Sunday, November 30, 2008

50,007 Words!

November is drawing to a close, and I did it. I just typed the last word. Crossed the last digital T, and dotted the final proverbial I.

It was a great experience, and taught me a lot about perseverance. Writing when I just didn't feel like it. I am certain I would have given up if it wasn't for my son reading along. Every day he would read what I wrote the day before. Tonight I even caught him reading on my screen. He is already talking sequel.
The biggest struggle I had finishing it up was I got to about 48,500 words, and finished the story. So I had to go back and add in another 1,500 words. I'm not sure what will make the cut when it comes to editing, but it was fun getting to the end.

So now it is to bed. As a bonus, here is a photo of what it looks like to write 5o,000 words in a single month.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Coming Down the Home Stretch

Well, less than a week to go, and I think I'm going to make it. I wrote like a madman this weekend and I got back on track. 38,390 words. I can finally see the end of the story, and I think everything I have yet left in my head will fill the last 11,610 words. It is kind of amazing to me that I really think I'll have a complete story beginning to end in almost exactly 50,000 words. (Well I guess I shouldn't count my chickens...)

I guess another week will tell. It's been a ball so far.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

3/5ths of the way

Well it took a marathon writing session tonight, but I caught back up. 30,120 words. So I am feeling really good. For the longest time I couldn't figure out how I was going to finish the novel and use up the whole 50K. It just seemed like I was moving way too fast in the story. But now that I am at 30K words it feels like I am in exactly the right spot.

As always my son has been the best encourager. Today I asked him why he wasn't reading the latest Ink Spell book. He usually devours books in just a few days, but this one has been sitting on the table in the livingroom for a couple weeks. I asked him if it wasn't very good. He said, "It's alright, but it isn't as good as your story. I can't read anything until I find out what happens."

Warmed the cockles of my heart. Cockles I tell you!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Half Way There!

Well, I just passed the halfway mark, and am now starting to think this is doable. I'm at 25,201. I am just a day behind, since it is the 16th, but that should be easy to catch up.

I actually got behind because I played poker on Friday night, and then couldn't sleep in on Saturday because we got a new cat. The Dog wouldn't leave her alone, so I didn't get my usuall "sleep until noon" Saturday. But I made up for it this afternoon.

I'm still a little unsure about how I'm going to write another 25,000 words. I've already accomplished nearly everything in the book I wanted to before the final climax of the story. But if I get to the end and don't have the words, I have no doubt I can go back and add some in.

I'm ready for a bit of an ego boost, so I think I'll print out what I've written so far. My son hasn't read anything in a few days. The grin on his face as he reads gets me pumped for another couple late nights pretty easily.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lucky 13

Well, after struggling for a few days, the words finally flowed again. I had fun tonight writing in a new character. Adina is now going to be an integral part of the story, and I didn't even know she existed until this evening.

How cool is a 10 year old cave girl going to be in the 31st century.

I passed today's goal by about 200 words. Which is good, because I want to get tomorrow's word count done before I will allow myself to go play poker with they guys.

Today's count: 21,828. Almost half way there!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Update. Day 11.

Well I got a bit behind on my NaNo story. I blame it on Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo. He posted a goal of finishing 15,ooo words by the end of the day yesterday. And I did that with no problem. Unfortunately by the end of the day today I should actually be at over 18,000 words. So... considering the fact that the final table for the World Series of Poker was on tonight. I feel pretty good about writing about 1800 words today. So 16,842 is the current count.

Speaking of poker, I now have the goal of being ahead by 1,600 words by Friday, so I can go play poker with my buddies and not feel guilty.

One other note. I have discovered that it is indeed getting a bit harder to get the words down. Getting to that mid story doldrums. One thing that is keeping me going though is the fact that my son is reading as I go. He is really eager to see what happens next (as am I). And what dad wants to his son to see him fail? So suddenly this has turned into a lesson in finishing what you've started. What have I gotten myself into?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why I Am Proud to be an American

I'm going to take a little break from my usual writing posts and tell you about my Grandpa Clark.

My grandfather never talked about the war. All I knew growing up was he was off to war for much of my mom's childhood. Then just a few weeks before he died back in 1994 he began to talk. We sat at his feet in his home, his family that had grown to four kids, dozens of grand kids and even a great grandchild or two, surrounded him as he told us about something that he had a very hard time putting to words. He still didn't talk a lot about the details. Even then it was still too much I think, but my impression of him and the war were forever changed.

