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The First Steps At Dawn

Hello! My name is Rickey Jackson Jr, author of the fantasy novel: The Edge of Snow and Dust (releasing this winter 2017). Welcome to my website dedicated to the series. Here I will share my journey from taking a story swirling around in my head to sharing it with the world. Each post will update you on my progress from tentative writing to tablet publishing. I have already written several drafts but like any bold venture, you eventually have to cross that line, make that leap from cautious to courageous.

 This website is that leap. Even now as I write this, my first blog entry, I am taking that first anxious step at dawn to commit to telling this story. So I hope you will join me as I walk the path of an aspiring writer!

Reached the Summit

Hello readers!

I have some wonderful news, but first an apology. I am sorry for the long gap in posting. I know I said I would be posting more frequently after I decided to make this my career, however I had to adjust that.

Firstly, I was spending a lot of time writing and editing the post. I would sit in front of my computer at my website’s dashboard, trying to think of a good topic. I would come up with a few rough ideas, draft a post for each then see which felt right. Once I had settled on one I would edit and add to the draft. All this took time, time away from writing The Edge of Snow and Dust. Secondarily, I was writing just so you the readers had something to keep you interested in the website. I felt that should not have been the case. I already promised myself I would not be one of those Youtube streamers with the list videos: “10 characters that should be in your novel,” “20 things I wish I did differently” etc. I understand why they do it. While you are watching their videos they are establishing a connection which they hope translate into a sale when they publish their book. Something about it felt off, so instead I just did not post. I did something radical: I wrote the whole thing!

During my last couple of posts, I was editing the tenth version of my story but it still did not feel write. First off, I was using outdated software to write which was slow and constantly disrupted by flow. Then after upgrading, I struggled to find the right enviornment. When should I write, should I have music in the background, should it be after dinner or before breakfast. And that is not even focusing on how to write. So after taking a week off to reset, I sat down and started back at the prologue. Line by line, story-point by story-point I tore down what was there and rebuilt it. Character names changed, background were tightened up, locations shifted, the world itself was rebuilt with a history that was clear to me. There was not a single sentence that I did not examine, not a single paragraph that was not altered.

So with that said, I have some great news: IT’S DONE!

I finished my manuscript after rebuilding it practically from scratch. At the moment it is 381 paperback pages (if I did my formatting right) with over twenty characters spanning twenty-five chapters. All of it reforged till what was before me was my best. Now it is time for the busy work. I have entered the “Beta Stage” of publishing a first novel. That entails gathering together a group of readers and presenting them with my manuscript, and see how they feel. They will give me feedback into how they feel with characters, how lost they were with particular scenes, and the general emotional state they find themselves in. With that feedback I check it against what I want them to feel, to know, to see. I could have an idea for a character, put him on paper, and feel the audience will resonate with them. However my beta readers could look at the same character and see the confidence as arrogant and reject them, which could have long reaching consequences for the rest of the novel.

Therefore I am asking for dedicated readers willing to read my novel and give me the critical feedback I need. I would send them portions of the story, three chapters or four at a time, and receive notes after each portion. That why the raw emotions and important questions will still be fresh in their mind. Then after they’ve finished I’ll send it off to an editor for a final line-edit then off to the printers! All those who give me feedback from start to finish will receive a signed copy of The Edge of Snow and Dust, and a mention in the acknowledgement page. So please, message me either on my Facebook page (where I usually post these links) or here, and we can work together to make The Edge of Snow and Dust a success.

Thanks and take care!

A Brisk Pace

Hello readers!

Sorry for the gap between this post and the last. Life created a bit of a traffic jam this month. Life has become so busy that I have turned to writing The Edge of Snow and Dust late at night, something I used to do after night shifts at the movie theater.

Speaking of being busy and having to keep leaping from one thing to another, I wanted to talk about pacing today. Pacing in storytelling is the flow of information given to the reader. Depending on the genre, be it horror, action, or romance, the pace can be slow and methodical or frantic and exciting. The key is to find a pace that keeps the reader engaged but not so confused or bored as to be taken out of the story. The reader should never feel the passage of time. Movies have the same challenge. I will use one movie with two different cuts to illustrate good pacing from meandering pacing. The 1986 Theatrical Cut of Aliens, directed by James Cameron, and its 1991 Special Edition cut.

