Tag Archive for process

Get Rolling with Evernote for Writing

After some questions from other writers, I thought I’d expand on my “Why I Love Evernote” post to discuss how I actually use it to help with my writing projects.

The key to remember here is your mileage may vary. There may be things about Evernote I love that don’t work for you, and you may discover things I wasn’t aware of or had no use for. Dive in, play with it, and make it work for you.

Also, keep it simple. “Ubiquitous capture” and the lack of traditional computer metaphors like files and folders can be daunting at first, but once you get a handle on how Evernote handles notebooks, notes, tagging, and searching, things get pretty easy.

So let’s break it down and use my The Pack series and notes as an example.

1) Create a Notebook

It may help at first to think of notebook as folders, but the metaphor here is imagine you just purchased a shiny new paper notebook you’re going to write in and stuff full of pictures, newspaper clippings related to your project. It’s both notebook and scrapbook, in a sense.

An Evernote notebook, then is your first order of sorting. In the future you can share it with an editor or a collaborator, but in the meantime it’s the place you’ll dump everything related to that project. The default notebook is enough for some folks, but I just use that one for day-to-day things. I have a Recipes notebook, a Karate notebook, a notebook for the day job, and one for every major project I’m working on.

Everything from here on will have been created within my “The Pack” notebook. I could feasibly create one for every novel, but it’s a lot handier (to me) to group everything related to the series under one notebook.

2) Create Notes

Click “create note” and you’re off and running. The beauty of notes is they can include several types of content. Text is most common, of course, but I can also drag in photos and other media. Tables, lists, and checklists are available when needed, and with the indents and lists, you can build a traditional outline.

If you’re the type who likes voice notes, Evernote can handle this, too. Dictate into the Evernote app on your phone, for example, and it will be available everywhere you have Evernote installed or via the Evernote web app. Want to make dictated notes searchable, or transcribe to text? Check out Quicktate or Voice2Note. I don’t use these, but as I said, YMMV.

Here are the types of notes I use most often:

Character Dates and Timeline

This note is simply a master list of important dates and a timeline of events. The novels Winter Kill and Lie with the Dead occur about six months apart, but the events in the first Pack short “Bravo Four” take place decades earlier during the Vietnam War. Events from the Call of the Wild comic series have an impact in the prose series. There are references to unpublished (for now) events in each story, and of course there is the ages of characters to consider. To keep it all straight, I’ve got each major character’s birth date, their death date where applicable, and at least approximate dates of when each story took place and when unpublished events occurred.

Character Notes

This is where I get more detailed. Winter Kill has a lot of characters, including the Tyler family, at least two sets of villains, and a handful of supporting characters. There are two ways one might approach it: one note per character, like an old-school index card; or one note per group of characters.

I tend toward the latter because I don’t mind if the notes get a bit lengthy. So, I have a note for all of the core members of the Tyler family. I have a note for all of the skinheads in Winter Kill. I have a note for Angie Wallace, a major character unrelated to the Tylers or the villains. Each character’s physical descriptions, their personality, and so on are all included. It’s simply broken down so the character’s name is in bold, and then the paragraphs or one-liners follow.

These notes help keep details straight. For example, if a character carries a certain weapon, it goes in the note so the weapon doesn’t magically change in another book. If a character receives a wound, I make sure I know where the scar is. I might even paste in descriptive passages from each work to be sure it’s always consistent.

In short, it’s helpful for continuity, and it saves me the time of having to flip through published works to verify details later.

Book Notes or Outlines

I have at least one note for each novel in the series, including Book 3. They’re fairly organic, and change as I massage the plots. They might start with a simple breakdown of Act I, Act II, and Act III, or even just a line or two about what I want to accomplish or an overall theme. Some are just brainstorming, and at least one includes a discarded version of a story which I might pick apart for later use anyway.

