How I’d Rewrite The Force Awakens, Part 2

We’re continuing the rewrite of The Force Awakens. If you need part 1, it’s here.

So where did we leave off…

The stormtroopers arrive, about a half-dozen of them. They surround Rey and Poe, and BB-8 rolls back behind the landing strut to hide.

The fight is fast, because Poe drops one trooper pretty quickly. Two of the six run back to get support, leaving 3 troopers to square off against the pilot and the girl. We linger on a shot of one trooper (the same as before), and we watch the three troopers pull out blasters and advance on Poe and Rey’s position. A trooper responds how they’ll get promoted for killing a Resistance pilot, but not for the girl, so maybe they should just take her back to base for themselves.

And that’s when our lingered-upon trooper hangs back in the advance and shoots both troopers before Poe and Rey can react. The trooper tosses off his helmet. FINN is visbily shaken by all the battle around him, and Poe steps out from behind the X-Wing.

There’s a quick minute of snappy dialogue about who’s going to put down their blaster first, and finally they both stop when they see Rey starting to pry panels off the X-Wing.

Poe protests, thinking she’s going to go back to looting it. Rey answers that she think she can repair it, or at least patch it together well enough to send Poe to the nearest inhabited city (we’ll call the city Mos Espa, because why not). Finn listens to them banter, and then reminds them that the two troopers who ran off will be back with fire support, and he just shot those two other troopers, and what are they gonna do. BB-8 agrees.

Rey pulls her skiff up to the ship and starts loading X-Wing contents onboard. They have to run, she says, so take what you can, and let’s go. Poe tells Finn to ditch the trooper uniform, but Finn says it’s the only outfit he’s ever known, and he doesn’t have anything else to where. Poe pulls a small satchel from the ship and tosses it to his new ex-trooper friend.

Wipe to a few minutes later, Finn is still adjusting the clothes, and we see the heavily laden skiff weaving its way around old Imperial wreckage. Poe is holding BB-8, Rey is driving.

The troopers return to the barebones X-Wing and see the dead troopers stripped of their armor. An officer steps out from behind the troopers to snarl, “They couldn’t have gotten far, find them.”

Back to our trio, where they are all hauling “scavenged” stormtrooper tech in front of the junk dealer. Poe and Finn make exaggerated attempts to blend in, and Rey tells the scrap dealer that these are her new workers, and she’ll be replacing them soon, thanks to their laziness. For all the scrap, she receives hundreds of rations, as well as a few credits. It’s more success and more wealth than she’s ever had in her life.

To celebrate (and to help them blend in) Poe suggests a cantina. Finn is still thinking like a stormtrooper and says he can’t until relieved, which nearly exposes their scrap deception, but Poe plays off the word ‘relieved’ saying he drank a lot of water. A moment of levity, and Rey leads our heros to her hovel, the overturned AT-AT. She stashes all the food and BB-8, and we get a good look at “home” for Rey – the interior has been gutted, the bulkheads turned into room dividers. She has a growing stash of Rebellion tech and material, as well as a variety of vague personal items. Finn comments that he’d read reports about the Imperial assaults on Jakku as well as the “Flight From Jakku”, and Rey describes how she was left behind as a child. Poe tells the droid to stay here and try and contact C-3P0 using the communicator he rescued from the X-Wing.

After a few moments, BB-8 rolls after them.

The three humans head off to the cantina, and take seats among all the aliens we’d expect and a few we don’t. They’re served drinks and food Finn has never seen before, as well as some dirty looks from two aliens that Rey talks to in a subtitled language. Poe laughs as Rey calls Finn a nerf herder, and then Finn tries to follow along, repeating the alien word to everyone seated around them. The three then get down to business.

“By tomorrow there won’t be anything left of theX-Wing, the other scavengers will have taken it apart by the time we get back there.” Rey explains.

“I need a ship. The Resistance is expecting me.” says Poe.

