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My Latest YouTube Video

I will never play “pantser” again.  In case you don’t know, a “pantser” is an author who writes by the seat of his pants. I am naturally a “plotter,” an author who plots out the action in his novels, at least at the chapter level, all the way to the conclusion.  A plotter knows how the story gets to its end before he writes word one.

Of course, no plotter anticipates every detail and no pantser is a pure stream of consciousness. Usually, I create an outline with a fair amount of detail, but I get ideas as I go along and am pretty flexible about inserting them and creating new threads in the outline. Then, I do a second draft in which I work all the unanticipated ideas of the later chapters back into the first few chapters. One thing I’ve learned is that, unless you’re a genius, you build complexity into a novel by such retroactive “layering.”

But with my latest novel, Snarkey & Putts IV: The Case of the Unchained Immigrant, I had such a strong sense of what would happen in the first few chapters that I threw plotting to the winds. I thought I’d get the first three or four chapters down and then do a detailed outline of the rest. But, after finishing the first three chapter, I got a feeling for the next few chapters; instead of forcing myself to outline, I kept writing. Then, the next few chapters came to me, and the next few.

Now I’ve got thirty chapters and 75,000+ words. The novel’s climax is clear in my mind, but the path to it has become obscure. It could be another 75,000 words away… and I swore to myself that no Snarkey & Putts story would ever be more than 60,000 words.

John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck

One of my literary heroes, John Steinbeck, once advised authors to put aside any thought that you would ever finish. I find myself taking comfort in his words, but I have the nagging suspicion that my current predicament is not what he was talking about.

Starting with my next book, I’m going back to being a plotter. The unfortunate truth is, whatever time pantsers save by launching directly into writing, they lose at the tail end by massive editing to get the work down to size. At least, that’s what it looks like I’ll be doing.

While I wrestle with this problem, here’s the latest of my YouTube videos, my humble self reading an excerpt from Snarkey & Putts, Paranormal Attorneys-At-Law III: The Case of the Canine’s Curse, a tid-bit from a chapter entitled, “Dog Rescue.” Pardon the fierce countenance. I was getting into it.

Snarkey & Putts 3: A New Excerpt From The Case of The Canine’s Curse

Case of the Canine's Curse Cover
The Case of the Canine’s Curse

My Snarkey & Putts werewolf tale, The Case of the Canine’s Curse, has been available on Amazon for a while now.  It’s the most intricately plotted of all my S&P stories so far, taking my paranormal attorneys to a whole new level of wicked, nail-biting fun. I’ve finally gotten around to doing some video readings. The characters bring out the ham in me, so much so that one of my Twitter pals remarked that I gave “a pretty heated performance.”

Here it is. See what you think.

 

Snarkey & Putts II is LIVE on Amazon Kindle

Snarkey & Putts: Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter Cover
Snarkey & Putts: Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter Cover

My big news this week is that Snarkey & Putts, Paranormal Attorneys-at-Law II: The Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter is now live and available for purchase as an Amazon Kindle ebook. Only 99 cents for a limited time. Follow Jack Snarkey and Andrew Putts as they counsel a club of amateur cozy mystery writers on how to deal with copyright infringement from beyond the grave. Buy the book now here, read it and, if you’re feeling specially generous, review it.

I’ve been posting a series of S&P2 excerpts on my YouTube Channel. Here’s the latest one I recorded and posted earlier today.

Not exactly a flattering image, is it? Sometimes, reading my own stuff out loud, I get carried away.

Other news: I’ll be posting a new vignette under Family Stories shortly. It’s derived from my Work In Progress, Mr. Lake, and it’s tells the story about how I acquired my first dog.

Just to round out this post, here’s another video excerpt, this time the seventh in my S&P1: The Case of the Undead Arbitrator series. It’s very short. I don’t want to overstay my welcome.

That’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Snarkey & Putts, Case of the Undead Arbitrator, Excerpt 6

This post will be short, I mean, succinct. I was overlong with yesterday’s post, so I’ll get right to the point. Here’s a video of me reading the sixth excerpt from the Snarkey & Putts origin story, The Case of the Undead Arbitrator.

