The “Pantsing It” Revolution Begins!

Pantsing vs. PlanningTorrent (Cy Reed Adventure #3)

I’m trying something new with this latest book, namely “pantsing it.” In other words, I tossed my outline into the digital trashcan (or more accurately, skipping the outline process all together) and proceeded to let it rip (err … not my pants). The resulting book, Collapse (Cy Reed #5), is looking good so far.

On the bright side, I’m writing fast and with good scene-to-scene creativity. Collapse begins with a bang and doesn’t rest for the over 80 pages I’ve written. Mysteries deepen. Surprises abound. Danger piles upon danger. Hell, this might just be the best set of action-oriented scenes I’ve ever written. Even better, it hasn’t really felt like work. I could get used to this type of writing.

Two drawbacks, though. First, I’m writing loose. Side characters have gotten lost in the mix. Plot lines have been dropped. I’m not too worried … this happens to me when I’m writing with an outline as well. The second drawback should be obvious … I have no clue where I’m going next. I conceived of Collapse in a single afternoon as a four-part story. To start, I put Cy into a crazy situation and then raised the stakes repeatedly. Now, I’m nearing the end of Part I and I’m starting to get nervous. I have a setting for Part II and a basic idea about what happens in it. But it’s vague. And I have no clue what will happen in III and IV.

So, the jury is still out on pansting it. But the early results are promising. If I’m able to connect disparate story lines, deepen the characters, and enhance the themes over multiple drafts, pantsing could be a winner.

Ruins & Upcoming Releases

Collapse, you say? Whatever happened to Ruins? For those of you who don’t know, I started a new book right after getting back from Turkey. Tentatively titled, Ruins, it was to be my first attempt at a pantsing novel. Unfortunately, I gave into planning early on in Ruins and started trying to outline it. Since that defeated the whole purpose of the book, I immediately shelved it and came up with the idea for Collapse. I still plan on writing about Turkey, but it won’t be for a little while yet.

Miasma (Cy Reed #4) remains on the shelf. I hope to finish the first draft for Collapse in late October. After a little break, I’ll begin work on the Miasma edits. Miasma is my most complicated book yet and it’s also a bit of a mess, so it could take some time. I’m tentatively setting aside four months for edits, cover building, and formatting. If all goes well, you’ll be able to get your hands on it in mid-March 2015. Future stories, especially if this pantsing strategy works out, will hopefully be finished much quicker and with far less aggravation.

My Big Announcement … I am a Writer!

It’s time to make an announcement I honestly never thought I’d be able to make. No, it’s not the long-awaited film deal. But in many ways, it’s much bigger than that. So, here it goes. I’m pleased to announce my official retirement from the financial industry. Today, I formally conclude my old career and begin my new one … as a full-time writer. This has been a long time coming, far longer than many people probably realize.

David Meyer exploring Montana

It’s time to move forward!

My journey from Wall Street to adventurer / full-time writer has been a crazy one and perhaps I’ll devote a few posts to it someday. But for now, I’d like to thank the people who supported me along the way, namely my wife Julie, my family, and especially all of you, my readers. I wouldn’t be here without you.

Unlike most traditional writers, I’m basically a one-man operation (with a little editing help from the wife-thanks Julie!). I don’t hire researchers to generate ideas. I don’t employ substantive editors to shape and mold my novels to meet market demands. I don’t utilize copy editors to correct my grammar and spelling. I don’t hire cover artists or formatters to create attractive packaging. And most importantly, I don’t have a team of salespeople and publicists pushing me and my books into bookstores, libraries, and onto the general public.

But while I lack the vast resources available to other authors, I’ve managed to sell tens of thousands of books across the globe over the last few years. That level of success has allowed me to make a career change that would’ve seemed unthinkable just a short while ago. So, once again, thank you. Thank you for buying my books. Thank you for rating and reviewing them. And thank you for spreading the word. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be making this transition—and achieving a lifelong dream—today.

If I’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that the secret to happiness is to live your truth. With that said, it’s time to live my truth …

I’m a writer. And I’m damn proud of that.

Me on TV, Miasma, and Chaos

David Meyer in Montana

David Meyer in Montana

David Meyer on Television

Some big news for me lately. As reported on my Facebook Page …

Just got back from Montana where I was filming my first major television appearance. I can’t say much at the moment, but I had a great time. Expect it to premiere sometime in the next 6 to 9 months … stay tuned!

