Tag Archives: writing

Writing as a Life or Adding to Life

I just finished reading a wonderful post article here >>>  4AM Writer – 5 Ways Failure is Good for You <<<.  Now, this post is not really so much about failure being good and I am not one to really tell you. See, I did a lot of research on “how” to publish a short story before I even tried to write it.  I learned what I could, then wrote a story and used my research to figure out who to send it to.  The result?  I sent it to three publishers and didn’t hear from 2 and the other one published it.  He also (Kevin is Great!) published 3 of my other short stories and I had 3 other shorts published by 2 publishers and one individual who was collecting flash fiction.  Her collection never got published, one of the other 2 publishers wanted the story, but the entire collection fell through, and one was online and I don’t think that link is even good anymore (funny as that one paid the best).  But Kevin G Bufton from the UK and I worked together for about 2 years and I loved working with him.  He has, since, quit being a publisher and has written his novel.  He told me I was like a “young Robert Bloc”.  I loved that!  Big compliment for a horror writer.

I have also published 2 more books on Kindle and 1 more under a pseudonym.  The kindle ones are not really counted in my “I have been published” statements because I published them myself and anyone can do that, so nix on that as counting.

The point being I really never went through that “fail” part of writing (at least, not yet).  I was published early and have enjoyed being able to say I am published.

I don’t remember the source, but I did read one person who stated that if you are going to write, first figure out why you are writing.  If you are writing just to write, then write – you are done.  If you are writing to be published, then do self-publishing – you are done.  If you are wanting to make money writing, then it is NOW a job and you have to learn how to work with others, change your stuff, etc…

I did the first two with not much problem.  Number 3 is still not true.  I have made some money, but the total is, probably, less than $200 for about 7-8 years of work.  Not a huge income.  However, I am happy, at present, because I have been selected and did receive monies for my works.  Therefore, I feel I am a successful writer w/o the huge income.

I read Stephen King’s “On Writing”.  This is a truly wonderful semi-autobiography and you should read it, in my opinion, if you are going to be a writer.  He is very honest, open, and compelling here.  I loved reading the book and it helped me understand where a lot of his ideas came from.  Just as one note:  King tells how his first novel, “Carrie”, was one he threw in the trash.  The next morning when he got up to write, there was a note from his wife, Tabitha (a writer in her own right), which was with the manuscript on his desk saying, “You should send this in”.  I believe he got an advance of about $125,000 from this book.  It started him on his way.

Myself, I write horror shorts that take a situation, twist it a bit, then tell a story, then add a twist at the end.  The best example I can think of is the show series “Black Mirror”.  Now, I hated the first episode or story, but after that, fabulous.  They do the same, though.  You are watching a show and enjoying it, then it turns really dark, then, at the end, it twists and isn’t at all what you were thinking.  Kinda like the old “Twilight Zone” or “Outer Limits”.

Anyway, that’s the way I love to write.  So, to get ideas, I think of a situation.  One was mermaids or sirens. I took the idea of luring boats to their doom, modernized it, had a group of twenty-somethings get taken in by it, then twisted it so the end left you just a bit hanging, but still finished the story.  I called it “Sirens of the Deep”, I believe, and it was my first published story.

And don’t think there aren’t mistakes in all of them.  Even that first story, after sending it in, I found a mistake in which I mixed up the names of two people and had a person who had been killed, up fighting as the wrong person.  I sent in a correction and Kevin sent it to the book makers, but they didn’t put it in and so the mistake lives on!  I have even found a mistake in a later story I published on Kindle, but you can go buy the book if you want to see (link on left here).

