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The Week in Words (April 17)

Aaron Pogue with a scribblebook (Courtesy Julie at

Some things I've said, and things I've read.

I’m adding a new weekly feature to Unstressed Syllables today, “The Week in Words.” I’ve been toying with the idea for two months, but I’ve had too many huge projects going to commit to anything new.

You’d hardly know that, though, because I haven’t been talking about any of my projects. Why? There was no room for site news in my weekly posting schedule!

That’s what I hope to do here. Talk shop, keep you up-to-date on the latest and greatest that I’ve got going on, and probably throw in some links to articles I think you might be interested, but don’t have the time to write up in a blog post.

So here’s what’s been going on!

At the Editor’s Desk

I’ve got two major new projects that are worth mentioning (not counting the launch of a brand new weekly feature!).

The Girl Who Stayed the Same (Working Title)

I’m joining Justin in the thrilling, terrifying land of serial storytelling. Longtime readers will know it’s not my first foray there, but I feel like this attempt is going far better than my last. Of course, I’m only four scenes into it, so we’ll have to see.

I told you a few weeks ago about the twice-weekly creative writing prompts at the Creative Copy Challenge. I’ve participated in every challenge they’ve posted since then (how’s that for practicing what I preach). As I mentioned back then, there are several different ways people participate in the challenge, whether it’s competing for the Short Form crown, or trying to make quality poetry, or just writing compelling story scenes.

If you clicked on all those links, you’ll know that I’ve taken a stab at each form. Well one of the more popular writers over there has been maintaining a single story all along: “The Ballad of Bayou Billy.” I decided to try that out, too, so I started with Challenge Number 29, and had a stranger walk into a bar. The scene was beautiful (if I do say so myself), and in the space between 29 and 30 I came up with a compelling plot for an exciting new novel.

I’ve decided to write the entire novel, in order, as CCC posts. It will be publicly available if you want to follow it on the challenge, but you’d have to dig through all the CCC comment threads to find each scene. I’ve decided to save you the trouble and add links to my Week in Words post every week. So if you can wait until Saturday, you’ll have two full scenes to read.

Here are my first four:

  • Intro: Jonas — Part 1, 2
  • Chapter 1: The Stranger — Part 1, 2

In the end, it’s going to be a 100,000 word novel in five acts. I plan to package it up all pretty in e-Book form whenever I complete an act (approximately 20,000 words, or 60 pages each), and put them up for sale here. That’s right — after years of speaking out against it, I’m going to see how I can do with self-publishing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The e-Book Challenge and Unstressed Syllables present
How to Build an e-Book by Aaron Pogue

(Yes, I’m really calling it that.)

And I suppose I should have introduced the e-Book Challenge as a major new project I’m working on, but I’m not really working on that yet. It’s not supposed to launch until August, so I’m cutting myself a little slack. You can expect to hear a lot about it when I do get around to setting up the site and everything, though.

Anyway, you already know about the Pre-Writing Challenge. That event went so well that Carlos decided to expand it into a whole year-long Blog Challenge series (that’s where the e-Book Challenge came from — that one’s going to be mine). He also wanted to put together a Guidebook to the Pre-Writing Challenge so anyone who didn’t get to participate in the first one could learn more about it, and either try it on their own, or get prepared for the one he’s going to be hosting again next February.

Carlos was really excited about making that e-Book, but he didn’t actually know a lot about how. As a Technical Writer, I spend eight hours a day working on “how.” It’s what I do. So I decided to put together some simple instructions for him, and then I thought, “Hey, that would work a lot better if he had some examples he could look at!” and then I thought, “Hey, why not write an e-Book?”

And so I did. Three weeks and a whim, and I churned out a massive three-volume, high quality e-Book. How’s that for being an authority on the topic? Wouldn’t you like to be able to do that, too? You can, for the low, low price of….

No. This isn’t a sales pitch. (Not yet, anyway.) Just wanted to let you know what I’d been working on. I finished the rough draft last night, and I’ve got it out to some test readers for feedback. I’m going to spend the next couple weeks trying to get a sales page set up (so please excuse any weirdnesses you see on the site in that time).

