Author Archives: Scott Eder

About Scott Eder

By day, Scott is a Champion of software quality, breaking code, and squashing bugs. By night, he’s a slinger of fantastical words, creator of places and people undreamt, and smith of heroic tales. Oh, and an adviser/coach/fanatic for competitive youth bowling. Ask him about it … he dares you. Scott lives with his wife and two children on the west coast of Florida.

2017 – A Very Good Year – Guest Post by T. Allen Diaz

As we prepare to close out 2017 and move into 2018, it seems a good time to reflect on what has gone well and what has not gone so well. It’s the traditional time for the dreaded “New Year’s Resolution” that is normally dead and in the grave before the first week of February. Because of this, I usually look upon our annual tradition of making-and-breaking promises to ourselves with suspicion or even a little scorn. But, when I was asked to do a piece on the year in review and lessons I wanted to apply in the next year, I was happy to do it because this year several things have lined up for me and I’ve learned a lot I hope I can pass on.

This year has been a banner year for me: my novel, Lunatic City, picked up by WordFire Press, hit the streets in July, and I sold a Four Horsemen short story, Hero of Styx to Seventh Seal Press in November. I’m in the final stages of getting another of my short stories The Witch published in different anthology, but I have no contract, so that’s as much as I feel I can say about that one. In addition, there are some other very exciting projects lined up for 2018, including my big project, the rough draft of The War of the Gods Saga is in the home stretch of “preproduction”. I hope to have it ready to go by February-March. I think that is doable. There is also a sequel to Lunatic City which is in post-production, a follow-up story to The Witch, and at least one more exciting project I dare not comment on, but will be requiring lots of my time.

 

Which brings me to one of my biggest challenges I have really struggled with: time management and, more specifically production. I have traditionally struggled to do two thousand words on any given day, though I’ve done seventy-five, once, that was a seven AM to ten PM marathon while writing Lunatic City. I have a day job and kids and many complicated personal life demands on my time that frequently conspire to steal my hours and minutes, just like everyone else.

If I’m not going to be able to create more hours in the day, I’m going to have to make better use of the time I have. First order of business: remove distractions. I traditionally listen to music, but I had taken to running You Tube videos while I wrote, and, without exception, I would find myself becoming distracted and slowing my pace. It had to stop. So, now, I listen to instrumental music, usually movie scores. This is a nice background noise that keeps my surroundings at bay while allowing me to concentrate.

My second major change: I’ve stop going back and fixing things I’ve decided to alter mid-story. That’s what rewrites are for. The way I have been doing things has been to stop, go back and find the piece I wanted to change before continuing with my story. It not only takes me out of the scene I’m writing, but often ends with me getting lost in my manuscript, looking for specific scenes or even passages. It must stop.

Lastly, I must come to the writing table with real forethought on what I want to write. When I have things thought out, or even better, jotted down. My little fingers fly over the keyboard and I can get upwards of a thousand words a minute. That’s moving! I have also maximized my time by getting out of bed at the wee hours of the morning, usually between five and five-thirty, though I’ve been known to get up earlier. This has two benefits: two hours of writing I don’t normally get and the opportunity to use my brain when it is freshest and at its best: right after coffee.

There are other things I’m hoping to do better in 2018: get the website I abandoned in favor of a FB page up-and-running, book signings, attend more conventions, do some panels, email lists, and much more. Some requires money which I’m hoping to start pulling from my soon-to-be arriving royalties. Others require time and commitment which I’m hoping to have after I’m done with the first War of the Gods manuscript. Either way, 2017 has been great. Here’s to an even better 2018!

 

T. Allen Diaz is the author of speculative fiction, including the dark space epic series the Proceena Trilogy and his gritty, moon-based noir Lunatic City. He lives in the Tampa Bay area with his wife and three kids where he has lived for his entire lifeFollow him on Twitter as @Proceenawriter and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/T.AllenDiaz where you can stay up-to-date on all of his latest news and events. 

My Year in RE-View

This has been the year of RE for me.

Relaunch – In August, WordFire Press released Knight of Flame, my debut novel introducing a small cadre of elemental knights and their constant struggle against the forces of Shadow. Originally published in 2013, this new version sports a fresh edit and shiny new cover. We relaunched the series, Chronicles of the Knights Elementalis, in preparation for the next three books.

Re-envision – As we finalized the re-release of Knight of Flame, I had the opportunity to re-invent the second book in the series, KNIGHT OF AIR. I’ve been rehashing the third act, arguing with myself over where to end the book. My original vision and early drafts clocked in at 180k words. But then I got to thinkin’…maybe that’s too long…maybe I should shoot for the same length as KOF (approx. 119k words)…yeah, let’s do that. I see where it all fits. Sure, I can make that work. Yes, I CAN make that work, but that’s not how I envisioned the book. And forget that title—Knight of Air. It’s not right. My thoughts were locked in old-think, or prior-marketing-syndrome, where I thought I’d title the book with the name of the knight’s POV introduced with that novel.

