On This Date In 2006…

rr_cover_newOne night, after thirteen days of furious writing, my NaNoWriMo project, Road Rules was finished.

No one was more surprised than me that I finished in just under two weeks. It’s a feat I’ve not been able to duplicate. More surprising, the revision that I sent to my former agent was closer to the original draft than the one I sent to the beta readers.

I may use NaNoWriMo to produce shorter works. The 55K word count is a big reason I ended up releasing this independently. At the same time, Road Rules is one of my better long works. It created the seed for another series (based on a character who apparently dies, no less.)

So it is doable. I can’t promise you you’ll finish NaNo in 13 days, 30 days, or even at all. I can’t promise you what results will be workable. But even if you don’t finish, NaNoWriMo is a good exercise every serious writer should try at least once.

Print |Kindle | Nook | Smashwords

Can You Write A Decent Novel During NaNoWriMo? Yes!

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Source: Orion Pictures

In the summer of 2006, someone suggested I try my hand at NaNoWriMo. To the uninitiated, that’s National Novel Writing Month, wherein writers, aspiring writers, and others with a story idea commit to writing 50,000 words between Halloween and December 1. I had an idea for a story about a road trip to Hell. It had its genesis early in my contract with the small press that published Northcoast Shakedown. I’d gotten a call from an agent who wanted to rep it. This is the infamous “If I waited just two weeks…” incident. Anyway, in order for Jane Chelius and her son to take it on, I would have to liberate it. The publisher was willing to let me go, but I wanted to fulfill my obligation. So I suggested the road trip idea. The plan to move Northcoast to New York failed (Sorry, Jane. I know we tried to make that work.), but the road trip story tickled my brain. I revisited it from time to time.

Fast forward to 2006. The publisher imploded. Nick Kepler was orphaned. I had no idea where to go next. Someone told me to attempt NaNoWriMo to get the juices flowing again. The idea of the road trip began pulsing in my mind. I hit on the idea of making it like a Carl Hiassen novel. The story would not go away, and I found myself trying to get people to talk me out of NaNoWriMo at that year’s Bouchercon. No soap, so I went to Charles Ardai, the brains behind Hard Case Crime and the television series Haven. I rattled off the story I created and said, “Tell me you hate it and won’t buy it.”

“I want to see it when you’re finished.”

Dammit. An actual respected publisher wanted to see the end result. I’d not only been dared and double-dog dared. I’d been triple-dog dared. So I spent the next month and a half sketching out the story. I think I had a more detailed outline than I did for Northcoast (which went 14 pages.)

And so November 1 arrived. Also, a vacation arrived. I thought this was a bad idea. I was not going to get anything done. Or was I? In my pre-Nita days, I frequently took vacations to Hocking Hills, staying at a place called Ravenwood Castle. I’d go hiking, have a lovely dinner each night, scarf the breakfast buffet (which is delicious. Check it out if you love wilderness hiking.) I stayed in one of the cottages and typed like a mad man. I left for Hocking Hills on a Friday night, having already written 5000 words. The next day, I went to breakfast (because I’m not crazy. That’s some damn good food, and I am a breakfast person), then proceeded to write. I went for a hike. And I wrote. I had time with my traveling companion. And I wrote. I went to dinner. And I wrote. Lather, rinse, repeat until about Thursday that week. Driving home the next Friday, I unpacked and wrote.

That first Saturday home found me writing for eight hours straight. Sunday for six hours. I came home from work the first three days back and spent entire evenings at the Starbucks in Mt. Washington banging away, jealously guarding the chair next to a socket. Come Wednesday night, November 13, 2006, I wrote those words every novelist longs to see (much like I do now with the science fiction novel.)

The result?

rr_cover_newRoad Rules, checking in at 55,000 words. I was exhausted. I’ve heard stories of writers churning out novels in weekends. Mickey Spillane wrote I, the Jury one weekend on a boat. Stephen King wrote The Running Man in 72 hours. Thirteen days is nothing compared to those two. On the other hand, thirteen days? All the Keplers took 2-4 months, checking in between 62,000 and 75,000 words.

Now, I’m not going to kid you that I shopped this thing as is. I actually did a round of revisions and sent it to Charles Ardai. He thought it was funny, but took a pass. It’s Hard Case. They only have four slots a year for original material. So I revised again, pushing it up above 62,000 words. When I had it beta’d, all three readers came back and suggested cuts. I ended up cutting all the new material. What you read now is pretty close to the original, with a few scenes rewritten for clarity and some lines of dialog to explain a few details.

I won’t lie. I got lucky with this book. Most novels written in NaNoWriMo will need work. And I’ve never been able to duplicate that process again. Indeed, the last two novels I’ve written, Holland Bay and the science fiction novel, took months. Even Holland Bay‘s second draft took months. I can’t promise you that you’ll create something an agent will love or a publisher will want to see. I can’t even promise you that you’ll finish a novel in a month.

But it is possible.

Road Rules is available as: Print |Kindle | Nook | Smashwords

Exteme Makeover – Nick Kepler Edition

rr_cover_newAs you can see, there’ve been some changes either done or to be done to the books I have out.

For starters, I did Bad Religion with a print edition, my first print book in eight years. Next up will be Road Rules. I never liked the formatting on Road Rules, and the cover has too much pixelation for my taste. So I’ve revamped the cover, redid the formatting, and will upload the book at the beginning of August.

I also plan to right a grievous wrong as I did not properly credit J.D. Rhoades for his introduction to the book. So, as you can see by the new cover, I’ve fixed that. It will show up when the various ebook pages are updated as well. And finally, there will be a print edition. No, I haven’t sold very many copies of Bad Religion in print. In fact, Kindle seems to be the preferred format. But there is very little cost up front for CreateSpace, none if you do an electronic proof. So why not?

NCShakedown-ebook600Come Labor Day weekend, a reformatted version of Northcoast Shakedown will appear, also with a new print edition. Jennette Marie Powell has been working on new covers for NCS, along with its follow-up, Second Hand Goods. Both books will have print editions as well, with Second Hand, barring any delays, appearing in early October.

Come Halloween, I will be putting out a print edition of The Compleat Kepler as well. So, by Christmas, you can have Nick Kepler on all the dead trees you want.

And finally, in December, the non-Kepler shorts will appear in a collection called The Compleat Winter. No, I don’t have a cover yet, but I do have a cover concept. I also need to collect the stories and put them into proper ebook and print formats.

In the meantime, we’ll be having a contest for Bad Religion. Stay tuned as I will announce it first on Twitter. Just follow @authorjimwinter and keep your eyes open. The contest will be announced this Friday.

And When You Get Your Taxes Done…

Which should be one week from today… You will get them done before then. Right?

Riiiiight?

Anyway, once you’ve coughed up the last of 2008’s cash to the IRS or managed to wring some of it back into your pocket, Road Rules will go live.

Wash away the stress of the US tax system with a lovely tale of stolen holy relics, Columbian hitmen who now whack for the Lord, and a decadent Florida drug kingpin who is nonetheless a devout Catholic.  Because spirituality is important.

Especially when it costs the insurance company $5 million.

More details soon.