No Critique This Month

Unfortunately, I won’t be doing a free critique this month due to some exciting stuff that I’ll be announcing in a week or two. I’m going to make up for it by doing two next month. Sorry all!

I’ll be an instructor at this years Cascade Writers Workshop

I’m incredibly thrilled to announce that I’ll be an instructor at this year’s Cascade Writers Workshop in Bremerton, Washington. I was a participant last year, so this is especially exciting for me.

A number of my friends will be attending and instructing, so I’m really looking forward to it. Now I just need to decide on what I’ll be teaching….

I’d love to see you. If you’d like to take part, you can find details here.

Re-reading Neuromancer

It’s interesting re-reading William Gibson’s Neuromancer after almost 40 years. So many of the things that made me drop my jaw back then feel cliched and overdone due to the huge influence of the novel in the intervening years.

Every time Case talks about the Matrix or navigating digital defenses and many other things I’m unconsciously disappointed in a “been there, done that” way. But those things didn’t exist as a cultural phenomenon when the book came out.

It’s a great book and exceptionally well-written. I’m enjoying the hell out of it, and truly it is one of the few cultural revolutionary books in history. It didn’t just change the SF genre. It changed our culture.

I’m going to read Bruce Sterling’s Schismatrix soon, as well. It was released less than a year after Neuromancer and the two pretty much established cyberpunk as a genre. Schismatrix never came close to having the influence of Neuromancer, although Sterling’s short stories in that world were highly influential, most likely on Gibson, as well. (Although both of them had been writing cyberpunk short stories for years, so a kind of collaborative influence was possibly at play). At the time, when I was around 18 years old, I remember fans gushing over both, but there being a small but animated group that felt Schismatrix was much more defining of cyberpunk in the world-building sense.

Moving From Scrivener to Word

I’m sometimes asked if writing screenplays has helped my novel or prose writing, and the answer is it has. It has improved my dialogue, but even more than that it has improved my ability to structure the narrative of a novel. As a result, I do a lot more moving of chapters in the writing process these days.

This creates an interesting challenge when you are taking a work where you move the chapters around and need to package it for a submission to an agent or publisher. In a lot of writing platforms, dynamically updating chapter numbers after these changes can’t be done.

The good news is that Scrivener allows you do to that, but I absolutely hate the Scrivener user experience and export functionality. Without fail, the document I export will have some issue with it or other. It’s not that Scrivener is bad software, it’s that it requires detailed understanding of the tool to make it work right, and I simply didn’t have the patience to figure all that out.

I tried Ulysses, which allows you to move chapters around easily via drag and drop, but Ulysses doesn’t provide any easy way to dynamically re-number chapters, making it unhelpful when putting together a submittable document.

Which brought me full circle to Microsoft Word. I never really saw Word as anything more than a word processor but in my frustration at the other options I looked at it more closely, and what do you know—there is an easy way to add chapter headings with one click. There’s an easy way to drag chapters and move them. And—amazingly—the chapter numbers dynamically update. I also have fallen in love with the Word styles palette.

It’s probably worth noting that I took a look at LibreOffice Writer, as well, and I was extremely impressed. That said, it didn’t have the all-in-one simplicity of Word.

So, after abandoning Word years ago, I am back and—in truth—loving it.

Wedding Day Revisions Are Complete

The road from short story to novel has been long and winding for Wedding Day, but we have reached our destination. After wonderful feedback from beta readers, the final revisions are done. Now to send it out to agents and perhaps a publisher or two. We shall see.

Next up for me is to go back and re-start the Thursday feature screenplay. That will be a lot of fun, and my goal is to have it done quickly as a lot of the work has already been completed.

April Critique Contest

  • 1 winner
  • Value:
  • Prize:
    A critique from Jake

Jake's April Critique Giveaway

A critique from Jake

A critique of a short story, novel chapter, TV pilot, or screenplay by Jake Kerr.




PROMOTION DESCRIPTION: The Jake's April Critique Giveaway ('Sweepstakes') begins on March 26, 2023 and ends on April 4, 2023 (the 'Promotion Period').

HOW TO ENTER: Enter the Sweepstakes during the Promotion Period online by visiting the entry form, which can be found on the following website at Automated or robotic Entries submitted by individuals or organizations will be disqualified. Internet entry must be made by the Entrant. Any attempt by Entrant to obtain more than the stated number of Entries by using multiple/different email addresses, identities, registrations, logins or any other methods, including, but not limited to, commercial contest/sweepstakes subscription notification and/or entering services, will void Entrant's Entries and that Entrant may be disqualified. Final eligibility for the award of any prize is subject to eligibility verification as set forth below. All Entries must be posted by the end of the Promotion Period in order to participate. Sponsor's database clock will be the official timekeeper for this Sweepstakes.

WINNER SELECTION: The Winner(s) of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted within about 7 days after the Promotion Period by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received.

WINNER NOTIFICATION: Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information approximately within 7 days after the random drawing. Potential Winner must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 7 days of notification. Sponsor is not responsible for any delay or failure to receive notification for any reason, including inactive email account(s), technical difficulties associated therewith, or Winner’s failure to adequately monitor any email account.

Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The potential prize winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability, and a Publicity Release (collectively 'the Prize Claim Documents'). No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted except by Sponsor.

PRIVACY: Any personal information supplied by you will be subject to the privacy policy of the Sponsor posted on the Sponsor's website. By entering the Sweepstakes, you grant Sponsor permission to share your email address and any other personally identifiable information.

LIMITATION of LIABILITY: By entering, You agree to release and hold harmless and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers, and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from: (i) such entrant’s participation in the Sweepstakes and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof; (ii) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunction of any computer, cable, network, hardware, or software, or other mechanical equipment; (iii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions, telephone, or Internet service; (iv) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (v) electronic or human error in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries.

March Critique Giveaway is Over

Congrates to John, who won our March giveaway of notes and a critique. Next months’ giveaway will open in about ten days.

For those who entered this month, your free ebooks will be delivered within the next few days.

Hold The Phone! Change of Plans!

I just received beta reader feedback on my Wedding Day novel, so my new immediate plan is to revise Wedding Day and then go back and work on the Thursday feature. This is a pretty significant degree of context switching, and I do prefer to work on one project at a time, but as I haven’t started directly on Thursday yet, this won’t be too difficult.

Back To Work On The Thursday Feature Screenplay

Lots of things going on here in Jakeland, including some exciting new forays into audio. More on that later, but for now I have to get the Thursday feature film screenplay done. My goal was end of March, and I’ll be pushing that now. Pretty sure I’ll still get it done in time, however.

Still waiting on beta feedback on the Wedding Day novel, and then that will go out to agents. That will also happen by the end of March. Busy times!