Tag Archives: Writer’s Block Press

Inspiration – What Makes It Happen?

So, this is my first post on this blog for a year or more now. It’s interesting, then, that I should write something about inspiration as I have not seemed to have it for the past year or more. And while that’s not entirely true, I did want to sit back and comment on a few things that I think writers have some trouble with and some easy remedies as I have found that these things have helped me more than I know. Hence, the reason I am writing now.

#1 Problem = Coming up with Ideas

Whenever I tell people that I have written a novel they always ask me two questions to begin. (A) “What is your book about?” … And after I tell them typically the second question is (B) “How did you think of it?”

The second question is the one I want to answer here. To be honest, one of my best friends in high school had a collection of drawings of people and figures. I was fascinated with it and in middle school we went through the process of creating a card game from these figures based off of something like Yu-Gi-Oh. It was an interesting concept with it’s own twist. Anyways, these cards became the characters for a short story that I wrote in school. And then three years later as I was cleaning out my room in high school I found that short story again and I thought to myself, “Well, what would happen if I continued writing it.” So, after many many revisions and character additions and reductions, I arrived at The Trials of the Core by Michael E. Thies. My first novel.

And, although this may be self-explanatory, I wrote because I saw things. It seems elementary but if you take a look at any writer one of their greatest tools is the power of observation — to see something that is beyond the page or beyond the person in question. In Californication, for example, during the first season we see the author protagonist, Hank Moody (David Duchovny), tell a woman who she is based off merely the power of observation. She gets mad (because Moody is not very tactful) and storms off, but under that an analysis is that perhaps she was embarrassed that he was right about her. In the second season we see him shadow the life of a rockstar in order to write a book about him.

And that’s what we do as author, we observe. So, when I saw those drawings in my friends book of sketches, I saw more than just figures I saw people that were dying to come off of the page and hop into a story. And, now, I have actually gotten many inspirational ideas through sleep. I have crazy dreams, and I mean crazy dreams, that I wake up and wonder, “Well, what if that turned into a novel…” So, I jot down what I remember quickly into one of my notepads for writing and at a future date maybe I’ll get back to it and actually write a story or short story about it. Right now, I can’t, because I’m focused on Guardian of the Core but when I finish that series I will need something new to write about and who knows by then!

So, in essence, we get inspiration because we use our eyes and not just physical ones, but a mental eye (your brain as it dreams) and it’s imagination, as well.

Problem #2 = Coming up with sentences

Alright, another problem. Maybe you have a vivid imagination. Maybe you have an idea for a story. But, you don’t have the words. Where can you draw your inspiration from then? Well, I have had this problem, too, with inspiration. Honestly, this is how I solve it.

I read.

I remember that my writing improved so greatly after I started reading The Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin. After reading such a great book like that, it makes you want to write. It makes you want to see if you can craft a sentence as perfectly constructed as he does. At least, this was the side effect I had.

Even if a book isn’t necessarily good, like the book I am reading now, I still find it an inspiration, but an inspiration in a different sense. I want to write to write better. i see the flaws of that work and I write and make sure I don’t see any of the same flaws happen in my own book.

But, regardless of if it’s a good book or a bad book there are still ways that it can enhance your writing. Vocabulary, for instance, is something that is built through reading.

Problem #3 = Time for writing

This is probably the hardest issue to deal with. It’s true, there is just not enough time in the day. It gets more complicated when you have a family and a job. I am extremely fortunate that I have a profession, an English teacher, that allows me time for writing. In the States it would be during the summer when I don’t have the hustle and bustle of the school year to contend with. Now, while I’m over in Chile, it’s when I go on vacation to renew my passport. My mother came down to take me on a cruise from Valparaíso down around Cape Horn up to Buenos Aires. It was the best 14 days of my life. And, while on that cruise, I managed to write five to six chapters. I had never been more into my writing (besides when I’ve had to write for a deadline). It was fantastic and I wish I could live on a permanent vacation, but, alas, my books aren’t popular enough for that yet haha. But, maybe one day.

