Thursday, April 14, 2011

Daily writing Prompts #3

For those of you folks still hanging on here, you know that I could not resist a good writing prompt, and without GreatHites, well they had floating around in my head for a while. So I decided to let them run free. As we all know, if they love you they will come back right?

Pirate's Cove is now offering a prompt a day (for as long as I can keep it up.) They are not part of any writing contest or anything but just there to help you get your daily writing going. And if by chance you submitted a story to Flying Island Press based on one of these prompts you might just earn yourself a few extra brownie points.

Today's Prompt is:

Pluto sat with his back turned to Eris, a dangerous thing to be sure, but since she was asleep he figured it was a risk he could take. He carefully opened her date book and thumbed to tomorrow's date. Just for once he wanted to know what kind of day he should plan for.

and here is the link to subscribe to the daily dose of Pirate Prompty goodness

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Importance of a hook

First lets talk about what a hook is. When you use Google to Define:hook you will find a definition that is about two pages long with so many different meanings that I think it is important to make it clear what I am talking about.

A hook in the way I am thinking is the first few lines of a story that get the reader turn the first page. These first few lines are what convince someone picking up your book in a book store to take that book to the counter and pay for it. But even before that, These lines are what convince an editor or agent to not hit that big red reject button on their desk.

The truth is that even though these lines don't have to have your entire plot, introduce your main character or even have much to do with the rest of the book, they have to entice your reader, be that an editor or someone picking your book of off the shelf for the first time, to actually spend the time to read the rest of your story.

Typically when you send a dead tree manuscript into someone the first page is all you get to impress them. So beyond not making any typos, and getting your font correct and spacing right here is what you are left with. Half a page of nearly blank space, and then 12 to 13 lines of your story. Those first 13 lines have to convince someone that they should even bother turning the page. This is where your hook has to be. Let me say this again. You've only got 13 lines to convince someone to keep reading your story. That really not a lot, so they have got to be good.

This is a bad example because it is longer than the important first few lines, but think of the beginning of every James Bond movie. 007 pulls the parachute rip cords on the guards and they go flying out of the back of the truck. He jumps into the horse trailer, and flies away in a mini jet, that has to them dodge the stingers that were fired at it, and though it all he manages to blow up his target. Even if that has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, you are hooked, you want to see this guy pull more unbelievable stuff like that, just because it was so cool.

So what can you do? Well here is what I do, I think what would James Bond do. Well not literally, but epically in a short story make sure you are starting your story in the right spot. Make sure that when you start your story you are in a spot that is interesting. You don't have to be in the middle of a life or death situation, but but you should be in some sort of action, something that gets the ball rolling. And Practice writing your first 13 lines. Then when you think you have something give just those lines to someone else and ask them if they want to read more.

In the end if you are getting ready to submit a story anywhere, have someone look at your first 13 lines. Make sure that they are compelling make sure that the people you gave those 13 lines to have banging on your door at one in the morning to get the rest of the story. If you need help, there are forums out there that specialize in writing those first 13 lines, use them.

As a side note, If you send a story into Flying Island Press, I am one of the people who gets to see if first. I am one of the people that get to say yes this goes onto the next level. I feel obligated to read your whole story. But I will be honest with you, if your first 13 line are not compelling the rest of your story had better knock my socks off.

What about the rest of the story you ask? Well I will save that for another post. But first things first, hook me, then we will worry about the rest of it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Great Hites Going away

I am going to keep this short and sweet. It is true and this time I don't think I will try to bring it back from the dead again. With everything that is going on in my life I don't foresee being able to do GreatHites any more. I have really enjoyed the project, but I think it is time the let is slip quietly into the grave.
I do want to say thank you to everyone who has helped out it along the way. I have made some incredible friends, learned so very much and will really miss time that I have spent working on GreatHites. I am not totally stepping away from the podcasting sphere, but for now, I am focusing my efforts on Flying Island Press and the many great things going on there. You will occasionally hear me here, as I get the itch to get behind the microphone again thank you to everyone along the way, it has been a great ride.

My new job

It is not like you didn't already know that I worked for Flying Island Press or anything but I did want to take a minute or two of your time to talk about what I do there, and how the job is going.

But Before I get into that I should tell you about the other wonderful and talented people that I am working. I can't tell you how much I admire their drive, and desire to make this work.

First off we have Zach Ricks who's brain child this was. He is our managing editor, lawyer and principle business type guy. JP Losier, who is primarily responsible for our development efforts as well as being an invaluable reader / editor. Philip Carroll, who manages our slush pile and manages keeping the rest of us on track. Last but certainly not least there is Scott Roche. Scott is our sales and marketing guru, when he is not acting as a reader / editor he is also a very talented audio engineer.

So what is it that I do for Flying Island, well I am also one of the reader / editors, as well we being in charge of most of their IT type things.

This is my dream job. I can't way that enough so I am going to repeat it. This IS my DREAM job. I have wanted to work in the publishing industry for as long as I can remember (probably as long as I have wanted to be an astronaut) and this is my first step into that world. On top of that I get to use the skills I have developed over the last 15 years as a computer geek and support something that I am really into.

In short this project is very important to me, and I hope that some of my enthusiasm rubs of on you. I think there are some great things going to come from this.

For more information you can check out We even have our first issue out so I can now say that I work for a real publisher.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Launch of a Flagship

I promise that I will not turn this blog into a advertisement for Flying Island Press, but with that being said I do have something say about it.

This weekend we (Zach Ricks, Scott Roche, JP Losier, Philip Carroll and I) launched our newest endeavor. It is an e-magazine of sorts. I say of sorts because there is more to it than that, we also release the stories in e-book format. You can buy one or the other, or even both.

So, I was thinking about our choice of names for this e-magazine and the idea that we are launching it off for it's maiden voyage and some thoughts came to mind.

Champagne is often used to christen launch a new ship, giving it a good send off. But in this case I think coffee would be better. I mean what better way to enjoy some great stories than curled up in your favorite chair with a cup of coffee. Not your cup of tea? Maybe you like be be sitting out in the park, or on a walk. What about something for that long commute. Well if any of those options sound good to you Flagship might be right up your alley.

So even with everything I have said you are still not sure. Not sure if you can trust 5 guys with unknown publishing abilities, besides what do they know about this whole thing? Want to find out? How about a free sample to help you make up your mind?

Audio Version
Epub Version

If you like these, please feel free to spread them around, share them with your friends, put them in your own feeds, whatever you would like.

This is not a one trick pony folks. We are already taking submission for issue #2. And there is more going on in the background that will be coming soon. If you would like more information. Please drop by

Thank you again for your support and helping us spread the word.