3 Cures For “Can’t Finish-itis”

This was needed today.

Dan Alatorre

Your humble host. your humble host

I made a new friend at a book signing the other day, and I heard something I have heard a LOT from people who want to write a book or are writing one they can’t seem to finish.

I hear this all the time, so I thought I should address it.

We’ll call it “Can’t Finish-itis.”

It’s a terrible affliction, but there are cures.

Here’s an example from a blog post of an obviously dismayed author friend, followed by my reply

…it seems as if I’ve just wasted the last (fill in your number here of the weeks, months or years) of my life writing a story no one will ever be interested in EVER. It should be printed off only to be burned in a barrel and then bombed with a nuclear warhead. I have THREE chapters left to write. THREE. At the end of the…

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We’re Putting The Band Back Together!

Some phrases say a lot with a little. They’re kinda like memes before memes were cool.

If memes are cool…

(Can’t say I’m digging the new WordPress editing system. Lots of extra hoops to jump through and who needs that? Keep it simple, WP!)

So I was talking to a friend recently, and we were discussing how a song you used to like can suddenly change and make you not like it. I had one oldie that I liked, and it was maybe a fave from my childhood, but it was an oldie when I was a kid, so I guess it’s an extra-oldie. (Why oldies? Pop radio plays the same ten songs over and over so I dial around to stay sane…)

Anyway, I thought it had a great tune and it was catchy, but when I heard it recently and listened to the actual words the guy sang in the song was heartbroken. (Ringo Starr, from The Beatles, and the song was Photograph. Allegedly he wrote it during his divorce and it became popular later.) He was saying, “All I’ve got is a photograph and I realize you’re not coming back anymore.”

That’s just words. Music. Rhymes.

Until one day you’re feeling down about something and you hear it, and then you’re like, wow, she’s not coming back, dude. Your life is forever different and – bad as it is, rough as it is – you have to get used to it.

Maybe having millions of dollars helps. I couldn’t say.

Probably it does.

There’s another tune, from the 80s. REO Speedwagon, “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore.” For me, that song was about a guy who had a fight with a girl and then some time had passed, and now he’s asking why he’s maintaining a distance.

And I can’t fight this feeling anymore
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for

But before that, it has a different message:

“I can’t fight this feeling any longer
And yet I’m still afraid to let it flow
What started out as friendship, has grown stronger
I only wish I had the strength to let it show”

That’s totally different. Where you start listening to a song determines what you take from it.

Man, not having internet on our phones as kids allowed us to screw up a lot of song lyrics!

Anyway, what it matters is this:

It was 9/11 yesterday. 19 years ago, people left their houses on a routine day and their loved ones never saw them again.

Whatever crap you are carrying about someone, let it freaking go. One day soon enough you’ll be dead and between now and that day what do you wish you’d have done differently? What if that last day was today? Start doing it. Car wrecks happen, you know. Lightning strikes. Other things.

Reach the hell out. Worst case, you’ll discover they’re still an arse and you can rest easy knowing you were the bigger person. Or let putting up with their irritating attitude be your gift to them.

Life’s not short. It’s incredibly long and wonderful if we do the right things.

Help others more. It feels really good to have someone say thank you.

Find stuff that makes you laugh out loud and tell others about it, in person or on social media. (I have a friend from high school who does that and it’s a highlight almost every day when I see her Facebook posts.)

Put the band back together.

You might find out you have friendships you’ve enjoyed for a long time and are worth reigniting. You may find out there were good reasons to stay away. Probably a little of both – but as none of us are perfect, maybe consider they might be putting up with your crappy attitude a little too, as their gift to you, and if people are giving each other gifts… well, it’s a great start.

Word Echoes – what they are and why you need to get them out of your story

Sydney knelt at the edge of the stream, rubbing her fingers to get the dead girl’s blood off. The water was colder than she expected, almost icy. Winter was coming fast this year. Lifting her hands to her face, she inspected her short nails. No mud remained visible under them.

Next to her, Bonnie stood up, water dripping from her fingertips.

“That’s good enough.” Bonnie wiped her hands on her jeans. “You can scrub up better when you get home. We’re just trying to be clean enough so we don’t get picked up on the way there.”

