Sunday, November 27, 2011

Prince David, Book 2: High Adventure (the NaNoWriMo novel for 2011)

I've been very actively engaged in writing the second book of the Prince David series, as part of NaNoWriMo for 2011.  The first two-thirds of the month went quite well.  I wrote a lot, I became one of seven writers profiled on The Huffington Post, and I believed I was on track to hit the 50,000 word goal by November 30.  

However, things don't always go according to plan.  For the last ten days of November, I had to travel unexpectedly for work, and although I managed a good 90 minutes of writing on the first plane, it went downhill after that.  The travel and work have been just too intense, and I simply have not been able to get my mind in the right creative mode to write.  

This book, Prince David, Book 2: High Adventure, is an important book for me, as it is the first time I've actually worked at a sequel.  In this case, this is a sequel to Prince David, Book 1: Enter the Heir.  I have even planned a series and have written the final 6,000 words of Book 5.  In any event, I want to make sure I get Book 2 right, and I'm not about to write words just to achieve the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words.  In fact, Book 2 is about 75% written, and I will complete it, but at a slightly slower pace.  With some extra time looking to be available in the next month, I hope to complete the initial draft of the book by the end of December.

By the way, Prince David, Book 1: Enter the Heir, is being edited, and I hope to publish it early in 2012.

Thanks for reading,

Wil


Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNoWriMo + me + 6 authors = HuffPost Books story


I had not intended to write another post during this National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  However, there have been some comments by the other six authors who share in the spotlight of the HuffPost story about writing for NaNoWriMo, and I wanted to recognize their words and highlight the importance of their opinions.  In particular, I’d like to mention the words of the youngest of us seven writers, 11-year-old Connor, who writes about wanting to actually finish writing a book for once.

I have the utmost respect for anyone who undertakes the challenge of creating a novel and who finds the time to write.  I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able enjoy the process and experience of writing over the last few years.  Sure, I wish I could devote even more time to writing, but I think that wish would apply to most writers. 

I wholeheartedly agree with Connor’s statement that it’s not the 50,000 words that matters; what matters is to actually finish writing a book. 

It’s not enough just to write.  Whatever we write must mean something, at least to ourselves.  This NaNoWriMo should not be just about producing 50,000 words, but instead should be about using this opportunity of writing fellowship to really create something to be proud of.  We should all be grateful to those who complete a work and to those who try.  It is only by encouraging writers and other creative artists that our lives are enriched by the fruits of their labor.  I say ‘well done, to all those taking part in NaNoWriMo,’ and ‘thank you’ to those who appreciate their work.

Finally, I will close this post by thanking those who have taken the time to look at this blog, and express my appreciation to those who have read my books.  Knowing that my books have been found by so many is at once a humbling feeling and an exciting experience.

Happy reading, and happy writing,

Wil  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Novel in a Month? Yes, says Huff Post: Me and NaNoWriMo

Who actually writes a Novel in a Month?  Well, according to Huff Post, I do.


So, I will now admit that I’m trying to write a Novel in a Month.  Okay, actually, I’m one of seven writers profiled on The Huffington Post about writing a 50,000 word Novel in a Month, so I guess the secret is out.

Why, you ask?  What’s my personal motivation?  Hmmm…

I really need to get moving on the second book of my Prince David series.  It's about a contemporary young prince who, with the help of a small group of boys and girls, confounds the adults around him, deals with a dysfunctional family, helps others, and gets involved in challenging and diverse adventures around the world.   The first book, Prince David, Book 1: Enter the Heir is done and being edited, and the second book of the five-book series awaits.  


I really like the characters I've created, and I've got a lot of action already planned for the remaining four books, but now I need to sort out what will be in Prince David, Book 2: High Adventure.  I've been slow to work on the planning of the series so far, and being part of this NaNoWriMo will force me to get moving on this and get it done!  I know I can do it if I just keep going and don’t get distracted.  If you want to track my word count, there’s a link on the left side of the page, or click here.

How helpful is NaNoWriMo?

First off, the long title is National Novel Writing Month. As to the usefulness of NaNoWriMo?  Apparently many writers across America and around the world want try it, and many succeed.  It’s a good way of setting out time to make the writing happen, and there is a lot of support among writers, on the NaNoWriMo site and other places such as #NaNoWriMo on Twitter.  In fact, over the last few years, many very good books have been written in a short time, according to the Huff Post story that includes me.  Some have been best sellers.  

