New Release and Old Writing Debauchery
I have a new release out now, so I think I should start this post by promoting the crap out of it! It's a young adult novel. I know what everyone’s thinking: That perv wrote something for teens? And of course, I think the best answer to that is simply: Who is more perverted than a teenager? Really? I basically haven’t evolved from being a fourteen-year-old boy jerking off with my boyfriend-pillow Tim (Timothy to those of you who don’t know him personally).
My new book is a dark coming of age story about a boy surviving a brutal assault at the hands of a sadistic man. Here’s the blurb:
The Night Screams
After Cal escapes a deranged kidnapper who tortured him, he doesn't even have the clothes on his back. Desperate and afraid, he breaks into a convenience store. But Jake, a clerk at the store, confronts what to him is little more than a petty thief. After a violent tussle, he knocks Cal out.
Jake encourages his Uncle Gary, the owner of the store, to report Cal to the police, but Gary can't bring himself to report a kid who was just looking to steal food. When Cal wakes, Gary asks him if he's okay. But Cal's trauma has left him mute. Instead, he has to write his experiences down, relaying the horrifying events that led him to the store. The police track down the sick man who held Cal captive, and when he confronts them with a gun, he's shot dead. However, Cal discovers that even with his captor gone, he is far from free of the nightmare he endured.
Gary and his wife welcome Cal into their home, determined to help him heal. Jake doesn't trust Cal, and he isn't afraid to say so. But buried beneath Jake's disapproval might be the person who can help Cal recover from the terrifying experience that continues to haunt him.
So go! Buy buy buy! I need money because I am a poor author and not above begging! If you’re not into that or just want to read some of my naughty stories, then go check those out. I got a sale going on right now for my
What? You don’t think I can promote a book for teens and an erotica series in the same post? You must not know about me! I’m shameless, and now that I’m starting to sound like a preacher on that awkward Sunday sermon about tithing, I think I’ll move along to other matters. Since I’m talking about my new release, I figured I’d chat a little about my writing process. I know my massive fanbase (all two of you) are dying to know my writing secrets, so this is the post where I will reveal those dark secrets that linger in the mind of a sadistic, perverted author (me!).
I’ll begin with my morning schedule, which is the most important because it’s when I get my real writing done. M-F looks like this:
- 3:30AM-4:30AM – Writing Session 1
- 4:30AM-4:45AM – Watch New Britney Video (any video that’s new can go here)
- 4:45AM-5:45AM – Writing Session 2
- 5:45AM-6:00AM – Porn Gifs on Tumblr
- 6:00AM-7:00AM – Writing Session 3
- 7:00AM-7:15AM – Porn (You can just consider this “me” time. And yes! This is timed!)
- 7:15AM-8:15AM – Writing Session 4
This is where the really intense work gets done. This doesn’t account for everything. I have side projects that I work on periodically throughout the day, but I don’t do anything but write during this time. And edits don’t count as writing! Edits, marketing (this post included), working out, and miscellaneous life responsibilities take up the rest of my day, but there’s no room for these things during the writing hours. Of course, writing can infect other hours of my day if it needs to. There’s a project I’m co-writing with another author that I now reserve a few hours for at the end of the evening, if I have time. And there’s a novella I’m writing during “off hours” as well. But from 3:30AM-8:15AM, these are the magic hours where I get most of my work done on what I consider to be my big work in progress. I write in a variety of genres, so it could be horror, erotica, romance, young adult, a mixture of the aforementioned, or any other genre that tickles my fancy. Right now, it’s a steamy erotic romance with some sexy college-aged protagonists who get real kinky. Regardless of the project, the goal during this time is to pump out the pages. They don’t have to be good pages. I have hundreds upon hundreds of crap pages that will never see the light of day. Pages that are just plain bad. Pages that make me cringe when I read back over them. My philosophy is that I treat writing like exercise. Many writers will disagree with me here. They’ll be like, “What about the muse?” My muse is a lazy motherfucker, so I don’t wait on him for shit. To paraphrase Nora Roberts, if you wait on the muse, you’re gonna be unemployed a really long time. So I never let the muse hold me hostage. I just get right to work whether he’s come to visit me or not. Sometimes, I have a good writing day. Sometimes I have a bad writing day. Regardless, I have words on the page that I can either toss away, rework, or add to my brilliant masterpiece.