Miasma Update

In other news, I finally moved Miasma past the 1/3 point today. It’s been slow out of the gate, as I’ve spent way too much time revising early drafts. My first drafts are very messy and full of inconsistencies. Characters are flat. Some vanish for no reason. Others die only to be resurrected. Subplots get dropped. Story points don’t connect. Locations change, sometimes in the middle of chapters. Some scenes go on and on. Others move way too fast. And so on.

In the past, I’d write 50 pages, become frustrated with the problems, and revert to endless rewrites. And that would work … to a degree. The section would markedly improve. But when I’d try to move the story forward, I’d hit more walls as I attempted to connect the new, messy material with the older, polished stuff. I’d then go back and start over again, often writing the first section over and over again, in several different ways, as I tried to figure out how to make everything fit together.

I’ve come to realize my creativity comes in waves. The first draft is going to be messy no matter what I do. But at the same time, it contains a layer of creativity. Further drafts add more creativity. Characters get combined and fleshed out. Story points get connected. Scenes settle into place. Moving forward, I’m going to take advantage of this. My plan is to finish the first draft of Miasma, warts and all. Only then will I begin the creative rewrites.

Chaos Update

I published Chaos way back in October 2011. I read it the other day and found myself dissatisfied with the writing style. I still like the story. But it’s a bit bloated. So, I’m thinking about publishing a second edition. I’m not even halfway through my first take and I’ve already cut over 10,000 words. Anyway I hope to get this done within the next month or so. And don’t worry … if you’ve already bought Chaos you should be able to update it to the second edition with no problem.

Word Count

Miasma: 22,076 words / ~80,000 words

Chaos (Second Edition): 32,045 words / 83,135 words (Words Cut = 10,102)

Torrent is Here!

I’m pleased to announce the arrival of Torrent, the third book in the Cy Reed Adventure series. This time, Cy Reed matches wits with a long-deceased Maya architect as he races to uncover the shocking truth behind one of the greatest treasures of all time. You can pick up the e-book  at any of the retail outlets listed below. The paperback is available through Amazon.com, other online outlets, or your local bookstore.

Torrent by David Meyer

 

A PRICELESS TREASURE LOST TO TIME …

In 830 AD, a brilliant Maya architect constructed a massive vault deep within a hidden canyon. For centuries, it has protected an astonishing treasure … and a terrifying secret.

A SALVAGE EXPEDITION TO PARTS UNKNOWN …

Haunted by tragedy, Cy Reed leads a salvage expedition to one of the last untouched places on Earth. Meanwhile, a shaman senses a disturbing shift in the natural order. And a famous archaeologist searches for the fate of a lost civilization.

A SECRET OF CATASTROPHIC PROPORTIONS!

Assaulted by endless rain, bizarre phenomena, and mythical creatures, Reed races to solve a puzzle millions of years in the making. Forging a path through cursed tunnels and deadly traps, he fights his way toward an epic discovery that could free him from his demons … or drown him under a tidal wave of destruction.

Amazon Paperback * Kindle E-Book * Nook E-Book * Smashwords E-Book * iBooks E-Book * Kobo E-Book

First Draft of Cy Reed #3 is Done!

I finished the first draft of Cy Reed #3 earlier today. It’s tentatively titled Lost Canyon and clocks in at 404 pages. No idea on the publication date yet but I’m shooting for January 2014. I’d love to have it out sooner, but this book is going to require a little editing magic.

Today also marks the three-month anniversary of Ice Storm‘s publication. It wasn’t easy to get it out the door. On one hand, I was thrilled to put it behind me. On the other hand, it’s always hard to let a book out into the real world. I don’t have kids, but I imagine the feeling is  similar.

Anyway I didn’t have much clue how Ice Storm would do once it hit the market. Chaos sold reasonably well for a first novel but it certainly wasn’t a best-seller. Well, these past three months have been a wild run to say the least. I’m humbled to report Ice Storm has sold far better than even my wildest expectations.

I had my first real “sales breakout” on August 3 in the UK when Ice Storm cracked the Action & Adventure Kindle list at #84. I’m not sure where it peaked but it did get to #18 at one point and #483 in the overall UK Kindle store.

Ice Storm’s experience in the U.S. market has followed a different, but also exciting path. Since publication, it’s risen steadily in the overall Kindle rankings. It reached #7,864 a few days ago and has since settled back down to 11,478. I’m not sure if it’ll keep rising or not, but it’s been fun to urge it on.

Ice Storm is Here!

Ice Storm, aka my development hell book, is finally here!

Ice Storm by David Meyer

Ice Storm is an action/adventure novel and the second in the Cy Reed Adventure series after Chaos. It features all of the things you’ve come to expect from me…forgotten history, crumbling ruins, lost treasure, and strange monsters. If you like Indiana Jones or novels by the likes of Clive Cussler, James Rollins, Steve Berry, or Douglas Preston, then Ice Storm is perfect for you.