“If they find me, they’ll kill me.” says Finn

And that’s when the stormtroopers enter and start moving from table to table in a search for our heroes. All three of them duck under the table, and try and map out how they’ll get out without being seen. Poe and Finn both concoct elaborate plans with almost Rube Goldberg timings, but during the discussion, Rey crawls away to shove one alien into another, causing a fight that distracts the troopers. In the chaos, all three leave. BB-8 is waiting for them just outside the door.

Others run from the cantina too, and as people disperse, our trio heads to a small cargo ship, grabbing boxes and looking casual. BB-8 rolls along with Poe and Finn, and Rey is the last to carry a box behind them. She stacks her crate and goes to exit, just to watch the ship’s door close. We hear the hum of the liftoff. She looks in shock as the cargo hauler gets off the ground. Poe is elated. Finn is confused. BB-8 chirps.

To be continued in Part 3.

Posted by johnadamus in living the dream, rewrite a movie, 0 comments

The Adverb Issue

Good morning, welcome back to Monday. If your weekend was like mine, the weather became unseasonably hot and you hustled to remember where you put the shorts (or you dashed out to buy a pair when you realized none of the shorts near you fit.)

It’s Monday morning, and that means it’s back to blogging, sweaty body or not. And today I thought we’d take a look at some grammar.

Grammar can be sexy again, and grammar doesn’t have to be the source of eyerolling or a quailing stomach. Seriously, grammar doesn’t have to be a menace out of the shadows to sabotage your words with all the rules and suggestions and mandatory do-this-or-the-old-lady-gets-it ransoming, it’s a set of tools to give your word-ideas a structure and body.  And like any set of tools, you’ll get better with them given use.

Today, let’s talk adverbs, and why too many adverbs are a problem in a manuscript. Lots of resources (books, blogs, podcasts) will tell you that adverbs are bad or wrong and that they are a fast track to Rejection City, but I don’t think there’s enough emphasis on why they’re not the best tool in most cases.

An adverb is a “word or phrase that modifies a verb, clause, or some part of speech that isn’t a noun.”

Adverbs help answer the questions:

* How?
* When?
* Where
* In what way?
* To what extent?

when we’re talking about something that happened. It doesn’t matter what the something is specifically, whether we’re talking about making lunch or walking or wrapping gifts, just that the activity is being described with additional detail.

The presumption is that the additional detail is critical. It’s not enough to know:

She was tired of him leaving wet towels on the floor.

it’s that the author has decided we MUST know:

She was very tired of him always leaving wet towels on the floor.

But are we unable to gather a sense of her displeasure out of all the sentences on the page, in the chapter, in this part of the story? It’s not a bad idea to ask yourself, “Do I need to have this detail in this sentence, right this second?”

The issue is one of excess detail, and sentence effort. More details, more clauses, more description does not automatically make the sentence better, the same way that a third wing will make your plane fly faster.

Sentence effort is the concept that a sentence delivers to the reader some percentage or unit of story idea. Naturally, some sentences are going to be weightier than others, given context, as in the revelation of having a forgotten sibling is more impactful than the color of the car the protagonist parked next to at the grocery story.

But there’s an unspoken agreement that all sentences deliver story, even in unequal portions and by uneven percentages. And that’s not just a function of the specific ideas conveyed by the words, but also the words themselves and the sentence’s length.

Sentence length we’ll talk about on Wednesday, so let’s look today at a word’s ability to carry weight.

The adjective’s job is to develop an idea out the factual and into the practical. It’s not just a chair, it’s a red wingback chair. We go past all the mental images of  orange stools and stained benches and green futons to red wingbacks.  The movement is lateral, as the detail gained via an adjective expands on our existing knowledge.

The adverb is also a lateral expansion, because it gives additional qualities to action. He didn’t run, he ran hurriedly. She didn’t only fight, she fought ferociously. We take an existing idea (one person running, another one fighting) and we give more nuance to it.

So why is that bad? What if we’re not bogging down the sentence with like, ninety billion of these things, why is an adverb so bad in small doses, like can’t they be artisanal descriptors?

