Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Faster Than the Speed of Life


There’s something to be said for taking things slowly and completing a project at a reasonable pace.  I recently finished writing a novel in two weeks’ time, and I hope and pray when I begin the editing process that it is worth reading.  My writing involves lots of brainstorming but rarely do I write anything down beforehand.  I simply open the document, write out a few passages or an entire chapter, save it and move onto my next project.  I am beginning to wonder if this torrid pace and method is a good idea.  I think I should consider some type of note-taking program where I can outline my ideas, but that also seems to run counter to the spontaneity and fluidity of writing.  When you write on the fly, you are free to change ideas without the entire story crashing down around you like a house of cards.

The good news about having two complete novels in the pipeline is that I can launch them simultaneously once I’ve completed the editing, formatting, and design.  I already have a cover in mind for one, so that’s another project for me to work on. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lie We Tell Ourselves


I had told myself that I was running out of book ideas—which is why I inexplicably am 25,000 words into a new manuscript I just started this week.  The good news is that I have already searched online and found the perfect cover for this book albeit not for free.  I guess time will tell if I can scrape together the money to purchase the rights for it.  The more I look, the more I realize there are some great potential covers floating around online.  So, the next time I tell you I think I’ve run out of ideas, and ask will I write again, you can answer a resounding “Yes!”

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Should I Do It?


I have begun the second round of edits on this novel, and I am considering the possibility of saving it and submitting it to editors and publishers.  I don’t plan to query any agents—that takes too long, and I’m not any good at writing cover letters, much less queries.  If I do submit, it will be to publishers who take manuscripts directly without a third party.  Having already self-published ten-plus novels through Kindle Direct Publishing, I wonder to myself if holding back this book and putting it up for potential rejection is a good idea.  My goal has always been to make myself as well as readers happy, but having some type of legitimacy or validation granted toward my writing wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.  It also “widens the net”, so to speak, getting your book sold in a variety of outlets and pushing the work of distribution onto a professional.  I seem to have distribution and promotion issues anyway, which shouldn’t be a surprise—I’m no good at self-promotion on any level.  Regardless of what happens with this book, whether or not I choose to submit it, I will still publish it and put it out into the world.  I’m not one to hold onto my works and hide them away—whether I use my own moniker or a pen name, every manuscript eventually makes its way into e-book form.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Will You Love Me Tomorrow

I will try to maintain this blog as long as there’s a thought in my head, but I have to be honest—writing is no longer the great creative outlet it once was for me.  I recently finished my novel, the one I had been writing in fits and starts for four months. I have completed the first round of edits for Chances, but I can’t say that it turned out completely as I had planned.  I have several ideas for a new novel, ideas that have been marinating for more than half a year, but I wonder if I start to write it, will it be as good as it seems in my mind’s eye?  I thought all of my books were good ideas before I wrote them down, and I've enjoyed reading and rereading each of them, though after enough of that everything starts to run together, and it’s no small miracle that I ever removed typos from any of them.  I hope that I will keep writing for as long as I am able, but I figure there’s little-to-no profound knowledge to be gained from reading this blog unless I treat it as either a journal or a travelogue and review the posts on my own in order to glean something.  The good news is that writing has been my income the past two years—it was never exactly either a substantial income or a living wage, but it was far more money than I had earned in the previous year of unemployment.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Taking Stock

It has been approximately two years since I published my first novel.  I’m too lazy to look for specific dates, but it was June 2012 when I was reading Windswept on my Kindle while I edited the rough draft of Kentucky Summer, which was published a month later.  In the following two years, I have published eight novels under my own name, another under a pen name, and two novellas under an additional pseudonym.  I also submitted Heart Trouble and had it published via Crimson Romance, which gave me the opportunity to have one of my works available through more than one sales channel; the paperback edition has also been added to the collection of at least one public library.  I am currently working on another novel that is taking much longer than my standard pace; at nearly three months and counting, I am still not sure when I will put this one to bed.  I have ideas for at least one further novel, but aside from that I am nearly tapped out in the ideas department.  So what have I learned from these many, many hours of hard work, multiple rejections, and many sleepless nights where the ideas wouldn’t be silenced?

