It’s No Game

There has been a lot of playing around the last couple of days, and some yelling on the phone as well.  Why would one be yelling on the phone?  Because there’s someone on the other end who isn’t listening, that’s why.  That’s all short-term nonsense, however, and I expect things to go back to some semblance of normal by the end of the week.

Or a black hole will open and suck me into another dimension.  Anything’s possible at this point.

There’s been a lot of thinking going on between writing.  Most of said thinking isn’t about the new story, because I know what’s happening with that, and since I’ve mind mapped the story and I know the ending, all that is required is getting the middle parts written.  I’m into the sexy bits now, and while I’m only doing a thousand words a night, it’s fun getting into that stuff.  Right now I don’t feel like doing more than a thousand a day, but the end is already in my head, and I’m guessing that the totally erotic stuff happening now is going to be good for another three, four thousand words.

There’s the nagging feeling that I want to get into another story, a different story, soon.  I know I want to edit Replacements so I can get it ready for publishing, because the writing’s complete, it only needs a cover and some polishing and then it’s off to be self-published for fame and glory.  Sure, that’s why I’m a starving artist, don’t you know?

Beyond that–well, I’m thinking of getting Couples Dance out and starting the work on that as well.  Despite my emails I’ve heard nothing from the publisher that wanted a look at the manuscript, and I have to guess they’re either not interested, or they’ve went belly up.  Now that story, it’s a strange one.  If I can get that published alongside Replacements and Her Demonic Majesty, that’s three out of the four titles I set as a goal for this year, and it means there is still the possibility I can make Number Four happen before the end of the year.

There is the feeling, though–I want to do something science fictiony again.  Yes, I have science fiction stories that I could either write or edit for publishing, but I want to get back out into space.  I want to do something that is adventurous.  I don’t know why I’ve had this feeling kicking me about the back of my mind of late, but when I’m looking at the desktop of my computer I see my 3D rendering programs, and I want to get into one and start playing about with ship designs and the such.

I want to jump back into the sci fi game.  I want to do something that’s fun–maybe a bit of space opera wrapped up in some seriousness.  I want to do it and keep it “short” and see if it touches my mind.  I even have a character that would be perfect for this sort of story–

Maybe it’s time to pull her out and give her a run at the readers.

 

Frolic Through the Fantasic

This morning I realized something:  at times I have trouble remembering my dreams because I don’t know if I was dreaming, or if my ideas were intruding and becoming manifest.

Let me explain:

Yesterday was an all around good day to dream.  I started about laying out a new plan for a school grounds that would, should, could end up in a story, and it was a bit o’ work, because I’m working off an area that’s real, and I needed to try and get my measurements correct.  I’m nutty that way, needing to see what’s available in the real world, and then going to work so I can get the fantasy as real as possible.

Some people call it too much work; I call it part of the job.

I know there are adjustments in one of the buildings I created.  for one, the space is far too large, and I need to scale it down just a bit.  I’ll do that this morning, after I finish this post.  Maybe I’ll add a few buildings.  Maybe I’ll start giving them names, and start in on instructors . . .

Then it was off to Fantasies in Harmonie.  I didn’t get into the story until around nine-forty PM, which is late by anyone’s measure, but I was so enthralled by my grounds work that I didn’t notice the passage of time.  When you get into your groove and you’re overtaken by the world you’re creating, you can find yourself getting lost easily.

There was writing, though, and it went smoothly.  It was time to describe the various transformations, and though I’d done one and went part ways through another, there was room to discuss what had happened to my characters, and for one person, that involved a lot of self-discovery which, in turn, required a bit of wordage to show what she was doing.

I once again found myself in my groove, because I’d finish a paragraph, then think, “Keep going; you need to finish what she’s feeling.”  It’s late, I’m tired, my eyes are starting to hurt–but I needed to finish.  That’s a feeling I haven’t had in a while when it comes to my writing.  You take a couple of months off to edit your work, to get your stories ready for publishing, and you get out of that mood of writing because you need to get something said.

By the time I finished with the line that I’d been waiting to write for a while–lets just say it’s something Ariel should have said after she washed up on shore–I’d put eleven hundred words behind me, and I’d done that in one hour.  I was even impressed, because I haven’t cranked out something like that in a while.  But the fantasy was there, and it demanded I give it my energy–and I did.

I had to write.

