven't had much experience with them, so my guidance stops here.

And, as always, some useful links to help boost my ego:
The Write Message at B&N
The Write Message at Amazon


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Writing After NaNoWriMo

Certainly it must be possible to write after the infamous National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).



Okay, I should clarify: writing a different story once NaNo is over. And by a different story, I mean to assume that you've completed your NaNo piece. Because we all complete the things we work on.

I did NaNo last year, successfully. I got it published in April, so I was editing during that time. Once I had it finished, I wrote stuff in vague bits of inspiration for some time. And basked in my own *glorious* writing.

Then I went back to old projects. Then took a break. But now, I've got two main projects and I love them both. I recently checked the page count for my new story, "Daniel and his Dead Brother Brian", and it's at 27 pages. I was very happy. That's something. It's the beginning of a story. Readers can actually judge it!

So, I suppose I am in a surprised state. It feels strange to be writing without an overt deadline. No end of November to hound my dreams (nightmares). Instead just the nightmares of stories forgotten. Just Kidding. Really.

But, in the end, I'm happy that I'm back into writing something and not moving on quickly. I'm back, baby!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jason's Rules of Writing

Jason's Rules of Writing

(And why you shouldn't listen)

  1. You write gold. Except you suck.
  2. You will usually describe objects (nouns) by their three most important features. (More of a context thing.)
  3. Passive sentences are killed by a watchful eye (or eyes) and practice.
  4. Being redundant is redundant. Don't be redundant.
  5. Readers will hate a meaningless story more than a story full of crappy writing.
  6. Readers don't like to read crappy writing, unless glittering vampires are involved; and thus the pages glitter in their own respect.
  7. You write gold. Except you suck.
  8. The mark of a great writer is one who learns the rules (guidelines), and breaks them in such a way that the reader benefits from it (and possibly doesn't realize the breakage).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Apologia Writing

We don't live in a vacuum.

Our words can hurt others as much as they can enlighten.

Learning to tone down the critical or negative aspects of one's views in light of how others may perceive the message is something I have never been particularly great at.

And, because of this, sometimes it means you have to bite your own words.

NaNoWriMo gave me a lot. Although I have only participated in it a single time, I have fully experienced the trials and stress of the competition. A friend of mine has children and she gave it a shot last year, only to get a few thousands words typed. So, because I finished means what exactly? That I had an easier time. That's all.

Under the guise of being Awesome, it seems I became cocky and then  not-so-cocky after the fact. Now I just pity the poor souls who devote November to the Writing G-ds. I pity them for one main reason: it's a drug that is hard to give up.

I will re-iterate that I am not jealous of my friends doing it this year. It is a tough thing to do and should not be taken lightly. After all, as students, hitting 1667 words a day ain't easy. And, that assumes you don't like writing utter sacks of smelly forgotten words. You want to do well. And so did I.

The first thing one must do in any sort of rhetoric, especially when they are communicating with a potentially opposing beliefs crowd, is not to attack them or make them feel stupid.

I didn't quite miss that mark. I didn't mean to come off as critical or pretentious as I might have. I was only looking to write a blog post.

So, brave NaNo'ers: fare the rocky synonym shores and alliteration valleys with caution as you make your way to the Land of Eternal Denouement. If you're lucky, you might come out with something you'll want to continue working on.


Making NaNoWriMo out to be a (non) Giga Deal

Perhaps it should be stated that NaNoWriMo is a giga deal.

It isn't so much that the act of writing itself is important, but the persistence in doing so.

That is the "magic" of NaNoWriMo.

And, at least in my case, once I've waved the NaNo stick, suddenly the event itself seems to disappear.

Until over half of my writer friends are doing it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prologues assasinate Wookie Witers

So, it all began.
There was a forest.
And a young boy — in said forest — who didn’t know who he was.
Then an old man with a tangled, silvery beard, came up to him with a somber smile.
The boy didn’t know that a smile was meant as a greeting, but considered it evil.
He leapt to try to kill the old man, but failed pathetically.

Then one day a horrible storm washed through the forest, and as the old man was fighting the world’s strongest bear, he died when a tree struck by lightning flattened him.

The boy reverted back to his original, evil programming.

And thus begins our story.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Get a literary Prius

Sputter. Sputter. Sput. Sput. Sput.

