Why It’s Good Writing is Detail Oriented

(Update: The Adventure Kickstarter hit 100% funding this last weekend! It’s still open until October 30th if you wanted to support the project. Anything above and beyond the original goal will go to book donations to school libraries after the Rewards costs.)

A well crafted story carries the reader through, connecting dots in the story, without the reader even seeing the small sign posts that guide them along.

The effort to make such reading so smooth requires an attention to detail that has to be learned. Sure, you can start out with an aptitude for this, but if you’re writing a story of any length, ultimately you have to learn tricks that help you keep track of all your sign posts/details.

Now, I have to tip my hat to people who design books for a living. I thought writing stories was detail oriented…um, designing books is even more so.

Perhaps my view is skewed because I’ve dealt with everything from making sure there are no plot holes, which is technically a part of editing (trust me, when I found a disappearing torch in one of The Adventure stories, my brain about exploded), to margins of the book, cover format, line spacing, text size, page breaks, image formatting…This list is endless.

Here’s one example.

Both The Adventure proof and the journal proof showed up and had blurry covers. Yuck. It about breaks my heart to see such aSpine of the Adventurer's Journal cover.  You can see the issue best on the Journal’s spine here.

Turns out, this issue was because the images weren’t saved at 300 ppi (pixels per inch). Now, I’m no designer. My understanding of Photoshop consists of one high school class (and we won’t even think about how long ago that was) and my digging into it in the last several months to figure out The Adventure. I understand ppi now…I didn’t when I started.

Just goes to show, there’s a reason people go to school for such things…and there’s a reason it takes time, lots of time, to produce your own book.

The Adventure and the Adventurer’s Journal are now updated and the new proofs on the way. I’m fairly confident the blurry issue has been fixed. (The disappearing torch has been rectified as well, don’t worry.)

Needless to say, my attention to detail training in writing has definitely paid off as I dig into producing The Adventure. Thank heavens!

Blessings,

Jennifer

Check out The Adventure Kickstarter!

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Learning Curve

It’s exhausting, exhilarating and expiring…in 11 days.

We’re just over three weeks into The Adventure Kickstarter. It’s a 33 day campaign that ends on Oct. 30th and by now, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about crowdfunding a creative project.

Here’s my top three:

  1. People are insanely generous and supportive.

    • I’m an introvert. I’m one of those people who might check Facebook daily but rarely posts to it. Obviously with crowdfunding, you have to be a lot more active than one or two posts a month. My introverted self cringes at this. I really don’t want to be annoying to everyone who has been awesome enough to follow my social media pages. However, I’m learning the more you share your experience, the joys, the worries, the ups and downs, the more people want to support you. The more they care, and share, your moments. It’s crazy and awesome.
  2. Crowdfunding is an exhausting and exhilarating emotional roller coaster.

    • This might be one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. There’s a level of exposure to crowdfunding that goes against my paranoid tendencies. But, with the energy and love I’ve put into writing The Adventure, I also really want people to respond to it. So I watch the Kickstarter page like a hawk. And on the days of low or no activity, my brain immediately dives into the worry cycle of “I’ve lost momentum! What am I going to do?” A whole 24 hours passes and my worry is chocking…then someone backs the project and my elation soars and tears threaten my eyes. (Yes, I can be a basket case sometimes. My poor husband). Obviously this is a twisty, turny, uppity, downity roller coaster that in the end will totally be worth it.
  3. There isn’t enough preparation in the world!

    • Adventurer's JournalI prepared for the kickstarter in every way I knew how. Now that I’ve gotten into it, I realize that there were more things I could have done. There’s obviously a balance here. You can hit a point where the preparation is really just stalling, but if I run a kickstarter in the future, I’ll definitely be looking at more ways to spread the word. They say it takes at least three times for people to see something before they’ll act on it. Except for friends, it’s kind of difficult to get that high level of exposure for such a home grown project. This is where I need to be bolder. I need to be willing to approach more media, more people in general, who can help get the word out.

There’s my top three. Honestly, I could write whole essays on each one of these and barely scratch the surface but such long monologues would be self indulgent and probably boring to anyone unless they’re running a kickstarter too.

Thanks for listening to my shortish monologues and for sharing in my experience so far!

Blessings,

Jennifer

(We’re 82% funded so far! Thank you to everyone who has shared, supported and encouraged The Adventure process. 18% to go and the project will be 100%! I’m doing a happy dance.)

A Peek Inside The Tournament

Figure Under Porch Sketch from The Adventure BookRain drips from the porch above, and the siding of the building weeps with moisture. For the moment, though, you’re dry. Your small, sheltered spot is just a protected piece of cobblestone. It’s a two-foot by two-foot section where the rain isn’t drenching the ground. There’s not even enough space to lie down, but the spot’s yours, and as long as you don’t move from it, no one will challenge you.

