Who’s Tutweiler Buckhead?

Who?

Who is this man?  In truth, that’s the big question that the protagonists want to know.  The cops know a little bit about him, but unlike you, they don’t even know his name.  That’s a slight tease: all you do know is his name…and that’s the one piece of information the cops would most like to have.

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead  may be one of the first if not only, mystery novels named after the villain.  Perhaps you should chime in on whether or not you feel this makes the novel more attractive, or if you find it misleading, as far as titles are concerned.

The novel is an action adventure story set in the city of Indianapolis, which is where I lived when I wrote the first couple of drafts.

The story is not told from Tutweiler’s perspective.  In fact, if he could respond to this post it would only be to hope that no one notices it or else that no one takes it seriously, because of how much he is evading the Police with some of his activities, but not all of them.

Tutweiler is also honestly not based on any single real-life person but I suppose anyone like Tutweiler might worry that this was about him.  In reality, in my fictions stories, especially novels, each character is a composite of at least 4 different people.  To share a sad joke, the other day I saw a video in which Tai Lopez essentially said this ideal girlfriend is also a composite of at least 3 different women.  While that may be painfully true, I immediately thought of the way that I personally write fiction and how I do that intentionally in the invention of characters for novels…but would not find it so helpful for making myself content within a marriage.

The name is very intentionally exotic.  I think I found his first name doing Internet research about dog breeds while scouting the terrain for potential freelance writing contracts over a decade ago.  Strangely enough, I do recall specifically how I came up with the character’s surname.  I was being paid to write a real estate blog for a little while and through the related research learned that Buckhead is one of the fancier neighborhoods in greater Atlanta, Georgia.  Well, something about it struck me as fitting.

White Collar Criminals

I am willing to divulge, and I hope it’s not a spoiler, that Tutweiler is a white collar type of criminal, but even telling you that I begin to digress into that character’s personal issues that are explained in chapters of the novel.

Everyone who has known or hated white collar criminals will appreciate this.

What’s the plot line?

It’s really about finding out who Tutweiler actually is, and saddling him with the burden of the responsibility for some of his actions.  Mind you, he’s enough of a real person type of villain that there is a lot more to him than just his crimes.

The City of Indianapolis resorts to using a special squad of 4 who are a compromise between the law enforcement agencies and vigilantes.   The 4 are not all alike, which will appeal more to some readers than others.   Three types of people will feel most at home with our protagonists: 1) people who like those crime TV shows like NCIS where there is obviously a team solving a criminal case, 2) fantasy role play gamers who are used to thinking in terms of “adventuring parties”, 3) people who love comic book heroes and heroines.  (old use of the actual feminine form instead of only the masculine grammatical form).  If you or someone you know is any of those types, then you might really like this novel.

Magical Realism

Fans of fantasy might be terribly disappointed by level of magic in The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead.  In fact, here’s a link to a  negative book review – fantasy disappointment.   There is some magic and occultism in the novel, but it does not conform to either sword and sorcery nor to ‘Satanic crimes’ genre expectations.  It may live up to the standards of magical realism.

There is also God related magic in the novel, and in this case, it is done by Christians rather than say Buddhists or Hindus ala Dr. Strange.

Other details

The writing style developed from someone who finds it normal if you take advanced classes in high school or go to college in stark contrast to someone who thought all that would go right over your head.  This is not a book written “at an 8th grade reading level” so that foreigners and kids can feel as if they understand the English language.   Be prepared for relatively long sentences and descriptive sub-clauses.

Interested?

If this sounds like your type of thing, then just scroll on up and click on the link.   The review is also real by the way and not a ‘brain wash positive’ work of paid promotional advertising.

If you go for it, I hope you love it.

I would be thrilled if anyone who reads it would bother to post a comment or a semi-public or public review of the reader’s own free will.

Just for College Students

Wild Undergraduates

Are you a college student?

Wondering what to get your friends or yourself for the holidays?  Maybe you would like buy someone you like or love something, but don’t want to spend much.

If you, and any of your friends are college students who have Kindles and love to read, have I got good news for you.

