A Roadmap For Your Private Wonderland

I really coulda, shoulda, woulda finished the first scene of Part Five, Chapter Fifteen last night, but I didn’t?  Why?  I was crashing hard by the time I made it just past a thousand words for the evening.  I had perhaps a few hundred more words to go before finishing the scene, but when your head is in danger of falling onto the keyboard, you recognize your limitations and stop what you’re doing.

Today is another travel day, however–I’m heading back to The Burg in about four hours–and I’ll have ample opportunity to finish up at one of my two stops along the way.  Maybe after I finish the scene I can work up the names of the five students who are suppose to be in the Advance Spells class using the Name Generator in Scrivener.  I know two of the students; I need three more.

That’s a great feature in Scrivener, and the newest release–just out a few weeks ago–has a time saving feature that will save your life if you write ebooks:  Scrivener has made it easy to create a table of contents.

I’ve had to create table of contents for two books, one of them a novel, and it is the one thing that I’ve truly, truly hated.  Now, you don’t have to throw a table of contents into your ebook, but if you are a writer who comes up with insanely long stories–slowly raising hand, I am–having to build the links by hand could turn into an enormous pain in the ass–as it was when I built one for Her Demonic Majesty, and spent nearly a day and a half getting it right.

How easy is it to build a table of contents in Scrivener?  Being that I’m a nice girl, I’m gonna show you.

Lets start out with a quick look at my binder.  To start out you need to set up a file, probably up in the front after your copyright notation, that your readers will find right away.

Right up there under the Big Red Book.

Right up there under the Big Red Book.

Nothing fancy in there:  keep the margins, the font, and the spacing the same as the rest of scenes.

Since I’d like a lot of scenes for my example, I’ll table up Act One, because if there ever was nightmare fuel for a writer, it’s dreaming about having to build the table of contents for that one hundred and fifty thousand word monstrosity.

Whatever gave you the idea there was a lot here?

Whatever gave you the idea there was a lot here?

Given how many scenes you have in your story, you can either start building from your binder on the left, or from outline view in the middle of the screen.  What you need to do here is open up all your folders:  Acts, Parts, Chapters, Scenes under Scenes–you have to be able to select everything you’re going to use to created your Table of Contents, because programs are funny in that they do exactly what you tell them to do, and if you select an unopened folder, then that location is all you’ll get in the ToC.

Right now I have every folder in Act One of my story open.  What I do now is highlight the first item I’m going to select for my Table of Contents:

Act One seems like a good place to start.

Act One seems like a good place to start.

And then, with a bit of magic almost worthy of my students, scroll down to the last entry you want to put into your Table of Contents, hold down the Shift Key, and use your mouse to highlight that last entry.  Everything in-between gets selected.

Yes, I really did want all that.

Yes, I really did want all that.

While you have it all highlighted, go up to your menu.  Select Edit > Copy Special > Copy Documents as Scrivener Links.  With that little act you’ve just saved yourself about five hours of misery–or at least I have.

Really, it's just like magic.  Or something close to that.

Really, it’s just like magic. Or something close to that.

What do I do next.  Go into the text file I’m going to use as my Table of Contents.  Open it–

Table empty--

Table empty–

And now Paste what you copied.

Table Full.

Table Full.

Now, you’ll see there are a few things in the table that appear to be duplicates.  This is because I’ve also selected folders along with text files:  remember, you’ll grab everything when you do this copy.  So how do I know what I want to keep and what I want to delete?  Simple:  click on the link.

I certanly don't want this--

I certainly don’t want this–

As you can see I clicked the first Act One, and what I got was the folder itself, showing me the filed under.  Scrivener automatically went into split screen mode when I clicked, so no need to do that yourself.

Since that first link isn’t the title page, I’ll click the second one:

Yeah, this is more like it.

Yeah, this is more like it.

Since I don’t need that first Act One, I can simply delete it out of my table.  And since I set up my story in an Act, Part, Chapter, Scene format, I’ll know that the first of every duplicate is a folder, and I can delete them.

There, all nice and clean.

There, all nice and clean.

If you’ve ever wondered why I put a title on every scene I write, it’s for two reasons.  One, it’s metadata giving me a hint as to what happens in the scene, and two–it’s there to help build my table of contents.  Which Scrivener has done for me.  And I know the links work because I can click on them and the program takes me to where I want to go.

It's almost like getting a Special Invitation.

It’s almost like getting a Special Invitation.

The last thing to do is, if you are of a mind, is to pretty up your Table of Contents by indenting your entries.  I usually set them a quarter of an inch inward based upon what they are:  part, chapter, scene.  You can even indent the subscenes if you want to roll that way.

There we are, all nice and neat.

There we are, much prettier, don’t you think?