Aliens is a fantastic movie, one whose legacy is an ever-expanding franchise with a film just released last year. It is an action movie’s take on its predecessor’s horror. I remembered when I was a teenager watching it on VHS over and over again. The film only has two great action set pieces: the Colonial Marines first encounter with the xenomorphs and Ripley’s rescue of newt, and I loved them both. A quick note – an action set piece is action with multiple scenes and points of view. It tends to be longer than an action scene, which usually occupies one location and seen from one point of view. By today’s standard, two exciting set pieces is considered too few to be an action film. Today action movies are categorized by having so much going on on-screen that you forget what the hell the plot is. With cities and even planets exploding across a gigantic theater screen and the bass so thick it reverberates in your chest, you would think the audience would be wide-eyed and attentive. If you were to turn around and face the audience, you would see a field of boredom. A lot of that boredom can be linked to pacing.

The Special Edition cut is 14 minutes longer than the Theatrical Cut. The extra 14 minutes include additional background on the main character, shows what starts the conflict of the movie, and two extra action scenes. The background scene is Ellen Ripley finds out her daughter passed away while she was in cryosleep. The scene starting the conflict is Newt’s family finding the derelict ship. Both of these are at the beginning of the film. When I first watch the Special Edition, I was surprised the two scenes were cut from the film. They filled out the story, gave the audience more information. It even shows the catalyst that leads to the great action.  How could giving the audience more hurt the story? Answer: pacing.

The Special Edition starts out at a slow pace so the audience can settle into the world in which the story takes place, just like the Theatrical Cut. The additional information does not build more of the world it slows down the “river” to a crawl. It stretches the movie to the point that the first xenomorph is not seen until the 1:14 mark. Sure there is a facehugger when Newt’s family finds the ship at the 20-minute mark, but that excitement actually upsets the pacing. The audience watches a working family of four head to the derelict ship just outside their colony on planet LV-426. If the audience saw the first movie, they know what’s in store, if they had not then the pacing of the scene would build the suspense.  The family’s off-road vehicle crawls along the desolate ground, letting the suspense build as they come upon the ship. The parents head into the ship; the music is mysterious and low. Then a jump cut to show the passage of time. Then, boom! Facehugger, fear! A clash of building music, roaring wind, and a shrieking girl. The audience is ready for the pace to pick up, the story to gain speed. Time to get to the planet, get to where the action is.

Not so fast. After the exciting and terrifying facehugger scene, the audience has to sit for another 45 minutes, almost an hour before the first action set piece. The elevation then sudden braking of pace kicks the audience out of the experience and makes the movie’s length known.

The Theatrical Cut does not have the facehugger scene. The audience instead finds out contact with the colony has been lost with no explanation. Ripley joins the marines sent to investigate. The military routine of the Colonial Marines’ briefing and preparation to deploy to the colony cranks up the pace and suspense in a more natural way. Their by-the-numbers search and clearing of the colony builds up the suspense just like the facehugger scene. Only now they have to wait 15 minutes instead of the original 45 for the first action set piece. And that action hits at precisely 1 hour. If this were a streaming show, the audience binge-watching the series would reward them with excitement at the very start of episode 2. Perfect!

A movie, or any story for that matter, should move at such a pace that by the time you reach the end you are shocked at the passage of time and yet are satisfied with what it gave you. You should never feel the tug to check your phone, think about what chore you have to tackle when the story ends, or look around upset that the story you were ready to invest in is already over.

What story did you get caught up in that time flew by? That by the time the story finished you were stunned how much time had passed? Leave a comment below; I would love to discover these stories which had mastered the art of pacing.

Take care!

Progress Report

Hello readers! It has been six months since my website went up and the announcement I was writing The Edge of Snow and Dust. Six months of a lot of hard work with an immense amount of time researching the field of storytelling and writing. I figured then I should show you how far I’ve come.

Currently I am at 131,130 words, that spans over twenty-two chapters so far. Just as a reference, the Harry Potter series averaged about 154,000 words. So you know you will be getting the most about of bang for your buck. Now as a manuscript 131,000 words equals about 496 pages. Formatted for ebook, the primary way the book will be sold, it becomes about 211 pages. I will also have hardcovers for those looking to have something more tangible.

You can see the manuscript is a little more than twice the size of the ebook.  A few people I have talked to have asked what exactly is a manuscript and why it is so much bigger than the final novel? A manuscript is the “I’m almost done” part of writing. It is after you have finished developing your characters, describing the settings, and plotting out the story. Unless your editor believes there should be some radical change, it is done. The reason the manuscript is double size is because it is double spaced. It needs to be so that editor can have room to make comments and corrections, as well as make it much easier to reread sections without getting lost moving from one line to the next. I primary write using single space until I feel the chapter is done. Then as a marker, as another line in the sand if you read my last post, signaling I am one step closer to finishing the novel.

