As I was working on book three today, I found myself thinking that the real challenge in writing a story comes down to the question: What to do with the boring parts?
Side note: I mean, its not boring to me, of course, but I get why readers could disagree.
So far, I’ve had a lot of fun writing exciting portions of the book, but inevitably, those scenes depend on their supporting context to make sense. That is when I break out my handy flowchart for dealing with the situation:
(1) Will readers find this passage boring?
(2) Does this passage need to exist? No really, does it?
(3) Yes? Fine! Creativity, you’re up, can you find a way to make this… not boring…
(4) Creativity? You’ve got nothing? Okay well, I guess I’ll just make the passage as short as possible… Turn it into a cliffnotes version of itself to cut its screen time.
(4) Okay, but even if I go with the ‘cliffnote’ option, where in the story will the readers be the most forgiving about having to endure this passage?
(5) Wait… wait… wait….maybe you should put this off until later? I mean, you never know, sleep on it and the creativity from step 4 might come through!
(6) Hmmm, I think step 5 is just procrastination trying to trick me.
(6a) If I’m being honest, isn’t writing this post just procrastination succeeding at tricking me?
(7) Can’t let procrastination win! I’ll write the passage and highlight it. Don’t worry, it will ‘just’ be a place holder… At some point before publishing I’ll think of something better!
(8) Do not consider the possibility that step 7 is lying to you… introspection is not a friend to productivity right now.
(9) You know what, I am out of coffee, maybe I’ll go get a fresh cup and forget what I was doing by the time I get back…
Since March I’ve been getting questions from readers worried that there is no planned third installment into The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs (TCOJT). If you fall in that group I want to relax your concerns. I’m working on the next book daily. I have an infant these days, so sometimes I only get butt-in-seat-typing time for twenty minutes, but I use it to move the project forward.
I have a working title for the next installment, but I’m holding off on announcing it for two reasons:
I’ve decided that, if TCOJT III starts heading upwards of 800 pages without feeling like I’m near the planned conclusion, I’ll need to seriously consider breaking the book in two. I am rather resistant, after having stated for years that I had planned a trilogy. Regardless, if this happened I would obviously need two titles and in that scenario my current working title might not fit either of the theoretical books.
I’ve learned my lesson from book two. If you don’t know, I was at one time, pretty sure that The Never Paradox was going to be titled The NeverTrespass. During the revision process I felt the book should be more focused on the complexities of time paradox then it was on the many ‘trespasses’ that took place. So, I changed the title, and for months afterward, I saw people confused about what book was coming out. So… yeah… let’s not do that again.
(1) The Never Store
The Never Store launched back in August. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can here.
(2) Kindle X-Ray
Amazon has given authors more power to improve the reading experience of ebooks. If you have seen the X-Ray option in the kindle app when reading before you may already know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, the X-Ray option now allows me to go in and basically set things like a glossary of characters and terms that the reader can access while reading. This includes descriptions of characters as well as aiming Wikipedia articles to the appropriate content. For instance, if you didn’t know who Mr. Miyagi was when the name was dropped in The Never Hero, I can now actually select the appropriate Wikipedia information that will tell you about the karate kid character.Now, I know most of you reading the blog aren’t going to go reread the whole book for that…
“but wait… dares more!”
The new tools now allow me to put in commentary. So, I spent awhile the other day putting in anything I thought was noteworthy about the characters. In other words, it is a lot like watching a movie with director commentary turned on now.
Anyhow, if you were ever curious about things like what inspired characters like Hayden and Collin, you can check it out in your Kindle App. Also, if you haven’t done so, I do recommend making sure you have the latest version of the ebook. It has been a long time since I’ve been notified of any errors in The Never Hero, as I always fixed them immediately if a reader was kind enough to let me know, but that doesn’t mean that the file you’ve have on your device is getting those updates. I recommend checking out this tutorial on how to check for updates and make sure all your ebooks are actually the most recent published version.
*Note, at this time I’ve only completed commentary for The Never Hero.
(3) Donuts Gaming
Readers, I am going to abuse you– just this once, I promise–but its for nepotism! …er I meant… a good cause!
My oldest son, Luke, has always wanted to start a youtube gaming channel. For obvious reasons he has always found the idea daunting. So, in an attempt at being… I don’t know… a role model or something, I recently decided to help him. So, I’ve started teaching him what I know about video and sounds editing so he could learn to bring the production quality of the videos up.
Anyhow, if you happen to be a gamer, like gaming videos, or just want to laugh a bit, it would mean the world to me if you’d check out our first video. Hoping a few likes, comments, and subscriber will inspire him to put his creative efforts “all in.”
I know a lot of you have been waiting for The Never Paradox to be available on paperback or audiobook. Steven Barnett and I wanted to give both these formats 100%, and now that they are here we can’t wait to hear what you think! I am perpetually honored to have each of you as readers. I can’t thank you enough for your patience, support, and kind words!
I had a great time talking to Simon about the The Never Paradox and all that came between book one’s release and the sequel. We discussed the fans and beta readers who stepped up to see it through–and a few of you will recognize yourself in the stories.
Thank You! All of the readers out their who have supported the series, if it were not for you, this wouldn’t have been possible!
