J. Allen Wolfrum is a fiction author and former Marine based in San Diego, California.


It's Been a While - Summer 2018 Update

It's Been a While - Summer 2018 Update

First thing’s first, Rich and Pam are doing just fine. Pam loves laying on the cow skin rug and playing with her string. In the evenings, Rich and Pam both watch for bunnies out the back door.

There’s been a lot going on and writing the weekly short story fell off the priority list. The main reason...time. There just isn’t enough of it. And really it’s not just about time, it’s about mental cycles. There’s only so much thinking I can do in a day and between trying to write my second book, my day job, and life in general, I got burned out trying to come up with a short story every week. It started to feel more like something “I had to do” instead of something “I wanted to do.”

Don’t get it twisted, I’m not giving up on writing. The short stories were an experiment and I enjoyed the process but I can’t write a short story every week. Overall, I’m happy with the way the short stories turned out, especially the last one, The Farmer, which will likely end up being the premise for a future book.

Speaking of which, books...uggh. That’s an excited “uggh”.  I deliberately stopped writing about the progression of the prequel/sequel to Selected because I ran into a brick wall on both ventures.

I wrote half of the sequel before I realized that I don’t know anything about being an FBI Agent or a police officer.  And if you’re going to write what is sort of a police procedural about catching a bad guy, you need to know at least a little bit about being a police officer or FBI Agent. It just fell flat. In retrospect, it fell flat because I started without a full plan for how the book would end. In my head I had the first twenty-five percent sorted out. I got stuck on middle and end.

I stopped writing the sequel and started on the prequel. Same thing happened, I didn’t have a good plan. Got through the first 35%’ish and it didn’t feel right. So I stopped. Full disclosure, for the prequel, I might pick this one back up again because discovering how a country goes from our current political system to selecting a president at random is super interesting. But I’m not ready for it yet.

Essentially what it comes down to is that my brain doesn’t function in a manner that allows me to create the dark twists and turns that come along with a good thriller. I just don’t have it in me at this point in life. Or rather, it's there but I don't want to go down that path.

So what next? Louis L’Amour Westerns have always been my favorite books and I really enjoyed writing the two Western short stories.

The book I’m currently working on is a straight up classic Western. And it’s going to be awesome. Who doesn’t love a mule named Georgina and a donkey named Little Joe? I’m enjoying the process and more importantly it feels right. So stayed tuned, I’ll periodically send out updates on progress. My best guess on timing is probably January/February 2019 for completion. But who knows, could be sooner.

There are two other things that I want to do as a companion to the book. The first is an interactive fiction game in the form of a phone app. You’re probably familiar with text based games like Oregon Trail and Choose Your Own Adventure Style books. What I want to do is a blend between those two and it falls into the “interactive fiction” category. The idea is that the player will choose the main character’s actions at the crisis of every scene. As background, in every “scene” there are 5 elements; an inciting incident, a series of progressive complications that lead to a crisis, the crisis is a choice. The choice the main character makes is the climax, which leads to the resolution. The idea behind an interactive fiction app is to have the user make the crisis choice of every scene and follow that series of choices through an entire plotline. Should be an interesting experiment at the very least.

The other idea is to have an audio version of the next book. Whether it will be on Audible.com or in the form of a podcast, I’m not sure. Depending on how the writing of the book goes, I might put out segments of the book in the form of a podcast while I’m writing. We’ll see how it goes, whatever happens, I’ll keep you up to date.

The next step is another novel, use that novel to create an interactive fiction game, a podcast, and maybe a screenplay. All I can do is keep trying, in the process I'll become a better writer and eventually something will work out.

So that’s what has been going on in my head over the past month or so. All good things, not necessarily great in terms of book writing productivity, but such is life. Forward progress will continue and eventually something will land so that I can spend more time writing.

Thanks for hanging in there and making it through my rambling update. More to come later.



The Farmer Part III - Frank Rogers

The Farmer Part III - Frank Rogers