Over time, they get more detailed. I might have a beat sheet breaking down the book event by event, or even chapter by chapter. Pretty soon, they’re more or less an outline of the book I can use to write from, and they also become useful to refer back to when working on other projects in the series.

Short Story Notes

I have one note that has the synopsis for each of the short stories I’ll be writing for the series over the next few months. I then flesh them out with a separate note to figure out how the stories will play out.

For example, there’s a “Bravo Four” note I used to write from. It’s an outline, and it’s a reference for the future. If The Pack were a comic series, I might even have an issue-by-issue breakdown, a note for each story arc.

Research Notes

These are most often web clippings, but some may be simply photos or other notes. Because The Pack is a werewolf series, I clipped the article “Why everything you know about wolf packs is wrong” in case it might be useful in the future. This way it’s available in searches and browsing rather than lost in a pile of bookmarks or other links. I also have some notes about places and events from the Vietnam War for “Bravo Four”, and I have some other history notes for future short stories.

Publishing/Business Notes

Everything related to publishing gets a note. I have a note with key reviews for Winter Kill. I have a note listing the ISBN numbers and publication dates of each work, and any relevant Amazon or Barnes & Noble links. They’re small things, maybe only needed once in a blue moon, but they’re handy to keep around.

I also have a note for the editing process of Lie with the Dead. I simply dumped the editor’s notes into a note for quick reference. Once, while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, I thought of a way to address one of his notes. I fired up Evernote on my phone and jotted those thoughts in with that comment so I could address it later and not sweat forgetting it before I got to a computer.

I also dumped everything from a weekend retreat planning meeting I had with my publisher into a note. Notes we took, things we discussed, and even photos of the whiteboard we used are all still available to me for reference.

Miscellaneous Notes

Everything else, basically. I do all my brainstorming on paper, so I might transfer those notes into a separate note for later noodling. Other times, the brainstorming notes go into existing notes. There’s no hard-and-fast rule here, because tagging and searching makes where I record the notes irrelevant.

3) Tying Notes Together

There are two ways to do this: tagging and linking.

You’re probably already familiar with the idea of tagging. They’re a simple way to “group” notes without using folders. Character names are an important tag, for example, as are book titles. This way, if I look for anything tagged “winter kill,” I’ll get everything that may be related to that book.

Linking is also handy, and works just like a hyperlink on a website, and in effect can turn your notebook into a wiki. In a plot note, I might include a link from a character’s name to the note containing their description. Or I can link from a plot or character note to one of the research notes. This keeps me from having to reproduce information, or from bogging down notes with extraneous information.

4) Sorting Searching

This is the point people sweat keeping everything organized. Forget about it, because the search feature makes all of that irrelevant. It’s very powerful, and will search tags, text within notes, and text within attachments (pictures, and even PDFs if you’re a pro user).

You simply don’t need to sort things into folders because the search will find it for you. Accidentally drop a note into the wrong notebook? No problem, you can restrict searches to within a notebook or open it up to your entire account.

Notes are typically listed by the date they were last modified. This way, the thing you’re working on most at the moment is typically at the top of the stack. It can also sort notes by location if that’s what you’re into by tagging notes with GPS information and showing you a map.

Are you the visual type? Take a look at Mohiomap, an app which allows you to surf your notes visually as a mind map based on your tags. This is another feature that’s not for me, but if you’re a big fan of mind mapping, check it out.

Once you get used to searching over sorting, it’s very liberating. You’re not wasting time organizing things, archiving things, or otherwise performing housekeeping on a fat stack of files. Throw your data in a note and forget about it.

The Evernote app also allows you the flexibility of creating shortcuts to your most-used notebooks and notes. One click gets you to a current project rather than having to go through a list of notebooks every time.

5) The Extras

Ubiquitous Access

Wherever I am, whatever device I have with me, if I can get to the Internet I can get to my notes. If I’m going to travel somewhere coverage might be sketchy (a very real possibility for me now that US Cellular has carved up and sold off entire service areas), I can tag certain notebooks as Offline notebooks so I can keep current notes with me at all times.