Anyways, like I was saying before, as a teacher not only do I get vacation time, but I get the luxury of being able to teach anywhere. I am currently taking a position to teach English overseas in China for a year, or more, and I’ll have lots of time to explore and write about the places I see. I am positive that Chile and my experiences here will turn up in my writing eventually. In fact, unknowingly, it already has, but it wasn’t as intentional as I would have liked.

So, what happens if you don’t have a profession like mine?

Then you have to go above and beyond in order to tackle this boundary to inspiration. Like the Corona commercials you have to “Find your beach.” Meaning, find a place that relaxes you and where you can write. Ideally, this is a beach, but not everyone has a beach in their backyard. So, without a beach, maybe you can have a beach be your writing den, or living room before the kids wake up, or the kitchen area. The idea is, though, that you need to create a routine that works for you in a setting that works for you.

Analysis 

For me, inspiration comes and goes like the wind, although I definitely do have more inspiration in any of the three situations I outlined above. Unless if I have to, I never force myself to write, because when I do it doesn’t come out as well as I want it to. That is why I stopped writing this blog a year ago when I was cranking out a post per week. Now, I want to continue but at my own pace, maybe at once every two weeks or once a month. I don’t know the exact time table but I had the itch to write a blog post today and that is what I did.

So, the next time you have any type of writer’s block, don’t feel that you have to write. It may be more painful for you to do so. Instead, perhaps try one of the methods outlined above, and then see how you feel. Welcome writing, don’t worship it or feel inclined to do it.

-Michael E. Thies

Chapter Reveal – Prologue

Hey everyone!

Okay, so it’s the beginning of the month again which means that another reveal in the book comes. Well, I have a special surprise for you today. Firstly, I would like to say that I feel comfortable saying that the title of the second book in the Guardian of the Core series is: The Curse of Pirini Lilapa (although I am going to keep you waiting for the cover).

Anyways, what I decided to share with you today is the Prologue to the story told from Guardian of the Core, Edwyrd Eska’s perspective. I hope you enjoy it. Comments and critiques are always appreciated as it is not set in stone yet.

_________________________________________________________________________

The strong breeze that had awoken the Guardian of the Core, Edwyrd Eska, died to sporadic, light strokes that massaged his neck. It was the grave of night, though a gloaming roamed, not willing to give up an inch more of territory to darkness. So sands glistened in the light and Eska could still see the mountains off in the horizon from the perch of his veranda.

A slap of wind hit him.

This is how it always happened when she wanted to see him. Eska clutched the gray orb necklace at his throat, remembering her present. It had come at a time like this 150 years before, when the suns were overhead just as they were now, in an event known as Pirini Lilapa or the Great Inferno. It had marked the fourth anniversary of the Great War, a war that had been so violent and terrible the Ancients themselves disappeared.

Another gust. Almost a howl as if she were growing impatient.

Why this night? Eska did not know. Perhaps it was the closeness of the suns. Perhaps it seemed only right after a day such as Coronation. His apprentice lay exhausted in his room as were the others. Eska turned around and looked at Tundra’s naked body, covered by sheets, lying in his bed underneath the gloaming light. She wasn’t pretty, there was a scar on her face and wrinkles and age took her beauty from her, but she was loyal, and to Eska that was beautiful. He maneuvered past his bed dragging his gloved hand along the bottom portion, feeling the rise of her legs as he passed her to exit his chambers.

Outside his estate, he walked upon the vast empire of dirten terrain. Only the stars gazed down upon him, only they watched him skulk through the night, guided by the faintest breeze. In this midway between dark and day the stars looked more like jewels. Perhaps godstones. Out of the billions of stars, one was his. And from that star he could make a wish. Any wish. He knew which one was his for over fifty years now, but he had never called upon it. What could he wish for that he didn’t already have?

When he took his eyes from the sky, he realized he was at the face of the Gamrol Cliffs. This is where the wind led him. This is where she called to him.

Eska climbed the boulders before him that secluded the entrance to the cave. Even though the area was isolated, here at the base of the cliff, the breeze intensified. It wrapped around him, billowing his cape and ruffling his silk clothes. Inside the cave the wind pushed him and heeded him down a path lighted with yellow moss and slimy with wetness.

