A Question From The Front Lines

Per his permission to post it here, Michael McCullough of Uniontown, PA, recently asked me the following question(s) and thought since I get asked this quite a bit I would post it here for all of you to read.

How do you know you are at a halfway point? Is your novel already outlined to a tee, or do you know when you have done enough in your storyline and when you cross the thresholds to the new acts? I have a vague outline to my book, but I want to leave it room to grow…the problem I am having is that there is TOO much room to grow, and all the ideas seem worthy!  Furthermore, it appears I have a case of the “muddles.” I have what I believe to be a compelling introduction and an “Aha!” ending, so tying them together is the hardest part I have come across!

First, thanks for the question, Michael.  As far as outlining, it is really a matter of personal preference.  Some authors like to jot down some ideas, while others will go full-bore with an outline – every scene, characters, action sequence, etc.  It is really what works best for you and your thought process.  As you stated, you have a lot of ideas, so it may not be a bad idea to at least do a simple outline on the manuscript you are about to begin.  This might be a way to keep your thoughts from getting ‘muddled’ and stay clear for you throughout the entire story.  As for me, I didn’t do any notes or outlining at all for Night School.  With my short stories, I may jot down the basic story idea but that’s about it.  Although, for the current novel I am working on, which is a monster type novel (can’t tell you the kind of monster yet, of course) I started off with just a basic idea and started writing.  As I continued (I’m about 45k into it now – I go by what the publisher is asking for in regard to total word count – in this case it will end up around 80k) writing, I went back and jotted down character traits, what they are wearing, etc, so I don’t mess it up later (you sure as hell don’t want a female character of yours to start off wearing jeans and then 10 chapters later to only be wearing a pair of cut-off shorts or something along those lines).  Although, I will admit about a week ago, I got some general scene ideas and wrote them down.  But, as I continued writing (with the notes right in front of me on my desk) I noticed that no matter what I had written down I was veering away from them.  Basically, what I’m saying is that outlining doesn’t work for me.  I have always been one that I have to just let the story flow and see where it leads me.  I feel, at least for myself that if you outline you might hold so tight to that predetermined storyline that you might miss a great twist that you previously wouldn’t have thought of while actually writing the thing (same goes for planning out your ending in advance – you never know where the story might lead you while writing it and if you already have the ending planned out you might miss something even better).  In the end though it is really up to you and what works best.  Hell, try doing it both ways and see what happens.

Again, thanks for the question, Michael.  Hope this helps you out a bit.


The winner…

…of the contest for Writers Workshop of Horror, edited by Michael Knost and published by Woodland Press is…Ed Yarb of Seminole, Florida.

Congrats, Ed!

Remember The Contest

As a reminder, you only have until Midnight on 11/27 to enter to win a Free copy of Writers Workshop of Horror, edited by Michael Knost.

Click here to read about the contest and learn how to enter.

You Know You Want It…

I first mentioned here about my appearance at the 2010 National Haunters Convention.

As promised, I have some coupons now ready for you to request from me, if you would like to go and want to save a hefty $15.00 off the $25.00 admission price.  Below is what the full-sized and full-color coupon looks like.

There are 40 of these coupons available.  I do have another 40, but will be using those at my discretion in other ways.  So, be one of the first 40 to request one and I’ll mail it out to you Free of charge to your home.  I can’t guarantee that it will be mailed out in a week or even the next month, but I promise you that you will have it prior to the convention.

To request a coupon (you can request up to 2 per address), simply email me (ty_schwamberger@yahoo.com) with a subject line of ‘Coupon Request for NHC’ and include your full name and mailing address in the body of the email.

An Update On Cake Batter From Shadetree Films

Warren Provencal with Shadetree Films originally posted the below comment here, but I thought it deserved its own post to highlight what’s happening on his end.

Warren said:

So Cake Batter wrapped principle photography 2 weekends ago and is now in to editing.

We had a good friend of mine do some documentary work on the project and it is looking good as well.

I promised Ty I would have a trailer for everyone to see a.s.a.p. and I will. So stay tuned for that!

Editing is coming along well. We are about 3/4 of the way through to a directors cut. Sound and Music are also coming along well.

You heard it folks…stay turned cause we’ll getting close!

National Haunters Convention


The National Haunters Convention, runs from April 29th – May 2nd 2010 at the Valley Forge Convention Center in Kind of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  They will have over 108,000 square feet of space that will be filled with some of the best vendors in the haunting industry, along with having several different classes and even a haunted tour.  There are so many things that go on during this event that it is simply impossible to list them all here.  Instead, visit their site and spend some time cruising around and check out all that they have to offer.

Not only am I mentioning this convention because it’s an awesome event, but also since I have been invited to be the ‘Horror Author Guest of Honor’ at the event.  I will be at the convention from Friday, April 30th – Saturday, May 1st (times will be announced at a later date).  Among all the other events going on during the weekend, I will be doing several book signings (books will be available for purchase) and possibly showing the completed short film, Cake Batter, that was based off my short story by the same title (these will also be on sale at the event).  When the specific times of me being at the table selling my books and the movie become available, I will make sure to let you know.

Also, in the near future I will be offering to send you a special discounted coupon for the event which is regularly priced at $25.00 (which is still a hell of a deal).  I promise you that the coupon will be quite generous, so you’ll want to check back often so you can then get your fan reservation at the event squared away asap.

This should be an exciting event and am definitely looking forward to it!