Finishing up, I just think that the best thing you can do to not give up and stop writing or trying to publish is to:

  1. Do your research.  Publishers are notorious for giving you very specific things they want when you send in the story, like font, word count, page numbers, title just so, etc… For a lot of them, if you miss one thing on this list, they toss your story, unread, into the trash pile.  They figure you can’t follow directions, then they don’t want to work with you.
  2. Write your story and edit it a couple of times.  Have someone or two someones read the story.  I have people read mine for two things:  some people read for grammar and others just to see how they like it.  It is hard to do both at the same time.  Don’t keep revising forever….just a few times, see that it’s decent or near-perfect to you, then send it in to your list or best choice of publishers.
  3. Make sure the publishers are fair and right for your story.  You wouldn’t go to the produce section of the grocery to get cheese.  Why send in a western story to a sci-fi magazine?  It is a waste of time and your money.
  4. Don’t pay someone to publish your story or book. They should pay you for the story.  They should get a commission for the book. Too many people out there take your $200-500 to read your story, give suggestions, and say they will publish it.  They should not charge you to publish the book unless  you are specifically paying a publishing house to do exactly that.  Send in the few pages and synopsis or whatever they ask for (no money) and wait to hear back.
  5. Don’t send your story or book to more than one publisher at a time unless the publishers allow that.
  6. Don’t give up any rights to the story or book until you have settled everything else and are comfortable with the contract.  There are publishers out there who will send you a contract and, in signing that contract, you have effectively given them the book to do with as they choose for a long time and you can’t send it anywhere else even if they never make a cent from it.  Also, make certain you are being paid fairly.  I had a hard time signing that first contract (e-contract, at that) and had to ask some questions and get answers. Kevin was great about it and it kept a good paper trail.
  7. Make sure you send yourself an electronic copy of the book (attachment) in several formats to that you can prove you were the first to write this story.  That is a valid copyright method for writers.  That time-stamped email will help if someone decides to copy your story or book and resell it as their own.

There are lots more, but I think this is a good start.  Enjoy your writing, enjoy your story, and don’t worry if you don’t get published right away.  Keep your options open, read a lot, do your research, and enjoy the process, most of all.

Namaste,

Scott

What is the Reason for Posts?

I was just looking at my view history.  It is pretty poor.  Around 15 was my top number of daily views for the last week.  It was normally around 3.  I see people out there with hundreds, even thousands of views, and the same number for followers.  I know people who earn money on their posts.  Then I look at my pitiful attempt at a blog and my smile dwindles.

But, today, I got a comment from WordPress thanking me for 7 years of blogging.  I stop and think of that!!!  7, that’s SEVEN, years I have been writing  for WordPress.  One of those years was, at least, one post per day.  So, now, I am asking myself why do we post?  Why do I post?  Why should we post at all?  As usual, the answers seem to be all over the board.

Some post for glory.  Some post to make a point.  Some post to create conversations.  Some post to make friends.  And, I am sure there are many other reasons for people to post.  The answer seems to be “It doesn’t matter why.”

I think this is a basic truth, but it all depends on how you read it.  It does matter why you post, but only to you.  You want friends, glory, to prove a point, to talk?  Why not?  Why shouldn’t you post for those reasons?

Today, I began writing this post only because I got the 7 year notice and checked my stats.  I had this idea and ran with it.  You all are great!  You comment; you view; you accept; and you let me know what you are thinking of what I posted.  That seems to me to be the best reason for posting:  to put an idea out there and see who thinks what about it.

Yeah, not very well-written, nor very original.  Still, putting an idea out there to see what people think.  That’s not bad.  I think it allows all the other reasons to exist and still be a valid point.

So, write a post; publish an article; heck, write a book.  But, do it for you, whatever your reason, it is important to you and that makes all the difference.  Have I told you anything new here?  I don’t know…You tell me…

I want to hear your comments.  Not for views, not for space, not for glory…I just want to know!

Namaste,

Scott

A Sincere Apology, Maybe…

He looks sincere, doesn’t he? Licensed for reuse Click pic for source page

I have doing a lot of things this week.  Blogging has not been one of them, at least, my usual blogging.  I enjoy doing the flash fiction duo that I handle each week:  Friday Fictioneers and Five Sentence Fiction.  In fact, soon, I hope to publish on Kindle a collection of 100 (or more) of my Five Sentence Fictions from the last 100 weeks (give or take).  It’s in the making, but will be a bit.