Updates On Other Formats
You will find a progress bar on the right hand side of the page that shows how far along each format is in the process. Below are some specific details.
Paperback: I am pending receipt of an LCCN number from the Library of Congress. Should be available to order soon!
Audiobook: Steven Barnett and I have passed the halfway mark recording The Never Paradox. If you missed it, there is currently a teaser chapter available on The Never Hero’s Facebook page and twitter feed.
Additional items of Note:
Want Amazon to notify you when new products are available from T. Ellery Hodges?
Follow this link, and beneath the dangerously handsome young gentlemen, who one can tell is quite modest from his elegantly presented photo in classic black and white, you will find a “Follow Me Button.”
Want to be told when T. Ellery Hodges is offering his books at ridiculously low prices?
Follow this link over to bookbub, and click the Follow button on the top right of page.
I’ve been MIA the last few days, and a lot of you have likely guessed why.
My wife and I woke up the morning of January 6th to find her water had broken. Regardless of what thirty years of sitcoms had me imagining this moment would look like, we operated like a highly trained team of Navy Seals with 9 months mission prep.
But… as every Navy Seal might tell…
“No BattleBirthing Plan Survives Contact With the EnemyDelivery.”
Okay, maybe zero Navy Seals ever said that, but here is the short version of what followed:
Our plan had been that, unless mom or baby were in danger, we wanted to try for an natural (intervention-less) birth. Unfortunately, two days of labor passed and Amanda was only dilated to 3 cms. Those who have gone through labor may already know, once the water breaks, there is an increased chance of infection for mom and baby with every cervical inspection as the clock ticks. We held out two days before trying to induce. In the end, we waited 4 days before allowing the doctors to perform a cesarean. Amanda, warrior that she is, refused and drugs up until that point.
Both mom and baby came through healthy and happy! Xander was born Jan 9th.
Now, some of you know, I have a step-son, Luke, who was nine when I met his mother. Fewer of you know, that this last year I adopted another son, Tyler. Tyler has been a friend of Luke’s since third grade, and his mother passed away last year. I bring up all this because I cannot say that I have never been a father, but I have never been present for the birth of one of my sons. It was nice for me to find out that all that talk one hears about what they will feel in that moment isn’t some myth. What strikes me now, is that I feel as though I love everyone in my family more than I did before… a thing I’d be hard pressed to explain and wary to dissect.
Now, I promised myself I wouldn’t be like some ‘other’ parents and take a thousand pictures, each with a slightly different angle and facial expression, that no one but my wife and I would really see a difference between. Of course I failed to live up to that promise, but I have done my best to pick only a few favorites for the sake if this blog post.
The last few weeks, I’ve seen a number of Never Hero fans express fear that The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs series is dead. Clearly, I am late with providing an update, because…
2016, may have taken a lot of lives—but it will never take our Sequel!
Yes, the The Never Paradox is very far behind my original projections. When I first published The Never Hero, I thought I would have this thing wrapped up before 2015 ended. Well, it probably goes without saying that if I could, I would reach back in time and slap that overly optimistic version of myself. There isn’t much for me to say other than “I’m sorry”—a lot of life kept happening. I won’t bore you with the details…but I will tell you that the sequel became a better book with every delay.
In October, I sent the final draft of The Never Paradox manuscript off to my editor. I recently received it back with over 16,000 points of feedback.
Okay, okay, everyone calm down!… I was pretty burnt out when I sent TNP over—didn’t have the energy left to do a final run through for typos. Most of those feedback points are very quick grammar errors. There were only three isolated sections with recommended re-writes, and they are very minor.
So here is the deal:
My wife is 8 months pregnant
My son [working title: Xander Hodges] is due to be born on January 10th
IDO NOT WANTTO BE WORKING ON THIS SEQUELWHEN HE GETS HERE!
Now we all know delivery dates are never exact, but let me beat you to the punch-line and point out that they are far more accurate then T. Ellery’s initial sequel release projections. So here it is folks, I’m challenging myself to a race against time… because that makes it sound more dramatic.
If you look at the homepage, you’ll notice some new progress reporting bars along the right-hand side. I am going to try and update these with my daily progress.
You can use them to check in on the state of things, cheer me on, or… you know, yell when the bars don’t move…
Today on Balanced Warrior Podcast, Science Fiction author, T. Ellery Hodges! Todd is the author of the novel, The Never Hero, which has sold over 40,000 copies on Amazon, and is just an all around awesome individual. Join us today as we discuss topics such as training sequences in books and movies, the writing process, making sacrifices to accomplish your dreams, finding a driving force, pop-culture references as a way to relate, and self-promotion.
A few other authors, including but not limited to, Rysa Walker, Michael J. Sullivan, Bryan Cohen and myself, will be joining Nathan on Facebook during the online party. Each author will be doing book giveaways — along with other prizes — and answering fan questions.
So, if you’ve ever wanted to ask me something while I was on the spot, this is your chance! I am only slightly terrified that you will all now see how poor my grammar is when witnessed in real time without an editor.
The launch party starts Tuesday July 12, 2016 @ 1 pm EST (10:0 AM PST) on Facebook