This isn’t an Etsy shop for Whovian genital jewelry or a Brooklyn distillery of guava champagnes, but yes, you can get very specific and minimal in your application of adverbs. Don’t think of it in terms of “getting away with it” like this is a some dietary transgression on the way to swimsuit season, but that instead you’re making use of less as more.

When you consider the adverb and its adverb phrase (put an adverb together with another word, boom, adverb phrase, you can now skip like the first 5 weeks in getting your English degree if you super promise to read/Wikipedia DH Lawrence and Henry James), the problem is one of concept. And since concept develops context, you have to examine the words you’ve chosen.

Is there enough of a particular difference that you have to/need to/must make between “walked quickly” and “ran” that you want to use the extra characters? Is it that image of one thing in your head seems so clear that you can’t afford a little flexibility in the head of a reader?

Is “yelling” less clear than “speaking loudly” if you’ve already got the exclamation point in place? Here too we can point out that a punctuation mark can convey as much as an adverb, but that can distract us.

Word choice does matter, but the focus should be on clarity of getting that idea out into the reader’s head and not just about the specificity of the writer being exacting to the point of obnoxious pretense.

You can often skip the adverb by taking the clearest “best” verb for the job. Best does not automatically mean the flashiest, just that it’s the ideal word for the position and meaning you want to deliver. If you mean run, say run. There’s nothing wrong with said showing up a lot when characters speak to and at one another.

If we need to know the hows and whens and to what extants, let the reason be greater than “because I am the author, and this is my work, and I want you to know I am the one delivering this idea to you.” Because that’s a very short term reason and a highway to a reader getting frustrated with a possibly condescending subtext or tone.

In the absence of adverbs, let more ideas proliferate, in addition to expanded nuance of in-place ideas. You’ve got the real estate, so why not take advantage?

Like so many things in life, adverb with extreme moderation – shall we agree then that adverbs are airport Cinnabon?

See you later this week for InboxWednesday.

Posted by johnadamus in grammar, living the dream, 0 comments

Manuscriptus Gigantus

Good morning. Welcome to Friday. So prepare for a lot of jokes about things being big, or small, or just good enough. Yes, it’s time to talk about your manuscript’s length. We can do this. Maybe without too much snickering.


Whenever we talk size, and then make a move to clutch our pearls because we feel our hard work is under attack or is automatically termed inadequate by people who haven’t experienced it, it’s important to remember that size is subjective within an objective range.

It’s given as a range because no one can agree on a single length, a uniform measurement that everyone adheres to. And this is because you can’t ask a writer to produce every book the same way. Even when you give word counts, not everyone writes exactly to the limit. Sometimes they don’t want to, other times they don’t have to. We compensate for this by using ranges. Here then, are the ranges I’d expect and tell people to use:

Picture Books
I talk to a lot of authors who want to make books for kids, either their own, or their kids’ kids, or just young kids in general. And it’s a nice market, frankly. The art does the majority of the idea delivery, but the accompanying words give moms and dads something to sound out so that future generations can be exposed to the awesome idea that reading is a good part of life and is totally okay to do.

Your magic number is 32 pages. That’s become a rough standard. Now on those pages you may have 1 line, you may multiple lines, so if we’re talking word count, aim for under 500 total words.

Early/Easy Readers
These are the books that, not surprisingly, easy to read. They’re based on a level system, with the higher levels having more words, and each level increasing by 200 words. So if your level 1 book has 100 (most level 1s have either 100 or 200 words), your level 2 will have 300. (100 + 200)There’s a plus or minus here of around 30 words. (Though no one’s going to flip out if your level 3 book has 509 words.)

The Short Stuff
“Short stuff” refers to the group of less than 45k fiction, and there’s a lot of variations and definitions, so I’ll break this down and define things as needed.

Microfiction is a complete story that ranges from 140 characters (Twitterfiction) to 200 words.
Flash fiction is a complete story of 201 to 1000 words.
A short short story is a complete story of 1001 to 4000 words.
A long short story is complete story of 4001 to 8000 words.

A novelette is a complete story of 8001 to 17,500 words
A novella is a complete story of 17,501 words to 45k.

