My Fiction

My debut Crime novel starring LAPD Det. King Leary. If you like a little humor with your Hardboiled/Noir fiction, you’ll love this one. Sequels on the way.
A standalone King Leary short story, co-starring The Ghost Of Tom Mix.
A standalone short story about a PI who’s running from the Mob, ’til he meets a brunette who desperately needs his help.

Welcome to Chris Jay Becker.Com

Hello, there, I’m Chris Jay Becker. I’m a veteran writer. I’ve written everything from screenplays to mystery/crime novels to stand-up comedy. I’ve also written ad copy, radio and TV commercials, telemarketing scripts, and website and blog content with or without SEO. I’m also a freelance editor specializing in both Fiction and Non-Fiction Kindle books. Let me know what you need written, edited, or both.

Conceive, Believe, then Achieve

“Whatever you can conceive, and believe, you can achieve, through hard work and a positive mental attitude.” W. Clement Stone.

CONCEIVE IT:

The first step in manifesting your destiny is to conceive of what you want. This means taking the time to think about what you want to achieve and how you want to live your life.

It is important to be specific and to focus on the positive aspects of what you want to create. Once you have a clear vision of what you want, you can begin to believe in it.

BELIEVE IT:

Believing in your vision is essential to manifesting your destiny. You must have faith that you can make it happen and that you are capable of achieving your goals. This means believing in yourself and in your ability to make your dreams come true. It also means believing in the power of the universe and trusting that it will help you manifest your destiny.

ACHIEVE IT:

The final step in manifesting your destiny is to take action. This means taking steps to make your vision a reality. It could be as simple as setting goals and taking steps to reach them, or it could involve more complex actions such as networking and finding mentors.

You’ve heard the maxim: Necessity is the mother of Invention? Throughout human history people have looked for solutions to everyday problems and have invented tools and technology to solve those problems.

Whatever it is, it is important to take action and to keep taking action until you reach your goals.

Conceive, Believe, then Achieve: Manifesting your Destiny is a powerful concept that can help you create the life you want. By taking the time to conceive of what you want, believing in it, and then taking action to make it happen, you can manifest your destiny and create the life you desire.

Surefire Hacks to Supercharge Your Writing

This article is for all the writers who want to improve their writing skills. It will provide tips and tricks on how to write better, faster, and smarter.

Some of the tips and trade secrets that will be discussed in this article are:

  • How to write more efficiently.
  • How to use your time wisely.
  • How to use your writing skills more effectively.
  • Some hacks that will help you create more engaging content.

Setting The Stage:

There are many tips and tricks that we can use to help us become better writers. These include reading, writing, and taking care of our mental health.

It is important to read to improve your writing skills and to be aware of what other writers are doing in the industry. Reading will help you understand different styles of writing and how they work. It will also make you more knowledgeable about a topic if you read books on it or articles on the subject.

Reading is not the only way to improve your writing skills though; it’s just as important to write. Writing allows us to practice our skills, build our confidence, and get feedback from others. The more we write, the better we’ll get at expressing ourselves through words. All the craft books in the world will not teach you how to write a novel, or a screenplay, or a short story, or a brilliant Twitter thread.

The 10/1 Rule:

It’s often been said that it takes writing ten novels, or ten screenplays, to learn how to write one really good one. We’ll call that the 10/1 Rule

Another way for improving your writing is by taking care of your health – this includes eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, etc., all of which can have a positive impact on your mood and productivity levels.

 12 Hacks:

1. Know your audience.

2. Use strong verbs.

3. Keep it short and simple.

4. Be consistent in tone and voice.

5. Keep a journal and write every day, even if it’s just for five minutes.

6. Read as much as you can in your area of expertise.

7. Learn the basics of SEO and keyword research so that you can optimize your content for search engines.

8. Use a variety of sentence structures to keep readers engaged with your content, not just the same old structure repeatedly (ex: “I think” vs “In my opinion”).

