Those first five pages – setting the hook

All the how-to book writing books, articles, blogs and tweets insist that the first five pages of a novel manuscript are the most important. This is an author’s best chance to set a hook.

This is where readers first decide whether it’ll be worth it to read the whole book. So publishers insist they be gripping. So agents insist they be gripping. In fact, many agents ask wannabe clients to submit only the first five pages.

So do you write those pages to pander to this demand?

I’m rewriting The Murder Plague right now and I decided to give it a try. Here was my problem. The action really ramps up midway through Chapter 1 … on page seven. Too late? I decided it was.

But those first six pages have gone through multiple rewrites. I liked them as they were; at least I did after the first few drafts. What do I get rid of? Continue reading

Judges comments come back on “The Murder Plague” – they’re terrific

ImageImageI never felt so good about losing a writing contest.

Last spring I entered “The Murder Plague” in the Unpublished Novels (science fiction) category of the Florida Writers Assocition’s annual Royal Palm Literary Awards. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Florida’s a big state. There are a lot of great writers here.

So I wasn’t terribly disappointed last month when I got a notice from the contest coordinator telling me that “The Murder Plague” was not a finalist. A little bit, sure. But it was easy to shrug off. Here’s how the contest worked: We submitted both the complete manuscript and a seperate entry of the first 30 pages. Two judges would read the first 30 pages, and score them. If it scored high enough to be a finalist, then the judges would read the entire manuscript. The winner in my category was “Outpost Earth” by L.H. Davis of Malabar. Congratulations!

So when I got the letter last month saying, “sorry, you’re not a finalist” I moved on pretty quickly. I forgot that FWA promised to share the judges’ comments when the contest was finished.

Those comments, scorecards, arrived last night and they were wonderful. Continue reading

Entering The Murder Plague in a writing contest

I’ve always had mixed feelings about writing contests. On the one hand, there’s that fantasy about winning, with almost all the validation you’d ever want. On the other, there’s the reality of not winning, which leaves you grumbling that the judges are stupid because your work surely is prize-worthy.

In my day job there are a lot of awards contests for which my day-job writing is eligible. But I haven’t entered any of those contests in many years. Once you get a long losing streak, you start worrying about breaking records for losing.

But a novel is different. A novel you love like a child. It is perfect, worthy of accolades, right?

Continue reading

Full version of book trailer for my The Murder Plague novel

H ere it is, the full-length version of The Murder Plague book trailer, now available on YouTube, and here.

These trailers were created by Orlando-based (though Texan) video producer and photographer Casey J. Porter over the past few weeks. We hired four actors to read lines from the novel manuscript, playing the roles of characters Dr. Mike Andrusek, Kanetha Wilson, Guy Phillips and Det. Marty Francisco.

Porter, working from a script I worked up, edited the actors’ performances,developed the video and still images and sound effects, and then put it all together.

I’m still looking for an agent. Hello agents?

For more on the story, check The Murder Plague link on this blog.

Meanwhile, please watch the video here, and on YouTube.

Then let me know what you think of the trailer. Comment on this post, or on the YouTube post, or on my Facebook post, or send me an e-mail. Thanks.

World premier of The Murder Plague book trailer (short version) take 2

It’s done. Video producer Casey J. Porter has created two book trailers for my novel, The Murder Plague, and I am posting the short version here for a first look.

As background: the story is about a genetically-altered virus outbreak in Orlando that causes infected people to go into psychotic, homicidal rages.

I need everyone who knows me to check it out. I’m going to try to embed it here, but also am providing the YouTube Link, here, because it didn’t work the first time I tried to embed it.

I’m asking everyone who knows me to check it out and comment. In fact, if you don’t mind, check it and comment both on the blog and on the YouTube channel. Thanks.

Please let me know what you think of this short version. The long-version book trailer video will go up later today.

Video book trailer title page unveiled

Video producer Casey Porter has provided me with a clip of the title page for my The Murder Plague book trailer and I want to share it here.

First, a bit about the story: It’s about an outbreak of an infectious genetically-altered virus that causes people to go into a rage-filled psychosis.

Thus, the image of the virus cells flowing through the bloodstream.

I think the title page clip is fantastic. Please let me know what you think.