Your writing engine just died. The pen stopped and the paper stretches on for seventeen notebooks. Crud.

You gotta finish though, right? It's fairly important, this ridiculous thing called writing. And, for many of us, it pays the bills.

So, what happens when you're cruising along the margins, admiring your penmanship (penwomanship), smiling as the characters do lovely and not so lovely things to one another, and then your story stalls? You could get an oil change, or fix your tires. But, really, what if all you need is a new car?

No, I'm not talking about a new story. I'm not talking about taking a leak, and I'm not talking about replacing your pencil. I'm talking about a new perspective: that might be your Prius--half writer, half real person.

If you're stuck in the pot-holes of your story, hybrid or not, even if you've just finished a great chapter, you must wonder what to do next. Is it possible to lose the magic? Could you actually break the mechanics of your story if you make a wrong move? It is certainly possible. Thus, you can do a couple of things: either write through it, or do something else.

I, my lovely thousands of readers, usually opt for the latter. That doesn't mean that you can't, but sometimes it just gets to be a lot of crap before you hit gold. So, how about hang out with those creatures called "friends", see a movie, or by the G-d's powers, read?

And that is what you'll need to think about. Change up your vehicle--either by turning down another road, or looking through the eyes of a different windshield. Either way, you should put some thought into it, otherwise writer's block, no matter what form it is, if it exists, will keep blocking you from that Pulitzer.

Now, back to work. Drive that car to the finish line.

-JK out.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Down & Dirty Fiction

Okay, so the title to this post might be misleading. What I meant was for “getting into a story”. People say, “Oh, yeah, I got into Lost.” Or, “I just couldn’t get into Harry Potter.” The topic of this post, then, is what does it mean to get into something, and on a greater note, why we use that phrase. Let’s begin like we normally would: with some ridiculous statements that we can hardly back up.

Chuck Wendig of terribleminds has coined the term, penmonkey, and wisely so. In his book of predominately edited blog-posts, Confessions Of A Freelance Penmonkey, Chuck talks about how the content of a story is not bound to the margins of the page (or sides of your compy or tablet). He calls it the magic of the cell-phone, with communication from all places of the story coming in and going out, and especially interfering with one another. Of course, that’s the way it should be. And that, JK’s huge base of readers, is where our idea of “getting into a story” takes place.

Getting into something probably means finding yourself in the story. Perhaps you are reading Gulliver’s Travels (the revised for modern comprehension edition), and within a couple of pages you find yourself gasping at the *SPOILER* tiny men tying up our beloved Gulliver. You got into the story. You found yourself at the scene, and what’s really important here is that you cared about the story, and hopefully, the character.

Writers and readers want that. If within a chapter the reader hasn’t gotten into the story, then they probably won’t (and hopefully they didn’t waste their money and time!). They can try, and they might, especially if there are vast changes in the story or a different POV. But, they would probably just be forcing their eyes along the pages until they go Fahrenheit 451 on that POS. Writers, too, but many won’t realize if they’re writing crappily until they’ve received 50 rejection letters from (hopefully) prominent publishing houses. (You can self-publish, of course!) They might not notice what they’re writing. Or, they might. Hopefully they do. And, if that’s the case, it’s the same situation: if they can’t get into their story writing-wise, or if they find content wise they don’t like it, then SOL and try again.

So, now we have an idea of what getting into something means. The why is as easy as the what. It’s a great why because the meaning of words actually give some semblance of a “world” in which you can “see yourself living in” with the actual characters.

Therefore, the first step for any reader or writer is to find those special things that they can relate to in a story, and get in knee-deep. Down and dirty fiction.

-JK out.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

First Page Sneak Peak of "The Write Message".

Batter Up

The man shuffled the papers. His eyes were focused upon the desk in the manner of a Renaissance statue. Drew tried to meet the gaze with the same calm, but he couldn’t hold his heart down. Without a clock in the small office, he felt as though a ticking time bomb might appear just for a laugh. He clicked his tongue a few times; he felt about ready to burst.

It was a very clean desk. A powered-off computer sat on the left side, and in the middle was Drew’s story.

Well,” Mr. Graham said. He folded the manuscript in his hands and placed it upon the desk gently. He sighed and adjusted his round glasses. Drew parted his lips, tongue nestled into an active position, yet his mistakes seemed to zip him shut indefinitely.