“He’s here. He’s here,” the wind seemed to whisper.

Eska knew it wasn’t the wind though, it were the windies that floated by him, giving the illusion of wind. Berol, their leader, found him after he had traveled a quarter mile in and now found himself in a gigantic, spacious dwelling with stalagmites dripping cool blue in splats on the floor.

“He who can hold wind, what do you want on this late of night or early of dawn?”

The windy was a size and a half of the others but Eska still had to squint to make visible the fairy-like creature. Translucent wings and the pale blue body made him blend in with so much of the cavern. “She called me here. She wishes to speak to me. Let me see her.”

“As you wish, Guardian. The one who can hold wind.”

Berol let his mouth form into a type of howl and soon the whole cavern echoed their leader. Windies flew all around him in a blue tornado of action. For anyone not used to it they would have been thrown back by their raw power, but not Eska. The man who could hold wind only stood and watched as out of the tornado stepped a translucent woman of a flowing white robe, and blue curls that hung past her shoulders, bouncing with every step she took. The cavern was almost a vacuum now. The sudden change left Eska breathless. Although not as breathless as the first time he saw her. All the air had been pulled into creating her—Zeph. She was wife to the Ancient Bane, sister to Anemie of the Twelve and mother to Naydeia, rumored to have started a bloodline with Galan that merged the blood of both Ancients Lyoen and Bane.

“Guardian Edwyrd Eska…It has been too long.”

Her lips were lush with light blue, and her skin pale as moonlight. She was there, not physically, but through the power of her windies. He did not have time to go to her floating isle on Mistral tonight, but he needed to see her.

Eska used the necklace he wore to control what little air remained. Once he found the cadence to his breaths, he talked. “Yes, much too long.”

“I believe the last time we met under these circumstances was during Pirini Lilapa.” Zeph shuffled around him, walking on air.

“I suppose that is the reason you called me here tonight?”

“Yes. The fifth anniversary of the Great War arrives.”

“Last time you called to me as I sat alone in my room. A new Guardian of only thirty-five years to tell me and warn me and give me…” Eska pinched the necklace between his index and thumb to show her.

“And this time is not much different. Except for your age and experience. Deimos came into the world during that month…I only gave you the tool to stop it.” She walked around him, her white robe dragging on the air as if it were earth.

“The other Guardians…did you see them as well?”

“No. My eyes have only laid sight upon you Edwyrd.” She stopped in front of him and looked at him with dark blue eyes. A hint of purple hid in them as well. “And you wonder why that is?”

“Yes,” Eska admitted. He stood hands behind his back, not removing his gaze from hers until she started around her circular path again.

“They did not need the help which I bestowed upon you.”

“Why was I chosen though?”

“The Third One himself birthed a demon and only Ancient Power can fight Ancient Power.”

The Third One that is what he had heard sparsely from her the last time. Never once was the real name mentioned. Not once was it written in the history of books. Never once was it allowed to be said if myths were true. It referred to one being—The Third Ancient. Guardian Eska stood in silence as he let her thoughts sink down into his core.

“Some names are sung for sorrow. Others given for greatness. And yet there are those who are merely fit for fate,” Zeph said.

“And which of those am I?” Guardian Eska did not like the question, and knew he would like the answer even less.

“Fate,” Zeph responded cold and isolated.

“Is there anyway someone can change their fate?”

Zeph laughed, and twirled. Her gowns caught on her body and before he knew it she immediately stopped in front of him. “You who says you must learn to accept death. You ask this?”

“Death is not fate. So I ask you again, is there anyway someone can change their fate?”

“Everyone must die eventually, Edwyrd.” Her smile fell to a grim line. There was tension. And pause. Just long enough for him to feel his own mortality in the rise of his skin and the lack of air. Then she continued, “Unlike death, however, every man can mold the clay of his fate. Nothing is ever set in stone. The question lies in, why would you want to?”

“My role began with Deimos then?”

“No, no it did not. Your role is just beginning, Edwyrd.”

“And this?” Eska cupped the necklace in his hand, laying it out for her to see again.

