Day: October 8, 2017

My Novel: Father Figure (Week 12 – Sunday, October 8th, 2017)

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Welcome Back! When I last updated everyone, I had sent a very early alpha/beta read to several people to review while I was away on vacation. I returned earlier this week and am ready to get back into the swing of things. I had to take a short hiatus for two days since returning so I could focus on my first novel, ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ as a few things came up (cover and final editing!); however, I squeezed in a couple of days focus on ‘Father Figure’ towards the end of the week. Below is the current week’s status:

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Status:  Sunday, October 8, 2017 – Week #12

  • Round 1 Edit – The First Draft
    • I read all of the feedback from the alpha/beta reading team. I am very appreciative to everyone who took the time to read my draft, answer the ten primary questions, suggest areas for improvement and fix some of the grammar/spelling items I missed. Overall, it was a successful process that has definitely provided me clear direction on what I need to focus on next.
    • I broke down all the suggestions into three key areas: (1) easy fixes, (2) mid-level fixes and (3) hard fixes. By this morning, I’ve completed all the (1) easy and (2) mid-level fixes in the next version. What remains are the (3) hard fixes — approximately 20 areas that need to be thought through before I can begin any additional changes. More on these items in the area below for the upcoming week’s plans.

 

Next Steps: Plan for Upcoming Week

  • Focus on the ’20’ areas for improvement. I will map out a plan for each of the items and introduce 5 of the 20 changes next week. I will work on the other 15 the following week. My goal is to be done with the next version before October 31st so that I can send out for the next ‘beta read’ version.
  • Key ares to focus on include:
    • I’m considering rolling back from a 1998/2018 time period to a 1983/2003 time period. This allows me more flexibility in terms of character arc matching background setting — to help with a few rationale and believe-ability concerns.
    • I’m considering moving the location setting for one arc from Ohio to Mississippi. It fits better with my character arc and background setting and will help me accomplish more realistic portrayals of what’s happening.
    • Some of the background in the first few chapters needs to be condensed. It’s a bit wordy and subsequently delays me from getting to the good part of the story action in an early enough fashion.
    • Refine a few character personality issues. A few readers loved them, a few thought there were some discrepancies in personality and actions.
    • Match voice and dialogue for each character more distinctively and consistently. Some areas were very tight. Some were a little weak. A few folks thought the characters were quite alive, jumping off the page. A few thought the dialogue wasn’t as unique as it needs to be.
    • The ending was a little too rushed. It needed a few more chapters to flush out the reactions after the big climax scenes.

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • Although I’ve been through the alpha/beta read process in my first novel, Watching Glass Shatter, I learned a lot in my approach for my second novel, Father Figure. Given I rushed the last few days to leave for vacation, it all came together about as well as I’d hoped; however, it could have been better had I made some additional time to prep everyone. I should have had more clear questions and provided a stronger picture to the readers of what areas still needed work. Unfortunately, it left a few folks thinking it was a finished product, and others thought it was supposed to be error-free. Once I clarified, the process went a lot smoother. I have a good plan for the next round!
  • It’s amazing to see how people’s opinions can range on the same material. 1 beta reader loved the first 5 to 6 chapters, but thought the rest was not as good. Another beta felt the first 5 to 6 chapters moved too slowly, but highlighted the rest as fantastic. My biggest takeaway, besides agreeing that everyone is probably right, is that I have to get to the crux of what the readers liked and disliked, so I can decide what my intention is versus what actually happened in the story. I love this process. I love hearing why someone thought a particular scene was brilliant and another person felt the dialogue was off, or the setting was weak or the plot was not believable.  As a writer, it’s a challenge to apply what I hear to the direction I want to take. I am grateful for such strong and open-minded beta readers, as it has been very helpful to hear all sides and angles.
  • I’m really excited to dive into these changes next week. I have so many creative juices flowing right now, I don’t know what to do with myself!

 

Side Note: ‘Watching Glass Shatter’ is nearly complete. I will have a COVER REVEAL and LAUNCH DATE within the next week. Look for the post soon!!!