He clicked his tongue one last time. It was louder than he’d expected. But, something else was coming and now perhaps he would have to wallow in self-pity once again.

I should have realized that this would happen. I am a bit disappointed, overall.”

Drew frowned. The question burned, screaming for the iron to rise, but he’d come to learn something important in his fifteen years of life: desperation was evidence of feeble attempts not to plunge into the abyss. Depression would get him nowhere.

Mr. Graham scratched his chin. He had a little stubble on his young face.

Drew couldn’t figure it out, wondering what had happened. “I suppose,” Mr. Graham said with moist eyes. “That I expected more of you, Mr. Burgundy. This time around.”

Drew finally looked down; maybe it was just the gaze, but he couldn’t handle it. If only the dark blue carpeting could produce prose, or at least some sort of ultimate story. Unfortunately, his dust mites couldn’t speak for him—that was his job.

The Facebook group
KU Bookstore Link

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Google: recursion

Sometimes writing can feel like a spin on a broken record. Just like typing in “recursion” to Google will give you an endless linking to “Did you mean: recursion?”, the art can go on forever, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it is frustrating much of the time. I won't take the analogy into any more obvious jokes, though. The real post starts here:

You don't want to scratch the record. That is, you don't want to damage your story, or your pencil. Or hell, yourself for that matter. Well, maybe yourself a little because, let's face it, writers face their demons one way or another.

So, if you're being careful, what happens if you just forget and move on? What happens if you just write, and see where the story takes you?

Well, lots of editing, actually. And sometimes it feels like it will never end. You're falling down an endless hole, and really you hope you can grab hold of something, and sometimes it seems like you will. Actually, I've heard that most people who want to write a book, or even just want to write, never do.

Why is that? Well, I'm not an expert, but throughout the past couple of years, I've begun to understand a bit about that.

It's not just that it takes time. Most people who’ve had the yearning to write say that, it seems. "Oh, if I had the time." And I do? I make the time.

Starting up that story, whatever it is, and putting your soul on the line is, admittedly, a bit scary. That might sound a bit melodramatic, but it really isn't. Everything I write makes me curious if I'm doing my best. I don't want to write crap. And neither do you.

So, where does this recursion, or process in terms of itself, come into play? It's in the "write", "edit", "write", "edit", phase. Sometimes that can go on for an entire life time. For others, four months, and then publishing, or quitting.

It can make anyone wonder if they're up to writing. Can I really do this if it's taking so much effort & time? What about the greats? The greats weren't perfect. And, they were forging paths for us later in life. Now, there are things called Editors.

We shall continue to explore this topic on the NEXT EPISODE OF SEVEN HEROES BOOKS!

-Jason out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Donald Trump of Self-Publishing

It's definitely not easy being a self-published author. I'd like to say that I didn't know how that is, but then I'd be lying. Really, I would be.

What does it mean, really? Not the lying, but being self-published. You have to do things for your book and for your own reputation. That's not to say friends & family won't help out if you ask them, or ask them to read (buy) your book, but really, how else are they going to get it? You have to tell them you have a book out.

Sounds like a challenging concept...doing things for yourself. Having no shame is another word for that. And, I have no shame. My bad. However, you have to be careful that you don't come off as a self-promoter who doesn't care about anyone. People don't like not being cared about. Thus, if you're going to promote yourself, at least have tact. That means don't bring up your amazing author self and your possibly over-priced book, unless it feels right for the conversational context. And, if you can't figure that out, you probably didn't write a very good book. Blame Oscar Wilde, not me.

Next, or in most cases first, where are you going to do it? That is, get self-published. There are tons of sites, and only a handful that are actually good for the bang. Amazon createspace,  smashwords, and lulu are a few. Or, you can go tree-killing, too! I'm sorry, not every book is a waste of a tree, including my own. However, I am all for eBooks. So, if you have the opportunity and the means (mula, usually), then go eBook. Then again, don't completely discount physical books. They tend to sell well. And still will for quite some time. I will laugh at the first midnight release of an eBook at a bookstore. If you haven't gotten the joke, then I'm sorry and you should stop reading this post now.

Lastly, don't expect to become Stephen King overnight. However, that would be weird because then there would be at least two Stephen King's walking around. Therefore, just make sure you understand that you won't be getting any NYT Bestselling in that week. Or month. Or most likely year. However, in that decade is completely doable. That means keep writing, keep promoting, and well...keep living.

