Monthly Archives: June 2011

Reversal of (Mis)Fortune…in progress

In my last post I wrote (in ‘whoa is me’ fashion) about the difficulty I was having getting back into my writing routine.  Real life had dealt a blow to my confidence and focus.  Well, what a difference a couple a days can make.

Last night I was able to make it to the F&SF Workshop writer’s group meeting in Second Life.  I don’t make it all the time.  Monday nights are generally pretty bad for me, and usually all I can manage is to write for a little bit before bed.  Well, the meeting last night was the deadline for a flash fiction writing challenge.  We were to write 250 words based on a prior brainstorming session that amounted to:  a dying King, a curse on the bloodline, and a quest for the King’s heirs.  Not a hard concept.  No real curve balls in the premise.  BUT…it’s an implied fantasy setting.

I don’t write fantasy.

I had forgotten about the challenge, so I didn’t have an entry (they had made it a bit of a contest).  During the first few minutes of the meeting, people were talking about the entries and having some fun with it.  Not having something to submit, had me feeling left out and very disappointed in myself.  I decided to take a crack at it, right then and there.  I would write out of my element on the spot.

Does this story have the standard happy ending?  Well, no.

I hammered out 200+ words in a bout an hour and emailed an incomplete story.  Looking back at it, I’d say it was awful.  That story was going to get really boiling until it hit the thousand word mark, I bet (sorry to make you read that, Luta.  lol)

As bad as I think the story was, I was still writing.  Writing in the creative side of the brain, without any input from the critical voice.  As I said, I was not writing where I’m comfortable.  For me, fantasy is hard to even read, let alone write.

But I was writing.  And that’s what I strive to do.

I’m not back 100%.  I wouldn’t say I was until I was in the routine and hitting my goals daily (Rule #1).  Even then, I’d likely be hard-pressed to make that claim until I finished a new story (Rule #2).  Hopefully, that creative voice will get louder and more clear, gagging the critical voice into submission.  I can only hope.

As an added bit of motivation, I saw that I’ve made my first sale in Amazon’s UK store.  Thank you to whoever has spent their hard-earned money on my work.  I hope you enjoy it.

Now, time to get back to it.

I was writing.

Knocked out of the Game

Finally, I’m back with a post derived from my own personal experience.  Newer writer’s may do well to listen up, but as always, every writer is different and this post may just provide an opportunity for the masochists, out there, to enjoy my turmoil.

I’ve been putting in a lot more hours than usual at work, and of course, the everyday stuff doesn’t stop because you still only have 24 hours available in a day.  The last couple of weeks have demonstrated to me how easily a writer can be knocked out his or her routine.  Knocked so far out, in fact, that it’s as if I’m starting over from scratch.  The blank page has become daunting again.  Instead of getting excited about my story ideas, I’m discouraged because they remind me of things that have already been done instead of being a used troupe that I could put a new, and interesting spin on.  The critical voice is yammering in my head constantly:  “You can’t write that.  It’s a rip off.”…”You haven’t written anything today because you suck.”

The critical voice does that.

When I sit down to work on prepping the next backlist story for the Kindle, I’m just too tired and frustrated from not having written anything new.

In short, writing has become hard again, like it did when I wanted to get serious about my craft.  This has taught me that my writing discipline was far from where it needs to be -OR- I have some sort of undiagnosed adult ADD (if there is such a thing).  Either way I’ve got work to do if I want to get back into the saddle.

How does one do this?  How does one conquer the blank page all over again?  First, I reestablish the routine and recommit to sticking to it, come hell or high water.  I’ve always said that writer’s block is a myth.  My answer was to just write something.  Committing any kind of creative words to paper – even if its mundane nonsense – can be enough to knock something loose.

That’s what this post is…a beginning to the road back to fun writing.  At this point, 358 words that I’ve just hammered out in about a half hour.  Now, a 372 word narrative about my personal conflict the critical voice.  You may have been amused or entertained by it.  Hopefully, at the very least, you’ve been informed.

And isn’t that was story telling is, at its core?

(Hmm…maybe I can still do this.)

Latest release

After some additional work and a re-tooled cover, my novelette, Tully, is now available as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords for $2.99.  If you feel compelled, please click the link of your choice and check it out.

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Photographs are sent to the CEO of a Fortune 500 research and technology conglomerate depicting disturbing treatment of animals used in testing. The photos come with a threat: Cease operations or they go public. Gordon Burke, the company’s most trusted independent consultant, is summoned to the moon in the middle of the night to investigate and evaluate the company’s moon-based laboratory. Gordon discovers the work of the brilliant scientist, Dr. Michael Hawthorne, has yielded wonderous hope for mankind in the field of mental health. To Gordon’s horror, he also discovers a frightening perversion of that same work that challenges more than just moral boundries. But can he do anything about it being 240,000 miles from any help?

Thanks for your support!!!

Amazon in love…with romance

Last week, Amazon launched its latest publishing imprint, Montlake Romance.  In my opinion, Montlake – their fourth imprint – could be the baseball bat that cracks Big Pub’s knee cap. 

Let’s be honest.   In publishing, romance is big, big business.  Romance is the genre that puts the mass in mass-market paperback, doing $1.36 Billion in sales in 2009.  Romance takes up the most space in the mass-market paperback section of (*insert favorite brick & mortar store here).   There are probably more romance writers, per capita, than any other genre.  There are at least a half-dozen big name romance writers living in my area, alone.  I would even guess that Romance gets more submissions to Big Pub than any other genre.  And guess what, ebooks are already THE perfect format for such mass-produced material.

For Amazon to now jump into print for this genre strikes me as HUGE.

If they can draw in big talent the way they drew in Barry Eisler and lord knows who else, AND if they continue to take care of these authors the way they have so far with things like the 70% royalty for ebooks, and leaving control of the material in the hands of the author, big pub might just feel the boot of progress on their neck…at least for a while.

If this move is as successful as I think it can be, and big pub STILL doesn’t get the picture, then the big SIX publishers are likely to become the marginally successful TWO in just a few years.  

 Can someone wake up those big publishers in the back of the class?  They’re missing the lessons here.

**** In other news, George and the Brain is finally available for the Nook at B&N.