Turns out he was on a ship just off the coast of France during D-Day. He wasn't the first wave to land, but he went in pretty close after that. Then he spent the rest of the war riding across Europe, freeing villages. I remember an old picture of him sitting in a jeep in front of a windmill in the Netherlands. Another of him and his buddies in front of a bombed out cathedral. Anyone who doesn't think we we should have been in the war, just go ask those people in that village in Holland, and all across Europe who could very well be living a very different life now if it weren't for people like William Fredrick James Clark, my grandpa.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Math is not my strong suit.

Somewhere along the line, I discovered that my calculations of the past couple days were inaccurate. I thought I was right on schedule with my Nano word count. But I realized that Saturday, to Saturday was 8 days, not 7. So I started writing tonight with about a 1,600 word deficit. Which meant I needed to write 3,200 words to get back to my target. Well, I didn't quite make it. I'm at 14,322 words, a little less than 700 words shy of my goal for the day. So I need to make up for it tomorrow. (Hmmm... actually later today since it is after midnight.)

At least I figured it out now instead of 3 weeks from now.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

End of Week One

Well, I'm still keeping at it. Here we are 1/4 of the way there, and I'm almost exactly 1/4 of the way to my goal. 12,517 words out of 50,000. I have to say this target word count thing is really working for me. I'm finding it surprisingly easy to sit down and write the 1,600+ words needed every day to meet the goal. It really makes me wonder just how much I could write if this was my full time job. I begin to understand why some authors can crank out several books a year.

I'm also pretty excited because this morning, lying in bed, I figured out the ending of the story. I'm definitely a plot as I go kind of writer, but it is a little hard for me to write the story not knowing how it will end. Now that I know, I've got something to work toward. And having the goal of writing a complete novel at 50,000 words with a beginning middle and end, I now know when I need to start reaching the climax of the story in order to come down the other side with a finished story.

My son is still reading along. It is a blast writing with him in mind. "Oh, I know that'll make him laugh. I'm sure he'll think this is cool." really makes me look forward to his reaction. So far I haven't been disappointed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Slow but steady.

Well it is the end of day 5 and I got a good couple hours writing in. As expected I didn't write at all last night. I wasn't really planning on watching much of the election coverage, but my son was studying it in his class at school, and was interested in watching. Couldn't pass up the educational opportunity. I am still on track at 8,220 words, so no problem there.

I'm still quite happy with the story thus far. Our heroes are now in 12th century Scotland. JJ (our ten year old protagonist) is not at all happy about having to wear hose.

I am thoroughly enjoying writing a sci-fi, time travel, young adult novel. I love space, I love gadgets, I love time travel stories (Crimson Swarm also has some time travel elements) and I love writing to this level. It feels so natural. I guess that means I have the mentality of a ten year old.

Well off to bed, so I'm not a total waste at work tomorrow. Also need to make sure I get up and take the kids to school since the wife is out of town on business and isn't here to wake me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Encouragement

The story for NaNo is going well. I'm at 6,766 words so far which is a bit ahead of schedule. My wife is going away on a business trip tomorrow, so if I can get the kids in bed on time I should have some really good writing time tomorrow night. We'll see how it goes this evening, being election night and all.

I wanted to tell you what a great son I've got. He has turned into quite a little encourager. (Well not so little anymore at almost 11) He read the first 3 chapters of Noah Zarc. I watched him while he read. Several times he grinned. Then when he was all done he said, "That's really great dad." Then he proceeded to tell me some places that needed work. Let me tell you. No other bit of encouragement or advice has felt so good. He is basically the one I'm writing the story for, so to hear he liked it, is great. Thanks buddy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

GO!

1,830 down, 48,170 to go.

Man what fun. It has been so long since I just sat down and wrote, with no thought to editing, and perfection.

Well off to bed. 2AM.

Friday, October 31, 2008

National Novel Writing Month

Well, I did it. I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Am I nuts? Time will tell.

If you are unfamiliar with the National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) I encourage you to visit the link above. It is a great opportunity to finally write that novel you've been thinking about. The basic premise is you need to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Beginning to end. The emphasise is on quantity and not quality. Just how much can you write in 30 days time? I guess I'm about to find out.