WORD ECHOES.

What are they?

Word echoes are when you re-use a word too soon, repeating it in the story too closely to its first occurrence.

In the above example, I have two girls washing their hands. The original version had the word hand or hands appearing a little too often for smooth reading. Repetition is close to boring, and boring will un-immerse your reader from the story. That’s death.

Instead of saying “hands” each time, I made sure I alternated a synonym or another word. Fingers, for example. (I could have gone further and said something like digits, but that’s too exotic for this story. That would be distracting.)

HERE’S THE ORIGINAL:

Sydney knelt at the edge of the stream, rubbing her hands to get the dead girl’s blood off. The water was colder than she expected, almost icy. Winter was coming fast this year. Lifting her fingers to her face, she inspected her short nails. No mud remained visible under them.

Next to her, Bonnie stood up, water dripping from her fingertips.

“That’s good enough.” Bonnie wiped her hands on her jeans. “You can scrub up better when you get home. We’re just trying to be clean enough so we don’t get picked up on the way there.”

Not a big deal, but you can see I’m alternating hands and fingers/fingertips. When I got to Bonnie’s actions, I felt like the water would drip off her fingers, or more precisely, fingertips. That’s a little too close to the prior sentence where I also use “fingers.”

It wasn’t awful, but we just used fingers. Twice. So inserting a 3rd one so soon would be a bad idea.

So I switched it.

That started a little chain reaction…

I went with fingertips for Bonnie, and switched the prior ones in succession: hands, fingers, hands, fingers… Finally, we get Sydney rubbing her fingers to get the blood off them, and I thought, that’s better than having her rub her hands. It’s as if she already got the bigger stuff off and was now concentrating on the detail work. That’s better. She rubbed her hands, then her fingers, then inspected her nails. (Rubbing the hands isn’t stated but I think it is implied.)

I also think it ads to Sydney’s possible fear of what she’s done. She’s trying to get ALL the dead girl’s blood off.

Bonnie seems to not care anywhere near as much.

The contrast heightens the scene, ever so slightly.

These are the little things that help a story read as smooth. Things most readers never hear about, and would probably never notice if they weren’t redone, but which might make them feel as though one story were a little more polished and professional than another. Over the course of a book, that can add up to quite a lot.

***

Want to read the rest of the story? If you preorder Spellbound and email me a copy of your receipt, I’ll send it to you. Quantities limited and this will probably be a pre-editing draft. This story will appear in Wings & Fire, a horror anthology with 20 stories form 15 authors, which will be available around January 15, 2021, but you get to see it now because you read my blog.

A New Batch of Scary Stories is on the Way.

Frank Parker shines a light on our new horror anthology and some of the stories in it.

Frank Parker's author site

And I’m in it!

It’s a while now since I contributed a story to The Box Under the Bed. I also contributed to the second in the series. I skipped the third but I have one in the fourth book, Spellblound, available to pre-order now and due for release on October 14th.

I’ve also had the privilege of proof reading a number of the stories and I can tell you that there are some examples of excellent writing. Not surprising since the authors are all award winners, hand-picked by USA Today best selling author Dan Allatorre.

An art collector discovers a missing painting, part of a suite by a famous artist. What horror awaits when all the paintings come together?

A young medium discovers the terrible truth about her spirit guide.

Three witches: one who can change men into birds; one who changes birds into men. And one…

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Which Is Scarier?

A. Sydney knelt at the edge of the stream, rubbing the blood off her hands.

OR

B. Sydney knelt at the edge of the stream, rubbing the dead girl’s blood off her hands.

B, right?

Yeah.

Lots of subtle changes in word choice can amp up the scary in a horror story.

If you have a hunger for horror, check out Spellbound. Preorder NOW for 99 cents; price goes to $4.99 September 1. Release date is October 14.

You are going to LOVE this book.