This is why I have trouble remembering my dreams some mornings:  I don’t always know what’s a dream and what’s left over from my imagination.  They are both one and the same–and it’s my job to get them out for others to see.

 

Never Small and Simple

I fool myself a lot, I really do.  I do what I can, I work hard, and I strive to get ahead.  I set goals for myself that some say are ambitious, others says may be a little foolish, but they are my goals, and I do my best to get them done.

There are some thing, though, I just can’t do.  I’m not talking about being able to read minds:  I do believe I’ll get that talent licked one of these days.  No, I’m talking about something else–

I’m talking about being able to write a short story.

When I set out doing Fantasies in Harmonie, I told people, a few people, a number of people, that I was going to “keep it short”.  It’s fantasy erotica, and if you want people to be interested, you gotta get right to the sex.  Most of the stuff out there–by which I mean, “The tentacle sex stories on Smashwords“–seem to be between five thousand and eight thousand words, so if you’re doing it sexy, you’re doing it short.

I’ve mentioned that writing short can sometimes be a problem for me.  The shortest thing I’ve published is just short of ten thousand words–the maximum for what most people consider a short story–and the longest . . . well, it was so long I decided to cut it into three novels.  As my ex would say of Stephen King, “He’s too wordy,” and I seem to have the same problem.  Not that I consider it a problem, but there are some who have told me I’m a good writer if I can’t do a short story. (To which I had a rather choice reply, but that’s another story . . .)

Therefor, when writing Fantasies in Harmonie, I knew I was going to keep it short, keep it simple, make it all about the smut and put a fake name on the sucker–

Yeah, right.

I finished my eight hundred words last night–I was feeling down, didn’t really feel like writing, but I got it in–and I looked at where I am in the tale.  I’m eight hundred and twenty-three words into the current scene–which happens to be the second scene of the second part, which is–lemme see . . . sixty-two hundred words into the story.

And no sex at all.  Hell, I just now got to the fantasy transformations!

Issac Asimov once said that short stories were probably the hardest thing to write.  Yeah, I know:  he wrote like two hundred of them, so how hard can it be?  If you look at that another way, he knew how hard it was, because he’d taught himself to become good in that form, and that took a lot of work to develop that talent.  There are a lot of reasons why shorts are not that prevalent today, number one of which seems to be a lack of markets for writers to peddle their wares.

Back in the day of the Golden Age of Science Fiction there were hundreds of markets for shorts, and not only could one sell a three thousand word story for a penny a word, but actually live on that, writers went for that gold.  Today, you want to do a short story, you’ll probably post it to an internet board and not see a dime for you effort–you’ll be lucky to get one comment.

This isn’t about markets with me, however:  this is about what I do.  And I do novelettes, novellas, and novels.  I don’t have a problem with that–

I do hope people like my long form erotica, though.

I’m telling you, it’s gonna be hot.

Backwards to the Summit

A year ago, something strange happened.  I wrote this post.

I didn’t there was anything out of the ordinary about that post.  In fact, I dashed it off early in the morning before heading off to The Hole That Was My Job, located at The Undisclosed Location.  I was up early because I was having trouble sleeping, probably because of the cold that was developing that day, and would remain with me the entire month of May and well into June.

I popped it off, went to work, then went to dinner.  When I returned home and fired up the computer, I checked my stats–

The post had seen over two hundred views, and that day ended up becoming the most on-site views I’ve ever received.

I’ve tried hard to figure out what it was that drew all those people to my website.  I don’t think it was the tags, or how it appeared on Google, or even the subject.  The reason for the popularity is puzzling, because I’ve written far better posts than that, and they’ve had to go begging for hits like an out of work bicycle messenger who hocked his single-gear speed buggy for meth and is now hovering above the rocky bottom.

It’s strange how things like that happen.  You can bust your butt over something that you think is going to set the world on fire, and the collective sighs of a tiny group of readers can be overwhelming.  At the opposite end of the spectrum are those things you dash out almost as an afterthought, and your fans lose their shit in rapture-like ecstasy.

Stories are like that.  You put your heart into something that seems to speak to you in special ways, and it seems the indifference is suffocating–then you have some fun with a story that’s not meant to be taken too seriously, and you watch the money roll in.  Now, I don’t think that’s going to happen with my next story, but the way things work in my life, who knows?

