Read what I have! (So far.)

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For Those Who Don’t Learn From History was actually conceived when I was not even close to being done with my first novel, Dreaming Wide Awake, so around late 2009. It was weird to become so heavily invested in a story when I was already writing one, and considering the fact my Junior year of high school was ending, I sort of knew that I would not have time to finish one novel, start another one, and finish that one before I graduated. However, it didn’t stop me from taking notes for -literally- about three years. (Maybe less.) Within those three years, character names changed, story settings changed, location changed, amount of characters changed, and well, you get the point. What I had even one year ago is not what I have now.

And I have mentioned it before, but I am in love with what I have now. It’s unreal. Falling in love with something that I, myself, have written hadn’t happened once before starting this wonderfully depressing tale. In some ways, I like to believe that I am fully using everything I’m capable of (in terms of writing) for this, and the result is heavily satisfying.

So much so, that I want others to read it, too.

For the past year, I’ve given the (now-ditched) first chapter (or first two) to my friends, but like I mentioned before, everything is different. Their feedback is incredible, and I’ve changed some of the concerns they noted, as well as inconsistencies, etc. But yet, I carry loads of self-doubt, to the point where I can sit and listen to someone telling me what they loved about what I had given them, but deep down, think they’re just being nice. (It’s a crummy thing, I know. But I can’t help it.)

Here’s what I am offering: seventy-pages, four chapters. These four chapters are what I like to consider the sort-of epilogue, as my protagonist, Isaiah, is completely alone for the entirety of the beginning of the novel. Seeing as this is a post-apocalyptic novel, I felt tasked to bring a new challenge to myself, and I managed to create something I feel is appealing and substantial, all with one character and scarce dialogue.

If you are interested in reading this, I would highly appreciate it. This isn’t so much about letting people read about what I have (because trust me, I’m weary), but about making sure I managed to get the point across that I had intended, from an outside opinion. After all, this is the most important part of the story itself, and making sure it works is a fantastic feeling.

Send me a message on Facebook, send me a tweet, text me, whatever. I refuse to post my work publicly where anything is up for someone to steal. Because of this, I’d feel much less paranoid when sending these four chapters as an attachment via email, Facebook, etc.

Again, I would really, sincerely appreciate all the help I can get.

Joel

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Short stories and such.

I’ve yet to find out my official word count for Dreaming Wide Awake, for a couple of reasons. The first, being it’s still sitting untyped in the original notebooks. I should probably do that sometime. Or maybe hire someone. The latter reason, being I am guesstimating. (I’d assume it’s between 70,000 to 80,000. We’ll see later!)

I’m curious as to what For Those Who Don’t Learn From Historywill turn out to be, word-count-wise, seeing as Dreaming Wide Awake was 286 pages in my notebooks. Luckily, my handwriting is smaller than it used to be, so one notebook page is the equivalent to two-to-three pages on a Word document.

But, now that my new ‘era’ of writing is running full-speed, I have to focus on what’s now. Unfortunately, my mind doesn’t want me to only stay with my post-apocalyptic tale. Don’t think I’m going to quickly abandoned this novel, because that is definitely not the case. I just happen to plan things out far, far ahead, and always on accident.

But, I suppose that’s nice. It gives a personal sense of relief; keeps me from worrying.

Initially, I intended to have Fifties On-Demand release after my second novel was done-and-over. I can’t lie in saying that, initially, after spending a week or two thinking about what it could be about, my interest was lost, and I just had it sitting as a near-empty note on my Evernote account. 

I like the basic premise. I do. However, I’ve come to terms that, despite my ability to write it out and turn it into a full novel, I worry that I won’t have enough material to actually finish it and be happy with the final product.

I didn’t have that fear with Dreaming Wide Awake and I don’t have that fear with For Those Who Don’t Learn From History*. At a glance, this doesn’t seem like much. I’ve dealt this hand before, however, and it certainly did not end pretty.

Due to this fear, I am going to change the tone for Fifties On-Demand from here on out. The story is hereby going to be either a short story or a novella. With a simplistic plot such as the one I (currently) have, I feel that condensing the tale of a man and his cancer would be better suited for the reader and myself.

I can’t wait to do another short story! Last time I’ve written one was before I was even done with Dreaming Wide Awake. The title was really weird, as was the story, but I loved it. More than anything, the short story (which was about ten pages) proved to be a challenge (and an awesome one at that).

