You Need to Write That Book

It took me five years to figure out the right way to write a book, and you want to know what I learned?

There’s a process you can use that can help you grow organically and the better you get at it, the more likely you are to sell books, and grow your name. The amount of opportunity out there for writers is great, but if you really want to get that book done, you need to do a few things simultaneously that aren’t easy to balance.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Write & find your voice
  • Get feedback
  • Collect emails
  • Revise
  • Find more readers
  • Look for patterns, and common threads in feedback, questions, etc.
  • Look for blogs/news sites to get covered as an “author”
  • Find your place as a direct voice in the media
  • Get reviews
  • Write your own posts to help draw people you don’t know
  • Launch your book
  • Move onto the next thing

See how clumsy this list is? The toughest part is writing, getting feedback, and sticking with it. I’ve read the same sentence 54 times, and not gotten anywhere in improving it. I’ve gotten stuck thinking, “I’ll never be…(known author) quality.” The reality is that the process might be different for everybody. And there didn’t seem to be anyone out there who could help me figure out my own—they always told me “this is the right way to do things.”

Bull shit.

The best thing I ever did was start “spamming people” with my writing. You keep hearing “I won’t spam you” from people who collect email addresses, but they’re still sending you email in hopes of selling you something. I decided to embrace that. I told people “I’m writing this thing, would you read it and give me feedback?”

And they did.

Some of it was great, some of it wasn’t. That was the best thing that ever happened. I started to see that the story had potential, but that there were individual elements that were putting people off. And that meant I could stay motivated to focus on one thing to improve my writing.

The reason I’m saying this is because I learned a lot in self-publishing a novel. I learned how to conquer self-doubt. How to get feedback. How to pitch myself. And how to become a better reader. And I want to help you do the same.

If you, or someone you know is having trouble writing that first book, or that next project, and you don’t know where to start, fill out this form. We’ll have a quick chat, and I’ll tell you what I think you need to do. If you want my help, I can help with the following:

  • Developing your idea
  • Getting feedback
  • Finding your place in the media and getting coverage
  • Building you a website (you’d pay) to help you get coverage/readers

This isn’t going to be the cheapest thing in the world. But I will work with you until you figure out your own process, you make your money back, or you run out of ideas.

All you need is an idea. Do you have one?

Write Your Own Kindle Author Success Story

I’ve been reading a lot of author success stories after the author achieved huge levels of success and I wanted to change the conversation. If you’re not familiar with me, here’s a link to my author page, my twitter account, and the official website for my first novel.

While Kindle authors don’t typically get recognized as being officially “Indie,” there’s a huge opportunity on Kindle that nobody’s really taking advantage of online. I’m sure you’re familiar with Hugh Howie, and his overnight success as a Kindle author. He did nothing BEFORE he found success aside from writing a ton of other books. But there’s a lot you can do throughout the process. So, for the scrappy writer out there who wants to sell more books, I wanted to share a couple lessons I’ve taken from him and others I learned myself which have earned me more activity on the books I’ve self-published through Kindle in the last few months. Just to be clear that’s more frequent reads through Kindle Unlimited, more free downloads, and more purchases. A combination of the following things helped me get there:

1. Collect feedback as early as you have the chance.

sbb marketing flyerThis is the digital age. So here’s something embarrassing. My first novel was written on pen and paper, because I can’t focus on writing fiction when I have access to the Internet. I’ve never really conquered self-control in that sense. But then I figured out how to use the Internet. So when I’d written enough that I thought I had a book, I asked around and got maybe three dozen people to agree to read a few pages and offer me feedback. I did this on Facebook, at events, and I posted flyers around town. The end result: 100 people signed up for my email list, and I got about 9 people to give me some great feedback.

You can use a Google form for this, and you can ask for detailed notes. Include a link at the end of your sample chapter and think about questions you want to ask. This should include age, reaction, location, whether they’d tell a friend about it, what they’d tell that friend the story was about, whether they wanted to read more, and whether you can use their feedback to promote the book. I had friends, family, former coworkers, some blind responses who saw that I posted the flyer, and people I’d met at networking events. All of their feedback was useful. The point of this is that I’d never written a book before, and I needed to know how my writing affected people. The most value came from the negative feedback because it helped me figure out what I’d need to work on if I wanted to continue writing. The last thing you want to do is write the entire book without understanding how various people react to your words.