A Second Screen

I’m not a fan of flipping back and forth between windows, and it’s not always helpful to shrink windows to keep them side by side on a screen. Thus it’s not unusual for me to have a document in progress open on screen, and the notes related to that project open on the iPad or smartphone next to me. It’s a small thing, but I like it.

Reminders and To-Dos

I personally prefer Todoist and Google Calendar for these, but Evernote does have these features built in. You can set a reminder to nag you about a meeting or a deadline. You can create checklists of to-dos in a note, and tie them to reminders. It’s all very flexible, I just find it unwieldy compared to Todoist.

Just Do It!

There’s really no right or wrong way to this, and it’s all very adaptable to your style and personality. Get in there and dig around, start creating notes. If you decide you want to handle notes and notebooks differently, you can drag notes to different notebooks.

It’s all very organic, and all a lot more user-friendly than it appears at first glance. Understanding comes quickly. Learn by doing, and don’t be afraid because you’re not going to lose anything.

If you’re ready to get started, please, use my referral link to set up your Evernote account. I’d appreciate it!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Old School Editing

One of my editors kicked a manuscript back to me on paper a couple of weeks ago. I can’t remember the last time I did a paper edit, and even then, it was on my own. I’ve never had an editor send me an old-school, marked-up manuscript before.

Editing progressing well. Page 244 of 314.

Making with the red ink.

I used to print manuscripts myself for editing all the time. I feel like I catch more errors that way, and I get a better idea of the flow of things. I would sit somewhere quiet, away from the computer, and go through the whole thing, then key the edits in later.

Lately, however, an editor would kick their corrections back to me using Track Changes in a word processor like Word or Pages, maybe leave some comments, and then I’d accept or reject, attach my own comments, and return the file. It’s not as hands-on or organic, but it does streamline the workflow and speeds up the process.

Coming down the home stretch. #amwriting

Something to drink, some music, and a quiet place to work.

I don’t know that I have a preference anymore. There’s definitely some nostalgia in doing it on paper, and it was fun to dust off old skills like reading the proofreading marks and seeing typography notes. When it comes down to it, though, this is work, not hobby, and what the editor wants is what the editor gets. Some editors still want subs double spaced and in Courier font, and I will never argue. On the other hand, as fun and challenging as it might be to write something on a typewriter, I’m sure many editors wouldn’t touch it because of the work it would create for them.

The main reason my editor went this route is he’d already formatted the manuscript for print. This wasn’t a done deal, and he started off by fiddling around and playing with design work. Pretty soon it became the real thing, and it didn’t make much sense to send me a file that I may accidentally screw up his design work on. His final round of proofing would be that much more difficult, and it would delay release plans.

In the future, I’m sure we’ll be right back to our digital methods, and that’s just fine.

Booyah. Tomorrow, the post office.

Booyah! It should have arrived back in his hands today.

Writing “Draft Complete” at the end of this one was almost as satisfying as typing “THE END” at the end of the first draft. I still owe him some ancillary materials for the book, but in general it’s just about ready for print. I’m looking forward to it.

So what’s the project? Well, I can tell you it’s not Lie with the Dead, though that book is through the final round of editorial and is back in my hands for the final revisions. We just haven’t announced anything formal with this project yet.

But I did post a teaser a short time ago…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Know When to Fold ‘Em

I’ve been sitting on the outline for The Pack book 3 for a while. I had a clear idea of how it would open and the course a certain character’s actions would take, and Act One came together nicely.

Act Two put up a fight, but after a while I wrestled it into submission. The other characters didn’t want to play nice, and I had to coax them into the van with candy and hope they’d cooperate.

Then came Act Three. Or, rather, didn’t come Act Three. The outline languished a while, and I’d come back and fool with it a bit, make a tweak here and there, see what new direction things took. The characters wouldn’t have it. I showed them a rag, asked them if it smelled like chloroform, but they’re too smart to fall for that kind of thing again.

