NaNoWriMo tagged posts

“Julius Wright” selected for Round 2 of Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Category: Books

I’ve decided to try submitting some of my works to various independent novel contests. One of the biggest around is the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (or ABNA), which is great because it is hosted by Amazon and CreateSpace. Since I use both of those services to self publish (search for The Human Algorithm on Amazon or CreateSpace), this was a no brainer.

Now I had to decide what book to submit. So far, I have written the 3 novels for “The Algorithm Trilogy”. The first is already self published, which doesn’t disqualify it from this contest, but I wanted to focus on a different title. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to submit the second or third in the trilogy without the first. That left me with just my newest offering, freshly typed up last November during NaNoWriMo. The working title is The Long Life of Julius Wright.

ABNA was targeting about 10,000 submissions (no official report on how many they got), that would be submitting to 5 different categories.  The first round was a review of a 300 word “pitch”.  Of the 10,000 entrants, 20% (about 2,000) would be selected for round 2.  The following rounds will review a 5,000 word excerpt, the entire manuscript, and finally a community vote for the winner.

After waiting for an entire month, ABNA released the selected pitches, and The Long Life of Julius Wright was accepted into the second round!  Below is the pitch that made it.  I will post again when I get the results for Round 3 (after another month).

After 70 long years, Julius Wright is finally dying. He has spent the last 40 years in doctor’s care, and his last wish is to send a package to the FBI. A package that he claims contains an account of his life from struggling student to a rich entrepreneur who had it all, and his descent into mental incapacitation. The package is not just a record, but the memories themselves.

Will Taylor of the FBI is the agent who gets the cases that no other department would dare touch. Cases like a crazy man’s dying wish to share his memories. Agent Taylor is the only one who can see that there is more to the story of Julius Wright and he is soon proven correct.

In Julius’ memories, the days repeat themselves, like echoes of reality. And then there is the box. A simple leather bound box, with a lid concealing a single plastic red cover and a metallic bat switch. Every night Julius makes a choice. If he flips the switch, his life proceeds like normal, but if he doesn’t activate the box, time will rewind to the beginning of the day, with no one but Julius aware of the repetition. A fresh start; the opportunity to correct the past day’s mistakes.
Agent Taylor relives Julius’ past as he confesses the details of his extraordinarily long life. He watches the days that Julius repeated over and over until he achieved perfection in wealth, life and love. So how did Julius, who had it all, end up alone and incapacitated for the past 40 years? Only his memories will tell.

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The Boot Up of The Human Algorithm

Category: Books

For the first post after the first post, I wanted to cover a little about exactly how my first three books progressed from nothing to something.  Tracing the beginning of a something like an idea is a daunting task.  It is conceivable that I could go back as far as middle school classes or writing stories on AOL BB’s (bulletin boards) or a great extinct website called The Reader’s Vine or even my first failed attempt to write a book back in High School.  I will leave that ancient history for another post on another day.  For this book, there are a couple notable events that stand out in my mind as the main catalysts.

The idea to write about computers and technology was a no-brainer for me.  They say to write about what you know, especially when it is your first book, or if you are struggling to get words on the page.  Since I took my first computer programming class in 11th grade I knew I would be a computer programmer.  After school I went into software development.  So when I started coming up with ideas for a book, technology was my entry point.  I wanted to focus on the software side of technology, but I felt like that was too intangible to write a whole story about.  Hardware, cell phones, TV’s and the like don’t particularly interest me as much as software, but when you know “computers” you instantly get lumped into a bucket that family and friends refer to as “Tech Support”.  So over time, I have developed a substantial knowledge on the topic, sufficient to supplement the software in the book.

With the genre decided, I needed a story, characters, and a setting.  By nature, I can be a bit of a procrastinator.  The best motivator that I have found is a challenge.  Set a goal and a date, make it a competition, and make it difficult.  So when I heard about National Novel Writing Month, I signed up immediately.  National Novel Writing Month (or more affectionately known as NaNoWriMo) is a personal challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.  The first year I heard about this, I started a few days late (which already makes a touch challenge nearly impossible), but I also missed some days due to work commitments.  But during the days I did participate, I started the tale of the Human Algorithm, with a few key differences.  The law enforcement / police character was not the main character, but a secondary one, still very important to the plot, but not the absolute focus.  The main character was a computer programmer, of course.  So as you can tell, these characters were eventually merged.  Many of the elements of this first book survived into the Algortihm Trilogy.  For example, there was a SHADE type organization that operated in secret, and a DMZ area where technology was barren.  The writing of this first draft had a number of plot problems and silly scenes that did not fit the tone I wanted to achieve.  So after I abandoned my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, I also archived this original writing for reference, bust started again from scratch.  The following year I took another shot at the 50,000 word challenge, this time armed with 2 full sized poster boards drawn from edge to edge with diagrams of the world and flow charts of the plot.  The second time I succeeded.  Five full length revisions and I feel like it is time to let the words out into the Internet, where they rightfully belong.

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