Here is a great little set of short fiction stories for just $0.99! :   The Future of Engineering

What’s Special About Them?

You are probably wondering.  Every story in The Future of Engineering collection is about college students.  Starring college students.  Set on university campuses.

These stories are so good, that you may want to get yourself a copy, at $0.99 there’re at a price it’s tough to beat.

Genre and plot line:  diverse:  1 is about a goddess-project; 1 is a comedy story about advanced engineering research and an old saying.  1 is about whether or not anyone died of an overdose of fun the night before.

Nevertheless, these were written by me, when I was a college student during my mid-20s, and everything about them is especially designed for this niche market.

If you do it to buy something for your friends or that sibling who is in college, that’s great.

If you do it because you love yourself…All I can tell you is that I hope your self-love is the healthy kind, rather than narcissism.

Writer’s Advice – what’s that?! 2018

the most concise work of applied philosophy ever known

Author’s Advice

There are many ways that people can get advice. The most obvious ways for writers to improve are to take lessons in the language they will be writing in and the old fashioned ‘read the greats’.

There are times when constructive criticism is very helpful and there are times when your enemies will only have destructive criticism and jealousy to offer you.

Two main ways to get feedback about your writing for professionals:  1) Submit!  When the editors will make changes; when the magazine or newspaper or publisher will buy it/pay for it; then that ‘s good.

Great ways to get feedback for amateurs and some semi-pros: join writer’s groups; take work shops or classes.  Peer critique is often part of such arrangements.

General to Specific

There are numerous types of writing and most writers specialize.  Many of those who have specialized don’t call themselves writers.  Grant writers, for instance, will often just say that they work for whatever organization they work at in some administrative role.  Journalists, typically prefer to be called journalists, although they could all call themselves writers and be telling the truth.  Staff writers may choose to refer to the publication where they work.  Most staff writers wouldn’t ever write “for fun” or “as just a hobby” and those that would might well not tell the truth about that.

Travel writers, book authors, niche novelists, political news, best restaurants, fashion, television, film, all have specialized types of writing.  There are people capable or more than one kind of writing, but it is common for those who are most successful in the field to find they were forcibly limited to a small subjection of the writing world in order to find a way to earn a living or to develop a good reputation in the industry.

 

Network

There are times when you have to meet and greet enough others in the industry to get a deal and other times when you really need to mail something for it to work. In some cases, the right thing to do is apply for a job and become a regularly paid publishing company editor for other authors even if you hardly get anything of your own published. Maybe you will, and maybe it won’t matter anymore.

Sometimes writers are stubborn and fail to change in ways that will cause them to have far greater success and other times people just realize that for them: to change that much would be so bad that they might as well go work in a totally different field if that’s really how it works.

Other writers tolerate a lot of painful constructive criticism and make survivable compromises and learn to be a bit more flexible and they find out that they can get a lot further and are happy with the results even though the reality ends up being unlike their original idea.

Writer – Stereotypes

Stereotypes 

The Drunk / The Poet

Made more common by the romantic English poets of the 1800s, one stereotype of writers, especially book authors and poetry chapbook writers – even more so, middle aged male poets, is that of a drunkard.  Sometimes the hung over person holds down a day job always hoping to earn more money selling chapbooks of poetry but forced to bar tend to earn a living.  In other cases, the stench of whiskey building up in the drunkard tends to improve the quality of the poetry to the dismay of everyone Godly, and to the not-alcoholic adult children and ex-spouse of the drunkard poet.

The Gossip / The Journalist

Journalists are not really writers;  they are gossips.  They are able to present themselves well and are eager for a story, but only a true news story.   While they are one of the best known and best paid types of writers, journalists are notoriously “not artists”, and due to that are as much weirdos compared to novelists as scientific illustrators and police sketch artists are compared to painters whose works end up sold in galleries, illustrators who work in comics and cartoons and so on.

Whereas a book author may spend months doing research in some of the world’s libraries, the journalists are on the telephone and rushing around, full of noise and energy, all to meet tight and real deadlines.

Journalists are also most likely to be guilty of something the poet would describe as a mortal sin: they shamelessly write for pay.  Many of them openly state that they write only because they get paid.