It occurred to me, then, that maybe the entire thing is flawed.

I dreaded the idea of starting over. Most writers do, because then it feels like lost progress. There’s time and effort invested in that page, and to just strike it all and go back to the beginning is not an easy decision.

I did it anyway.

This morning I renamed the file as a first draft and shoved it into a subfolder, then opened up a new outline and typed up the general structure and what little I intended to salvage from the first outline. Before I knew it I had Act Two all stacked up.

Then, lo and behold, I had the Act Three I’d been searching for all along. Even better, I incorporated two neat ideas I thought would have to wait until Book Four. Why wait? Get to the good stuff now! After that I started breaking down the beats, setting up the chapters, and by tomorrow I hope to wrap it all up in a nice little bow for my editor.

To boil this all down to a point, writers can’t be afraid to scrap everything and start over. Better to discover the bad stuff now than in the rewriting stage. What’s easier to scrap: two pages of synopsis and outline or a few hundred pages of manuscript?

Don’t worry, that’s a rhetorical question.

If a writer knows his characters and what he’s trying to accomplish, the plot should just flow. Trying to force the plot—or worse, settling for a plot out of sheer stubbornness—is a sign there’s something wrong. Back up and try again. Sure, it will cost a little time, but in the long run the story will be better for it.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Editor or Adversary?

Any schmuck can claim the editor title. There’s no training for it, no formal certification. There’s a generally-accepted idea of what an editor is and does, but there’s so much leeway in its application that few people question it when they work with an editor.

One definition of the editor is the gatekeeper. He’s the guy putting together an anthology, and thus the guy the writer has to buy drinks for at a convention. To some he’s the Statue of Liberty, welcoming the tired and poor and huddled masses to his inbox. To others he’s Cerberus, viciously shredding manuscripts in his three sets of jaws and keeping the wannabes in their place.

Another definition is the editor as proofreader. Some editors will run a manuscript through Word’s spellchecker and call it a day, trusting the pro writer they admire to have the skill to turn in a flawless manuscript. Others wield their red pen like a scythe, slashing at the text until the manuscript looks like a murder scene.

Finally we have the editor as consultant, or perhaps developer. The easy-going editor asks the writer to tweak the ending because he didn’t understand it. The writer changes exactly three words and the editor says “great job” and moves on (possibly without even reading the revised manuscript). This guy’s opposite number is the micro-manager, the guy who forgets this is the writer’s story, not his own, and dictates changes down to the minutest detail.

For my money, an editor should be a blend of all three, and a good editor will work somewhere in the middle ranges of these scenarios. A good editor can make a decent writer look great, but a bad editor can make a great writer look like a monkey raping a typewriter. Just as a good editor should analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a writer, a good writer should analyze the strengths and weaknesses of an editor.

This is why a writer must ask himself whether this person is his editor or his adversary.

For those of us coming up during the POD boom ten years ago, we saw a lot of editors slap together an anthology and call it a day. The stories were uneven, some writers turned in crap because they could, and the books were often rife with typos and grammatical errors. We started to figure out pretty quick that this style of editing wasn’t doing any of us any favors.

I also know two guys who worked with a prominent editor at a New York publishing house. He asked them for changes to manuscripts that made no sense, and pretty soon they figured out this guy wasn’t even reading the manuscripts in the first place. This explained a lot of the other crap hitting the shelves under this guy’s watch, and my friends ultimately moved on so they wouldn’t be dragged down by the rest of the line.

These editors are your adversary. They do not have the writer’s best interest heart, nor even the book. They want their name in lights or to just collect a paycheck.

I also know editors who bring out the best in their writers. They understand good storytelling and they know what style guides are for. They take the time to check historical facts when necessary, and they know how to push a writer to make him work harder. They make sure the writer’s work is the best it can be, and that it works well on its own or as part of a collection or anthology.

