Dreaming Big

My post today is part of a blog hop from a group of online writers, called Master Koda. A blog hop is a series of thirty or so writers who answer the same questions for a month.

The Master Koda group has helped me a lot and has taught me many things about social media (but I still have a lot to learn)

I’m supposed to write a blog about dreaming big for my novel. Answer the questions, tag the next author, and let the hop continue.

I’ll identify the questions and then give my answers and non-answers.

Dreaming Big

cover2To be honest, I don’t dream big about my novels anymore. I did for my first novel, Prisoners of the Williwaw, a story of three hundred convicts and their families on an island in the Aleutians. I can’t say exactly what stopped me from dreaming – maybe it was banging my head against agents and editors for so many years. Maybe it was almost reaching the dream and then failing. HBO opinioned the screenplay version of this novel for a year and then didn’t renew. Maybe it’s that my interests don’t fit into the questions that will follow.

What happens to any of us as we stop dreaming big? It doesn’t mean we stop dreaming little. Maybe it means that we stop all the dreaming and get to work. Maybe it means that we are defeated and have given up.
Next Question:
Writing is largely solitary, and sometimes a lonely endeavor. Sure, you talk to friends, experts for research, discuss what works and what doesn’t with your editor, and bounce ideas off of fellow writers. But in the end it’s one person pounding the keyboard or twirling the pencil. But what if it didn’t have to be completely alone?

Who would YOU work with if you could work with anyone on your favorite project?

I would continue to work with the people I work with now. Every two weeks we Rainwriters meet. There’s seven of us, all aspiring novelists, all dead serious. We start our meetings on time and end on time. This is a business meeting. Nobody reads their work in the meeting, it’s all commentary on the handouts from the previous meeting. One member brings in a timer and everyone gets three minutes to comment on a manuscript. Do the math —  six people comment on my selection and they each have three minutes. 6 x 3 = 18. Multiply that by all seven members in the group. 18 x 7 = 126 minutes. But our meetings are only two hours, 120 minutes.

Of course, we make exceptions if an interesting discussion gets going, one that would help us all.

I cannot go to a meeting without turning in a new chapter. It would be like forgetting to wear pants. So one benefit is that it helps me produce product, but more, it makes a better writer out of me. One woman in the group hammers at me a lot. “What does the scene look like? What are they wearing? What are they doing as they’re talking? What’s the weather like?” She knows I’m weak in this regard and tries to help me. One man makes sure that every word in my sentences does some work, while another man ignores the line editing and goes for the big picture.

I sort of challenge the premise of this question – for me writing is no longer a solitary occupation. I’m only an email away from the other six, and even as I write, I feel their influence and I try to say what the room looks like (and smells like.)

Oh – we’re called Rainwriters, because we started in the month of November many years ago. We live in the Northwest, so for the first several meetings, it was raining.
In this post, that’s what I’m asking. Choose a person for each category and tell why you want to work with them. If you want, feel free to post their picture, a piece of their work, or a link to something about them. The only rule is that the person must still be alive.

Writers dream. Now it’s time to dream BIG.

You have the opportunity to hire anybody as your cover artist.

My son-in-law is a draftsman who works for a machine shop in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. Vince has a side interest that he studied for a year at a local university, Internet graphics. However, life got in the way and now he makes draftsmanhis living drafting machines and sometimes milling them. He’s made all the covers for my books, but in most cases, I have to start him off with a basic picture or a clear idea. He’s got all the details down – how wide to make the spine of the book etc. Is he the best man for the job? Will I make a fortune on his covers? He does a good job and at least for the last two covers, I’ve heard lots of compliments.

Who would you co-write your next novel with? What genre? Why?

Mike Oulton

Mike Oulton

Mike Oulton. Mike hasn’t written anything much in the last five years, but I’ve seen his work from years ago. Mike was my student in prison. He’s one of those people that you turn the ignition key and off they go. That was Mike. I remember once teaching that many men wrote romance novels under an assumed name. The next week Mike came down to class with the opening chapter of Breach of the Heart. Mike read the chapter in class. You have to understand that Mike was a boxer and an entry into several Iron Man competitions. All the guys liked his chapter. One man asked, “Hey, Mike, I mean, how did you get inside the chick’s head like that?”

Mike looked around the room and said something that only he could say in a high-security prison, “I just got in touch with the female part of myself.”

As he was nearing the end of his prison term, he and I wrote a book together about our prison experiences. He was arrested in Mexico for smuggling drugs (he was a dealer, not a user), and I went to prison to teach creative writing. The book is called Dystopia.Dystopia

Mike’s been out of prison for five years now. He’s got his own successful entertainment business. If he and I had the money, I’d write a book with him, or more likely I’d edit the book and let him write it. He’d write a book about boxing (that novel’s already in his bottom drawer) and God only knows what else he’d write a book about.

Your publisher wants to do an audiobook version of your novel and they’re not sparing any expense. Who do you think can narrate your masterpiece?

I don’t know the answer to this question.

They’re really going all out! Your novel is getting a full soundtrack. Who should compose it? If your novel uses a lot of songs, list your compilation here.

Nor this one.

Congratulations! Your novel is being turned into a major motion picture. As the creator of the original work, you get to pick the director.

Sadly, my movie education is non-existent. I didn’t have a course in that in the seminary, that and a lot of other practical things like psychology. I’ve struggled to get media savvy and now my son and daughter help me understand and appreciate movies.

The director has some ideas on who to cast, but you get to cast one character. What role/character is it and who portrays them?

I do have a little fantasy. If one of my prison movies were produced, I’d like to be a very minor convict in the movie. Maybe I’d get the chance to give somebody the finger and swear like some of my students.

 You’ve been hired to write a novel based on a preexisting character or franchise from another medium. Which character or franchise is it?
See the next question.

It’s the anniversary of your favorite literary character’s debut. You’ve been hired (yay, work!) to write an anniversary novel. Who is the literary character?
He’s a character in the novel I’m working on. The novel is called Delaney’s Hope. Delaney’s hope is that he can establish a prison that really works, that rehabilitates people, that changes them to be law-abiding citizens. One of the inmates is a man named Dino Mandaro. He’s a fast-talking, womanizing dealer of drugs. He’s used to the good life that his occupation provided.

Dino is based on a real person. Call him Roberto. Roberto was in prison at the same time as Mike Oulton. The two of them were in my creative writing class, and if it ever deserved the name ‘creative,’ it was doing those years. The two of them came up with great ideas for TV shows. They cranked out novels and brought other men to the class. They made writing a respected occupation in the prison. Roberto’s novel was The Centurion Men’s Club.

Roberto got out a few years before Mike. I set up regular meetings with him. I feared that his lack of money would send him back to his dealings. Week after week we met at Starbucks and talked for most of an hour. Slowly, however, I could see him drifting. He was like a man sliding into a raging river inch by inch. I tried to stop him, but I failed. One Saturday, I took the skytrain downtown to meet him, but he stood me up. Rumors started to fly – he was back dealing.

Mike got out of prison and went straight, while Roberto fell all the way into that river.

One evening he planned a private party in an exclusive downtown club to announce his engagement. A rival gang entered the club and shot Roberto in front of his fiancé and all the guests.

I drive by the cemetery where he’s buried and tears still come to my eyes. Such talent, such ability, dead at age 34.

That’s the man I’m basing my character Dino Mandaro on. I hope Dino will work things out better than Roberto did.

Now that I think about it I do dream big. Someday I’m going to write a book that’s a piece of art, that leads people to a higher plane, and that honors the craft of writing. All I can do now is keep writing.

Find Ed online at

Personal FB https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1024992482

FB page https://www.facebook.com/EdGriffinWriter

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/EdGriffin2

Personal Blog http://edgriffin.net/

Writer’s Write Daily Blog https://writerswritedaily.wordpress.com/

Prison Uncensored Blog http://prisonuncensored.wordpress.com/
Tomorrow – a great author, a woman who knows her way around the literary world, a woman who pays attention to who directed what and to who starred in the film. Don’t miss tomorrow’s blog – she will show you that there’s hope for us beginning writers. Check her blog out at: http://deetteanderton.wordpress.com/

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4 responses to “Dreaming Big

  1. I’m never sure if dreaming big is a good thing or not. If you dream big but only do moderately well do you end up feeling like a failure? If dreaming big is having your writing touch people you’ve succeeded at that with your blog and you regular activities. Sometimes I think we get stuck in dreaming big = financial success & fame. For me I’ve always wanted to be the quiet person behind the scenes that helps others become the best they can. If I’ve touched one person I’ve succeeded. I see you as that kind of person. Sure having a motion picture made of a book would be cool but is that really more exciting than seeing prison in,ages turn their life around and know you’ve helped in some way?

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