Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Writers today are lucky.

It's amazing, in many ways, that 30 years ago (or longer) that anyone would set out to be a writer.  The only real explanation is ignorance.  Not knowing the odds.  The power of daydreaming.  I mean, you really did write in a vacuum back then.  You got a lot of skeptical looks.  Your parents urged you to be 'realistic' and find a 'real' job.  (I suppose that hasn't changed...) 

You typed your manuscript, making every effort to correct mistakes.  If you made any changes you had to completely rewrite the manuscript, so you tended not to make small corrections.  I remember having stacks of discards of just one page, because I was compulsive/obsessive.

You paid a printer to copy the book.  Paper and ink and print were substantial costs if you were poor, which you probably were if you were quitting your day job to write a novel.

Postage was pretty big expense too. 

You sent it off to one agent or publisher at a time and waited.  And waited.  And waited.

I called it, "sending it into the Void."  Months, even years.  Imagine applying for a job and having to wait for each single employer to turn you down before you went on to the next, and that that employer automatically took at least "six weeks" to answer (which if you were actually considered could turn into six months.)

I mean, there was almost no feedback then.  Either you hit the big time (as in being published by a major publisher) or you didn't.  Not a lot of in-between.

Oh, there was the short story/art route, but even then it was almost as hard to get a short story published as it was a novel, with very little of the payoff.

Now, at least you can see your name in print without breaking the bank.  The term "vanity press" really isn't valid, because you aren't spending a lot of money to salve your ego.  You really don't have to spend much money at all.  If you are tech savvy, you may not have to spend any money.

The actual process of writing is 10 times easier.  

Ultimately, the odds of making money today are probably nearly as long as they were then.  But there is much more in-between validation.  It's easier.  It doesn't take so long.  And you aren't dependent on others to see your work see daylight.

It's a great time to be a writer for art's sake.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Tis and tat.

Started to write a "serious" story yesterday.

Fuck that.  I'm depressed already.  Serious fiction is depressing.

*****

I'm in-between stories.  Waiting for a sign as to which story to tackle next.  Trying to enjoy the vacation.

*****

Linda and I watched both Hobbit movies last night.  7 hours of Hobbit.

Why does Peter Jackson have to overdo everything?  When he sticks to the story, he's great. 

*****

Saw a documentary on the Pig Explosion in the USA.  My Tuskers stories are more apropos than I knew.  Coming up with a species that is smarter, stronger, faster and bigger than any others isn't so outrageous after all.  Heh.

*****

Haven't heard back from my publisher.  I shouldn't be impatient. 

Besides, if he doesn't take it, I'll just put it out myself.  No harm.

*****

My reading has just died off.  I'm too conscious of all the tricks.  (I'm also conscious of the tricks in TV and movies...)  I've gotten really observant of the details.

I've just got to stop doing that and enjoy the books.

*****

Outlander isn't really doing it for me.  But it's entertaining enough to keep watching.  I'm assuming the book is "better."

*****

Linda and I are going to the movies.  She wants to see The Giver, I want to see Sin City, so we'll probably see something else...


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Finished! Tuskers II.

It's always a euphoric feeling to finish a book.

Wow.  I did that.

Finished right on schedule.  Tuskers II is currently about 42K words long.  I figure it will probably be about 45K long by the time I finish rewriting it.

Tuskers I is about 47K long, probably 50K by the time I rewrite it.  Short books, but not outrageously so.  It's going to be a trilogy.  The whole saga will be one long book.  Tuskers III will be set in a real post-apocalyptic world, and I'm looking forward to writing it.

The goal was to get to the end by the shortest path possible.  No detours, no lollygagging.  Straight to the point all the way.

I really like these two stories.  I allowed myself to be as over the top as I wanted.  The books benefited from that.  But no matter how outrageous I try to be, I tend to want to ground my stories in some kind of reality.  I want to be both outrageous and believable.

I'm not sure if I'm ready to tackle Tuskers III just yet.  I'm going to do a quick rewrite of Tuskers I over the next three days and send it to Lara.  After that, we'll see.

I have plenty of directions I can go from here.  Plenty of material that needs to be rewritten.

But sometimes a new idea pops up at these moments.  Sometimes the subconscious demands I go someplace new.  And I always listen to that voice.

I've settled into a nice writing routine.  I just need to keep that going.

Two year writing anniversary.

Two years ago I went on a writing vacation to the coast.

My idea was to write an analog story about my childhood and set it in a fantasy setting.  I called it The Reluctant Wizard.  What this trip did was unlock my creative door.  I'd been struggling for a year with Faerylander (at that time called, Almost Human.)

Somehow, tapping into my childhood emotions got me going again.