You can purchase the Undead Arbitrator Kindle ebook here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N7GLDZB/ .  I’ll have a paperback edition available within the next couple of weeks, so if paperback’s your preference, keep watching.

The Marketing Process

Although I’ve been on Twitter (@JoeEliseon) and Facebook and Google+ for several years and joined Instagram (I think) a couple of months ago, I’m not much of a social media type. Twitter is the only one I’m comfortable with.

FB leaves me cold. (I apologize to everyone who sent me birthday greetings last month – I only look at FB every six weeks or so and I missed them.) I hate the way FB constantly scrolls up when you move your cursor. I hate the multiple columns. They give your screen a crowded look. Moreover, I find the display non-intuitive. I can’t figure out where my groups are, or if I’m in a group.

G+ is simply a mystery to me. They reorganized it some time ago. I had gotten up to speed on it, then they changed everything around.

None of these “tools” are very good at enabling you to organize your own space, the way you would your own desk or workbench.

But that’s the least of it.

There’s marketing.

I don’t even want to talk about it. Here’s the fifth video in my
Snarkey & Putts: Paranormal Attorneys-at-Law, The Case of the Undead Arbitrator series. Hope you enjoy it.

More Snarkey & Putts

There’s another Snarkey & Putts I: The Case of the Undead Arbitrator excerpt below, the fourth. You know the drill by now. I read. You listen. You hit the “like” button. That’s all there is to it.

I try to build each of these Snarkey & Putts stories around some point of law. Undead Arbitrator revolves around a testamentary bequest and the provisions of the federal Arbitration Act.

D.P.W.: A Devilish Political Fantasy Cover
D.P.W.: A Devilish Political Fantasy

The second adventure, The Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter – due out shortly; I’m waiting for the cover art to be completed; you can see a draft in the previous post – is based on a topic near and dear to every writer’s heart: copyright protection. The third story, The Case of the Canine’s Curse, currently out to my beta-readers, concerns landlord/tenant law, evictions and eminent domain takings. I did something similar in my novel, D.P.W., where the plot points involve the unexpected interplay between some real federal anti-terrorism statues and some fabricated, but not unlikely, municipal ordinances.

Which leads to my latest problem. I’ve got the plot for my next Snarkey & Putts story but no legal point to… Oh, gosh! Talk about inspiration. The creative process has taken place right before your eyes. I’ve got it. Immigration law! That’s it! And it’s topical! Perfect.

Remember him?
Remember him?

Unfortunately, I’m no immigration lawyer. I’ll have to fake… er, research it. What? You wonder, what’s it about? The story? Of course, a writer should never discuss his ideas before they’re down on paper. For one thing – and this is the trouble with pitches – they never sound as good as they read. But, I’ll give you a clue. It has something to do with the TV character above. If you remember who he is, and you can put him together with one of my characters, you’ll have an inkling what I’m up to.

Why don’t you mull that over while your reading, or re-reading, all my three previous Snarkey & Putts stories. That will give me some time to write the fourth and, with luck, come up with an ingenious title.

Another Snarkey & Putts Video

The Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter
The Ghastly Ghostwriter

O.K., so I didn’t get back in a week. I’ve been busy getting the second of my Snarkey & Putts stories ready for publication (self-publication, that is). This time, the boys rate a full-length novel. The title is The Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter. I’m not going to tell you any more about it for the nonce, but you might like to see the latest version of the cover. (See left.)  It’s not quite finalized, but it’s very close.

The artist is Angel Nichols, who did the cover of The Case of the Undead Arbitrator. Angel is a breeze to work with, very talented and reasonably priced. If Ghastly Ghostwriter sells, I may be able to afford to have her work on the cover art for the third Snarkey & Putts story.

But to get back to the topic of this post, here is my reading of the second excerpt from The Case of the Undead Arbitrator.

To take a look at all my books, go to my Amazon Author Page.

That’s all for now. Back soon.