When I say a “complete story” I mean it has all the stuff you’d expect in a full novel, just in a smaller package, and that it all works. It’s not just a chunk of a draft (you wouldn’t take the first 18 chapters of your MS and call it a novella, it’s not a complete story)

Young Adult
Here’s a fertile workspace for authors. And as a result, there’s a lot of variation in the MS size. Likewise, the average MS is coming in larger than ever before, so expect this range to increase over the next two to three years.

It’s a safe bet to have your YA at 55k to 70k but it’s becoming more common that YA weighs in around 75k, with a ceiling somewhere near 80k-81k (though many people take the upper end there to mean the MS is bloating, so mind your mileage.

I’ve been asked if there’s a basement level on YA, and I’d say 45k. Some blogs and people will say 40k, but 45k feels better .

New Adult
Another fertile space for authors, New Adult arose from the expanding reader pool that weren’t tweens, but not yet comfortable diving into the literary classics that secondary education keeps insisting are the only “true novels.” Like Young Adult, these labels then absorb other genre labels, so you can for example have “New Adult Paranormal Romance” or “Young Adult Crime Thriller” without being completely laughed at. They range from 60k to 85k.

The Adult Novels
Here we get to the sweet spot. It’s important to remember that there are far more genre than I could easily list out here, so I’m just going to list the ones I come most into contact with.

Science Fiction and Fantasy novels (not counting the epic novels) run from 90k to 120k. The “epic novels” (think supersized versions) take that upper number up to 175k, but they also call for increased scrutiny, especially from first-time authors who want to use “epic” to disguise MS bloat or an inability to /disinterest in trimming down their work.

Westerns (which are coming back, thanks to the current political climate romanticizing past America) run from 50k to 80k.

Mysteries and Thrillers (different than Crime fiction, which is below) run from 70k to 90k.

Crime and Noir fiction run from 90k to 100k, thanks to a strong resurgence in the last 20 years across multiple media. There’s also a lot of crossover into urban fantasy here.

Romance is a huge genre with a lot of very popular off-shoots, more than I could easily account for. This diversity leads the range to be 40k to 100k, with Regency, Inspirational, Romantic Suspense, and Supernatural Romance ranging from 40 to 80k typically.

Horror as a genre is often left broad, because things that scare us are numerous, whether we’re talking splatterfest books of the 1970s or the more cerebral stories of impending tentacled horror. The typical MS spans 80k to 100k.

Memoir, Biography, Autobiography
Jumping the fence to non-fiction (I’ve never handled the comedic alt-autobiography where you’ve got the fictive history of a not-real person, but I’d consider that comedy which could be 60k to 90k), the range opens up to practically Romance lengths, anywhere from 50k to 110k usually.

There are a lot of numbers here, so I’ve put them together in handy downloadable chart form. Download your copy here.

As we wrap this up, it’s important to remember that these are guidelines, and that a novel can easily not fall into these categories as a standout. But as a range, it sets an expectation for author and reader (whomever that is) alike.

Come in over range, like way over range, and you’ll give the reader the impression you’ve written a bloated MS that you can’t possible pare down. Come in under range and you’ll give the reader the impression you’re nervous and that the MS is starved for anything other than a bare story skeleton with only enough info as to tell the plot in the simplest terms.

Let’s all celebrate that we talked about length without too much giggling, and at no time in the last 1133 words did I mention anything about motions on oceans. Go us.

See you next week. Have a great weekend writing and doing stuff.


Posted by johnadamus in check this out, living the dream, 1 comment

Having A Schedule And Changing It

Good morning. Welcome back. It’s good to see you. Well, it’s good to see most of you. Not you, guy in the back, you know what you did.

So today we’re going to talk writing schedules, and we’re going to talk about what happens when life interrupts and you have to change everything around.

Let’s suppose you have a daily writing schedule. Doesn’t matter if that’s one block of hours, or three chunks from sunrise to sunset, or if you’re doing it all late night when the kids are asleep.You’ve had this schedule a while, and people around you know about it, generally respect it, and you use it to get a lot done.

