It is my pleasure to have a guest post by author Brian Paone, who shares his musings on...
Coming up with ideas for a novel when your mind goes blank
by Brian Paone
The only thing worse than a blank mind, is a blank screen. When there isn't even a single word on the screen to kick start any sort of inspiration. This seems to be when procrastination starts. All of a sudden checking your email, answering ignored messages on Facebook, tweeting about the secret ingredient in your grandmother's pasta sauce, looking to see how many undefeated NFL teams there are left, taking a shower... all seem to become more important and none of those are good reservoirs for finding ideas.
You tell yourself: "Self, just start writing words and then make sense of it later."
Stephen King is my favorite author. I have a bookcase in my writing office that is my "Stephen King Bookcase." It has every single one of his books in hardcover, all in chronological order. I started collecting his books 1989, when I got The Dark Half for Christmas that year. I have never missed a new release. My daughter and I were looking through them, and it boggles my mind that he is never short on ideas. I also don't believe that he has a team of ghostwriters like some authors have been accused of having.
It took me 20 months to write my first published novel, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts (2007), a total of 19 years to write my second published novel, Welcome to Parkview (2010), since technically I started writing it in 1991 but really truly worked on it between 2008-2010, and a total of 3 years to write my new novel, Yours Truly, 2095. I am very fortunate to have published 3 novels, and have 3 of my books out in the world (and selling), but man, it sounds exhausting to publish 2 novels a year like King does. I've started the preliminary outlining for my 4th novel, and the real writing probably won't start until November or December, and I'm still mentally exhausted from finishing Yours Truly, 2095.
So, I learned, for novelists, short stories are a perfect way to keep the juices flowing with minimal pressure and expectations. Short stories are like a proverbial exhale before trying to hold the weight of a 90k word manuscript again. I finished a short story titled, "Outside of Heaven," that is coming out in November in an anthology, and it felt really good to be able to just write... and write something under 10k words. I have solid plans and plotlines worked out for my 4th and 5th novels (which should bring me somewhere to about 2018 or 2019), but I really think I'm going to bang out a handful of short stories throughout that time to help fill in the empty spaces of "novel writing."
And if they are any good, I just might, in good ol' Stephen King fashion, publish a book of all my collected short stories sometime in the future.
So that's what I have on the horizon. Two new full length novels to be published over the next 3-4 years, and a book of all the short stories I'm going to write while those 2 novels are being worked on.
by Brian Paone
Jeff Blue-the victim of a time-travel conspiracy-wakes up trapped in the year 2095. The only familiar face is J0; a robotic copy of the wife he left behind in 1981. But can she be trusted?
J0 could be the only key to unlock Jeff's journey home, but it will require her to do something against her programming-something human.
During Jeff's perilous journey through the future, he will have to discover the truth about J0's origins, and solve the mystery behind how he wound up in 2095, in order to uncover the reality of his own destiny.
Armed with a one-way ticket to the moon, Jeff must race against the clock to seize what might be his last chance to return home to his time. A time without hover cars, Justice Computers, or TeleSkins-a time over one hundred years ago.
J0 stepped aside and finally let me approach the table.
“Oh, no. Not Susan. Oh, God.”
Her face was turned away from the door. She was completely finished from her waist to her head, but there was nothing below her hips. It was as if someone had started building her and just stopped. There were loose wires and metal sticking out of her pelvis, giving the impression that she had been ripped in half and not in the process of being constructed.
My eyes kept returning to the dangling red and blue wires. I thought that they looked like severed veins.
“What is this place?” I screamed.
“Looks like the Man-Delay project was thriving well beyond my knowledge,” J0 said.
“It’s sick, and it’s evil. Who was trying to duplicate her?”
“Why isn’t she finished? All of the other Man-Delays are just hanging on the walls like marionettes. My poor little Bluebird is unfinished with only half a body. Cruel mother—”
“It’s not really her,” J0 said, grabbing my shoulder for comfort.
I collapsed into J1’s synthetic body.
“But it is. Look at her. She’s perfect from the top of her head to her waist. That’s my little girl!” I yelled, sobbing.
“No, it’s not. That is a copy. Like I am a copy of Julie. It isn’t your little girl. Your little girl is safe in heaven. This is just a pile of wires and metal. She’ll never know what it feels like to cry at the lions at the zoo or to cry when it’s time to take a nap, because she’s not your Bluebird.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Brian Paone was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. An award winning author, his love of writing began through the medium of short stories at the young age of twelve. After almost 20 years of consistently writing short stories for only his friends and family to read, Brian’s first full-length novel, a personal memoir about his friendship with a rock-star drug addict entitled, “Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts,” was published in 2007. Brian’s second novel, “Welcome to Parkview,” was published in 2010 and is a macabre journey through a cerebral-horror landscape. Brian’s latest novel, “Yours Truly, 2095,” was published in 2015 and follows a man who wakes up one morning, trapped in the future, to discover he’s been the victim of a time-travel conspiracy. Brian is married and has 3 children. Brian’s wife is an Officer in the US Navy. He is also a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, and his favorite color is burnt-orange.
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