You’re not homeless. You just can’t find an inn that’s not already full because of the tournament being held at the coliseum. Considering the situation, you may as well be homeless, but at least you’re a well-armed homeless.

Thus why no one will challenge you for your shelter.

A sword peeks over your right shoulder from its scabbard on your back. From your belt hangs a woodsman’s knife the length of your forearm, and in your right hand you hold an unstrung bow. Over your left shoulder, the fletching of your arrows plays peek-a-boo around the hood of your dark cloak.

All of the weaponry right now is just extra weight. Your cloak is the prize possession with the rain. Its wool weight settles around you with delicious warmth as its outer layer beads the bit of rain that reaches you under the porch.

You sigh, reminding yourself that you’re putting up with this for a reason. The tournament boasts a number of challenges including fencing, archery, jousting, and hand-to-hand combat. They all pay well for each winner.

You’re not here for the pay, though. You’re here for a person. You’ve heard nothing from your family since you chose to be a woods ranger instead of a baker like the rest of them.

But a few days ago a messenger found you where you were hunting in the forests to the north. He settled on the ground opposite your campfire and warmed his chilled fingers as he passed along the message your family sent with him.

“King’s men took your Uncle Ruben,” he said, “because your family can’t pay the rent on the bakery. He’s been sentenced to working the quarry until he pays off the amount due.”

“What do they want from me?” you asked, perplexed. You passed across the fire a mug of warm tea to help the messenger fight off the night’s chill.

You’ve got no influence in the King’s justice system, despite being one of his rangers. Working the quarry is hard, dangerous work, you know, but the bakery’s debt can’t be that high. Ruben shouldn’t be there that long.

The messenger sipped several times before continuing his message. You wondered how long he’d been searching for you.

“The family hasn’t paid in well over a year,” the messenger finally explained, giving you a sheepish look. It’s probably the same look your family gave while telling him, a complete stranger, their issue. “Ruben’s assigned the quarry for the next five years to pay everything off.”

Dread settled a heavy stone into your stomach. No one survived the quarry that long.

“All right,” you conceded, “what does the family want?”

“In the King’s tournament, you can ask for the release of a worker if you win one of the challenges.” As he said this, the man eyed your bow where it sat against a nearby tree and the sword laying on the ground beside your knee.

You had an “ah-ha” moment. No one in the family could win such a challenge—except you. You considered refusing. The family hasn’t spoken to you in years, much less lent a hand whenever you needed something, but this was about a man’s life, family or not.

“When does the tournament start?” you asked.

“Beginning of the week.” Again, that sheepish look came over his face.

And now you’re hunkered under a porch instead of sleeping in an inn because, by the time the messenger found you, you only had two days to get to the capital.

An inn wouldn’t have helped much anyway, you tell yourself. There’s only an hour or two before sunrise, at which time you have to be at the coliseum to check in as a contestant.

As you wait for the warmth to arrive from the rising sun, you debate whether to try archery or fencing. You’ve never attempted jousting and don’t want to start now. As a last resort you can try hand-to-hand combat, but that’s not your forte, and you’d prefer to start with your stronger skills.

Do you pick Archery or Fencing?

***

This story was so fun to write. Research can be overwhelming or really interesting. This story, researching long bows and such, proved to be really cool.

For more, check out The Adventure on Kickstarter

or

The Adventure will be available on Amazon at the end of November.

Blessings,

Jennifer

It Comes with Rewards?!

Why yes, there are rewards for anyone who backs The Adventure on Kickstarter.

This is one of the coolest parts of running a Kickstarter.

  • First off, your name will end up in print. I.E. You’ll be added to the acknowledgements of the book!

From there, the rewards depend on the level at which you support the book, but they possibly include:

  • A digital version of the book. (KDP).
  • Custom stickers. These have artwork from the two artists who illustrated the book! They turned out really cool looking!
  • A signed softcover copy of the book. (Ships in January)
  • A signed hardcover copy of the book. (Only available through the Kickstarter. Ships in January)
  • a companion journal with artwork and quotes from The Adventure. (Ships in January)

If you’re following my Facebook page, you know the proof of the book has arrived. It looks amazing and I’m so excited to send out the finished product once I’ve fixed the few remaining issues with the copy!

The Adventure ProofBlessings,

Jennifer

P.S. If you’d like to back The Adventure and haven’t already, here’s the link.

 

It’s Me…Yikes!

I’m an INTROVERT. I recharge when I’m alone. I have no problem spending days reading and hanging out at home…maybe that’s why I’m a writer.

I get kind of freaked out about calling people, or stopping by work when I’m not on the schedule, or being in big crowds. (Anyone with me here?)

