122 Rules by Deek Rhew

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Meradeth Houston - Top 10 Writing Tips

Hi, Meradeth and thanks for hosting me today!

There have been a million writing tips coughed up like hairballs on the carpet by a million writers over the years. I myself have been a gluttonous consumer of any tidbit that would help turn my scribbles to something more than just regurgitate mundane monotony. Now, as I'm poised on brink of being pubbed for the first time, I get to pass on a little of what I've learned.

So, without further ado, here are my...

Top 10 Writing Tips!

Tip #10: Drink copious amounts of caffeine. If I were a vehicle, my engine wouldn't be powered by something as typical as gasoline or diesel, but by the jet fuel otherwise known as caffeine. My tanker truck doesn't say "BPA" or "Enron" on its shiny hull, but "Starbucks." Man do I love that stuff. Like most people in the writing biz, I work full-time to pay the bills and don't have the luxury of picking when I get to write. Instead, I snag it when it becomes available. Usually early-early in the morning or late at night and, brotha, there is nothing like a cup of dark roast to keep my eyelids open! Tip #9: Have a fat cat literary cat by your side. My bride, Erin Rhew, and I are way lucky to have a fat tabby cat that's willing to sit with us hour-by-hour as we dole out the words. Sometimes we get distracted by Facebook or Twitter, especially when the words are slow, but there isn't anything like catching a selfie with a cuddly—albeit a bit surly—literary cat.

Tip #8: Peanut butter! I LOOOOOOOVVVE peanut butter! In the afternoon when my stomach starts to growl and I need a distraction, nothing beats a scoop of PB. If you need an even bigger pick-me-up, add some chocolate chips and a Coke Zero. Now we're cooking with gas!

Tip #7: Have characters you love. I love my characters. I like their good elements, flawed elements, and their evil elements. Okay, I especially like the evil elements (see tip #6). You have to love your characters, find them interesting, and let them grow and fail. All we, as authors, do is document their progress. "Love" is kind of an interesting word. Maybe find them interesting, at least. I sure don't "love" Erebus, my main bad douche from 122, but I couldn't imagine this world without him!

Tip #6: Have a really great bad guy. I've always said that the most interesting characters are the bad guys. There is no Luke Skywalker, Spiderman, or Thor without Darth Vader, Lex Luthor, and Loki. As I mentioned in Tip #6, Erebus is my big-time bad guy in 122, along with his boss, Laven Michaels. You do NOT want to be in a room with either of these guys, but wow, do I love writing for them. I just hope I don't get anything they said wrong. No, I wouldn't want to do that. <gulp>

NOTE: My inner geek is VERY proud that Word fixed "Skywalker" for me when I misspelled it. #GeeksUnite

Tip #5: Music. Before I switched my major to something geeky—and that would, ya know, pay the bills—I was a music major. Tunes—beat, harmony, melody, tempo—they are in my bones, and there is nothing that will focus my thoughts and feelings like a great playlist. I listen to everything from grunge to jazz to a cappella, and depending on what mood I need to be in for a scene, I have a playlist to go with it. Spotify is easily the best $10 a month business expense we have. This only applies to raw material. For edits I have to have:

Tip #4: Quiet. While raw material is pure emotion and imagination, edits are the other side of the brain. Does this make sense? Can this be said better? Does this need to be expanded? Is this telling? Can this be cut? Is this passive? On and on and on. Distractions simply don't cut it for edits, so find some place that you can concentrate. My time spent writing is about ten-to-one edits vs raw material, so most of the time, I need quiet.

Tip #3: Know your tools. What the smay is this all about? I'm not talking about drills and hammers, my friends. I'm talking about your writing software, your thesaurus, your lookup tools. This seems odd, but I can't tell you how much better my life has been since I spent 30 minutes watching a video on my edition of Word. It seems really straight-forward, but there are hidden features that solve problems you "live" with. One of the things I learned about is Office Live. Heard of it? Probably not. But if you had you'd know that you can keep your Office documents in the cloud for free and multiple people can work on them at the same time. That there are online versions of Word, Excel, and Power Point and, yep, they are all free. You will NEVER lose a file again. Keep them in the cloud and work on them, seamlessly with the software you use. You may think you know your tools, but take a few minutes and check them out on YouTube. You might be surprised.

Tip #2: Write what scares you. I remember when I was writing the rough draft of "Birth of an American Gigolo" and first getting to know Lindsey and Dios and Angel, I thought, these guys are going to get me ostracized from the writing world. There are some seriously controversial subjects that unfold in its 113 pages, and I actually considered not trying to publish this book at all, or at the very least cutting way back on some of what happens. Instead, I let it all hang out. The characters had a story to tell and by gum I was their faithful transcriber. I love what happens and now wouldn't dream of trying to take that away from them. So push the limits of what you're comfortable with.

Don't let your limits be your characters' limits.

Tip #1: Marry a beautiful and smart writer/grammarian. I joke that I got struck by lightning while winning the lottery twice when Erin agreed to be my wife. Yes, she's beautiful, but behind her contagious laughter, charming smile, and large blue eyes lies a wickedly sharp mind and smart wit. She's a brilliant writer and knows grammar like no one's business. I've learned SO much from her and grown as an author by leaps and bounds from her tutelage. Yes, I love these things about her. But what she is to my mind, she's even more to my heart.

Erin is my Ideal Reader and my staunchest supporter. Let's face it, writing is a long, often tedious task. You spend hours and hours deciding how to word things and spend even longer yo-yoing back and forth between thinking you're pretty good and hoping people will find the pages you write worthy of being fish wrap. When I write, I write for her. When I read something aloud, I think of her as being my audience and wonder if my characters will touch her heart, make her laugh, or give her chills. Everyone needs someone like that in their lives. Everyone. So, my friends, go find your Erin. (Sorry, this one is spoken for!) You, your life, and your writing will be immeasurably improved by her!

That's all I've got for today. Thanks for hosting me, Meradeth!

Birth of an American Gigolo, the deets from Deek!

Okay, so what the heck is "Birth of an American Gigolo" about?

Here's the blurb from the back of the book:

An old party girl shoehorned into domestic divaship, infuriated by her husband's cheating and his holier-than-thou, tree-hugging, no-tits and no-hips girlfriend, inflicts her wrath by training a local boy in the fine art of seduction. She and her new boy toy turned love god start a gigolo business as a distraction for the neglected and mistreated housewives of Alabaster Cove.

Lindsey, the queen of Alabaster Cove
In a nutshell, it's about screwing up. Lindsey compromised her principles and force herself into being something she's not. In college, she had a scare and crammed herself into a life of domestication. Years later, she's stuck in a smelly armpit of a marriage and a life that's foreign and dismal. But when she finds out her husband is a cheater and liar, she and her inner, long-dormant party animal load the cannons and battens down the hatches. Together, they concoct a plan to revenge themselves out of the cesspool of their existence and create a new throne from which to plant her royal tush and rule the town.

George is nowhere in sight!

What isn't it about? Sex! There is a little of course, because, well, it's about an angry and betrayed party girl and her boy toy. But if you're looking for long descriptions of people's kibbles and bits and how they sizzle and sauté them into a goulash of passion and uninhibited fornication, then you'd better look for a different blend of Chex Mix, cause, brother, this ain't it.

Okay, domestic diva...check. No George Michael in sight...check. Humorous situations where an angry party girls runs over a scooter with a Hummer...check.

Alright, my friends, first, check out the amazeballs cover by Anita from Race-Point.com:

Birth of an American Gigolo by Deek Rhew
Bask in the glory that is awesome, spellbinding art. <cue Hallelujah Chorus>

Visit the "Birth of an American Gigolo" home page.
Birth of an American Gigolo

Take a gander at Goodreads! 

Cruise on over to Amazon. "Birth" is available January 19, 2016!

About the Author
Deek Rhew
Deek lives in a rainy pocket in the Pacific Northwest with the stunning YA author bride, Erin Rhew, and their writing assistant, a fat tabby named Trinity. They enjoy lingering in the mornings, and often late into the night, caught up Erin’s fantastic fantasy worlds of noble princes and knights and entwined in Deek’s dark underworld of the FBI and drug lords.

He and Erin love to share books by reading aloud to one another. In addition, they enjoy spending time with friends, running, boxing, lifting weights, and exploring the little town--with antique shops and bakeries--they call home.

Connect with Deek!

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