By day I work 60 hour weeks. At night I am a devoted father and husband to the world's greatest family. Somewhere in the non-existent time between the two, I am a writer. Join me from the beginning as I chronicle my adventures to become a successful published author.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 356 - A New Writing Venture

Let me start by saying I enjoy writing. I also enjoy group support.

Previously, there has been no board for LDS writer's on a broad level, except for a obscure one by Orson Scott Card at that is a little less focused.

So, I took it upon myself today, after a year of contemplation, to do something about it.


Confession: I borrowed several ideas, and even topic descriptions from a few other unrelated and semi-related forums. It would be non-sensible to reinvent the wheel when others have come before. I stand on the shoulders of... well.. you get the idea.

This is not a replacement for Author's Incognito, which I still read regularly and love dearly. It is simply a different, broader scope, and both can compliment each other.

Please tell anyone possibly interested in this venture about the website. Send them links, post it to Facebook, etc. And come join in, post topics, and more. If it becomes mildly successful, I will register it's own URL, enable chat, and upgrade to the ad-free version. If you feel a sub-board should be added, let me know. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 269 - Prepping

I am taking a short blogging break, just for a week, beyond occasional updates like this. I am prepping for a massive writing haul by delving into by outline and previous writing in The Militia. I am trying to get "in the Zone". And sometime this week, I will be locking myself away and writing like a madman.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 265 - I forgot a day!

Well, it's true. Not only did I not blog yesterday, but I forgot to write. It wasn't a conscious decision, I just plum forgot! Go figure. It was another busy day, and in between work and family, I didn't have any "me" time. And I am ok with that. I am dedicated to writing, but dedication to family, building memories, is more important. There's room for both, but there will always be more room for family.

For today's writing, I actually spent time researching a critical element of my story, being the temperature of a nuclear blast, the fall off in temperature ranges, etc. As it turns out, the epicenter reaches millions of degrees Celsius. There is rapid fall-off in temperature, but even at fifty meters out you are around 6,000 degrees Celsius. For comparison, magma peaks around 1,300 degrees Celsius (and cools from there depending on exposure and composition), while the surface of the sun is about 5,500 degrees Celsius.

Why does it matter? Because I need heat. Lots of it. And in one sudden burst. The explosion of a nuclear blast is generally not too big when comparing to the earth moving capabilities of a volcano, but the heat is important for creating a cascading effect in my story. It seems a very moderate nuclear blast goes above and beyond my needs!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 263 - So Tired

No regularly scheduled post tonight. I've been up very early for the past two days and working until late into the night. I am beat. I did my writing, but only managed a few ideas and thoughts. I need sleep! Tomorrow should be a lighter work day.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 263 - Building Buttresses Again - Self Improvement

In a previous Self Improvement, before my move to Houston, I had written an article about flying buttresses. I mentioned that Author's Incognito, blogs, family, etc were all buttresses I needed to keep me going. Now that I am back into the swing of writing, I realized I need to start building my supports back up. I spent some time late last night and today (but not too much time due to work and family) reading and commenting on other author blogs. I have been reading and posting some in the AI yahoo group. It feels good. And I feel more motivated.

In terms of writing updates, I am of course still framing. I am now at 1,672 words in my outline. That translates to a very long story written out. I will have to do some editing after I finish outlining this week!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 262 - I Framed the Ending - The Writing Report

My framing continues. IN my 15 minute writing time-box today, I mapped out the final chapter. I always knew roughly how it would go. Mapping it out, while being able to see the rest of the story at once, really helped me add more nuance to it. I've been able to better bring out not only closure for the book but portend problems in the future, thus setting up the next book without leaving loose ends that will frustrate readers (including me!). Now if only I had the rest all done... :-)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 260 - Plugging Away - The Writing Update

I am no at a week (and a day) of getting back in to regular writing and blogging. I technically missed yesterday, hence the weekend post. Christina found a sitter for Levi, and we went on a date. We ate at one of me favorite fast food restaurants, Culver's. If you haven't been to one, it's amazing. Their deserts are mind blowing (try a concrete shake with hot fudge and Oreo, or give their turtle's a go!), and you can get lots of tasty food outside of the many burgers they have there, such as a pot roast sandwich, Reuben sandwich, etc. Anyway, I digress. The short of it is that I didn't have time in the evening to write.