Still with me? Great, now we’re going to change that schedule. When I talk change, I don’t mean like a small one-time interruption, like the kids were three minutes late or you didn’t make the light and had to wait, or the weird barista who thinks you’re named Stan was on duty this morning so your latte was something strained through dirty hobo underpants, I mean like a big change. Let’s suppose you have a moderate surgery. Not enough to hospitalize you for weeks on end, but just enough to really throw a wrench in your habits. Let’s make it a cardiac issue, because those are just scary enough to warrant being careful while being invisible enough to lull you into a sense that maybe it isn’t so bad because you can’t see it the way you can see a leg cast.

But it is bad enough that you’re reminded it’s a big deal when you get tired in the middle of those hours when you’re used to writing, and it’s bad enough that your hands get cold and ache randomly, so even if it didn’t feel like someone bludgeoned your midsection with bricks like they’re playing a violent xylophone, you couldn’t type so fast. So what can you do? Wallow in the muddy guilt of not sticking to your schedule? Give a lot of mental real estate to the voices in your head who scream and wail that this is exactly the sort of momentum killer than can end all your hopes and dreams, so you might as well try and get a job with that weird barista?

No, you practice the ancient and mystical art of adaptation. Here’s how.

Illness and injury, invisible or not, is going to happen. You might not have cardiac issues, but maybe you get the flu. Or the kids get the flu. Or your spouse/partner breaks a leg and you’re doing the good nurse thing. You can’t have dedicated plans for each possible event in life, but adaptation works even when you don’t have a solid plan.

Consider your process. The routine of it. You’re awake at a certain hour, you’re writing by this time, you’re pausing here to eat, and you know the number of times you get up to get more tea or water and use the bathroom. You’re still going to have to drink water and get to the bathroom, so that’s fixed into your adapted schedule. But the writing time … there’s our variable.

When we talk about sitting down to write at a certain time, it’s not the time that imbues some greatness to the craft (8:17am is not some sorcerous moment in time and space that makes exposition amazing), it’s that you’re spending a chunk of time doing the writing. X number of minutes, hours, commercial breaks, whatevers, getting fingers on keys. That’s where craft gets built.

So you adapt. Start with the hypothesis that you can write for fewer minutes. Abolish the notion that this abridged schedule is immediately faulty or negative, because it’s not – you’re not giving up entirely, you’re just going to work for 30 minutes, not 60.  Seems reasonable.

Until you remember that you write while seated in one particular chair, in one particular posture. A posture that in your current state, you can’t do without a great deal of pain and fatigue. Is this the sign where you give up?

No, this is where you further adapt.

Can’t sit up? Find yourself in a reclining posture for the next few days or weeks? Can your workspace move? Can you get a wireless keyboard and work from the couch or bed? Is it a laptop? Can’t balance it on your chest or thighs? Is there a table you can repurpose? Is the typing the tough part? Can you go text to speech? Can you dictate and have someone else type? Can you do straight audio?

The point is that any element in the process is up for variation. What doesn’t change is the fact that you’re writing. You are writing. You’re just not writing from the nice Aeron chair at the slab desk in the corner of that one room, you’re writing via wireless keyboard from the bed or the couch. And you’re not writing for two to three hours at a clip, you’re writing about 45 minutes and then you’re dozing off to sounds of the X Ambassadors.

Adaptation isn’t cause for guilt or shame. It’s cause for ingenious compromise. And yes you’re capable of doing it. I’ve got some bullet points for you to consider:

  • Think of every step in the writing process. Include the sitting down, the typing, all that. Be as objective as possible.
  • Be as clear as possible when identifying what the illness or injury is making difficult (obviously, if it’s making X impossible, don’t do X). Specificity super helps.
  • Figure out what individual changes you can make on a nearly 1:1 basis to cover the difficult spots. Don’t forget to actually make them once you figure out what they are.
  • When a proposed change doesn’t work, look a different solution. Don’t worry that this hunt is eating into your work time, because when you get this system set up, it will be there for all those illness/injury days down the road. An ounce of prevention, and all that.
  • If one of the things you need is rest, actually take it. If 48 minutes of writing absolutely sends you laying down for 60 minutes, do it. It’s going to be extra hard getting the words on the page when you’re double exhausted if you don’t go lay down.
  • Reward yourself when possible. Got the wireless keyboard to work from the bed? I think it’s time to watch that youtube video. Figured out how to tweet using voice to text? I think that calls for nachos.

