novels

Name a Book That Totally Immersed You

I remember one time, sometime during college, I was at the airport ready to fly from Turkey to Germany. I was an experienced traveler even then and I prided myself on it. I arrived at the gate well ahead of time, everything neatly packed in one small bag, boarding pass ready. I picked a seat, settled in, and started reading.

Some time later, I looked up to see everyone lining up to board, except they were one gate over, boarding a flight to Bahrain or somewhere. But all my people were gone. I went to the customer service desk and learned that my flight was gone, and in fact they’d called my name several times, all while I was sitting at the gate, immersed in my book.

The book was Harry Potter. Wish I could remember which one—maybe Goblet of Fire, but I’m not sure. What about you? When has a book totally immersed you? What was the book? What drew you in about it?

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February in Review + March Goals

Some pretty cool writers I follow are writing month-end reviews and goals. It’s a great idea. I might make a practice of it, too. Certainly last month was great and this month is exciting, so I’m going to try it out today.

February Accomplishments

  1. I released my first story,The Stone and the Song, on Amazon. Lots of work, but a smashing success!
  2. Released 2 more sections of The Dream World Collective.
  3. Launched my mailing list and got 2-3x industry average open and click rates. Because my people are awesome. Sign up here for friendly notes and mysterious missions.
  4. Wrote more of The Unaccountable Death of Derelict Frobisher. Uncharacteristically, I’m not sure how much.
  5. Recorded about half of the audiobook version of The Stone and the Song.
  6. Established rough concept for Hubris Towers, an upcoming serial fiction collaboration, with Bill.
  7. Wrote a blog post every week day.

March Goals

  1. The Unaccountable Death of Derelict Frobisher – Current word count: 96,642
    • Minimum: Write 12,000 words (avg. 3,000/wk)
    • Target: Write 22,000 words (avg. 5,000/wk)
    • Stretch: Round it up and hit 120,000 words total. (That’s my projected total word count! Could finish the rough draft this month! That’s crazy!)
  2. The Dream World Collective
    • Minimum: Release 2 sections on Patreon
    • Target: Release 3 sections and overview remaining rewrites needed before launch
    • Stretch: Release 4 sections and overview
  3. The Stone and the Song
    • Minimum: Keep encouraging readers to leave reviews
    • Target: Release paperback
    • Stretch: Release paperback and audiobook
  4. Hubris Towers
    • Minimum: Sketch characters, setting, and rough arc for Season 1
    • Target: Above plus sketch concept for each episode in Season 1
    • Stretch: Above plus write partial episode to test process and develop speed projections
  5. Write a blog post every week day.

Oh, man. This is such an exciting time! Let me know in comments or at byfaroe at gmail dot com if you’re interested in beta reading, collaborating, or chatting about the art and business of writing. I love this stuff and I love finding other writers who are serious about making it a career and/or lifestyle.

Cheers!

—Ben

Character Improv + Bonus Bundle Sneak Peek

Do your characters ever perform improv with each other?

My wonderful patrons just received their January Bonus Bundle. I had so much fun putting it together that I wanted to share a taste of it with you guys. These are spin-offs, little side projects my characters do for fun when they’re not busy on The Dream World Collective. The cool part is that they become almost like improv sessions, with the characters egging each other on and filling in each other’s gaps and putting each other in tricky situations. The results often take me totally by surprise and make me laugh out loud.

Writers talk about characters taking on a life of their own, but this takes that to a whole different level. It’s a great experience when you can depend on your characters—and they can depend on each other—as collaborators in the creative process. Enjoy!

A Modest Contribution, Episode Two: History of the Moustache

All patrons received Episode Two of A Modest Contribution, in which Sushi joins Otto for an enlightening exploration of the history of the moustache. It’s over 1,000 words of little-known history and insight: all highly edifying, all highly inaccurate. Here’s a snippet:

OTTO: The word ‘moustache’ derives, of course, from the German ‘Maus-Tasche,’ or ‘mouse-bag.’
SUSHI <incredulous>: What?
OTTO: But what is a ‘mouse-bag,’ exactly? Sushi, talk us through it.
SUSHI: Well, for starters the word’s origins are actually Prussian, not German. There was no unified Germany in those days. The Prussians, as you know, are a proud folk, renowned for their extremely bushy facial shrubbery and their stylish spiked helmets. In those days a man was only considered half a man if his moustaches couldn’t hold a gulag of raw milk when dipped in the churn and squeezed out.
OTTO: A gulag being roughly half a pint in modern measure.
SUSHI: Precisely. Now, in those days…

Character Sketch: Maria “Sushi” Vasquez (Excerpt)

Tickled Pig patrons also got to see three full sections of my character outline for Sushi from The Dream World Collective. Here’s a taste:

…tends to bounce on her toes.
9. Drinks: Green tea lightly brewed, especially when sketching ideas for a new project. Soda when watching movies (preference for…

…when feeling silly and feminine.
10. Indulges in: terrible romance novels. Indie comic books, especially with…

Kitchen Adventures, Episode One: The Canny Gruelsmith

Sun Room patrons also received Episode One of Kitchen Adventures, over 1,500 words of history and hilarity, culminating in a delicious real-life recipe. Here’s a quick peek:

OTTO: I believe a shot of root beer could give it the old-world root-and-herb flavor palate that a good sweet gruel so desperately craves.
SUMMER: Ew. We’re not doing that. How about cinnamon?
OTTO <snickers>: What is this, a porridge? I thought we were making gruel.
SUMMER: Fine. How do you sweeten a classic sweet gruel, Mr. Expert?
OTTO: Well, I’m hardly a gruelsmith. Honey, perhaps? And sweetmeats?
SUMMER: Nobody knows what sweetmeats are. That hasn’t been a thing for like five hundred years.
OTTO: Very well. Then I submit…

Join the Fun!

If this matches your sense of humor, I’d love to get you in on what I’m working on. I’ve got over 100 pages of The Dream World Collective and counting up for free download starting here and continuing at bit.ly/latestdwc. Visit my Projects page to see some upcoming projects and more ways to get involved.

Cheers!

—Ben

If You Could Request One Favor From Your Favorite Author…

Ok, everyone, pick one of your favorite authors. I know, it’s impossible to pick just one. You can do this a few times if you really have to. But one author at a time. Ready with your first one?

Now imagine that author is willing to create, reveal, write, or do something special for you and your fellow readers and you get to pick what it is. What would you ask for? (And, out of curiosity, who’s the author?)

Personally, I’d ask P. G. Wodehouse to develop a board or card game that captures the fun and hijinks of Jeeves & Wooster. I’d ask Terry Pratchett for a sort of travel guide to Ankh-Morpork, complete with descriptions of notable shops and guilds and what you would find there. And, while it’s technically not scalable and would do my fellow readers no good, I’d ask C. S. Lewis for a long chat in a pub with a few good friends.

What about you? Leave me a comment below.

Cheers!

—Ben