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Reread

What with one thing and another, I’ve just started my reread of the original version of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

So far, I’m enjoying it. It’s too early to say if it will re-ignite my enthusiasm for this story, but I’m hopeful. It’s a good story.

Yes, it will need some rewrite/revision. But this time I’m going to focus more on just making the story what it really wants to be rather than trying to impose a whole new structure on it. And I’m not even going to start the rewrite until I’ve finished my read through.

It sounds strange to admit that I didn’t do this when I started the rewrite before. In retrospect, it really is the obvious first step. Yes, of course I know how the story goes. That doesn’t mean I don’t need to go back for some of the nuances.

And nothing says I can’t make a few notes about what needs to be changed when I do start the rewrite again.

Okay, this writer’s block has lasted more than long enough. If taking a break was going to help, it would have by now. Time to, as my grandmother would have said, take the bull by the horns.

The first thing I’m going to do is read through the original version of MAGE STORM and try to remember what it was that excited me about that story in the first place.

Mage Storm

While I do that, I’m going to also rethink a couple of things.

Mage Storm needs a rewrite. What it doesn’t need, perhaps, is me trying to shoehorn it into a mold that worked before. It doesn’t have to grow into a 100,000-word epic–unless it wants to, of course. Maybe that’s the realization I needed to make.

I also needed to confront something else that may have been–all right, probably was and is–affecting my motivation generally.

I never really expected to make a lot of money writing–very few writers do. I don’t do this to pay the bills. (Some months, that’s a very, very good thing.) That’s not why I write.

Still, my Dual Magics series did pretty well.

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And, the thing about that is: I don’t know why. I didn’t do any marketing at the beginning, not even on social media. And, really, whatever marketing I’ve attempted has pretty much fizzled. But that series did well, anyway. Who know why?

And I tried to replicate that with the Become Series, only this time a very, very tiny bit better at promotion. And fell flat.

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I completed the series in January and so far I haven’t even made back what I spent on covers–and I do my own covers–and marketing around the release of the final book. What makes it harder is that I think this series is my best writing so far. I don’t even know what readers think because I’m still waiting for the first review on either of the full-length books.

That’s disappointing, though I know that publishing, especially indie publishing, moves on and what worked a couple of years ago–even if I knew what that was–probably wouldn’t work now. Like I said, I didn’t go into this expecting to make a lot of money, but nobody likes to think they’re just talking to themselves.

But, the thing is, if that’s going to bother me now, when it didn’t before, because my first few books before the Dual Magics series didn’t do any better, then I’d better start figuring out what does work.

And, if I’m not ever going to be a marketing wizard–I can get better at it than I am, but let’s not expect miracles–then I should look around at some of my fellow indie authors and see what’s working for them in their writing. Fortunate for me the indie authors, on the whole, like to lift each other up, not tear each other down.

One thing I’ve notices, contrary to what some “experts” say, sometimes shorter books with quicker turn around do better than longer ones published farther apart.

Worth a try.

 

I know I was MIA last week. I didn’t really have anything to report. I might have picked up one or two things that could possibly turn up in world building later. But world building isn’t a story.

However, I will be doing a character interview with Gaian from the Become series tomorrow from 1 to 2 (Eastern time) on Fantasy and Sci-Fi Readers Lounge.

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Come by and ask a question.

It occurred to me that one way to break out of a rut is to learn something new. So, I’ve signed up for the Great Courses Plus–a subscription streaming service of the Great Courses.

I’ve started with “The Celtic World”. Who knows what little factoid will spark a new idea and the creative fire to go with it. The worst that can happen is that I’ll learn something. And, knowing how these things work, that something–or a version of it–might turn up in a future story.

Win Win.

That, and discovering that Sadie loves to play in the hose are enough to make today a good day.

Wet Sadie

Sadie before getting towel dried. Happy and very, very wet.

I think a part of my writer’s block may be due to draining the creative well.

I’ve been in . . . well, I’ve been in a rut for a while now. After all, ruts are . . . comfortable. Truth be told, I’m very much a creature of habit and have a tendency to try to duck out of anything that disrupts that.

But . . . too much of the same for too long can let the creative well run dry. So I need to push myself out of the comfort zone a bit. Do some things I enjoy, but haven’t done for too long. Try some new things. Just . . . recharge.

Of course, I’ll have to balance that against the very long list of chores I’ve got to do around here. But hopefully it’ll be worth it. Maybe it’ll even stir up some brand new–and exciting–story ideas.

Now, that’s not necessarily a solution to my writer’s block, but it certainly won’t hurt.

 

Serendipity

Late again. Wednesdays can be like that. Then again, so can Thursdays, obviously.

Sometimes, when I post about a problem, it almost feels as if the universe is trying to answer.

This week:

David Farland’s newsletter had a post that recalled imposter syndrome–something we all suffer from occasionally. (And may be a little of what is affecting my motivation right now, but more on that in another post.)

More to the point, Mary Kole posted about Writing Motivation, with the first suggestion being to take a break and maybe try some other creative outlets, which is basically what I’m starting to do now. The second suggestion was to write something else, but I’ve already tried that. 

I’ve downloaded a coloring book page from an author whose whimsical images of dragons are among my favorites and started playing around with that. (I picked the Easter Dragon as being appropriate to the season.) Well, I’m not coloring it in the traditional sense. I took it through a couple of programs so I could upload it into a graphics program that gives me way more colors to play with than my little set of colored pencils ever dreamed of.

Lost

As promised, this post I’m going to take a look back at the last time I remember being really excited about a story, what happened, and what, if anything it may tell me about this writers’ block.

In December, I was finishing up the polishing edit of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Not the most fun part of writing, but necessary. A time when I frequently let my imagination run free, because it isn’t needed for the editing process.

And my imagination rewarded me by serving up a missing piece of one of my back-burner stories–a retelling of the Princess Furball fairy tale. I was excited about it, but stayed the course and finished up with BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

Inspiration like that is a fire that burns hot–and burns out fast. Usually it’s recoverable, though, if not quite as fierce. This time . . . well, I did a little further research about that fairy tale. And discovered that the version I knew and loved was not exactly the original form. In fact, the original has some elements that I didn’t want to deal with at all.

Now, there could be a couple of ways around that. I’ll have to continue giving that some thought, but the fire was gone.

So, I tried to move on to the story I’d meant to write–or, in this case, rewrite–next anyway, MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

And ran out of steam in Chapter 6. Trying to work on MEADOWSWEET (my version of Princess Furball) in tandem with MAGE STORM didn’t work. (I’ve literally got like two sentences on MEADOWSWEET.) Trying to skip ahead to the sequel to MAGE STORM didn’t work. Trying to switch over to DAUGHTER OF THE REBEL MAGE (a Cinderella retelling) didn’t work.

Maybe, maybe what I need to do is to circle back and try to come up with some of those possible ways around the . . . disturbing part of the original fairy tale.

It’s also possible that I need to recharge the creative well, play in some other creative sand boxes for a while, or, well, there might be a couple of other reasons for low motivation to write at the moment. I’ll explore those possibilities in future posts.