I get questions about too about the chapters. How do you know how many chapters it should be? Truth is I don’t, not really. Yes, chapters are more or less scenes in a movie. When a scene has run its course and pushed the story far enough along it ends and another begins. Each scene had could be the mark for another chapter. However another mindset is to have multiple scenes within a chapter. There is no set rule. I personally write until a feeling or an idea is finished. That means it could take just a single scene or a series of them for that feeling to work itself out. When a new one starts to surface, that’s when I jump to the next chapter.

The final question I get is: when will it be done? Last winter was my deadline and in a superficial way I made it. The story was finished. There was a beginning, a middle, and an end. It was not however, complete. There were emotions that I was only able to touched on, thrills not quite used to their fullest. I kept feeling this hook tug at me during my final reread before moving on to publishing. It was a signal there was more meat on the bone.

The answer is soon. I know it is abstract but it is the truth. I have purchased new software which is allowing me to work quicker. I have arranged a schedule that’s allowing me to get the most out of the day. This is now my full-time job. Eight hours a day writing and editing. And I can see that finish line. I wanted you, readers, who have journeyed with me this far to have some hard numbers to see how far we’ve come. It has been an exhilarating six months doing something I am passionate about. I hope you will join me as see that passion payoff.

Take care!

 

The Mindset of Five Percent

Hello readers! It has been ten days since I decided to make writing my chosen profession. And today I am happy to announce I have entered the 5% of the 5% of the 5%. No, that is not regarding my financial security (I wish), it is a threshold you draw in the sand and stomp across, a threshold not just in writing but the pursuit of any goal.

I first learned of this five percent mindset about a month ago. I came across an article at work during lunch while scouring the net for a lighthouse on a hill. You see, I had heard for the fiftieth time “you know, a lot of people try to become authors.” I took the first forty-nine times silently, or at the most with a joke, to hide how equal parts infuriating and baffling the warning was. Did each person that told me that really think they were the first? Why would it be necessary to tell someone whose pursuing a dream, how many have traveled the same road and fallen by the wayside? Has anyone ever said, “you know, a lot of people try to work their whole lives in a cubicle so those above them may live a life of luxury”? I sure haven’t.

I knew any argument based on emotion would persuade no one. Despite the fact that what drives anyone towards a far-reaching dream is precisely that: emotion. I could say staring at my monitor for eight hours left me feeling no more satisfied than the previous thirty-two that week. I could tell them having the executives, who had the power to decide my fate at the company and in effect my entire life, not know my name made me feel less of a human than a cog in a machine.

I could tell them that writing a book meant every single person that read it would see my name below the title. That among the seven billion people on the planet, my name was known by someone, that they had made an effort to learn my name. Knowing such to be true would set my soul ablaze and make me write five more novels, no ten! Such a goal is worth putting in forty, sixty, eighty hours a week. A dream like that should be encouraged and celebrated. Right? Right?!

That’s all emotional though, that cannot be the foundation for my counter-argument. Instead, I perused the net for some statistic, some tangible proof that there were more successful writers than not. That is when I came across a great article by Kristin Lamb. (http://authorkristenlamb.com/2014/12/what-are-the-real-odds-of-being-a-successful-author/)

The article did not have any of the hard numbers I was looking for: salaries, number of successful writers, number of best-selling fantasy novels, etc. It instead had a soft number that hit me like a sledgehammer,

5%

5% were those who crossed every barrier towards success in any worthwhile goal. For myself as a writer, I reached the five percent mark by writing my first word. Not the first word of The Edge of Snow and Dust, but the first word of any creative writing. Because 95% of those who say they want to be an author never write that first word. I crossed another by writing a chapter, then another finishing my first draft, then another barrier by shredding my first draft with the savageness any editor would have. Then a month later another line and then another a week from that one, I leaped past another.

That powerful single-digit number wiped out every argument against pursuing my dream. “you know, a lot of people try to become authors” – but only 5% ever start. “A lot of people try to get published” – but only 5% research the proper format to submit it. That fiftieth person tried with the mindset of cubicles and monitors and executives to caution me against flying towards the sun. Each barrier they saw, each obstacle they were worried I never conquer; I told them that’s when 95% give up, I am the 5% that’s left.