PS: Keep your license on you at all times in case Donald Trump requests to see it.
PSS: Maybe carry around a copy of your book.

-Jason out.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Why Write?

Brandon couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. It was such a typical high school day for him, but all things considered, drastic changes were on the horizon.

Jason: Alright, alright. I’m sorry. That’s overly cliche. Here I am, trying to give you some explanations as to why a writer would write, and I’m providing terrible fiction. Kyle, what say you?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rebecca Black & New Views! (MUST READ)

Okay, nothing about Rebecca Black. That was just to get you here.

Please, type in "view" at the end of the URL in the search bar (click "Home" first, though). Then you'll understand.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Sorry, I'm seeing someone else: She's 1000 pages long

There are some days when you just love writing. You wish your characters, worlds, and scenes  could be real. Aside from how we usually base our stories upon reality, it’s quite amazing how well writing can craft our senses and dreams. It’s under this pretense that we discover how writing, like music, can inspire, terrify, and illuminate so much of the world. And, we find that it’s rarely self contained.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Current Projects

This week, I thought it might be nice to get to know Jason and myself a little better and share some examples of our current work. There are several reasons for this. First, I thought it might be interesting to preserve some specimens of our work throughout the writing process. A sort of museum and shrine to our overindulged literary egos. Second, it is remotely possible that my self indulgence could be helpful to our fan base. Provide some inspiration or enthusiasm for starting your own project. How’s that sound fan base? I know you have a doctors appointment on Tuesday, but maybe you’ll want to make time?
Finally, I had three hours of sleep last night and figure why write a whole article when I have hundreds of pages of pre-written material.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mining for Gold, and coming up with Silver

“It’s off to work we go”, and another draft we write. Writers want that epic, world-changing work. Poets put their souls into prose, and sometimes it’s less than a paragraph long. Novelists and short story writers create fantastic worlds and address challenging subjects in a complex weave. But, how long does it take to create that mind-blowing, world-peace conquering story? And, on a deeper note, when is it okay to let it go and be happy with what your wrote? This post seeks to answer such questions.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Write Great Fiction" by James Scott Bell (Book Review)

When I first began writing--at least for reasons other than those forced upon me by the state and federal government--I had thought that writing a story would be relatively easy. I’ve read hundreds of books after all. You’ve got a hero, little romance, little action--and BAM. Bestseller.
After about 50,000 words I started to realize something was missing. As it turns out, it’s called a “plot,” and most professional writers highly recommend you have a pretty cohesive one.
If you have experienced a similar revelation or are just struggling to keep your story moving, then “Plot and Structure” by James Scott Bell might be is a good place to start. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Expando-file of stories: Any remedies?
At some point in a writer’s career, there’s an overflow of stories that defies the laws of physics. Sometimes, we just have too many, and it’s not always a good thing.

J, how can that be? Too many stories is better than not enough.
Hah! You know so little.

Writers are bad at focusing on one story for more than a few months at a time. J.K. Rowling is just a beast. An anomaly. And, she probably had some issues, too.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Cloudy but bright forecast: Internet Writing Software

Courtesy of Google
It may not be Skynet, but cloud-computing and software in general are getting pretty powerful. Thanks to Microsoft, Google, Zoho, and, consumers have a wide array of Office software to utilize and much of it taking place in the cloud. Whatever their plans, there’s a way to do it. And, there are plenty of free options. But, for the purposes of this post, we’ll focus on the best products for writers, especially in the realm of collaboration.

If you have been following the blog at all, because we know that you’re religiously addicted to it, then you’ll remember our last blog was about Collaboration. Thus, here we discuss the actual software that you might use while involved in the art.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It Takes a Village to Write a Novel

To write or not to write...and with whom to write? A book is unlike many other art-forms. For one thing, you can use it as toilet paper...but to stay relevant to the topic, it doesn’t require other actors, musicians, stagehands, roadies, groupies (G-d, I hope there are literary groupies with sexy glasses) etc. Right? That may not be as true as you think. Collaborating with other authors can be a crucial part of the creative process. But, don’t take our words for it...we’ll show you:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Not all drafts are voluntary
A Trumpet call blasts across the camp and the soldiers grumble from the tune.
The door to the barracks bursts open with a loud rattle and the Sergeant comes in with an even more sonorous voice.
“Polish your boots men (and women); today’s gonna be dirty!”
“Finish your drafts and get published before the enemy kills ya!” 