As for me, back in 2008, before I started publishing any of my work, I tried out NaNoWriMo for the first time.  The result, after a great deal of editing and worry, is A Family Legacy: The Watson Works.  It now sits in a sales rank of the top 1% at Barnes and Noble.

Will I make it?

Will I make the 50,000 words of NaNoWriMo this year?  I'll update this blog at the end of  this month.  In the meantime, follow the progress of National Novel Writing Month at Huff Post, or my tweets, or track my word count by clicking here.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh, Baseball!


Even with the World Series having been won by St. Louis and the Major League Baseball season officially over for this year, I didn't want my own personal baseball season to end.  

The 2011 version of the fall classic was an exciting series, to be sure, particularly the eleven innings of game six.  This year, I was off in a far-flung part of the world and could not watch any of the games, so I listened on ESPN radio.  Thanks to the great announcing and hearing the roar of the crowds along with the muted inaudible words of the ballpark announcer, I could picture the game action in my mind.  Not at all hard to do.

I grew up watching and playing baseball, as do so many kids in America, parts of Canada and a few other places in the world.  Just looking at where the many very good international players at the Little League World Series come from gives you a good idea where they play baseball.  Growing up, I saw some fantastic baseball, much of it played by young people.  I saw some incredibly skilled kids playing some amazing baseball.  Some of them were the inspiration for my main character in Playing the Baseball Card.  I regret I was not very coordinated myself, and became more of a spectator, but that has never stopped me from grabbing my glove and enjoying a pick-up game from time to time, as a kid or as an adult.

For me, today, the best way to watch baseball is at a minor league park, or at a high school, or a neighborhood field, where I can be right next to the action to hear it all as well as see it.  The drama of baseball is amazing, either at a local little league game or in the major leagues.  The more you know about the players and what’s going on behind the scenes, the more you get out of each game.  There’s a story behind every single pitch, and every swing of the bat.

So, given my love of baseball, I often have a hard time when the official season is done.  This year was no exception.  So, I watched a baseball movie, The Final Season, about small-town high school baseball in Iowa.  The DVD cover has a reviewer from Seattle's KIRO TV calling it, “Friday night lights meets the Field of Dreams.”  I agree. It is a great story, and a terrific movie, and I enjoyed it.

Then, I re-read my own book, Playing the Baseball Card.  (You can find it right here, in multiple formats, at Smashwords, for free.)  I enjoyed reading it once more, although I again picked out a bit of word usage I didn’t like.  I’ll have to send the book for spring training before next season, to update and edit it a bit.  

I also looked for other baseball fiction.  In looking for ‘Baseball’ on Barnes and Noble, I discovered that my book, Playing the Baseball Card, is the top-ranked fiction book when sorting by best sellers using the search wordbaseball,’ behind four non-fiction books.

However, I did find a lot more Baseball fiction further down the list, and some of the books look very good.  I read one called, High Heat, by Carl Deuker, and I liked it.  I sometimes refer to reading fiction for Young Adults as ‘checking out the competitors’ to see what other YA authors are writing.  But, that’s the nice thing about reading.  You don’t have to stop at one book.  You can read many more, as long as you have the time, of course. 

Now, a few days after the celebration of the World Series victory in St. Louis, I will now admit my own personal baseball season is finally over.  The best thing is, however, that it’ll start again next year.  I can’t wait.

In the meantime, happy reading.

Wil


Playing the Baseball Card, a short novel by Wilson James


You are almost 14 years old. Your mother died six years ago, and you help look after your younger brother while you father works. 


Your father is a pitcher for a minor league baseball team, and he is trying to make it into the major leagues. Just when it seems that things are looking better, tragedy strikes again. Now, it’s all up to you. You have your own dreams, and you desperately care about your small family. Will you be able to make it work? Just how much is a young teenage kid capable of doing, anyway?


Playing the Baseball Card is the story of Devin Robinson, the kid who dreams of pitching for the San Francisco Giants.  Find out how Devin and his younger brother, Jordan, made it though their early years, and how Devin tries to make his mark in a world of adults.  Find out how Devin's fierce determination to protect his remaining little family of two leads to adventure and achievement that he never thought possible.  Find out how Devin plays the Baseball Card.


This is a story for baseball fans and anyone else who wants to read about personal courage and determination.

Google Translation

Pictures of Lighthouses