Writing Update: The Alpha Draft of Repressed is finished!

Writing Update: The Alpha Draft of Repressed is finished!

Greetings all,

kaitlynAs the title indicates, I met my goal and finished this draft of Repressed. I’m happy with how it turned out. Before I go over some administrative notes, I want to make sure I thank my Alpha Readers.

First is Ben. He’s always first. He’s my best friend, and reads every first draft I throw his way, even while working a full-time job and helping my sister raise two wonderful, but active, children. Well…the Senior is all grown up, but I digress. Ben pointed out a few of the logistical conundrums this story had, and offered some advice I’ll account for when the book is completely finished.

Next is Grace, who I met at a convention. She liked Caught and wanted more. She was kind enough to not only send some general comments, but she also sent a document that highlighted some of the more egregious typos. She could have just sent an email, but she took time out of her life to give something I wrote a degree of detail I felt was above and beyond. I can’t thank her enough.

Whenever I write something, I try to stretch my abilities.  I knew that since this book featured Kaitlyn, who’s 16 at the time of this story, the novella would fall into the YA category, which I’m honestly not a huge fan of. But art and entertainment can do so many wonderful things. I’ve always believed that not liking a person or thing has more to do with understanding it than it being bad. So trying to write this story was a way of approach the genre. However, I’m not going to pretend I know everything about everything. I reached out to the Slush Brain, and Chess DeSalls answered the call. She was my “YA” expert, and I was very happy with her feedback. She’s a successful YA author, and I’ve even reviewed one of her books.

caught-front-coverPeggy has not only read every book I’ve published, she’s also helped me sell more books than anyone else. She read my call for alpha readers, and decided to get some advanced reading done. Peggy, Grace, and Ben were particularly helpful because they’ve all read Caught, which I’m honored to say spent a few days on the Top 100 for its category (psychics) for a few days this weekend, and I was very concerned about keeping these elements together.

The reality is anyone can write up a book and get it published. I don’t want to just throw crap on the digital wall. I want stories that inspire and entertain. I want to write stories people enjoy. These alpha and beta (two drafts away) readers are critical to making that happen. They provide honest, direct feedback that lets me make the stories better.  I can’t do this without them.  Thank you!

So what’s next? Well, I’m going to take the rest of this weekend to watch football and read Oathbringer (probably not the whole book, but a LOT).

Monday, I’ll begin the First Draft of The Worth of Words, my contribution to The Power of Words anthology (Happy to report I’ve received yet another submission by the way). I’ll update you all via Twitter and Facebook on my progress there. Sara and I have began talking about how long she’ll need for developmental edits. If I finish the First Draft of The Worth of Words, I’ll start world building and outlining Betrayed (Oneiros Book 2).

That’s what I’ll be up to through December. Again, I want you all to know what a blessing it is to have anyone even remotely interested in my ramblings. It’s amazing! I’ll keep working hard to believe blogs you enjoy and books you can’t put down. As always…

Thanks for reading,
Matt

Writing Update: The First Draft of Repressed is Finished! A Call for Alpha Readers!

Writing Update: The First Draft of Repressed is Finished! A Call for Alpha Readers!

Greetings all,

kaitlynI’m happy to report that I finished the first official draft of Repressed. I noticed a few things that I wanted to tweak, and I always like to do a pass or two for structure and grammar, which reduced the workload later on down the line.

I’m proud of this story and how it helped me grow as an author. Mostly, I’m proud of Kaitlyn, whom I’ve been blessed to watch grow through two stories now. But there’s still some work to be done. I need some help.

For me, Alpha readers are those who address specific needs. I’m looking for plot holes and continuity errors. I’m also interested in readers who’ve already read Caught, as this is Book 1.5 in the Oneiros saga.  Please remember though, this is absolutely a YA Paranormal story. Also, this story features a character who is Muslim. I’d be very grateful to anyone of that religion if they could help me be sure I’m true to that culture, especially since this story features the need for people to be less ignorant. I wouldn’t say this story is as closely related to the region as Sojourn was, but I want to be true to it.

I posted a semi-summary for the story here.