I come to this ill prepared, so I have pretty low expectations. But all that means is there is a great deal of room to be surprised. I have the basic concept of a story, but not much in the way (read none) of an outline. I may try to hammer one out tonight. My goal off the bat will be to write two hours a night at least 5 days a week. Probably 9:30 - 11:30 pm.

I'm going to try my hand at a young adult novel. There is an idea that I've kicked around with some friends for a few years, called Noah Zarc. If I get anything worth-while I'll try to get my illustrator friend to round out the story with illustrations.

So pedal to the metal. Ready... Set...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Advice from Stephen King

I saw this clip of Stephen King a while ago. He talks about a magic moment. When you put down a book and realize "I can do better than this." That moment happened for me over the past few days. (Ok that isn't a moment, but sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake.) I've been reading, actually listening on my iPhone, to Sly Mongoose by Tobias Buckell. Now I'm not going to go as far as Mr. King and say it sucked. Because it most certainly did not. I enjoyed the overall story quite a bit, and since this is the third in a series I've read, I'm pretty invested in the universe he creates, and the main character, Pepper. But as I listened to the story, I was struck quite often by the writing. It didn't seem as polished as I remembered the past two books. The author repeated words and phrases often. The dialogue and description didn't seem as crisp. And quite frankly the opening scene was the best part of the whole book. (You can read it on his website: http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/ ) But the question I asked myself was, could I do any better? I'm not sure if I know the answer, but tonight I was sitting in Starbucks editing Crimson Swarm. And several times, I said, "yeah, this is good stuff." The chapter I was working on (about half way through the story) really flowed well. The dialogue was crisp. The action clear. I don't know, I'm too big of a wuss to say it was better writing than Mr. Buckell, (and what makes it even harder is the man is really a great guy, and we've talked a couple times via email.) But maybe, just maybe I had a Stephen King moment. Whatever it takes to get me to finish this darn novel... I'll take it. (sorry Tobias)

Here's the Stephen King clip:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm not dead, yet.

Wow, life just has a way of taking over. I haven't posted here in so long, mostly because I haven't written in so long. Part of the problem is I've been having problems with sitting at a computer screen too long. It has been making me nauseous. That is a bad thing when you are a web developer, and a wannabe writer. I went for my 40 year old eye exam, and the Dr. said "Come back when you need me... in the next one to two years." So it's not my eyes. So I'm not really sure what is going on there. But Nuadaim has been calling. I went back and read the first couple chapters again yesterday. It still seems like there is something there.

The family is taking a week and headed to Disney World next week. When I get back, I've got a date with a manuscript. I'm so close. I'm not quitting now.

Also I'm toying around with the idea of doing nano this year. I've got a story idea that has been kicking around. A more young adult story, than Crimson Swarm. Maybe that could be my goal with the edits. Get them done before November 1. Seems doable.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Writing Too Wordy

Wow, where did March go? I can't believe it has been over a month since I posted last. It was a crazy month. My birthday came and went, and I didn't meet my goal, and yet I still don't feel too bad about it. I continue to edit. I'm plugging away at it, but life gets in the way at times.

I did have something interesting happen. I sent my first chapter off to Ray Rhamey an author and editor. He does this thing on his blog called the "Flogometer". For those brave enough, he takes what he considers the first page of your novel (the first 16 lines) and critiques it. Ultimately he says whether he would turn the page or not, looking at how well it "hooks" the reader. He flogged me pretty well, and said he would not continue reading.

Sure there was a little disappointment, but honestly I am so grateful for him for taking the time to give me good solid feedback. Also several people posted comments giving feedback as well. The overall consensus was I was being a bit too wordy. Someone commented that I used too many "highfalutin" words. Looking back at it, I couldn't agree more. I have rewritten the first chapter, and in particular the first page or so, over and over again, and it shows. I really think later stuff, that is fresher is much less likely to be overwritten. You can see all their comments here.

So, even though I said I had rewritten the first chapter over and over, I did it again. Here is the revised first page. Please feel free to comment, and let me know if it still feels overwritten.

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Chapter 1 - Birth

Burning oil and cooked meats masked the acrid smell of death. With a swollen tongue, he tasted thick dust on cracked lips. Rough stone dug into his back. He opened his eyes, and then flung hands up to shield his gaze. Dust billowed around nearly skeletal fingers, which glowed red against the painful light. Where am I?