You can pick up an e-reader version at any of the retail outlets listed below as well as the paperback at Amazon.com (all outlets should be available in a few days).

Amazon Paperback * Kindle E-Book * Nook E-Book * Smashwords E-Book * iBooks E-Book * Kobo E-Book * Diesel E-Book * Sony E-Book

Ice Storm Description

A LOST BASE FILLED WITH DEADLY SECRETS…

Deep in the heart of Antarctica lies a forgotten military installation. Deadly secrets are secured behind its doors…including the remnants of a decades-old plot to devastate mankind.

A FROZEN CONTINENT SET AFLAME…

Disgraced treasure hunter Cy Reed is on the trail of an incredible treasure when a cargo ship mysteriously explodes. At the same time, a team of geologists makes an astonishing discovery that could rewrite ancient history. And a beast of impossible origins unleashes a bloody rampage across the ice.

A VICIOUS CONSPIRACY TO RAVAGE THE EARTH!

As Reed unravels the mysteries behind Antarctica’s dark past, he begins to uncover a sinister conspiracy. Plagued by ferocious storms and betrayed on all sides, he races toward an inevitable clash that could salvage his ruined reputation…or unleash hell upon the world.

Ice Storm: It’s Time to Pick up the Pace

The slow writing pace of my development hell book, Ice Storm, has finally gotten to me. So, I buckled down last night and ripped out 6,000 words.

Ice Storm: It’s Time to Pick up the (Writing) Pace!

My “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book, has been a rather brutal experience. Trying to rearrange and finalize a manuscript that’s undergone way too much rewriting is no easy task. A lot of free writers like to compare a novel to a dinosaur skeleton. The idea is that the story already exists inside one’s head. It just needs to be excavated. Actually, I think that’s a pretty good way to describe how my brain works. But for reasons I’ve talked about before, the Ice Storm excavation didn’t turn out so well. Thus, I’m sitting here with a jumble of mixed-up bones.

Up until now, I’ve been editing at a pace of 3,000 words per weekday and half that on weekend days. Ice Storm is about 90,000 words long, so it’s a five-week process. It’s hard enough to write a novel over multiple weeks. Editing that same novel over an extended period of time is just grueling. So, I picked up the pace yesterday. I edited 6,000 words yesterday, bringing my redraft to a word count of 63,000. I’m now in the last third of the book. If I can keep this up for another six days, my redraft will be finished. I’ll have to do another draft of course. And probably another one after that. That’s unavoidable. But this draft should put the bones in the right places. Then its just a matter of tidying up.

I created storyboards for two other novels yesterday. One is a science fiction book. The other is a paranormal tale. They don’t really fit into the Cy Reed universe. Well, the second one might. The science fiction story deals with some scientific theories I’ve written about in the past. They’re not particularly well-known but I find them fascinating. I might just take a crack at this one once Ice Storm is done.

Other Stuff

The Chaos paperback is now 10% off at Amazon ($12.56)! I see a few of you have taken advantage of the sale already. For the rest of you, act now before it goes back to list price. Other than that, I’m still thinking about making adjustments to my sidebar (that one on the right with Chaos in it). I might expand it to include international bookstores. And yes, the link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is STILL broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos but doesn’t seem to have posted it yet. I emailed Smashwords but haven’t heard back from them.

Road Trip to New York City

I traveled to my old stomping grounds in New York City this past weekend for an epic engagement party. Yes, I’m still recovering.

Cool Koalas!

My Quest to Draw (Day 8): The topic is “Cool Koalas.” There’s something fishy about that guy in the foreground.

Ice Storm: Nearing the Final Stretch!

I took off Saturday and Sunday for the engagement party. But now I’m back on track with my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. I edited 3,000 words yesterday, bringing my redraft to a word count of 57,000. I’m guessing this will end up to be about 90,000 words, so that means I’m near the two-thirds point.

It’s been a difficult couple of days. The trip to NYC threw off my rhythm. And only editing 72 pages a week is taking its toll. Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable. Ice Storm needs special care right now in order to bring it back to life. A lot of little problems will remain after this draft is done. But the larger story is finally starting to come together in a cohesive fashion.

Hopefully, I can finish this redraft in the next two weeks. Then I’m going to edit it again, shooting for 120 pages a week. The goal will be to smooth out inconsistencies and add in any final creative chunks. Then I’d like to do a few read throughs in a more concentrated time period so I can see how the story flows. The more I work on Ice Storm, the more I see the problems with my old writing habits. Specifically, my tendency to rewrite early and often. For my next book, I’m going to spend more time upfront developing characters and the story. But when I start writing it, I’m not going to stop until it’s done.

