It was nice to see so much viewership and positive feedback from my last excerpt I posted a week or so ago for my new book Hood, Book one of the American Rebirth series.
I hesitate to say the editing process is coming to a close, but I hope (and pray) that it is. It’s been a long, long road. I still am researching the best way to go about self-publishing, and still need to get some stuff done, but hopefully I’ll have the book up soon. You can be sure you’ll hear about it 🙂
So without further ado, enjoy:
Hood slammed the door of the truck. The bright sun blared down on the old house that remained largely intact. He’d seen this exact sight before; an unhinged red front door and pile of rotten wood shingles that lay in a heap next to the walkway. They’d already been to this house, months ago. He scanned the area, looking over each shoulder. The narrow lake shimmering in the sunlight nearby looked much more sylvan now than in the nighttime.
“Mm-hm?” He replied, the crunch of his footsteps on gravel unceasing as he strode towards the old farmhouse. It still held the air of a once majestic country home as it must’ve been some years ago.
“Why are we looking in the same place again?” Hood’s voice did nothing to hide his annoyance.
“Just keep an eye on the truck,” Whiskey said, entering the house with his police-issue shotgun half-raised.
Hood breathed in deep, leaning his head back and letting out a grumbling sigh. He looked out over the still lake that carried a few lost pine cones about like ships at sea. He turned around, observing the vast overgrowth of grass and weeds on what must have once been fields. The old barn covered in flaky brown paint was listing so heavily to one side it looked like if Hood yelled at it, it would collapse. In the distance, over top the treeline he could see the rise of the Shenandoah mountains. At least, he was pretty sure that’s what it was.
He hoisted his rifle onto his shoulder, letting it rest there lazily. At least it was a gorgeous day in yet another ghost town. He wondered what his old home in D.C. looked like. The parts of the city that still stood were on the brink of chaos when Hood and Taylor left two years ago. They waited for days hoping their parents would show up, but fled when the survivors grew desperate. Radiation sickness decimated many of the people that had survived the blast.
How different would Hood’s life be if his entire family was together during the fall. They probably never would have met Whiskey and become a part of Clearwater. He hadn’t seen Ian in over a year even before the fall, barely talked to him save a few texts. It was easy to get caught up in your life and not even pick up the phone to say hi. Now he just prayed Ian was still alive.
It was hard to accept going from a world where communication was a given to a world where your survival depended on being cut off from the world. A bird of prey was floating slowly on the strong winds high up in the blue sky. Nothing to see here, buddy.
Every year around this time, ITW (International Thriller Writers) has a downright awesome conference in NYC called Thrillerfest. I look forward to it year round, honestly.
This year, I’m attending Pitchfest, (which is tomorrow) a speed-dating book-pitching agent-meeting bonanza! I didn’t even know it existed until this past year, which is probably just as well because my MS, Hood, was not nearly where I wanted it to be at that time. Basically, if you have a completed manuscript and want to try your hand at pitching it to seemingly endless numbers of agents, this is the place.
So yeah, I’m pretty amped about it. I’ve prepped everything, been working on my pitch, (which I’m sure is still a work in progress, like everything) and am trying to keep my head from exploding in anticipation.
If any of you folks are going to ITW Thrillerfest 2015, feel free to let me know, or say hi to me while I’m there! There’s a picture of me on my about page over yonder. I’m just about the friendliest guy around, and love chatting with other writers or editors or whoever you may be.
So yeah, I’ll be there, trying not to explode from excitement, trying to soak in knowledge from whoever I can. Good luck to any of you fine folks attending!
After two years worth of writing, Months worth of editing and hack-sawing more than half of the book and then rewriting the whole dang thing again, I’m happy to present a snippit from my new book: Hood, Book One of the American Rebirth Series.
As any writer will tell you, even a finished book still feels like it needs editing. So I’m going to forego my endless need to tweak and just toss it up. Here goes:
With a click light filled the room, so bright Hood had to turn his face and jam his eyes shut.
“You’re getting full of yourself,” came the hoarse voice of the old sheriff.
The idea that the sheriff had Hood’s life in his hands was a dark seed in his mind. He needed to buy some time, find out why he was here, why he was still alive.
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Hood answered at length. The yellow floodlight nailed to the wall still shined in his eyes, but he adjusted enough to be able to see that they were in an portable arch-shaped metal warehouse.
“Of course I’m right.” the old man said, pacing in front of him. “Sneaking through my land, stealing from me and thinking you’d just run back home unmolested. You and your self-righteousness. I swear, I can smell your naiveté on the wind.”
Hood licked his lips and kept silent. The old man leaned in close to Hood. His breath smelled like old cigarettes. His bald, middle aged face was worn and weary around blue eyes. It was a look of disappointment, the look of a vulture flying over picked bones. His search was over.
“You know what it is that did you in,” the sheriff said with a smile and focused eyes. “It’s pride. The same pride that god saw in us when he smote us down.”
Hood smirked, his head leaned forward with his brow keeping the light out of his eyes.
“Granted, I’ve never read the good book cover to cover, but I’m pretty sure you don’t qualify as the godly type.”
The sheriff swung his pistol at Hood’s face. The handle connected with his eyebrow, his head snapping back from the blow. The pain seared, his head feeling numb. The worn barrel of the sheriff’s pistol hovered in front of Hood’s right eye. Inside the barrel was darkness.
A tight frown quivered on The sheriff’s face. “You don’t talk to me about godliness. You’re just a mongrel slinking around this hell on earth.”
Hood breathed in slowly, closing his eyes. Despite being provoked the Sheriff still hadn’t shot him. Gotta keep him talking.
The first draft of anything is shit.
There’s a word that seems to conjure up an image of a lone wanderer, aimlessly trudging through the dusty plains, constantly changing directions under a bleary sun and yet still not seeming to get anywhere.
That word: Editing.
After each subsequent edit, I think: “yeah, alright. I think it’s where it needs to be. This is good!” After some feedback, then it becomes painfully clear: WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!
That’s okay. I have one thing to say to myself, and all other writers going through the grueling process of editing:
Don’t be so goddamn hard on yourself.
Seriously, this is the nature of writing. Hemingway said it best (read above.) It’s okay to write something that isn’t good, or needs fixing. Just learn from it, change it, make it better. The beauty of writing is you can edit and change the content as much as you need. You can cut and hone it from being a car leaf spring into a sharpened survival knife.
Truthfully, the ability to know where you can improve, and accept that you need to improve are some of the most important facets of success. Don’t let yourself down; don’t let your story down.
- Get readers who will give you feedback. Honest, harsh feedback. You’ll need it.
- Be willing to overhaul parts of your story if it’s clear it is needed. Don’t get married to your ‘plan.’
- Don’t try to do it all at once. Figure out what you need to change, and tackle one issue at a time.
Good luck, wasteland wanderers.