The great thing is I can leave this Act One information in place, and add Act Two later.  Or, since I intend on splitting the novel into three separate stories as ebooks, I can set up individual Table of Contents for each act/book, and then combine them later when I decide to release this monster as one novel for people who just wanna read it all in one place.  After all, that’s the nice thing about ebooks:  one novel or three combined, it all looks the same on your reader.

But getting from place to place in that incredible wonderland you created is a lot easier if you have a good roadmap.

Sound and Vision

It’s early afternoon, and I can’t believe I’m getting to my writing now.  Usually by this time I’ve had my saying of the day saved to the Internets, and I’m kicked back with lunch and/or some other insanity.  Today I’m running late because–why not?  Due to having to get out and pick up a few things?  Because of an annoying  ?  On account of pedantic discussion on Star Trek?  Or maybe . . . bacon?

Only time will tell.  Or not, ’cause timey whimy, you know?

In thousand words leaps Fantasies in Harmonie moves forward.  It was only suppose to be some quickie porn that I’d rip out and post in no time:  instead, it’s become of War and Peace of fetish fiction.  She now sits just short of sixteen thousand words, and in another fifteen hundred I’ll have to get out my passport and entered the Country of Novella, and I hear the greasy chuckle from here.

If you wonder what I’m talking about, read the afterword to Stephen King’s Different Seasons collection, where three of the four included stories have become some of King’s best adapted movie.  One of the lines he uses is, “Now, artistically speaking, there’s nothing at all wrong with the novella.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with circus freaks, except that you rarely see them outside of the circus.”  You get the point.

At the time King wrote those words (1982 or there about), finding a market for novellas was damn near impossible.  There were only a hand full of magazines that would tackle those stories, and by the end of the 1980’s they pretty much went the way of the dinosaur.  Or did they?  Just wait . . .

So rather than eight thousand words of hotness, I’m more like double that pleasure, and it’s likely I’ll start tripping into the twenty thousand lane before everything is over.  Been there, done that:  in fact, some fetish fiction I sold a couple of years back went the same way.  They were fantasy stories that ended up being long novelettes or short novellas, and after four of them I stopped because, at the time, I figured no one was ever going to read them outside of a few people who were into that sort of thing.

Now, about that place to publish . . .

So many publishing outlets dried up in the late Twentieth Century, but fast forward to the end of the first decade of the Twenty-first Century, and one sees self publishing taking off.  I remember people saying, “I ain’t buying one of those new fangled ebooks–only the real thing for me!” and emotions ran pretty high on both sides–but I knew that tech is one of those things that tend to stick around if they’re good, and ebooks were good.  I even bought one, and though I don’t use it much these days–I need a new battery–there are enormous advantages to having one–

Liking being able to take your kid to their soccer meet and sit in the stands reading Daddy’s Little Milk Maid and not worry in the least that you’re going to skev out everyone sitting around you.

It was Penn Jillette who pointed out that all new technology leads to porn.  After the Gutenberg Bible came a printing of the Karma Sutra; after the first movies came Le Coucher de la Mariée, a seven minute movie of a women doing a strip tease in a bathhouse, filmed in 1896, followed by El Sartorio, the first film to show sex acts, filmed in Argentina in 1907.  We have the Internet and . . . you really need to know?

With ebooks came eporn, and big or small, it sells.

Will my fantasy story sell.  Only time will tell.  Or not–

That timey whimy crap, I tell you.

Lady Stardust Speaks

Over the weekend I conducted an interview–a rather strange one, at that.  But then, I like strange.  I hope you like reading this as much as I liked doing it.

Remember:  strange.

 

(Location:  New Oxford, University, Hyades Star Cluster. 2 June, a little more than 20 Minutes Into the Future.)

Greetings, young and eager minds of New Oxford and Miskatonic Universities. Welcome to another addition of Author’s Profile—or as I like to called it, “Audrey’s Excuse For Eating Up Web Time.” As you can see I’ve brought along the noted historian and local stuffy peer, the Duchess Scoth, the Lady Cytheria . . . That special personal I call “Sweetie”. Say hello, Sweetie.

*Glares at Audrey* Hello, everyone. To my students out there, please do ignore Audrey’s excessive rambling this day: I’m afraid she’s had a tad too much coffee.

It’s only too much if you start vomiting and get the shakes, my dear.

I believe you had both—

*Snorts* Well, then, lets move on. Today we have a special treat. We’re speaking with a new authors who’s sort of . . . It’s a bit confusing, but if you’ve been paying attention in class you’ll know what I mean. So, joining us now on the hyperwire, we have—

*Whispering* Did you clear this with—you know.

*Audrey speaking out of the corner of her mouth* On’tday alktay aboutway ethay imetay aveltray, neh?

