Looking For Inspiration

There’s something to be said about writing, in that it’s not something you can just automatically sit down and do.  Okay, so there are some people that can do it, but not everyone.  If it’s your sole job, and sole source of income, then yes – maybe you can absolutely do that.  But for the rest of us, it’s quite a different process.  I’ve been thinking since my last post about what gets me to write – what inspires me.  And a lot of the times besides reading, it’s movies that really get my imagination going.

Being named Walter, a favorite movie growing up was Danny Kay’s ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty‘ from 1947.  It was something I could watch as a kid, and enjoy a laugh.  Danny Kay always captured the viewer’s imagination, so this role endeared him to many, myself included.

I was quite wary when I heard they were going to remake the movie, because typically remakes are soulless, corporate cookie-cutter patterns for maximizing profit.  Many in the entertainment community have strayed away from the thought of entertainment and stayed in the realm of maximizing profit.  That’s why there may be good movies here and there, but not behind every curtain.  A movie is supposed to capture your imagination.  Inspire you.  Make you look at the world differently.  But today, many movies are the exact opposite; just a 120-minute diversion from the mundanity of life.

That’s what made Ben Stiller’s ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ so very, very different.  You saw Stiller’s portrayal of Mitty as someone like yourself (or at least I did), sitting in a sterile environment, wanting something, but never taking a chance.  I won’t give away the movie (though it’s been out nearly four years; if you haven’t seen it, you should!), but I want to say the setting of Life Magazine was perfect.  Walter Mitty worked at Life, but he wasn’t experiencing life – until he finally took the chance.

For me, the quote that originally came from Thurber’s short story and then adapted for the movie is the epitome of what it is to be alive – what it is to not just live life but to experience it.

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.

Beautiful.  Just beautiful!  Not to mention inspiring!

Anyone else finding it difficult to write?

Trying to put this post into words, I actually decided on describing two scenes from the book.  We all know that America is going through a trying time right now, with anti-LGBT legislation coming down the pike, and some in government beating the drums of war.  It’s downright scary.

Thinking about it, right now I would say that I feel more like Rhys and Jason on their honeymoon as they watched the newscaster talk about the bombs going off in Europe.  That sinking, helpless feeling that creeps into your soul and leaves you feeling desolate.

But I want to get back to a happy place, like Rhys and Jason at the end of the book when they’re laughing and getting drenched in the rainfall from a foreign planet.  I desperately want to get back there, and I know I will.  It just may take a little time.

Goodreads question: How is fiction writing similar to non-fiction writing?

Originally posted over on my Goodreads author page at this link.

I truly thought that the process of writing a fiction book versus a non-fiction book would be completely different. Writing non-fiction, you end up doing quite a bit of research, because you want to get the information right. People read fiction books as a type of escape, whereas they are reading non-fiction books as reference.

But what I learned while writing Migration: Beginnings was that you need to do research – just as much if not more – on what you’re writing. Migration: Beginnings takes place primarily in Portland, Oregon. Now I live outside of Portland, so it’s easy to keep the landmarks in my head. For instance, the drive from the airport down I205, is quite clear to me, and the mall that they pass along the highway is the closest mall to my home.

But the book sees Rhys and Jason trotting across the globe, from a mundane trip to Sacramento, to Japan, Nepal, and Zimbabwe. While I made up the story that Jason’s grandpa tells him, the “so high up, that it almost touches the sky” and “hidden behind a wall of water”, the basic geography of Nepal and Zimbabwe actually exist. I had to do research on how to get there, closest airports, and the like, because I wanted it to be realistic.

So there you go. Research is the same no matter if you’re writing a book about travel, or a book about a couple that runs around the globe figuring out clues, that leads them to another planet.

Alternate Cover Art!

I was talking to my friend Sarah Madison (if you aren’t reading her, you should be!  Click the link for her homepage!) about a few items, and the subject of the book cover came up.  If you’ve seen the book cover, you know that it’s pretty much a bunch of shade of greys.  Thing is, it works – or at least I think it does.  But what about you?

Sarah mentioned a “splash of color” might be needed.  So with that in mind, my friend Alice put together the cover, but with a gentle splash of color, and I think it actually does make a difference.  But what about you?  What do you think?

Here’s the original and the new; let me know what you think!

Two New Giveaways!

I’m running another giveaway, both on Goodreads for a print copy of the book, but also on Amazon for five copies of the Kindle version. So if you’re interested, enter to try and win!

If you’re interested in the Goodreads paperback giveaway, you can click this link: Goodreads Giveaway.  The Goodreads giveaway will run from December 15th, 2016 through December 31st, 2016.

If you’re interested in the Amazon instant-win giveaway, you can click this link: Amazon Giveaway.  The Amazon giveaway is live now, and five random people out of 250 will win a copy of the book.

So get to clicking, and good luck!

Readers – Present Tense or Past Tense?

So there’s a debate that I’ve gotten involved in from time to time, and that’s about writing either in present tense or past tense. For me, I’ve been trained to write in present tense, and it makes sense. Why? Because present tense tends to keep you in the moment. There are some particularly action-based scenes in the book that amp you up as you read it, and the present tense keeps you in that moment. Present tense, in my mind, is telling you a story as it happens.

Past tense, at least in my mind, tells you the story after it happens. So to me, it’s more detached from the story, and thus, takes me out of the moment. But I’ve had two strong reactions from two reviewers who don’t like to read present tense, as it is too jarring.

So what do you think? Do you have a preference one way or the other? Sound off and let me know!

It’s Book Release Day!

I’ve been waiting for this day for quite a long time; Migration: Beginnings is finally available for sale on Amazon!

While the print copy has been available for a little while (due to a glitch on my part; who knew you couldn’t set a pre-release date on a hard copy book through CreateSpace?), the Kindle version is finally available. If you have a Kindle, or even have the Kindle software available for your PC, Mac, iPad/iPhone, or Android device, and are interested in the book, you can now purchase it on Amazon.com. Even better for those people that have Kindle Unlimited, the book is free as part of the Kindle Unlimited program!

And if you haven’t entered the giveaway, there’s still time!

Goodreads Giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Migration by Walter H. Hopgood

Migration

by Walter H. Hopgood

Giveaway ends November 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Giving Away a Copy of Migration: Beginnings on GoodReads!

We’re also giving away a copy of Migration: Beginnings on the GoodReads.com platform!  If you’re a fan of GoodReads, please consider following me on there.  And while you’re at it, enter the giveaway!  Details below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Migration by Walter H. Hopgood

Migration

by Walter H. Hopgood

Giveaway ends November 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

#RTtoWin A Copy Of Migration: Beginnings!

To celebrate the pending release of Migration: Beginnings, I’m going to give away a free printed copy to one lucky Twitter follower.  All you need to do is retweet this post, and you’ll be eligible.  You can retweet any time between Thursday November 3rd when this post comes out, and Monday, November 14th at 23:59 Pacific Time.  Then on Tuesday, when Migration: Beginnings is released, I will get the list of all who retweeted the tweet associated with this post, and use the website RandomNumberGenerator.com to pick the winner.

Good luck!