On Writing and Reading

Date posted: September 17, 2018

Hello again.

Well I’ve been reading. Of course you say, especially if you’ve followed me on Goodreads. However I have been catching myself more and more critiquing my fellow writers. Their choices for words, their plot points, and their character motivations. But even more, I’m trying to dissect my own enjoyment. Why do I like a certain story, and why do I have trouble putting down a book?

In the case of the last two books I’ve read it’s a matter of what I see in the world. The rules that they’ve set up, and what a person might do with those rules. Even better is when a character experiments as well. That way we don’t have to wonder, we are shown. And I just can’t wait for the next new discovery. Another thing is mystery. A puzzle if you will. Here are these set pieces, and we aren’t told what they mean in the beginning. We are curious, and want to learn what is really going on, but only so much information is doled out, one piece at a time. Then we get to ask ourselves, what does it all mean?

If you can engage those two things, apparently even if the writing isn’t a masterpiece, it still is good. Good enough that I’ll spend too many hours reading instead of sleeping. Good enough that I don’t feel an hour pass, and when I look up the clock is telling me that I should have been asleep long ago.

Another trick for the sleepless reader, is something I utilized with my first three books. It wasn’t intentional, at least insomuch for it to cause sleeplessness. It was just a way I wanted to write those books. No chapters, no pauses, just a flow of consciousness. My first books have no natural pausing point, so it makes it difficult to find a place to stop. Some of the feedback I got on those was that people just read through the night, trying to get to a stopping point, but since they couldn’t find one, just finished those books in one sitting. Luckily they weren’t huge. If I were to have gone on as long as Robert Jordon I think some may have gone mad. I’ve moved on from that. Now I’m using chapter breaks after a scene is finished.

Chapters can also help the writer. It gives you a framework, one where you can drape your story. In breaking it up, it makes you think harder about a scene. You can then use it to build it up between one chapter and the next. Asking yourself what is important for the story to do here. How does it go from this to that? Currently this is quite helpful as I write with another person. Especially since we are in the editing phase. Since we both are familiar with what we’ve written, we can then try to sort out any inconsistencies. By knowing where the chapter is, we know where it isn’t. By knowing where it isn’t, we inherently know where it should be.

In the end I’m still very happy to be a reader, but I’m also excited to learn because of it. Every book I pick up gives me further clues into writing. Some of them good hints, others obvious no no’s when I start hating something. Luckily recently there’s been little to hate, as I’ve been picky with what I’ve read. But even if it’s a bad book, you’ll learn something. In fact you may learn more if you read something you hate. All those little things that irritate and annoy you will reinforce upon you not to do something so stupid. Then again, it’s all a matter of personal preference, as I’ve seen books I despise be praise way beyond their quality of writing. Maybe I’ll be lucky one day and receive such praise, but in the end the fun is in the writing, and in having it available for others to read.

With that, I’ll leave you this week. I hope you get more sleep than me, but if you have time pick up a book and enjoy.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 83% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Just a book update

Date posted: September 10, 2018

Hello again. I’m back on my usual day this week. Obviously.

The book is progressing very well, and the co-author continues to turn out edits, and I continue to review and edit myself. I’m looking ahead a bit as well. Contemplating different word-processors and work flows that might be utilized on future products.

Speaking of which, the co-author was struck by inspiration, and could not stop themselves from starting on a new book. We’ve talked about the story a few times before, but they got the itch, so they had to write. They’ve asked if I’d like to work on it as well, and I’ve said yes. Of course I offered my services first, heh. But this looks like we may have a long-term partnership in writing together.

It’s been wonderful to work with them. We both are similar, but different enough that it gives us both something we are strong at, and we can pair them up and have the best version of our vision put to page. I can’t speak for them, but working with them has made me a better writer.

Of course there are other things at work when it comes to my growth as a writer. I randomly look up videos of people talking about writing, and editing. Random things stick, and I implement them just to see what such things look like. The good ones tend to last longer, and it changes me and how I do things. So thanks to other creatives that take the time to note certain things that first timers and newbies may not think of. And it doesn’t hurt to have my insatiable reading habit.