Tonight however I did write, and I really refined a critical juncture in the story that before had just been really lacking. I won't go into it much right now, but the problem is one perhaps you've experienced: I have two great scenes, but I can't get from point A to point B in a way that is interesting or believable. Tonight I solved it.

It's great to see the story really coming together now. I probably have about a week or two more of refinement on the story framing, and then I should be able to plow back into the writing itself. I have a good feeling about this. I think once the framing is done, it will flow nice and smooth for the most part.

* Two notes: I have taken to calling non-themed posts "The Writing Report". This is the title of my regular Monday piece, and it fits well. It also makes searching for them easier.
* Second Note: The News of the Writing World will begin again next Friday, and I don't expect many weekend blog posts after today.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 258 - General update

I don't have any interviews for now, as I am just getting in to the swing of things again. However, I did want to post, both for self-encouragement and the encouragement of others, that I am doing great on keeping my writing commitments!

Yesterday, I really fleshed out a key scene with some massive destruction happening. Today? Politics. I wrote a drat of a legislation key to the story. In fact, it came out different (and better) than I thought in its scope. In fact, it seems scarily realistic for something someone would try to pass! I hope no one in DHS with any influence reads the book and gets any ideas... :-) Suffice it to say, readers will be stunned when they read it, partially because it will really hit home. This legislation has major impact on the entire last half of the story, in to the next book. Huzzah!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 257 - The Art of Research, Part IV - Writing WIsdom

Today I reread all of my "Writing Wisdom" series. It got me very excited. Funny enough, I learned things rereading what I wrote! I realized I couldn't start up where I left off if I wasn't immersed in the previous material.

And there is the kicker. Anyone can write something. But what are you going to do? I suggest immersing yourself in the history of what's happened before (which was Part III's point). Maybe it's real history of a period or place or family. Maybe it's fictional. But make sure you have continuity. Why? Because it makes your writing that much better. You can toss in little tidbits and hints of things unseen to the reader, tantalizing allusions to some greater back story. And that gives you prequels, sequels, and a following.

Next week we'll discuss researching your audience.

Writing Update:

One word: Explosions. There was pure awesomeness in the making during my 15 minute writing time-box today. You're going to love it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 256 - Time Boxing - Self Improvement

One of the writing time techniques that has been used with Author's Incognito and several other groups is called Sprinting. It's where a timer is set, and everyone works on writing in that time, nothing else. It is pretty effective.

During the course of building an office here in Houston, I have also been spending a lot of time with memory and time management, as well as other self-improvement and motivational material. Being the only person in a start-up office means you have to be self-motivated and improving more so than normal.

One of the methods talked about frequently is actually what Sprinting is a derivative of: time boxing.

I discovered the best explanation at ( has 15 examples of uses). From that site, we read:

For those new to it, time boxing is simply fixing a time period to work on a task or group of tasks. Instead of working on a task until it’s done, you commit to work on it for a specific amount of time instead.
But don’t let the simplicity of the concept deceive you — there’s much more to this tool than meets the eye.
And it's true. It seems so simple, and yet it has revolutionized my working ability. It's not that I haven't used it in the past. I think we all have at some point. Still, when you get into the nuts and bolts of honing it as a skill, life becomes much happier, simpler, and productive.

The reason I bring this up is because it is what has allowed me to jump back on the writing train. I made a goal to do it, I set aside a brief period of time each day, and I follow through with it. Just 15 minutes. That's all I schedule. If I go more, fine. I set a countdown timer (, and when I find myself getting distracted I say "Just 9 more minutes Matt, you can do that. Focus! And I do. Because 15 minutes isn't long. Each time I look up, it's easier. I don't worry that writing is preventing me from doing other things I need to. And the timer, complete with ringing alarm, is both a taskmaster and a relief.