*Cytheria sits back in her chair, shaking her head*

(Audrey) If you will please welcome, coming to us live from her home, the one, the lovely, Cassidy Frazee.

(Cassidy) Thank you, Audrey, for that warm welcome. Did you say “Miskatonic University”?

(Audrey) I think you mis-heard me.

(Ca) Ah. Okay, then . . . Thank you for having me, then.

(A) Yo have a new novel out, Her Demonic Majesty. It came out, what? A couple of weeks ago?

(Ca) Yeah, times flies, you know? Feels like yesterday.

(A) *Turns to Cytheria* If she only knew . . .

(Cytheria) *Ignores Audrey* Congratulation, Cassidy. It’s my understanding your endeavor to publish this novel has taken some time.

(Ca) Yes, that’s true. I’ve been working on this novel for a year and a half.

(A) Tell us what you’ve done during that time, if you would.

(Ca) As anyone who’s followed my blog since 2011—

(Cy) Blog?

(A) You remember, Sweetie? People write and then post their scribblings on the . . . “Internet”? *winking* Yeah?

(Cy) Oh, of course. Silly me. *Nervous laugh* Go on, Cassidy.

(Ca) Sure. I’ve been blogging since the middle of 2011, and it was in November of that year that I decided—well, was sort of talked into—writing something during NaNoWriMo—

(A) The National Novel Writing Month?

(Ca) Yes, that. I’d been asked to do it the year before, but bailed because—well, a lot of things, really. Mostly personal things, like just not being able to write due to depression.

(Cy) Audrey can certainly empathize with you there.

(Ca) Oh? You get that, too?

(A) *Mumbling* More times than I care to like. Tell us about the experience.

(Ca) It’s all about getting it written and edited. I wrote the first draft in twenty-five days, then edited it three times before handing it off to another person so they could give it a good cleaning. Even after that I found a few typos and cleaned them up—

(Cy) Not uncommon for any published work.

(Ca) So I’ve been told. Then it was setting up account, getting covers made, getting everything formatted . . . When you’re self publishing, there’s a lot of work involved in getting your story in a shape that makes it worth putting it out there for others to read.

(A) I know. I’ve been through my copy of your novel a couple of times, and you did a great job with the layout. Very professional.

(Ca) Thank you for buying it.

(A) *Sets hard copy down* Yes, buying it . . . Tell me, how do you go about promoting a novel?

(Ca) That, too, is an interesting process. You have people put out good word of mouth for the book. You set up a writer’s page and trying to get the message out to as many people as possible. You ask people to give you reviews and to spread the word. You listen when you have a mistake and fix things as quickly as possible. It’s a huge amount of hustle, and it wears you out.

(A) You write in a few genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, erotica. How do you classify Her Demonic Majesty? It seems like it should be fantasy, but it’s . . . not.

(Ca) I like to call it my science fiction fantasy with touches of steampunk. I think this particular novel covers so many bases that it’s nearly impossible to pin to one genre. I want to write stories; I don’t want to think I have to write any particular kind of stories.

(A) You were always critical of genres, and it seems—

(Ca) *Confused* “Were”?

(Cy) Audrey tends to have problems with her tenses— *Glances to Audrey and smiles* Isn’t that right, my love?

(Ca) *Muttering* Wibbly wobbly . . . After reading the novel I wondered if there will be any sequels. Any chance?

(Ca) *Smiling* One never knows. Lets just say that I know what happens to the characters in the story for a few years past the events in the novel, so maybe their will be other books. I’ve got so many stories I want to do—

(A) Science fiction? Fantasy? Erotic Japanese Tentacle Romances?

(Ca) What?

(Cy) I’ve heard writers say that it’s not unusual for segments of their personality to make it into their stories. Did that happen with you here, with this novel?

(Ca) Let me answer that second part first . . . With this novel I wouldn’t say much of my personality entered the novel say for some of the more geekish parts of Jeannette’s personality. I drew on my own experiences as a reader and a gamer to get an idea about the sort of things she might enjoy and do.

Beyond that, I don’t put too much of myself in my stories. Though there are a few stories, as yet unpublished, where more of “me” shines through than in other stories.

(Cy) You seem to write a great number of female characters. Any particular reason?

(Ca) I like writing women; it’s difficult to get them right, I think. I hope I’m doing a good job at presenting characters who can handle anything thrown at them, who don’t need to go running to the nearest guy screaming, “Please save me!”

And if they do work with men—as one of my characters has done in two stories—they work with them as equals. They know what they’re doing; they’re not afraid to speak their mind and follow up with their own lines of inquiry. And the men they work with aren’t threatened by a woman who knows as much, or more, than they.

(A) Sort of like Cytheria and me.

