Jude Hardin

Author, Drummer, Turtle Whisperer

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Location: United States

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How to Lose Weight and Get a Seven-Figure Book Deal, Part One

One of my humanities professors in college, a rather portly fellow I’ll call Dr. Gibbs, once told me vigorous physical exercise is actually very bad for you. You’re only allotted a certain number of heartbeats per lifetime, he said, and exercise makes them tick off way faster than necessary.


About a year ago, I bought a stationary bicycle equipped with enough digital bells and whistles to plot the course of a rocketship to Mars. I’m sure you’ve seen similar ones--in gyms, in sporting goods stores, in dark cobwebbed corners of friends’ basements. Maybe you even have one yourself. Or, maybe you have a treadmill. Or a weight bench. Or the latest gadget from a TV infomercial.

Admit it. At some point during your lifetime, you have purchased an expensive piece of exercise equipment with the intention of finally getting in shape. If you can commit to just twenty minutes per day, you reckon, you’ll be looking like Michelangelo’s sculpture of David in no time. Right?


The models you see in ads have to work out several hours a day to maintain those perfect physiques. Working out is their job. It’s their life. They're really, like, you know, into it. If you can commit to just twenty minutes per day, it will take you approximately 314 years to have the kind of body those models have.

Okay, so maybe you’ll settle for losing a little weight and improving your overall fitness. That sounds reasonable.

That, I’ve decided, is my goal for 2009. To lose thirty pounds.

Will riding my fancy exer-cycle for twenty minutes every day help me achieve my goal?

First of all, if you’ve ever climbed onto one of those contraptions and started pedaling, you know twenty minutes is a glacial age. If an archeological team digs up my bike in 5000 years, they’ll undoubtedly think it was some kind of 21st century torture device. Back then, interrogators would escort a suspect into a dusty space illuminated by a naked bulb, unveil the machine and say, “Vee half vays of making you talk.” If the suspect lasted twenty minutes, well, it was a safe bet they were never going to give up the goods...

Twenty minutes of huffing and puffing. Twenty minutes of quadriceps screaming for mercy. Twenty minutes of ass-numbing boredom.

Not to mention the...perspiration. You know, you have to take a shower afterward. There’s just no getting around it. You can’t expect another human to want to be around you after your daily Sweat-O-Rama. So, you have to take a second shower for the day, use twice as much water, twice as much electricity, soap, shampoo, deodorant...

When you get down to it, this thing called exercise is costing you--and the planet Earth--a fortune. It’s totally un-green. If everyone stopped exercising today, we could probably stop global warming in its tracks.

But I digress. Back to my goal!


Regardless of what the latest fad diet book or dietary supplement advertisement might tell you, weight loss/gain is all about calories consumed vs. calories burned. If you eat more and exercise less, you will gain weight. If you eat less and exercise more, you will lose weight. It’s a very simple formula...

So where am I going with this? What could any of this possibly have to do with writing? With getting a seven-figure book deal?

Stay tuned.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blue Chip Day

52 weeks ago today, at approximately 6:30pm, I smoked my last cigarette. I had quit many times before, but this time I tried something different: poker chips.

After going one week without cigarettes, I gave myself a white chip. On the fourth week, I traded three whites for one red. And so on. Today, I traded all my red chips in for one blue chip.

52 weeks.

After a thirty-year love affair with tobacco, it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I still dream about cigarettes. That's how strong the addiction is.

If you don't smoke, don't start. It's one of the worst things you can do to your body. If you do smoke, give poker chips a try. It worked for me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We Have Nothing to Fear but...

A few things that don’t scare me:


I think you get the idea.

A few things that do scare me:


So tell me. What frightens you most? If you were going to write a horror novel, what would it be about?

Should part of our journeys as writers be to stare down our darkest demons?

Friday, January 09, 2009

What's Your Book About?

Ever been asked that question?

Sure you have.

My stock answer (to well-meaning but often naïve laypeople) is usually “murder,” which invariably stops them dead in their tracks. What they’re after, really, is a plot summary.

But plot summaries, to me, are boring. Every plot imaginable has been told thousands of times. Plots are finite, characters infinite. But even a well-drawn, compelling character might fall short in the eyes of an acquisition editor.

So what makes my book different? Why would anyone want to read another story where a PI gets involved in a murder/kidnapping case?

The answer, if you think about it, isn’t what the story is about, but why this character goes to great lengths, risking life and limb, to solve a case (or win someone’s love, or save the world, etc.), when it would be so much easier just to walk away. Why bother?

If you really want to answer the question, you have to start thinking about themes. Not what, but why.

You might not start out with a theme in mind. Even if you don’t, subconsciously there is a current that drives the people in your novel to do what they do. The characters themselves might not be able to vocalize it. The reader might never recognize it. But it’s there. It has to be there, or there is no story. Not one of lasting value, anyway.

Personally, I don’t think about themes at all while I’m writing. But when I go back and read, study, what I’ve written, I can often see that yes, that’s what this was all about!

It’s a magical moment when you discover a theme. Don’t waste it. Go with it, explore and exploit it, rewrite until every scene relates back to it.

If you don’t have any themes in mind when you start, don’t worry. They will emerge. When they do, the smart writer takes advantage of them.

So, dear friends. Tell me. What’s your book about?

This is a rerun. It was originally posted November 2006.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Donations for Travis

Something horrific happened to blogger, aspiring author, and all-around nice guy Travis Erwin Sunday morning: his house burned to the ground. Travis and his family made it out alive, but they are now essentially homeless. Stephen Parrish and Erica Orloff have set up a site for doantions here.

Times are tough right now for all of us, but just think what it would be like to suddenly lose your home. Let's all pull together and give Travis a boost toward rebuilding his life.

Profound Cerebral Question #6

Is it possible to be wasting time if you're enjoying yourself?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Just think of all the fun we're going to have.

In 2009, I want to finish my YA horror novel, and I want to lose thirty pounds. Very doable goals, I think.

How about you? Any resolutions you'd like to share?