Actually writing for this long can be difficult, though. What do I do on those days when the words just aren’t coming? When I’m staring at a blank screen? When I keep the clock running and nothing is getting done? Here are a couple of tricks I use to help me along:
1) Don’t panic! I know, the whole saying “Don’t panic!” and having the big exclamation point makes it seem like now you have to panic, but really, the trick is, as I sit there and just casually think about the project and where I’m at with it, I’m likely to generate ideas about where to take it if I just remain calm.
2) Working from the Negative. A brilliant teacher actually taught me this trick. It was for acting, and he said, “Start making wrong choices on purpose, and that will help you intuitively feel out what the right choices are.” So if I’m working on a contemporary romance, I might drop a mystery in the middle of the story and then as I write three pages of this crap, it’ll give me a more realistic idea of where to take the story.
3) Use a timer. I never trust myself to just sit in my chair and work on a project. I use a timer for everything. I have to keep my butt in the chair and not move away from Word until I reach my goal. I’ll permit some research—looking up a word. Looking something up on Wikipedia. If the research will take more than five minutes, I have to do it once the writing session is over (AKA When I should be watching porn!).
4) Nora Roberts speaks truth. I have a recording from Nora Roberts that I’ve created from an interview of hers to motivate myself. Basically, she just says, “Keep your ass in the chair! Keep working! Keep writing!” It really helps if I’m struggling in a particular spot or if I’m finding it unbearable to get through to the end that day. Because if anyone can be prolific, it’s NR. Even if you’re in the conspiracy theory group who thinks she uses ghostwriters now, there was a time where she was outputting just as much in the beginning of her career, so she at the very least knows how to sit there and do her damn job. And if she can do it with a bunch of rowdy kids running around, then I sure as hell can, too!
5) Never face a blank page. I just don’t do it anymore. I feel like a blank page naturally discourages me. I’ll usually take a page or two from the last project I was working on and paste it into Word just so that I feel like I’m working on any old story, not from scratch.
That’s just getting the discipline of writing every day down—something that it’s taken me a long time to do. And of course, there are obstacles. Things come up. I have to travel. I have to do a lot of things that are inconvenient with this schedule, but at the end of the day, this is the goal. This is what I’m reaching for.
Now let me walk you through a typical book from start to finish. I could get the initial seed for the story from a variety of places. Could be an idea I’ve been considering for a while. Or one that struck me one day like a heavenly vision—and I’m lucky on the rare occasions when that happens. Or I just have a burning question that I want to answer through some characters living the situation. Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. I could find it within an interesting news story…or even a boring one. From an internet feud between celebrities. The novella I’m working on now was inspired by a Kate Bush song that got me thinking about infidelity. And of course, bathhouses are great places for research and inspiration. Just sayin’. Once I have my idea, I decide how I’m going to approach the first draft. Some writers have a way they approach every book. They’ll create an outline. Or they’ll refuse to outline and just start writing from the very beginning to the very end of the book. Some mix and match. I’ve never had one approach for every book. My rule is simply: whatever it takes to get the damn thing done. I’ve written books every way. With the most detailed and meticulous outlines possible and with little more than a vague idea of what I wanted a character to be like. Either way, I’ve learned that you either write a good book or a bad book and neither approach can prevent you from creating the latter. That’s just about praying to your god and saging the house every once and a while.
I could start with an outline. I could have a few bullet points that are my outline or have a ten to twenty page outline for a book. I might skip outlining and start with what I intend to be the first scene of the book. Or I may start with a few scenes that I’m imagining very powerfully and then imagine a way that they all fit together. The main thing for me is that the first draft is about passion. It’s capturing those emotions that I want the book to evoke in me…and then hopefully in my readers. What do the characters feel in this part of the book? What do they feel during this event? What is the mood? Once I have the mood, I can make adjustments to everything else. But during this stage, I throw grammar and mechanics out the window. I just want to get down wild, uninhibited, chaotic passion. There are no rules in my drafts. I don’t even necessarily have a POV determined yet. Sometimes I do, but if I don’t, I’ll skip around until I find one that feels like it works.
