Monday, May 29, 2017

Why Expectations Are The Writer's Worst Enemy (And What To Do Instead)

Expectations: The Writer’s Worst Enemy

Next to not writing, expectations can be a writer’s worst enemy. If for no other reason than a writer has no control over expectations. What do I mean?

You’ve written a book, put it through its paces with revisions and editing, and now it’s ready for public consumption. Here’s how expectations can trip us up:


If you’re indie publishing it, expecting to sell hundreds (or more) copies in a day, week, or month.

Expecting a publisher to give you a large advance and tons of promotion.

If you’re submitting to an agent, expecting them to take you on and get a huge book deal.

Expecting all of your family and friends to be supportive of your writing dream.


After I sold my first novel to Pinnacle, a well-known agent took me on. I was excited. This was it. He negotiated my next two books with Pinnacle. After that, I was sure a deal with one of the big five (at the time) publishers awaited. I decided to switch genres and write a crime novel. The book just didn’t work, even after I cut the thing in half and revised the hell out of it. I was expecting the book to sell. Eventually, I parted ways with the agent and went indie.

Instead of focusing on what you expect in a writing career, look at what you can control. Set some measurable goals for yourself, such as:


  • Reading one book on writing craft a week
  • Reading two books per month in your genre and studying the author’s techniques
  • Writing X amount of words per day
  • Blogging a certain number of times per week
  • Sending out two short stories per month to different markets



There are tons of other goals you can set for yourself as a writer. Make these your focus, do the work, and results will come.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Read an Excerpt From Die Trying, My Latest Thriller

I thought I'd share a snipped of my work-in-progress, Die Trying.

John Regal is a man with the unique ability to spot dangerous people. They carry a dark aura around them. In this scene, a government agency seeking to study John sends an agent out to capture him.

Uncorrected copy from Die Trying
Copyright 2017 Anthony Izzo

He drove home and approached the house. The house was dark. He watched it for a moment, weary. Did someone move behind the front window? He had the gun.
He pulled into the driveway and got out. Went to the front door and opened it with his key. Darkness greeted him. He could’ve sworn he’d left a light on.
John flipped the switch. He smelled someone. Cigarettes. John didn’t smoke. He pulled out the Beretta, crept through the living room.
He passed through the dining room. As he entered the kitchen, he felt someone bearing down him. He turned and swung, fist smacking someone’s jaw. He stumbled across the kitchen.
When he turned, he saw a guy in shades and a leather jacket staring him down. John raised the gun. The guy was quick, did this thing where he turned the gun towards John and then it was in the guy’s hand.
Before they guy could level the gun, John threw a right, popped the man in the nose. The guy countered, swept John’s legs from under him and he hit the floor, head smacking the tile.
Looking up at the guy now, whose nose bled. The gun in his face.
“Don’t move or I’ll hurt you,” the man said.
“Nice shades. You know it’s nighttime.”
The guy kicked him in the ribs. John curled into a ball.
“Anything else to say?”
“Not at the moment.”
“Get up. Slowly,” the man said.
John got to his feet, a hot blade in his ribs.
“Outside. My truck’s on the street.”
John went first and the guy followed, the gun on John.
“Now we don’t want any neighbors seeing the gun. Just know I can pull it in a hurry.”
“Are you with the woman? The Indian one?”
“Don’t worry about that.”
That was a yes in John’s mind. “What do you want with me?”
“Shut up and stop talking.”
“You’re the bad people I was warned about,” John said.
“I’m the person that’s going to shoot you in the leg if you don’t move.”
“You won’t though.”
“Move. I can think of other ways to dish out pain. See.”
The chop caught him in the Adam’s apple. His windpipe seemed to seal off. He gasped, clutched his throat.
“That was just a tap,” the man said. “Now move.”
John moved along, wheezing and gagging. After a moment, his windpipe opened back up. He coughed again. Spat.
He saw the car roll past. Got a glimpse of the woman in the vehicle.
Allie.
She spun the car around, gave it gas, and jumped the curb, coming right at them. John hit the deck, watched the car bear down on the man like a shark on a swimmer. The car launched him backwards, the gun catapulting through the air. His head smacked the ground.
John looked over at the car. The passenger’s side window rolled down.
“Don’t sit there looking pretty. Get in.”
John scooped up his Beretta. Lights came on in the houses across the street. Neighbors were going to be peeking out soon.
He flung open the door and threw himself in the car.
Allie spun it around and sped off.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Ten Writing Prompts to Ignite Your Stories

First lines in fiction are crucial for grabbing the reader. It helps to create a disturbance, or change in the character's situation. You want to start the story where nothing will be the same after the opening. I find it helps to keep a list of first lines, either in a notebook or a computer file.

Here are a few prompts/first lines to use as story starters:


Something moved in the woods.

The object, unidentifiable at first, floated to the surface of the water.

Your characters are exploring a long-abandoned building. The power suddenly comes on.

Your character awakens to find their spouse standing over them, a knife in hand.

"What's the craziest thing you'd do on a dare?"

A homeowner doing renovations finds a mysterious box when she busts open some drywall.

The storm was like nothing anyone had seen.

"He left last night. I haven't seen him since."

A motorist is pulled over by a policeman on a dark road. The driver realizes soon enough that the "cop" is not legitimate.

I swear I saw my father today. He's been dead for six years.


Why Expectations Are The Writer's Worst Enemy (And What To Do Instead)

Expectations: The Writer’s Worst Enemy Next to not writing, expectations can be a writer’s worst enemy. If for no other reason than a writ...