Fits and Starts

That’s what I call my writing at times; I have fits about what to write then start to write it.

I had thirteen manuscripts at one point and when I realized what I was doing, I began to weed out the ones I knew I would never finish; that left five.

Of the five, I’ve had one published in December 2016, another in the process of being published and released late 2020. A third waits on my computer…a scary place to be.

I’ve been working on manuscript number three in between moving and unpacking when one of the characters from another book I am in the process of completing, called to me.

“You know you want me” he said in his sexy baritone voice.

His name is Theo and yes, I do want him…to have his story finished; he is my favorite character. So, I pulled out my flash drive and searched for his words.

I printed off everything I’ve written over the years and when I come back to my desk in the morning, I’ll know where to begin.

I created Theo in January 2012 and he has been patient with me for the most part. When I put him aside to begin another manuscript, write short stories for anthologies and articles for newspapers, he didn’t complain much but he raced through my mind whenever I touched the flash drive he was stored on.

I think nine, almost ten years is long enough to keep a guy waiting so I promised him I would finish his story next.

When I informed Jasper, the character in the manuscript on my computer, he groaned and grumbled. I told him I would get back to him soon; I didn’t tell him how long Theo waited.

Right now though, it’s Chinese food, wine and a movie.

Have a great evening,

Naiobi

Write What You Know

That is the standard advice for newbie writers. Some may read that sentence and draw a blank; they might think they know nothing. Not true!

Start with paper and pen; write down any and everything you have seen, heard, experienced, read about, took part in, discovered, played, applied for, cooked, baked, made; the list is endless.

Take your list, pick one subject and flesh it out. Describe what you see, smell, hear and taste and touch. That’s what you want your reader to be able to do.

You can use old photographs of past vacations or places you plan to visit; describe your perfect time there.

When I am stuck for ideas, I start to write what I know. When I pull images from my past, I tweak them and create fictionalized places for my characters to live in.

On one of my travels around the city, I noticed an abandoned shack that used to be a stripper club, sitting off the road in a dense patch of weeds. That is what I know.

My mind went crazy. What can my characters get up to in there; what brings them there in the first place? Are they looking to buy the land as an investment or, are they running from someone or something and end up there in their frantic effort to find a place to hide? Do they struggle to open the rusted, metal door only to discover the place dusty, dank and dark. Do they wander around and suddenly taste bitter bile rise in their throat when they see their haven is already inhabited by human-sized vermin with fangs and bloody eyes?

Let your imagination loose but start the ball rolling by writing what you know.

All my best,

Naiobi

Lazy Day

394CE452-5470-4ED9-9387-2BCECA91EBDAThis photo says it all!

Saturdays are meant to be lazy after the full-on, week long rush of every day life.

You wake early, rush to get out the door to work, toil all day until quitting time.

You leave for home and once there, depending on your life situation, job number two kicks in; home and family.

Maija, my two-year-old Yorkie, is my at-home family now; my children are grown with homes of their own.

She works as hard as I do during the week; she plays ball, rearranges the pillows on my bed, empties her toy box onto the floor then scatters them throughout the house.

Today is Saturday so we are both taking a break. Enjoy yours and the rest of the weekend.

All my best,

Naiobi

The First Snow

Yesterday was Halloween. It is usually a bad weather day for the kids who want to go out and trick or treat. It rained so hard that the little gremlins and goblins stayed indoors. With a combination of steady rainfall and a drop in temperature overnight, I woke to this.

I live in the snow-belt in central Ontario and expect it at any time. I love snow for the holiday season but come New Year’s Day, I want it gone.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in Canada. So, what to do?

Write a holiday themed article or short story and submit it; take pictures and make homemade cards to celebrate the holidays; make a collage of the pictures and use it as wall art.

There are other ways to enjoy the snow and cold. You could toboggan, go ice-skating, have a snowball fight, go for a sleigh ride, build a snowman.

How about that comfort food? Hot chocolate, homemade soups, hearty stews with homemade bread…you get the idea.

The first snow is just a sign of things to come here in Canada. Whether you love it or hate it, use it; you’ll enjoy it more.

All my best,

Naiobi

Critiques, Reviews and the Ego

Some writers may want to have their manuscript critiqued, once, at some point before they submit it for publication. Others join critique groups to share their wip during the long journey from concept to submission.

One critique or many can either help or hurt; it depends on you. The same goes for your published book; it can be received with love or rejection. Again, how it affects you depends on you.

Get your ego out of the way! Look at why you were given a negative critique and if no reason was specified, ask for one. This will help you with revisions to your yet-to-be-completed manuscript. If the person doing the critique cannot offer a reason then that person should do something else with their time and not waste yours.

Book reviews can also be good or harsh; it goes with the program. You will not be able to please everyone so don’t try to! If you are happy with the finished product, then you have done your job.

Some reviews are helpful, others may come from writers who failed to reach their goals. Again, take your ego out of it, look at the lessons to be learned from anything negative and use them to help you with your work. If you allow the negative to gain control, it will keep you from reaching the goals you have set.

Enjoy the rest of your day and, Happy Halloween!