No editing allowed in this first draft, either! If I tried to edit as I went, I’d never finish a book. I just keep pushing ahead. If I notice that something makes absolutely no sense based on something I wrote earlier in the book, I leave a comment for myself in Word and move on. I can get back to it later! Right now, I have a first draft to finish and that’s the most important thing in the world. A first draft can start off being 20,000 words and turn into 80,000. It can start off 130,000 words and end up 52,000 words. Or start off with 71,000 words and end up at 70,999 words. It really just depends on how much work needs to be done after I’ve poured my heart into that draft, and the amount of labor involved is different every time. It’s hard work. Very hard work. Of course, there are those incredible days where everything flows and clicks together just right. But there are also a lot of times where you’re staring at your story, screaming, “Why? God, oh why? Is this the last book I’ll ever be able to write?! Will they hate it? Will they hate me?” And then I keep on writing anyway, steadily driving myself insane, but at least still writing. Hell, better to capture that craziness on the page, right? At least when I make it to being the next Stephen King, I can be like, “That’s the story I wrote when I was going crazy! Isn’t it the weirdest thing you’ve ever read?” And then I’ll have the misfortune of listening to assholes say things like, “It doesn’t even make any sense. It’s just gibberish. You self-published this, right?” Just a bunch of naysayers, though. Remember that even Katharine Hepburn was labeled box office poison for many years until her then-boyfriend Howard Hughes purchased the film rights to The Philadelphia Story, which became her comeback role—proving that anyone can make a comeback if their boyfriend has enough money. (I love Katharine Hepburn, though, so don’t mistake this for a dis. Just an observation, really.)
Once the first draft is done, the editing process begins. Self-editing, that is. Not the kind you get from a friend, a beta-reader, or a publishing house. Oh, hell no! It’s way too soon for that. I need to check all my plot points. Make sure my characters’ motivations follow through from one scene to the next. I’ve found that crying helps me a lot during this editing process. I get used to thinking things like, “Why did I ever write this stupid piece of shit?!” Similar to the issue during the writing process, but still its own thing as well. I just keep working. The goal isn’t to have the best book ever written. It’s to have a coherent idea that makes sense and still contains those emotions and ideas that I was trying to desperately capture in that first draft. If it works, it works. If not, then I’ll hear about it from reviewers and realize that at least I had a reason to cry through all that work.
Keep in mind, while I’m editing this work in progress, I’m working on a new story. I have this major project that I’m trying to get right and also this other one that I’m spending my mornings on. So I’m a busy busy bee. Gotta make that honey…I mean money. And this cycle continues again and again and again. The publishing process is a whole other matter, so I’ll save that for another time. But this is how I get the story down on the page and create what will become the product that I’m trying to sell—to publishers and to readers. These are my big secrets, which aren’t really so secret or different than many other writers out there. At the end of the day, the only way to write a book is to write it. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad. But I have to write it for it to be either of those things, and fearing that it will be terrible isn’t going to get me anywhere but staring at a blank page for a few minutes and then watching YouTube videos for the rest of the day. I’ve been there. It’s not a good place to be. And that YouTube video can be watched another time.
That’s all I have time for today, folks, but I’m hoping readers and writers alike have enjoyed the little glimpse into the work. (Fill in random chatter chatter chatter about new book here so that the publisher is happy. No, this isn’t a note to me. It’s a note for you!) Thanks for checking out my post, and I’ll be back again next month with something raw and nasty…maybe a dick! Who knows? Leave comments, too. I always swing by to answer, and in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not really shy.
Meet Devon McCormack
Devon McCormack spends most of his time hiding in his lair, adventuring in paranormal worlds with his island of misfit characters. A good ole Southern boy, McCormack grew up in the Georgian suburbs with his two younger brothers and an older sister. At a very young age, he spun tales the old fashioned way, lying to anyone and everyone he encountered. He claimed he was an orphan. He claimed to be a king from another planet. He claimed to have supernatural powers. He has since harnessed this penchant for tall tales by crafting whole worlds where he can live out whatever fantasy he chooses.
A gay man himself, McCormack focuses on gay male characters, adding to the immense body of literature that chooses to represent and advocate gay men's presence in media. His body of work ranges from erotica to young adult, so readers should check the synopses of his books before purchasing so that they know what they're getting into.
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