(Ca) That would be true if you were both like a couple of characters I developed. It’s strange, you know: Cytheria, you have the same name as—

(A) Fascinating! So, a couple of human interest question. First: boxers or briefs?

(Ca) Um . . . Boy shorts.

(A) Really?

(Cy) Audrey loves bikini bottoms. Never took her for that sort of girl.

(A) Silence, Sweetie. Fly or drive?

(Ca) Depends on the distance. I’ll fly to other parts of the world, but if it’s less than a thousand miles, I’ll drive.

(Cy) What’s the furthest you’ve flown?

(Ca) Around the world: Chicago to Minneapolis to Amsterdam to Hong Kong to Tokyo to Minneapolis to Chicago. Not all at once, mind you: it took about eight weeks. But Chicago to Hong Kong is probably the longest continuous trip with layovers of a few hours.

(A) Favorite writer?

(Ca) Too many to list. I love to read.

(A) Favorite movie?

(Ca) It’s impossible to have a favorite. Maybe twenty, thirty favorites. But one? No. For the record, quite a few from the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s.

(A) If you could be a tree, what would you be?

(Ca) Um . . . Kristian Stewart?

(A) Cheap shot!

(Ca) Who wants to be a tree?

(A) Poison Ivy?

(Ca) Point taken.

(Cy) Would you prefer to live in the past or the future?

(Ca) There’s something to say about growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, though if I had to go through that again, I’d rather do it with a few things changed . . . If I had a choice, I’d pick the future—maybe two or three hundred years from now. Nothing’s happening these days, and I’m bored. I’d like to see what’s coming down the time line.

(A) Some interesting things, let me tell you.

(Ca) And you know this how?

(A) *Long pause* That was the drugs talking . . .

(Cy) Pay no attention to her, Cassidy.

(Ca) Thank you—Duchess? Like in the song?

(Cy) No, a duchess is what I am.

(Ca) Do you know Albert? He’s a born loser.

(A) *Now glaring at Cassidy* On that note . . . I’d like to thank Cassidy for appearing today. It’s been a lot of fun speaking with you.

(Cy) I agree. Thank you for agreeing to speak with us.

(Ca) Thank you both for having me.

(A) Oh, and August, 2015: if you’re smart you’ll cancel your trip to Boston.

(Cy) Audrey!

(Ca) I’m sorry—what?

(A) *Mumbling* See who’s the loser now! *Turning to the virtual audience* That’s it for today! Join us next week when we interview Cleopatra and find out if she was bi, or just really horny. Bye!

 

Are you looking for Her Demonic Majesty?  Look here!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Sony

Smashwords

 

See you next time!

Where We Last Left Off

Sounds like I’m coming back from a cliffhanger of an episode, doesn’t it?

In many way publishing is episodic, and can turn into high drama when you least expect things to go sideways.  My experience has been very minimal to this point, as there are only two stories in my collection, but with Her Demonic Majesty being such an endeavor  it was bound to hit some snags.

Snag One:  the novel loaded to Amazon Kindle Direct without issues, and late Sunday night I was told it was live and ready for download.  Only one problem:  every time I tried to go to the novel page, I was getting a 404 message, saying the page didn’t exist.  I let that go for Monday, but by Tuesday the situation was the same, and I was having a not-so-good feeling taking hold in the pit of my stomach.

Snag Two then showed:  all of my work on Smashwords was rejected for Premium submission.  Going Premium on Smashwords means getting set up on Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and a few other distributors.  What happened was this:  I’d altered the name on my Smashwords account to reflect the name on my new cover, but that was a no-no, because the cover names on my other works didn’t match, and all hell broke loose.

So I switched the account name back, and therein appeared Snag Three:  Her Demonic Majesty was rejected for Premium submission because, it would seem, my Table of Contents links were bad.  Could be they were pointing at the wrong thing, could be they were formatted wrong, could be there were hidden bookmarks–  Oops.  Yeah, I remembered that I did that during the creation.

With that in mind, I set about getting things right.

First, I created new accounts on both Smashwords and Amazon for Cassidy.  Then, I pulled up the Smashwords version of the uploaded document, removed all the bookmarks and hyperlinks, and started over, making sure there were no hidden bookmarks this time.  Put them in, linked them, checked the links–everything was super.

Then I uploaded again.

The novel processed in two minutes, because I watched as it ran through the meat grinder.  Everything came out fine, and the novel was at a new home with a new ISBN–yes, I couldn’t use the old one, because that one was assigned to my other name.  Another thing to keep in mind.  Right now the novel is going through review for Premium submission, and I’m hoping that all is well this time though.

What next?  Tonight I’ll pull up the Kindle version of the novel and redo the Table of Contents as I did with the Smashwords version.  Then, once that’s done, I’ll upload it to the next Amazon account, wait for the word that it’s been published, and look to see if it is, indeed, ready for selling.

