Writing update for the week of 9/12/16

Hey guys!

Hope everyone is doing well! Wanted to update you with where I was on several writing projects, especially since it’s been forever since I put up a post. And since I get pretty regular emails from folks asking for updates on my books and release dates.

So, I’ll tackle them in the following order: Nick Woods 4, Detective Danny Acuff 6, Little Man 2, and two new projects none of you know about. : )

Nick Woods 4

The Nick Woods 4 book is fully written and in edit mode. I’m hearing it’s pretty good from my absolute toughest critic (my wife!), and she’s currently helping me flesh out some characters.

As my close friends know, I’m a plot guy. Action. Gun fights. Etc. Danah is more a character person. Why did this character do this? Let’s make this scene funnier. Let’s amp up this argument. Etc.

Without question, this book will be done by Oct. 15. That’s the deadline for when Audible is expecting it and:

A ) We’ve already pushed back the date once.

B ) We’ve already “cashed the check!” D’oh! lol. (Okay, it was direct deposit, but doesn’t “cash the check” sound so much better?!)

Bottom line, Nick Woods 4 drops Oct. 15 unless the Marine Corps calls me back into service.

Admin note: If you haven’t started the series, begin here with Book 1, Sold Out. And if you’re not aware there’s a Book 2, Mexican Heat, and Book 3, Afghan Storm, then you seriously need to subscribe for blog updates and keep up better. If Nick knew you weren’t paying attention, he’d knock you upside the head.

Detective Danny Acuff 6

I had pledged to stay on the Detective Danny Acuff series with greater focus, getting you all the sixth book much faster than I have with earlier editions. And that was certainly my intention.

But I wanted Book 6 to have a hand-to-hand showdown between Danny and Forrest Holding, the prior Green Beret Sergeant Major.

As readers of the series know, there was a multi-chapter hand-to-hand scene between Danny and four brutes in Book 5. I wanted something similar in Book 6, but instead have the fight between Danny and the bear-like Forrest. But how do you get two men who would ALWAYS typically be toting pistols into a hand-to-hand situation, where they slug it out until only one is standing?

That’s what held me up for several weeks. I emailed friends. I called old gun-toting Marines who have helped me in the past. I knew I needed to get the book out, but I didn’t want to let go of what could be a pivotal, incredible scene.

It took me nearly forever, but I’ve finally worked it out, even though it led to a much greater delay than I would have preferred.

Regardless, I’ll get that to you guys as quickly as I can.

Admin notes: If you haven’t jumped on board the series, you can begin with Books 1-3 here. And here are the links to Book 4 and Book 5 in case you missed them.

Little Man 2

I had hoped to have Little Man 2 written by now, but I got 10,000 words into it and wrote myself into a corner. I’m not an outliner (nor is Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, or about a dozen others), so don’t judge me.

Regardless, I had to come up with a different idea for the villian since I came to realize my original plot just wasn’t exciting and epic enough. I’ve since been lucky enough to come up with an incredible idea that’s beyond ambitious and should have people talking about this book when I finish it. Give me a couple months or so and it’ll be done.

Admin note: If you haven’t read book 1, you’re missing out on a pretty good book. SOME say it’s my best ever. Just try the sample on Amazon. I dare you.

New project 1

I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones, the TV and book sensation written by George R. R. Martin. I was recently re-reading the series (I’m always re-reading books and studying them) and decided to finally pursue a small nagging thought that had been bugging me for years.

Namely, I’m going to write an epic fantasy. Swordfights. Charging warhorses. Kings in castles.

I have no idea how it’ll do, but I’ve come up with an incredible premise: what if a young man from a poor district decided NOT to do what he was supposed to do, which in this case is become a blacksmith; what if he wanted to carry a sword and see the world? How long would he live? How would all this change him? How far could he go?

I’ve already begun work on this and will be releasing it in serial installments. There’s a couple reasons for doing so: One, I don’t want to spend five years on something that might completely flop. Two, it’s far less audacious to write sixty or eighty pages at a time than write eight hundred, especially when you have to keep several other series going that currently pay the bills.