2. Run a blog. Maybe two.

Okay. So, there’s going to be a part of you that says “why don’t people want to feature me on their blog/podcast/vlog?” Well, you can write the best novel ever written but if you don’t put any content out there, you just have to hope someone has the attention span to read your book and say “FUCK YEAH, LEMME TELL EVERYONE I KNOW TO BUY THIS!” This has never happened in all of publishing, or maybe in the history of mankind. It’s so hard to get someone to read a book. So terribly, terribly hard. Although, there is that story that someone agreed to pay Bukowski $100/month to quit his job and focus solely on writing. That’s great for Bukowski, but that’s never going to happen to you. You probably won’t even get an advance. Ever. But you can blog, and you can blog about other writers. And in fact you can help other writers by writing about them. I’m doing this on my personal blog, because I like writing, and I genuinely want to build up the community. If you help the community you’re giving yourself a chance to get noticed for the right reasons, and people are more likely to remember that when you release something.

I also run a separate site to promote my book, because if I’m going to get featured on a blog like I was here, I want to have somewhere to point readers and I want to make sure I’m converting them to email signups, and book purchases on amazon. The bottom line is that you need to put content out there so people can get familiar with your voice as a writer, that it should be consistent with your brand, and that you have to really love saying something.

3. Find book review bloggers on your topic and offer them content for their blogs

I spent a week sending out personalized emails to a couple dozen bloggers who listed themselves as reviewers and barely any of them got back to me. Why? Because they were probably inundated with people looking for reviews so they can sell books. One of them got back to me and said “I’m not accepting reviews right now, but if you want to send me a blog post I’d be happy to publish it.

So go find some bloggers who are looking for books to review, and content. Write that content for free, put a link to your site in there, and send it out. In a lot of cases they’ll tell you what kind of content they’d like you to write if it isn’t already obvious. So go find someone who you can write for and do it.

There’s probably other sites like this out there. All you have to do is Google it.

BEFORE/DURING/AFTER

5. Always be writing.

It doesn’t matter if you wrote the best novel ever written if you’re not writing now. The likelihood that writing one book will make you a successful author who gains a following is nearly 0. In fact if you can find someone who’s written one book ever and marketed it to success I’d love to hear about it (before you say it, you’re not Harper Lee either).

I’ve committed to self-publishing at least 6 short stories this year, and then one long story. In January and February, I released two short stories as part of a series, and I’ve started to see more downloads/reads/purchases because of it. The bottom line is that when readers like a writer, they always want more. Which means the more books you’ve written, the more likely they are to buy from you.

6. Advertising sucks.

I’ve paid about $150 dollars to various platforms to advertise including facebook, and Google, although I had to be creative with this. It’s not easy to advertise a title like Sh*tty Beijing Bike, not even on Amazon. Advertising is probably a waste anyway when you realize that you need real human beings who are going to spread the word about your books. Once people know your name, and you’ve quit your day job you can probably figure out a way to take advantage of advertising, otherwise it’s probably going to be a waste of money. For now, focus on ways you can build an email list, blog or socialize with others online to grow your platform, and keep writing.

I hope there’s at least one nugget in here that’s useful to you, otherwise you can ask for your money back at the box office.

Thanks,
Will

Writer to Writer: Amy Edwards

Writer to Writer is a brief feature in which I email a writer and ask a quick question about writing. Simple enough, right?

So with today’s Writer to Writer, I connected with a fellow Austinite on Twitter who embodies everything about being a creative hustler in the digital age. You can check out her website here to learn more about her work.

Amy has her hands in music, writing, podcasting, performing, acting, and basically any other creative outlet you can think of and you should check her out.

Being the type of guy who hates writing… okay, let me qualify that. I hate banging my head against a wall and most of what I write is downright terrible, but being that type of writer, I wanted to know how Amy makes the time to do so much work creatively, and to craft a message.

So, I asked her. And the answer actually blew my mind.

Question: How do you streamline the process for podcasting/writing/performing WHILE PARENTING and doing all the other bad ass things you probably do?

Answer: I have no idea how I do all this. Besides coffee, I do things like try to get enough sleep. Wish I had a better answer or a magic formula. All about just sitting down and doing the work, I guess.

The thing I’m really tired of reading about is all these “life hacks” for getting shit done. There is no single formula, because that formula probably only works for the person who wrote it. Not that the things they teach you aren’t useful in some sense, I’m just tired of someone selling advice about how you can be more productive when they don’t even know how you work or what drives you.