Other than that, not much is going on here. Save my lack of sleep driving me slightly crazy. But this happens now and again. But as for the book, I think we’re looking at months instead of years for completion and publication. My recollection tells me we started this book in either December of 2016 or January 2017, so it’s been awhile. My other books were done a bit faster, but I had more free time then. Given the amount of time we have to work on the book week to week I think we’re doing pretty good. So look forward to updates about the book in the next few months. Maybe I’ll even share the title, and the premise soon.

Just a note. The editing is slowing down. I’m getting really picky about what I change and clarify, so there is that. And as this is likely one of my last pass throughs, I’m really challenging myself to make sure things are as perfect as I can make them. So hopefully the finished product will be a good read for you all.

Until next time, have a great week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 83% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Manga and Goodreads

Date posted: September 4, 2018

Hello all. I’m back, though one day late.

I thought I might miss this week, as I had to work yesterday. Fortunately I was able to rest enough to do some editing today, and am able to bring you this post.

This weekend the co-author was able to get some editing in, thanks to the holiday, and today I was able to read through what they got through. Meaning I’m all caught up with their edits. The story is flowing better than ever, and there wasn’t much left for me to do, though there were a few formatting errors I fixed. That and their word-processor seems to like to fix words to the wrong sort, though spelled correctly.

This time through I’m fixing how things are said. Sure, the original draft was fine, but I’m changing it slightly. Making it sound more natural, and less, well, verbose isn’t the word. Complex statements can be streamlined a bit here and there, and I’m doing that without losing the intended meaning. Also, a missing word can change an entire statement, and I’ve found a couple of instances where one thing was said, but really it should have been the opposite. Don’t forget your “not’s”.

Also I’m still adding things to Goodreads. Turns out they have manga on that site. So I’ve been going through and finding what I’ve read, and scoring them. I think I’ve read nearly as many of them as I have books, so it’ll take some time. That and trying to recall them from the top of my head isn’t helping. So far I think I’ve only been adding my favorites, though there are hundreds that are simply good instead of excellent that I’m not remembering the names for. That and I’m only adding the ones that I’ve finished, as there are just as many that I’ve stopped reading for one reason or another.

Since I’m more focused on novels and not manga currently I’m not likely to read many of them these days. Though who knows, maybe I’ll get back into it. I did spend many a year reading them and not books for the most part. Hence why my Goodreads grew a bit stagnant there for a awhile. It wasn’t until this year that I started reading more than a few books a year again.

I’m still watching a ton of anime, though I don’t think I’ve posted much about it here lately. The interesting thing about reading so much manga is that I recognize many an anime series from them. Almost every season there’s at least one that I’ve read first, even if it was just a chapter or two. As I’ve said, I’ve dropped a lot of them over the years. I usually at least watch the first episode, just to see if they did a decent job at adaptation, and most of the time they do. Though I tend to drop those anime as well. I’ve read it already after all.

Well I think that’s it for this week’s post. I hope you all have an enjoyable week. Until next time.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 82% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Updates on Things

Date posted: August 27, 2018

Hello there friends. I’m back.

The trials of waiting and finding a new phone have nearly come to and end. There is but one more hurdle to leap over, and that would be getting the correct sim card. Unfortunately in my excitement for a new phone I’d mistaken the size of my previous sim to be that of the new one. Unfortunately I’ve been using an oversized one for many years, and technology has long since pushed ahead of such things. But soon enough it shall be replaced and all my worries shall be alleviated. Or so I hope.

As to the book, it is proceeding grandly. The co-author spent many an hour at it and has progressed greatly in that time. They’ve lingered and leered over our words, and have produced yet more. Blank spots, or at least spots that needed filling in more have been. Myself, I’ve made language clearer and have beautified what was already lovely. Or so I think.

Yet the pace I edit will now linger behind that of the co-author. I mustn’t rush past them again. I’ve already re-read and edited multiple times, now I must focus on their notes and changes. It’s up to me to see the story clear on my end, until they finish and then we shall review together. It isn’t surprising to take as long to edit as it does to write. I’ve done this before, though previous attempts were slow due to the nature of the editors I had before.

No one has the time to edit daily, unless like me that’s all they did. Though I’ve no longer the time myself, as work is a thing we all must do in order to hold ourselves in a household. Financial needs sadly outweigh that of creativity. Luckily I’ve a certain amount of free time to work on writing, most weeks that is. There are times when such things are lost to me, and I work more than the average 40hrs. However since that is not the norm I’m able to sit here and type away.