Then I’ll get the world out.

Of course I could end up with errors I haven’t anticipated, but I’m hopeful that the current snafu came about because of the accounts, and not because the book format was sucky.  After all, the meat grinder told me all was well, and why would it lie to me?

I’ll be right here, keeping my fingers crossed.

Cascading Realities

Another chapter down, another step closer to publication.  Tonight there will be the largest chapter of Part Three, but this one is clean, it’s good, and I don’t believe I’ll have a lot of work ahead of me.

Tonight will be a good night.

I had a little talk out last night about the fears I was feeling, the ones I spoke of yesterday.  That’s pretty much past now, because why dwell on it?  The novel will sell, or it won’t.  If I’m going to freak over the fact that the hard work will amount to nothing in return–that’s the curse of every creative project.  The world is full of people who’ve been ignored by the Honey Boo Boo crowd, and given that most people these days feel that entertainment is too–what’s the phrase?  Oh, yeah:  Hard to Understand, don’t expect to see trends change anytime soon.

So keep on keeping.  It’s what keeps the dream alive.

Speaking of dreams, I’m already thinking about what comes next.

I have two works lined up that could be ready to go by the middle of the summer.  In June I will write something for Camp NaNo–yes, I’m going to find a cabin and hang with my gurlz while I write tales of sexual depravity–but the rest of the time can be spent on editing and ebook formatting.  While I want to keep the new material coming, I need to get the old out, least they just sit there and sing Pictures of Lily while I stare at their unpublished goodness.  (If you know your Who, you’ll get the reference.  If not, just ask.)

Replacements I’ve just finished editing, and it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to get it out.  It’s one of the stories I have on tap to publish this year, and it could be a quick, easy turn around for me because of the length.  But there’s another I want to get out as well, and it’s been waiting in the wings for a year to see the light of day–

I’m talking Couples Dance.

This strange little novel was something I sent out almost a year ago, with no comments from the publisher beyond asking to see the full manuscript.  I’ve contacted them a couple of times since then, and there will be a third time, after which I’m going to put the ball in play and get it ready for my own publishing attempt.

Being a short novel I can sell it at novella prices, and being that it’s erotic horror–is that such a thing?–that could make it even more of a draw than my other stories.  Yes, I’m already thinking marketing, because there is sex inside, but there’s also a couple of visits to the library, and not to do the hot looking girl in glasses on the shelf where Poe is kept.  This means the people looking for hot, non-stop sex will have to take a break a read a chapter where someone is tortured–

Oh, did I say that?  My bad.

Anyway, the road trip continues.

Looks like I’ll be pulling into The Stanley next . . .

On Beyond Completion

Let me tell you, this weekend has been one of the busiest I’ve known since NaNoWriMo.  I sat down on Saturday morning determined to burn through the chapters remaining in Part Two of Her Demonic Majesty, and late in the afternoon yesterday, that goal became a reality.  Four chapters, about eleven thousand words, one part:  it’s all good now.  I’m on the home stretch, and the end is very near.

Not that the work didn’t leave me feeling a bit out of it.  I was so burnt by five-thirty Sunday afternoon that I actually checked to see if there was something on TV to way, and discovered the movie Prometheus was going to play.  While I knew of the movie, I’d never seen it, and decided to take a couple of hours out of my life and give it a watch.  What it did was confirm was that spending a trillion or so dollars to send Extremely Stupid People Into Space is a Bad Idea.  Next time just give me the money and I’ll figure out a better way of getting you a return on your investment.

Though I can see the set up for another movie, but I’m not giving up anything.  Not that anyone in Hollywood is interested–they’re too busy turning Ninja Turtles into aliens.

After letting my mind drip, I headed back to the story and did some playing.  With the big of formatting I’m performed I tried another .mobi compile, but I came up with a four thousand page story, so The Phantom Pages are still there, and I’d rather not deal with that crap.  I can convert it to a .doc and run it up for formatting, so no worry.

I also ran the story off to a Word .doc, just to see what I was going to have in terms of page count.  I was surprised to find something messed up with the title page right away, which is why being able to look at your story in several different formats is always a cool thing.  That was fixed, and the it was a look-see at the page count.

The great thing is Scrivener can give you an estimation on your page count.  I could look at that, or bring the story up in Word and zip to the end . . . which after I did told me there were two hundred and thirty-five pages.  Now, I know there are seven pages which really don’t add to the story:  title, Table of Contents, copyright and dedication pages, and the Part Headings, so what I’m left with is two hundred and twenty-eight pages of story.  Which is a nice little chunk of entertainment when it comes time to do the reading.