But I’m running a Kickstarter for my latest book, The Adventure, and it’s worth me peeking out of my writer’s cave to say hi, to introduce myself, to actually show my face to those willing to back the project.

So here it goes…EEEEK!

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. Here’s the link to the Kickstarter in case you’re interested =)

That Voice! The One That’s Not A DEEP MALE VOICE in the Trailer

In my last post, I mentioned I needed a DEEP MALE VOICE to say ‘ominous things’ for The Adventure book trailer.

If you’re familiar with My Why, you know reading did not come easy for me. If you’re not familiar with My Why, the quick rundown is I struggled to read when I was young. We’re talking a 3rd grade reading level in the 7th grade kind of struggle. I barely passed my classes.

Then my sister’s boyfriend, Nick, handed me a book and I was too ashamed to tell him I couldn’t read it. I wanted so badly to be able to tell him I was reading it and loved the story. (It was the first in David Edding’s The Elenium series).

To this day, I can’t tell you why everything clicked with that book, but it did and it forever planted my love of reading and the world of fantasy. I read through the Elenium and kept reading whatever I could get my hands on. (Namely, the Wheel of Time series). In about a year, I went from a 3rd grade level to post grad.

Now here’s the really cool part that combines the book trailer with my very love of reading.

Nick’s voice is the one on the trailer. It’s not the DEEP MALE VOICE I envisioned when I wrote the trailer outline, but I honestly can’t say why I had a DMV running through my head in the first place. Maybe because it would add to the ominous feel? Who knows. *Shrug*

But Nick’s voice fits in the trailer better than anything I envisioned. Seriously, this guy could read audiobooks for a living. (Hint, hint, Nick =)

So, if you haven’t seen the The Adventure Trailer (or even if you have), here it is:

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. The Adventure is up on Kickstarter right now! Hop over and check it out here.

P.S.S. Also, you can check out Nick’s adventures with his family here.

Why Book Trailers Boggle a Writer’s Brain

You need a book trailer for The Adventure…say what!?

Yes, that’s right, a movie-esque trailer…for a book. I mean, it’s words-on-paper-to-fuel-imaginations type of technology, not a movie for crying out loud. What do you even put into a trailer? More words on a page? That’s lovely…and totally boring without the actual book in hand.

But even Kickstarter encourages everyone to have a video, so I put it on my list of things, completely unaware of the massive project it would be.

So, when my calendar plan for The Adventure told me to write the outline for THE TRAILER, I wrote an outline, video reel rolling through my head with ideas. “Yeah, that’s totally possible,” I told myself. This shouldn’t be so bad. I mean, writing’s my thing, so getting the outline figured out was easy peasy…

But then I needed to do something with that outline. *Gulp*

I had in my head a flame sparking and then a match burning behind a DEEP MALE VOICE saying ominous things. This required three things that my writer’s brain hadn’t really figured out.

  • One, music behind the voice, something to set the mood.
  • Two, I needed a video of the match burning.
  • And three, and most importantly, I needed the voice for “ominous things”

And this was just for the start of the trailer…

Music is a tricky thing and music rights even trickier, not to mention scary. Let me just say the Free Music Archive is amazing and super helpful. That’s where I found Cold Noise and the promotional music for the trailer. Thank you to Jaroslav Vyhnicka with Cold Noise! I love the music. (This took me days, nay weeks! to research.)

First part down, second part…um…

Filming is definitely not in my wheelhouse, but I know this amazing woman who’s like a pit bull once she gets an idea in her head. She’s called my sister, or, to the rest of the world, she’s Lucynda (Cindy) with Funsnapshots99 (I guess creative pursuits run in the family=). I mentioned my apprehension about filming the match burning. She started researching. On the spot.

And she ran with the trailer from there. I’m not even sure I actually asked her or if I was just venting at the time…can’t remember now…but she dropped everything and began digging into how to set up the trailer.

I couldn’t be happier that she did.

I think she spent well over 50 or 60 hours on this project and the trailer went through at least 8, if not more, revisions. Like I said, I had no idea the monster of a project I was taking on when I wrote it on my calendar.

Cindy’s hard work shows. Aside from the book itself, this is the one thing I’m most excited to share with everyone because it turned out absolutely amazing!

Check it out:

Two parts down…Part three…

DEEP MALE VOICE.

You might notice in the trailer that the voice isn’t a DMV. There’s a reason for that but this is a connection I want to dig into because it’s the coolest of them all.

However, this blog’s getting really long, so I’ll dig into that connection, and the reason the voice isn’t a DMV, Thursday. Check back and I’ll explain everything.

Until then, blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. Please share this! It’s such a great way to introduce people to The Adventure. Or, if you’d like to support The Adventure, click the link =)