On this April Fools’ Day, I will be taking a break from reading social media, but I guess that doesn’t mean I can’t post my own stuff. (No April Fools’ jokes here.)
I feel like I make a lot of plans for the future on this blog (when I actually post), and they don’t always come to pass, so now I’m focusing on the present. Time to report on what I have done and what I’m doing and not what I plan to do one day.
I’m finishing up the first draft of my sex magic romance novel. I’ve also been rewriting the first 40,000 words. My short 60,000 word romance novel looks like it is going to be closer to 80,000 words. I’m not sure how long I’ve been working on this one, but it’s a lot longer than I was planning.
I’m rewriting The Forgiving to release it as a paperback. I have no idea how long this will take, but I’m not going to rush it. I’m not going for any major changes, but there are a few parts I’m not satisfied with and I want improved before the book is in print.
I’m in the process of learning how to make comics. This includes doing the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook and going through Drawing Words and Writing Pictures. I’ve also written a four page comic for a contest. A novice artist is drawing the art.
I’m reading drastically more books. Most of these are romance novels and Image comic books. Some romance recommendations: Rattlesnake, The Lightning-Struck Heart, and Erica’s Choice. Some comic recommendations: Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars and Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine.
I’m in the middle of American Gods.
That’s me right now. I hope I have more to update you on soon.
I have less than eighteen days to finish House of Cabal Volume Two: Estate. On March 5th, I need to send it to my copy editor. She will get it back to me around the 11th and then I’ll look through her edits, finalize the text, and publish on Smashwords and Amazon.
I’ve been working on the final draft all day. Earlier in the week, I was using the Find function to search through the text and look at sentences and word use in isolation, but today I’m reading through the whole book, seeing everything in context, and making corrections as necessary. I’ll have a better idea about if I have any weak sections after this pass.
Time is running short, so I’m also searching for any plot holes or logical inconsistencies.
Example: I describe large cedar trees on the House of Cabal estate. The estate was supposedly constructed fifteen years ago. Were the trees on the site before the construction, which is highly unlikely, or is there another explanation for their rapid growth? I hadn’t thought of this before today. I could address the cedar trees in the plot or remove them from the description.
I need to consider every detail before it goes to the copy editor. If I try to fix these types of problems after I get it back, I’ll introduce new errors I hired my copy editor to catch.
In other news, my horror novel The Forgiving is on sale for $0.99 at Amazon HERE.
All my savings will be going into the copy-editing of my books over the next two years. If I can’t make the money back, I’ll have to find a day job, which will seriously cut into my writing time.
If I’m not turning some kind of profit by early 2017, I’ll be in trouble.
These are early days, but I still get anxious about the future of my writing career. I’ll need money to keep releasing books, but more than that, I need readers to spread the word. I just have to keep writing and releasing amazing books and hope my writing catches on. The greater the number of amazing books I release, the better chance I have of that happening. Word of mouth is really everything in indie publishing. Remember that when you finish reading a good book.
Like every writer, I don’t really like connecting my art to money, but as a self-publishing indie author, it’s kind of my job.
This year I’ll also be submitting Lovecraftian short stories wherever I can in hopes of building an audience. One story is the “The Ovum Horror,” the short story I give away when you sign up for my mailing list. I’m actually rewriting it a bit right now. There are just a few things that weren’t working that needed to be fixed. By next year, I should have a book’s worth of Lovecraftian short stories to publish in a collection called The Queen in Yellow.
After working on my cover (which I still haven’t finalized), I thought I would take a stab at writing the sales copy. Here is my first attempt. I’m pretty happy with it, but I would love to hear what you think.
The witness angel Pinsleep is an outcast among his kind. He grieves the loss of Adam and Eve, while his brothers and sisters witness human stories on earth.
When a modern day couple discovers the Garden of Eden, Pinsleep chances upon a hidden epic. Humans have discovered a way to change their destinies and hide from God’s wrath.