Ironically, that short story was combined with a story idea I had at the time, and in some really oddball fashion, ended up being For Those Who Don’t Learn From History. I think it was just meant to happen.

As always, I’ll keep you updated with anything relating to this short story, Dreaming Wide Awake or For Those Who Don’t Learn From History.

— Joel

* Title subject to change.

A rework of my work.

I love how it’s been nearly five months since my last update. My apologies.

After  a lovely, encouraging and inspiring post to Reddit’s writing subreddit, /r/writing, earlier this Fall, subscribers tore apart the cover for For Those Who Don’t Learn From History — for the good and the bad. I love that, however. It breaks me out of my invisible wall I’ve been blockaded, and gives me a shot to see the, what I like to call, true feedback which you won’t typically get from loved ones and friends.

In other words, it’s a refresher. A sort of new start.

“This is literally the worst title I have ever read for a book.”

“As a published author, I can completely guarantee you that this book will not sell.”

Fair enough. I don’t know the ins-and-outs of self-publishing a book. I’m essentially in the Learner’s Program of the publishing world, so of course, there are times to be the student and times to be the teacher.

(And, to be honest, I don’t know if anyone can ever truly master their own art. Knowledge keeps expanding, and it will continue to expand, with each passing day.)

Aside from all this, two thing were almost unanimous with the comments about For Those Who Don’t Learn From History:

1) The cover is too dark.

I always knew that. But, since I didn’t actually create the cover (as a friend of mine helped make it!), and my photoshop skills are about as baren as the world I’m writing, there wasn’t much I could do. Luckily(!), a kind gent was willing to fix it up for me, and ended up with this as a final result.

FTWDLFH

2. I absolutely hate your title.

I’d venture to say at least 90% of the comments were about my title. Some said it was too long, others found it to sound like a non-fictional book. While I really wanted to disagree with them — I knew they were right. While I absolutely adore the quote the title is inspired by, I find myself scoffing at it; hiding away.

It is too long. It is a pretty sucky title. I didn’t know it, but this was just a placeholder title for my sophomore attempt at writing a novel.

A novella in disguise.

And that my friends is where I currently stand. Now that I have begun working on the book (and not just taking notes!), I feel like my understanding for what I want is growing with each sentence I finish. Because of this, I am in search for a title that illustrates the book in just a few words. The Road and On The Beach did it just fine.

And that gives me hope.

For Those Who Don’t Learn From History: A Tale

I feel like I’ll be repeating myself here in a few paragraphs, but I don’t think I’ve formally talked about my second novel, For Those Who Don’t Learn From History. It’s been in production, if you will, since 2010, but I’ve really spent more time writing it out, than I have anything else. So, consider this a rather formal introduction to the book. (You can read the history of the book here.)

I am head over heels for this piece of fiction, and I am only in the very beginning stages. I could blame my love for post-apocalyptic fiction (and my desire to have my piece of work categorized under that genre) for my attachment to it. but honestly, I don’t know if that can even begin to cover the reasoning.

But, instead of boring you with my love for the genre, I’ll do you one better: I’ll actually tell you what my plans are and what you can expect.

For Those Who Don’t Learn From History is not simply another novel for me to write. No, my desire for this is to not only get published and signed, but to get recognized. While Dreaming Wide Awake was a decent shot at a first novel, all my creative juices are swarming to this post-apocalyptic book.

A work in progress.

Gritty, menacing and eerie is what I aim for. For some reason, too many pieces of fiction in this genre attempt at this, but fail. Not miserably, however. In fact, some authors would much rather go the survivalist route and focus solely on someone or a group of people as they fight for their lives from an ominous threat. Yet, that is the beauty of writing and fiction — especially with this genre. Anything you can come up with, you can put on paper. (Or, you know, your computer. Or phone.)

In a sense, this book is about surviving. When society has nothing left to show for, what does society do? When humanity crumbles down to its last resort, how will the world change in its final days? Opposite of what  28 Days Later accomplished, I want the look and feel of my own world to wear a facade of utter destruction and wear. I want my world to be both a safe haven, and also a living hell. I want my characters to live through the worst possible situations, only to arise with incredible results. (If such a phrase would exist in that type of world.)

