A Writers Business Plan

I have been bad. Well, not all bad. I have been rather successful at writing this blog 5 days a week. Though its not really too much work, it takes dedication and commitment. I may have missed some days here or there but so far I am proud that I’ve been sticking to writing each day. Now, where I have been bad is not continuing to write on my zombie book or my angel book, despite the available tools, and a genuine excitement (anxiousness) to get these published. Last year I started a business plan and I accomplished many things because of this plan. However, as time continued and holidays, family, excuse, excuse got in the way I neglected to update and keep up with that plan.

I am growing tired of these ideas being trapped in my head. So onward plan and outward with creativity.

I have a beautiful planner my dad got for me and I am ready to business plan it up. And get these books PUBLISHED!

Want to create a business plan for yourself? It’s a fantastic way to delve into the projects, and create realistic, achievable goals.

I plan on mapping out specific goals for the next 12 months. All sorts of goals, like finishing certain chapters, finalizing, editing, proofing, ( I have so many pages of written text that just needs to be typed its daunting, but I can, I think), and don’t forget market strategies (some are best before the book is published, others after), giveaways, tours and spotlights, etc. There is A TON involved with getting that book published and if your a self-publisher, God help us.

Truth be told self publishing is pretty easy (once you get the hang of it) but if you lack dedication, a realistic outlook, enthusiasm, or confidence, not to mention patience, you may see a lack of productivity.

A business plan helps. I had a plan created for each book, each broken down by different categories like marketing, writing, editing, etc. as well as a plan for this blog and other social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Getting back on track with a solid, updated business plan will be the push I need to publish the proposed 2 (or even 3) books I have lined up for this year.

If you want any tips on business plans, I’m happy to give my thoughts.

Also, if anyone has something specific they would like to know more about regarding poetry or writing, I will make next weeks workshop dedicated to you 🙂

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Gone Girl and Two Movie Review Updates

Before I start my review of Gone Girl I would like to take a moment to review the movies I saw over the weekend. I gave my predictions of both Mama and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters last Friday, and they both deserve an update.

I really enjoyed Mama. My prediction was fairly correct in that it did not haunt my dreams afterward, however it provided nice jolts throughout and the acting was great on most accounts. There was one thing (I won’t give anything away) that I did not like regarding a vision, but one fault in a horror is about as good as it gets. The ending (again no spoilers, I hate spoilers) was unexpected, but very much Guillermo del Toro style. I had my own idea of what was going to happen (something that tied into some information you get earlier on) and when it didn’t end that way I felt like it was a not the perfect ending. On the flip side I can’t say I was exactly disappointed either, it may not have been perfect, but it was the next best conclusion. Also, I have to say visually, it was disturbing, earthy and beautiful, again very del Toro. I change my rating to a 9/10.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was better than I expected. It definitely had The Brothers Grimm feel, but the story was really good and the one liners were funny. I walked in thinking the movie was PG-13, so half-way through you see girl butt and a boob and all I thought was “Can they do that in PG-13 now? Well alright.” Then came a series of head squishing and blood spurting, and I thought “No, no this has to be R.” It was funny how it took a lot to convince me it was R because the commercials, the witches character design, even the cast seemed to be lending to a PG-13 movie. Well, anyways (I just thought that was funny) the way they did the movie was a success. I think if any element was done differently the movie would have been how I predicted, not bad but nothing to get too excited for. I change my rating to an 8/10.

Ok now onto Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

It’s hard to give a summary of this book without giving too much away. So we’ll go with this:

On his 5th wedding anniversary, Nick has breakfast with his wife, Amy and then leaves for work. He later finds the front door to his house wide open, the cat outside, and the living room a mess. His wife is gone. Who took her? Is she still alive? Was Nick actually involved? The cops seem to think he may be, especially as the investigation continues.

Like the synopsis? I know it doesn’t really give you anything to go off of besides “it’s an investigative thriller” so hopefully my spoiler-free review will.

I cared very little about the plot of this story. I did not care what happened in the story, it could have ended in any way and I wouldn’t have cared more one way than the other. That’s not to say the book was bad, in-fact I loved this book and the ending as well. I enjoyed what happened, how it progressed and all the twists, but I was too much enveloped by the characters to care what happened to them. I know that sounds weird, you’d think if I was so enveloped with the characters I would only care more about what their fate had in store, I know and I can’t really explain.

But I can try.

In many books, a bad plot is often waived by amazing characters, or terrible characters are only bearable because of the gripping plot. Don’t get me wrong, the plot for Gone Girl is great, no doubt, but when a good plot is so overshadowed by characters, characters that are literally fun to be around, you no longer care where they go, just as long as they keep going.

It wasn’t just Nick that was enthralling, every character, Amy, his sister, Go, the cops, the neighbors, the parents, every person was so concrete that you pictured this Mississippi Riverside town vividly.

But what made these characters so enriched? Well, to start the writing was solid. Each character was his own. All were convincing but the best thing about the characters was not one of them was perfect, and all of them were in some way very messed up.

I love messed up characters, especially ones as conniving, low, and downright crazy as the ones in Gone Girl. It makes you love them, it makes you hate them, it makes you not care what happens to them and love everything that does, all the good and all the bad they run into through the story… And there was a lot of bad!

So, if you want great characters that will stick with you, a twisting, deranged mystery that deepens as the story continues, pick up Gone Girl.

