Why I work on multiple books at once.

The Pros of Cons of diversifying your workload.

December is close to over which means a new year is just around the corner. Starting in January I will be putting down the current first draft manuscript I’m writing (You can read an excerpt here) and starting the final draft of a second draft I put down four months ago. I will work on this until April, then I will put that down and start working on the second draft to the first draft I am putting down at the end of December.

Confused yet?

Basically, I work in four-month-increments and I start a first draft to a new book every September. During any given year I am rotating three manuscripts of varied completion. I started writing full-length manuscripts in 2019 and this has been the only method of practice I’ve engaged in thus far.

Why do I do this, you ask?

At this point in my writing journey I am improving at an accelerated rate due to fervent reading and vocabulary building. So instead of putting out a book in a year, I divide that year into three sets of four months so I can return to my work over a longer period of time and implement all the techniques that I have picked up in that span. My writing will surely be of greater quality two years from now than it will be one year from now, and so I want to bestow that benefit on all my projects, even if that means they take longer to submit for publication.

It also helps with story fatigue.

After working on a project for long periods of time, thoughts can become murky and jostled together, resentment for the story or the time it has claimed from your life can fester, and a feeling of overall hopelessness can swallow you up into a tar black void which has a compacting gravitational force powerful enough to crush all of the hopes and dreams that had you starting the manuscript in the first place. Working in four month increments keeps things from becoming stagnant. The time away from the story lets the mind rest easy and when you come back to it four months later you are refreshed and actually looking forward to continuing the work.

And then…

Also, while I write in these four-month-increments, I am constantly skimming my recently completed manuscript for opportunities to polish or tighten. This could also mean sending out to beta readers or editors or even just your family and friends. Getting feedback helps you establish a broader perspective of who your book is for, which will help you when your making your pitch to agents or publishers.

All in all, this means that it is usually three years before a project of mine is ready to be submitted. But I hope it also means I am sending out much more polished and prepared work that will have a better shot at ending up on bookstore bookshelves

After all, that is the endgame, is it not?

My First Kill Scene

Here is an excerpt from the horror manuscript I’m currently writing…

No one suspects a thing.

It is because of the voices that he is here tonight in wait. They told him to silence the harlot. They told him to kill Cheryl for what she had done. He is helpless to refute their commands. And so he will kill her.

She had nearly gotten into the car with her sibling after the game. That would have ruined everything. But she decided to walk. The voices were happy with that.

He peeks out one eye from behind the rhytidome pillar, careful not to be seen. She is a ways away but she is growing on the horizon. She is beautiful. Like a princess. Her blonde strands shimmer under the moonlight. Her skin is milky and soft. The way her hips sway hypnotically as she walks enraptures him. His veins course with exhilaration and the inside of his mouth is wetted by new saliva.

He tightens his grip around the knife handle and falls back behind cover. He waits. He counts to ten. He peeks one eye out from behind the tree for a second time. She is seven houses away. Seven trees. The breeze that passed through him moments earlier reaches her, tossing back the golden tips of hair sweeping her shoulders. She braces the intercourse but shows no signs of displeasure. She is content. She is sure-footed.

She doesn’t suspect a thing.

He returns behind the tree and takes a breath. He listens to the throaty belch of vagabond crickets in the grass. He listens to his throbbing heartbeat inside his chest and ears. Most of all, he listens to the absence of the voices.

Her footsteps draw closer, pattering along the sidewalk. She is humming a gentle melody to herself; Her voice is exquisite.

He fantasizes slicing open her voice box and watching the sheets of red-black blood cascade down her neck, over her collarbone, toward her breasts.

Anticipation bubbles and boils. Shivers run through his limbs like lightning. He is ready to proceed.

He steps out from behind the tree, concealing the knife behind his back. He walks toward her like he has been strolling for some time and conducts himself as if he is incognizant of her trajectory.

She is three houses away when she notices him approaching. She is unprepared for the recognition that follows. He allows his glance to meet hers. He smiles benignly, portraying a mirrored reticence. This will disarm her, he believes. For a moment her stride latches and she considers crossing the street. She abruptly decides against it. She believes him to be innocuous. Truly, she does not know him at all.

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I Deleted Social Media

Post #1

I got rid of my social media accounts. I will post here. It won’t be anything fancy. I want to keep the content as craft related as possible so I will have to fight the need for furious off-color rants posted during the peak of my caffeine high at four in the morning.

Why did I delete my social media if I’m an author looking for exposure?

I don’t like the vibe anymore. I’m too old for that lifestyle of: Look at my life. Look. Cool, huh? My life? At this point in my life there are enough people looking into my affairs without any prompting from me. What I’m saying is I don’t need to post a picture for people to know my business. And I’m old and ugly; you don’t want to see my ‘I woke up like this’ post. But most of all, on my time away from the harsh realities of daily life, in my few moments of escape from the modern terrors of secular existence, the last thing I want to do is waste the precious and fleeting gift of consciousness on scrolling through other people’s daily drama. I think social media has a big impact on your thought patterns, whether this is good or bad I guess is subjective to the consumer. I’m not going to rant. I want to. But I won’t. I’m going to stay classy.

In the meantime I’m going to get really good at telling the stories I want to tell. I’m devouring books and finding my style. I’m enjoying the journey and the vindication of improvement. I’m living minimally, focusing on what’s important to me and cropping out the rest.

I’ve made peace with the fact this may take a while, and I may never be what I’m setting out to be. But I think if I tried and I stayed consistent that I would be an author. Maybe not a successful author. But an author.

I’m thinking about refining all my short stories and putting out a self-published hardcover (Amazon just started doing hardcovers) of the complete works of Gregory Patrick Travers. At least that way if I die before completing my true legacy, I will have the collection of these stories as my back-up legacy. But fingers crossed we get to do the other legacy.