Pilot Program – Let’s Pick Our Characters!

It’s been decided. You voted, and the majority of you chose Pilot Program as the book we’re going to write together. But we’re not done with the set-up just yet.

Here’s the very first lesson in writing a book: The idea is just the beginning, and it’s the easiest part. One thing that happens to authors frequently is that when people find out what they do for a living, it’s followed by, “I’ve always had a great idea for a book. Maybe if I told you the idea you could write the book. I’ll split the proceeds with you.” But coming up with the idea is the easiest part of writing a book. It’s everything that comes next that’s the challenge.

We’re going to skip the step of picking a setting. It’s not that it isn’t important, because it’s immensely important, but because I want to make the setting modern day – or modern minus coronavirus. I purposefully want to write in that setting as opposed to post-apocalypse because, quite frankly, I don’t want to think about the end of the world right now. I want to remember how things used to be, and how they’re going to be again eventually. I want a distraction from the end of the world!

Generally when coming up with a main character for your book, you want to pick someone who has flaws, and usually it’s good for those flaws to tie into the story you’re telling. It’s boring to read about a perfect person who never makes mistakes. We subconsciously want the characters we’re reading about to experience some change through the storyline. Keep that in mind as we explore some characters. Usually this is tied to a lie that the character believes. For instance, in The Hobbit, the lie that Bilbo Baggins believes is that Hobbits belong in The Shire, and aren’t meant to go on adventures. Over the course of the book he realizes the lie he believed was wrong, and not only that he likes adventures, but that he’s good at them.

Now help me pick our Main Character!

Name: Ernesto Kline
Description: Ernie’s a dork. Always has been, and always will be. He’s socially awkward, introverted, and a little agoraphobic. Okay… Maybe more than a little. He’s designed his life to revel in his solitude. He has a stay-at-home job, orders his food to be delivered, and all of his friends are online. Some members of his family visit from time to time, and are always trying to get him to go out and meet people, but he has no interest. That all changes one day when he receives a text from an unknown caller telling him to walk out into the hall. When he does, an event occurs that propels him into a wild adventure that will make him miserable at first, but eventually change his life.
The Lie: Ernesto believes he’s not worth getting to know. He’s been told enough, especially as a teenager, how weird and unlikable he is. That’s one of the reasons he’s lived such a sheltered life… until now.

Name: Aurora Winters
Description: Aurora comes from a long line of witches, but she’s never had any interest in the family business. She left that life behind a long time ago, and carved a good life for herself – or so she thought. After a series of unfortunate downturns in her life, she is forced to consider moving back home to accept the help her parents are offering, but this is a life she desperately wanted to escape. Then comes the voice, like a part of herself whispering from the back of her consciousness, telling her it’s time to go home.
The Lie: Aurora believes it’s best to stay in line with the world around her. She doesn’t want to make waves. She doesn’t want to stand out. She believes life is better when you fit in with the crowd.

Name: Camper Joe
Description: Camper’s never bothered telling anyone his real name. After running away from home when he was a teenager, and heading west, he became known by the locals in the town he ended up in as Camper Joe. The name stuck, and he made friends despite being homeless. He isn’t poor – or at least he doesn’t have to be. He isn’t an addict, and rarely asks for a handout. Instead, he earns money doing odd jobs for people around town, and lives life free of debt, stress, and responsibility. Things for Camper are going relatively well, until one night as he lay asleep in his tent he hears someone whispering to him, telling him to run. Run. RUN!
The Lie: Camper thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. He’ll freely admit that other people know more about things than he does (doctors for instance), but he firmly believes that if he put his mind to something he could become the best at it.

Name: Sinny Elms-Roberts
Description: Sinny spent the first forty one years of her life doing exactly as she should. She worked hard, saved her money, and was faithful to her husband. Then one day her husband of nineteen years never came home from work. In a panic, she went to his office only to discover he’d been fired nearly two weeks earlier for inappropriate behavior with a co-worker – a female co-worker. Soon she discovers that her husband drained their shared account, and left the country with his girlfriend. After wallowing in self-pity, Sinny lets a friend convince her to visit a psychic despite not believing in such things. The session goes about as she expected, poorly, and she laughs as she leaves. But then she keeps thinking about a piece of advice that the psychic gave her, and she follows that advice. It works, but when she goes back to see the psychic she finds that the woman has closed her shop and left. She eventually gets ahold of the psychic, but learns she’s terrified for her life. Someone’s trying to kill her! The psychic gets off the phone in a rush, and the very next day Sinny discovers that the psychic was found dead – murdered. That night, Sinny hears a voice… The psychic’s voice, calling to her from the dark.
The Lie: Sinny thinks she deserved to be left. She thinks she let herself go, and that it was her fault that her husband lost interest. She blames herself for it, and for most things that go wrong in her life.

Now go vote HERE!

Let’s Write a Book Together Part 2


Go back and read the first post HERE if you don’t know what’s going on.

How the hell are we going to write a book together if we don’t even know what it’s about yet?! We’re going to have to make some quick decisions. Since part of the fun with this is that we don’t know how it’s going to end, we can’t very well set up a concrete theme or character arc. That’d defeat the purpose. So we’re going to have to be a bit vague to start.

Tomorrow I’ll put up a post about characters, and we can pick from the list which one we want to be the main character, and perhaps which one we want to excise completely. But for now, let’s pick a general story. Here are some choices (these are just working titles):

Along Down the Mountain
Genre: Mystery/Horror
Set-up: A decade ago a man disappeared in the mountains on a trip with friends. He was presumed dead. One day he’s seen walking through the small town where he grew up. People try to speak to him, but he refuses to say anything. It’s not that he’s mute, though they think he might be at first, he just won’t respond. He wanders the town, watching people, and soon the people he’s been watching start to experience inexplicable events that grow more and more horrific.

The Fixer-Upper
Genre: Mystery/Horror
Set-up: A new home owner is happy about the deal he got on his foreclosed property, despite the damage the previous resident caused. It’s a fixer-upper, but he’s confident that with the help of his friends he can get it in good enough condition to flip. However, while fixing the house, they discover a room hidden in the walls. It’s small, just large enough for a bed and dresser. A diary is on the bed, containing writing that can’t be deciphered. He decides to turn the room into a large closet, and sends the diary off to his sister who is a linguist. Sadly, his sister is killed in an awful, gruesome accident. After the funeral, the diary shows up in the closet of the fixer-upper, as if it’d been brought there to lay where the bed had been.

Genre: Horror
Set-up: A young man suffers endless abuse from his peers, but his enemies begin to meet untimely ends. He’s come in contact with an evil creature that does his bidding. He begins to transform from a meek nerd into the same sort of person he used to despise – someone with strength and power. After all, as he likes to say, he has a Weapon In My Possession.

Pilot Program
Genre: Horror
Set-Up: The Main Character feels lost in their life. Nothing seems to be going their way. Whether in life or in love, the main character always seems to make the wrong decision. Then, one day, the MC hears a voice in their head that gives them advice. Upon following the advice, the MC discovers things turned out best after following the instructions of the voice in their head. However, as more instructions come, they begin to get more detailed, and violent. Is it okay to kill someone because a voice in your head, a voice that happens to be right most of the time, tells you to?

There you have it. Four stories to pick from. Which basic set-up for a story do you like the best? Which one would you like to take part in putting together over the next couple months? Vote on the A. Wise Author fan page on Facebook. Click HERE to go there now.

Let’s Write a Book Together


The world’s in chaos.

That’s not the start of a new story, it’s the truth. I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the end of the world, both what leads up to it and what happens after, but I never thought I’d be living through what actually feels like one of my books.

There’s no doubt about it, most of us are freaked out right now. Coronavirus (Covid-19) has swept the globe, and not in the fun way The Beatles did in the 60’s. As of writing this, my family’s in a self-imposed quarantine staring down the barrel of a minimum of 8 WEEKS before we’re supposed to go out and commiserate with other people. 8 WEEKS! That’s a hell of a long time.

A hell of a long time that could be spent writing a book.

My meandering preamble has led us to this. How about we write a book together? Yep. Me, you, and everyone else who wants to give this stupid idea a try. And I’m serious. I want everyone to pitch in on this, almost as if it’s a live, ongoing version of a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

There’s a good chance you’re in the same boat as me, sitting at home wondering what you’re going to do to entertain yourself for however long we’re stuck in our homes waiting for this pandemic to end. Let me help you waste a few hours a week!

Here’s the plan (and this plan is literally spilling out as I type it, so it’s not guaranteed to be the best plan, but fuck it. Who cares?) Every day I’ll spend a good amount of time writing with the intention of getting a 7-10K segment done to be published each and every Sunday. That 7-10K segment will be made available (and here’s the coolest part) FOR FREE to members of the A. Wise Facebook Group. Yep. FOR FREE. No charge. No strings attached. After all, you’re helping me write this book. Why would I charge a collaborator?!

Along the way I’ll be posting polls about character decisions, plot details, who should live and who should die, etc, that you get to participate in. And as we go we’ll be crafting the story together.

As you probably know, a while back I changed from being called A.R. Wise to just A. Wise, and in the transition there were thousands of fans who got left in the dark. The only people who made it over to A. Wise were the people who were paying attention! That works to our advantage. It allows us to do something like this. Something completely, totally, wildly different and unique. Then, when we’re done, I’ll include every single collaborator’s name at the end of the book in the ‘Thank You’s’.

Will the book be any good?

Heck, I dunno. It’s up to us to figure that out together! So if you haven’t joined the FB group yet, get over there and join NOW so that you can take part in this fun experiment. Click HERE to get to the group.