Monday, February 24, 2014

The Process - Or how to write a book in 20 years

I've always liked to write.  I think I started my first story in the first grade.  I've always had a dream to write a book.  Over the years, I started writing plenty.  Choose your own adventure books were a favorite of mine back in the day, but I never finished one.  I was good at starting them, but completing them was another story.  Perhaps you can relate.

I'm not sure why I didn't write, but I never did.  Perhaps I was afraid of the rejection from a publisher, perhaps I couldn't think of a good story.  All these things and more are certainly likely reasons.  But in 2013, I decided that it was time.  My wife had read the 50 Shades of Grey books and after that was reading a ton of books with a similar storyline.  I read the books as well to see what the fuss was about.

It gave me an idea for my own book.  I didn't want to write about a billionaire into bdsm.  Take a look on Amazon, there are TONS of books on that subject.  I actually decided to co-write a book with my wife.  At first, it went well, but then our ideas diverged and we decided that we'd have a friendly competition instead.  She has her book, which she's well into and I created my own.

It took me roughly three months to complete the first draft.  I can't describe the feeling of accomplishment I had when it was finally done.  Over 89,000 words.  I never thought I'd be able to finish, but I did. 

You will probably feel the same way.  There are times when I got stuck, when I didn't know what to write, but I got through them.  The best piece of advice you will ever get about writing is that you need to write.  It doesn't matter if it sucks, that can be fixed later.  What matters is you continue to write.  I've heard authors talk about writing as if it's a muscle.  The more you work it out, the stronger you become.  I truly believe that.  The more I wrote, the easier it became.  It would take me a week and a half or so to write the first chapters.  By the end, I was writing nearly two chapters a week.

Set yourself some goals and try to stick to them.  I have a goal of writing at least 1,000 words per day.  At that rate, I should be able to complete a chapter in roughly 5 days.  Some days, I can only write a few words, maybe a sentence or two.  Some days, I write 2,000 or more words.  But the key thing is that I write something.  Even if everything I write is replaced in a second draft, it's something.

In my next post, I'll bring up my process for starting a story.  I hope you'll find it useful, or it will at least give you pause to think.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Vacant Hearts Status Update

For those of you who don't know, my first story, Vacant Hearts is a trilogy.  As I work on the story, I will give status updates to tell you how I'm doing.  Currently, book one is nearly complete.  I'm working on the edits and a cover and it should be published very soon.  I hope to announce it within the next week or so.

When you're writing your own book, please make sure that you have someone available to read your book and find errors.  In my mind, it's vitally important to find as many as you can before you publish.  A book riddled with typos and misspelled words tells a reader that you care so little about your work that you can't be bothered to proofread it.  If you don't care, why should they?  It's been said before, but I'll say it now in big shouty caps so that you know I'm serious.  DON'T PROOFREAD YOUR OWN WORK.

Now, understand that I proofread my own work.  I want to find as many errors as I can by myself.  Having said that, I also have others proofread as well.  The more, the better.  You know what you want to say in your story.  That means you're likely to read what's in your mind, even if that's not what you wrote.  I tend to get me and my mixed up.  I don't know why, but I see that error a lot in my work.

That's my message of the day.  Have someone proofread your work for you.  Your book will be all the better for it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Who is DJ Larkin?

If you've stumbled across this site, you may be asking yourself who just how DJ Larkin is.  I'm an author of five bestselling novels, a concert pianist, and a former NHL hockey player.  Impressed?  So would I be if I met a person like that.  Actually, I'm probably just like you - someone who has wanted to write a novel in their spare time when work, kids and the other vicissitudes of life allow me a moment to breathe.

This blog is for you, the reader, to follow me down this path of writing from start to finish.  From the first word on the first page, to the end of the beginning, which is publishing it.  Join me as I explain my methods, my triumphs and failures until I get to the end.  Perhaps I can teach you what I've learned.  Perhaps we will learn together.  I cannot promise success, I can only promise that I will do my best to succeed.  The cruel reality of it is that no matter how good, most novels will not succeed.

But have faith, believe in yourself and your novel.  If we only sell one book, then that is one book more than we've ever sold before.  Follow me down this new and scary path.  The path of authorship.  My next post will delve into my thought process for my first book, Vacant Hearts, which I hope to publish very soon.