If you’re interested, please feel free to shoot me an email. I’m asking for Alpha Readers to have this back to me by Oct. 24. I’m always grateful to those who give my work a try.

BobsGreatestMistakeIn the meantime, I have the edits for the 2nd edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter back. So I’ll be able to get that going and headed to the printer ASAP. It’s a much larger story than the others, so it’ll take some time, but it’ll be worth it to have the control I’ve lacked so far.

The edits for Bob mean The Worth of Words is going to wait a bit longer. If I’m lucky, I’ll get Bob edited before the Alpha Readers for Repressed are done. If that happens, then I should be able to take another swipe at WoW after I do the Alpha Draft of Repressed. I SWEAR, I mean stop start working on Oneiros 2 as soon as I can. My hope is to start that in a few months.

All of your support means a lot to me. Even as small as my little corner of the world is, every person who sends me an email or message means everything to me. I can only hope that I continue to provide you stories that keep you engaged.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Writing Update: The Discovery Draft of Repressed is Done!

Writing Update: The Discovery Draft of Repressed is Done!
kaitlyn
All images are the intellectual property of M.L.S. Weech. Any reuse or distribution without his consent is a violation of copyright law.

I bring tidings of joy to all fans of my work! The discovery draft of my next book is done. I’ve made a few Facebook posts about the project, but now that I have something written, I can talk about the project a little more.

Repressed is a novella featuring Kaitlyn from Caught. It takes place three years after the events in Oneiros Book One. Below isn’t exactly the book blurb, it’s just a quick summary for my wonderful blog followers:

My name is Kaitlyn, and I have superpowers. No really, I’m an empath. About three years ago, I met some people, and well all have powers now. The five of us who survived the day we met, not all of us made it, live together. The thing is, they think that because I’m a teenager, I’m not ready to help them save the world.

* * *

When Kaitlyn decides to protect a new girl from bullies, she gets a taste for using her abilities and secret training like the heroes of the comics that she loves to read. But as she starts to do more, she learns her powers don’t work exactly the way she thought they did.  Things get even worse when she learns that hero work isn’t as easy as the comics make it seem. When hatred and ignorance come to a boil, Kaitlyn has to decide what it really means to be a hero, and her decision puts the lives of three other classmates at risk.

END SUMMARY

caught-front-coverThis isn’t the sequel to Caught.  If you need to position it in your mental timeline, consider it Oneiros 1.5. I wanted to do more (shorter, not short) fiction, and I also needed something to bridge the (even larger) gap between book one and book two in the actual trilogy. That, combined with my love for this character presented me with too many opportunities to pass up.

The biggest opportunity was for me to test myself, which I want to do with every project I take on. You’ve seen my reviews regarding YA novels (Here’s my last one in case you haven’t.) It’s not accurate to say I hate the genera, but I’m certainly not a big fan of some of the overused themes. A part of me felt that if I was going to stand here and talk about how much some of those themes bothered me, why not take a crack at the genre? It would force me to stretch, and resist some of what I think a lot of YA shortcuts. The main issue: the stupidity or ignorance of parents.

I see this too much in YA, and I didn’t want to fall victim to it, especially since four out of the five members of Oneiros are adults. So I took it upon myself to add that challenge to an already interesting plot. As if that weren’t enough, not only do I have to keep Sal and Kira working as loving, attentive parental figures (not to mention Dom, Brandon and Chris, who all have at least some brief appearances in this story), but they’re powerful psychics. That’s a challenge that I think I’ll have to do even more work on in subsequent drafts.

Why do this? Because one of the reasons I love writing is it’s always a challenge. I want this book to make me a better writer, and I want the next book to take me even further. Writing outside of my normal genre (if anyone accuses me of having one yet) does that for me. I don’t have any other plans to write YA in the future, but I still get to practice first person, and it opens the door for more in that world soon.

What does that mean for Oneiros? Well, I just don’t know when to stop. While there’re a few intense moments in Repressed (and even a few Caught easter eggs), this is a YA novel. In my opinion, if your main character is a 16-year-old girl, you’re writing a YA novel. Rather than fight it, I embraced it. My hope is the people who love Caught will appreciate seeing their favorite characters again as a way to tide them over until I finish books two and three. Also, this book sets the stage for one of the major points of conflict in book two. You see, Kira and Sal have very different ideas on how Kaitlyn should be raised. Those issues get touched on here, and they’re explored more in book two. We also get a sense for how truly powerful Kaitlyn is, and what that amount of power costs her.