Then I had an idea of writing a cyberpunk version of the Hobbit, which I  called Freedy Filkins, and which is now called Cyber Flash.  It was fun to write.  I didn't worry about whether it might sell or not.

Anyway, from that point on, I haven't stopped writing.  Anything that came to me, I wrote.  A vampire story?  Haven't vampires been overplayed?  Maybe, but its knocking at the door so, well, Okay.

Sequels to my earlier unpublished books?  That seems dubious, but Okay.

Stories about a wild pig apocalypse?  Uh, Okay.

Donner Party Werewolves?  I like it, Okay.

Bigfoot and the California Gold Rush?  I like it, Okay.

Even though I'm struggling with Faerylander, write two more sequels?  Okay.

And so on.

I worked out a work strategy, a pace I could maintain, and cleared the decks to do nothing but writing.

I gave myself 5 years to concentrate on writing, and I'm now at the 2 year mark.  (I don't count the struggle of the first year where I was just relearning how to write.)

I'm going to try to moderate a little.  Fit in some more gardening and trips and more work at the bookstores and movies and books and so on.

But I think I can still keep up a steady writing schedule.

I'm not worried about how well they sell, only about how well I write them.  I've worked out the math, and it's ridiculously low odds.  ("Never tell me the odds!)

But I don't care.  It turns out I like writing, telling stories, and crafting them the best I can, so I'm going to just keep doing that. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My garden is out of control.

Two years of ignoring my garden and it has grown like the blob.  A big mass of bio. 

I had to do radical surgery yesterday.  Just cut out entire sections that were infested with grass.  Pull out viable plants that had just taken over too much territory.  I had to take off the top 1/2 inch of soil almost everywhere, which hurts because it is top soil and top soil is a valuable commodity.  In theory, I'll get that soil back when my refuse pile become my top soil again.

I hired a landscaping service this summer and they revived my lawn, informing me that I wasn't watering enough.

The garden had responded to the extra water by exploding.

I did about half the backyard yesterday, and I'm going to finish it today or tomorrow.  Try to keep up from now on.  I'm afraid that the grasses and weeds have seeded in pretty firmly, so next year will be a huge struggle if I don't try to keep up.

As usual, I found great satisfaction in the gardening.  It feels good to dig in, to make it look nice.  I really should do more of it.

***

So...meanwhile, I have only one chapter and a epilogue to write on Tuskers II.  I love what I've got planned, but I'm hoping for a giant burst of inspiration to get what I've got planned down on paper.

Then I'm going to quickly rewrite Tuskers I for editing. 

Then move on to Tuskers III.  To be fresh on the Tuskers III, early in the book I'm going to jump ahead a few years.  It will be a post-apocalyptic world where the non-diseased Tuskers and Humans band together to fight off the diseased (dare I say zombie?) Tuskers and Humans.

Should be fun.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I want to know about You.

I quit smoking -- like fifty times.

I've never announced I was giving up on social media because I doubted I was and because if I stop doing something, I just stop doing it.

So I stopped checking Twitter, completely, without saying anything. 

The only social media I still go to is Facebook.  (And Reddit, which is not 'social' for me, I just browse.)

Last night, I checked Facebook and I'd say about 30 out of the top 50 entries were videos.  Not original videos, but passed along.  Of the twenty left, 10 were non-original photos.  It took forever for me to weed out the crap.

I don't know if this is a new feature but as I scroll down, the damn videos start playing whether I want them to or not.  It freezes the computer for a few seconds each time and is totally distracting.  If I can figure out a way to turn off or avoid that feature, I might continue but it really is the last straw.  (With Reddit I at least have a choice about whether I want to see something or not.)  Add that to the advertising, and the incredibly stupid "tests" and I've had it.

Enough, already.

Here's the thing.  I want to know about you.  Not about some fluffy cat or squirming piglet.  You.

So I'm going to check Facebook to see if there are any personal comments -- and then stop.  Because I'd done.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Veronica Mars

Watched the Kickstarter funded movie Veronica Mars last night.

A very nostalgic experience, which just reminded me how great that show was.

Why does a show like this get cancelled after three seasons and a piece of formulaic crap like NCIS is the number one show?

What people seem to forget is that these "cult" shows were never popular.  Buffy almost got cancelled every year, and even changed networks.   Star Trek had 3 seasons.  Firefly...oh, firefly.  I was BEGGING people to watch this show -- my supposed nerd customers at the store and not one took me up on it.   I've found since, almost everyone thinks they watched it, without realizing they watched the repeats.  I'm here to tell you, almost no one watched it when it counted.

Apparently The Good Wife was on the "bubble" last year.  The well written shows just seem to struggle.

To bring that around the books.  The question is -- if you write a good book will people notice, and the answer I believe is -- probably not.

Sales and quality simply don't correlate as much as people would like to think.