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Chapter 6 is done

Having the mornings to myself has allowed me to do quite a bit of writing.  My mother-in-law just finished Dragonverse and she had many positive comments.  I think people like Dragonverse better than any of my other books!  Chapter 6 is done and the storyline is beginning to solidify.  Things are beginning to build and the action is about to begin.  Chapter 7 will be the start of the major action.  I'm still uncertain how I'm going to end this one.  I have not forgotten what the one reviewer told me about my first book - it was predictable.  So, I want to make this one unpredictable.  The question is How?  Which of my main characters should suddenly become the hero of the story?

On another note: The fact that I've been able to continue work on Ishnef's revenge and have made decent progress even though I've been working some long hours and dealing with the Christmas rush and the associated family obligations, shows that anyone truly driven to write can find the time to do so.  I will be going on shift tech rotation next week and I see several days where I should be able to get some writing done even though I will be working rotating 12 hour shifts.  When I go to Beaver Valley, I can write on my one day off.  So, if you say you don't have time to write - I call BS on that one.  If you're driven to write, then you find the time no matter how tight your schedule is.

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Dragonverse starting to move along

Encouraged by my first fan email, I've made an effort to get some writing done.  Yesterday I spent all day putting together a new dresser and shoveling snow but did manage to get a little bit of chapter 4 completed.  This morning I woke up at 5:00am and decided to get up.  If I was not dedicated to writing I would have gone back to bed but I wanted to get moving on Isnef's Revenge.  I've finished chapter 4 and will be starting chapter 5.

Although I have a general outline of the book in my head, I'm letting the book work itself out as I write.  Each chapter is a challenge as I am forced to come up with the details to write.  Some authors have a very detailed idea (often in writing) of how the entire storyline will progress.  I don't - and never have.  I may have a few scenes in my head and sometimes in great detail, but I have never started a book and known how each chapter is going to play out.  Ishnef's Revenge is no different.  I have only a vague idea how things are going to progress.  What's so exciting about writing a book like this is that the subconscious tends to work things out and to hold onto certain important facts while the book is being written.  I've often surprised myself when things unexpectedly pop out on the keyboard.  Bits and pieces of the storyline that appeared at the beginning of the book congeal and become important toward the end and not because I designed them that way.

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Busy - busy - busy

In my last blog I stated that we had moved in on Sunday before Thanksgiving.  We had 14 people over for dinner on Thanksgiving day.  We did not cook a large turkey this year - we cheated and cooked a couple of turkey breasts.  After having stayed up until the wee hours of the morning working on getting the house in order there was no way I was going to get up at 4:30am to start a turkey cooking.

We are now settled in except for a few straggler boxes.  We love the new house.  Now that we are settled in, the possibility of writing is once again present.  I seriously debated putting all writing on hold until after the two outages I will be going to next year but that would mean not working on a book for at least another 5 months.  Unacceptable!  Even with working 12 hours a day I should be able to squeeze a few hours a month into working on a book.

So, yesterday, I loaded up Ishnef's Revenge and reread what I had written so far.  The delay has allowed me to gel some more ideas concerning this book and I made some minor changes as I read through it.  I started adding to the end of chapter 2 and today I hope to finish that chapter and begin on chapter 3.  Being on days is another advantage since Cheryl has a habit of staying up quite late.  I get up early and that gives me a few hours to write.  When I go to Beaver Valley I will be on nights and on my night off I can spend a considerable amount of time writing.

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Moved in

 We moved in yesterday and spent our first night in our new home.  Lots still to do such as finishing installing the floor transition pieces, shades and drapes in two rooms, shelves in the hall closet and finding a home for all our stuff.  Time to get to work!

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Writing on hold

Well I must put all writing on hold - at least for the next month or so.  We closed on our house on the 27th and that is now my #1 priority.  Yes I will think about writing (can't help that) but actually putting words into the computer will not happen.  I'm working 12 hour days (and a few nights) while also trying to get things set up in the new house.  Not enough time.  Anyway, I will eventually get back to writing.

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I hate being too busy to write!  My wife and I are buying a new house and we have been so busy with that along with having to do the current house's yard work that writing has not been possible.  I have chapter one of Ishnef's revenge complete - turned out pretty good.  Chapter two has gotten off to a rough start.  I know what I want to do with this book but getting it started is proving to be difficult.  The reviewer who read my first book said she would liked to have seen more adventure and action.  She also said I was a bit predictable.  I'm going to try to avoid that this time around.  Oh well, I will write when I can write - that's all one can ask for.

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Couldn't resist

I just could not resist the urge to write book 2 of Dragonverse.  I have a pretty good idea as to where I want to head and so I fired up OpenOffice and began writing.  Chapter one is complete.  I have to work tomorrow (Sunday) 12 hours and as long as I'm not busy doing other stuff I should have a few hours to devote to chapter two.

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SFFWorld thread

Just started a new threat at SFFWorld concerning the creation of the main alien species in my next book - Phobia.  Let's see what the forum members can come up with concerning this new race.

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It's just past 0230 (2:30am for those who don't use military time) and I'm staying up getting ready for a two week stint at night shift.  It's been a busy weekend: my mother-in-law is at University Hospital in Cleveland which is about a 45 minute drive from here; we are going through our house in preparation for moving into a new home; I have a ton of reading, scanning, and writing I want to do; and there are a million other things demanding my attention.  Such is life these days.

I've been working on Phobia even though the complete storyline is not yet solidified.  I have a general idea but I've been stymied by a few major points.  I must somehow disable the ship to the point that the crew are forced to abandon it yet it must be repairable by a civilization that has reached our current level of technology.  Then there is the alien race the crew contacts.  How will the crew learn their language?  I need to injure a few of them so they end up in an alien medical facility - how?  I want the crew to be involved in transforming the culture they've been forced to rely on for their safe return to human space - how?  I have some general ideas but no obvious solutions. 