...Wait...Wrong draft! Aren’t we talking about writing? This isn’t Vietnam...

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Psychological Profiles of Critics (PART 2)

In an earlier post I talked about the different kinds of writing critics you might encounter. The profiles included: Your Mom (in a scientific context, not as the brunt of a joke surprisingly), Friends and Illiterate Strangers on the Internet. Today I have a few more psychological profiles of people who might give you feedback on your work and how to deal with them. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

eReaders: For The Electronically Inclined

Kindle vs. Nook
Hmmm. The Man tells us that we’re killing trees. The Man also tells us to read more, instead of rotting our brain watching the TV. Most reading still takes place on dead trees. Such hypocrisy!

Fortunately, The Man also comes out with new tech toys to sell us. There will always be so many products & deals, but, technology does not come cheap. And, because of that Law (although we do have that Invisible Hand), as soon as you get that device, it’s obsolete in six months, regardless of the quality.

Yet, there is a point to this: Is the eReader phenomenon here to stay and is it worth it?

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Writer's Soundtrack

As any biologist can tell you, the environment surrounding an organism can affect it on a very fundamental level. Why should your writing be any different? Isn’t your project a living, breathing, work of art? I believe mine is. I think it might have even bit me last night as I was working on it.
The part of the writing environment I want to talk about in this post is sound. Some need complete silence in which to concentrate while others prefer to let the white noise of a crowded coffee shop wash away distractions. Me? I need music...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Instant Fame...Not Karma: Gaining popularity as a writer

Thanks to
“Instant Karma’s gonna get you...gonna knock you right on the head.”

But, this is about “Instant Fame”, and nothing to do with Karma. Well, maybe a little to do with it.

When people first begin writing, it’s easy to think the first draft of a story is amazing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Writer’s Survival Guide: How to Be a Starving Artist Without the Starving Part

Photo rights: SamPac
Ok, so you’re not on the New York Times Best Seller List just yet. Maybe you’re still struggling to find a publisher. Maybe the dumb public wouldn’t know a good storyline if it came up and bit them on the illiterate ass. Or, maybe you just haven't gotten around to finishing the cursed book. Any way, you are going to have to make some money in the meantime. Why not get paid to do what you are hoping to get paid to do anyway? No not that! You dirty minded hominid! I’m talking about getting paid to write...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Writing Contests: On your marks...get set...holy crap I just lost!

Writing is kind of like a wasp. One of the only ways to smack that scary little insect away is to do something irresponsible and crazy: enter a writing contest or competition.
Image by 

Oh, but the jitters come along. The inner-mind shrieks,“What if they don’t like it? What if...they think I’m a terrible writer?” Ah, and those fears are well warranted in many cases. Yet, fear is just that, and a great President of the United States of America told us that was rather foolish. So, let’s step away from that and move to the real part of this piece: where to look and how to enter contests. And why.

Let’s get down to business. Only novelists can enter these competitions. Writing anything else is a waste of time and should make you want to grab said Shotgun and do something rash.

No, I’m kidding. JK does not condone such thoughts. Write about it instead.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Last Writes: Dealing With Criticism of Your Writing (Part 1)

Dealing with critiques can be painful
So you finally opened up and showed your writing to the world and someone had bad things to say. Quickly! Curl up and die over there! Underneath the sofa, you can fit!
Or you can remember that it’s not the end of the world, not the end of your writing career, and not the best you can ever do when touching pen to paper (or fingers to keys)...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The First Write

We The Writers, as judged by the times and thoughts of our brethren, shall hereby relate the knowledge and wisdom of our trade. Please beware: you might enjoy this.

Yet, we must take a few steps backward. Without a basis for the purpose of this blog, you may never read this again. This is a blog, for all certain purposes, but it will and is reaching much farther than that. And, because of this special place, sacraments are welcome. Except not. That would be creepy.

Kyle and myself are The Writers. We are not just any pair of scribes, though. To tell you why that is would be blasphemy to the art, and thus, against our creed. We hope you’ll be excited to follow along with us as we are on the path to fortune and fame. Our at least some amazing works of fiction.

So, thank you for reading, and if you have any sort of soul, you’ll press the “Follow” button.

Till next time,


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