Also, one little thing I found interesting: in the acknowledgements Gillian Flynn talks about her son whom she simply calls Flynn. I think that for an author, who for whatever reason they may have, wants to not display their child’s name, simply calling them by the surname is kind of genius- and if I have a child I may do that someday.

Movies and DNA

Alright! Well, I am going to go see possibly 2 movies this weekend and they both fit the theme of Sci-Friday! So what follows is my idea of what these movies will be like.

Mama
Synopsis from IMDB:
Annabel and Lucas are faced with the challenge of raising his young nieces that were left alone in the forest for 5 years… But how alone were they?

Predictions: I don’t think this movie will have lingering scares, haunting my dreams after, but what I think this movie will bring is a solid story compounded by good acting, not often found attached to horrors. And, of course, jumping, quick scares.

Predicted Rating: 8/10

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Synopsis from IMDB:

In this spin on the fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel are now bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world. As the fabled Blood Moon approaches, the siblings encounter a new form of evil that might hold a secret to their past.

Predictions: I think this movie will be basically The Brothers Grimm all over again- granted I really liked that movie so it won’t be bad, just nothing really new. Plus, I’m not a big Jeremy Renner fan. Maybe my hang up stems from the first season of Faceoff, where this guy put together a Hansel and Gretel scene with this grungy, industrial feel. So when I heard of the Hansel and Gretel movie plans I had this whole image born from that guys creation. Upon seeing the Van Helsing/ Brothers Grimm reality of it, I may have been let down.

Predicted Rating: 7/10

And for you all to enjoy, and article from science daily (from 2010)-plus, it’s movie related!

SCIENCE

To Run an Errand in this Era -A Rant

Errands. The mission of driving somewhere to do some small task, that you feel doesn’t really warrant the effort of driving all the way there just to complete it.

Here’s the thing: I think that because most tasks can be accomplished online (we are used to online bill pay, shopping for items other than groceries, etc.) these small tasks that actually require more effort really annoy us now.

I used to not mind so much stopping by the bank or post office or dry cleaner or whatever, but now I absolutely loathe it. That’s right, not dislike, not hate, I LOATHE it. Why? 2 things happened to instigate my loathing.

First, every company became Internet friendly. My bank literally charges me a fee if I visit in person, in a branch or talk to a real person, even on the phone… Because I belong to the online club. Honestly, that’s not a real problem. I prefer talking to machines or just doing everything online, until I run into a problem. I had an issue with a withdrawal, it withdrew twice, so I called. Only, there is no machine option 7 to help out, so I talked to real person. We discussed the issue, got it settled and then the person says, “I see you are in the online club, so this call is going to charge you $5.” I was shocked, so I said so and the lady was nice enough to just waive the fee.

The second thing that has happened is the economy went down, down, down. The drop has resulted in companies that we still need to visit shortening their hours. If you have a 8-5 job, forget about visiting any government maintained building, no post office, no banks, (who all now work Mon-Fri 8:30 – maybe 5 and Sat 10-3) conveniently on your way to or from work. I’m the type of person who has always attached errands to other obligations or planned outings, because I hate making Saturday “Errands Day.” (It doesn’t happen all the time but its very annoying when it does.) So here is the really annoying part: these shortened hours means anyone who works my schedule must either take time off work, go during the lunch hour, or make “Errand Saturday”exactly at 10am. Limited hours for many people means the hours your able to go is the same for so many others resulting in lines like Disney with a bunch of irritated adults with no ride at the end, only a small sense of satisfaction that your task is done.

I understand companies needing to shorten hours and reduce costs, but I really think they should think about the time they are open. I think any company who’s current hours are so conveniently a half hour after I start work and close when I get off should make a decision; either elect to open an hour before so that your hours are from 7 – 4 or shift an hour later 9 – 6. If they really want to be helpful (which will never happen) they could do a 2 hour shift; either 6am-3pm or 10am-7pm. They still cut costs and shorten their operation time while maintaining hours that help people actually complete errands through the week.

I also understand that it’s impossible to make everyone happy, and I guess since I live in a city where so many people work night, swing or various other shifts I should be less loathe-full about the subject because their decisions may be based off that -I doubt it though. Come Tuesday during the lull of office hours, right before their shift starts at 4, people working these irregular hours can walk straight in, no line and be out. Apparently, they get fast passes.

Agree? Disagree?

Line Breaks

Today’s exercise is a simple one, but can be highly rewarding. The directions work well for either poetry or prose -LIMITLESS!

Directions:

  • Write or take an older poem and type it out in a block, no line breaks, so that it reads like prose.
  • If you are a prose writer, take a block of text (or write one) make sure that all the dialogue remains blocked in one large paragraph.
  • Without thinking to much, start from the beginning and hit the enter key at any point you want.
  • Make some lines long, some short -vary it.
  • If you see a compound word, hit the enter key.
  • Even if a word is not compound and you want to break it up, do it.
  • Now, re-read your text. Make sure to pause appropriately at the line breaks or any mid line punctuation.

By doing this exercise, I’ve noticed that certain tones become the center of the now-poem, sometimes a different tone than the one intended or previously attached to it. The point is that oftentimes by doing this, things in the text are revealed, words that were lost within the prose find a meaningful presence and you discover more about what you have already written.

Besides the discovery, this exercise frees writers who are often nervous about changing the text. It’s an exercise in opening up to editing your own work. You are able to see alternatives and may end up liking that alternative better.