Spellbound will take you into the shadowy world of the eerie and macabre, with heart stopping stories from:


USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre (The Gamma Sequence),
award-winning bestselling author Robbie Cheadle (Through The Nethergate)
award-winning bestselling author Ellen Best
award-winning bestselling author Alana Turner
award-winning bestselling author Christine Valentor
award-winning bestselling author Nick Vossen (The Eldritch Twins)
award-winning bestselling author Anne Marie Andrus (Monsters & Angels)
award-winning bestselling author Adele Marie Park
award-winning bestselling author MD Walker
award-winning bestselling author Dabney Farmer
award-winning bestselling author M J Mallon (The Curse of Time, book 1: Bloodstone)
award-winning bestselling author Ernesto San Giacomo
award-winning bestselling author Betty Valentine (A Twist Of Starlight)
award-winning bestselling author Geoff LePard (The Harry Spittle Sagas)
award-winning bestselling author Frank Parker
award-winning bestselling author Joanne Larner (Richard Liveth Yet)
award-winning bestselling author Maribel Pagan

A young girl and her mother seek out a mysterious sorceress to guide the child in developing her powers, but the beautiful blonde witch has ideas of her own – and desires a powerful book that only the child can give her.
Tremble along as the stories in the magical book are revealed. “Some are true, some are false, and some are spells disguised as stories to hide our kind from those who would do us harm.”

* A young man is given a family heirloom at his mother’s funeral, but her protection can’t save him from himself.
* A sailing ship takes a journey to the new world and discovers horrors along the way.
* A young girl seeks a connection with her parents but learns she isn’t magical enough.
* And many more!

Compiled by USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre, this anthology of horror once again unites the minds and stories of more than a dozen amazing authors.

ORDER YOUR COPY NOW!

A new horror anthology

Robbie reads…

I am participating in another Box under the Bed series anthology of horror stories, edited by Dan Alatorre.

I have participated in two previous anthologies in this series. Dark Visions, published in 2018, had my stories The Willow Tree and The Haunting of William.

Nightmareland, published in 2019, features three of my short stories, The Siren Witch, Death Without Honour and The Path to Atonement.

The new book is called Spellbound. It is available for pre-order here: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Spellbound: A horror anthology with 20 stories from 15 authors (The Box Under The Bed Book 4) Kindle Edition

I have two horror stories in this book, Death is about Choices and Glass Mountain.

Blurb

From the creators of the #1 bestsellerThe Box Under The Bedhorror anthology and its #1 bestselling sequelsNightmarelandandDark Visions,comesSpellbound
– a horror anthology with 20 stories from 15 authors.

A young girl and her mother seek out a mysterious sorceress to guide the child in developing her powers…

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Convicted Felon Wid Bastian Steals From Authors Then Calls His Victims Cowards

Some bozos never learn.

 

On July 20, 2020, con artist and convicted felon Wid Bastian crawled out from under his rock to appear on a podcast

– I won’t name it here because it got a whopping 45 views since airing – in which the recently bankrupt thief attempted to say he was a victim of an internet smear campaign

…AND TO CALL HIS VICTIMS COWARDS

Wid Bastian wanted poster

 

That is so rich.

But as many people who know him will say, he always tries to play the victim card.

All I know is, he is actively trying to find new victims, and the podcast seems to be another step in that chain.

I won’t name the podcast, but here’s what I wrote them (with a few alterations) when I learned about their interview with Wid as I was getting some more information together for the lawyers at the Utah Attorney General’s office for the Communications Fraud case they are putting together in Wid:
The podcast XXXX  is filled with lies and verifiable misstatements. I believe your podcast co-host XXX XXXXX mentions he is/was thinking of working with Wid – please reconsider. I don’t have a personal vendetta against Wid; I’m actively trying to stop him from stealing from others. There’s a difference.

The various blog posts on the internet, KBoards threads, vlogs – all of those dozens of people, myself included, aren’t wasting their time to trash an innocent man.

Wid Bastian is a convicted felon.

He didn’t overextend himself with high interest rates as he said on his interview with you,

he pled guilty to embezzling the money.

That’s verifiable information that flies in the face of his explanation to you.

Prior to that, it is stated that he was fired from Merrill Lynch for embezzling clients’ money. That’s also what he did to numerous author clients (unrelated to my issues with him) and they are pursuing him in civil court.