Unless there is a massive rewrite somewhere in one of the chapters of Part Three, I don’t anticipate the page count for Her Demonic Majesty changing that much.  I know what it’s going to run, I know what I’m going to charge.  All that remains is to finish out my work this week, set up a couple of things, and upload.

Before you know it, I’ll be looking for something else to do.

Station to Variable Station

Saturday morning, having my coffee at the local Panera, listening to Station to Station, an album that I enjoyed in my youth, and which continued to set me apart from those friends who were still into Top 40 AM pop.  I know I have some work ahead of me today:  a bit of editing, maybe some article writing, a little beta reading . . . we’ll see.  I also have somewhere I need to be at noon, and that’s going to keep me busy for a couple of hours.

Oh, I also have my final cover for Her Demonic Majesty.  Yeah, it’s a good day, even if it is rainy.

While I haven’t figured out my Phantom Pages issue for mobi and epub compiles, Scrivener reveled itself to me while I was trying to figure out why some of my text files wouldn’t page break when I was compiling my novel into a Word document.  After some playing with the document, I went into Scrivener mode . . .

Let me explain.NaNo Day One

Within Scrivener, you can examine your story in one of three ways.  There is the Corkboard, which is my favorite.  The visual for this is as you’d expect:  it’s like a corkboard you hang on the wall and tack up note cards.  As you can see on the right, the corkboard is an easy way to lay out your story, tell you where you are as far as what you’re doing with each section, and give you a little metadata so when you look at Chapter Ten, you know that’s the chapter where your characters get together and flog each other with chicken legs they bought an hour before at KFC.

Then there’s the Outline, which gives you a top to bottom review of each section you’ve created, and you can show as little or as much meta data as you’d like.  One of the nice things you can show in Outline mode is the word count for each chapter, as well as target word counts, and your progress towards reaching those counts.  If you have your metadata set up correctly, you can see if your story is progressing as you expect, or if you’re way the hell off the rails.

Lastly, we have Scrivener mode, which lets you see the whole store in one long scrolling document that also shows you where each section starts and end.  If you’ve set your metadata to break for each new text file, then those dashed lines indicate where your story is going to start at the top of another page, just as it would in a novel.  Also, if you show the hidden characters, you’ll see where every space is, and each carriage return, aka your Return/Enter key.

I went into Scrivener mode and started looking for hidden characters that could be causing my “not page breaking” problems in Word.  Didn’t see anything, so I went back into the corkboard and started moving cards around–which are, in reality, my chapters and part titles–and ran off another compile to check.  I didn’t see anything, at least not right away . . . but an idea started to form, because the more I looked at my troublesome sections, the more I saw they were different than my chapters–

I was using two carriage returns to drop the “Part” titles from the top of the page.  I removed those returns, and–ta da!  Problem solved!  Really, it was that simple.  After I figured that out, I went into the compile formatting, told the compile to drop the titles six lines from the top of a page break–and just like that, when I looked at the word document, everything was as I wanted.

With that out of the way, I looked for the “very” word, because it’s a weak word, and it looks stupid when you see it in the story.  Still in Scrivener mode, I set up the Find, located all my verys, then hit the Replace to remove them from the story.  When I was finished I’d removed sixty-eight “very” from the story, either deleting them, or putting another adverb or adjective in its place.  In an eighty-six thousand word novel, finding the word “very” sixty-eight times may not sound like a big deal, but in the year and a half since I wrote Demonic Majesty I’ve learned a bit, and using “very” is one of the things I’ve learned not to do.

Today I’ll look for my “suddenly” words, and superscript those suffixes that require the format, then start on a read through, because I believe the story is formatted well, and all I’m checking for are errors right now.  This may take a couple of weeks, but with everything else in place, there’s no need to hurry.

It’s all coming together faster than I thought.

And you know what they say about a plan coming together . . .

 

The Tarnished Ring

It came in the night, sneaking into my mail box like a virus trying to convince me it was really a cute video of a dolphin–and since I know dolphins are all a bunch of thrill-kill rapists, I won’t ever look at that mail . . . but I had to look at this one.

It was a message from Harper Voyager.

I knew what it was going to say the moment I saw it in my inbox.  There was nothing in the title that made me believe I was going to find a pot of gold inside.  So rather than play the guessing game, I opened it–and within was the rejection.  They’d read my novel, or at least looked it over, and decided it didn’t feel right for the Harper Voyager list, so thank you for the submission, and wish you well on your career.

As I told the two people I know the best right after I received this good news, I’d expected this.  Forty-five thousand manuscripts shows up in the HY inbox, and they were choosing a dozen, or perhaps a little more, so the odds of getting that brass ring were incredibly high.  I didn’t get it, so the world has come to an end–right?

The hell with that noise.