Give it a go. Read the article I linked. Let me know how it works out.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 255 - Happily Moving Along - The Writing Report

I wrote about another 300 words today, all in outline form. This equates to what will turn in to about 3,000 words more of text (most of my outlines have a 1:100 ratio).

I just want to say, I had several brilliant strokes in today's story framing! The "trial" of the POTUS, more details about his kidnapping, etc. Those scenes are not only much more than vague ideas, but are going to be awesome! I can't wait to read the finished product!

A few other notes from starting back up:

1) Rereading something I had left alone for several months really helped me bring a fresh set of eyes to it. I saw grammatical mistakes of course and areas to refine, but I also saw areas that may need to be cut. More importantly though... I enjoyed the story. I feel like it's going to be excellent and enjoyed by anyone who likes action thrillers.

2) There are areas I will need to rewrite due to current events. As crazy as it sounds, several things I was writing about in the future tense in the story have suddenly happened or are happening. It's a little scary. It also makes portions seem outdated. Not too much effort, but it's an interesting problem with writing a book set in the real work in the near future. Sometimes reality outpaces the speed of publication.

3) The fresh set of eyes is good. At the same time, it takes me a little bit longer tog et going each day because I am trying to gather my thoughts about what I am working on. It's like trying to remember the details about a book you really enjoyed, but can't fully explain to a friend. Three days in and it's getting better, but I have a feeling it will take a week or two to really get in the groove of it, to really pick back up the pacing, character voices and personalities.

Enjoying getting back in to writing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 254 - Second Day Back

Yesterday, I wrote about two paragraphs. It doesn't seem like much, but I also re-read about 30 pages of The Militia. Since it had been a while, I needed to make sure I caught the feel for it again. I made some edits along the way, and then added a little more.

Today I worked more on framing my story. I already have about 1/8th of The Militia written, but I was having problems filling in the areas in between major scenes to keep the story flowing at a good pace. I transferred my outlines to FreeMind, which helped immensely. It's now much easier for me to get both a bird's eye view as well as drill down when necessary to the nuts and bolts. In addition to transferring the outline, I added a good amount to it and feel like the story is much tighter in my mind now.

I know some people are not big on outlining and framing. Honestly, my first two chapters weren't outlines at all, just a few notes, and they are pretty darn awesome. This book however is an action thriller, and so pacing is everything.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 253 - The Return

It has now been officially 253 days since I began on the odyssey that is becoming published. I had hoped to be much further along in my writing at this point in time. However, as has been indicated before, I moved from Provo, Utah to Spring (Houston), Texas to open an office with my property and asset management company, Northpoint Asset Management. It has had many ups and down, but stability is nearly here. While finances are tight, the ball is rolling, things are going smoothly in client acquisition, and Christina, Levi, and I are absolutely loving Houston! It feels so good to be back in the south. Not that we didn't love Utah also, but sometimes you just feel like you belong somewhere. For us, at least for now, that place is north Houston.

As I obtain stability, it is tempting to put off writing until everything is perfect, until all our ducks are in a perfect row. The problem with that whoever is that it seems when that is the goal, it must be hunting season and down goes a duck! So today, Saturday, January 21, 2012 I intend to press forward with my writing goals. At the conclusion of posting to the blog tonight (a part of my motivational and accountability practices), I will proceed to write.

To be clear, I have already been working on one of my books. My non-fiction on common myths of history and doctrine in the LDS church (like a for church things), has had much research added to it as of late. Using mind mapping (a great tool, check out for FreeMind, my personal and free favorite), I have greatly been able to expand my research abilities and organization. Since the book is 95% research and source collection/tracking, it makes a big difference.

Tonight though, I work on fiction.

It's good to be back. Thank you for being patient

  • Total Pageviews