Wednesday, June 25, 2014


So, there I was, the day after i wrote up that gigantic post about being done and I thought to myself, hey self, guess what?  And I was like, I dunno self, what?  Well, you just had this awesome idea for something to add to I Am Nobody, and it's going to take a crapton of work to get it done, and it'll probably take you about a week or so to do it.  And I was like, uhg, really self, you couldn't have told me that like six months ago?  So yeah, then I started making these awesome little changes that I had the idea to make, and I was just about done, when suddenly *dramatic pause* my computer died.  So I had to wait a week and a half for the guys at PC Laptops to fix it for me before I could get back to work and actually finish.  So yeah got a few more days worth of work to go on it, but then I'll really, really, really be done... ish... I hope.

Monday, June 2, 2014

I'm Done... Again... Sort of...

Okay, so I've finished my rewrite of I Am Nobody and have posted it on my website.  It can be found at the bottom of this page in individual chapters as well as the entire manuscript, aptly titled "Full Even More Final Draft".

What happens next?

Well, what I want to do is find a few people to read this book and give me honest feedback.  Things like, did you like it?  Did you not like it?  Why?  What did you like about it?  What did you not like about it?  What changes you would make to it?  Do you like the main character?  Does she seem to act and talk like a teenaged girl or not?  Did you find it particularly frightening?  Did I go too far with the gore, or tension?  You know, stuff like that.  I don't need a spelling, grammar and punctuation checker.  I have a freaking college degree in English.  I just need honest feedback.  If anyone actually reads this blog and would like to volunteer their services for this, please feel free to e-mail me at, and I'll e-mail you a copy of the manuscript.

Why do a whole rewrite at all?

Well, when I first started putting this story together about five or six years ago, I was really set on writing a young adult horror novel.  When I was a teenager, I really enjoyed horror novels, but I could never really find any that were written for people my age, and were legitimately scary.  They all seemed dumbed down, as if the authors were too afraid to just go all out and scare the crap out of kids.  As I began doing my outlining for this book, I started to fall into that mindset myself.  I wanted to write a scary book, but this story was really dark, really violent, and maybe a little too intense for someone in their mid teens to handle.  I didn't want to be the cause of some poor kid spending the rest of his or her life in therapy.  So, I did what those other writers did, and dumbed it down.  I dumbed it down to the point that it was no longer even a horror story, but more of a supernatural mystery type thing.

So, I started trying to sell the previous incarnation of this book, and I got some feedback from agents saying that it was a little too bland, it wasn't exciting enough to keep a teenager's attention, there was something missing, etc.  So I took a look at it, and started trying to figure out why I was getting these reactions from people.

I went to a book signing by Brandon Sanderson at the Barnes and Noble across the street from my apartment, and I laid out the problem I was having for him.  He has always been really great about giving me advice at signings.  He also has a podcast that he does with a few writing buddies of his where they offer advice to amateur writers like myself.  Anyway, he hit the nail right on the head.  He asked me, "well, if you wanted to write a horror story for teens... why didn't you write a horror story for teens?"

And so I went back to my original concept of the story.  The really dark, really violent, and really scary version that I originally planned to write before I lobotomized and neutered it all in one.  And I thought to myself.  This.  This is what this story is missing.  I should have just written it this way to begin with.  Hey idiot, remember when you were a teenager reading Stephen King because no one writing horror books for people your age could get it right, you just did what you really hated other authors doing when you were a kid.  I remember being really annoyed that authors of young adult books put on the padded gloves while writing, and never really treated me like a soon to be adult.  And so I said to myself.  Welp, lets see what I can do to change this thing.

What has changed in this version?

This version of I Am Nobody is 50% longer than the original version.  I added just under 50,000 words to it. 
I tried to give Mia, the main character, a bit more personality.
I added in far more graphic descriptions of the murders.
I added in far more graphic descriptions of Mia's reactions to them.
I added in new powers for the killer, and upped the craziness and brutality of his actions.
I added in several new subplots, including one about Mia's own amateur investigations of the murders, a moral dilemma about being able to kill another person, and a plot by the Hunters to kill Death that Mia gets herself caught up in the middle of.
I added in a bunch of new lore for the Grim Reapers and the Hunters to better flesh them out as organizations, and to flesh out their rivalry with one another.
I reevaluated my chapter breaks, moving them around, and splitting some to add tension.
I rewrote entire sections of the book from scratch to change the overall tone and atmosphere of the story to my originally intended horror.

Now, horror, I've found, is a very weird thing.  When I first started putting this story together, I asked myself, if I were a teenaged girl, what would I fear most in the entire world?  What would turn me into a jibbering, crying wreck that wanted to curl up in a ball and hide in the closet?  It took me a while to come up with an answer to that.  I actually asked a few women I happen to be acquainted with.  Yes, I know, Eric... knows women...?  Yes, hell might just have frozen over.  The answer I came up with after all of that was rape.  As a man, rape is not something that I personally find very frightening, because the chances of it happening to me are nearly 0.  However, after sitting down and thinking about it for a good long while, I began to understand why a teenaged girl would by, and how it would feel to be faced with this.  I've read many a horror novel where the things happening were not particularly scary on their own terms.  There's plenty out there that frightens me, it's just that most authors never write about that sort of thing.  But I still find some of them scary.  And I've found that if the writer can convey how terrified their character is over what they're being faced with in such a way, the reader can actually feel that fear themselves, even if its over something that they, themselves, are not particularly frightened of.  Really good horror authors can make unscary things scary by proxy through the reactions and emotions of their characters.  That's kind of what I tried to do here.  I took something that I was not very afraid of personally, and put myself in the shoes of my character and tried to describe in very vivid and horrifying detail how she felt and why she felt that way, and hopefully, I did it well enough that the fear comes through to the reader.  I tried to make the book scary through the main character's reactions and emotions, and by manipulating the atmosphere and tone of scenes to give what I feel is a very creepy vibe.  I also changed a few key scenes where Mia encounters the Hunter in such a way that he is pretty frightening all on his own merits, without even taking his actions into account.  He says and does some really disgusting, creepy, completely insane, and just plain evil things.

So, yeah, that's what I've been doing for the last year, rewriting this book into the book that I originally intended it to be.  If you would like to volunteer to be one of my test readers, again, send me an e-mail at