These editors are the editors you want to work with, for obvious reasons.

Recently, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with more of the good editors than the bad guys, but it doesn’t always work out that way. We may always turn in the best work we can (at least, I hope we all are), but there are times we also have to take the extra steps ourselves.

And in extreme cases, there are times we just have to walk away from a gig.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Pencil vs. Keyboard

Most of the time, if I have my laptop or iPad sitting on a table somewhere, my trusty Moleskine and a good mechanical pencil are sitting nearby. It’s not uncommon for me to have the electronic device pushed off to the side in favor of the pencil, nor is it unusual for me to have the Moleskine in my pocket while I travel, or sitting close at hand (often right beneath my smart phone) on a bar or restaurant table.

People will often ask me “What’s with the notebook? Why not just type the same thing in your laptop?”

Because of the feel, I’ll tell them.

Artist Patrick Hoover and I talked about the pencil versus the keyboard recently, and here’s how he explained it:

“It’s very tactile and triggers something creative in the brain. I can’t write in a notebook and not end up doodling all over it. It’s physical and dirty and imperfect, and by it’s nature chaotic in a sense. That’s what creating is all about. The computer is just too hard, sterile, and inflexible. It’s great for polishing up something, but I think the best creations come from old school pencil and paper.”

That about sums it up. The ideas just flow faster through a pencil. I love the feel of scribbling on paper, and sometimes I’ll doodle or draw balloons and connecting lines, underline for emphasis (or scratch out to emphasize how hard something sucks), and capture stream-of-consciousness thoughts that may or may not amount to anything.



Why not dump these notes into Evernote? Because Evernote’s for storage and retrieval, not generation. I can’t afford to be deciphering my scribbled handwriting, flipping through the notebook for the right page, or worse, not have the notebook available when I’m trying to write. I also have timelines and character notes for The Pack in Evernote, but there are several drafts of the same in the Moleskine. It’s like Evernote gets the final draft notes, if that makes any sense.

Why not dump them into a story document? Same reason, really. I sit down and start writing when I have an idea of what I want to say. Sure, there’s still a lot of creativity going into the writing process at the keyboard, but that’s more choosing words and stringing together narrative and dialog than it is conjuring the actual scenes and plot. I don’t always work from full outlines, but thinking back, I can hardly think of a time I didn’t at least work off of notes, even for short stories.

Brainstorming and creating just comes easier for me with a pencil. I tinkered with mind map software, but it doesn’t click with me, either. A pencil and the Moleskine — or pretty much any blank piece of paper or yes, a cocktail napkin — works much, much better.

I may be content to replace books with electronic editions, but I’m not sure I’d ever give up my pencil and paper.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The iPad as a Mobile Writing Platform

I’ve come to enjoy writing in Pages on my Mac, and using the Pages app on the iPad is proving to be just as capable. Enough people have asked how I like it that I thought I’d just go ahead and write up what I’ve done to turn it into a great system for writing on the road.

First, let’s talk about the on-screen keyboard. While it’s not near as bad as some would expect, it does have its quirks. When typing in landscape mode, the key sizes and spacing are not far off from a standard keyboard, and just as with the iPhone, the predictive typing and auto-correction helps smooth most typos. The downside for full-fingered typists, however, is the rearrangement of some of the keys, most notably dropping the exclamation point down to the comma key and having the apostrophe as a sort of sub-key of the comma (hold the comma key and swipe up to get an apostrophe). I still haven’t quite gotten used to it, but at the same time, it hasn’t really slowed me down, especially for short works or outlines.

I found an easy solution in adding a Bluetooth keyboard. This gives me finer cursor control and text selection with the shift and arrow keys, and it leaves me more screen real estate for typing. Even carrying both the iPad and the keyboard, I have less bulk and weight than a laptop and I still get the benefit of longer battery life.