The above is just an honest answer. And it costs you nothing to think about it. So go write. Go do. Just do it.

And check out Amy’s writing on RY Magazine.

Kindle’s Top Three: Week 51

In Kindle’s Top Three, I want to highlight the best selling books at the beginning of every week, and express all the rage inside me that I’m not in there. Not really. In all honesty, I think it’s important to look at what’s in the top coveted three on Kindle’s best seller list because, really, don’t they deserve some sort of recognition?

It’s that time again (actually this is the second time I’m doing this), but it’s the time when we look at Kindle’s Best Sellers and congratulate the authors on a job well done. So what does it take to make it to the top of Amazon’s Best Seller list in week 51? Disclaimer: I haven’t read these books but maybe I will?

 

#3 The Atlantis Gene: A Thriller by A.G. Riddle

I’m not familiar with A.G. Riddle, but what’s immediately evident here is the The Atlantis Gene is the first book in a series that’s already become a global best seller. Hats off to A.G. Riddle on that, because this is a common theme among Kindle’s success stories – write a lot, and release. Since this was released in 2003, the author has gone on to sell over 2,000,000 copies, and you can see that it’s lead to a growing fan base. This book alone rising to #3 on Amazon with 4 stars and 13,638 customer reviews. That’s a pretty phenomenal number for a book that’s been out only 3 years. Especially given that it was the author’s first. You’ll also notice it’s available in multiple formats. Like maybe all of them.

You can check out more from A.G. on Amazon here.

 

#2 Wait For It by Mariana Zapata

Just doing some initial homework on Mariana it looks like she’s published six titles on Amazon since January 2014, and that her work has earned a spot on both the New York Times and USA Today Best Sellers list. No small feat. Is it hard to see why?

Her titles are original, and provocative. Again, I haven’t read any of these, but I’m drawn to stories that depict incongruous characters. The person who has their shit together, but can’t find love. The person who’s driven by passion, but not crazy about the opportunity that’s in front of them. The person who’s kind-hearted, and conventional but has a base hunger for something society deems crass and inappropriate. All of it goes back to the internal conflict we feel when we want something and pursue something better than what we have. It’s that conflict that makes it so difficult to make a choice, and to make sacrifices to get it. Is this ok? Is it worth it? Will I still think so when I have to put in more work to keep it? Will I shut something out because it came about through some unexpected channel?

Shit, that’s all my perspective. Sorry. Just wanted to stress that it gets me thinking about diving into Mariana’s latest title, Wait for It, which has been out only a few weeks and has already made it to the number 2 spot on Amazon’s Best Seller list on the strength of 381 customer reviews averaging a 4.8. That’s pretty fucking impressive.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m not much of a romance reader. Me neither. But having read her amazon page and her website, Mariana seems like a wordsmith, and a compelling writer. And her ideas are relatable. A genre’s just a canvas to tell a story. It’d be a tragedy to narrow your reading to the same one all the time.

Congrats, Mariana! Check out her Amazon page here.

 

#1 Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star

Nancy Star is a powerhouse and certainly someone to follow on Amazon if you’re not already. Her latest, and the number one on Amazon’s Best Seller list this week tells the story of reconciliation within a family that’s coming to terms with its past. If it sounds like a Hollywood film, it should. Nancy Star’s been writing novels for a while, but also served as a movie executive for over a decade. She’s spent a good deal of time sorting through material from books, plays, films, and pitches. Enough time to pick up on what a good story looks like.

And it looks like this is the first title to appear in the top three that takes advantage of the advanced release feature on Kindle. It’s set for release on January 1st, 2017, but has still earned a 3.9 average rating from 373 customer reviews who thought to take advantage of Kindle First.

I’d have high hopes for this one if you’re into tales of family reconciliation and contemporary fiction.

Not too shabby, Nancy Star. Check out her Amazon page here.

 

Week 51 Conclusion: This week’s group is as eclectic as they come. The number three spot went to someone who’s reminiscent of another Kindle Best Seller who blew up writing a series of books, but did none of his own marketing. The second went to an exciting author who’s ideas are really compelling, they’re relatable, and hopefully they keep coming. The top spot went to someone who’s been writing, and dissecting work for her whole career. Check back next week (maybe) to see what’s in the top 3 of Kindle’s Bestseller list, and if you’ve read any of these books feel free to leave a recommendation below!

Calling all Writers, Creators, Entrepreneurs, and Artists

I want to talk to you about ideas.