The Novelist

In this case there is more than one stereotype:

Rich and Happy

These authors are best sellers.  They have stable marriages in many cases.  They live in castles or mansions.  They may be average looking or handsome/beautiful.  They draw big crowds doing public speaking engagements and are consistently treated like adored and respected celebrities.  Many of them are fairly quiet and reserved, especially compared to the journalists, but are capable of being polite and friendly enough to be used as interview subjects by journalists.

Poor and Miserable

These are the majority of authors, who write or have written entire books only to find out that it is way harder to earn a lot of money for doing something major like writing books, than they had thought.  Most of this type of author fluctuates between lamenting suffering from the burden of being an author, and being forced to endure being an artist instead of having been one of the journalists or corporate communications people or happy to work in advertising firms and abusing their creativity for respectable salaries.

Some of these authors have jobs, and some don’t even have jobs because they are really novelists or nonfiction book writers, and aren’t good for much else.

Obsessed

These are the authors who suffer from compulsive writing, but they have a successful novel series and a good fan base.  Thanks to that, their mental illness is indulged, left untreated and viewed as a viable means of earning a living.  Such authors are often either treated as a celebrity or ignored.  The people who believe they love them the most really are the fans of the fictional worlds and characters they have created, putting them into a rather bizarre real world situation.

 

Basics of Book Writing

Type of Book

This is the most important aspect of the project. Are you going to write a nonfiction book or a fiction novel? If the book is going to be a nonfiction book, there is more than one way to decide which type of book to write. One can look at the market and see what is most needed. One can look at oneself and see what one most wants to write about. Each leads to a good decision but not the same kind of wise choice.

If the book is going to be nonfiction, then one needs to make a decision on which type. Likewise if fiction, it helps to know the genre before one begins the writing process.

The goal of the end product does also matter. If one is just doing the work for fun, without any need to make money from doing it, then one can be driven more by preference and maybe take more risks. Money making endeavors can involve risks, but on

Planning

You may have just a simple form of the idea.

Pitch

You have to decide based on your self-knowledge whether or not you are going to pitch your idea to the publishing industry at this stage, or after you have an outline, or after you have written the book. There is one other option and that is to put together enough for a book proposal and pitch that.

Pitching an idea, means meeting with or calling or emailing industry moguls to see if any of them are interested in your idea. For some people this is the easy part, but for others this is the part that is harder than making a private trip to the Moon.

Outline and first draft

When that is the case you can start with an outline. In the case of fiction, some authors prefer to develop a detailed plot line and outline before they get to writing. Others begin by just writing and seeing where the creative process leads. People like that often face a great deal more editing after they have produced a first draft.

Depending upon the other demands in your life and your over all personality structure, you may also need to create a scheduled production time. This could be anything from ‘for an hour in the morning before the children get up’ to ‘9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.’

Editing & Book Proposals

After you have a draft, you can edit the entire work. Around the same time that you do this, you can also begin to query, and to prepare the book proposals. If you pitched and it worked, then you know who will be directing your queries to or where you will be submitting your book proposal. If you have had astoundingly good luck, then you will actually already have a publishing deal for your book. In that case, you know where to send the edited version of the book.

Editing tips: while a lot of editing can be done right after you complete the work, the more emotionally invested or simply overworked you are from writing the first draft the more you need to let the draft just sit for a while before you edit it. How long it should just lie around without you doing anything with it can vary from 2 weeks to 13 years. In most cases, you will be able to edit the thing with improved emotional distance after 2 weeks to 2 months. Even if you think you are not emotional about your book project, you should wait. Once you forget the exact details of what you meant to write, it will be easier to see what you actually wrote. Typos and other errors will become more readily apparent.

If you have the money and the connections to, hire a second person to edit the work for you at least once. Constructive criticism can be a big help in improving your performance. Outside editors tend to see things you miss as the author. In some cases, your editor will make you happy by showing you how well you wrote your book or story.

