Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 4:View point, Plot Twists and Being a Part-Time Writer with Eric James Stone

Eric James Stone joins us for our final Mountain-Con episode. This Q&A covers writing part-time (and Dan disqualifies himself from answering this question in future episodes), setting deadlines for yourself, writing plot twists, and providing character description within that character’s viewpoint.


31 thoughts on “Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 4:View point, Plot Twists and Being a Part-Time Writer with Eric James Stone”

  1. Wow, this podcast is right on time for those of us doing the NaNaWriMo this month.

    Thanks once again Gentlemen for a great podcast.

  2. I love the irony of you guys warning us away from the Internet on an online podcast.

    …Of course, the fact that I’m here right now sort of proves the point. Shh!

  3. reading fiction is better then reading stuff on the internet huh. What if you are reading fiction on the internet? Some people put up some good original stories you know.

  4. Great Cast, it’s just too bad that being a full time student with a job leaves little wiggle room. I cant give up either one yet. Still, I’m not doing to poorly at the moment.

  5. When I’ve scheduled dedicated writing time it’s been at night after my wife and kids have gone to bed, hence avoiding giving up time with the family. I’d rather give up sleep hours than family time. I usually find myself writing somewhere between 11:00 p.m. -2:00 a.m. with a goal of putting down at least 2,500 words in a session. It’s been a while since I wrote, though. I finished a first draft last summer then decided to shelve it because another idea that I liked a lot better popped into my head and has been quietly percolating ever since. I’ve been trying to get myself motivated to get some worldbuilding and outlining out of my head and down on paper so I can actually start writing again. And I hereby second the comment from a week or two ago that called for more worldbuilding podcasts!

  6. Dan quit his job? In this economy? I need a refresher course on how much authors make for a living. From the horror stories I’ve heard, it’s not good. Maybe a refresher course on the real life of writers would be beneficial to someone like me (ignore all the world-building requests – sorry guys, just kidding of course). Dan must really be bringing home the bacon (that’s for Dan) to be able to quit his job. Congrats! Great work again guys. Love the podcast and keep them coming.

  7. Without getting into details, I’ll tell you that I sold German rights to my trilogy for what will be, in the end, about three years’ worth of what I was earning at my corporate job. Of course, that’s assuming the Euro doesn’t continue to plummet, but at the very least I’ve got a couple of years of frugal living.

  8. Hey that is great Dan! Congrats. You give hope to the rest of us! Thanks for making me laugh and more importantly helping me to believe in myself and write. Great work.

  9. M, maybe the horror stories you’ve heard about how much writers make were written by Dan (he is a horror novelist after all). If you’ve heard them second- or third-hand, he may be earning royalties on the additional distribution. That might have contributed to him getting to quit his day job.

  10. I’ll join the chorus – congrats Dan.

    Didn’t you mention this on a ‘cast a few weeks ago? *scratches head* I swear I remember you mentioning the sold-in-Germany and job-quitting thing before.

    Or did I just have some sort of weirdly prescient hallucination?

  11. The amount that writers make varies widely. Averages are skewed by folks like J. K. Rowling and Steven King at one end, and all the folks that do it part time and only publish a couple of short stories every few years at the other end.

    There are a couple of websites out there with harder data, but it boils down to: you can make a decent living at writing fiction full time IF you take it seriously and treat it like a job (write every day, etc), if you don’t confine yourself to one genre (otherwise you’ll end up competing against yourself) and if you’re willing to write under several pen names. (This wisdom comes from Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who do exactly this.) There are exceptions to all these of course, but you have to be that much better (and a bit luckier) a writer.

    The flip side of that is, don’t quit your day job until you’re regularly pulling in a livable income from your writing and you’ve got enough money in the bank to see you through a period (at least six months, a year is better) of no income.

    And I’ll add my congratulations too: Well done, Dan, it helps keep the rest of us inspired.

  12. I missed last weeks episode being on the road traveling like a mad man. I get to hear two at once tonight on the commute home. Looking forward to it mucho!

  13. Gracias to all, you’re too kind. I know deep down inside you’re all cursing my name and sneering jealously. I consider myself very lucky to be where I am, but remember that I didn’t get here until after ten years of writing, submitting, getting rejected, going to cons, and working for five different corporations as a writing flunky.

    Dave Wolverton told me once that if you put the same amount of time and work into your writing career as a doctor puts into their medical schooling, you’ll end up being just as successful. All it takes is hard work.

  14. Another make the time datapoint: Mary Higgins Clark was a single mom working a day job and wrote her first novel by getting up at 5 AM so she could get in 1-1.5 hours of writing a day. There are few people busier than a single, working mom. But she did it. All it takes is some faith and commitment.

    As for Dan’s recent success, we’re not sneering jealously. We’re people of action. We’re plotting something big.

  15. John got it right. We’re not sneering jealously – we’re just plotting your downfall, which we will accomplish by writing like demons and making ourselves the Next Big Thing.

    Or something.

  16. By the way John and Raethe, when the last details of the plot are ready let me know and I will make sure the necessary explosives are on hand.
    I forget did we decide on whether to leave enough afterward for DNA identification or not?

    Having read a draft of Dan’s novel, I must say that everything he is earning is well worth it.
    P.S. Dan, never send a self destructing manuscript to an explosives guy. Just so you know, as a piece of delicious irony, the trigger mechanism from your manuscript will be used in the grand plot against you. ;P After all, we mustn’t stop the bomb from becoming.

  17. I write music, and the carrot I dangle is usually a book. Though I’d be better off with something heavier than carrots ’cause I could use the weight, a problem not helped by often forgetting to eat when I’m working hard, giving me a half-starved look which makes me seem even taller than I really am.

    Self-imposed deadlines are definitely how I get work done, though it’s annoying when deadlines get caught in my beard. (Just kidding– I don’t have a beard; my jaw is so sharp that it shaves itself!)

    Just practicing.

  18. Excellent. No nefarious plan is complete without something blowing up.

    I vote no DNA identification. Total obliteration! Or it’s no fun!

    Explosive manuscripts, eh? Someone had some extra third-level spells today…

    Ahem. Yeah, I’ll quit with the nerd references. For now.

  19. Ah come on now. I thought it quite funny. Though it shows how big a nerd I am for getting it. Hmm…

  20. I was thinking of a more literary plotting. Although TNT is very tempting. Writers…always letting their imaginations run away with them.

  21. John – all things are more fun with TNT. Including literature.

    It’s the secret your high school English teachers didn’t want you to know.

  22. Are y’all gonna do anything about NaNoWriMo? Just thinking it would be cool if you guys had a pep talk or something encouraging everyone to participate. :)

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