Zeph came closer and laid her transparent hand on top of his. Somehow Eska could feel her. Perhaps he was the only one that could. He saw through the white her ghostly hand offered. He saw straight through her eyes that stared at him.

“The necklace is how it will begin.”

***No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system—except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the Web—without permission in writing from the Publisher.***

Keeping My Head Above Water

So, I am approximately three weeks into school and it is already taking a toll on me. I have to do so much reading constantly and there is so much analysis in that reading that I need to do. I am glad to say I am continuing to get good grades and am keeping my head above water, but it is hard and what sucks is that it never ends. I had plans of revising my story and getting it off to my Beta-Readers by the end of the month and that may be pushed back a little bit but I am definitely going to try and keep to the schedule since I know many people are anticipating the sequel to the story.

Here is my class schedule:

Special Education 205 = A have to read a chapter or two in the book every week. This one typically gets pushed to the back burner because the class is meant for Freshman and the teacher isn’t too hard so I’m not too worried about this course.

English 460 (Major Authors) = This is a course all about Herman Melville. Luckily there isn’t much to this class as far as homework goes and the dates the homework need to be done by. All of it (besides a research paper) need to be done by Spring Break though, so I have approximately a month and a half to finish the homework for that class. But, there is constant reading and discussing of the works of Herman Melville which isn’t the most exciting of authors.

English 369 (Multicultural Drama of the United States) = I have to read and analyze a new play every week in this class. On top of it every three weeks there is another analysis due that compares previous plays with a theory. Luckily my teacher likes me in this class.

English 405 (Shakespeare) = I have the same teacher for this class as I do above. But, just as in the other class I have a new Shakespeare play to read every week. Shakespeare is definitely not the easiest thing to read and when you have to understand and analyze it to, your head starts to throb. With these discussion courses, it is all about participation so I make sure that I come prepared with at least one idea per class.

Education as a Second Language 311 (Linguistics) = The professor here is teaching the class for the first time. This makes this class quite the joke and he makes things much more complicated than they need to be. Not only is it in the morning (so I find myself snoozing because linguistics isn’t the most exciting thing in the world), but the tasks he assigns are tedious. There is only one assignment per week and the chapters are small and easy to get through so I am thankful there.

English 310 (Young Adult Authors) = This is definitely one of the most interesting courses I will ever take. My teacher loves science-ficiton and fantasy and so she is always curious about how my book is doing (she happens to be my adviser and the head of the English Department). Score! However, there is one huge downfall in this class. I need to read a new book EVERY SINGLE WEEK. We will go through 10 throughout the course of the semester and these are full length novels. On top of all the reading I need to do, this is the biggest timesucker I have ever had. As far as homework goes, though, I have not received any besides to read the stories and come prepared to discuss and since it’s a discussion class a lot of my grade rests on participation.

So, there you all have it. My schedule and what I am going through with this 18 credit semester. Right now I am a week ahead of schedule and I am hoping to keep one week ahead of schedule but it will be no easy task. I have found that planning in my calendar for what I am to accomplish each night of the week has really started to help me manage it. For example, I have been consistently reading four to five chapters of Melville along with maybe 75 – 100 pages of my modern books per night in order to not have it all pile up over the weekends. Honestly, I am surprised I still get a workout in. But, alas, I cannot do as much writing or reading on social media as I want to. Hopefully I’ll get some time this weekend to do some writing and revisions in my story. I want the story to continue!

But, if you do not see me post as often as I want to, it’s because of my extensive reading. Actually, I guess because I read so much now, I can start writing reviews of these books for some of my posts. Perhaps I’ll do that! Until next time!!! Hopefully I won’t drown in the pages of text I need to read.

An International Review

Hey everyone,

So, more good news. Another review came in this one was from a, Nadia Batista, who lives in Portugal and has read my book. She gave it a ★★★★ 4 Star review on Goodreads. That is awesome on so many different levels. Hopefully it starts picking up some international steam now. That would be fantastic. There is a bunch of things that need to happen before that happens, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

With that being said, here is the link to the actual blog post. http://eu-e-o-bam.blogspot.pt/2013/12/li-ate-pag100-36.html  What I post below is the rough translation of what is posted in the blog post. Keep in mind that I do not speak Portuguese nor does my mom. She was a Spanish teacher for 35+ years and there are similarities between Spanish and Portuguese so that is why I say this is a rough translation. Where she got stumped, we went to Google Translation.

