I figured it was time to do some writing updates, since that’s what all of this is really about. Funny enough, the genesis for this piece lies lies in the live episode of ‘I should be writing’ from Mur Lafferty. They were talking about writing and publishing and whether or not to publish your stuff online – that sort of thing, and it got me thinking that I don’t explain myself enough.
I’m not trying to sound arrogant as I say this, but I could be a very prolific writer – if I had the time. I remember the ‘golden years’ when I worked part time went to school part time and wrote part time (partied part time, read a lot of comic books part time, played video games part time…). I filled folder after folder and later disk after disk (the 3.5 floppies) with all sorts of stuff from my brain. Unfortunately, this was when I was really beginning to learn how to write so none of it is particularly good as I look at it today. But the point is, I wrote a lot.
Today I find the world is full of distractions and my productivity suffers because of it.
I have four major, massive projects going right now. I would like to say to any of you reading this; don’t do what I do, don’t overextend yourself. Focus on a project, get it done and move on while you query. Learn from your Uncle Pakridge (long story) and don’t be stupid.
Project One: Sam Kane. This is my completed novel locked in a nightmare of editing that I myself caused. I once said on twitter that a novel is like a tapestry; pull one string and the whole thing could fall apart. Well, I pulled a string. Then I pulled another one. It’s better for it, really, but reweaving it all together has proven to be a pain in the ass.
When your project becomes a pain in the ass, your mind allows itself to be distracted by other things. This is not good. You need to tell your brain to focus and ignore-ooo! What’s that over there?! Sooooo shiny…
Project Two: The Chronicles of Darius. This is my epic fantasy novel. It is both epic in scale and fantastic and I’m keeping it close and not putting it out there on purpose, deciding instead to lead off with Sam Kane. There’s a slew of reasons for this not the least of which has to do with control and marketing.
Let me attempt to esplain.
As a brand new author, your contract, royalties, control, etc and so on shall be commensurate with your experience. Hence, very little. You have to build from there. In my mind, you want to make a big splash and expand from there, build your audience and your marketability. Darius is a big, expansive and complex story and I don’t know that I want to lead with that and give up as much control as you do when you’re first starting out. So I am going first with other things that, though dear to my heart, have marketable value I can build and expand on so that, when it comes time to sell Darius, I am in a better position to negotiate.
Hope that makes sense enough.
Project Three: Untitled as yet. This one snuck up on me. I wrote what I thought was the beginning of a short story about a year ago and, while trying to figure out where I was going with it, wrote a piece of flash fiction that I thought was unrelated and ended up being too big for flash fiction anyway. Then, I started another short story and was doing a little of what I like to call ‘future history building’ where in I lay out some of the future events in my little sandbox I like to call The New Universe.
One weekend, I was staring at all these supposedly unrelated pieces and realized that I had the makings of a damned fine science fiction novel. All I had to do was pull a few threads together and then finish it up.
My initial reaction to this realization was as follows: Shit.
I soon found myself laying out exactly how these seemingly different stories were actually related and how they wove within each other. They fit so weirdly well that I half assumed that my own brain might be conspiring against me. This piece is now half done.
Project Four: Evermist. But – Evermist is DONE! Why is Evermist on the list?! Why is Evermist a project?!
Because I can’t let anything go. I have to reread and tweak every single chapter before it goes up on the site. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me, maybe it’s the OCD in me – I don’t know, but I can’t just let it go, not when the web is fluid and changes can be made (unlike print). So I tweak it, and then that tweak means I have to tweak the next bit, and so on, and so on.
So, yeah – Evermist is still an ongoing project. I release it myself as a serial piece every Friday because I want to build exposure and get some people, just like you, interested in my writing. it’s part of that whole bit I talked about a couple paragraphs up, about what is marketable and what isn’t. I don’t think there is a place in the traditional marketplace for something like Evermist right now, so I release it myself online to build my audience.
There you have it, the projects that have stolen my attention. Again, I urge you not to follow in my footsteps. Pick a project and see it through, do as I say not as I do…
…I haven’t even mentioned the ‘Conversations with my Cat’ comics, coming soon. WHAT?! WHO SAID THAT?!