If you want to share a story with me about an idea you had that you pursued recklessly from the moment you felt inspired, be it in a blog, in a recorded video interview, or in person in Austin then feel free to contact me and submit your story. Just email [email protected], and let me know what story you’d like to share in as few words as possible, and tell me if it’s the first moment you realized you could start a business, you could write a story, you could make a film, or anything that made you say “oh shit, I can do this.”

The point of this feature is to emphasize that there’s a singular moment where you have this simple idea, and you see a clear path to execute. And you hear a lot about success stories after people have become successful, but few people share their stories about the moment they came up with that idea. This is meant to highlight those stories.

Let’s talk about your business idea, your novel, your short film, your painting, or any other project that just hit you like a ton of bricks and share how it happened.

Contact: [email protected]
Include:

  • Name
  • Format (blog, skype, in-person in Austin etc.)
  • Idea (business, networking group, novel, song, whatever it is) ex. “I could build a social media marketing company”
  • What you were doing when the idea hit you
  • The steps you were able to identify as necessary to make it happen
  • How did it go?
  • How long did it take to get somewhere?
  • How many challenges did you face?

You don’t have to include all of that. You can make it as concise as possible and answer any of the questions above that tell the story.

Writer to Writer: Phil Machi

Writer to Writer is a brief feature I’m doing in which I email a writer and ask a quick question about writing. Simple enough, right?

Alright, so writer to writer is expanding in scope to not just be about novelists, or journalists, or books, but to be about anyone who engages in an act of storytelling. Last week I shared a story about meeting Bruce Springsteen for a picture, and he’s certainly a writer in every sense of the word, book or no book.

This week, I’m Sharing a brief conversation with a comic book author/artist because I started getting curious about how the medium changes the creative process. I think that inherently the biggest problem with any writer, or artist is having that spark of creativity and knowing where to start in crafting for whatever particular medium you’re working in.

So, this week I reached out to author, illustrator, director, producer, and everything else, Phil Machi, whose latest work Orientation is available now in Bookpeople, as well as online here.

Anyway, check out his site, here’s the question:

“Do you always come up with your comics as images first, do you develop words/concepts first, or is it a mix of both?”

And he answered.

“I would say it’s the story first. But of course there are always exceptions. Mostly though, I am thinking of images to properly execute the story. But sometimes I will imagine a character design or an environment that I think would look interesting and then I work backwards to see if I can fit that in someplace.”

So it boils down to telling stories. I wondered where dialogue fit into the equation, and asked a follow up. He clarified the order for me.

“It’s usually story/basic dialogue, visuals, better dialogue. I was changing dialogue for Orientation right up til the very end.”

So there you have it. It all boils down to story and the words. At least a skeleton of words before it becomes visual. Generally. Pretty interesting, right? Be sure to check out Phil’s site, and the many different projects he’s got on there.

Writer to Writer: Bruce Springsteen

Writer to Writer is a brief feature I’m doing in which I email a writer and ask a quick question about writing. Simple enough, right? Well, today I actually got a book signed by Bruce Springsteen at Bookpeople in Austin. This is a musing on why we like to meet artists and what I said to Bruce.

Ok. So, Bruce Springsteen is one of my favorite artists of all time in any medium. He’s got passion, presence, dedication, and all of it comes together in a way that nobody else on Earth can replicate. Seriously, watch the Super Bowl Performance, or the Hammersmith Odeon show, or this version of Thunder Road. If you don’t get it after a few views, I’m not sure what to tell you. The man is a story teller. The man’s energy is contagious. The man, the boss, is a living testament that you need to dive into your passion and seize it. Listen to the story at the beginning of Thunder Road, and to his delivery. This is a man who sees something majestic and powerful in everything around him. He could write an epic poem about his last trip to the grocery store. And you can feel that energy in the 1,000 plus people waiting in line for hours to get approximately 10 seconds with Bruce for a picture.

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-4-25-27-pm

As cars drive by, drivers shout from the windows with a morbid curiosity twisting their face, “who are you waiting to see?” The people shout back with smiles from ear-to-ear, “Bruce Springsteen,” and nobody’s getting tired of it.

Now for some math. The crew walking around handing out wrist bands inform us that about 1,000 people signed up. Bruce is able to do about 400 pictures in an hour and I can’t help but wonder whether that’s more exhausting than a 2.5 hour concert. 400 per hour. That’s about 9 seconds per person. Everyone on this line is going to get something like 9 seconds with Bruce Springsteen to take a photograph and say something quickly. I’d been thinking about it, telling myself I’ll get about 30 seconds. How could I be so naive?