Once the work is edited, put together your query letter and assemble any other information the prospective publishers may want from you. This may include: an overview of the market for the type of book you have written, the first 3 chapters of the manuscript, a direct sales pitch letter to the publishing company to convince them how great your book is. They do normally expect a short bio, but it can be quite brief, telling them mainly how or where your work has been published and how well you were paid or if the problem is that you were not.

Submission

You may have to decide where to submit your book. You can try literary agents and you can try publishers. The Writer’s Market is one example of a resource that tells you which publishing companies require literary agent representation and which ones do not.

You also have to check whether or not simultaneous submissions are viewed as acceptable. Simultaneous submissions is like dating multiple people without having to get sexually involved in order to land a spouse or both in one. Some people get offended by it, and others are comfortable with it. Check with the publisher or literary agency.

Nowadays, you may sometimes email the publisher or literary agent. There are people who prefer this, and others who still want it the old fashioned way. Find this out to submit the way they want it.

Response

There is nothing left to do after submission but wait. Most of the results of a long wait are the way it is in romance: you don’t want to marry each other and you aren’t ever going to have sex. They will neither represent your book – in the case of a literary agency, nor will the publisher actually accept your book for their investment and publication.

Now and then you will be fortunate and get a positive response. Sometimes a positive response means “We can’t use this one but if you write another book, be sure to let us take a look at it.”

Be wary, but realistic. Many a positive early response rather than being serendipity should set off your alarms. It is probably a self-publishing company willing to publish your book as long as you pay them to. There are times when self-publishing is a perfectly sound idea but for most writers who are still naïve about the publishing industry, having no one but self-publishers interested after all your hard work can be devastating or, for the tough minded, only a little disappointing.

Seriously, it is possible for an author to ‘hit the jackpot’ and get a big publishing company to pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, even as an advance on sales for your book. Not only that, but in some cases, the editors won’t even change it so much that you no longer feel as if it is the book you submitted to them but does still have your name listed as the author.

Most likely, that is not what will happen. Most likely, if you have written a really good book you will be able to find a small publishing company willing to support your work with a small advance or no advance but a decent professional production of the book. In other cases, you can get it self published. I’m not sure about the % on this.

A large minority of writers will find that after all their hard work absolutely nothing more will ever come of the project. After a while, the author will get over the shock and numb, and move on with his or her life.

 

Changes in professional writing 2016

Online, I have managed to gather some writer friends.  I am not always the greatest person about learning every aspect of the job but interacting with some other writers sometimes helps.

About that: I have been particularly bad about learning every gory detail about the industry.  For over 20 years I was just one of the writers who is an artist about writing and was looking elsewhere for a day job.  I had not forgotten that my mother advised that I either try to become a technical writer or else make sure to have a day job.

Harsh reality: there was a reason for that advice.

There have been many changes in the industry during the past ten years.  In truth, the situation has continued to improve and to become worse right along with the improvements.

The reality for those who were getting some income by writing online is just one area where changes made by a relatively small number of powerful business people caused a lot of people to lose their income as writers.  Part of it seems to have been a side effect of ‘affiliate marketing’ and ‘content mills’ but not all of the changes are clear.  In some cases it is just that the environment became much more competitive.

Freelancing websites abound but more people are participating.  Job openings for full time staff writers have been growing in many nations including the USA and UK for those using English.  Even so, many of the writing jobs that women working from home were doing, suddenly disappeared and many pro writers were suddenly told they would no longer be paid for their work.  Elsewhere online, some freelancing sites told people they could work at beginner rates their entire lives or be blackballed.

Meanwhile, more affluent writers balked at the horrors some of their counterparts were going through and urged those others to either switch to way better paying clients or to switch jobs entirely.  The underworld of writers has made it so that some people who want to get paid to write actually can, but like much in life it has both a bright side and a dark side.

In 2016, this situation has not come to an end.  There is some writing work available serving affiliate marketers and there are still plenty of jobs – full time and freelance positions, for professional writers in the English language.  Landing and keeping clients is just one of the many aspects of the job aside from the writing itself that writers may learn at any time in the process.