SomethingAlwaysRemainsWhat’s next? Repressed is about 35,000 words at the moment. It’ll go in a digital drawer for at least two weeks. I like to step away from a project. It gives me time to separate my emotions from a project. I just finished it, and I feel like a genius. The reality is there are some things to work out and typical Matt issues to smooth away. I won’t be idle in that time. I’m hoping to have Sara’s edits on Bob Drifter back, and my main goal is to try and get the second edition out before I do another draft on Repressed. While I wait for that, I’m going to start looking at 1,200, a story about a homeless veteran who’s using his abilities to help other homeless vets keep their sanity, that is until a monster who feeds on magic shows up.  I still, ambitiously, would like to release Repressed, 1,200, Oneiros Book Two and Oneiros Book Three out in 2019. I’ll work on them with Oneiros being the top priority until they’re done. Having this draft done means I have at least one release already locked in for 2019, four to go. (Did I mention I also plan to release a few more novellas? Like I said, I don’t know when to stop.)

I hope my stories keep you all engaged the way my favorite authors keep me clamoring for more of their work. If that’s the case, I hope a post like this lets you know how committed I am to continue entertaining you.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

 

The Art of Writing vs The Business of Being an Author: A request for discussion.

The Art of Writing vs The Business of Being an Author: A request for discussion.

As I grow as a business man, I learn more about some of the decisions writers make, and I felt it was appropriate to discuss some of these issues in an open forum. I’m really just taking a few minutes to gain a sense as to what the rest of the community of authors out there thinks about a few things that have come up during conversations or conventions.

BobsGreatestMistakeThe Amazon formula: At Awesomecon, I spoke with a few authors about a practice that I find a bit underhanded. It’s one thing for an author to release segments of a book. One wise piece of advice I’ve heard about long-form authors is to release segments, and then release an omnibus book when everything is done. However, the more sly tool I’m opening for discussion is the habit some authors have of publishing a book. Amazon tracks “Hot New Releases” for 90 days. What some due (and it works for them, so how mad should I be), is then slap a new cover on the book and re-release it. Thus restarting that 90-day tracker and keeping the book appearing on the relevant pages. As I look at covers every day, I see this on occasion, and I hear about it more (admittedly more than I actually see it). The first topic of discussion is: Is this practice bad form or what it takes to get out there? What do you authors think about the practice as a whole an any who do it? What information do you have on the subject? (I have word of mouth and a few discussions here or there.)

Writing the story that’s in your head or the story that might earn you more: Having done more research now than I have, I understand just how small the Fantasy/Science Fiction audience really is. (Horror is that much smaller.) I have a few friends who jump at opportunity. I’ll be honest here. I don’t have any issues with writers sitting down and producing quality work for any reason. Getting other products out and bylines completed is a great strategy. I’ve had people loop me in on anthologies. I’ve only volunteered for one, and that was because I had the idea kicking around my head already. I can’t seem to write anything but the story playing out in my head. This is why Bob came out when it did, and was then followed by the much darker Caught. To be honest, it’s hard to keep my mind on Oneiros because Perception of War is playing like an X-D theater in my mind. Writing Kaitlyn’s short story has done a good job to help get the Oneiros juices flowing, which is one of the two major reasons I decided to make that my main project. I’m also aware that some genres simply sell better. I have friends that insist I’d be a best seller by now if I wrote romance. I’m not actually against any writer producing any quality work. I just don’t have a lot of “romance-specific” stories running around my head. Also, those novels are much tighter, fast-paced stories. I have to force my self to keep the word count down. How many of you struggle to write in a metaphorical box? This may mean you’re writing to try to satisfy an audience or produce a story for something for the sake of a byline. Again, I can’t stress enough how OK I am with it, I simply don’t have that ability. I have to write what’s in my mind and in my heart.