Recharged – Recharged, I shattered that mindset. I’ve re-made key decisions to honor my original vision and I’m pushing forward. The second book in the Chronicles of the Knights Elementalis is called, THE LAST CLAN, and will be decidedly longer than KOF. All for the better. Blast-off!

Rehash – I could rehash the huge, non-writing family and corporate priorities that consumed my time this year, but to what end? To beat myself up for not meeting my writing goals? And that would accomplish…what?

Refuse – I refuse to devolve, to give in to entropy and atrophy. I’ve worked too hard to let a little elapsed time derail my writing future. So I look to the future.

Refocus –Every day is a new opportunity to make progress. Big or small, progress is progress. And as the year comes to an end, I’ve refocused on my writing. Baby steps at first, I’m tackling the last edit of book 2 and pre-writing a new middle-grade fantasy.

Recommit – Time continues to prove elusive, but I’ve recommitted to my craft and returned to my writing desk. Words will flow. Stories will unfold. Characters will live and breathe and shine. This I vow to myself, my family, and my readers.

I own this. When I come before you next year with a Year-in-review post, it will read decidedly different. Count on it.

NanoNewbie – Goin’ For It

Nanos have come and gone and I’ve watched them pass, focusing on editing or letting my corporate gig monopolize my time, while my writer friends crow in triumph as they type across the finish line in frenetic bliss. Well, time to snatch me a piece o’ that bliss ‘cause I’m going for it this year. Consider me a Nano contender.

By throwing my keyboard into the ring, I’m committing to writing 50k words in the month of November. It’s doable, with direction and dedication, but by no means a simple feat. Not for me at least. I’m trying to get my daily/weekly/monthly wordcount up, but this is gonna be a stretch.

So be it. I’m ready…or will be by the end of the October.

Several, if not most, Fictorians’ posts on NaNoWriMo will focus on preparing for Nano. Each of us has his or her own basic needs to satisfy at the beginning of a project. Some writers can jump right in. Give her a name, place, and basic concept and she’s off. Me, I need a bit more. The pantser-style and I don’t work well together, so I need to outline. Over the past year, I’ve developed the basics of a middle-grade fantasy—settings, characters, conflicts, and key scenes. Now I need to create the scene-by-scene breakdown. I write more efficiently having mapped the story out prior to planting my butt in the seat to type the first sentence.

I also need to map out my character’s conflict against the main story arc to make sure I nail the emotional beats at the key points in the story to ensure her growth and development. Give me a conflict map and a scene-by-scene breakdown and I’ll fly the alps in a plane with no windows. (bonus points if you know that movie reference)

That’ll give me enough of a strawman to start pounding the keys, but I still need one more big thing out of the way— the edits on my current WIP. I’ve had them hanging over my head for a long time. And I’m close…so close, but I need the Knight of Air off my back and into my publisher’s hands. I won’t be able to focus on the new book while still having that tale in the drawer. I’ll feel like I should be working on the Knight’s book and lost focus and drive on the new one.

So here’s what I need to do:

  1. Finish edits on “Knight of Air” and submit to publisher
  2. Complete the scene-by-scene breakdown of “Brownie King” (working title)
  3. Complete the “Brownie King” conflict map

Hmm…not so bad. Only three things on my writing “To do” list for October. I got this.

What about you? Have you thought about what you need to do to be ready to write your brains out next month? Maybe it’s clearing out old projects or negotiating writing time with your family or plotting out the next story. Take the time early this month to figure out how to be successful in November, so we can both crow triumphant on 11/30!

Later,

Scott

September 30th – The Wrap of Con

We’ve come to the end of our month of Cons. I was supposed to post this last night, but I’m attending MegaCon Tampa Bay and ran out of time. So far this Con has been…okay. Several authors and I banded together to claim two tables in Artist Alley. Thanks to my partners in Con—Maria DeVivo, T. Allen Diaz, and Michael J. Allen—the company has been stellar and we’ve talked to many great fans. Attendance has been light and sales slow. We expected today, Saturday, to be packed, and there were definitely more people in attendance today than yesterday, but nothing like we expected. Granted, this is only the second year the MegaCon brand has run a Tampa Con, but considering the monstrous size of MegaCon Orlando, which runs in May, we expected some of that splendor to carry over. In addition, they have several big-name celebrity guests (Stan Lee, William Shatner, John Barowman, and others) to pull in the fans and still no huge numbers. Oh well, we have tomorrow and we’re gonna rock it no matter what happens. Con!

Each Artist Alley table cost $230 and included 2 event badges.

Throughout this month we’ve seen reports on Cons and Events spanning the country and even stretching north into Canada. Several posts added Con advice and strategy for writers. Throughout them all, I hope we’ve provided some useful insight to help you plan your 2017 Con adventures.

See you later and have fun.

Thanks,

Scott