Sunday, January 18, 2015

JAKE ELLIOT: Five Things Learned Writing THE WRONG WAY DOWN

Katia is an accomplished thief. She accepted a job with a heavy price for failure;
her life.
Popalia, is the acolyte priestess who has vowed to return her church's stolen
treasure. Ambitious and impetuous, she'll go to any lengths and pay whatever cost.
Wynkkur is a self-taught sorcerer who miscasts as much as he evokes. He's been
conscripted as a bodyguard and sent on a hopeless mission.
This is not the path to their victories, but the story of their fall. This is The
Wrong Way Down.
PJW: I "met" Jake while being part of the FADING LIGHT: AN ANTHOLOGY OF THE MONSTROUS. He wrote a tale that made the book. I wrote a tale that made the book. (Well, the Companion ebook anyway as the paperback was already filled to bursting and the editor/publisher didn't want to exclude about five other stories so...I got in by the skin of writer's teeth.)
I think I wrote and subbed a short story to a 1950's Cthulhu antho Jake was editor of. I didn't make the cut, but still kept my eyeballs on Elliot because, basically, he is a fine write and great human being.
So here he is talking about writing and THE WRONG WAY DOWN.
What I’ve learned since writing The Wrong Way Down is this:
1. Be patient.
They say patience is a virtue. I don’t have many virtues, but I have found great
value in patience. So far, as a writer, being impatient has only hurt me. Several
fans are like, “Dude! Where is book three?” It is being polished. Whenever I think
a story is done, it is not. A month, maybe two months later, it is easier to see
the weak points in the characters, storyline, and editing. Book Three: Hounds of
the Hunted will be my best book yet all thanks to the virtue of patience.

2. Sometimes, the story has a better idea than you do—go with it and see.
The scene depicted on the cover was never part of my original outline.  The story
was moving in a direction, but it wasn’t very eventful. Realizing the book needed a
kick in the pants, out of nowhere emerged the idea for a bear-like beast to stumble
into our heroes’ camp at night. The monster awoke everyone while eating their
rations of food, and the writing flowed out magically easy. Many readers have told
me the bear-scene is among their favorite parts of The Wrong Way Down—and the
bear-beast was never intended to be there.

3. When reading a poor opinion of your work, “Shhh, be quiet.”
This is experience talking. A popular reviewer gave my second book, Crossing
Mother’s Grave, a less than great review. Although I was smart enough not to say
anything on his website, I was dumb enough to bitch about it on Facebook. Too many
people saw it.
Don’t do that unless you want to look like an ass.
I looked like an ass. I doubt that reviewer will give book three a favorable
review, but we’ll see when Hounds of the Hunted is finished. If he won’t read it,
or if he gives it a worse review, then it is already my fault—so this time I’ll
just shut up and take my lumps.

4. The cover really does sell the book
Below is the original cover for The Wrong Way Down. What do you think? Which book
do you want to read?

PJW: I prefer the new cover. To me it is more dynamic, more eye-catching.

5. A painfully hard lesson—writing isn’t a ‘get rich scheme.’
I totally thought I was going to make a mountain of money on my awesome idea. Check
it! Who wouldn’t want to read about a crazy bear-beast that tries to eat a group of
elves? I could see myself lying in bed at night, taking handfuls of Benjamins and
throwing them high up into the air, emitting gay giggles as the bills trickled upon
my naked body. Then, with millions snowing down around us, I’d take my wife in a
romantic pose, and make love to her until dawn.
Reality check. Writing is more like this—
On bad months, I can usually afford a six-pack of craft beer from my royalties. On
good months I can buy a bottle or two of good whiskey—and this one time, I made
enough to take my wife out for dinner. Our hope is that someday my royalties will
actually pay a bill or two. That would be something. However, I have established a
loyal readership—so damn the money to Hell—right?

Thank you Peter, for letting me have free reign on your web-site for a day. It has
been a lot of fun and I think you should come over to my page in the not-so-distant
future. Just don’t break any furniture, cool?
PJW: No promises, Mr. Elliot. Right now I am traveling around in a 72-ton armored
transport. LOL
Author Bio
Having live all across the United States, fantasy author Jake Elliot currently
resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and their giant cat. (He’s twenty
pounds and a bit sensitive about his big belly.) Jake has been published nine
times, including two novels and seven short stories.
Birds fly, fish swim, Jake writes.
What to expect:
1) All stories will have complex and interesting characters.
2) Action scenes will be visceral and compelling.
3) A developed system of both arcane and divine magic.
4) Dichotomy–although characters tend to be good guys, each story is rich with
darkness and irony. With a love for writing about moral themes–I prefer to focus on
the mistakes characters make rather than projecting self-righteousness.
My 1950's Cthulhu is still out there, Jake. It continues to sleep 900 feet below the surface of Lake Michigan. Boo!
Author Links