The reek of death grew stronger. He struggled to move. His legs were stiff; his shoulders jammed between stone. He was in a cramped box. Sweat poured from his brow. He kicked his legs and grappled toward the light.

He strained against the edges of the box and pulled himself up, toward the ruddy glow. Grey dots danced across his vision and he nearly fainted. His head spun. At last, the room steadied.

He sat in a granite box on a raised platform at the end of a long narrow chamber. Stone sarcophagi lined both sides of the room. A chill prickled his skin. I have awakened in a tomb.

His mind raced, as fresh sweat rolled down his grimy forehead into his eyes. Nightmarish visions of faces filled his mind—faces surrounding him—large pale eyes watching, always watching. A need to get free of the coffin overpowered him.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Still Editing

I have been very quiet lately, and this time it is for a good reason. I have been working very hard on the edits for Crimson Swarm. I am now less than 1 month away from my birthday goal. I'm beginning to doubt whether I'll have it all edited by then, but that isn't stopping me. In fact I am working harder than ever. I just spent about 5 hours on chapter 5. And basically I am rewriting the entire thing.

I think I mentioned once before about reading an author's blog, on which they stated they rewrite their book from beginning to end during editing. I just couldn't imagine this would be a good idea. But for this chapter, it really seems to be working. I'm digging much deeper into what the characters are thinking, and why they are doing what they are doing. Also the pacing is much stronger than before. They are escaping from a prison. Before the rewrite everyone was sitting around chatting before they decide it is time to escape. Now they don't wait around for anything.

So I'm excited. I wish it wasn't 1 AM and I could work longer. But alas I must get up early to take the kids to school and do some real, paying work.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Poetry in Fantasy Literature

In the early chapters of Crimson Swarm I have a poem that digs deeply into the history and lore of my world. I am rather pleased with it. I think it flows well, and tells the story in a way that other types of narration may not, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep it. The problem is every critique I've received of a chapter that the poem is in (I've moved it a couple times) the critiquers say things like, "The poem kind of slowed things down." or "I only skimmed the poem."

Don't get me wrong, I totally understand. I used to do the same thing with Tolkien. In the Lord of the Rings, every time I came to a song, or poem, zing, I'd skip right over it. But then over the years I started to read them, and love them. I think you can really see Tolkien's passion about his world in the poetry.

My fear is if I have this big long poem (it is probably a page long) in the first three chapters of my manuscript, is an agent going to feel like it really slowed things down as well? Should I keep it, but maybe move it later? Cut it down in bite-sized chunks? Or ditch it altogether?

I'm not sure I have an answer for that yet. I'll add it to my list of things to ponder as I wade through editing.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bloody (Brilliant) Critiques

I got a particularly bloody critique of chapter three from a member of my crit circle! How exciting is that!! When I printed it out, it was six pages long!!!

Bloody critique--exciting? How can this be?

Really it is. What it means is, someone whose writing I respect, took the time (considerable it seems) to really pick apart the chapter. She had fantastic advice on a number of issues. One in particular that made me slap myself on the forehead. I can't believe I missed something so obvious.

This highlights for me two things I have learned about writing (about anything in fact).

1. Be open to critiques - When someone takes the time to really give you their opinion, be open to it. We are busy people. So it means something when people care enough to (in a kind way) give you suggestions on improving your work.

2. Don't work in a vacuum. Seek out support. - Obviously this relates to the first, but I think it needs emphasising. It is so easy to be blind to your own writing and shortcomings. Don't wait for someone to point them out. It is much easier if you ask someone to point them out. Then it is your idea, not theirs.

So get out there. Take some risks. Ask someone's opinion. It may be bloody painful, but in the end it'll be well worth it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

THE END (Again)

I spent a good chunk of Yesterday locked in a study-carol at the local university (Kent State), writing with a friend of mine. He and I have set a goal of mid March to finish our respective projects. His being his doctoral dissertation, and mine a much less lofty, fantasy novel.

Let me first say this is a wonderful way to write for me. Having someone sitting across a desk from me, typing away on his laptop, really does something to my psyche. That tiny bit of accountability, keeps me focused. It also helps that my laptop has such a bad wireless card that even though they had WiFi in the library, I couldn't use it. So no Internet, or email all day. (Ok, I did check my email on my phone a couple times.)

