by Todd

I’m so hip . . .

August 31, 2010 in Blog by Todd

Monday bloody Monday

. . . even my edits have edits.


by Todd

Another Friday recap.

August 20, 2010 in Blog by Todd

Apologies are in order.  I wanted to post here last weekend immediately following the end of the ALT 2.0 Kickstarter campaign.  Unfortunately I was rather exhausted, and so I chose to take the weekend off.

Other things came up after that and, well, here we are.

Word Machines #3:

After a two-week delay, it’s now available, and features the lovely, intimidating Roxane Gay.  She is a powerful writer, and it’s an honor to feature her here.  Go read it.

And if you’re new here, you can catch up on the previous features here.

I’m taking a hiatus from the feature next month as I’ve some commitments to reach, but it will return in October.  Stay tuned.

Kickstarter Recap

I’m not going to go into detail here, because I’m planning to write a lengthy post about the entire project once everything is finished.  For now, however, we have work to do.  Phase one is over.  We have the funds, tools, and talent.  Many, many thanks to everyone who supported this venture.  Without you, ALT’s future (and my writing career) would be at a stand-still.  I also want to thank everyone here who put up with my incessant promoting over those 65 days.  I know it grew tiring (I got tired of it after a while, to be honest), but it had to be done.  Fortunately we’re funded, and can move on to the next objective.  Which just happens to be–

ALT 2.0

Edits have begun.  Not the little proofreading edits I did several months ago, but the intensive, cut-whole-sections-out-and-cry-about-it sort of edits.  The Kickstarter campaign made this possible and, if you’re one of the backers to said project, be on the lookout for an update this weekend (probably tonight) that will include scans of the actual pages, complete with comments and witty banter between Amelia, my editor, and myself.

The first chapter of ALT’s first edition was a little over 8k words.  It’s now just a little over 6k.  There are going to be changes made to improve the story’s flow.  My chapters have always run long, which can be a drain on the average reader.  We’re going to fix that now.  There will be minor details that change.  The company where Donovan works, for example, along with the nature of its business, has changed. Telemarketing for the purpose of selling long distance service doesn’t really make sense in 2010.

Those of you who hate me for what happened to Mr. Precious Paws in the first edition will be happy to know the paper shredder scene is a thing of the past.  You will not be happy to know the cat still dies.  Sorry.  I’m still an evil bastard.

At the moment I’ve finished my revisions of the first chapter, and am planning to dive into chapter 2 this weekend.  So far we’re on schedule.  As I told my backers late last week, I’m aiming for a late October release.


Thursday night I took a very important step.  I can’t talk about it now, but I will in the coming months.  It’s exciting.

I think that’s all for now, folks.  Now I’m off to bury myself with edits.


by Todd

The American Book of the Dead: Part Two

August 11, 2010 in Blog by Todd

In last month’s Word Machines feature I wrote about an independent author by the name of Henry Baum.  He wrote a book called THE AMERICAN BOOK OF THE DEAD which I highly recommend.  Today I’m happy to announce that he’s serializing its sequel, aptly subtitled Part Two, on Scribd.  The introduction (which is brutally honest, I might add) along with the first three chapters are available on Scribd.  Go check it out, or just read through the embedded viewer here:

The American Book of the Dead Part II

by Todd

The home stretch.

August 8, 2010 in Blog by Todd

All right, folks. After an exhilarating two months, we are now in the home stretch of the ALT 2.0 Kickstarter project.  There are now 4 days left.  We hit our pledge goal two weeks ago, at which point I set a new goal of $2500.  If  we can hit $2500, anyone who pledges $15 will not only receive a copy of ALT’s second, revised edition, but a plushy Cretin made by my wonderful wife, Erica.

$15. A copy of ALT in print, a digital copy in the format of your choice, and a plushy Cretin to sit on your shoulder while you read.  That’s what I call a “deal.”  So, if you want in on the goods and have been putting it off all this time (lookin’ at you, Hoss), now is the time.

I promise a real update following the craziness of the week.  The next Word Machines feature is also in the works.

Stay tuned.


by Todd

Help out young writers!

August 3, 2010 in For Writers by Todd

Hey, folks. I just learned of a project on Kickstarter held by the Desert Island Supply Company, a writing center for kids down in Birmingham, Alabama.

They’ve got 3 days to raise the remaining funds necessary to keep their center afloat. As you’ll see, the margin they need to raise is a vast one, but I’m optimistic that it can be done.

Please take a moment, read over their cause, and consider pitching $5 into their hat. Help ensure young writers have a place to practice their craft.



by Todd

Missing your milestones.

August 1, 2010 in For Writers by Todd

Tracy Lucas wrote a great post the other night that made me get all nostalgic about the writing process.  Sometimes, when I read blog posts by fellow writers (in her case, writer, editor, and publisher), I’ll leave a comment.  Other times, I’ll tacitly agree or disagree with their words and go about my day.

Rarely do I feel compelled to write a post here about another post elsewhere. Today is one of those rarities.

First you really should go read her post.  Do it.  I’ll wait.

At the heart of that post she makes a great point:  Don’t miss your milestones.  I think this is an important thing for a writer to do.  In fact, I’d make the case that it’s one of the most important things for a writer to do.  Being someone who just made it through a 116k word excursion that is the jungle of First Drafts after being lost there for over a year, I can now look back at all the posts I made here on this site, as well as entries in my writing journal, and gauge my progress.  I can look back and see where things went wrong, where they went right, and how it all came together one step at a time.

All those times I posted screenshots here were milestones.  Every time I made a status update about the latest word count–that was a milestone, too.  Thing is, I didn’t realize it at the time.  I’m only realizing it now.

Like Tracy’s husband, I’ve also invalidated my goals once I got there, and I think that’s part of the point.  That’s how things keep going.  Maybe it goes back to the mantra that “An artist’s work is never done.” You set a goal, and when you get there, it’s no longer the big deal that it was because you now have an even greater goal that’s another two thousand steps beyond where you are.  Case in point:  Now that TLM’s first draft is finished, I’m looking ahead at a year from now, at which point I’d like TLM to be in print and in your hands.  I’m just as guilty of this.

In terms of validation, sure, we may look to so-called “gatekeepers” to validate our work.  I, like Tracy, often wonder what it might be like to get a big advance from a NY publisher.  I think that’s been ingrained in us, but (thankfully) the times are changing, and maybe in a few generations writers won’t have to think about selling their work to huge houses in NY to consider themselves “professional.” But, that’s a whole other blog post, for another time.

Anyway, if there’s a point to this, it’s to reiterate that the steps you take on a journey toward your goal are equally important.  Every step, even if it doesn’t seem like it, is still a step, and whether it takes five steps or five thousand, it doesn’t matter so long as you keep taking them.  Eventually you will get there.