9. Always be open to feedback from readers, editors, and mentors to get better at what you do best: writing.

10. Read out loud. This will help you catch mistakes in sentence structure and word choice.

11. Read what you have written to someone else. This will help you find typos and grammar errors that you might not have noticed on your own.

12. Invest in a good dictionary and the AP Stylebook. Use a thesaurus sparingly.

Conclusion:

Most of the tips tricks, hacks, and fixes above may be familiar. That’s because they are time-tested and they work.

Here’s a few bonus tips that have worked for me:

  1. For fiction writers: Write your scenes first in dialogue. You can write the exposition later.
  2. Write long Exposition passages in bullet-points.
  3. When drafting, type your longer pieces like novels in the Comic Sans font. Then covert it to a reasonable font like Courier, Times New Roman, or Garamond later. Writers who try the Comic Sans trick swear that the fun of writing in such a silly font makes them write faster. Plus, writing should be fun, right?

Writing and Editing Services

WRITING SERVICES:

Services offered at CJB Writing Services include Web Content Writing, including SEO-Content, Broad Content Writing, Blog Posts, Product Descriptions, Product Reviews, and Custom Writing Services.

EDITING SERVICES:

Freelance Editing Services include Proofreading, Copy Editing, and Line Editing, for your stories and articles, for your Websites and Blogs.

I will edit full booklength manuscripts, both Fiction and Non-Fiction, but I only edit for grammar, punctation, and typos… I don’t do Developmental Editing as in plotting, characterization, or anything like that. I’m too new as a novelist myself to be able to tell another author how to plot their books, write their characters, anything of that nature.

CONTACT ME:

E-mail me for a quote:

chrisjaybecker@icloud.com

Writing To Understand The World

WRITING TO SORT IT ALL OUT:

A famous writer once wrote that writers write to understand the world. I believe that this is an incontestable truth. There’s simply too much documented evidence that we writers think with our fingers, per se. As Natalie Goldberg says in her seminal books “Writing Down The Bones” and “Wild Mind” it is of paramount importance that a writer keeps their fingers moving.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE…

There’s a famous old joke about the tourist who stopped an old violinist on a Manhattan street, asking,”Excuse me… how do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The old musician replies,”Practice! Practice!”

In the same way that a baseball player needs to hit hundreds of baseballs off tees, pitching machines, soft-tossing, and batting practice pitchers in order to hit well in an actual game, a basketball player must shoot hundreds of free-throws before a game, and a painter must draw hundreds of sketches before tackling the canvas, so must a writer “Write our way into” a piece of writing. It’s how we get to Carnegie Hall.

You Write Because You’re A Writer

But enough about writing practice. Back to the original point of this post… writers write to make sense of the universe. In my humble opinion, this is far more important to our Souls and our Art than the old idea that writers write because they have “Something to say.” A platform, a soapbox, a bone to pick, an axe to grind. Boring.

My Message?

Sorry. Don’t have one. I’m a wordsmith, a storyteller, a comedian, a provocateur, a salesman. But it’s all to entertain, to educate, to irritate, to stir up your emotions. The writer, the Artist, the Content Creator is, at best, a Catalyst to help us feel. As I overheard someone say once, it doesn’t matter if it makes you feel good, or feel bad, as long as it makes you feel.

ADHD and Creativity as an Older Creative

Confessions of a Grizzled Newbie

As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m a veteran writer, because I’ve been writing seriously since I was 14, which was in 1973, and I’ve been writing for publication since 1982. However, I’ve never earned my living from my writing, so I’m also a newb in that sense. I suspect that I’m nowhere near unique. The American Capitalist economic system being what it is, many talented writers have had to wait til they retired from their day jobs to write full time.

Don’t Quit Yer Day Job

I’m 63, and I have not yet retired from my day job. So, until I do, I have a hard time coming up with the energy to crank out novels the way many younger people seem to be able to do so effortlessly. It’s intimidating for me when I look at my 3 titles on Amazon, 1 short novel and 2 standalone short stories, and I see that successful Amazon authors, some of them in their 20s, have anywhere from 12 to 50 novels in their catalogs. How can I ever catch up to that?