I also have been tasked with writing a 2500 word horror short story that is turning into 4000 words.  I am enjoying the task.  It has, however, kept me from blogging as usual.  That’s not all, of course, I have also been busy seeing doctors, taking my Dad to his doctors’ visits, trying to rest, and reading more blog posts than I have been in many many months.

So, I apologize to you, maybe.  I say “maybe” because, even though I didn’t write my Flash Fiction items, I have been sharing even more with other bloggers.  Both through my comments and people actually viewing my other posts.  It seems that, though I really like writing fiction, I have a bit of flare for other writings.  I knew this at one point, but it has been over-shadowed lately just because I was pushing myself in so many areas.  That kinda stopped today when I realized that I have had more views this past week when I did other types of posts than when I simply write my fiction.

People seem to enjoy personalized posts in which you pour out (or tear out) your heart by voicing opinions on topics you are concerned about and when you reblog excellent posts of others.  I knew this, in actuality, but had put it on the back burner, too.

I have decided that I don’t have to have a set routine for my blog.  I can write 1-2 times a week at times and 4-5 others.  It is up to me.  As long as I stay in the loop and write weekly, I think it will be fine.  Well, it will be just because I intend on doing it.

I will end by pointing you to a post I read that hit me good and hard.  Language is strong, so is the topic.  However, because it hit me hard, I think everyone else should look at it, too.  I hadn’t thought about some of the specifics mentioned; that’s what hit me so hard.

“Whoever Invented the Phrase ‘Real Women Have Curves’…” 

Link:  https://voicesofsteph.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/to-whoever-invented-the-phrase-real-women-have-curves-heres-a-heartfelt-fck-you-strong-language-used-obviously/

Namaste,

Scott

2014 – The Review of My Year

2014

Well, 2014 is nearly done.  It is December 16, 2014 at 11:12PM as I begin this post.  Another year post-stroke that I have lived and flourished through.  Many of you have been with me throughout this year; some have not.  I am certain that I lost a few, but I did find one blog sister and am happy for her return.

The biggest problem with the year post-stroke is that my memory is not so hot on the timing of events and I may mention something that happened in 2011 or last month and not be able to tell you the time of it.  That makes putting 2014 in order difficult.  What I can do is highlights, I hope.

Early 2014 found me trying to deal with Medicare and the reset deductibles.  That will happen again in a couple of weeks.  This means that the injection I took for $5 this month may cost $100 in January of 2015.  Speaking of Medicare / Medical concerns, I have been taking Testosterone injections monthly now for about a year.  I am at maximum amount, so this month and next month will show how much effect I can expect from it.  It does help me to make / keep muscles.  Exercising does no good if you can’t build muscle mass.  And, if I understand it, losing muscle mass also could damage my heart.

Stroke

I have continued Reflexology treatments and they help me.  I am learning to reduce and to manage pain levels.  For those new to all this, I had a horrible hemorrhagic stroke May 7, 2010 and suffer pain and several other results of that ordeal.  Those include balance issues, short-term memory problems, double vision, weakened left side, need for a cane, greater fatigue, and a certain level of constant pain.  I am also diabetic and suffer from neuropathy (foot pain and numbness).

The world was blessed in February with the first birthday of my first great niece, Karlee Koontz.  She has been fun to watch grow and learn this year.  Adrienne and Lance are expecting their second daughter this February.  If I have the months wrong, I apologize.  Best I can do with what I have (lol).

My daughter, Dr. Aarika White is working part-time at my old Alma Mater, UIndy, as a psychologist for the students.  She enjoys the work and I love that she is working there.  Her husband, Josh, did a lot of work-related travel this past year, so she and I did spent quite a bit of time together.

My son, Aaron, just began a new job in Portland, Oregon.  He works with computers in things I can understand but not do.  I have been tempted to move up there and no longer have a car (public transpo is excellent), but am not certain how I would handle the cost of living on my relatively fixed income (You can read that as not writing a best seller nor winning the lottery).  I shall reconsider this decision every year or so.

olive garden

I did go to Olive Garden for my anniversary of the stroke again this year.  I have missed that once since the stroke when I simply forgot it (it actually felt good to realize I had forgotten it enough to not go).