Normally when this happens I just begin writing and the story tends to take care of itself.  I've actually thrown away several pages in the first draft (currently only 10 pages long) as things begin to shake themselves out.  Eventually the storyline will be clear and the words will flow into the hard drive.  But for now, I write a little here and there and spend the rest of the time just thinking.

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Books are now on Scribd

I learned about while participating in some of the SFFWorld forums.  I did not know much about it but thought I would check it out.  I am impressed!  I do follow the Smashwords theory that most people are honest and will gladly pay a small fee to encourage an author to continue writing.  So, I uploaded all my books to Scribd making them available as non-DRM PDF files.  Within minutes I had several people reading the books and a few had downloaded the free technical reference manual.  It will be interesting to see where Scribd takes my books.  I have sold 20 books on Amazon this month and only 1 on Smashwords.  It would be nice if Scribd can do better.

We will be heading to the bookstore today for a few hours.  I plan on reading some more and doing some writing as well.

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Another book to read

I found another good book to read to help learn how to write better.  It's "How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy" by Orson Scott Card.  I started reading it at the bookstore yesterday.  I downloaded it today and will finish reading it on my Kindle.  I must also admit that the writer's itch had to be scratched so I opened up Phobia and started making changes.  I found a lot of things that needed editing.  Luckily, I had written only 10 pages so far.

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Itching to write

Finished  "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to edit yourself into print".  I found the book to be informative and quite helpful.  Now I'm itching to write.  I might work on Phobia next since I have most of the storyline planned out.  Still trying to get a handle on the storyline for the second Dragonverse book.  I want to come up with something that is not only exciting to read, has a good moral story to tell, and keeps the reader interested, yet has an unpredictable plot twist that gives the book a major bang at the end.  I will keep you posted.

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09-18-2010 Update

I was working 12 hour days all last week so had very little time to get any reading done.  I did learn that "The Little Red Writing Book" that my wife picked up for me is not meant for writers of fiction but for writers of technical manuals and reports.  I will be giving it to Goodwill.  I have about 100 pages left to read on "Self Editing for Fiction Writers".  It has been a great help and has given me some good pointers.

I recently found out I will be working 12 hour nights, 6 days a week, at the Beaver Valley outage in Spring.  This is actually a good thing as it will give me some time to write on my one day off while I stay up late at night.  My current plans are to go back and finish Phobia before I start on the second Dragonverse book.  I haven't decided if I will make Phobia a printed volume or not.  I guess it depends on just how many pages it turns out to be.  Right now, the plot does not have a lot of action in it but I hope to come up with something to change that.  I'm still working on the plot for Dragonverse book 2.

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Still reading to learn

Just finished reading "The Glamour of Grammer" by Roy Peter Clark.  The book had a few good points but all-in-all I found a good portion of it to be rambling.  I prefer the more direct approach - tell me what I need to know in simple, direct format providing short, clear examples if necessary.  There were many examples, but they were long and I quickly lost focus.

I've been spending time on several forums ( and and I've learned of a book I thought I should read next.  I've downloaded a copy of "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to edit yourself into print."  That is up next.

I am getting the writer's itch again!  I am going to be working 12 hour days for the next 5 days so I will have little time to read much less write.  Plus, I've told myself that I'm going to take the time to learn how to become a better writer - which is what I am going to do.

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Labor Day update

Finished reading "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman.  Started "The Glamour of Grammar" by Roy Peter Clark.  On deck is "The Little Red Writing Book" by Brandon Royal.  While I read these I am reflecting on my past writings looking for ways to improve.

On another note - sales took an unexpected jump with a burst of purchases from the UK and the US.  I am anxious to begin Dragonverse book 2 but will hold off until I know for sure how the story is going to flow.  I might decide to pick back up with Phobia in a couple weeks.  I've got to be careful though as I will be going on 12 hour days, 6 days a week coming up in February of 2011.  I don't want to be 2/3's of the way through the book and have to put it aside for 3 months because I don't have the time to write.

Back to learning and improving...

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In the beginning

My blog - I thought I would never say that.  But this is the world we live in today.  People twitter their every action, Facebook is unbelievably popular, and blogging is now common-place.  My name is Doug Farren and I am an author.  That's not my primary job, but it's the one I enjoy the most.  I have published 4 books with more on the way.  They are:

Galactic Alliance Series:  Translight!,  Chroniech!,  and Honor Thy Enemy.  This is hard-core, high-tech, star wars style, knock-down drag-out space warfare at its best.

Dragonverse:  My first foray into fantasy.  This book has been reviewed with a fairly good rating.  You can read the review be clicking on this link: Book review

You can get previews of my books and purchase them at:  Smashwords author profile

I work at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Northeast Ohio.  I am an instrumentation and controls (I&C) technician and have been working at the plant since 1989.  Prior to that, I was an ET nuke in the US Navy.  We are the ones that run the reactor that powers the propulsion system of the nuclear powered ships.  I am an avid fan of science fiction and love to read about advances in technology

At the moment, I'm taking a bit of a hiatus from writing while I do some reading on how to improve my writing.  I accept criticism as an opportunity for improvement.  The review of Dragonverse indicated I need to make some improvements.  While many have read my books and given me good comments, it's the comments of those that I failed to completely satisfy that interest me the most.  I want to become a better writer and the only way for that to happen is to learn from my mistakes.

I can be reached at farrendoug at hotmail.  (Address muddied a bit to prevent web-bots from snagging it).