George Clooney is quoted as saying, “The only failure is not to try,” and that’s all the truth you need to know.  I wrote, I edited, I polished, and I sent the damn thing in.  It came back with a big “X” on the sucker, but it was marked.  The try was there, and Yoda can eat a flaming bag of cat poop for all I care, because o say you either do it or don’t is bullshit.  You have to go for it, to take a chance, and if you don’t, then nothing was accomplished.  You ain’t gonna win every time, and it does no good to bitch about how hard it is to, you know, write these damn things, and then clean them up and send them out.

So, the story is still mine; I don’t have to worry about an editor going, “Okay, there’s way too much lesbian stuff going on in this story, can you do something about that?” and throwing out an answer along the lines of, “I’m thinking orgy.”  No, it’s up to me to decide where Her Demonic Majesty is going, so I should start with the deciding, right?

What’s next then?  First comes the ebook formatting.  Then comes the cover–one that, I hope, does not land me on Bad Romances Tumblr, home of Objectified Scotsman Thursdays!  This means I want something that doesn’t suck, got it?  Once that’s all done, then up to Smashwords to take it place alongside the forced dragon breeding porn, then over to Amazon and get it uploaded for the Kindle.  Then promote, and do the interview things on different blogs, then I don’t know what, followed by profit!

Really, though:  that’s the plan.  Finish Suggestive Amusements, then get Her Demonic Majesty ready for self publication.  After that’s finished, then get Replacements ready for self publication as well, because why not have two stories up and ready to go?  And then . . .

You only win if you try.

Los Endos

Here we are:  three hundred and sixty-six days since my last post for December 31st.  Strangely enough, that post was my two hundredth for the blog, while today’s will be number six hundred and three.  That’s a lot of words between then and now; if I figure about five hundred words per post–because that’s my normal limit–today’s post will bring the total for the blog to two hundred one thousand, five hundred written words.

If only that were a novel, I might have something there.

It’s sort of a strange trip to be here today.  When I hit my two hundredth post last year, I had no idea where this blog was going.  I knew I wanted to write, but I wasn’t certain if I had anything to say.  Some days I wake up and I’m still certain I have nothing to say, but I find a way to say these non-things.  Whether you take them to heart, or just skip over my rantings as something some strange person is loading out there on a daily basis, I’m still sticking to my goal of writing each day.

I’d stated at one time that 2012 was going to see change.  Well, it did, but not to the extent I thought it would bring.  Yes, I have two novels out for consideration.  Yes, I received a rejection.  Yes, I’ve written three novel during the year–a couple were short, but novels nonetheless–and finished another.

Today I will start another story.  I even know the opening line, because I started nagging me last night before I went to bed. I’ll write it and another thousand words today, then maybe do some more tonight.  Then do some more tomorrow, and the day after that.

Sixteen chapters later I’ll finish my story, then move onto my next project.  This is how I do it; this is what I do.

I know what my major goal for this year is–well, a couple anyway.  One is get a novel published.  I would still love to see some house, large or small, pick up one of my longer stories.  I have all year to do that, I with my chops down in the development of the submission package area, I can give it a few more runs.

The other thing is to have some more self-published work.  Replacements is going to be the first one, because it’s perfect for that sort of thing.  Maybe I’ll do something like sell it for $1.99 and see if that brings people running.  Or put up a tag saying, “The girls do lez stuff,” and hope I don’t have to smother someone with a pillow before they buy the story.  (James Elroy reference, in case you were wondering.)

Onward into the ’13, ’cause it’s the only game in town.  As my Muse told me, “You have to understand you’re an unknown, and building a reputation takes time.”  Yep, I do know that.  I’d use social media to try and, you know, build that reputation, but having to fight with pictures of cats and memes that make no sense really take their toll.

This is but one ending–

There’s still so much more to do.

 

Countdown to Expectancy

Blogging, Blender, Scrivener . . . wait, that’s not right.  If only there were something I could use for my writing, then I’d get the Three B’s alliteration, and I’d have a great start to the day.

That was pretty much my yesterday.  Knocked off my blog posts–which went very well–and then editing Replacements, breezing through the penultimate chapter.  I have one more to edit, then one, maybe two, to write, and that story is a wrap. At least for the first edit.  I’ll give the story a better pass through later, and start looking at what I could do as far as a cover is concerned.  Maybe by that time I’ll have this 3D scene stuff down, and I can start working on covers.

One can only dream.

I was tripping through my author’s page the other day, and saw the milestone I placed there for Her Demonic Majesty.  Novel was submitting for consideration on 9 October, 2012.  It’s now, as I writing this, 16 December, and the time is slowly running out.  Given those thirty-one days in a couple of months, I’ve said that if by the end of 12 January, 2013, I haven’t received a reply from Harper Voyager, I’m not getting one.