So for me, here are the changes for the immediate future:

  1. Reading manuscripts will happen while laying on the couch or in bed during the day.
  2. Blogging will happen in the morning while I’m seated, writing tweets will be from the couch or bed. Because sitting up is exhausting on the chest and abs.
  3. Coaching will still happen, it’ll just be done from the couch.
  4. The workflow will be about 60-90 minutes a day for another week, then I’ll try for 2 hours, and build up from there.

I want to take a minute here to point out that through all this, what really helps is supportive people around you. I don’t just mean a nurse if that’s what you need, I mean the genuinely special people who encourage you and talk to you and rally you. The ones who call you Speedy when you’re shuffling across the living room with a walker, and the ones who fistbump you when you pull yourself to a seated position. The ones who hand you pills and a cup of tea and pull the blankets up when you can’t possible muster the strength to lean forward and grab them. I have been deeply and sincerely lucky to have wonderful people all around me as I recover from big scary surgery, and I want you all to know that I wouldn’t even be able to be sitting here and blogging about their obvious awesomeness if they weren’t supporting me.

InboxWednesday returns this week, I’ve got a backlog. See you then.

Posted by johnadamus in living the dream, 0 comments

InboxWednesday on Thursday – MS Prep

Hey everyone, hope you’re doing well. My apologies for the altered schedule in blogposts, many things work and otherwise have been afoot, and I prefer to be able to blog at length, rather than on a set schedule. It doesn’t do either of us any good to go short in our discussions.

InboxWednesday is designed to get you answers to questions that I don’t normally answer on the blog, on topics ranging from storycraft to development to today’s topic, manuscript preparation. If you have a question, ask it. There are no stupid questions. Or find me on Twitter for regular bouts of writing tweets.

Today’s question comes from Luke.

John, I’ve finished my MS, do I need to do anything before I start querying?

Luke, first of all, congratulations on finishing the manuscript. That’s not the easiest thing to do in the world, and you should take a minute or 90 and go celebrate. Have cake. Watch cartoons. Do something fun.

And then when you’re done getting your I’m-done groove on, here’s what you do with that finished MS.

Make sure it’s finished. No, seriously, make sure it’s all done. No notes in the margin, no half-written paragraphs or sentences. Make sure you’ve got all the chapters all into 1 document. Get someone to read it and see if they think it’s done. Not good, not nice. Just see if it’s a full story with a beginning, middle, end, conflict, and resolution. Oh, and make sure it has characters. What I’m saying Luke, is that you’re going to query a complete manuscript so that you don’t have to use vital words in your query mentioning that it’s a complete manuscript. So, get it all in one file, all in place.

Check your spelling and punctuation. I know, it’s 2016 and we have smartphones and heated toilet seats, but would you believe that there are people who don’t spellcheck a document before sending it somewhere? I mean, in Word, you press one key. It’s not a perfect flawless spellcheck, but it’s at least something. You’re trying to get someone to give you a contract for your work, take the extra however many minutes to make sure you spelled “obvious” correctly on page 16.  Likewise, make sure you’ve ended sentences with punctuation, and that you’ve got quotation marks where they’re supposed to be. It’s important. Little touches at this point make all the difference.

Get it read, or better, get it read AND edited. Before we go all query-happy, you’re going to want to talk to other humans about what you’ve done. (Okay I realize that makes it sound like I’m comparing your MS to that time I watched a kid named Joey light a firecracker and throw it into a pile of dry leaves, but you know what I mean) I’m talking about getting people to read it. Competent people who aren’t super-biased. So yes, your partner, spouse, kids, occasional sex partner, dogwalker, and pizza delivery guy can read your MS, but they’ve got a vested interest in saying nice things to you. Go find people who don’t have to worry about upsetting you. Where? Social media that isn’t your family-only Facebook page. I like Twitter. Or websites like this one.