One lesson I’ve learned with serials is I’m done with cliffhangers. Each serial from here on out with no longer have some massive, leave-you-hanging ending. Those seem to work on TV and Netflix, but they don’t seem to translate as well to books.

So Book 1 will be his leaving from home and landing as a foot soldier. I’m honestly pretty excited about this project and get a little nervous about how epic it could be.

New project 2

This is a total “me” project. It will probably totally flop, but sometimes we have to write for ourselves (same as new project 1). 

This is about a Shaolin Monk who comes to America. It’ll be about an American who leaves the United States to get away from the busyness of our culture and a nasty divorce and business bankruptcy.

Just as the man finds peace and his place in the world in China, his master asks him to come to America. With no money. No destination. No goal except to go into the poorest, most dangerous areas and help those in need while spreading light and goodness.

This project will be somewhat similar to the TV Kung Fu series with David Carradine (Kwai Chang Caine).

I seriously have ZERO expectations about this project, but I’ll be releasing it in serial form (without cliffhangers) as well.

A parting gift

And for those amazing supporters who read down this far, I’m leaving you with a pretty amazing gift. This video completely blew me away. Be prepared to laugh is all I can say. (Hat tip, Kristina.)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

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Stan R. Mitchell, author and prior Marine, is best known for his Nick Woods Marine Sniper series, which has remained in the Top 100 on Amazon for more than three years. The series has also been picked up by Audible.com for a multi-book audio deal. Additional works include a Western thriller, detective series, and World War II story.

4 Comments

Filed under Stories about my life

4 responses to “Writing update for the week of 9/12/16

  1. Ah, outlining. Sucks, doesn’t it? I’m totally the opposite of you (and King and many others … Gillian Flynn has said she just starts writing too, FWIW) on this point. You know why? Exactly what you said: You wrote 10K words and ended up in a corner with no good way out. I’m almost terrified of that, frankly. And forget about it happening 10K words in. What about 20K? 50K?

    Not that it matters, but here’s how I’ve been approaching it … Once I have the premise, I figure out who my main characters are. Then I write out what I know about each one. Then I write out the whole story. Not every detail, just “What actually happens in this story?” Beginning to the end. Every major conflict. Every plot twist. Every important moment.

    Now, will I hold myself to all of that? Absolutely not. On my first book, I ended up making significant changes to the end, added an entire new part to the beginning (more than 20K words), added yet another new beginning, and made major changes to characters, scenes, etc. It’s a very different book than I originally planned.

    So what’s the point of the pre-writing exercise? In addition to making sure I’m the absolute expert on this story before I even start it, I think of it like blazing a trail through the forest. Does blazing the trail mean I’ll never stray from it and explore other areas? Absolutely not. I get curious, and I may see something interesting that leads me in a whole new direction. But, as long as I have that trail blazed, I know it’s there. I know with 100% certainty there’s a path from Beginning to End. I can always backtrack to it if I hit a wall, or find it again down the line after some exploring made the story better.

    Anyway, that was more than I expected to write. Thanks for the update, man. Looking forward to seeing more of your writing.

    Like

    • Yeah, that’s a great process. I’ve tried it — many times, believe me! lol

      I’ve probably read six to ten thick books on outlining, taking notes and highlighting, convinced I’d never write without one again. But I just can’t make it work. Or when I do, I’m just not as excited about writing the actual book.

      I’ve finally just come to accept I am who I am on this. : )

      Thankfully, I’m able to salvage about 7,000 of those words that I’ve already written! Otherwise, I’d probably just sit in the corner and cry.

      P.S. Didn’t know Gillian Flynn was a non-outliner, too. Wow.

      Like

  2. Stan – watch out for letters that begin as follows:

    Sgt Mitchell:

    To all who read these presents, greeting. Your friends and neighbors have selected you…….

    See you at the gym.
    Semper Fi,
    OG

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, man, I almost shudder at the words!! lol

      It might be worth telling all your contacts that even though you’ve seen me shoot halfway decently, I’m not nearly as tough or mean as I used to be!

      Semper Fi,
      Stan

      Like

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