A million people can try to become a writer, a singer, a performer, a professional athlete. But only 5% will even attempt to.

You do, you are now part of 50,000. Hmm, that is still a lot. But you spend months on researching story structure, music scales, method acting, the proper training regimes.

You’re part of 2,500. That’s good; we can do better. You find writing groups and coaches. You expose yourself, make an attempt, and you take every bit of criticism with an iron chin. You make adjustments, you reflect on yourself honestly. You do what only 5% do: you push forward.

125. You can break past that Top-100 barrier. Let’s run through it again. Write till that pencil snaps, sing till the rapports rattle, pour your soul into your video, sweat, bleed, work, focus!

SIX! You, me, us – we are one of six! Now do the math, and you’ll realize there are no more barriers. Only the exhilarating feeling when a stranger knows your name from a book in their hand, of seeing your song up on iTunes, watching the trailer for your movie, hearing the crowd screaming as you take the field.

5% . . . tomorrow I’ll push to that next 5%.

Leave a comment, a pledge on a goal you want to reach and the 5% barrier you have encountered and how you are going to push past it.

Take care!

The Path Askewed? No, The Stars Aligning

Hello Readers!

My first post of 2018 and a declaration for the year, for the future. The past month or so I had been diving deep into my craft. Reading books, studying articles on writing and storytelling, and watching breakdowns of movies. I was then distilling all those sources of information into a concentrated potion, drinking it up, and applying all I learned to craft the next revision more refined than before. Then last week . . .

I get laid off.

More than a decade of my life, slamming to an ear piercing halt. From my first day, where a lovely woman helped me settle into my first career job, I worked eight to five, Monday through Friday. I worked as a CAD Associate, creating and managing drawings of varies malls around the country. I worked under the same supervisor whom from the start I called Boss as a sign of great respect, not of his position but his person. He made my jump into the world of careers and corporate life manageable while I heard horror stories from friends and families about their superiors.

The irony came when I learned how many of us supposedly laid off: five percent.

5% was going to be the name of my next post as I talked about what it took to achieve anything you have a passion for. That theory, that way of viewing a goal, became a silver shield that protected me from the typhoon of emotions surrounding me. Those thrown out beside me were drowning in their tears or leaking fires of raging fury. A crisis consoler waited quietly in the small warm lighted conference room to attend to anyone falling off their mental edge. A security contractor wandered the floor like a medieval guard to stop anyone from losing more than just a job. The coworkers that remained, my friends, were hugging each other for comfort at my departing.

Yet a small smile rested comfortably on my face as I packed up my belongings, in a silly plastic bag from the local grocer because I refused to mimic that image of a person’s life at work reduced to a stored away box. Everyone kept commenting how well I was taking it, how composed I was. I gave the cliché answers to their cliché comments and questions. When finished I said goodbye to that lovely woman the first greeted me when I started my job, Laurene. I shook Andy’s, check that, Boss’s, hand firmly thanking him not just for the job but for helping me through example become a better man. Then quietly I walked out, no racing heart, no sweaty brow, no rage in my step, no slump in my shoulders.

Then a few days later a friend of the family, upon hearing my lay off, gave me one more cliché comment, “when one door closes another window opens.” I scuffed at the tired parable and allowed the world to truly hear my thoughts since receiving that indifference, passionless, termination letter and said: “I don’t care what window they open, I’m kicking down the damn door I want.” He and my father were taken aback, laughing nervously at the determined answer.

The stars have aligned reader, for me to put in one hundred percent of my effort into this book, into this series. I can now concentrate without some other human being telling me I need to stop everything and help make another man, I have never met, a fortune, while I watch slipping away a chance to be alive. I will be able to post here more often. I will be able to dive into the zone, drop down into the world I am creating and write until the pencil breaks or the keys on my keyboard crack under my pressure.

So bookmark this page, snap a screenshot on your phone as I continue on this journey to publishing my novel and making a career out of storytelling.

A Glimpse of The Edge

Hello readers!Scribe

Last week I told you I was going to hold off on the publication of The Edge of Snow and Dust until I felt it was the best I could offer. I also explained I was going to release either the Prologue for The Edge of Snow and Dust or the book cover. Thinking about it over the weekend, I concluded the Prologue was the better choice. Anyone can create a great cover. We have all seen the movie posters and album covers out there. The dazzling images and colors draw us in, but it could be all flash and no substance. The opening scene to the movie, or the first track on the album, that can truly show you the passion behind the project. Click on the link below and enjoy the first glimpse into The Edge of Snow and Dust world!

https://rickeyjacksonjr.com/2017/12/08/prologue/

Take care and don’t forget to leave a comment and tell me what you think.

