Coming soon: Armada

Two well-publicized books will be released on Tuesday. Both are new books from authors who each wrote one of my favorite books. I’ll eventually read Go Set a Watchman. But I’ll start Armada by Ernest Cline before the end of the month.

In honor of the pending release of Armada, here’s a brief interview with Ernest Cline for your Friday Video. The key takeaway here is that though he ran into trouble writing Ready Player One, he stuck with it and kept hammering away at his keyboard because he believed so much in the story.

Eight rules for writing fiction

I love studying the craft of writing and of writing fiction. On my too-rare visits to brick-and-mortar bookstores, I’m often found in the writing section. I only listen to two podcasts with any degree of regularity and one of them is Writing Excuses. (The other is Communicore Weekly, the greatest online show.) I could read Stephen King’s On Writing straight through, rest my eyes for five minutes, and then read it again. One of the few dead tree books within arm’s reach when I’m at my desk is Strunk and White.

But sometimes all talk of story structure and character development and pacing and omigosh your first page is so important just gets to me and I’ve had enough. Sometimes I want to just chuck all of that out the window and just write a story, rules be tossed into the sarlacc pit. Sometimes the only rule I want to follow is: trust your instincts, Ripplinger. (Why? Because intuitive introvert.)

I think all of that is why I really like this installment of Writing with Jane: “Eight Rules for Writing Fiction.” It’s your Friday video.

Making time to write

I was going to post a round-up of what work I accomplished in May but I was a bit embarrassed to see I accomplished so little. I started reading the first draft of Simon Bradley and the X-Ray Specs to my children; they like it so far. Early in the book, my eldest said, “Daddy, I think the main villains of this book are the Soviets.” I said no, they’re not, but to 1960s America, they were.

I started the third draft of Yesterday’s Demons. This will largely be a copy edit draft, though there will be a handful of small scenes added thanks to a great suggestion from my beta reader niece. But if you glance at the Project Tracker, I’m only at 10%, and that is with a couple of June days of work added into the mix. I should be farther along than that.

The thing is: life got in the way last month. But I can’t complain, because it’s all great stuff, especially the birth of my latest daughter. June also looks like it will be pretty intense, but here’s to being more than 20% done at the end of the month.

There are days where I’m too exhausted to do anything, but I still get a very tall cup of coffee and write, because writing is my Must. (And hey — “Should and Must” is a book now. I plan to read it very, very soon.) As Stephen King once wrote (and as KM Alexander recently quoted), “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

I am not trying to compare myself to the late, great Elmore Leonard in any way, but everything he says in the video below rings so true for me. We make the time for writing because it’s what we want to do more than anything else. And here’s your Friday video. Take it away, Elmore: