William Michael Goins

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01
Dec

11/2015 The Wait

I currently have a book out on submission and waiting on how it’s accepted of not accepted is without doubt one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. I know my agent is working hard to find the right editor/publisher, but respectfully, unless someone has created characters out of nothingness and written a serious book, I don’t know if anyone but another serious writer can understand how difficult the wait is.

I know it’s a business and I know it moves slowly. No problem there.

But from the writing side, the book is more than five years of thought, writing, re-writing, revision, re-thinking, discovery, innovation, cutting, pasting, lengthening, shortening, phrase-turning and a hundred other words that are a part of trying really hard to write something that’s not just a book, but that makes a difference.

So the slightest glimmer of interest, the smallest appearance that some editor understands what I’m doing, the asking for a manuscript or just some number of pages is more than a business transaction to me at a personal level. It’s proof that what I write matters, that someone gets the three stories and how they interact, that maybe, just maybe, it’s a book of importance.

Many times, in creative writing classes, I’ve told students it’s like putting one’s child they have developed and nurtured and shaped up on a table for all to see as you await someone to tell you that your story reached into their heart or that your child is ugly and has big ears. The waiting is hard, especially when the book is a part of a trilogy and the characters you’ve created continue into the following books. It’s really, really, hard.

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 December 1st, 2015  
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01
Dec

11/2015 Good News

Something different to share today.  I have a new agent who shall remain nameless per her request at this time. She and I have been working diligently on one of my books for a while and last Monday she submitted it to a list of top tier editors/publishers. As of today, we have had a pretty good responses so I am quite excited. Having the right agent is the key here, along with hopefully writing a book that will appeal to not only the editors but the reading public.  This particular book has been a number of years in the creating, and knowing I have someone on the marketing side of it that cares is beyond wonderful. No details on either the agent or the book until she says it is okay, but, if she reads this, I want her to know how much she is appreciated. Fingers crossed for both of us!

 December 1st, 2015  
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01
Dec

10/2015 Back to Book Two

Working hard on book two of my trilogy and after wrestling with it a bit I think I finally have it in a manageable outline form. Unfortunately, until recently, I tended to be primarily a scene writer with no real regard to the segues and chapter arrangement until later, more or less knowing where I was going but not definitive. Bad idea, as it really slows the writing down. I discovered that with another book I wrote that went so much smoother and have fallen totally in love with more precise plotting along an outline form using a system I developed that works for me. I had a lot of solid scenes written for this book but no definitive organization, no real solid plot line, so I had to drop back and both organize what I had already written and set up a more cohesive plot than what I had originally thought. That, took time I honestly could have been writing had I been better organized with the way I wrote at the time.

I recently did a synopsis of it for my agent that reads pretty solidly so I used it for the foundation, adding in some additional plot lines that I worked through recently. It’s now a much stronger book than originally planned with a good central line and several additional threads running through it and I am more than happy with it so far but it took determining exactly whose story it is to get it laid out properly. After several starts/stops and tough decisions, I think I have it very, very close – never positive as additional ideas sometimes need to be worked in as I go. Little more than a couple hundred pages done and more than enough storyline for another two to three hundred pages and I now know exactly where I’m going with the side threads woven in and out of the main plot line. Might actually be five hundred pages (about 125K words) when finished and then I’ll edit it from there.

If you are reading this – and I’m not sure anyone is – I’m still looking for others in the area (northwest San Antonio) interested in a small writer’s group – maybe five or six serious writers regardless of skill level. If you write and want to get better and need quality critiquing, contact me and let’s talk.

Back to book two – people waiting on me.

 December 1st, 2015  
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01
Dec

10/2015 We’re Waitin’ on you.

Steadily working on the second manuscript in my trilogy and as much as I really do love teaching freshman English, it sometimes gets in the way of my writing. Like all others who write fiction, the hope is to someday write full time and, to be completely honest, after teaching for so many years, it sure would be nice to never have to grade another essay. I  often have as many as several hundred essays of wildly varying quality on my desk to grade at any given time, and by necessity its a slow process to do properly. I sometimes sit at my desk and focus on the papers with my characters from book two standing all around me, each whispering my name softly, and that, my friends, makes the grading hard to do. There’s always so many essays I can’t not grade or I get behind, and that’s something I would never want to do for a number of reasons. It’s important to get them back to my students ,not only for me and the avoidance of the hassle of trying to get caught back up if I don’t stay on top of it, but for my students who desperately need the feedback so that their next paper is better than the one I’m currently grading. Without feedback – and I provide a LOT of feedback on essays, even the good ones – they can’t get better and that’s what the composition classes are all about – getting better and becoming a competent college-level writer so they can make good grades in all classes requiring writing. Even as I write this, the big man to my right is rolling his eyebrowless eyes and whispering my name and the scary little woman behind me is mumbling something that sounds like it might be a threat. The fat woman with the errant headscarf just in front of my monitor smiles, rearranges the headscarf yet again, and nods. “Hurry up, Mister Mike,” she says. “We’re waitin’ on you.”

 December 1st, 2015  
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01
Dec

10/6/2015 The Trilogy

Everything is working quite well on the trilogy mentioned earlier and I really like the characters, both the good ones and the bad ones. It’s surprising sometimes how a bad character will come to life, often quite unexpectedly, and then just how much fun they can be to write. The complexities of character development can make both good and bad characters difficult to make real and that’s where writers sometimes go astray, but the reality with fiction is that with most characterization there are really just three types of characters. Obviously, the main characters, protagonist and antagonist however many there are or might be, have to be fully rounded and fleshed out with subtly to them and considerable depth including tics, mannerisms, etc. The other two types are necessary for reality. Walk-on characters are those that are necessary to make scenes true and real, whether one is writing historical fiction or science fiction ad they generally interact with the main characters or at least are hears in some way. They walk in and out of scenes and usually have names, though one has to be careful with too many named characters or the reader won’t know who is actually important and who to pay attention too – at least initially when opening the book up. They are the waitresses interrupting the action at the table and taking orders that make a restaurant a restaurant, the librarians waving a finger and shushing in the library, the characters – whoever they might be – that somehow come into contact with the major ones and then interact with them in some way. This would be the waitress that talks to a major charter on more than one occasion, for example. Last, and certainly important to setting, are what I refer to as the cardboard characters. They are the ones who are nameless and in the background but vital to setting or moving the story along in some way. The people walking in and out and eating in the restaurant (so it’s a restaurant and not a bus station, for example). They are nameless but quite vital to the realization of the scene, the ones who drop the glasses/call out the orders/greet customers, brush past/etc. the people in the restaurant so it feels/looks/sounds real. Deep breath. Back to the manuscript.

 December 1st, 2015  
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