PROLOGUE

Fatal Sea - image 1

Breathe. Nothing chokes off muscles of their strength and the mind of its wit than fastened lungs. It’s what my father always taught me. Breathing can aid the heart, calm the mind, make you see the truth of the moment. Breathe while I curtsy in front of a handsome boy in the village. Breathe to stave off fatigue when grappling with a marauder in the Wasteland. Breathe when Lamont seals the deep gash in my side with the glowing red-hot tip of his blade. Breathe while I hide in terror behind this vile tree in this horrifying forest slowly devouring the world . . . Breathe.

My mask made of tough cloth swells and shrinks while I catch my breath. But I have to move. I can feel the Fatal Sea of Green’s eyes focusing on me. It has to know we are here. No matter how careful we’ve been or how well we’ve hidden, being in this place for this long; this forest has to know we’re here. We have traveled too far into the Sea in search of a relic from before Heaven’s Hail. The job was too good, the payoff too significant to not venture into this realm of vicious creatures and poisonous plants. And now that I’m here, waiting for Jolson’s signal, I can feel fear creeping up my spine like the claws of any predator here.

Breathe. I lean out from cover and can barely see my partner. He is crouched very low to the ground, behind the shadow of another twisted, corrupted, fungus covered tree. I slowly try to refill my lungs with my hand resting on the squishy moss enveloping this tree wider than I am tall. My hand suddenly sinks into the moss, and I jerk away in horror, suppressing the urge to shout and give away my position to the giant spider lurking nearby. I stare into the sinking hole in the moss, thankful it lacks the strength to keep me. With the fear dancing through my skin, I remember we already lost someone to such a trap. She had hidden from a pack of creatures when her arm and shoulder sunk into the moss. The moss fastened her to the tree, making it easy for the pack to tear her apart. Was it sheer luck the moss on this tree lacked the determination of the one that got her killed? Or does the Fatal Sea have a different punishment for me venturing in so far? I blink away the question; I have to focus.

Through a small beam of light in the forest canopy, I spot Jolson as he sprints for cover as silent as a desert fox. That seems to be the way to move. Another one of us met an end trying to fight the Fatal Sea with strength rather than cunning. We last saw him facing off against a sea savage. Jolson and I chose that opportunity to make a run for it. It doesn’t matter if your armor is infused with arcana or how big your war-ax. No one is a match for a sea savage, especially here in its domain. He, at the most, bought us a minute or so, which we’re wasting on this razor-leg spider. Stupid. Remembering another lost comrade, I pull my eyes down from the green sky of the forest and spot Jolson’s signal.

Breathe. I rush out while the razor-leg is distracted. I try to find the balance between hurrying out in the open between these two massive trees and minimizing the sound of each stride. My worn boots press prints into the moist but stable soil and kick up very little blue-green spores. The lack of sea snow is obviously the reason Jolson picked this path to get by this tall-as-a-house spider.

Halfway, I hear it hiss, and my heart pauses a beat as I look over at the spider. I notice one of its legs cut at the joint, no doubt someone else ran into this thing. How long did they survive before they were cut down by its seven other legs? It side-steps closer to me, forcing me more towards hurrying than hiding my presence. Just a couple more heartbeats away, I hear two more stomps and anticipate its gaze falling on me. I take one more wide step, lowering myself as far as I can, hoping not to silhouette myself. I plant my good foot just at the roots of the tree and pivot off it, spinning around until my back is against the squishy bark. The momentum swings my sights over my left shoulder as it bumps into something.

I inhale sharply and slam my eyes shut as one of the pods clinging to the tree explodes, showering me and everything else in its blue-green snow. My muscles tighten, my head shakes with the strain. This is it, the Sea’s punishment! I slowly open my eyes and realize my mask is still on and exhale the tension in my muscles.

A tear of fear pools inside my goggles. I had already suffered from inhaling sea snow, back when I was a child. The little bit I inhaled of the poisonous spores hardened parts of my lungs. It is because of my weakened lungs we’re hiding and not running. I was already struggling to catch my breath after fleeing the sea savage, and now my ribs feel like they’re crushing my lungs. A long sprint? Hmph! I would never make it if this monster saw us.

