A New Boss

You’re a writer, you know how it goes. You settle on a project, or maybe two, and you burn the midnight candle until it’s just a smoldering stub, and you tell everybody what your project is and how it’s your end-all-be-all raison d’etre and stuff…

But it isn’t. You fight the words and wrangle them into place. You beat yourself silly trying to find that structure, that style that sets you apart.You work until your mind bleeds to find the description that’s never been made.

But it doesn’t come.

It’s all the same hack.

I know. I’ve been hacking at the same project for, like, ever…

What to do, oh what to do.

Here’s something terrible that I shouldn’t tell you, but maybe you’ll see it.

I invented a producer, my writing boss. I gave her, (she’s a she) the complete and total task of managing my writing.

With Sydney (her name’s Sydney) in charge, I can mentally offload the task of managing my production to her. It sounds crazy, and I’m certain that is, but it has made my writing much easier.

Sydney’s a breeze to work for, because she doesn’t really exist, which means she hardly ever yells at me!

Yes, it’s nice to have a boss in the writing biz, even though, and I know you’ll agree, it’s crazier than a bag of wieners.

Now I just have to figure out to hit her up for a raise!

The Golden Carrot of Immortality

You run marathons for the joy of running, right? Surely it can’t be for the prize money. But you don’t devote your life to it, either. What do I do? Oh, I’m a marathon runner – oh, and I also work as a nuclear scientist, you know, during the week.

But, you’re a writer. You know how it goes. Writing is like breathing – like running. When it flows it’s golden, and when it doesn’t, you worry about getting it flowing. Writing is… everything.

But, everything else is everything, too. Somehow, some way, we all find a way to weasel in a little time to write – as I’m writing this, my daughter’s getting a cavity filled.

But, where running is glorious simply for the sake of running, writing doesn’t achieve its true glory until it’s been read. Until you transform someone’s thinking with your ideas, writing is just a mental exercise.

You know the difference between writers and wannabe writers, right? One does, while the other wishes he did. Writing tons of stuff and packing it away, never to be read, doesn’t do it, either. If no one reads your stuff, you’re not writing, just expressing.

So, what can the prize be? I am truly blessed to work as a professional videographer, writing and telling industrial stories. I am married to a terrific woman, have three successful, wonderful children, and live in a great house in a beach town. Hello?

For all that, my writer’s eye is still attracted to that shining bauble of intellectual immortality, that celestial club that includes Shakespeare and Hemingway, Milton, and, yes, Rowling. That club that persists far beyond the wash of generations.

Isn’t that why you write? Aren’t your ideas larger than your life? Don’t your characters extend beyond you?

If you impress somebody – change their mind, make them laugh, bring them an image they’d never seen – is that it? Are you done?

Or are you like a machine, an authorial savant, cranking and cranking out scenes and images, ad infinitum?

Is there a prize – a golden carrot of immortality? Does it show up one day in the mail? And, if you got it, could you stop writing?

These are the things that keep me up at night… well, that and seeking the flow… and making sure the mortgage is paid and the plumbing doesn’t leak and getting the dog’s teeth fixed and paying the taxes and that odd ticking when I turn the car and my son’s upcoming wedding and finding a good school for my daughter…

You’re a writer. You know how it goes.

Character Hijackery

Imagine setting up something really, really complex, like an Ocean’s 11 style casino robbery, or maybe a game of Sorry – okay, maybe not that one – but something really complex, that you’ve puzzled over for months until now, now, this very minute, you’re ready to go. To pull the trigger, dial the phone, hit Execute, or RUN, or whatever it is that sets your plan in motion. Good for you.

You’re a writer, you know how it is. You slave away over your work, because you love it, and it’s good for you, and because you have something that needs to be said.

I’m working on Novel Number 3, tentatively called The Terrible – it’s a joke that plays out in the… rats, I’ve given it away. Well, forget that part.

So, it may seem like I’m rambling, but I’m giving you crumbs. Clues, if you will. Because you’re smart, and you’ll piece it all together.

Did you get anything yet?

Sigh. Okay, here it is. I’ll use little words: I’ve started a third novel. My first, MARIGOLD’S END, is under revision, my second, DROPPINGTON PLACE, is self-published, and I can’t sit here on my hands and just die, can I? I mean, can you?

This third novel is carefully laid out, with four strong central characters. Well, it was four, but, just yesterday, I needed a transition piece, a moment that both gives us time and place and setting, but that also starts the storytelling ball rolling.

So I created this simple fellow – not much more than a name, really – to carry the news of the French ambassador’s arrival. Not so bad, huh? Except that he needed a little background, and a little definition, a little purpose…

And then the son of a biscuit stole my whole story! He’s none of the four dried up, dowdy guys I’d so carefully designed. He’s young, he’s brave, and he’s innocent.   Suddenly, the four guys are bit players to this kid’s story. What the heck? It’s like Ensign Checkov taking over the Enterprise! R2D2 piloting the Millennium Falcon. Wait, what?