1. Writing is never easy.  Even when it’s easy, it’s still not easy.  You’re always digging, searching, and forcing yourself to make everything the best it can be.  In the course of typing, you will put words where they shouldn’t be and in the process of editing will have to try to figure out what your intended message was.

2. Writing is not a quick trip to fame and fortune.  It has been my only income for the past two years, through no fault of my own—I’ve been in the job market for more than three years, and it has been almost as long since my last interview.  I have had decent months of income, but none of those occurred until I had published my sixth novel.  There have been other months where I made so little that I didn’t merit a payment at all.  My sales have really trickled down to nothing over the past several months, which doesn’t exactly provide a great incentive to continue with writing as a vocation.  If I ever built up a nest egg I would love to pay for professional covers if not professional editing for my novels.  Heart Trouble undoubtedly has my best cover.  If worse came to worse, I wouldn’t mind learning how to create my own covers via some type of graphics program. 


3. Writing does not necessarily lead to instant popularity.  Not everyone will care about your writing.  Some people will care about it only so long as it doesn’t cost them anything.  Ultimately you have to work to make sure your completed novel is something you enjoy, a piece of product that is the best it can be—and if not, spell check and edit the darn thing, massage it and streamline it until you can love it.  As conceited as this might sound, if you don’t love your own work, there’s very little point in putting it out into the world. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Crossroads

I have reached a crossroads in my writing career—if you can call it a career.  For the second time in as many months, I have reached a crossroads in my writing career—if you can call it a career.  For the second time in as many months, I have put aside my story, unable to continue.  In the past I have been able to harness my disappointments, and depression, and boredom into serious creativity, but lately I just can’t seem to get myself into the zone.  Too many things have been weighing on my mind, including a situation in which I am an innocent bystander, being lied to each and every time I try to rectify someone else’s oversights.  It is no fun when people play fast-and-loose with your life.  I mean, there are scenarios in life when we do things—all of us—with few thoughts to the consequences.  However, I really needed this opportunity, this chance, and as the months pass I know it is growing father and father in the distance.  When you need one piece of the puzzle to fall into place and it won’t, it’s pretty darn frustrating.

But back to my writing.  I sent out books to three different entities recently, in this hopes that I would be reviewed favorably and possibly even sold in an important store.  Still waiting for feedback, be it good or bad, on all of them.  At least there’s something to hope for.  I hope. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rewind

I would never presume to tell an author the right or wrong way to craft their work; I believe that whatever method works for you is the right one.  I tend to write in a linear fashion, from point A to point B without reviewing what I’ve written previously.  Indeed, sometimes I only find out what I left on the page when I go back and perform the first edit upon completing a novel.  There have been exceptions to this rule; sometimes I will write about six chapters and do a read-through just to refresh myself on what I’ve written, because the early chapters in any story provide the building blocks for your characters; their first meeting, or the inciting incident that brings them together, or any other source of conflict you can imagine. 

I found myself in an unfamiliar place on my latest project.  I completed 23,000 words in a quick amount of time, and then found myself stuck.  I closed the document, put the book aside, and began to write a novella that appeared unexpectedly in my head.  I completed the novella, edited and published it, and brainstormed how I was going to get back into the swing of things.  I knocked around a few ideas and considered some possibilities.  Honestly, I am still considering some of them as I write the book!  But I decided the best solution for this novel was to go back to the very beginning, reread the entire thing, do some revisions as I went, and then see where I found myself.


I deliberated and finally decided to introduce a new character in order to give the story some additional balance.  I changed a few things and added other new elements, which may or may not improve the overall story.  Time will tell.  The good news is that via this experience I was able to continue my writing in earnest, surpassing 45,000 words.  I’m not sure that I will ever work up to full-novel length again.  I did two novels in the 100,000 word range, but I tend to be the most comfortable between 70 and 75,000 words.  Those also seem to be the easiest to edit.