The summer went pleasantly enough.  I spent a lot of it getting to know my neighbors and do a bit of traveling.  My sister, Darci and I went to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a several-day much needed vacation.  It is a beautiful city and we had a great time.  She did wear herself out one day pushing me in a wheelchair around the zoo.

This fall was met with both joy (it is my favorite season) and some distaste for the rain and the cold.  I knew winter was coming with the snow and ice.  I don’t mind the weather, but have to make certain that I do not fall and injure myself.

My Dad, Richard, fell a couple of months ago and broke his ankle in three places.  This has been very difficult on him and on us as well.  I look forward to him being back up and walking in the next couple of months.

Thanksgiving went well.  It was an adjustment with Dad and me (I have gone to Vegan – more shortly), but that, too, was simply something to deal with, and we did.

vegan

I switched to Vegan back in July.  I did some research after coming to the conclusion that the medical efforts at handling my diabetes were more aimed at allowing it to worsen slowly rather than attempting a cure.  After reading and studying, I decided my best bet was to go strict vegan.  This December, I am pleased to report that my blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight have all gone down significantly.  I had the blood tests last week and am waiting for results to see if I am handling it well.  I know that I eat more healthy and a greater amount of food.  I feel better and have added a few supplements to my diet as well.  Most significant has been the addition of food enzymes, Chromium Picolinate, and Chlorophyll in pill form.

I must mention my cat, Tamika, who in now into her 8th year and shows some small signs of slowing as well as a bit of graying around the edges.  Having almost lost her to the outdoors a few years back, I am glad she has, at least, learned to stay inside and follow a few simple commands (at times, the addition of a spray water bottle has helped).  She sleeps at the foot of my bed or on a box by the window in my bedroom as long as she behaves (about 1/2 the time).  One more problem from the stroke is my inability to sleep more than 2-3 hours without waking up.  It has fluctuated a bit, but seems to be 1.5-3 hours currently.  I dream more and do it quicker, but I also tend to fall asleep in the afternoon and early evenings if not careful about a nap.

To keep my brain active, currently, I:

write fiction, play 15-18 games of Words with Friends on FB, do some writing on FB, play video games (mostly Skyrim in which I am now at level 47), and I play Dungeons and Dragons online with several people on Monday evenings.  I do eat out a couple of times a week, at least once with my friend, Kevin, who had an aneurism around Thanksgiving and survived it well (thank goodness).  I do try to go to the movies a few times a month with another friend from Indy and I visit a friend who is in a wheelchair and lives in Wabash, IN once a month if I can.

I think that about does my general overview of this year.  I thank all of you who have been even a small part of my life.  I feel loved and needed and that is, in no small part, due to all of you.

Namaste,

Scott

*Please note that all pictures in this post were taken from Google Image Searches with “licensed for reuse” filters.

Clarity and Truth Ignored – PG – Humorous – Friday Fictioneers

Brought to you by Rochelle, Friday Fictioneers rocks!  Read mine below and > HERE < for the rest.  Enjoy!!!

Source: PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright – Jan Wayne Fields Click on Pic for page.

Clarity and Truth Ignored

By Scott L Vannatter

Clarisse opened one of the drawers in the writing table she had gotten at the bazaar. She unfolded the parchment she found. She was pleased with both.

The parchment was written by the man pictured sitting. It seemed obvious the man was writing something important, perhaps, the beginnings of a book.

Her eyes went wide. She knew no one had ever seen this piece before. It was, simply, the man in the picture writing about how horrible he felt the other picture (of the hunt) had been done. He felt it mostly childlike in nature.

She tore the piece up.

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Philosophy is all about being curious, asking basic questions. And it can be fun!

North Noir

DETECTIVE FICTION - A.M. Potter | AUTHOR SITE and BLOG

carly books

I read lots of books, from mythology retellings to literary fiction and I love to reread books from childhood, this is a place to voice my thoughts for fun. I also like to ramble about things such as art or nature every now and again.

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QUALITY LIFE

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The Grief Reality

Normalising the conversation about Grief.

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