Naiobi

The Importance of Self Promotion

Whether you plan to self publish or go the traditional route, self promotion is an important part of your writer’s journey. It’s not enough to have an author’s website that languishes in a search engine quagmire; you have to do more.

As pointed out to me, social media is the way of the future so it is important that you take advantage of these venues as well. I use LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to name a few but there are many others I have yet to explore and add to my promotional toolbox.

Book signings/readings, guest blogs, author interviews all play a part as does an excerpt or synopsis  from your published works or your wip.

Below is a partial synopsis from my first novel, With Clear Intent:

Tyler Beckett is a billionaire businessman; he is also a playboy, womanizing douche bag. This is not his story; it is the story about the women he used and discarded and how he affected their lives.

He married Rebecca; a marriage short lived. She died while they were on vacation. Mystery surrounded the case but it ended up, unresolved, a cold file while he moved on with his life.

Grace Tiffin, fresh out of college, applied for employment at Beckett Industries. Her job description was to keep his office organized; her plan was to be his wife. She did whatever she could to make her plan a reality and life was good until she was replaced by another.

Julia Tinsdale was an heiress, beautiful and everything Grace was not. She ended up dead, at the bottom of the cliffs.

Grace  tried to comfort Tyler, be there for him and expected him to appreciate all that she did by taking her back into his life; once again, she was disappointed.

The case was handed to Detective Jake Kagan of the Lakewood Police Department. He made many visits to the Beckett Estate, determined that Tyler was the culprit. He pushed forward in his investigation while someone paid close attention and when he got too close, that someone lashed out in the form of an attempt on his life but the life that was lost belonged to his wife.

He returned to work after a short leave; he needed something to take his mind off of his life without her. Misery and grief clouded his judgement and he was forced to stay away from his job until he could come to terms with his loss.

Grace’s rage simmered just below the surface as woman after woman sailed through Tyler’s life.

Marlene Delaney mirrored Grace; fresh out of college with a degree under one arm and ambition under the other. Tyler hired the pretty, young thing, gave her a three figure salary and a private office. When Grace tried to protest, she was reminded by him that he made the decisions!

Marlene reveled in the attention she received when Tyler asked her out, first for lunch, then dinner and finally took her to bed; she assumed this meant they would marry.

When Vivienne Ashmore came on the scene, Marlene’s anger knew no bounds. Both she and Grace felt the same rage when he announced his engagement, it was more than either of them could bare.

The rejection made Marlene’s job more difficult for her but she had a decision to make. Did she really want to go through life without seeing the man she loved everyday?

She swallowed her pride and her rage at the woman who replaced her and continued on. When she was asked to work in Tyler’s home office on his estate her hopes soared until she found Vivienne already ensconced as the future Mrs. Moneybags.

She couldn’t let things stand as they were, she had to get rid of the twit so made a plan to scare her off and was rewarded when she saw fear become Vivienne’s constant companion.

Teryn Tremaine’s fear was her job; she feared being swallowed up by the tedium of it all and needed a change.

She quit her job, packed up her apartment and set out for destination unknown, accompanied by her six-month old puppy. When she landed in Lakewood due to misdirection by a gas station attendant, she decided to make the most of it and have a look around.

Curiosity got the better of her and she ended up on the Beckett Estate. As luck would have it, there was a small cottage for rent so she decided to take advantage of the lakeside abode, much to the displeasure of Marlene.

Teryn settled into her life, found a job with the local newspaper and covered the crime desk. She and Vivienne became friends and after a while, Vivienne shared what troubled her. Teryn promised to keep her secret and not go to the police; Vivienne didn’t want to upset Tyler.

When she was kidnapped during her daily jog, Teryn broke that promise; she and Jake worked the case together. During their investigation, Teryn realized that the sequence of events mirrored the events in a novel she wrote; it was traditionally published and very successful. She related as much to Jake and through countless trips to the estate, they discovered they had enough to make an arrest; Marlene became their prime suspect.

When Marlene called Tyler to ask for his help, a corporate lawyer was sent to her. She was released on bail and told to stay away from the estate and Tyler, until the case was resolved.

©January 15, 2016 Naiobi James

With Clear Intent is the story of a serial killer who lives life in plain sight. You can find my book on Amazon

Best Wishes,

Naiobi

Finish the Draft

The first draft is the hardest part of my writer’s life; to get the prose from brain to page without a fight. My current work in progress (wip), is fighting me every step of the way.

I try to create scenes that would make the reader feel as though they’ve been there only to have my characters wish they were anywhere but there! They don’t cooperate with me or each other and at times, I end up in a rewrite too early into the process.

I have managed to reach the mid-point in my current manuscript and so far, everyone seems happy with their lot; let’s hope that joy carries them to the end.

Earlier in my career, I would become frustrated and scrap the entire thing. I would delete it rather than save it in what I now call my “fodder folder”. Sometimes, story ideas, plots and characters don’t fit your current wip but keep them ; they might find a place in something else you write in the future.

Fight the good fight and finish the first draft; you’ll have an entire road map for your book. On rewrite, you’ll find that what you started with is very different from what you end up with and that’s a good thing. Each version will be better than the previous and when you’re happy with it, submit.

My best to you,

Naiobi