Suffice it to say I got a lot of writing done, and I finished (again) my first draft. You'll remember that I finished once before, but a friend who had been reading along, was not very excited about it. So finally, after six months or so (Yikes!) I have the ending rewritten. I'm pretty excited how it ended up. We'll have to see what he thinks.

Now I can focus completely on editing/revising. I have Chapters 1 & 2 done, 3 is posted to my Crit Circle, and I'm currently working on 4. The book has 28 chapters so I still have a ways to go, but I think it is doable in the next 2 months.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Epic Living?

Yesterday, Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to climb to the summit of Mt. Everest, died at the age of 88. I heard a couple vignettes about him on NPR. During one they played a recording of him in Washington some years later in which he said: "If you set out on an adventure, and you are absolutely convinced you're going to be successful, why bother starting."

I thought he was going to say something along the lines of if you are convinced you will succeed then you have a better chance of doing so, or something along those lines. But what he actually said was much more profound than that. Man can show greater depths of character when he starts something, against all odds, knowing that there is little chance of success, and in Hillary's case every possibility of death, and yet he still started. He still takes that first step. This is living beyond the Disney "If you dream it you can do it" mentality of the modern world.

There is a scene in the Peter Jackson's movie, The Return of the King, that brings tears to my eyes each time I see it. The book does the same, but the way Mr. Jackson captured it was wonderful. The armies of Rohan have ridden to the aid of Gondor. They crest a hill, and look down upon the plains before Minis Tirith and see the vast hordes of Mordor assaulting the city. Rohan's army looks minuscule beside the might of Sauron. At this point, the logical thing would be to turn back. Set up defences in their own country in what way they could. But they do not. They charge down, into the very arms of the enemy. You are certain that they will all die. They are certain they will die, but the do it anyway.

Or in more contemporary, historical terms look at the movie Saving Private Ryan. Again, an army out manned, out gunned storms the beach at Normandy. Every man in the first wave knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were going to die. But they did it anyway. They did it for a greater good. Something larger than themselves. Something, epic.

So how does that translate into today's world. Of course there are still men and women on the front lines. Still in harms way, but still doing their jobs for some grander purpose, but as a whole. As Americans at large, how can we live in "epic" fashion? Can it be a simple as doing something we fully expect to fail at? Getting outside our comfortable little lives and trying to do something that in all likelihood will end in disaster. I began writing my novel fully expecting to fail. I've never finished something of this magnitude before. Something that requires continual work over a period of years. In fact I still expect to fail, and I am nearly complete.

Now realize that I don't in anyway equate this with charging off a boat onto a sandy beach with bullets filling the air, but I do think that it might just touch on what it means to be larger than oneself. How can I love my wife when I don't feel like loving her? How can I love my kids when they are driving me crazy? How can I get up and do my job when I'd rather sleep? By making a conscious effort to do the things I don't want to do, or even more, I know I'll fail at, I think a little piece of the epic creeps into my life, and the lives of those around me. I know I will never love my wife perfectly. There will always be some selfish motivation when interacting with her. But still I try. Still I wake up every morning hoping today I'll love her a little more than yesterday. But unlike Hollywood romance, we are flawed creatures. I know I'll fail, but read again what Sir Edmund Hillary had to say: "If you set out on an adventure, and you are absolutely convinced you're going to be successful, why bother starting." Why bother starting anything that you know you will succeed at. What a waste of time. Push for something more. Push beyond your limits. Somewhere is something greater, something, epic.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Writing a Hook that Hooks

I told you in a previous post that I posted my Hook on the Bookends site for critique. Well today Jessica finally got to mine. This is the forth or fifth draft of the hook I have written, and I felt pretty good about it. See what she had to say:

92. D. Robert Pease
Fantasy Novel: Crimson Swarm

Aberthuil Nauile doesn’t know that he once led legions in a war that raged since the dawn of time, against an enemy that cannot be killed. He doesn’t know that he rode on a dragon with his father, and saw his mother die while giving birth to him. He doesn’t know that he once saved his great, great, great grandfather by defeating the black enemy on the slopes of a volcano. Aberthuil doesn’t know that he beheld the creation of the world, as his grandfather eight generations before took the planet ravaged by a war of the gods and began anew. All he knows is that he awoke in a coffin in a tomb, and now the whole world thinks he is their savior. All he really wants to know is his name, and why he keeps hearing voices in his head.

