For Aspiring Writers

22 09 2016

write-593333_1920   Everywhere I travel and speak, I meet people who are writing or wanting to write. I want to encourage you to go for it! There have never been as many tools and services available for writers as we have now. Professional editors, cover artists, formatters, and marketers are available to make sure the self-published author produces a quality book. And if you want to learn how to do everything yourself, there are tutorials everywhere.

I’ve also met so many helpful people along my writing journey who have taken time to answer my questions, inspire me, or point me in the right direction. If any of you have questions about writing, I’d be happy to do my best to answer them too.

An easy way to ask me what’s on your mind is by adding to the questions I’m already answering at:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/5813900.Jim_Baton/questions

Take a look there at what I’ve already said and add your own writing process queries.

[Please ask questions related to Christian-Muslim relations on my blog Q&A page.]

And if you’ve already written a book but can’t seem to get people to buy it, let me encourage you to not only keep learning about marketing, but to get to work on that second book! I recently read that Ted Dekker (one of my favorite authors) wrote 4 books that were never published before someone liked his 5th book and his career was launched.

I recognize that in the process of writing my first few books, I’m still learning the craft. Hopefully each book gets significantly better.

That’s one reason I’m so excited about my next book hopefully coming out before Christmas—A VIOLENT LIGHT—I think it’s the best written of my books yet. It will keep you on the edge of your seat, puzzling with the main character to figure out what is fear and what is real, with a nail-biting climax that could keep you up all night.

But more about my new book later. Today’s post is to motivate you to a) ask questions, and b) keep writing!

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Entering the Writer’s Alternate Reality

23 05 2016

writing[1]I felt tremendous joy and satisfaction this week watching my second novel, A WAY OUT OF HELL, pop up on Amazon.com! Nearly two years of work finally ready to be shared with the world. But if writing a novel is difficult, for me getting the word out to people is much more of a challenge. As my daughter reminds me often, she has 10x as many followers on Facebook as I do. A huge THANKS to any readers who want to help me by passing the word along to others!!

I want to thank my wife for supporting me to write, even though she’s not a big fan of the process. When we get together at dinner, her stories are generally about comforting abused kids, hugging a prostitute, or praying for a naked crazy person on the street. My wife smells a crisis a mile away and wants to be the first to jump in and love somebody who’s hurting.

Then I tell her about my day, with stories equally dramatic, heart-felt and amazing—except they’re not real. I get all teary-eyed about what my fictional character said to her mother, or worried about how my hero is going to get out of the desperate corner I’ve written him into. My wife just stares at me. And if I talk too long, she reminds me that fiction is boring and I should engage in real people’s lives.

One benefit of these conversations is that her real-life stories creep into my book, lending it a realistic authenticity. Another benefit is that when I’m writing, she literally has no interest in bugging me so I get a lot done. But best of all, is that I actually do get inspired by her to stretch my introvert self and once in a while join her “holy, holy chaos.”

I’m sure different authors approach writing differently. For me so far, each book has started with a message I wanted to share, something I believe could truly change my readers’ paradigms. Around the message I built a story about characters wrestling with these issues.

Sometimes halfway through the story, the characters begin to take on a life of their own, and want to take the story to new places I hadn’t planned. I always listen to them, and let them lead. I may be their Creator, but it’s so much more interesting to give them Free Will and see what might happen. 🙂

In both of my books so far that phenomena has occurred, and I’m finding it even more a reality in the third book of the series that I’m editing right now. With God’s help (and some capable friends!) book #3 in the Peace Trilogy will be out by Christmas.

Whether a story is real or fiction, narrative carries the emotive power necessary to open our minds to fresh ways of thinking, to inspire us to take new risks, to envision us with what could be.

Thank you for reading my stories! Please post your feedback for me here or at Amazon.com.

(And if you ever purchase a defective book online, just let me know and I’ll get you a replacement! 🙂 )