It’s been a while since my last post, I know. But it’s for a legit reason, because there have been gobs of other stuff filling my free hours for the past several months now. I won’t get into too much detail here, but the primary time-hogger of late has been something I haven’t done since college. Studying.
Yes, unfortunately you read correctly. As some (or all) of you may know, I’m a project engineer by day, working for an automation firm that specializes in factory/plant control systems. And sometime around March of this year, I made the decision, with the support of the management team at my firm, to try for my Professional Engineering license. In addition to needing a bachelor’s degree, and four years of credible experience, one must take and pass the dreaded eight-hour PE Examination (gulp). Long story short, I’d been studying since March, took the exam in late October, and now anxiously wait with bated breath for the results to post (hopefully by Christmas). Anyway, my ass has been studying like a bandit for 6+ months, so needless to say, there hasn’t been much time for something like writing.
Moving on. So in this post, I want to first talk about two writing resources. One that I’ve recently discovered, and another that I’ve been addicted to for over a year now. The drug of choice is a book/podcast/website called The Story Grid, and it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. In all fairness, I haven’t bought/read the book yet, but I have definitely devoured the 100+ podcast episodes (and counting) over the course of the past year or so, and I’m completely hooked. I won’t go into a full breakdown of what it is and why it’s so great, because you can easily find that out with a quick google search. But essentially it’s these two guys: Shawn Coyne – an industry vet who’s worn every hat imaginable; editor at a major publisher, literary agent, and of course an author himself. The other guy is Tim Grahl – a book-marketing guru and consultant to authors like (my self-pub hero) Hugh Howey and other big-timers. The entire premise of the podcast is basically this: Tim is a newbie writer and hopes to produce a (successful) YA novel, while Shawn spends each week ripping apart the latest chapter(s) that Tim has written, and guides him to clearer waters. In truth, that’s a bit of an over-simplification, cause there’s lots of other author-nerd goodies that they discuss each week. But let me just say that I love, Love, LOVE this podcast. And if by some miracle, either one of you (Shawn or Tim) somehow land on this blog post – hats off to you gentlemen. You both are super duper awesome and I thank you.
The other resource I want to highlight is one that is pretty new to me, and it’s called The Write Practice. The name really does say it all. It’s a website that has loads of good content like how-to articles, writing prompts, and seasonal writing contests that all encourage the wannabe-writer masses to improve their craft through lots and lots of practice. To give credit where it’s due, I first heard of this little gem via one of the aforementioned podcast episodes, and then later read that Tim [Grahl] had entered and received honorable mention in not one, but two of their recent writing contests. (Congrats Tim!) So I finally decided to check it out, and low and behold, one of the first things I encountered on the site was a re-affirmation of something I’ve had as a personal goal of mine for the past year. Write short stories. Lots of them! I also thought it would be cool if I entered their next writing contest and see how I stack up. Unfortunately though, on the day that I decided to explore that idea some more, I saw that the deadline for their winter contest had closed only a week before.
The prompt for the contest was Countdown – write a short story about a character up against a deadline of some sort; a limit of 1,500 words. The prompt immediately sparked an idea, and I knew I had to run with it, contest entry or not. And the missed deadline really wasn’t a factor because the max word count of only 1,500 words (roughly one well-constructed scene), was not nearly enough to tell the story I came up with. So all of that brings me here, to this blog post, where I am announcing Part I of my new short thriller entitled The Delivery Man. And as I write this post, I am actually almost finished with Part II, so I expect to have that up very soon. I hope you enjoy!