The book should go live for sale on May 1. I plan to make a big launch of it, so you can expect me to talk about it a lot between now and then. I don’t intend to manipulate anyone into buying it, though. It’s a solid product with a huge market, so I don’t need to trick my friends and family into buying it if they don’t need it.

If you’re interested in monetizing a blog with an e-Book, but you need some help knowing where to start and how to make it beautiful, check out my sales page (once it’s up). If not, you can just skip over my discussion of it. Simple as that.

On Unstressed Syllables

For SEO reasons, it’s said to be a good idea to post a weekly review of your own blog posts. If you don’t know what SEO is, wait a couple weeks. It’s on the agenda.

If you wake up every weekday and check Unstressed Syllables before you even get your coffee, you can skip this section altogether. You should post a comment letting me know you do that, though, so I can go faint in my shock. How cool would that be?

Anyway, it’s been a busy week, so in case you missed it, here’s what happened! I started with a Technical Writing exercise asking you to share the logic behind your blog posting schedule. That was really just a thinly-veiled attempt to get you to actually finish your blog posting schedule. Nobody has commented yet. I’m so disappointed. I thought surely someone would do the assignment. Mom? Anybody?

(Yes, I’ve just decided I’m going to use The Week in Words as a huge weekly guilt trip for everyone who skips the writing exercises. It’s going to be awesome.)

Tuesday’s Technical Writing article introduced a two-part series on how to choose the right program for your writing. I discussed the many different tools I use (and why), and the two biggest deciding factors for me: fancy printed pages, and everywhere accessibility.

On Wednesday, Courtney dove head-first into an eight-month-old manufactured controversy over Claire Bennet’s lesbian turn on Heroes, but she had a much better argument than I’ve seen before: it’s out of character. Courtney gave us an excellent reminder about the importance of believable character development, and showed off her lovely new profile picture while she was at it.

Thursday’s Creative Writing article explored the purpose and benefits of an Ideal Reader as a creative writing tool. When you write to a finely targeted audience, you open yourself up to make powerful connections with your readers, and develop a unique artistic style that will help you stand out from the boring crowd. So do it.

We wrapped up Friday with a Creative Writing exercise that asked you to perform a market analysis on your work-in-progress, sharing exactly who it is you’re writing to and what they expect out of a story. Nobody’s responded to that one yet, either, but it’s barely been twenty-four hours. Get something up before next Friday, and I won’t call you out. Promise.

Then on Saturday I launched a new weekly site review feature called…oh.

Across the Web

I figure this will end up being one of the more valuable sections of the Week in Words, because I’ll be able to drop links in all week long, whenever I stumble across one, and then just write a short description of each when Saturday rolls around.

This being the first Week in Words, I haven’t actually been doing that. Sorry. So here’s the three relevant articles I remember, and whose links I can find. Just be glad you get anything!

And that’s the Week in Words. Next week’s should be a lot shorter, unless I take on two or three more major projects between now and then. Of course, that’s a very real possibility. So maybe you should just go ahead and start blocking out time on your Saturday morning schedule now. I’m sure I’m worth it.

Photo credit Julie V. Photography.

3 Responses to “The Week in Words (April 17)”

  1. great new digest of the week post. I think I may set something like that up if it works for you and helps your SEO. Thanks for the mention of the fiction. It is too much fun to break up my stories like the serial movies of the 50’s.

  2. Trish Pogue says:

    This is a great idea. I like catching up with your projects and it’s a helpful reminder to complete the writing exercise. And thanks for the info about the wireless printing. I can’t wait to get that working.

  3. Aaron Pogue says:

    Thanks, Justin! I’ll let you know how things go, but I’ve heard from several sources that it’s an important thing to do.

    I really didn’t expect anybody to like it, though, which apparently some people have.

    Not sure our network setup will immediately support the wireless printing, Trish, but I can probably rearrange some stuff. That would be cool.