Finishing What I Started

As I speak, I have my second novel in my current trilogy almost done, plus a Cozy Mystery and 2 Westerns 1/2 to 3/4 done. So, I could finish my 2nd King Leary Crime Novel, and write the 3rd really quickly. Then I’d have the King Leary Trilogy, the Cozy, and 2 Westerns done. That’s 6 novels or novellas done in the next 6 months.

Trilogies We Have Trilogies!

The Cozy would be part of a series, at least a trilogy, and the 2 Westerns are the first novellas of 2 separate series, also trilogies at minimum. So the one novel I have published and the other 5 novels I need to finish could turn into 4 trilogies, 12 books total, in a year. To finish the books I have almost finished, I probably need to write a little over 100,000 words, that includes a full NaNoWriMo length 50K King Leary novel.

Crunching The Numbers

100K spread over 6 months is 555 words per day. I can do that. AND, if I could knock out 50K of that for NaNoWriMo, that makes the remaining 50K over 5 months a mere 333 words per day. Which gives me time to work on other projects like the Full-length Screenplay I’m writing for a Screenwriting class I’m taking from Michigan State University.

Screenplays, Short-Stories, and Sundries… Oh, my!

I’ll continue to write Screenplays and Teleplays, as well as short stories.

Today, as I worked to get my newest Mystery/Crime short story ready to be sent off to my Beta Readers, I was pleasantly surprised that two other short stories, both Mystery/Crime/Noir stories, were both self-edited and ready to go to my Beta Readers as well. I knew that one of those stories was done, but I’d remembered the second story as being not quite finished.

So, suddenly, thanks to my ADHD brain, I’m suddenly quite jazzed that I will soon have THREE short stories ready to submit to markets like Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly.

Writers Of The Future

The other day I signed up for the free WRITERS OF THE FUTURE ONLINE WORKSHOP course. Yes, the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of The Future. The course is taught by David Farland, and Science Fiction legends Orson Scott Card and Tim Powers.

The course promised that the diligent student will have a short story done by the end of the course. Although the course is a general fiction course, I , in deference to Hubbard, Farland, Card, and Powers, am using it to write my first sellable Science Fiction story.

My next step after getting those three Crime Fiction stories submitted to the aforementioned markets was to write some new SF stories for markets such as Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Analog Science Fiction Magazine, and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Not coincidentally, when I began writing for the markets way back up in 1982, I was submitting Mystery/Crime stories to EQMM and AHMM, and SF stories to Asimov’s, Analogue, and F & SF.

ADHD AND CREATIVITY

BLAME IT ON THE A.D.D.

You can find many, many more detailed, well-thought out and balanced articles online than what this article will be. My focus… or lack of focus… ba dump-bump… RIMSHOT… is going to be more personal. This article is about how ADHD affects ME, especially when it comes to Learning and Creativity.

CJB… JACK OF ALL TRADES:

Just the awkward way I introduce myself as an Artist and a Businessman shows my problem. Or, rather, reflects my disorder. So, here goes: I’m a writer, editor, comedian, and musician. I write Crime novels, comedy material, spec screenplays, genre short stories (mysteries, Crime fiction, Westerns, Science Fiction, Horror, even Romance,) Songs, Journalism articles, reviews, and other things. As a Comedian, naturally I write my own comedy material and have written for others, but I’ve also written Humor articles, newspaper columns, comedy screenplays and teleplays.

MASTER OF NONE

None of this stuff, all of the genres I write in, all of the instruments I play, are listed here to impress you or to make myself sound like some sort of Renaissance Man, or Polymath, Heavens no. There’s a point to all this madness, all these irons-in-the-fire, all these pots-on-the-stove. My point is this: I taught myself how to do all these things. How to write a screenplay, a mystery novel, a science fiction short story, all requiring different rules and traditions. I taught myself how to play guitar, mandolin, bass, harmonica, all requiring different tunes, scales, and chord shapes.