Most writers are known under the nomiker ‘journalists’ and many others work ‘at magazines’ or other types of ‘staff writers’.  Such people often manage to earn a living which often impresses other writers but literary authors and artistic writers are often left with a bitter or sour feeling about it.  Journalists themselves, including quite successful ones I have personally met, have themselves felt beaten into submission and found themselves proud to have earned a living for decades as professional writers but still wondering if anyone would ever pay them for anything they wrote because they wanted to write it.

During the past ten years, as most readers may already know, there has been drama about how much the world of publishing has been changing and about how much electronic publishing formats were becoming powerful and whether or not they were a threat to print media.

Some readers may recall that one of the big thrills of the computer revolution was supposed to be reduction in consumption of forests for use as paper.  That might not be great news for the paper industry.  However, in actual practice, the dynamics and the drama between that kind of ecologically friendly motive and also the reality of where the money in the industry is and how people honestly feel about using electronic and print formats.  The more recent introduction of e readers created another great opportunity for people to look into electronic books versus print books.  Consumer trends, pricing, what will really work for whom and why or why not.

There were hopes and fears that ebooks would overtake print books but after a few years it now looks as if print books are still more popular but that e readers and ebooks now have a nice healthy niche within the book industry.

As it happens, and as referred to earlier, the majority of professional writers are not book writers, but some are.  The most famous of writers are quite often the book writers and a few journalists.  Every once in a while a play write or a poet becomes ‘famous’.  In the meantime, the TV and film writers pull in good livings and end up in situations that are reminiscent of corporate executives or university Deans – they are not really treated as stars, but they really do well for themselves and have good reputations.  Studio musicians with good reputations have a similar kind of experience.

Print and online article writers and blog writers are most likely to be the most numerous kind of writers – especially when ‘ordinary, real journalists’ are included in the count.  It also includes hordes of writers working from home, sometimes as parts of groups and other times as individual freelancers.

The industry continues to change.  The biggest mystery of the world of professional writing is that for those in this vast and broad ranging industry, the paths to success are somewhat diverse and what counts as success is to.  As in acting and so many other professions, the majority are not the most successful and many suffer from shattered dreams.  Many professional writers do best early on and when young whereas there are large corps of others who become successful after age 50 or even after age 65.  Of those, some just try it as a new thing later in life but here and there are success stories from people who really tried hard for 47 years to become successful writers before they finally ‘made it’.  In that respect, some writers give each other a lot of advice and some say only that people should really get a job in a different field if one wishes to earn a living.

Want To Improve Your Creative Writing?

Want To Improve Your Creative Writing?
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Want to Improve Your Creative Writing?

Seeking to improve your creative writing?

Are you looking to improve your ability to write creatively? Perhaps the creativity is no problem but you would like to improve the quality of your writing. There is more than one way to do this.

If you prefer to meet with people in person and can, you can try writer’s groups and semi public forums. The most important features of such groups, which are also often free or very inexpensive, is that a person can get feedback and some social contact.

The other main way for amateurs to work at improving their craft is to take classes. This can be done in person or you can use online creative writing courses. If English is not your native language there may be special ESL (English as a Second Language) courses that you can use. You may have to turn to more community education in order to be able get the level and type of instructional assistance that you need.

There are also ways to work at improving your creative writing skills when ‘by yourself’ and to differing degrees of interactivity.

As mentioned above, there are online creative writing courses. There are also online writer’s groups. OpenSim and Skype calls are two examples of how groups can meet in real time. Twitter runs LitChat and SciFi Chat at set times. There are limits to those but they are there.

Reading is actually one great way to work on one’s creative writing, but one has to use a bit of caution regarding what one takes in. Popularity, and excellence bring up the issue of what is literature and how does literature differ from and figure into creative writing in general, especially popular writing that sells well.

Another way to work on improving one’s creative writing is to just write and then let it sit. After it sits for a bit, read it again. In many cases upon re-reading one will discover either that one is happy with it or that there are numerous obvious correctible mistakes.

Finally, and this is especially applicable for those who are or who would like to turn pro, a great way to get feedback about your writing is to submit it to publications. It may be best to start with a publication that you have been a consumer of – the newspaper you’ve been reading for years. They will let you know if they will publish it or not.