So, I stand nervously on the line, not really living up to the human-being who’s sociable. Instead I’m looking at my phone, getting a bit more panicked every corner we turn that gets closer to the front door. I’m practicing the wording in my head like I’m auditioning for a national commercial. And what the fuck am I going to tell him that he hasn’t already heard? Love your work? What’s the secret? Back to the drawing board.

As we get closer to the door I’m getting goose bumps and people around me are playing songs on their phones or in cars passing by. I hear “She’s the One” and I think of the Hammersmith Odeon. I hear “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” and I think of the Madison Square Garden performance after 9/11. These aren’t just musical performances, each performance comes with a baptism, a sermon, confession, and your last rites. Forgive me if I didn’t name all the right things, I never really got into Catholicism. Like Bruce, my family just wasn’t into that sort of thing, and if they weren’t I didn’t see a reason to go back into religion.

I walk into the front door of the store, the staff indicating wrist bands should stay to the left and head up the stairs. It never dawned on me that people would be in this store doing regular shopping while Bruce Springsteen stood two floors above them and forever out of reach. We’re getting closer. It’s been two and a half hours since I came and saw the back of the line. I’m seeing men and women walk out with books, their eyes glowing, wondering what they said or they did. Some of them just saying “that was incredible,” some women saying “I kissed him,” or “I told him I loved him.”

And I wonder what’s going through his head. A new person every ten seconds, everyone of them expressing some form of adoration for his work. We get up to the top floor, and I look down. I’m probably somewhere in the middle of the entire crowd. He must be exhausted by this point. People are now hyperventilating as they approach the door leading into the room where Bruce Springsteen stands ready to snap a photograph.

bookpeople-line-bruce-springsteen

I walk in the room. Totally impressed with the crew he’s working with. There’s a handful of guys in suits, and bookstore staff. The suits are queuing up the line to move them forward in a timely manner, and the bookstore staff are taking people’s phones/cameras to take a quick picture. They’re rotating out. It’s an impressive operation. It’s my turn now. The guy in front of me just asked if Bruce thought the Giants would beat the Eagles. He said Giants. Fuck yeah, Bruce.

My turn. And avoiding the whole “I’m a professional writer…” fake bullshit trying to relate to Bruce Springsteen I focused on not stumbling over my words. I’m now being ushered to stand next to him. He puts his hand on my shoulder for a picture, and smiles. And I say “Thunder road put my daughter to sleep more times than I can count. I thought you should know that.” And his response? “I like that.”

Writer to writer it was a pretty fucking cool moment. And it was totally worth a 3 hour wait outside just to get a chance to shake hands with the boss.

Here’s two pics.

 

Writer to Writer: M. Lachi

Writer to Writer is a brief feature I’m doing in which I email a writer and ask a quick question about writing. Simple enough, right?

In today’s edition of Writer to Writer I’ve asked M. Lachi, whose debut full-length novel, The Ivory Staff, is available in both print and digital formats a question about the existential difficulty in writing fiction. It’s really an odd thing when you look at the stories of real people around you and throughout history, just thinking that you can come up with a story that’s more incredible than what you see around you.

Anyway, I asked the question, she gave the answer.

Question: Do you ever feel like writing creatively is incredibly arrogant, and pointless when there’s so much in the real world that’s so powerful? I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and it’s really an awkward thing trying to write fiction, because for me personally I have to take bold, calculated risks in the real world to get outside my own head.

Anyway, M. Lachi gave me her take on it, which I think is the perfect response.

Answer: I thought about your notion – how writing creatively can be perceived as arrogant and pointless considering the density of real world experiences and our need of the real world in order to write creatively in the first place.

I find that creative writing, especially in the realm of science fiction, is incredibly un-pointless and has arguably been a hefty contributor to social evolution and scientific innovation. There are countless examples of real world technological advancements born from novels and creative arts:  rockets, cellphones, helicopters, submarines, 2nd Life, right down to the very word Robot coined by a playwright in the 1920s.

Is creative writing arrogant? Yes. I’d say producing (a.k.a creating) anything is arrogant. Finding oneself worthy enough to contribute to society by taking their insides and pouring it forth in any fashion is arrogant: down to the hard truth that bearing children, though etched into our DNA and (again arguably) our purpose for existence, is arrogant. “Who are you to continue your line of genes?” a critic might ask acerbically. “What makes your traits so special?”