IT’S ONLY ROCK N ROLL

As as Musician, I’m an ASCAP affiliated songwriter and music publisher, I sing, and I play guitar, blues harmonica, mandolin, bass guitar, Dobro, and some chord piano and organ, and some mediocre drums. I’m not a virtuoso on any of those instruments, although my Blues harp (harmonica) is really good, and I play a killer rhythm guitar and slide guitar. The positive part: I can play all of those instruments well enough to accompany myself on a recording, and it sounds like an actual band playing. That eventually became the entire reason for learning those instruments just well enough to get by.

I did it all because of my ADHD.

SO YOU WANNA BE A ROCK AND ROLL STAR

At the turn of the millennium, I was an Indie recording artist. Actually, I was TWO recording artists. I recorded Techno/House/EDM as DJ Blurry Guy, and I recorded original Singer-songwriter/Americana music as Chris Jay Becker.

I later resurrected the DJ Blurry Guy name by dropping the DJ part, becoming just plain Blurry Guy, and putting out a couple Indie Rock songs under that name. I didn’t feel good about doing that, so I changed the artist name to my fake band name… The Dreaded Telemarketers. That’s my conceptual band name, not unlike The Plastic Ono Band.

I never made any money, or for that matter, played any gigs, with any of these musical entities. I did, however, as DJ Blurry Guy, get fan mail from Spain, India, Belarus, and Israel. There was even talk of DJ Blurry Guy playing Ibiza. That was it, though, just talk.

TOO POOR TO PAY ATTENTION

ADHD made me flit from one interest to another. From one study subject to another. From one writing medium to another. From one musical instrument to another. My restlessness and dissatisfaction caused my to jump from one thing to another, and then my ADHD hyper-focus gave the ability to obsess on the new thing long enough to learn how to do it.

I’m not writing these things to brag about my accomplishments. I was not successful at doing any of these things for a living. I earned maybe $2000 spread out over 40+ years. But actually creating all of the things I created was rewarding in it’s own way. And I still dream of creating/writing for a living. Someday I will.

A Little Off the Top, Part 1

There’s something great about writing for ten minutes completely off the top of one’s head. There’s no time for thinking, no time for self-editing, just putting pen to paper or fingers to keys. Just write what you’re thinking as you’re thinking it. Like the title says, a little off the top. It’s kind of a funny expression that you would say to your barber or stylist, but, in this case, it means A Little Off The Top of your head. Note, also the happy coincidence that the first three words of the phrase just happen to be “A Little Off.” Coincidence? Yes. Like I said, a happy accident. It works for me, though. As Tom Robbins once said in an interview, If it works, it works. My ten minutes is not even up yet. Keep typing. There we go, there’s my timer.

About chrisjaybecker.com

What This Website Is About

This is the Official Website and Blog of Writer, Comedian, and Content Creator Chris Jay Becker. But we would this site to be a resource for other writers through CJB’s “A Writer’s Life” Blog, and through the Writers’ Resources links .

We hope that fellow writers, editors, and readers will find value on this website that will help them in their journeys, and with their writing lives.

Keep Reading and Keep Writing.

Surefire Hacks to Beat Writer’s Block

GOOD OL’ WRITER’S BLOCK

One of the questions that one hears in Writers’ Groups, especially online, is, “How do you beat Writer’s Block?” The simple answer? Write. I know, I know, easier said than done. How do you write when you’re blocked? you say. It’s the same thing you do to “Write your way outta the Trailer Park” per se.
You write.

WRITING YOUR WAY OUT OF WRITER’S BLOCK

I don’t keep a Journal or a Notebook. Those two things have always been a source of Tyranny for me. I buy blank books for Journaling, and Notebooks for, um, Notebooking. But I’m too inconsistent to Journal on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. So, those Journals and notebooks are a source of near-crippling guilt for me. Plus, in recent years I’ve developed diabetic neuropathy in all ten fingers. Writing longhand hurts. I can type on my laptop or phone and it’s tolerable. But pen and paper, or worse pencil and paper, are too painful. I save those for short pieces like poems, song lyrics, index cards, and Post It notes.

