I wanted to share a couple important writing notes with you guys, who are so kind to flatter me by following my blog and buying my books.
First, I recently took some of my own advice. As you remember, I recently wrote the post “Advice for those leaving for college, as well as the rest of us,” which was mostly about living in the moment and trying to embrace it and breathe it all in.
Well, I had been stumbling over myself with my novel Mexican Heat, which is the second book in the Nick Woods series — Book One was Sold Out.
I had two gunfight scenes to write before moving on to a couple of other pivotal scenes as I try to wrap the book up. And I kept stumbling over myself and wanting to move on to the other parts, but knowing I needed to nail both of these.
And then it hit me… Stan, pay attention to your own advice, you moron.
I realized that I need to just live in the moment and embrace it and slow down, just like I said in the blogpost I linked to above. So, I had this incredible idea. I decided I wanted to ignore the rest of the scenes I needed to write, ignore the deadlines I had put on myself, ignore even the second gunfight scene that would follow.
All I needed to focus on was the shooting scene before me. Nothing more. Nothing else. And like that, snap — you need to imagine me snapping my fingers, because I just did — I was living in the moment. And since I had no other worries or pressures or scenes to distract me, I decided I wanted to write the most epic shooting scene ever.
After all, I can’t think of the greatest gunfight scene I’ve ever read. And why is that? So, I decided that even if the rest of the book sucked, I wanted to compete for best gunfight scene ever. It’s now been two weeks and I’ve spent — yep — that much time on this one scene.
It involves lots of men and women, ammo crates worth of ammo fired, and even a guy wielding a sword and hacking people to death!!! And the best part of all? It’s the most fun I’ve had writing in a long time.
So, if you missed the post on “Advice for those leaving for college, as well as the rest of us,” go read it. It might really help you, and it sure got a ton of comments and views/shares, so there must be something worth reading in there… : )
Secondly, I wanted to talk in this post about one other piece of news about my writing life. Are you sitting down? I have some pretty serious, even more awesome news for the fans of the Nick Woods series.
Let me give you some quick background first… So, about two years ago, I got 3/4 of the way through a stand-alone novel about Afghanistan. It’s a straight-up action plot that’s awesome. (A hint: Four dudes cross the mountains of Afghanistan and sneak into Pakistan to abduct a dude. This guy has some valuable information, and he needs to be taken alive. And no rescue op with helicopters or support is authorized, so some nutcase volunteers are needed to attempt the impossible with NO support from anyone; and, of course, complete deniability by our government.)
So I get about 230 pages into this Afghanistan novel — yep, I was counting — and I realize the plot is crazy good, but I’m totally stuck. (I was trying to make is super ambitious…) And worse, I realize the characters were a bit average or weak: Maybe six’s or seven’s on a one to ten scale.
So, both stuck and disappointed with the characters, I set it aside and jumped on Little Man, and the Dixon County War.
Well, I had a huge — and I mean HUGE epiphany — the other night. I’m going to take out the characters from this Afghanistan novel, since they’re weak anyway, and I’m going to insert Nick Woods and the new characters that Danah and I spent days developing for Mexican Heat.
Yes, it’s true. My greatest weakness as an author is developing characters, which thankfully Danah is a master at, and I lean on her heavily to help me with my greatest weakness.
So… What this all means is this: With any luck, I’ll have three books done by the end of the year in the Nick Woods series. (Sold Out, Mexican Heat, and whatever we decide to call this other one about Afghanistan in the present; yes, Nick Woods spent time in Afghanistan in the past — or 80’s — as the Sold Out readers know, but that’s a book for another day.)
It’s impossible to say how pumped I am about this news. Besides knowing it will be easier to finish that novel now, I’m so glad it won’t be a stand-alone novel but rather a continuation of the Nick Woods series. (In case you didn’t know, series books almost always sell better. Think Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games, etc.)
I’m also straight stoked that with three books in the series, the entire series and character should take off to an unprecedented level for me. (And from a money stand point, the sales should multiply because if a reader finds any of the three books and enjoys them, then they may be tempted to buy another one. And maybe another one after that!)
Stan R. Mitchell
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
P.S. This book has absolutely changed my life. You should seriously consider buying it. It’s about $20, but is worth about $10,000, in my opinion.