My issue is, he stole money from me and other authors he said he’d market for, and

we have proof that is on file with the Utah Attorney General’s office.

They are pursuing him for Communications Fraud.

They don’t do that over lies from crazy people on the internet.

He defrauded authors and is actively soliciting new victims. DON’T BE ONE.

If you do business with him, in six months or so, you’ll see he ripped you off, too.
Working to stop this predator takes a lot of time, effort, and money, with likely no recovery to me and the other authors or punishment to the perpetrator. All I’m doing is letting potential victims know what is in store for them.

Your podcast was done with a con man.

Please don’t help him find more victims by helping him appear innocent.

It seems you didn’t do your homework and apparently swallowed his BS. I did what I could in blog posts; he gets to say I’m disgruntled. Nope. The Utah Attorney General’s office is continuing to issue subpoenas on Wid as we speak. They’re smart enough to not do that for a disgruntled blogger.

In the part of the podcast where he was allowed to “air his video,” he made a lot of false statements. He did not “set the record straight.”

  • Many people filed reports with the trustee in Wid’s bankruptcy filing. The trustee may be able to provide that information to you.
  • The fact that a lot of people harmed by Wid’s theft didn’t come forward is because they were embarrassed to have been conned
  • it takes time and money to pursue an out-of-state civil proceeding, and
  • they didn’t want to spend more money when Wid was already bankrupt;
  • they felt it was throwing good money after bad, and
  • the emotional side of all of it was hard to continue to bring back up. There was no lunacy.
  • Authors tend to be introverts that don’t want a fight.
  • Wid knows this and that’s why he preys on them.

He says he provided all of the documents that were “in his possession.”

That’s almost a true statement.

He provided almost no relevant documents because he didn’t have records

(a legit business would)

showing expenses or payroll – because his prior method of operation was to just spent the money and didn’t do the work. That appears to be what he did here as well.

  • Lined up victims,

  • took the money,

  • spent it, and

  • declared bankruptcy.

He says not one person filed an “adversary motion or proceeding.” Many of us filed the required legal protest document, which is what the law in Utah requires for a bankruptcy case.

“That means from a legal point of view none of the people who made such horrible statements about me had any legal grounds to sue me for anything.” As Wid well knows, because he is under current investigation by the Utah Attorney General’s office for communications fraud and has been served subpoenas in that regard, that’s not true; we are pursuing civil action in Utah and other states over his fraud.

Not file an objection to a debt discharge?

We did exactly that – and he knows we did.

He says we may be cowards. I’m no coward. Cowards hide. I’m not hiding, am I? We aren’t mean or stupid.
He says facts matter. They sure do!

“I did not rip anyone off… if anyone says otherwise, they are lying to you.”

Nope.

Wid ripped off dozens of people, and many of them are working hard to get that known.

We are providing the proof the the Utah AG’s office.

Wake up. Wid just conned you. He conned me, too.

 

So that was my letter to the podcasters. Look for them to do a show in 6-12 months where they talk about getting ripped off by Wid.

Meanwhile, avoid this predator.

He allegedly has an extensive Hollywood resume as a screenwriter and ghost writer.

Really???
According to IMDb, where any hack who was an extra on Saved By The Bell will list their TV appearance, as well as all the major stars, Wid has…

imdb wid bastian

…crickets.

Oops. Guess it got lost in the mail.

But what about his extensive success in his new field, writing books? Well, there he says he has a project coming out soon… in 2017???

That’s three years ago, goofball. Update your page, marketing expert.)

amazon poage says 3 years ago

 

So, as has been extensively documented here, on KBoards, on blogs, on vlogs, and in reports to various state Attorneys General, Wid Bastian is a con man and a thief.

According to one of Wid’s ex wives, he has been called a psychopath by an attorney…

He’s NOT going to stop preying on people.

It’s all he’s done for 30 years – aside from when he was in prison.

STEER CLEAR.

 

How To Write A Short Story – a video tutorial

What do you include when you write a short story? What does it mean to show and not tell? How much setting is appropriate, or description?

These and other writing tips are here in this 53 minute video that is a must see for anyone who wants to write or write better, presented by USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre.

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