Atmospheric connection is another thing most authors miss, which is a shame. To really ‘get’ a book, per say, the reader needs to not only connect with the characters, but understand the atmosphere and gratitude of the situation at hand. Especially with this genre, one of the greatest things I will be able to accomplish will be just that: creating such an atmosphere that is relatable, dark, unpleasant and gritty. An atmosphere where, just when all hope is lost with a character, your heart breaks and your world falls apart with him.

Overall — and it’s 6 AM now — my primary goal for this novel is to catch your attention in the greatest way possible. I cannot make myself sit back and write a so-so novel, while I could end up writing what gets me signed with a publishing agency. But most of all, I cannot sit back and let the project slip away. For two years now, I have been wanting to start this, an the opportunity is finally arising.

I’ll keep you updated much more often than I have in the past, and: thank you.

Joel

“I’d rather be a comma, than a full-stop.”

It’s nice being back here, dear internet. While I would love to inform you that Dreaming Wide Awake is not only published but a number-one bestseller, alas, I cannot.

But, instead of that (because who really wants to hear me nag about how I’ve been busy with work and my internship?), I am here to tell you I have, once again, polished up the site. If you lists, and not a giant paragraph, you are in luck, as I am in a tidy mood tonight, and below is everything listed out for an average  a better viewing experience.

1. Portfolio: For the first time since I created this site, Portfolio actually carries material. I have posted a handful of articles I’ve written for my college’s newspaper, The Ranger, and have neatly put them in (some) order, that I don’t even really know of.

Once the Fall semester starts in September, I’ll have more stories from this past Spring posted up.

2. About Me: A lengthy, somewhat decent overview of my writing. I hate writing these things, but it’s an always-changing overview, so it’s fun in that aspect.

3. NovelsI used to have three different pages for each of my novels, but not only does putting these pages into one neat and tidy Novels ‘folder’ clean things up a bit, but I now have more space to put whatever I want put in on my limited-blog-space. Literally nothing else is new, except:

3a. For Those Who Don’t Learn From History: Inspiration: I’ve updated this part quite a bit. When re-reading through the original posting, I had awkward, unfunny humor which is definitely still there, parts that didn’t go anywhere and new ‘updates’, per say, that have developed my post-apocalyptic novel t0-be. Go read it. I am very excited for this novel.

4. Theme: I like it, and so should you.

But seriously. I’m working on it. Once I figure out how to take out the hilariously-outdated ‘About Me’ widget off, it’ll  be off. Until then, visit the About Me page for a better, more professional take on myself.

5. ‘Like’ me on Facebook: I understand most my readers come from Facebook, but there isn’t any way of telling. I’d love for you to stop by my Facebook page after reading up on everything here. It will not only get my book more attention, but will 100% encourage me to update this site more often.

And, I do believe that’s all.

Until next time,

Joel

January 18th, I will be shutting down to help oppose SOPA.

SOPA is probably something you have been hearing about if you watch more than Fox News. SOPA – “Stop Online Privacy Act” is a bill attempting to be passed which would highly-limit our free speech on the internet. Anything that the government disagrees with will result in a block on any website, picture, video, etc.

As an avid supporter of free speech – in both real life and on the internet – I cannot let myself sit back and watch Congress approve or deny the bill without doing something to help. So, on January 18, I will be shutting down Standalone Sun for 24 hours to show my opposition to SOPA.

I will return the next day, January 19.

Thank you for understanding.

Do you have a website? Do you want to show support with sites such as Reddit, Twitpic, Destructoid and others? Go to http://sopastrike.com/ to learn more about how you can help, and visit http://sopastrike.com/ to learn more about how the bill could affect the future of the internet.

“For Those Who Don’t Learn From History” now has a cover!

Hello all. I hope everyone had a blessed, great Christmas and has a fantastic New Year

As 2012 approaches, it seems the world is going to become crazy over the next 350 days or so and I think that it will be fun to see how the world views an approaching scare (which may or may not have something actually happen after all). The media is going to be even more insane than usual, I would bet. Much like in my book For Those Who Don’t Learn From History, we’ll all get to see as the world slowly accepts the fact a so-called doom.

Speaking of the apocalypse, here is the official cover for For Those Who Don’t Learn From History!

FTWDLFH

The cover was created by Allie Osterloh, who also designed Dreaming Wide Awake‘s cover.

Beautiful, eh?