Jolson knew that, and that was why he was mapping our path out of here. I hear his hurried muffled claps to reach his position. I readjust my goggles, wipe away some of the spores from my mask and center myself. This job isn’t my first dance in the Fatal Sea’s snow. I must settle my nerves and . . .

Breathe. Against my lungs’ wishes, I try to rush to the next tree. I look down at my feet, making sure to leap over a thick fallen branch and miss a divot in the ground. The quick clicking of the razor-leg draws my eyes away from the dark soil again; the massive spider has finally closed in on something. I see it dipping its head, lowering its body between its seven and a half legs, down to something small. Good, something else can feel its blades.

I then feel the ground below me change in texture. As I lift my feet, the ground seems to come up with me. Damn it! I strayed away from Jolson’s path. The razor-leg came this way; its sticky web is on the forest floor. The floor anchors me while my momentum carries me. I fall and try to brace myself, but a boulder meets my ribs first. My thick, leather plated, coat of armor protects me from the rock’s sharp edge but does nothing for the jolting impact against the unforgiving object. The blow knocks the wind out of me. With what little lung capacity I have, I desperately try to suck back in the air I lost.

But the air rushed out of my mouth in the form of a painful holler and had called the razor-leg over, the sea snow flying up around me signaling my position. It turns to me, its legs cutting through the forest’s vines and branches with ease to get to me. I try to get up but my muscles lag behind without oxygen in my lungs, and I can’t break free of the webbing. Pinned behind my back is my sword-arm, so using my left hand I first reach for my helmet’s strap to free my head from the sticky soil and try to draw in more air. I quickly reach for my hip and draw the thin sword we came to recover. I cut what threads I can but my swings are slow, and the sword catches one of the thick, gummy strings.

I look up and see Jolson rushing out behind cover for me. I inhale a bit more air in a frightful gasp when I catch him plant his foot at the edge of a tree’s shadow. His toe rides the line between light and dark, and he stops so abruptly his momentum makes him stand on one leg at the very edge of darkness. Quickly getting low to the ground again, he risks exposure by stretching a hand out into the light.

“Jackie, throw it! Quick!” I hear him shout in the shadows. He wants me to throw away the only thing I have to defend myself: the prize we took from this place. I struggle to get to my knees; the sticky webbing desperately tries to keep me grounded. I’m able to barely free the sword and attack the webbing with small swings of the refined blade. One good swing frees me from several silk arms, but the blade continues and cuts deep into my shoulder. I feel a shockwave of pain down my arm before it all goes numb. No time to attend to that now, but the tradeoff is worth it as I’m able to free my shoulders enough to sit on my knees and look over at Jolson. He leans out of the shadows, his eyes hidden behind his goggles as they reflect the canopy light, an arm extended not for me, but this weapon. With the last of the air in my lungs, I shout as I hurl it at him. “Keane Village!” I remind him the prize’s destination. The blade disappears into the shadows, and suddenly Jolson is gone. I am all alone. The razor-leg monster stands over me. I’m enveloped in its darkness as I slam my eyes shut. My ears can hear the whistling of its arm swinging through the air. I try to brace myself.

Breathe.

One Chance To Get It Right

ScribeIt has been over a month since my last post. Life as it has a tendency to do, ramped up, with special occasions, urgent tasks, and everything in between popping up, demanding my attention. Between all those events and moments, I had been working hard on The Edge of Snow and Dust. I danced with the deadline of early December to release the book, sometimes I was ahead of it and other times a step or two behind it. I wanted to release it in time for the holidays.

However I have to have absolute faith that they are getting the very best for their money. That a gift given in love has the same amount of care as a hand cut gem for those earrings or the research and depth put into electronic devices packed with countless lines of code. At the end of November, or yesterday, I looked over my work and saw it had not gotten there . . . yet. I could see parts that could be tightened, or a scene that could be expanded on to tap deep into the reader’s emotions.

 

Therefore I took my pride in hand and pinned it to the pages. To save face I could have used this post to reveal my book cover, which I was fortunate enough to have created with a quality look without breaking me. And then from there hype up the book and hope the hype outdid its quality: the image of something outshining its reality. There are movies that trick you into theaters, albums that call into question the artist’s often spoken passion, and games that lack the depth promised. I see deception evident in the world today and refused to be a part of it. We see it and hear it around us, pride casting shade on the actual effort they put into something we eagerly paid for. Truth so skewed that we do not know what it’s definition is anymore.