However; to lock oneself in a cave, attempting to avoid arrogance yet keeping all of one’s creative potential to oneself, is also a selfish act. Moreover, to choose to deny oneself pleasures and external stimuli rings of self-absorption. The act of choosing on behalf of the self is, in and of itself, self…ish; and to choose not to choose is also a choice.

So if to do is arrogant, and to not do is arrogant, and if to resign oneself to suicide so as to avoid the dilemma is also arrogant, the real question is…what isn’t arrogant?

Keep writing! 🙂

There you have it. Fiction is arrogant. Non-fiction is arrogant. Just do something with reckless passion, and do it well. Whatever it is. And check out her blog, here.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the arrogance of fiction below!

Writer to Writer: Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D

Writer to Writer is a brief feature I’m doing in which I email a writer and ask a quick question about writing. Simple enough, right?

In today’s edition of Writer to Writer I’ve asked Paul DeBlassie III, author of The Unholy, as a writer how do you dissociate yourself and your experiences from the “character” you write when all the emotions and experiences you’ve ever had define how you perceive everything.

I was browsing his blog and the question came to me when I read this paragraph:

“Stories speak in an intuitive way for us. The characters can be facets of self that tell us something about ourselves and our life. We are intuitively drawn to read a story with characters that may address our life problems or challenges. When we read, we can be open and wonder and ponder and allow intuition to speak to us and offer helpful guidance and inspiration. After all, intuition is the voice of the soul and we can trust it.”

As a writer, you’re supposed to write what you know. I sometimes find myself writing exactly what I’m going through and I worry that I’m using the fictional world to express too much of what I want, or what I think I deserve. In that sense, I think writing can be a sad, miserable state of escape that serves as a delusional alternate reality for the writer.

Sorry, that’s grim. In other words I think it’s important to recognize that your characters should be well-defined, and not you, but things that happen to them can be things that happened to you. Anyway, Paul answered the question well. Listen to Paul.

“To me it’s not so much a matter of detaching as letting the character evolve imaginatively and take its own course knowing that our life experience, consciously and unconsciously, inevitably exerts its influence.”

You can check out Paul’s blog here.

Feel free to leave your thoughts, strategies, or anything else on letting characters evolve below!

Do you think in words, images, senses, or emotions first?

The following is a rambling on process and why I look to nature for queues on mood in real life and in stories. I wouldn’t go so far as to say nature dictates the outcome and mentality for a character, but I would definitely say weather is very closely tied to mood and tone.

When I’m coming up with a story, I tend to want to write a vivid scene with specific details that put me as a reader in a state of mind I want the character to be in when she/he is first introduced. I think outlook and attitude of character is something that depends largely on how they interact with their surroundings. So, the scene has to be right to put the character in that state of mind. In some cases the weather is as uncertain as the character’s path in the story.

I think this is pretty common. I see it in the first lines of books. Pull one off your shelf, or go to a bookstore and read that first line. Do it ten times. Pick random books that you wouldn’t normally read. A lot of them start with weather.

Example of how this might work in practice for me:

I look outside the coffee shop window at the trees wrapped in white Christmas lights. They’ve been hung up year round. The branches shake as the wind picks up a little, blowing leaves onto the sidewalk. Warmly wrapped women, and men keep their heads down as they walk through the blistering cold looking at anything but the grey skies above. It’s the middle of the afternoon. I can’t help but wonder are all these people on a lunch break? Is it their day off? Or are they unemployed and moving from an interview back to the hunt? The lights on the tree shut off, and nobody notices. Nobody but me.

The first thing I thought was “it was a day unlike any other.” Frankly I think the above paragraph is better. But part of what I think I’m doing ,and maybe I’m not, is setting up a scene that’s tense in nature, maybe on the cusp of a storm. That’s the feeling I get. But the first thought was “a day unlike any other.”

What a load of shit right?

I almost have to work against myself to progress into something that reflects how I feel. So, maybe you don’t like this. Maybe it totally sucks. But it’s the type of thing that allows me to immerse myself in the creative flow of developing a story. It’s like a state-of-mind I can now either realize through a character’s story, and I can start asking who is she/he, and why is she even there at a coffee shop in the first place?

But then again I’m at a coffee shop writing this, so maybe I’m not very creative.

Point being, I think in senses first. How about you? Which do you focus on when you’re at the very beginning of writing a scene?