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Summary of Father Figure (only read if you’re new to the book)

  • One young girl’s need to escape the mundane life she’s grown up in and another young girl’s quest to find her father, unaware of all the circumstances they’ve both been placed in due to decisions and actions occurring nearly 20 years ago and that both women have made in the present. How well do you really know your parents? Do they truly understand you? Can you ever truly escape the past?
  • A contemporary fiction novel set in two time periods with two primary characters:
    • 1998 – Amalia Graeme, about to turn 18, attends college, leaving behind a mother with whom she had a difficult relationship. While Amalia has a boyfriend, Carter, she’s secretly attracted to an older professor, Dr. Jonah West. She begins an affair with him and realizes she must come clean to her boyfriend. After she tells the boyfriend, they have a huge fight and she leaves to find Jonah, who she thinks can comfort her. Along the path, she encounters a stranger who will change her life.
    • 2018 – Brianna Porter, 18, who lives in NYC, is struggling with understanding who she is.  She longs to escape her surroundings and leaves for college in Pennsylvania where she begins dating one of her professors, probably looking for a father figure, as she’s never met her real father. Brianna has always accepted her mother’s story that her father was a military man with whom she had a one-night stand, later finding herself pregnant with no way to find him. When Brianna uncovers her mother’s old journal, she learns a shocking secret about her father and stumbles upon a few facts which could completely change the future.

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am have signed a contract for a publisher on my first book, Watching Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish and submit it to a publisher in November, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 210 – Pastimes (Top 10)

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Pastimes: top 10 hobbies that keep Jay busy, and that he loves doing 

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held

The next set of 5 Sundays covers the ‘Top 10’ of entertainment options that I spend my time thinking about or doing and this week is the “pastimes that keep me busy or that I absolutely love.” They are in no particular order, simply as I thought of them when typing. For anyone who’s read my blog before, these should be pretty obvious, but for someone new, this list will give you a sense of who I am! Then you can run the other direction if it’s not what you want to read about. Note: Writing is now a job, so I don’t consider it my pastime anymore!!!

  • Reading
    • Give me a mystery, thriller, suspense or historical book and I’m set for hours. If there’s a biography on someone I enjoy, or a non-fiction history about something, it will keep me happy all day long!
  • Genealogy
    • I’ve traced about 2000 relatives to date from all over North America and Europe. My early posts covered all my ethnicity groups and some interesting stories about my relatives. You can see one here.
  • Gardening
    • When I owned houses in the past, I spent many hours planting and weeding. It’s been hard in NYC, but with a 700 square foot terrace garden that includes 10′ trees, we’ve made it work!
  • Traveling
    • I have been all over the world, from Cambodia to Argentina, Canada to Spain. I have probably visited 35 of 50 states in America. I love exploring cultures.
  • Cooking
    • If you read last week’s post, enough said. If not, I listed the top 10 dishes which you can read here. I have less time to cook these days with my writing schedule, but weekends are usually more free.
  • TV Viewing
    • If you read the post from a few weeks ago, enough said. If not, I listed my top 10 TV shows which you can read here. I am slowing my TV viewing to only shows I really love, as my creative time needs to be focused on reading and writing, particularly when it comes to fiction.
  • Wine Tasting
    • When I lived in San Francisco, there was a monthly trip to Napa and Sonoma. I could spend all day at a few wineries. Too bad I need a designated driver to truly sample each one and enjoy myself! Champagne anyone? And while I hate to admit this aloud, my favorites were in Mendoza. The stunning architecture while drinking in a stone estate on cliffs overlooking the water…
  • Research
    • I’m an academic. I wish I could attend colleges and universities every year. I love to teach, mentor and learn. Give me a thrilling topic and I can spend an entire night researching it on the computer, never interested in going to sleep. I thrive on the challenge of learning as much as I can in as little time as possible.
  • Playing with animals
    • I’ve had so many pets over the course of my life: hamsters, ferrets, cats, dogs, fish, squirrels… went horseback riding, to the zoo… looking in an innocent animal’s eyes, knowing they love you no matter what, is unparalleled.
  • Gym
    • The gym and I were never acquainted for most of my early life. I played soccer and baseball in middle school, and I took a few required courses in college however, I was not an athlete. Sometime after college, I started working out, even buying all the equipment to create a home gym in my basement. Now I have one in my apartment building. 5 times a week. Swap off cardio and weights. Not looking to be huge, just fit and energetic. If I want to live to 120, I gotta keep everything in line! And at 120, I’ll really be only 60 cause of all the work I’ve put in. Maybe “making up stories” should have been the last pastime…

 

Which ones do you agree with? What have I missed? Make it a fun response…

 

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks