Monday, June 27, 2016

I'm setting aside everything else to finish  "Fires of Allah," my terrorists-setting-wildfires book.

(I've had a number of titles for this, but this title best reflects the contents, even if it isn't inspired. "Not by Water, But by Fire" is an intriguing title, "Devil's Forge" is short and pithy, but neither really get across the contents.)

I was half done before I stopped. I was waylaid by a big time agent and a mainstream publisher, who were considering it. I got a rejection from the former and no answer from the latter, so I'm moving on.

(This was the "100 kickass pages" the agent asked for--which I still think is an asinine request. The book ain't done until it's done, and to Micheal Bay it is to cheapen it, as far as I'm concerned.)

While I was waiting, I assembled a bunch of research material.

I like the book, and it's a hell of a premise, and you can't say it isn't timely.

So I'm going full tilt on it for the next month, with the goal of having it finished and edited by August 1, with a cover by Mike Corley.

This is exciting. I needed the challenge. It will be fun write.

So off I go...down the rabbit hole.
It's hard to spend so much time on rewriting. I don't enjoy it, but it's necessary, especially since I've written so much over the last three years.

The first year was like a fever. The second year, I still had the energy and desire to keep up the pace. The third year was moderating, setting limits, but still writing at a very productive level.

The fourth year so far has been trying to tie up all the loose ends from those crazy first three years.

I'm glad the way it worked out. I knew that the kind of creative mania I felt in the first three years (especially that first year!) was unusual and probably wouldn't continue. (Plus the "real" world could intervene at any time.) So stopping to clean up seemed like a bad idea at the time.

But after 3 years I looked back and realized that about half of that production was useless unless I took the time to fix things.

But wow, I got so far ahead of myself that I could probably stop writing now, clean up what I've written, and call it a career!

I'm hoping that finishing Devil's Forge and Tuskers IV (both half-written) will satisfy my creative urges and keep my mojo.

If not, I'll grab some wild idea out of the air and write it on a lark and have fun again. I can still feel that urge lurking. Seems to work best if I don't overthink it. Wild pigs bothering a friend, write a joke short chapter and then turn it into a serious book! Vampires--so, so overdone, but dammit I feel like it! Weird westerns? Sure, why not? Faerie Punk, I like it! Gangster Golems? Go for it!

The spirit of fun is what makes it all worthwhile. Fuck the "bleeding words on a page" idea. The idea is to go on an adventure, and hopefully others will want to come along.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I think I need to allow myself to give up on books if they aren't working.

This is the fifth full rewrite of Faerylander (over 40 versions). I've split it into 2 books (Zombielander), and I now think I've got something.

But what a slog.

I'm not sorry I did this. If nothing else, I've learned something from each rewrite. I'm getting a sense of structure and plot and characterization and process that I could only learn through trial and error.

But the truth is, I could have written at least two or three other books in the time it's taken me to try to fix one book.

I like the ideas behind this series, I like the characters, I like some of the writing. And I have the added incentive of having written a couple of later books in the series which don't need reworking. (Another lesson learned--don't write a book further along in the series if the first book isn't working...)

Anyway, one of the main rules I had when I came back to writing was to finish whatever I started. It is too easy to write 3 or 4 or 5 chapters and give up. Or give up at the first sign of trouble. I wanted to avoid that.

But I don't think I have to worry about my finishing books anymore. I've done a ton of them.

I have become a better writer by writing. I can become an even better writer by writing some more.

So going backward, trying to prop up books that didn't pass muster the first time, is foolish.

So that's another lesson learned.

1.) Don't do continuing stories. It's fine to do a series, as long as each book is a standalone. As much as I like Tuskers and The Vampire Evolution Trilogy, they were hard to do. I'd say that each continuing volume was twice as difficult as the volume before.

Whereas, writing a series with the same characters but that aren't dependent on the previous book to make sense is much much easier.

2.) By all means, rewrite. But once you've set the story down, don't go changing the basic plot. Adding and subtracting are okay. Changing words is okay. But moving chapters around, changing the timeline of events, that's a no no. The whole structure falls apart.

3.) If the book does fall into that trap or requires changing in that way, it is probably better to give up on it altogether and go on to the next thing.

The trap is that it always seems like a easy fix but never is. You can't take the jigsaw puzzle apart once it's been carved.

Like I said, I'm glad now that I managed to save Faerylander, to improve it, to make it into two books.

But damn, it was hard.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

2/3rds of the way through Zombielander and I reached an impasse. The same impasse I'd hit before.

How to integrate the last third of the book.

It doesn't seem an insurmountable problem, certainly I'm in a better place than when Faerylander and Zombielander were one book. But the chapter I have in place just doesn't feel right.

I decided to take a day or two before proceeding and try to come up with a solution.

So I think I have, in theory at least. I have a path forward, which is what I needed.

First, the crucial chapter feels like it would work better told from another character's perspective.

Secondly, I need to consolidate the timeframe so that the responses by the characters make sense. Or alternatively, expand the timeframe.

I either need to remove or move another chapter.

This is all work. It is all in my head, which is not the way I prefer to tell my stories. But I have a feeling this is probably how most other writers go about things. Much more thought rather than just instinct.

I prefer stories that come together on their own without any interference from me, so to speak.  But I also assume that the original story is still there, and all I'm doing is crafting a better plot to fit the story into.

At least I hope so. I long ago passed over from "feeling" this story to "puzzling out" this story. I've noticed in the past, the readers don't really see this. If the story works, it works, and it doesn't matter how I arrived there.

It's just more fun for me not to have to constantly rewrite trying to get it right.

Really, this is a matter of "sunk costs" and I'm going to try very hard to avoid this situation in the future.

I've worked so hard and so long on this book(s) that I don't want to give up now. In fact, when I'm done with this rewrite, I'll probably set them aside and come back one more time next year before publishing and give them one more go-around.

Starting today, I have 10 days to get this right.

Then I really, really want to get on to something new.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Took the day off from writing, and it felt a little strange.

I don't want writing to become a job, a chore, an onerous task. It has to be something I want to do, that I feel compelled to do.

But being compelled and it becoming a burden aren't all that far removed.

When I take time off, I can almost feel my creative energies returning. I have an almost concrete image in my mind of a well that is filling back up with water. That moment of eagerness returns when the water overflows,  I think that's when my best writing comes.

Part of my process has been to refine that. For instance, I used to allow myself to write 3 or 4 or 5 or more thousands words in a day. But I've sort of pulled myself back and try to limit myself to between 1500 and 2500. That leaves enough energy for the next day. (However, if I was really really feeling it, I'd still write beyond that.)

At the same time, though, I don't want to get too far away from the habit of writing every day. I don't want to lose that feeling of being antsy if I don't write.

So... it's just a day off. Probably shouldn't make a big deal out of it. But it's rare enough that I feel like commenting on it.

There you go, commenting on nothing happening... Writing about nothing at all, because by God I have to write something.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I'll be spending the rest of this month rewriting Zombielander.

I think I've figured out a way to conclude the Faery versus Cthulhu storyline and at the same time leave it open to a third book later on. Which is a great solution. Leaves me with the ability to publish the four Lander books I have, and still be able to folow it with the fifth book if I want...or not.

Meanwhile, I never know for sure when I'm writing one book which book I'll want to write next, but I'm leaning toward doing my terrorists-setting-wildfires book, "Devil's Forge."

If nothing else, for timeliness sake. It's half written. Most of the plot has been set up. The only parts that still needs to be written are the action chapters, which are usually the easiest to write. The only real question is how much research to do. I've been clipping out articles about wildfires for about a year, and setting aside books.

The other thing I'm not sure about is do I research ahead of time-- thus using the research in the plot of the book? Or do I research after the plot has been laid down --thus using it to add verisimilitude? The latter is easier than the former, the former is probably more useful than the latter, but much harder to motivate myself to do.

I probably shouldn't say it, but I wing my plots. I feel them. I trust my subconscious. It's all about story.

Interestingly, I had drones as a major part of my plot, and since, I've learned that indeed, drones are being used in wildfires. I think I arrived at this on my own, but maybe I heard a mention of it, or maybe it was just logical.

Anyway, I'm either going to finish "Devil's Forge" or finish "Tuskers IV" both of which are already half written.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I have a problem. I've written too many books.

So far, I've been careful. In the five years I've been serious about writing, I've had the 3 Virginia Reed books and the 3 Tuskers books (as of October) released. BOTD released all 3 Vampire Evolution books on the same day, and I've released two other books on my own.

That's pretty freaking prolific right there. But I've got a BUNCH more books.

I'm not going to try to defend this. I know someone might say, "that's not writing, that's typing." But that is pretty dismissive of how diligent I've been. I mean, you guys have no idea how much time and effort I've put into this. I love doing it, don't get me wrong. But I'm not dabbling. (If you want to be prolific, just have no other life...)

I have books I've finished rapidly that are pretty damn good, and books I've worked on for 4 years and which still aren't up to snuff. 

I've been steadily writing for 5 years, hardly ever skipping a day.

By splitting "Faerylander" into 2 books (or 3) I've freed up 4 books (or 5).

Add that to the 5 books that I've finished that are ready to go at any time. (4 out of 5 have been edited and have covers), that's a crazy number of books.

I also have the reissue of my 3 1980's published books (combined into 2) almost ready to go. I have 2 other books I finished in the 80's that are done (plus a new sequel.)

I have a number of books that I've written that need to be rewritten, if I ever have the time.

And in the meantime, I'm not really slowing down.

If I were to release the FINISHED books every 3 months, which would be a pretty rapid pace, it would still take 4 years to get all the current books out. Even if I slowed my pace by half, in four years I'd still have a bunch of NEW books finished.

Meanwhile, I have the books with publishers that I don't want to dilute the impact of--"The Darkness You Fear" just came out and needs 4 or 5 months for its own window. "Tuskers III" is coming out in October. A "Tuskers IV" (the concluding book) is in the works; and I have a 4th Virginia Reed book planned.

What the hell do I do?

It might be different if I was younger, but I'm at an age when a few years might matter.

What to do?

I want each individual book to be taken seriously. I don't want to dump them out there.

This is not a problem I expected to have. It's not a humblebrag, it really is a logistical problem.

It's not about the money. I've forgone so much money by not working my store that no realistic amount of payback from writing will ever cover it.

It's not about fame and fortune. But like I said, I want each book to stand on its own merits and drowning the market is no way to go about that.

Basically, I'm going to just keep writing to the end of the year and take the lay of the land. I figure one of two things will happen--either there will be more action on the publisher front (which, except for Tuskers IV, isn't looking that likely) or I'll be free to do as I will without regard to stepping on the publishers toes.

If there is more action on the publisher front (and other than what's out there right now, I'm not intending to pursue that) then I would seriously considered putting books out as D.M. McKinnon.
(McKinnon being my middle name).

If I'm trying to cooperate with publishers (which as far as sales results are concerned is a much better proposition) I'm thinking I'd have two tiers.

Tier One: The Duncan McGeary books. Paying for top line covers and editing. 2 or 3 books a year, through publishers if possible, by myself if not.

Tier Two: The D.M. McKinnon books. Doing it all myself. Plunking them out every 3 months like clockwork.

I'd rather have all my books as Duncan McGeary, obviously. But I'm thinking it may not be possible without completely ruining the "brand."

But if I just start plunking D.M. McKinnon books out there without any fanfare whatsoever, they will sink into the ocean of books without a trace. (Not that that is all that different from what is already happening...)

Such a weird problem to have.

Monday, June 13, 2016

My approach so far is to release whatever book I think is my best book at the time, and that also shows something different about my range.

So "Led to the Slaughter" was my first book, because I thought it was my best book at the time.

Took a turn not long after into a creature book, which had a different tone and approach, "Tuskers." Which again, was my best book at the time.

Then released "Blood of the Succubus" myself, because again, I thought it was my best book, and had a completely different approach and tone.

I've continued the Virginia Reed books after "Led to the Slaughter," and I've continued the "Tuskers" books.

Since then, I've written a bunch of other books, all of which are somewhat quirky. I like them a lot, but now that it is almost time to put something out again--mid-summer I think--it is pretty clear that the best book I've written lately and that also has a different tone, is "Deep Sea Rising."

I'm going to call this book my first "adult" book. It has no supernatural elements. No fantasy, no S.F. It is a straight thriller, adventure. I tried to adhere to reality, to what could really happen.

I suppose it could be called a "creature" book, but the creatures exist, or the creatures could exist. It could be called a "disaster" book, but what thriller isn't?

So what's the problem?

I described it as an "adult" book, written so that people who forbear anything that smacks of the fantastic could read comfortably. A crossover book, if you will. I wrote it because I like it, and only after I was done did I realize I'd done something different.

Thing is...I have never felt very "adult." I've always been sort of sidelined. I've run a business for 36 years, which is pretty adult I suppose, but look at what it is--a comic book, game, bookstore. Not exactly your usual job.

I look around me and see 'adults' and God bless them, but I've always felt the outsider, a little immature, not really socially conditioned.

Fine, I wouldn't have it any other way.

But...when I write about "adults" in my stories, I can get most of the way there, but I always feel like I come up a little short. A certain amount of the "adult" comes from other sources, not personal experience. That is, the world that I perceive most adults living comes as a mystery to me.

So, like I said, "Deep Sea Rising" has some good ideas and characters and I love the story, but I feel like I can't quite get the the "real" which is the feeling I want to get out.

So when I'm writing "Tuskers," and I'm purposely writing it in the 70's disaster movie mode, it's okay to use archetypes (better word than stereotype.)

For the Virginia Reed books, there is enough distance that I can approximate the "real", especially when the real is part of the story. I think it might actually be difficult to not tap into the tragedy of the Donner Party.

So..."Deep Sea Rising" is the best book to put out next, but I don't quite feel adult enough to pull it off. Maybe this is just the imposter syndrome. Maybe nobody feels adult.

But it does seem to me that there are two options in writing: Either write what you know, or write so far out of what you know that it doesn't matter.

The danger is when you try to write something that you "should" know, but are only guessing at...

I do feel that with a little "adult" supervision, "Deep Sea Rising" could get all the way there. But where do I get that?

A short distance to making this a really good book, a vast distance to get the help to get it there. Such a vast distance that I don't believe it worth going for.

So I'll do my best pretending to be an adult and just put it out.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Moving on to Zombielander.  Going to try to outline the book, for once. I have about 70% of it written, but need to add about 30% to include other characters in the first half of the book. The second half can pretty much proceed as written.

Story usually comes to me through writing, so outlining isn't a natural thing for me. But in this case, it could save a lot of trouble down the road.

Need to work out theme and character motivations a little better.

I'll have at least four Famous Author chapters, starting with JRR Tolkien, but would love to have one more Weird writer that everyone knows but who is pretty much in the past. The first book had Poe, Lovecraft, Howard, and 'Holocaust writer.'

I've written C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams chapters, but not quite satisfied with them. Need to fix those. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells aren't dark or fantasy enough. I'll think of someone. Maybe Kafka?

Undecided whether to do Cobb's Bestiary. For one thing, I'd need to add some Faery critters, and for another, most of the additions would not be as on point as they were in the first book. Then again, I kind of like them.


All right. Sketched in the book. Really only need to write three or four completely new chapters, but...lots and lots of transitions. It's all about the transitions. Easy to leave one out. So I'm going to go ahead and get started.

Write the new chapters, stick them in, then work on the transitions to make it all flow naturally.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Got back the finished covers to Star Axe and Snowcastles/Icetowers and they are beautiful. I need to sit down and finish the adaption from scans to finished manuscript, which will just take work. I'd hoped to do a little each day, but that's not the way I do things.

It will require me just flat out sitting down and doing the job.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

There is no real joy in rewriting. I wish I could take pleasure in it.

It takes what is always an iffy proposition--that spending many hours every day on an activity that few if any are ever going to see is a worthy, smart thing to do. At least with writing there is the sense of discovery, the joy in ideas. In rewriting, it's pretty much all brain.

But...I have a book. I have finished "Faerylander," and this is the version I'm going to publish. I think it works, and I'm happy with it.

I'm going to spend the next couple of days going through it, trying to pick up any inconsistencies and copy-errors. There are probably tons of the later because 3/4 of the book was changed from 3rd person to 1st person and no matter how many times I go over it, I will miss some "he's" and "his's.

Then I'm going to start in on "Zombielander," giving myself twice as much time because it is bigger mess, but I think there is a book there.

Then on to the third book, "Cthulhulander," which will be a completely new book, which you'd think would be harder but will ironically probably be easier.

Then rewriting again on "Wolflander" and "Ghostlander," making them consistent with the first 3 books.

Lots of work.

I will really need to go off in a completely fresh direction after that...

I have the new covers back to "Star Axe" and soon with "Snowcastles/Icetowers." But I'm far from finished adapting the scans. If rewriting is hard, this is pure drudgery and I have a very hard time doing it.

But again, with a modest effort I free up a couple of books, which are already written and ready to go.

Just trying to take care of business and still keep up my enthusiasm for it all.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The conversion of the ending has gone smoother than I expected.

There is still a lot of clunky writing, but I'm trying to fix that as I go along. I have become a much better writer over the last 3 years.

In the process, I've cut a good 5000 words. I could probably could cut a few thousand more. I'm hoping by the time I add the Cobb's Bestiary entries in that it will push the book back up over 60K words. If not, I may have to do some adding. I'm thinking about adding in Tolkien and the Holocaust writer. It will mean shooting my bolt on "Famous writers" but if Faerylander doesn't work, nothing that follows will matter that much.

So...yeah, I'm going to do it. 

I think this book is now consistent in story and tone and character. Now I need to move on and do the next book, and hopefully have both done by the end of the month. Send them to Lara, and give myself some time to write the 3rd book, and then...when they come back, give them one last rewrite.

Huge effort, but it does create five books (freeing up books 4 and 5 which couldn't be published without the previous volumes.)

So it's worth it.

Couldn't quite get to the end. Still have to do the last two chapters. It's going to end up almost exactly 60K words. If I cut more, than add the Bestiary, it should come in just right.

Amazing how simply cutting out what doesn't work can actually fit. Very little new stuff needs to be written, actually.

Reading last night about what Lucas did wrong with SW 2nd III. Talked about having a "theme."

Nowadays, every book I write does have a theme. But when I started writing Faerylander, I didn't think that way.

The other thing that happened to Faerylander is that I hadn't learned yet to tell the story through scenes.

So there's this Curse, see. Whenever Cobb uses magic in his Exile, the Curse takes away his memory. Drinking causes him to lose control. Therefore drinking + magic = curse.

So simple enough. Except that's pretty much exactly the way it is introduced in the story.

Nowadays I'd have a scene illustrating the Curse. Cobb gets drunk, uses his magic, forgets where he is. Simple, illustrative, interesting.

(In fact, now that I mention it, I'm going to try to figure out a way to do exactly that.)

Anyway, this is just one example among many. Part of it is that Fantasy stories have world-building, and yet I write without doing the preliminary. In fact, I discover the world through writing. Which leads me into traps that are hard to extricate myself from.

When I write in the "real" world, the assumptions are all there. No explanation required. Which is why I'm more comfortable these days to write in the real world with a fantasy overlay. Even Faerie Punk, which has quite a bit of world building, is oriented primarily in the real world so I don't have to slow down and explain.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rewrote Faerylander's first penultimate chapter yesterday, the one I was worried about.

I had to steal a scene from the second book, which I didn't want to do, but the book needs what the book needs. I can write a similar but different scene when the time comes.

There is one more penultimate chapter, which is one of the silly ones. That is, this chapter matches the tone of the early book where I'm making up Faery creatures willy nilly.

Hey, if the reader isn't along for the ride by now, I'm doomed anyway. The silly stuff, the little Faery creatures I make up, are baked into the book and just require a suspension of disbelief.

Then onto the final chapters, which can play out pretty much the way I originally wrote them, except I have a major character that comes in and helps Cobb against the Old God who has to be taken out. Cobb has to fight the Old God on his own--which is probably a better result anyway.

I should have a couple more days to go over it a couple more times, adding and subtracting from the various versions I've done. The whole thing should take about 10 days.

Hard work, but worth it if I come out with a readable book.

Basically, I've pulled the story in, keeping it lighter, more focused on the characters, without most of the apocalyptic stuff. That is, the danger in the book is to the specific characters, and only vaguely to the world at large.

The second book is darker, where the dangers becomes broader.

And the third book will be full out apocalyptic, which should be a satisfying story arc.

The second book has about 50K words already. I more or less have to write a few middle chapters, but it will be somewhat complicated. Hopefully another 10 days or so.

Then on to writing the third book, which might be kind fun. It will take three or four times longer than a rewrite and yet it will feel easier, I can almost guarantee.

The fourth and fifth books are written--all but the ending of Ghostlander--but I'll need to go through them and match the details from the three part Cthulhu versus Faery Wars.

This whole process just isn't much fun. I mean, there is a deep satisfaction to it, but not a joy.

But it has to be done.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Faerylander is still a learning book for me. After rewriting it 5 times, (35 variations!) I know the book inside and out. I've experimented with various styles and tones and structures.

I've learned a lot.

When I first started writing it, it was kind of snarky, almost satire. The main protagonist, Cobb, was a Faery creature exiled on earth who made snarky remarks about humans. But within a couple chapters I realized that wasn't what I wanted to do.

"Satire is what dies on Saturday night," said the playwright George S. Kaufman.

I don't personally care for humorous books. They have no internal tension and are carried only by their cleverness, and I get sick of too much cleverness. Even when it is well done, it is hard to maintain any narrative drive. Nor am I that relentlessly clever.

I've just stopped reading my second Carl Hiaasen book in a row. He's funny, but the tone just evaporates the story. Don't think badly of me, but I feel the same way about Hitchhiker's Guide and Terry Pratchett and most other writers whose main focus is on humor.

So if I don't like it and I don't read it, why was I trying to write it?

But I kept the light tone and I liked a lot of my inventions. I realized it was somewhat sophomoric, and perhaps even stupid, but I was enjoying it. I figured I could fix that.

But then I got to the last third of the book, and it went completely stupid. Here I have a war between Faery and Cthulhu, with humans caught in the middle, which I thought was fairly clever, but... the way I resolve it is with a gunfight?

It just didn't work.

I mean, the first two thirds would have worked if there was a more serious ending, or vice verse, but not together.

So I set about shoring it up, making the first two thirds more weighty. It did help with the last third, but it lost a lot of its original charm. All the cute but goofy stuff was taken out.

So on this last rewrite I've realized I can keep the lighter tone of the original book if I lose the stupid last third and go directly to the original ending. Works rather well.

Meanwhile, take the much more serious tone and use those chapters for the second book, and use it with the gunfight, and that also works.

Just requires lots of changes and transitions, but I do think the story is vastly improved by being split up.

So the first book is a little silly, admittedly. And the second book still has the gunfight. But both work better surrounded by other material.

The biggest problem is resolving the small inconsistencies of 35 versions, which I'm constantly finding.


Friday, June 3, 2016

I'm halfway through the rewrite of Faerylander and I think it's better in several ways. It's more consistent in tone, the characters are better developed, it has a cleaner plotline, the backstory has been completely thought out, and the writing is pretty polished.

It still moves more sideways than I like, with lots and lots of set up, which isn't the way I write now. I'm much more straight to the ending nowadays.

I can't judge how good it is at all. Just too many times through the meatgrinder.

But I will say this. It is immensely satisfying. Whether anyone else like it, I'm pretty happy with the way it is turning out, so that a good thing.

Don't know why this book is so important to me--it's not just that it is my first book when I returned to writing. Several of my early books have been put on the backburner. Truth is, it took a while to get back in the swing of things. I came at this from a "writerly" attitude instead of a "story-telling" attitude, and it shows. It took five rewriting sessions to get the story preeminent again.

But I think it is close to there.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

This is hard work, but I think I'm coming up with a version Faerylander that is consistent in tone. The structural problems are always going to be there since they were there at the beginning, but I can ameliorate the problem with better writing.

I finally found a version among the previous rewrites where I like the writing slightly better than the others -- just a random version in the middle of all the writing. But I think I'm going to be using it as my touchstone from here on.

I'm getting it done. It will require yet another rewrite, but at least I'll have the basic book in place. This has to be the version I go with. There is no sense shuffling the chapters around endlessly. Find a version and stick with it and make the writing as polished as possible.

It's clear that I tried to jam too much plot and characters into one book, and to do that, I cut too much of the little stuff that makes a book. This helps the book breath a little. 

I'm noticing the characters are coming alive for me more and more, so I think rather than wait to do a rewrite, I'll do it immediately and try to impart my sense of who these characters are.

I hate to pay my editor the 3rd or 4th time for the same story--crazy spending--but this is such a amalgamation of different versions, it's bound to have inconsistencies. Maybe I can talk Lara into just doing a copy-edit/consistency version for slightly cheaper. (Though I know she's already giving me a deal.)

On my walk yesterday without my computer I came up with dozens of embellishments, which I tried to remember to write down when I got to the car. I guess I need to take my computer with me every time.

I don't know why this book has captures me so often. There is just something about it. First love?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Did some calculating on my walk the day before yesterday and figured out it will take most of the rest of the year to clear away the backlog from the stories I've already started.

So rather than initiating a new project, I'm going to try to deal with what I've already started. However--there is a big caveat to that. If I have an idea that really excites me, I'll still indulge. That impulse has worked for me so far.

"I Live Among You" is an interesting example of that. I wrote it on a lark on Write a Book month, and it came out really well, and painlessly. It's a fun read. I could probably do this kind of story just about any time, if I wanted to--and weirdly enough, it would take less time than going back and fixing one of my previous stories.

Nevertheless, I don't want all that effort to go to waste. The saving grace of the rewrite is--it does improve the story, and there is already content that can be embellished.

For instance, I have felt one of my weaknesses is world-building. I sort of wing it, which sometimes works, but sometimes doesn't. I now have a complete world in the "Lander series," and so the amount of time it will take to get the 5 books (5!) ready seems to be worth it.

I don't want to get discouraged or bogged down, though. I want to maintain my enthusiasm for writing.

But in clearing away the backlog, there should be plenty of opportunities to be creative. For instance, 17K words into the rewrite of "Faerylander," I needed to write a new chapter. So I wrote it on my walk yesterday and it was very satisfying. As long as I get enough chances to write new stuff, I think I can stick to the discipline.

The second book of the Landers series, "Zombielander," will need to be 1/3rd fresh, and the third book," Cthulhulander" will be all new.

I have the second half of "Tuskers IV" to write, the second half of "Devil's Forge." All that should give me inspiration. And as part of the backlog, so to speak, I want to write another Virginia Reed novel this year.

So it looks like it will be about half and half, new book, old book, new book, old book. There are several books I don't intend to try to deal with for now. As soon as I've got this backlog done, I'll set off on another fresh round of writing, and when that winds down, then I'll go back to my even earlier books (Sometimes a Dragon, The Reluctant Wizard, Spell Realm, The Odyssey of Linger Longfellow) and try to do something with those.

I'm going to have a lot of books in my "Vault" if I can accomplish this. At some point, I'll just start putting them out, one by one, every two or three months. Heh.