Wow! Am I getting soft or is this really two good pitches in a row? Of course now I’m concerned that my judgment is skewed. Maybe I am getting soft. But no, this is good. This grabs my interest. While normally I might say a pitch like this is backstory, it’s not when it’s world building. I clearly see who Aberthuil is and what his conflict is. While he's sure it might be the voices in his head, his true conflict is the story of the life he doesn’t remember. Very, very cool.

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First of all, notice that this is pitch # 92. This lady has been very, very busy. And unlike Miss Snark before her, I hope that she can keep her sanity, and I appreciate very much all the work she is putting into these. It makes me feel quite good that she liked the pitch, just the boost I needed right now to keep plugging along with the editing. She does make a great point that I focus primarily on backstory, but it seems I did it in such a way that it still gives insight into what the novel will be about.

Now before I get all warm and fuzzy about my writing, I want to show you how I came to write the pitch this way. Back in October, Kristin Nelson began a series on her blog about how to write a good pitch. Her first post on the subject dissected the jacket cover copy for Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. If you read the cover copy, you will see that what I wrote is very similar. The tone feels the same. The overall pacing is the same. Obviously they are two different books. I didn't plagiarize the copy, I just used something that worked well somewhere else as a template for my pitch, and apparently it worked. Jessica has said that if she posted that she liked a pitch, she would love to see more. I'm not ready to send her more yet, but isn't that the goal of the pitch? To get an agent to want to see more? In that respect, I am very excited.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Does Your Villain Have a Point?

Over the years I have tried on several occasions to read the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. I've always struggled with the idea that it was "Science Fiction". I like my Sci Fi to be more science driven than something written in the 40's or 50's. But finally I have succeeded. I am about half way through the final book, That Hideous Strength. One of the things I noticed while reading the second book, Perelandra, was that Lewis was able to almost convince me that the bad guy, the Satan figure, had a point. He had a very convincing argument, and I could see why the Eve figure could nearly be persuaded to go against the desires of the creator.

This really came home to me as I have been rewriting the last chapters of Crimson Swarm. Does my villain have a point? Does his war against humanity have any shred of validity? So I gave him a chance to pitch his best argument. I let him stand up on his soapbox and tell us why he was in the right, and why he should be listened to, and you know what? He had some pretty good arguments. I took my main character, my hero into an audience with the big baddy, ready to do battle with him, and was surprised when he was persuaded to reconsider his actions. That was so cool. Of course I can't just leave him there. I still have to resolve the conflict, but how much richer it has become because I gave the villain a chance to argue his case. I love this writing stuff.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Self Publishing Bigot

Sometimes I'm amazed at how easily it is to become a bigot. Try as you might to be an understanding, tolerant person, something inside of you clamors to feel superior in some way to your fellow man. I'm a W.A.S.P. Male to boot. I grew up in a nice middle class neighborhood. Was raised by good Christian parents. Was always taught that skin color didn't matter. Had a neighbor directly across from me who was black, and because of all this I think I have a pretty healthy attitude about race.... and sometimes I feel superior to others who aren't as enlightened as I am.

See what I mean? I can be a bigot about not being a bigot. What crazy beings man. This leads me to last night. My wife and I meet with a group from church every other Friday night to study the Bible (I know, we are swingers). Somehow during discussion it came up that I was writing a book, which by the way I try not to bring up very often, because I don't want to go off on talking about something I'm passionate about that really has the potential to bore people silly. Anyway, someone mentioned that their nephew just published a book. It was a Science Fiction novel, and he had given everyone in his family copies over Christmas. So did I think, "Wow isn't that great! Someone realized their dream!" No. I immediately figured that he self published, and he was having to give them away because he couldn't sell them. My goodness. When did I become so cynical? I haven't had time to fully process my reaction, but I found it disturbing. I'm not even published, self or otherwise. How can I look down my nose at someone who self published (and I'm only guessing here)? I've become a self publishing bigot of the worst kind.

So, Nephew Science Fiction Novel Guy, I am sorry. Please forgive me for looking down my unpublished, self publishing bigoty nose at you. I'm not sure if I've stumbled upon some deep flaw in my character, of which there are many, but I am sure going to keep an eye on it.