MY SOLUTION

My solution? I get out my laptop and I write what Dorothea Brande and Julia Cameron both call “Morning Pages.” But, sorry Dot and Jules, I don’t actually write them in the morning. I write them whenever I find the time. I write them at night, sometimes after Midnight, so that could qualify as Morning. But, for me, the Morning part of Morning Pages is more a suggestion than a Commandment.
I don’t do mornings well. Writers writing at the crack of Dawn? Ha! Only if we’re still up. Am I right? You know I am, my fellow scribes and/or degenerates.

HOW MORNING PAGES WORK

Okay, now that we have things defined a little better, here’s what you do with your Morning Pages. You write whatever you feel, think, wonder, whatever. Natalie Goldberg, in “Writing Down The Bones,” called it Writing Practice. And what Natalie suggested was this: keep the hand moving. Keep the fingers typing. Keep the pen or pencil moving on the page. If you don’t know what to write, Natalie said, then write THAT. Write, “I don’t know what to write. This is stupid, my head hurts and I’m a nauseous. I can’t believe I have to write this stupid page for the next ten minutes…” Do this for, you guessed it, 10 minutes.
That’s what Poet Laureate Rita Dove calls, “A Ten-Minute Spill.” Don’t edit yourself as you write. Don’t stop to correct spelling and grammar mistakes. Write RELENTLESSLY for 10 minutes. In fact, if you want to be more productive as a writer, NEVER let your Writer and your Editor write at the same time. As Peter DeVries said, “Write Drunk, Edit Sober.” For 10 minutes, Let it fly, baby. When your 10 minutes are up, stop. Later on, you can experiment with 15 Minute Spills, 20 Minute Spills. I’ve done a 60 Minute Spill before, but it was terrible.

POMODOROS

When you start doing the 15 Minute or 20 Minute Spills, set a Pomodoro Timer AKA a Tomato Timer. These timers are usually set for 25 minutes. It’s a common Office Productivity technique to do timed-spills of 25 minutes. They call these 25 minute spills Pomodoros, with a 10 minute break between Pomodoros.
But, hey, we’re writers, not office workers. Let’s set our Pomodoro Timers to 10 minutes to start. with 5 minute breaks between each Pom. Four Poms to the set and we’ve done 40 minute of writing in one hour. Later, we can do 20 minute Poms if we want, or even full-out 25 minute Poms with that 10 minute break
I don’t mean to use the Pomodoro Method with Morning Pages. Using that method will come later.

HOW THIS HELPS WRITER’S BLOCK

How do you use Morning Pages, and Freewriting, to help your Writer’s Block? Simple. Once you start writing your Morning Pages, your mind to transition from, “I hate this. I don’t know what to write.” to “What if an alien became Pope? IS the Pope an alien, hmm,” or even something like, “It occurred to me that my Protagonist has TOO much backstory. If I cut that out of the story and gave my Protagonist more of a Mysterious past…” Those things will happen once you learn how to Free-write.
That’s how I do my Morning Pages. I keep my morning pages private. It’s okay to write Laundry Lists in there if I must. But I’ve ALSO given myself permission to cut-and-paste any story material I want to use or to develop. More on that in the section below.

FREESTYLING

Freewriting works apart from Morning Pages or from the Timed-Spill Method. Professional writers use a technique known as “Writing your way into the story.” It works like a Timed-Spill, but it’s not timed. Call it an Untimed-Spill. You write any old thing until the story or the scene starts working, then, later, you cut out the warm up material. If it’s good stuff, cut-and-paste it into a Tickler File. Or even into a dedicated Word doc labelled “Story Ideas” or some such title. Because, as my old friend Helen the Hoarder used to say, “Ya never know.”

CONCLUSION

Remember, fellow scribblers, writing is supposed to be fun. If you’re a writer and you’re not having fun WHILE YOU’RE ACTUALLY WRITING, then stop doing it. Or better yet, do what you have to do to make it fun again. Fall in love with storytelling again. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination. One day when you’re a Best Selling Author with-a-capital A, you’ll realize what so many successful Artists have discovered already…

The journey IS the destination.

Keep reading and keep writing.