WorkIt Wednesday: The Five-2K Challenge
WorkIt Wednesday / May 18, 2016

I’m going to put a challenge out there for everyone. I’ve already made it to certain friends. Now I’m opening it to you. For the next year (or one year from whenever you decide to start), do the Five2K challenge: Write 2k Run/ walk 2k Edit 2k Read 2k Eat 2k calories (2000 calories) Do this daily for one year (52 weeks). Tag your progress with #Five2K. Miss a day? Don’t stress. Make up your 2k on another day. 2k walking or running is only 1.29 miles or so. Do a little extra one day and “bank” it toward another day. Didn’t write enough? Have a marathon writing session and get in 10k at some point. Same with editing. 2k words is, roughly, eight pages, although your average will vary. Do it for the fun of it and as a way to push yourself. Do it for the cool name. Are you with me?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Reasons I Self-Publish
Top Ten Tuesday / May 17, 2016

There are hundreds (okay, dozens) of great reasons to self-publish. After some debate (meaning I went to the bathroom, then came back and made this list), here are my top ten: No rejection letters. True, it’s a form of rejection when a reader doesn’t buy your book, but you don’t get a politely-worded form letter when it happens. My ego can remain tenuously intact. Freedom! I can write what I want and not worry about #1. I do try to keep my writing relevant to the market (ie, deciding to try for a second Bobian book this year because my public actually asked for it), but otherwise I have a lot of creative freedom. Lifelong learning. I like to learn. I waste– er, gainfully employ hours on end learning new things that I might never need to know. For example, while the popular vision of zombies can only happen through a type of witchcraft or magic, there are parasites, spores, and other agents that might allow a type of zombie infestation. You wanted to know that, I know. You’re welcome. I get to keep all the moneys. While 100% of a piddling is a pittance, 30% of a piddling is…

Motivation Monday: WHY Write a Book?

If you’ve been following along, we’ve worked on how to write, what to write about, and done an outline. (You did do your homework, right?) Before we go any further, though, you really¬† have to understand why you’re writing a book. There is no wrong reason for writing a book. None. But if you don’t know why you’re writing, you may go about it the wrong way. (Yes, there is a wrong way for you, just like there is a wrong way for me.) I’m writing a book to get down the stories my dad/mom/next-door-neighbor told me. If you’re not planning to publish (or you’re only planning to publish to adoring family and friends, then the format won’t matter as much. Good grammar may be optional. You can create your own cover and learn design or get one online for $5 (Fiverr.com). This is a labor of love, not a polished product. Enjoy the ride, but don’t stress over it. I’m writing a book because I love to write. I might publish, someday. Go as slowly as you want. You’re doing this for the story. This is where pantsers excel, just letting the story move them. If you eventually decide…

How to Write a Book: Outlining

I am aware that I just lost a lot of pantsers. I’m going to ask you to come back and give me an opportunity to woo you. I’ll even hold your hand if you want, but I’m running at the first sign of a restraining order. Stick with me through this post. Let’s see what we can do about¬†this outlining idea. There’s a reason we learn to outline in school: it’s a very useful skill to have, even if you’re not a writer. If you are a writer, it can be invaluable. But, Zan, I hate outlining. Here’s a thought: if you hate it, maybe you’re not doing it right. But I’m a pantser. I like to just let the story flow. There are people who can do this. If you’ve already finished books and published, ignore me. If, however, you either can’t finish a book or you get stuck in forever edits, let me try to help you. It might not work. The fun thing about anything artistic is that there is no real right way or wrong way; there’s only the way that works for you. So, how do you outline a novel? Start with the basics. Every…

Teaser Thursday: Eleventh Hour
Teaser Thursday , Uncategorized / May 12, 2016

Thursdays will now be teaser day in this blogging experiment. “The Eleventh Hour” is a short piece I did for a competition. It didn’t win, but that’s okay. I have another short story now to add to the Figments universe. This snippet is copyright 2016 Zanzibar 7. Schwarznegger. The ale was cold and had a faint lemony undertone to it. “I was looking for a ninja. Or a dragon.” “Odd combination.” The bartender leaned over the bar and Christopher got a whiff of something spicy. “Prophecy. Not my choice.” The ale seemed to have disappeared from his mug. “Oh, look, you found the dragon. How goes, Stacie?” Ian sat down next to Christopher, who turned a bit green. “Dragon?” The bartender held out her hand. “Didn’t Ian tell you it’s cosplay night? I couldn’t come dressed as a dragon, could I?” Her hand was incredibly warm when Christopher shook it in a daze. “But… you’re nice. I don’t want to kill you.” Christopher looked from Stacie to Ian and back. “Oh, that’s good. I’d rather not kill you either. It gives me indigestion.” Christopher slumped on his stool. “I’m supposed to kill you. The prophecy said so.” “This prophecy, what…