There may be other writing and text-editing apps available, but again, I’ve found the Pages app works quite well. Most of the basic formatting, like numbering and indenting, has made it to the app, and it can export to PDF and Word docs as well as to the native Pages format.

Two ways the app could be almost perfect: 1) More flexibility in exporting apps (such as to Dropbox, below); 2) Add support for comments. My editor at Evileye Books makes extensive use of the comments features in Pages and Preview on the Mac, and he’s getting me addicted. It would be so much easier if those comments also showed up in the Pages app, even if it was through something like an icon placeholder if not having them on-screen at all times.

To get files to the iPad, as well as to keep them in sync on other devices, Dropbox is a must. I have their software installed on my desktop, my laptop, my iPod touch, my iPad, and now my shiny, new, Android-powered smartphone. Put a file in a Dropbox folder and it’s uploaded to the Dropbox server, where it is then pushed out to every device subscribed to the account. I can even access my files from any browser, or use it to share files with other people. The Dropbox app can open and read Word docs, PDFs, and Pages files, and it can send files right to the Pages app for editing.

Dropbox’s single, most important selling point is it helps ensure I have the most current copy of a document available at all times. No more comparing time stamps, copying across a network, and no more juggling thumb drives and hoping they don’t suddenly crap out. If Pages could export back to Dropbox directly, the system would be bulletproof.

My next must-have app is Evernote. There are competitors like Simplenote, but whatever the final solution, they help keep my notes synchronized across my various devices. I still brainstorm best with a pencil and paper (so the Moleskine still goes with the iPad), but important notes get dropped into Evernote for easy access. Evernote makes it easy to keep notes for different projects sorted, and the tagging makes it easy to find them. I can also take photos and drop them into Evernote, and there’s a voice note feature I have yet to take advantage of.

I have the Kindle app loaded on all of my portable devices, too. While it’s nice to have as a distraction or for inspiration, I also have a free Kindle edition of The New Oxford American Dictionary on hand for when I don’t have an Internet connection and searching Google isn’t an option.

And that about sums it up. I have email and my address book, of course, but the smartphone handles most of that. Same for Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress apps, but I don’t consider those must-haves for the actual process of writing. Google Earth and Maps can be helpful at times, and I’ve got things like a first aid reference, a how-to guide, and a drink mix app for occasional use as well. I have yet to use the Dragon Dictation app for more than just tinkering and testing, but I can see how it might be useful at times, too.

Lately I’ve been all about keeping it Spartan. The core tools are the true necessities; the rest are just flashy apps and distractions. I spend all day multi-tasking on my desktop and laptop, so it’s nice to have a pared-down device with just one app holding my focus on the screen. I’ve come to enjoy editing and proofing on the iPad as well. Using it like a tablet closely mimics editing on paper, and it feels more relaxing than sitting at a desk or keyboard. Again, if I could add comments to documents, it would be almost perfect.

Finally, I love the portability. I carry a lot of extra gear in my laptop backpack for work, and I can drop the iPad into my karate backpack without adding significant weight or bulk (I keep karate notes in Evernote as well). I can drop the iPad into a messenger bag, with or without the keyboard, and haul it to a convention or on a short trip with no problem. Hell, I can even drop both the iPad and the keyboard into a saddle bag on my motorcycle and really travel light.

Time was I thought I’d never be able to do without a laptop. Now I feel like I’m just using the laptop out of habit. I’m not quite ready to give it up, but if I had to, I bet I would get along just fine.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Percolatin'

I get asked about process by other writers from time to time, so in light of yesterday’s blog post, I decided to make today’s Photo Friday a self portrait with a glimpse into a portion of my process.

How the magic happens.

How the magic happens.

If you click on the picture you’ll find some notes on the Flickr page, but in a nutshell, this is pretty much what the planning and editing parts of my process look like.

The Moleskine is primarily used for brainstorming and for capturing ideas as they hit me. I might just jot down some random thoughts, or I might do some rough outlining; it all depends upon what’s in my head at the time.

