Sunday, February 22, 2009


I just finished attending LTUE (Life, the Universe, and Everything) symposium on science fiction and fantasy at BYU this weekend ( It was a blast. I spoke on a panel on Friday about suspense in writing. Some of the other writers there were Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, Dave Wolverton/Farland, L.E. Modesitt, James Dashner with special guests Tracy and Laura Hickman. This was the best one I've ever been to. Most of the panels and lectures I attended were excellent.

One thing the symposium did for me was to get me to rethink my second book. Even after the second draft, I'm still not happy with it. There are a lot of good ideas in it, but I think the problem is that I'm trying to do too much. I need to simplify. I might be able to split it and turn it into two books. Anyway, I'm excited to now have an idea on what to do, but frustrated that I need to almost start from scratch. Of course, I could take the outline I made for book 3 and make that book 2, but I think I still want a book between them. What I plan to do is try the discovery outlining method I started developing for the book 3 outline. I just need to try and not let what I've already written distract me, but use the good ideas that were already there.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

performing and writing

I've actually had a few performances lately. I played a couple of times in January. And last Saturday, I played at some kind of party in a multi-million dollar home above Park City. On Tuesday, I played a Valentines dance at a church in Springville, and on Friday, I'll do one at the UVU institute building. Back in November and December, I had no pay gigs at all, which was discouraging.

I've actually had time to get some good practicing in, too. The last couple of days I've been able to put in an hour and a half each. Of course, it seems when I get a lot of practicing in, I don't get as much writing. It's hard to find a balance. A lot of writers want to get published so that they can quit their day job, but I love my "day" job. What other occupations can you "play" for a living?

I'm in limbo as far as writing goes. I hate to start a new project and then have to stop when I need to focus on editing book 1 again. This week, I'm mainly just trying to improve my chops. I'm studying a little on grammar, and I'm also working on disecting Harry Potter. By that, I mean I read each sentence carefully, analyze it's function and analyze its construction. It's very informative, though it takes a long time. I compare it to transcribing jazz solos and analyzing the notes the soloist played.

Also, I've resolved to write in this blog more. One thing I learned from a recent writing podcast is the importance of maintaining websites and blogs. For those who don't know about it, a great source of writing inspiration comes from They have a lot of useful insights, check them out.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Answer to the ultimate question

A depressing thought hit me this morning. This is the last day that I am the answer to the ultimate question about the life, the universe and everything. Yes, tomorrow I turn forty-three. What a boring age. At least forty-two was an exciting number. I even celebrated my 42nd birthday by watching Disney's version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. What can I do for the 43rd?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Outline for book 3 done!

I am not an outliner. I used to try to create outlines, but couldn't. I didn't realize that I was a discovery writer until three years ago. So, what I did this time was 'discover' an outline. I took a week and a half and put myself in the improvisatory writing mode that I get into when I discovery write. I think I came up with a pretty good story doing this. Plus, it will be easier to make changes before I start writing the full draft. Thus far, with my first two books, I didn't know the outline until after I went all the way through the draft. Then I had to try to fix things in the story, and it could get messy sometimes. Hopefully, with this newly discovered ability, I can streamline the draft process.

Now, as far as my project schedule, the first thing up is doing another draft of book 1 before publication. I'm still waiting for my editor to get back with me before I can start that that project. That's why I did the outline for book 3; to kill time until then. Anyway, I also recently finished draft 2 of book 2, so after book 1 is tucked into bed, I'll do the third draft of book 2. Then, I'll do draft one of book 3. Of course, since I just finished the outline for it, I want to start it now, but I have to tell myself to be patient and do things in their proper course. This will give me time to ponder the outline and make adjustments before I start writing. Again, I hope this will speed up the drafting process.