I started putting my next story together last night.  Right now the title is about as original as it gets:  Cabin Fever.  As in, “I gotta fever, and the only prescription is hot women having sex!”  It’s the sort of simple title that can catch an eye, though it seems as if there are way too many cabins with fevers on Smashwords, so I’m going to need to rethink my approach.

I have the names of my characters, and a short outline of their lives.  It was while I was playing with this that I discovered something about the Scrivener Name Generator:  once you have your selected names in the “short list” box, you can transfer that list to an existing card or folder, and then play with the contents as you see fit–or even append the name at the end of a line currently being written.  That’s a function that I’d not played with, and now that I know it exists, when I need a quick name, and I throw it in and create a character card for that person at the same time.

This is how I go about getting a story ready:  I develop, I do my research, I lay things out.

And then, when I’m ready . . .

I see to things really get laid.

Firmly Upon the Upward Path

Here we are, the penultimate weekend.  As of last night I had only ten thousand words remaining in my edit of Her Demonic Majesty, and given that I have a whole lot of nothing ahead of me today, that means that by the time I return her tomorrow, I’ll have but one chapter remaining, or I’ll awaken feeling bright and shiny, and there will be nothing left but to compile the story into a Word document and created the Table of Contents.

Either way, I finish the edit and format within the next thirty-six hours.

That means next week is filled with fun and frivolity.  I know I’m going to be interviewed, but it’s going to be an interview the likes of which many of you have never seen.  I’m thinking up a book giveaway, But I want it to be something different–which means I’m not sure how I’ll do it, but I’m investigating means.  I had considered asking people to guess what color I look best wearing, but one person would walk away with everything then . . .

The interesting thing I find is that I’m overly excited.  Worried, yeah; I’m always worried that something will show up wrong in the story, that it’s not going to sell, that it’ll be rejected after all my hard work.  But that happens, you know.  My friend Jo Custer said yesterday that she was told that the movie she’s trying to Kickstart into existence is “filthy”.  Many jokes were made of this comment, not the least was that someone should tell Lars Von Trier there’s a new bitch in town.  Though if you want to get into Lars Von Trier territory, you need a leading lady to come up and spit on you every morning and tell you what a horrible person you are, because she knows she’ll be spending the afternoon her standing naked in a mountain stream masturbating while being yelled at to “Look natural!”

We creative times, we do our own thing.  We love praise, but be usually get criticized to hell and gone.  As I’ve said many times, the non-creative out there don’t get us.  Yes, they want to be entertained by us, but they don’t get what we do, and why.  If you’re like some of the people I know, their notion usually boils down to, “You wanna make money.”  Well, yes, dude:  I would like to make money.  I’d like to make enough money to do this full time.  There isn’t a one of us who wouldn’t love to spend their days crafting stories or making movies or producing pretty pictures.  And I’m not talking talking making mad J. K. Rollinbucks cash here, either.  If I was making fifty thousand a year writing, I’d be home all the time writing.

Why do we suffer the pangs of criticism,  though?  I think part of it comes from the un-creative being unable to build their own works, but damned if they don’t know what a good work should look like.  There are things out there that are broken, that is true, and creative works that are totally Teh Suk.  But the hate does seem to come at everyone and everything, and it’s almost impossible to avoid.

The trick comes from deciding if the criticism is of the good kind . . . and if you can learn from it.

As for the other kind . . .

Write your own stories, then get back to me.

Going For the Fun

Today starts the moment when I get serious about Her Demonic Majesty.  I want to get as much of Part Two finished this weekend, so by this time next week I can say everything’s ready for the various meat grinders, and all I have to do is write the various dedications, upload, and watch the money roll in.

About that last part . . .

Yesterday I was speaking with a friend, as I am want to do, and they asked me what I was doing to promote myself.  I mean, I have a novel coming out, I have access to Facebook and Twitter, so how am I getting the news out to my fans that I’ll have a novel published in a couple of weeks?

Good, legitimate questions.  I didn’t have an answer.  I should because I’ve been here before:  I have two published stories, and I’ve sort of done the promotion thing by visiting other blogs and giving an interview or two.  I know the game.

I just don’t play it well.

The writing part is easy; you sit, you think, you type, you edit.  There you have it:  a story.  It might be shit, but it’s you’re story, and you own it.  What happens after you get the stuff up, though?  That’s the hard part.  It’ hard because I haven’t actually had to get into that part that much.

My friend started giving me hints of things to do, things to try.  I listened, I took to heart.  And I’ve started the wheels rolling . . .

First off, I revamped my author’s page.  It looks nice and bright, with the new covers up, and there I’ll start sending out information about the project of the novel, and when it’ll see the light of publishing day.  I have my Twitter, and I should get to revamping it as well:  change the background picture, get the names changed to protect the innocent, so forth and so on.

One of the things writers could do for NaNo was post excerpts from their stories, and that’s another thing that’s coming.  Every day I can pull out a few hundred words from each chapter, and maybe get people interested in wanting to read the whole thing once they get their taste.  Not to mention, if there’s an error, someone can point it out.

I will do an interview, and it’s going to be done a little differently than some interviews, in that . . . wait, why tell you now?  Just wait until next week.  Then you’ll see.

There will be the obligatory giveaway of books.  Haven’t decided on how I’m going to do that yet, but I will.  And with two covers from which to choose, winners can decide which cover they like better.  Now if I could only get a third cover, I could have a trifecta!

What I want the most–besides sales–is to have fun.  I’ve done the blog hops; I’ve done the interview; I’ve sort of done everything short of putting begging people to buy my stories.  I want to do thing differently this time.  I want people to find and enjoy, and help build the base.  And if they buy this, then they’ll maybe buy the stories I wrote under that other name, too.

It’s the time to shine–

Lets burn bright.

The Doubt Killer

Yesterday was one of those days where I seemed to be busy from the moment I work up, right until I was ready to fall asleep.  It makes for a long time staying busy, and busy I was, yes indeed.

I’ve spent a bit of time the during last week where I’ve been discussion writing with a couple of writers, and there is one question that always comes up:  why do some people sell, and others don’t?  Or, better yet, why do some writers seem to attract an audience when others don’t?

It’s a puzzle.  You find yourself wondering how someone can come up with an idea that equates to Hillbillies Aliens + Excessive Racism + Locked in a Spaceship = Their Next Great Novel, and people going, “That’s fantastic!”, and when someone points out that the concept of having a multi-billion dollar colonization effort hinging on a bunch of dimwitted thugs who want to kill each is a Really Bad Idea, they’re told they’re being “too hyper-realistic”, you grow a little upset because you know this is something you wouldn’t write, and you think that by not writing this, by concentrating on your character-driven stories, people are just gonna pass you by and concentrate on the story of The Hatfield and McCoy Feud in Space.

Then you look at your sales, and you can’t help but think, “What am I doing wrong?  Why aren’t people buying me?”  Or, as I said yesterday to my friend, “Where is my Stephen King moment?”  Is the novel I’m working on the one that will get me noticed?  Or do I have to fall back on unicorn porn?

I will admit that after editing and formatting two chapters from Her Demonic Majesty last night, I felt as if I were on the verge of tears.  As much as I want this effort to work, there’s a part of me that’s been like a small voice that keeps whispering over and over, “You’re a born loser, so why bother?  It’s not going to sell, and all this time and effort and money are going to waste.  No one believes in you, just pay the bills like everyone else does.”  It really was that sort of ending, and it’s a wonder I didn’t head off to bed and sob my ass off.

But I didn’t, because the reality is I couldn’t.  I couldn’t because before I went to bed I thought things out . . .

The whole publishing game is an ass.  Do you think Fifty Shades of Grey was bought because it’s great writing?  No.  It was bought because some dink at Vintage Books decided this soft core rapey porn (which if you know anything about BDSM, this is) was going to bring the middle aged Twihard ladies to the Kindle Store, ’cause even though the names have been changed to protect copyrights and prevent lawsuits, everyone knows this is Edward and Bella a-boning, and that’s going to separate a certain segment of the population from their money.

Am I doing that?  No.  I’m trying to write something original, something that’s a bit different, something that lets me connect with my characters and, I hope, pass that connection along to my readers.  I want to tell stories, and that’s a lot of work–

It’s not the easy road to follow.  It’s a bitch.  It will make you hurt.

But when you do make it through . . . you’re gonna feel a lot better.

All I want to do is tell stories for people to enjoy.  That’s it.  If I can make enough money so that I don’t have to haul my ass into Chicago every day, then so much the better.  Until then, I’ll kept at what I’m doing, and try to keep the tears back.

Every day you think you suck more than Carlton Mellick, the doubt wins.