Better still, get readers and go find a freelance editor. Someone who can professionally poke your MS with sticks and other tools to get it into the best shape possible. No Luke, it’s not frivolous. Yes, I know you just ran spellcheck. But spellcheck isn’t going to be able to point out that you have no conflict past chapter 4. Or that you started called one character by another character’s name about halfway through the story. An editor is a resource you should strongly consider making use of. I’m one. Here’s another. Here’s another. Here’s another. Yes, you’re going to pay for the help, but as I’ve said, it’s the difference between trying to fix a leaky roof by yourself versus hiring the roof guy.

Format it for submission. Let’s suppose you wrote this MS in Scrivener. You’re going to need to Export it (Ctrl + Shift + X) to a file type that’s specified in the submission guidelines. Maybe that’s a PDF. Maybe that’s a Read-only docx. Maybe that’s pasted into the body of an email. Whatever the case, make sure you prepare a version of the MS for that. If it’s email, make sure pasting it won’t throw the spacing all to hell. If it’s a PDF or docx, make sure the margins are where they’re supposed to be, and that the font is appropriate. If the guidelines say use a sans serif font at size 12, do it. Following directions is important, Luke.

Doublecheck your submission guidelines and relevant info. One of the fastest ways to get rejected is to send the query you meant for Person A to Person B (or worse Persons B-Q en masse). I know I just said format the file correctly, but this is past that. If say, you’re submitting to Publisher X, make sure you do what Publisher X wants done. Yes, I know, it’s hella annoying to have to do all these things over and over with just a little variation – Publisher X wants it one way, Agent F wants it another way, Agent D wants something else – but for as much as it’s a test to see if you can follow directions, it’s part of the process to see if you give a damn about what you’re doing. So many people get just as far as you have Luke, and then balk at this last step. You already did the hard part, this is just tiny organizing. You can do this.

Send it out without being super outcome dependent. Okay, here’s the challenge. You just spent however long getting this story out of your head. You did a lot. You really want to get that book out into the world. You want to have people give you money. You want to see people like your work. You want your agent to arrange the foreign movie deal. Whatever your endgame, there’s a chance it’s not going to happen. Or if it does happen, it might not happen the way you’ve been picturing it when you’re supposed to be at your dayjob. I know you’ve got many eggs in that basket, or many baskets counting on the eggs in that one basket, but I really have to stress that whatever happens it’s going to be okay. You get rejected, you make the changes you need to, you try again. You get knocked down, you get back up. Your dream isn’t stupid, it’s just hard to accomplish. Which is why you have to keep working so hard. Don’t give up Luke.

Hope I’ve answered the question. Have I missed anything? Should I tell Luke to start drinking heavily? Let me know in the comments or come find me on Twitter.

See you guys tomorrow for a rousing discussion of how not everyone is going to like you … or me … or each other … tomorrow we’re going to talk about reception.


Happy writing.


Posted by johnadamus in answering questions, inboxwednesday, living the dream, 0 comments

Bringing Back The Johnversation

A long time back, I thought I’d take over the world by putting up a lot of Youtube videos. It would have worked, if I put up a lot of Youtube videos.

But the Johnversation, which is really what I call any audio or video I produce, is back.

And today, we talk writer’s block. Check this out.



Okay, there’s supposed to be an embedded player here, but because I truly believe WordPress is designed to be as difficult as possible when you need it to be easy, I’m going to just link you to the page where you can click the play button. I really wish all the “paste this on your website” coding was actually easy to use.

Here’s the link to the Johnversation. I’m sorry I’m not savvy nor patient enough to get it to load. Oh also, Soundcloud can suck moldy lemons for telling me the only way I could use their service is to pay some absurd subscription fee, even though I don’t put up more than a file or two a month.

If you want to download today’s Johnversation, here’s the link.

See you in 2 days for #InboxWednesday.

Happy writing.

Posted by johnadamus in answering questions, audio post, johnversation, living the dream, 0 comments