Road Trip to New York City

Julie and I drove to New York City on Saturday morning. I lived in Manhattan from 2004 to 2008. So, I always have mixed feelings about going back. On one hand, there’s a part of me that misses it. New York has a way of getting under one’s skin. On the other hand, I wasn’t particularly happy there back in the day. I worked too many hours at a job I didn’t like. And I can’t help but think I’d do it all over again if we moved back.

Anyway we were there for a party celebrating the engagement of our friends Mahbubul and Kelly. I’ve known Mahbubul for more than 15 years (we were fraternity brothers) and Kelly for a little more than 15 days. So, it’s been a lot of fun getting to know them as a couple. We went to a bar and met up with a bunch of their friends, including a few more of our brothers. I don’t get together with these guys very often so we pretty much ended up talking all night. Good times.

We stayed until maybe 2 or 3 in the morning. Then we went back to Mahbubul’s and Kelly’s apartment. We drank some more and watched a spattering of television until finally hitting the sack somewhere around 5am. Julie and I woke up a few hours later. We got some bagel sandwiches and coffee before hitting the road. All together, it was a good trip. Exhausting, yes. But definitely worthwhile.

Drawing: Day 8 – Cool Koalas

I finished my 8th lesson from You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler last night. The topic was Cool Koalas. This was an interesting change of pace and my first attempt at drawing a living, breathing creature. It came out okay but I put way too much effort into the fur. Looking at Kistler’s sketches again, it’s apparent he makes the most of his lines. Overall, this was the the easiest lesson yet which I appreciated since I’m still recovering from Saturday night.

Other Stuff

The Chaos paperback is now 10% off at Amazon ($12.56)! I see a few of you have taken advantage of the sale already. For the rest of you, act now before it goes back to list price. Other than that, I’m still thinking about making adjustments to my sidebar (that one on the right with Chaos in it). I might expand it to include international bookstores. And yes, the link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is STILL broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos but doesn’t seem to have posted it yet. I emailed Smashwords so hopefully I’ll have an answer for the delay later today.

Festival Freakout: Recovering from a Food Coma

So, I didn’t get a chance to write a blog yesterday. Instead, I was shaking off the effects of a massive food coma. Ahh!!!

Advanced-Level Cubes (Day 7)

My Quest to Draw (Day 7): The topic is “Advanced-Level Cubes.” The bottom right drawing looks almost livable.
Almost.

Ice Storm: Days 14 & 15

The last two days constituted Days 14 and 15 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. I edited 6,000 words in total, bringing my redraft to 45,000 words. That means I’ve reached the halfway point.

I wish I could say I felt the wind at my back. Unfortunately, it’s the exact opposite. The last two days haven’t been particularly good ones. The words are coming slowly and I’m having trouble focusing on my story. I find myself doing a lot of wandering (yes, literal wandering!) and daydreaming and I keep getting distracted by non-Cy Reed short story ideas.

That being said, this isn’t unusual for me. I usually reel off 100 to 150 pages without any problems. Then I get antsy and start ripping apart my draft. Endless rewrites ensue. So, I’m determined to see this through.

Festival Freakout: Recovering from a Food Coma

I didn’t get a chance to post an update yesterday. Truthfully, I was still “hung over” with a food coma. Julie and I had met up with some friends at a local food festival. Basically, the area restaurants set up shop in the retail shops and hand out samples. Local musicians hang out on the sidewalks and everyone walks around town trying out the different items. Some of the food is pretty fancy and a few of the restaurants manage to outdo themselves every year. Anyway I ate way too much and got that dreamy, logy feeling Julie likes to call a food coma. By the time I got home, the food coma had taken complete control and it really didn’t pass until well after I woke up.

Drawing: Day 7 – Advanced-Level Cubes

I completed my 7th lesson from You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler last night. The topic was advanced-level cubes. Basically, the lesson built on the previous ones by adding arches and ramps to box-shaped structures. I worked a little more loosely than usual and for the most part, enjoyed myself. My perfectionism still seeps in from time to time though and I sometimes spend several minutes drawing and erasing just to get the right lines.

Other Stuff

No news to report here. Just the same old stuff. Namely, I’m still thinking about making adjustments to my sidebar (that one on the right with Chaos in it). I might expand it to include international bookstores. And yes, the link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is STILL broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos but doesn’t seem to have posted it yet. I may have to double check with Smashwords to make sure there isn’t another problem. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon. Get it and review it!