ElelefinalGetting Product Out in a Timely Manner: This leads me to the third topic (and I think I’ll stop here even though I could go on much more).  I love epic fantasy. Most of my projects are large. But it takes time to write 400,000 words (or even 100,000).  So when an idea for a shorter format story came to mind, I went at it. What this will do is something I feel is a financially beneficial decision to keep me in the lighter shades of red while I produce the deeper, wider-scoped stories I love most. I would’t be able to do this on the spot. Even Sojourn was a tangental project that was made harder for me because my mind wanted to focus on Images of Truth. The main reason I was able to work on it as quickly as I did was Elele is in both books.  This other world captured my fancy. The theory is I can do one “large” project a year (like Caught or 1,200), and one or two smaller projects. I’m holding off on releasing until I build a buffer of sorts that allows me to release product more frequently, but that’s the ideal pace for me. I still admit I don’t prefer this method at the moment. I like to work on a thing until it’s done (or the draft is done) and then step away to something else. Based on where I am with Oneiros and 1,200, my newer short-fiction saga (called Mercer in case you’re wondering) is what will be my “step away” project while I’m in between drafts of the Oneiros log (not to mention trying to get 1,200 out there).  The question here is, what is your ideal pace, and what do you all think is a solid “release” year?

I’d ask any author to comment below. If you could, please state what you have out and some record of where you are in terms of being a business author.  What are your thoughts on these topics? What works for you?

I thought this was a good chance just to open the doors to the community and get a dialogue  going on these subjects. If this goes well, I’ll make it an occasional post.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Sojourn in Captivity Update!

Sojourn in Captivity Update!
early-seferam
I can not stress to you how different Elele looks from this rough concept art. But here’s where it started.

I just wanted to announce the happy news! The second draft of Sojourn in Captivity (previously Sojourn in Despair) is finished and on its way to my (hopefully merciful) editor.

This project wouldn’t have moved forward the way it did without the help of my Alpha Readers.

The are:

Quintessential Editor and Jenn Moss. (My brother in law, Ben, also took his cut, but he gets first look at EVERYTHING).

Their feedback was honest, sometimes painful, and always helpful. Good Alphas do that for you.

I’m a huge fan of this project for a lot of reasons, and I honestly feel like this project has put me on another level.

So, what’s next? Well, while I wait for my developmental edit, I get back to redesigning The Journals of Bob Drifter.  I’m also starting the development of my next writing project, tentatively called The Truth of Emotion. ToE is a short story told from Kaitlyn’s point of view. Kaitlyn is one of the main characters from Caught. ToE is meant to bridge readers from the end of Caught to just a bit before Caught’s sequel (which had a title until I realized I need a new one, so give me a minute on that).  The JoBD re-design will take the bulk of my attention, but I should make a bit of progress on those other things as well.

I’m glad to be moving forward on this. Progress always makes me happy.

Thanks for reading,

V/R
Matt

State of the Weech: What’s This Guy Up To?

State of the Weech: What’s This Guy Up To?

I’d mentioned earlier this week that I had intended to do a post going over my schemes for the next little while.  I wanted to do that today because there’s a lot happening.

First, I’m happy to announce the discovery draft of my short(ish) story, Sojourn In Despair, is finished! I wrapped that up Dec. 22. So I’ll wait about a week before I try to revise that into a first draft that Alphas wouldn’t want to throw out of a window.

caught-cover-finalI’ve learned a lot this past year. I wanted Caught out in March of 2016, and I couldn’t make it happen until 2017. This is because it’s not about releasing a book for me, it’s about releasing a GOOD book readers will enjoy.

Revising always takes me an extremely long time, and I wasn’t anticipating a fifth and sixth draft. I want to say this because writers are in love with their work, and they’re either in too much of a hurry to get it out (normally me) or too afraid to put it out there. There’s a balance to this I hope everyone finds. You have to be willing to stand behind it.

When I sent Caught to Marco for an edit, he gave me a lot of information that I think made this book that much better. But it meant taking time to apply that feedback. This is part of the art. This process also taught me a lot about how to look at work. I’ll be using this process again in the future.