In this particular case I’ve printed out the near-complete outline for an upcoming book and I’m comparing it to my notes. I might punch them into the computer right there if the changes work, and I’ll also proof the outline itself. During the editing process, I might or might not have the notebook or laptop handy, but I’ll use the pencil to proof and rewrite before keying the edits into the computer. I never proof on-screen because it seems like I catch more typos on a hard copy than electronically.

The laptop is usually handy for quick access to online reference sources, Google for important data, and especially my growing Evernote collection. Evernote is more for organizing critical plot data and keeping continuity in check. I do keep a separate series bible, but most of the individual pieces of data are in Evernote for easy access and tagging.

Last but not least is the music. I can use the iPod touch for Internet and Evernote access in a pinch (especially if I’m on the road and can find a wi-fi hot spot), but I most often use it for music. It helps to have some noise on hand to help tune out other distractions and keep me focused, and the Skullcandy in-ear headphones do a great job of noise reduction. If I’m working at the iMac instead, where I try to do most of my actual writing, I’ll have music running on iTunes (my writing playlists usually include music without lyrics, such as movie scores).

And there it is: more than you ever wanted to know about how I get things done. Aren’t you glad you asked?

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Spring Break: Not a Total Loss

Despite a somewhat disappointing Spring Break due to sick kids, a sick wife, and crummy weather, I managed to salvage my time off with some solid productivity.

There was last Sunday’s interview for starters, and shortly after I printed the script to the graphic novel script I’ve been working on and took the pencil to it (never was fond of the red pen). I slimmed it down by several pages, rewrote two scenes and added another, and I think the book will be stronger for it.

I have a novella contract to fulfill, and I finally figured out the right way to handle the plot and came up with a better villain. I finished the outline not long ago and fired it off to the publisher for review. Once it’s approved I’ll be able to start banging away at the prose.

I may not have been able to light up the grill, but I can’t complain about lighting up the keyboard. Sure, I’ve had more productive days, but with everything else that was happening this week, I did pretty good.

I also dropped by Borders today and browsed their art books. I found Andy Schmidt’s The Insider’s Guide To Creating Comics And Graphic Novels and remembered his interview with Indie Pulp, so I took it home. I think it’s a bit too late to learn to draw, but I’ve always wanted to get a better handle on the artists’ side of things while I write scripts, particularly layout and perspective. I already have Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art, but hopefully Schmidt’s book will offer a broader take, offering some editorial insight in addition to tips for writers and artists. I learned quite a bit while working with Moonstone and Joe Bucco on Werewolves: Call of the Wild, but I’m still not as comfortable with comics as I am with prose.


Tomorrow it’s back to the grind. Yippee. Nothing like a day job to get in the way of writing productivity!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Das Tödliche Geschlecht

Das Todliche Geschlecht – Cover draft

Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

The above is the cover to the German edition of Deadliest of the Species, aka Das Tödliche Geschlecht or “the deadly gender.”

I’m posting this as a sort of insight to the process. This is the second draft I’ve seen, and it’s getting closer and closer to a final product. There’s still some tweaking to do to the fonts/lettering and their placement, and the artwork will be tuned a bit more, but this is the concept.

Maybe I’m biased, but I kind of like it. I feel there pretty much has to be a woman on the cover given the content, and they’ve certainly done that. It’s also tough to complain about the size of my name in proportion to the title. Heh.

The geschäftsführer (sounds much cooler than “managing director,” doesn’t it?), Michael Krug, tells me the cover will be appearing in a program review in December, which will be used to pitch the book to booksellers. I also see the ISBN numbers for the book are listed on the site, so things appear to be on track.

I’m really looking forward to having this in hand. I got a look at Brian Keene’s Otherworld titles when I visited him, and the company really puts out a quality product. I get the impression they have big plans for the future as well, so I feel like I’m climbing aboard at a good time.

I best get off my dead ass and write them something else.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.