Ninety Day Hath Submission; Sorry, Babe, But You Ain’t Winnin’.

You’re not suppose to think these things.  You’re suppose to think that by the end of November you’re going to wake up and find a message in your inbox saying that your novel was one of several that were picked for ebook publication–oh, and congratulations!  That’s what you’re suppose to keep thinking; that this is the time I make the big time.

I have a friend over in Second Life.  She’s a therapist, which I didn’t know until about a year ago.  Here I was in that virtual world all this time, and she’s probably analyzing me the whole time.  Not really, but it’s fun to imagine . . .

Anyway, she’s always on me about going the self-publishing route.  She tells me that the reason I’m so eager to get published by an “established house,” is that I’m looking for recognition from someone who I imagine as being a member of an elite community, and this badge will signify that I have “succeeded”.

To a certain extent, she’s right.

Let us face the fact:  just about anyone can self-publish these days.  Ten years ago stories about daughter-stepfather trysts, college girls addicted to giving their instructors–male or female–oral sex, and women being gang-fucked by werewolves would have ended up on various website catering to those particular interests; these days they end up on Smashwords and/or Amazon.

There’s nothing wrong with any of the above–hey, you should see what my first story sale was–but for some writers, it’s does make them feel as if their accomplishments are rendered small because, when they see their book appear on a list of  recommended reading, their science fiction epic is sharing space with a story about a bored housewife who’s used witchcraft to take over her son’s body because she has a fantasy about impregnating his college-aged girlfriend.

Definitely doesn’t feel the same as finding your novel on the shelf next to William Gibson.

The thing is, we need to step beyond this belief.  The real recognition comes from people who by your stories, and better yet, enjoy them.  Even if Harper Voyager were to pick up my novel, does that mean it’ll sell?  Maybe.  The HV deals indicates they’ll edit and format and put up your ebook, and give it a few shots of publicity.  None of this guaranties sales–it just pats your ego on the head and tells you that, yeah baby, you’re there.

But if a book sees the light of day, and yet is never read, does that mean it was really published?

Talk to me in a few weeks and maybe I’ll have this figured out by then.

 

Two For Two

There usually isn’t anything important about 18 November–though Jim Jones and a few hundred of his craziest followers killed Congressman Leo Ryan on this day, then decided to make the phrase, “Drinking the Kool-Aid”, part of our lexicon, even though they were drinking Flavor Aid–but for me, it was another day of work, fun, pleasure, and writing . . .

It’s also the day that I pushed my story, Kolor Ijo, over the fifty thousand word total, thus winning NaNoWriMo for a second time.

Two for two, so to speak.  I won this last year, when I wrote Her Demonic Majesty, and now again this year.  Do I get extra ice cream now, because I’ve written over one hundred thousand words in two consecutive NaNos?  I mean, I should get something, right?

It’s actually a bit interesting.  Demonic Majesty ran eighty-six thousand words after the final edit.  Kolor Ijo is going to run about sixty-five thousand words, so ad it up and–yeah, one hundred and fifty-one thousand words written within thirty days over two years.

In terms of production, I’d have to say November has been my best.  Though I’ve not finished the current novel, I will, and it’ll join my growing collection of literary masterpieces.  The urge to write more stories is there, but something’s missing–

I want them to get out there, to be found, to sell, to be read.

More than anything, I want to be read.  There is a feedback loop in this business, where you do something, have other people take it into their mind, absorbing it, then sometimes telling you what they thing of your effort.  Sometimes it’s a good reckoning  and you feel great about what you do.  Other time they go on about how you suck, and you can either wallow in misery over it, or kick it away and move on.

I’ve had this conversation with others, weighting the “exposure versus publication” values, deciding out what you want to do with your body or work.  I’ve been writing for a while, though most of the time I was spending my time putting stories together, then throwing them up on a website for others to read.  Sometimes there was feedback:  most of the time, there was none.  When you’re posting your work for free, feedback is your currency, so if no one has an opinion on your work, you’re not getting paid doubly so.

Now I have two novels created during the month of NaNovember.  One is out being considered for publication, and the fingers are so crossed it makes it difficult to write.  When I’ve finished Kolor Ijo, I’m likely going to self publishing it, though I may just send it out to a few houses as well.  There is a reason for self publishing, however:  I have to ebooks stories out now, and perhaps this new story will draw people to my others.

2012 was about the writing, getting better at my craft.  2013 is going to be about getting noticed, getting out there, getting published.  I can write all the stories I want, but if they aren’t seen by anyone, did I actually write them?  Do they actually make an impression on people if they are sitting on a hard drive somewhere, unseen and unloved by anyone save me?

Money is nice, but I want people to enjoy my stories.

Maybe by the time I’m finishing my third NaNoWriMo, I’ll have at pleasure.