With that said, there is a possibility that I might miss next Monday’s post. A holiday it is, and as such I may be called upon to attend to work. Tis a thing my job entails, as not a holiday goes by where those in my trade are called upon to perform our job. So if I am gone then, don’t worry. I should be back either the next day, or the following week.

But what else is there to tell? Hrm. Well if you are the sort interested in such things I’ve attempted to recall other books I’ve read over the years and have added to my Goodreads. I fear I’m missing many, as I borrowed many over the years, and memories of such are only sparked when I see their covers again. And of course due to previous selling and sorting out my own library I’ve lost hundreds of titles from my shelves. But since my mind lingers on such things a random jumble of author’s names come to me from time to time either while I’m asleep or working. Hence the update.

And also since several of my friends have taken to writing as well, we’ve talked of making a little guild of writers. The chance of more people looking over our work is an opportunity I think we all look forward to, and lets us focus on our strengths. Some of us are better at descriptions, others dialogue, and yet others still better at formating our words into reasonable paragraphs and such. Luckily we have a varied background to our reading list, and that too should make us stronger writers. But putting a name to our little group has been a sticking point. Not that we need one, but it’s something I’d like to do. As it is we disagree on the title. But that shouldn’t hinder us, as an unnamed group is just as valid as one named. But announcing ourselves would need such a thing, not that is needed either.

So with that little rambling post, I shall leave you until next time. May you have a wonderful week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 78% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Finding a name for music

Date posted: August 20, 2018

Greetings and salutations. I have found my way back to the internet.

This week was one that was filled with music. My ears were caressed by sounds that I hadn’t received a name for them to be categorized in, but as with most things they had been.

The first such things that received a name was one called Synthwave. An 80’s-esque sound filled with synth, that apparently was first widely spread from the soundtrack of a movie called Drive. A movie I still have not seen but first enjoyed the music from some years ago.

But this was not my first experience that lead me down this path. First was from an album that had been titled Nivel del Mar – Sounds for Soulsurfers. This collection of tracks from various artists kindled an interest in strange sounds and remixes from other peoples works. They were all categorized as Downbeat, Chill Out, Hip Hop, or Jazz. While you can hear why they would be, there was something different about them. Listening to them you might not see the connection, however Synthwave seems to have come from another genre. That genre being Vaporwave.

The first such instance of widespread internet fame came from a track called Floral Shoppe from Lisa Frank 420. At least in as much as my research has lead me. These early tracks seemed to distort old music to give it a creepy/unsettling feel. Making them sound like they were an old record playing or a similarly old VHS that had been played repeatedly on an old malfunctioning machine, but they at times also gave it a beat. However at that point it was also about the visual aesthetic as much as it was the sound. Marble busts and glitch art abound in their cover art and videos. A strange thing to be sure, however I felt relaxation listening to them.

And to make matters stranger, later a sub-genre arrived called Simpsonwave. These took classic Vaporwave tracks and used them tell a story using Simpson episodes and distort and glitch them. The first one was uploaded and titled Sunday School. And from my limited delving into this sub-genre is my favorite.

But what has this all to do with me? For the last couple of weeks I’ve spent much of my free time just listening to anything and everything I could find in these genres. I find them relaxing, and interestingly enough, when played in a group of friends it seems to stimulate conversation. They don’t drown out conversation, and they can spark thoughts in the listeners. This is very close to the playlist I use to write by. Hence why I find them so interesting. The music I’ve collected to listen while I work on my books have all been either Vaporwave or Synthwave all along. Or at the very least a precursor or an offspring of these genre’s.

Finding a name has made me go back into my library of music and see what I can find. And many of my favorites could be placed in either category. Of course about once a year I tend to get super excited about music instead of just being a passive thing I listen to. So this has apparently been the hyped period for the year, and I felt like I wanted to share my experience. But if you want to know more take some time and watch and listen to what others have to say about the history of these genres. There are many video’s on YouTube that you can find that do a better job than I. Perhaps you’ll find that you too have always enjoyed this type of music.

Until next time, have a musical week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 76% into editing

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

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