I will speak that hard truth: The Edge of Snow and Dust, is not ready. It will be ready sometime soon, for I feel it is worth doing. And anything worth doing is worth overdoing. When I say countless hours of passion went into this story, you will feel it. When I say getting it right matters more than being right, you will see it. But I will not leave you completely empty-handed, wondering when or even if a novel will be published. Next week I will reveal the cover to my book or the finished prologue. Over the weekend, I finalize my roadmap and confirm which will be first.

This post was hard, and I hope you can empathize with what I want to accomplish. Every night when I thought about what was on my plate for the next day, I would see the date counting up to this post and had to restrain the urge to rush my writing. Then the next morning I would read what I wrote and could feel the characters telling me to give them that one devoted chance to tell their story. I hope you will continue to journey with me down this path even if it got a little longer.

 

Judging A Book By Its Cover

ScribeIt is the end of September. A month ago today I published my first post on this website. First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has joined me on this new journey. Thank you to everyone who has commented, liked on Facebook, and shared my articles. I cannot express my gratitude enough. Nearly three years ago I started writing this book. It was not until that first post and the support that poured in that I felt a swell of pride that I could do this. I hope you will continue to walk side-by-side with me towards the day I publish The Edge of Snow and Dust, and beyond! 

That said, today leaves me with a little under three months until Christmas, when I hope to have the book released. As I continue on the writing front, painting the scenes with words, I have to also turn my attention to painting the cover. The old phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is something worth noting in your daily life. There is more to everything than what you see, especially people. We have to, however, admit a lot of great books are never read because their cover does not catch the eye. A single image can convey the themes and emotions a writer has spent a thousand words writing. If those emotions can capture one reader and that one reader spreads those emotions to another, you can create a fantastic and wonderful cascade of interest in the passions of someone half a world away. All from a single image.

Therefore I am now searching for an artist to create a cover that captures the theme of the story and the feel of the land. Obviously since I am just starting out, my budget is not on par with publishers. But I am willing to work with an artist whose passion is forging out of your imagination then counting dollar signs. With that I would certainly promote you so others can find you. Then hopefully I could send some work your way with others looking to publish their books or any other project requiring a skilled and passionate artist. And if we want to super charge that hopefulness, we could pair up again as I continue my series.

So please, if you want to take up the banner to create a beautiful cover and have the same  passion for your art as I do for my writing, contact me at rickeyjacksonjresad@gmail.com 

Take Care!

 

A Life is a Story

Hello! Hope you are all well. I have nearly finished another draft of The Edge of Snow and Dust. In this version I was taking great care to ensure the characters were telling the story. Of course how I feel and what I think will most likely be felt in the novel, but I wanted to eliminate the feeling of a structure to the story. I recently watched a video on YouTube on the secret to a successful movie. Movies are moving stories so I decided to take a look. Now first off I do not think there is any secret to anything. There is no secret to a perfect relationship, there is no secret to a perfect life, and there sure is no secret to a perfect story.

The video was detailing the key elements to the three Acts in a story that will artificially hooked the audience. I watched the speaker a little stunned at the arrogance of his supposed mastery of audience puppetry. I grinned as the speaker confirmed a trend I had been noticing for quite a while; that expressions of art, music, writing, and theater, can be manufactured. If a song followed a formula it will become a hit. A movie needs these specific moments to become a blockbuster.

I truly believe some of the most memorable songs, movies, and stories; are borne out of passion not built-in a factory. And those songs and stories are often born messy. Think about a story you told, did it follow a special structure? Did you make sure the critical moment in your story was at the midway point? When a friend ask you to hear the first hint of a song, was the chorus the correct length with the right number of syllables. None that I have ever heard.

So when I reread The Edge of Snow and Dust I made sure to have a keen eye for any artifacts of myself as the writer. The people in this world, struggling to rise above the mess but still take the moment to cherish living, they are telling the story not me. Their moments do not have a special structure that would check off boxes in storytelling.

Life is a story containing endless stories. And life is messy. It is coarse and rough at times, and yet a smooth soft moment can appear out of nowhere. That I think is what makes life interesting. If life was perfect in its predictably, manufactured to mimic other lives, it could not be called life. It would be a product, and I do not what my story to be a product for you.

I want The Edge of Snow and Dust to be these characters’ stories. I want it to be their lives.