WorkIt Wednesday: Challenge 1
WorkIt Wednesday / May 11, 2016

I’m going to try something new on Wednesdays until either I get bored, I get no response, or I think of something new to do: every Wednesday, I’m going to post a challenge. You will have 36 hours (out of respect for those in other time zones) to do both the physical and the writing part of the challenge. I’ll randomly select one winner for a free ebook every week. Eventually I may solicit giveaways from other authors. You don’t have to sign up for anything. You don’t have to promise me your firstborn child– in fact, if you send me any children, I will disqualify you for life. All you have to do is respond in the comments before the 36 hours are up and tell me how you did. Simple, right? Week One Physical Challenge Let’s start off somewhat easy. Get in 10,000 steps. Period. You can post a picture of a tracker or you can just do it. (10,000 steps is about five miles, for those who track distance, not steps.) Week One Writing Challenge Write a flash fiction short story with this first line: A man that don’t believe in destiny don’t need to know what…

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Reasons I Love Twitter
Top Ten Tuesday / May 10, 2016

I admit it. I have fallen in love with Twitter. Here are ten quick reasons why: Real time interaction When you talk to someone on Twitter, chances are good they’re right there talking back. It’s the closest thing to old-school chat rooms (outside of new-school chat rooms). The ability to follow famous people without being a stalker I admit it, I get a kick out of reading tweets from famous people. Stephen King and I have an online relationship and he doesn’t even know it. (Or he didn’t before this post.) Quick moments of inspiration Being interactive in a quick way puts my brain into high creative gears. Less invasive for my writing time than Facebook (sorry, Facebook!) I allow myself time on Twitter only a couple of times a day. Once I close it, I ignore it. Facebook pokes at me all day. Cleans up those adverbs and adjectives I only have 140 characters. I don’t waste a lot of them on adverbs and adjectives, which indirectly translates to cleaner writing. #Hashtags, #Hashtags, and more #Hashtags I have a not-so-secret love affair going with #Hashtags. Unfortunately, she refuses to be exclusive. Fortunately, no one else seems to mind. How…

How to Write a Book: Getting Ideas

  Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” – Orson Scott Card I once belonged to a writing group. It was a mixed group, with experienced, published writers shuffled in with complete newbies. There was one thing that often made the newbies stand out. They’d come in, participate for a while, and then say, “I need help. Does anyone have a story idea I can use? I can’t come up with any.” This is a relatively safe place. I try to not mock much…. Wait. Who am I fooling? I write humor, parody and satire. Mocking is my middle name. So if you are a sensitive soul who doesn’t like being the butt of a good poking (but not a poking in the butt; that’s just rude), you may want to pull out your blankie. A good writer learns to see the millions of ideas out there. You cannot be a good writer unless you can come up with ideas. The good news is that fourth word: learns. This is something that can be learned. I’m here to help you…

How to Write a Book: Getting Ready

How do you write a book? There are as many answers to that as there are books, really, but I’m going to attempt over the course of however long it takes to walk you through the process of writing and publishing an independent book. Your mileage may vary and please do try this at home. NOTE: I believe everyone should write. I’m a huge fan of everyone writing. I do not believe everyone should publish a book, any more than I believe everyone should dance Swan Lake. The advice I’m giving here is for writers who want to publish, although parts can be used by anyone. So what is the very first step to writing a book? Writing, right? Wrong. It’s not even outlining (if you’re a planner) or getting an idea. The very first step to writing a book is learning how to write. This idea may make this my most unpopular blog post. “I’ve been through thirteen years of schooling, plus four years of college where they continued making me take English classes.” (Side note: if anyone had to make you take English classes, why do you want to put yourself through the hell of publishing a book,…