 

1st part – First sentence on Page 100:

-> “If water is blue, why must this one be red?”

2nd part – What does the book deal with:

-> Trials of the Core tells a story of six youngsters who compete amongst one another in order to become Guardian of the Core.

3rd part –   What have I found until now?:

-> You are going to enjoy the book more than one expects. In spite of that at times it reminds me of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, this is going to be quite agreeable literature.

4th part – What does the protagonist find?:

-> There is no protagonist in this story. Amongst the six competitors the story is told, not favoring one more than another. Now, how much to like all the characters…that is another story.

5th part – ??? No idea. Couldn’t understand this.

6th part – Are you going to continue reading?

-> Of course.

7th Part – The last sentence of the page:

-> “Everyone else had to travel by foot – but time was no issue for him now.”

 

I was very excited for this review. As a first-time author, not really knowing what to expect going into this whole process, I find it really really interesting that people from other countries are enjoying my books. That makes me feel good on a whole different level. Again, I think a big reason for this is because this book deals with the issue of self-realization which is an issue that is global, and not just in an isolated pocket.

Spread the word about, The Trials of the Core, to your friends. Also, don’t be afraid to check out the website at www.guardianofthecore.com.

Thanks for reading!

Business Plans–The Rest of It

Alright, so yesterday we looked at just the expenses part of the business plan because when you are making something like that, that is the one section you want to start with. Now, I forgot to mention this but you should also add your projected revenue. This is a TOTAL GUESSTIMATE. Especially if you don’t have an established fan-base. But for books I listed possible revenue coming from: (a) online sales, (b) e-books, (c) face-to-face selling, and (d) bookstores… Pretty basic. For most self-publishers the first 3 will be your main selling areas, and as far as calculating this you need to do some research. (1) Find out who your distributor is, I recommend Lightning Source for online, and BookBaby for e-books. (2) Research prices and start drawing up some hypothetical scenarios for where your book will fall (unless you have a “for sure” word count and page count. And then just take the profit margin and multiply it by # of books sold and then don’t forget to add in royalties to bookstores or vendors or whoever else there may be.

Now, the first four things on the business plan are (1) Description of company, (2) ownership and location information, (3) products, and (4) pricing strategy. These are definitely the easiest and for the most part self-explanatory. But, let’s discuss the basic jist of each one briefly, before going into what’s going to set your business plan apart.

ITEM #1 = Description of Company

  • Alright, here you just put what your company plans on doing. For example, “The purpose of Writer’s Block Press is to spearhead publishing and merchandising for the written creations of Michael E. Thies.” Here is where you will also want to list what type of salary you expect, and how you plan to utilize left over money.

ITEM #2 = Ownership and Location of Company

  • Who owns it. What type of company is it (i.e. sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, etc.). Do you have employees? How many?
  • Where is it located. If you are working from your house you could say something like, “Writer’s Block Press will be run and operated in a designated office on the residential premises of your name here.
  • Who to get in touch with if approached for movie deals or sponsorship opportunities

ITEM #3 = Products

  • What type of products do you offer? For a publishing company it is most likely going to be books, and that’s pretty much about it. Make sure you tell what format they are in (print and e-book, maybe audiobook?)

ITEM #4 = Pricing Strategy

  • Unless you have the capabilities and know-how to run a POD Press, or an Offset Press, I would just say something like “Writer’s Block Press, until deemed financially necessary, will outsource production of books to POD publishers such as LightningSource or CreateSpace. As such, Writer’s Block Press is subject to their pricing for works published.”

NOW THE GOOOOOOOOD STUFF 🙂 —> Here we will be discussion a few things: (6) Production schedule, (7) Targeted Audience, (8) marketing and promotion plan, (9) web plan, (10) long-term goals, (11) summary…. (If you noticed I skipped item 5, that is because that are your finances which I already discussed in the previous post).