I want to help other authors avoid mistakes I make. I want each project I release to be more successful than the last. So I hope this information helps those who are afraid to show their work to many people. Get lots of feedback. Hire. Professional. Editors.

I feel far more confident about Caught than I did about Bob. I also feel more realistically optimistic (not an oxymoron I promise).  But, now that Caught is scheduled to hit the digital bookshelves, I have time to do more stuff.  So here’s a list of my projects in order of priority:

Sojourn in Despair: Elele’s story is drafted, and now I have to do the work that takes a solid early-seferamidea into a well-told story. I’ll take a week off (maybe accidentally write a short story and submit it, Hi J.R.).  But once that week is over, I’ll do another draft of Sojourn. This one will still go by quickly, but each draft will take exponentially longer than the last.

Re-release of The Journals of Bob Drifter: I’ve been quiet about this, but it’s time I start talking about it. I feel this was a great story, but I made a lot of mistakes in how I published it. There are also some glaring typos I want to fix. The story will not change. The main priority of this effort is to bring the cover price down and gain more control over pricing. I want Bob to be more affordable to my readers. I’ll chip away on this in between drafts of Sojourn.

Images of Truth: This book is going to be wonderful. I was about halfway done when Caught revisions became my soul purpose in life.  Elele (from Sojourn) is in this book. She’s one of four primary characters, but this book focuses on Jammin, a young aspiring photojournalist who finds himself a stowaway on a special forces spacecraft in the middle of a secret war effort.  Sojourn is the story of how Elele came to be where we find her in Images. I want to finish this discovery draft quickly. The release of this book is a long way off. But I like having a draft done.

Revisions of 1,200:  1,200 is the story of a homeless veteran who is secretly using his recently-discovered magic to help the rest of his fellow homeless veterans. I want to revise this sooner rather than later, but if Caught does well, this will be the project that falls father in the back burner.

kaitlynThe sequels to Caught: I have a confession to make: I accidentally outlined a short story about Kaityln.  Not outlined exactly, but she’s such a wonderful character. She whispered in my ear (I’m not crazy; I promise) the whole flight to Arizona, and I got off the plane with a great little story just for her. This isn’t part of the trilogy, but her short story will be released in 2018. When in 2018 is something else entirely, but it’ll be out. Books Two and Three of the Oneiros Log will be revised and drafted accordingly. It may be ambitious, but I want all three projects AND Images drafted by the end of 2017.  I don’t know when I’ll publish them. So much depends on releasing a book, and I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. Once Images is drafted, these will be the books I outline and draft. What I will promise is that as soon as these books are ready, I’ll get them to you.

150912-n-tk177-008The plan is to rotate edits between Sojourn, Kaitlyn’s story, Oneiros 2 and 3 until all of them are ready. 1,200 isn’t the biggest priority right now, but it’s a great project to step away to when I’m feeling bogged down. I may also decide other characters from Caught need their own stories. This depends on how loud they get in my imagination and how successful Caught and Kaitlyn’s story are. I do intend to release short fiction (novellas 40K or less) more regularly. This is so you all have stuff from me to read while I work on the larger books. For other young authors out there, this also helps me keep product hitting the shelves and earning income which will fund edits, covers and revisions for the larger products. I feel this was a solid idea on my part, and it keeps me writing.

I’ve been writing since I was 7 or 8. It’s been my dream to be an author since I was 17. Even now, what I’m doing is a dream come true. However, I’m never one to settle. I don’t just want to be a published author. I want to be successful. I want one day for this to be my primary source of income. That said, in a way, you all are so amazingly important to me. You’re here now, in the beginning, when it’s hard. You’re here for me when I’m up at midnight writing a blog or drafting a story. I can’t tell you what you mean to me. I can’t tell you how amazed I am that you’ve shown an interest in my dream. I hope you’re as excited about these projects as I am about getting to work on them.

So, I’ve been particularly blessed this Christmas, because every single time one of you shows interest in my work, that’s a gift you give me. Aside from the love of my friends and family, that’s truly the greatest gift I could ask for. I hope you all have the happiest of holidays and New Years. Thank you!

For today, and the days that follow, thank you for reading,

Matt