To understand the far reaching consequences of the trespass, Pinsleep must travel through time and space to uncover the cabal that orchestrated the couple’s arrival, a secret organization that threatens to rip the fabric of reality apart.
House of Cabal: Eden is the first installment of an epic work of contemporary fantasy and horror, delving into the dark heart of human identity and occult faith.
I was going to learn to code, but I guess I’ll try mastering the English language first.
I have this crazy idea. I’ll become my own copy editor. It will take time and daily study. I’ll have to master a craft that is not one of my natural gifts. Not by a long shot. It will be a struggle. Hopefully it will pay off.
The worst that could happen is I become better at grammar, and I still have to hire an editor anyway.
I just can’t pay to have three novels edited in one year. Especially if there might not be a return on my investment. I can either get a job just so I can pay a copy editor potentially thousands of dollars, or I can use that time to master proofreading myself.
These are the decisions you have to make when you are your own publisher and your publisher is flat broke.
Note: It is pretty much universal self-publishing advice to at the very least hire a copy editor, so use this post with caution.
I had this vision: An empty mind ready to create. A writing sprint started at the top of the hour. And page after page of new words that weren’t there before. I would enter the zone and the words would flow. What could be simpler?
When I put that vision into practice, the wheels of my mind spun-out instead of propelled me forward. Was I the only writer who couldn’t sprint? Was sprinting even a productive way to write?
Writing sprints can actually be counterproductive. When writing quickly, it is easy to depend on clichés. They spring to mind first. Verlyn Klinkenborg in Several Short Sentences About Writing calls them “volunteer sentences.” While it can feel good to have words pour out of you, he says that you should always eye volunteer sentences with suspicion. Originality isn’t effortless. Picturing a scene and describing an authentic moment takes time. It is not enough to regurgitate what you have read before, hoping you can fix it later.
I started to think writing sprints had no place in crafting quality fiction. Putting clichés and tropes down on paper, and building from there, can often prevent good ideas from spawning more good ideas. But everyone knows that the inner critic can paralyze the creative mind. Where is the balance?
In an ideal world I wouldn’t need writing sprints. I would just think of the best way to say something and write it down with confidence. In reality, I need some strong groundwork on the page before I can fashion my finished prose.
A key to understanding writing sprints is that a blank mind can’t fill a blank page. A mind filled with vague ideas isn’t much better. That just translates to vague writing. Bland, wandering, confused prose can be more trouble to work with than a fresh start.
Before your sprint, you need to fill up your mind with details and potential energy. You can write at amazing speeds if you give your mind enough fuel to burn.
Sketch out a rough idea of what you want to say during your next sprint. Play with your ideas. Question your assumptions of how events should play out and where they should take place. Not in love with it? Mix it up. Brainstorm. Give yourself a ton of options and pick and choose. Your first idea is usually something that has already been done too much. Dig deeper.
Once you have an idea of how you want things to play out, you’ll see obvious obstacles to writing it down. There may be things you need to research first. Get that out of the way. How does a person react when they go into shock? What tools are used in shamanistic medicine? Things you need to know before you can write the scene with authority. It will also help if you imagine the scene and have it play out in your head. Make sure to get a clear mental picture of all the locations, props, and people you will be writing about in your next sprint.
You will be inventing a lot of things on the fly, but you don’t want elements to stump you. You want ideas that you love already bouncing around in your brain, begging to be let out.
Now that you have all the obstacles out of your way, you should be able to perform an effective writing sprint.
Sprinting helps me focus. I decide a predetermined time, at max an hour at this point, where my goal is to put down as many words as possible. Start out with fifteen minutes. Keep going if you can. Work up to longer sprints.
Pulp writers have been known to be able to write a whole novel over the course of three days. I would love to try that by the end of the year. More on that in a future post.
I’ll need to practice my sprints every day. I’m getting better. Get better with me.
Hello, I just wanted to make a short video to say hi and introduce myself. I’m returning to my blog, as writers do from time to time, and so here is a new beginning. Thanks for reading and watching.