ITEM #6 = Production Schedule/Writing Plan

  • It’s always nice to have goals down in print. I think it helps you achieve them. So with this section you are going to list (I would say for the next 2 years minimum) your product plans.
  • So for new books make sure you include, dates to get drafts done by, dates to get edits done by, proofreading, to have galley copies ready, to have release dates. By having these items, you will really set yourself up for success. So, for example, the first book in my series, Guardian of the Core, titled “Eska’s Trials” is coming out this December. For the whole year of 2014 I have plans of finishing the second book, and of dates I need to get each draft done by, so I can release the second book of the series, come January of 2015.
  • This is the type of planning that financial people want to see. It will exude a sense of professionalism with them and that you are taking into account the longevity of the company. And of your career of course!!!

ITEM #7 = Target Audience

  • Pretty self-explanatory. Who are you marketing towards? For me, my book is New-Adult science-fiction/fantasy so a bunch of my readers will be college-aged males. Writing a romance? Well, it’s probably females. Writing a How-To Book on engineering? Well, then middle-aged men. Of course, always try to be as specific as possible with this.
  • Include answers to these questions in this section: What is the best way to reach readers? What are the number of books planned in the series? Is it a standalone novel? What is the novel about? What is the genre?

ITEM #8 = Marketing Plan

  • Sorry to disappoint everyone, but I’m an Advertising Major, so this is right up my alley. With that being said, I want to do it justice and not just give a brief overview. Check back later as this will get it’s own blog post, just like finances did. This is almost an entirely separate document than your business plan since it can be very long depending on how thorough you are and the ideas you have.

ITEM #9 = Web Plan

  • What are your url’s going to be? If you know, RESERVE THEM NOW! I am pissed because someone already has “writersblockpress.com” reserved so I had to go with the next best thing and choose “.net” but then I also purchased “www.guardianofthecore.com” and “www.michaelethies.com” and I am going to include url forwarding for all of them to my author page until deemed financially appropriate to get separate websites for the rest of them.
  • Also, here is where you want to list your presence and visibility on social media. Do you have a blog? Of course you do, you’re following mine! 😉 But, besides that, do you have a Facebook Page set up, Twitter Account, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest (I admit to not using the last two I listed, but if you have them, list them). Perhaps you have a Youtube Channel that can correlate with your company’s vision.
  • This is an important part because investors want to see your marketability and nowadays all of that marketing stuff has to do with an online presence. You need to have one!

ITEM #10 = Long-Term Goals

  • Include 3-Year and 5-Year goals in here. Again, these are just “goals” you are not bound to these. For mine, I included having another book out in 3-years, and then one more book and even other authors by 5-years from now. Also, I put in here that I will have personalized websites for the links I mentioned above within this time frame.
  • This is an important section because, as I said before, investors want to see the longevity of your company planned out. If you have goals for 3 and 5 years down the road, then they will start to trust you more as a person who wants to make this business succeed and will do everything in their power to try and make that happen.

ITEM #11 = Executive Summary

  • Summarize your entire document. Here is a sample of what I put:
  • “Writer’s Block Press will see continued growth through 2014 and 2015, and subsequent years after that. By February of 2015, Writer’s Block Press will have two titles published that will be for sale via print and e-book. Each book published by Writer’s Block Press will be of high quality, going through the necessary revisions and steps before it is released. Branding author and owner, Michael E. Thies, will never stop, nor will marketing his series, Guardian of the Core. Writer’s Block Press will be a name known to all, because name recognition equals sales or future sales for all author’s publishing under it.”

Now, that is a lot of information to take in. If you want to get your business plan critiqued I’d be more than willing to look at it, send it to me at writersblockpress@gmail.com or, what I would also recommend, is to take it to a bank and ask to speak to a loan officer and ask them this, “If I were to do business with you, what would you offer my company” hand them your business plan and get it critiqued.

Anyways, sorry that this post was so long. But there is a lot of information here, and I just grazed the surface. Look forward to the marketing plan as this is one thing that writer’s continually struggle with. Happy writing and good luck with establishing your company, whatever that may be.