All seriousness aside, I’ve been thinking about this story for a while now. My first novel was a labor of love – and very, very hard to write, rewrite, and… I think I’m on the seventh version. The second novel was just plain fun – I wanted to explore Elizabethan words, and magic, and make a young adult story that was positive and generous.

This new one, tentatively called The Terrible (I think I mentioned this already – please try to keep up), is my story. It’s my… my way of giving back. It’s set on the French/Spanish border in the year 1657. No, it’s not the Three Musketeers, but that book has always been my go-to for inspiration and grounding.

So, The Terrible is the story I was created to tell. It’s the novel that I became a writer to write. It’s the story – I think. I know you have a story like that – it’s why you write.

If it turns out bad, I’ll come up with some clever way to dismiss it. But, it won’t be bad, because this is the story. This is my story.

But, and here’s the part that is just crazy, this new guy’s story isn’t mine. I’m somewhere in this book, but I haven’t found out where. You know the guy has power, because he took over my whole dang life story just by getting named!

More to follow…

 

 

Make Yourself a Magic Virus

Build the San Salvador 4

If you’re sick, don’t read this post. There’s a stupid wordplay about viruses that is, well, so bad that we’re just going to skip it.

When you have just under two minutes free, watch this video: Build the San Salvador 4. How about now?

You know how people eat up those “dude, you had one job” videos? That was the thinking behind this little gem. Have to tell you, it still cracks me up, and I had a hand in making it.

So, why make a movie – especially one as dumb as this?

Three little words, my friend. No, not I love you. Or hands up, suckah. No, no, no… and no, not no, no, no either. Magic, she gasped. Ah, yes, our mantra/manta/bantha.

It’s a tight circle, my friend, this marketing thing. At the end of the video, which is calculated to be just funny enough to appeal to a certain age – the very age I’m hoping will read Droppington Place – is my new little logo, and the whispered word “magic.”

So you, you’re so fascinated by the video, you type in PhineasCaswell.Com, just like you see it in the image at the end of the hilarious video, and there is a link to Droppington Place. You click on the link – blink – why, here’s a nifty book for you to read!

Like a spider’s web, one slimy tendril at a time, you have no choice but to be roped into reading at least the free sample. Bwahahahahahaha.

It didn’t take a great deal of effort to make the motion picture. Sort of like, really? And all this linking is sort of sleep-inducing. And, at the end of the day, YOU have to do all the clicking and reading and stuff.

NOW you can see how Gorilla Marketing works… or doesn’t work, because I’m not doing much work… oy, this get’s confusing.

So, click on the link (HERE it is again in case you can’t find it up there), and repeat after me:

“Magic,” she gasped.

If you’d like to read all of Droppington Place for free, go HERE, and tell ’em you’re not paying a dime today, thank you. Boom. Freebie!

“Magic,” She Gasped.

Magic She Gasped Little Black2

“Magic,” she gasped.

Say it again: “Magic,” she gasped.

Tell your friends to say it: “Magic,” she gasped.

It’s a mantra, unless that’s the bat-shaped fish. Whisper it in your sleep.

“Magic,” she gasped.

What is it? What does it mean? Why should you care?

What makes a Subaru a Subaru? Actually, Subaru puts a comma in their statement – a comma with which I have never agreed. Love, it’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru. What does that second comma do? It makes a clause out of “it’s what makes a Subaru,” which isn’t a clause at all. It equally makes a clause out of “Love a Subaru,” which is a clause, but  is so widely separated by the non-clause that you have to remove the non-clause to see it, by which time you’ve simply beaten the whole darned thing to death…and doesn’t make me what to buy the car because they have trouble with punctuation.

“Magic,” she gasped. It’s a mantra, or manta. Or Banta if you’re into Star Wars.

I was trying to come up with a way to sell my book, and the only catchphrase I could think of was “buy my book.”

Hmmm, lacks a little something.

Hailey, one of the characters in my novel, Droppington Place, has a fascination with magic – just to point out that there, right in that sentence, is the proper use of commas to separate a clause – which causes her to utter the mantra/manta/banta phrase. Several times throughout the story she gasps the word “magic,” in what I sincerely hope is a running joke.

So, you see, sometimes your characters can give you a hint on what’s special in your work.

But, here’s the dealio, the thing, the bomb, the cat’s pajamas: What happens if you Google search “murder, she gasped”? Well, probably nothing yet, because I just loaded the tags.

But eventually, my impatient friend, you’ll go to either Phineas Caswell’s home page at PhineasCaswell.com, or to his Smashwords Droppington Place page.

If you simply Google Phineas Caswell, whose name appears beneath the logo, brings you all manner of Droppington Placey options.

Is this marketing genius? Does Procter and Gamble sell soap?

Or is it simply some degree of self-delusion that I’m making progress in marketing my book? Self-delusional like a fox!!!

Already, the pieces are falling into place…bwahahahahah.

You, because you’re a friend, can actually skip all the marketing hype and get Droppington Place by simply clicking HERE. When you get there, type in this Coupon Code: NJ38D, and you can get the book for free!!!

Why, that seems almost like…

“Magic,” she gasped.