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Posts Tagged ‘Writer’s Block’

Taking a break–meaning stepping away and not even staring at the words or the page–for a  couple of days was the right decision. That little bit of distance allowed me to see just what (tiny) element was really holding me up. A very minor change in the least important of the characters involved in this scene let me move forward–and actually is making the scene much better.

I find that very often, that kind of lack of progress is an indicator that something–often something minor–just isn’t working. A little change, or, sometimes, a big change, will fix and unstick things.

I wouldn’t say I’m roaring along just yet, but I am getting words down, which is a vast improvement. MAGE STORM is back up on four wheels and starting to roll.

Mage Storm

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I’m having trouble getting traction with MAGE STORM. Not really sure why. I know the story. I have an entire previous version to use as an outline, after all. I know what should happen in this chapter. I’ve done the character backstory. But . . . it’s just not flowing at the moment.

Probably time to drop back and do something else for a bit until whatever’s stuck comes loose. Maybe the cover art. And, of course, studying up on keywords.

Meanwhile, here’s the backstory of the character in question, Katria:

Sixteen. From Sawyers Oaks. Three brothers, two older (Darin and Ferd), one a year younger (Natan). One younger sister, Rosella.

Her family does not have deep roots in Sawyers Oaks. Her father had been a young child there, but his family had moved to Marketown after the Great Mage War. Before that, they had owned the sawmill in Sawyers Oaks. After the recent death of his mother, Katria’s father has brought his family—and his elderly father—back to Sawyers Oaks. His older brother is now managing the carpentry shop his father started in Marketown.

Katria’s first magic is fear-based, trying to save family members from the mage storm. After this, Katria’s family is attacked by villagers afraid of the return of magic. The father of the young man (Jeld) Katria had begun to have feelings for leads the attack and Jeld joins him. Her father and Ferd are injured. Angry, Katria uses magic to drive off the attackers—which only makes matters worse. Knowing that she could only cause more trouble for her family and guilty about what she’d done, Katria slips out in the middle of the night and starts west, drawn by Mastan’s Calling. She and Rell meet on the way.

She is best at fighting, reasonably good at healing (when in the right mood), only okay at Calling.

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Forgot to blog yesterday. Having Monday and Tuesday off was very disorienting. I spent half the day thinking it was Monday instead of Wednesday. Then today was very busy–which means I didn’t get much writing done, but I’ve got this bit of description stuck in my head, so I’ll likely at least get that out.

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Building momentum in writing is a little like building physical momentum. There’s inertia to overcome before things start moving more freely. Well, we’re almost to another weekend–only an ordinary one, this time–so, hopefully, I’ll start making better progress.

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It’s slow still, and perhaps a little painful, but I am breaking through that block of uncertainty and forging ahead on the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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I have no idea if any of this will remain in the final version. But that’s not the question right now. The point is to keep writing and moving the story forward. And that’s what I’m doing, slowly but surely.

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You know, that title could apply to the plot of a story. But in this case, it’s about my goals–and obstacles–in getting the story done. I’m still in that nebulous part of the BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING

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where I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to get from here to the next major plot point or how many chapters it’ll take to get there. Progress has been slow. Too slow.

There’s less than a month left before school starts up again and I go back to work. My goal was to have this first draft done. I think that’s highly unlikely now.

But what I need to do now is just write. It’s a first draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be something that will be in the final draft. There’s a high probability that some of it will be cut or substantially changed. That’s okay. That’s what a rough draft is for. But I need to start pushing myself to at least keep this story moving toward a completed first draft.

This one is taking much longer than it should.

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So, now I’m working my way back into the story of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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The last few weeks have been pretty much dedicated to getting a good start on taking my stories to a wider distribution. I’m far from done with that, but I think I’ve got the process down to where it should be fairly smooth.

Getting back into this story should be easier than it’s proving so far. But, well, each story is different and I think all the struggles I had with figuring out how to get the early story in, before I finally decided to publish it separately as BECOME: BROTHERS has affected my motivation for this story.

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Maybe this new chapter I need to write will help fix that–if I can ever figure out how to start it. It’s the first POV switch in this book and therefore just a little tricky. Plus, it needs to be one character’s reaction to what another character learned in the previous chapter, so I can’t just start with him being told the same thing.

I’ll figure it out. After tomorrow (when the school year ends), I’ll have approximately two and a half months to work on this first draft. I ought to be able to get it done in that time.

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Right now, I seem to be suffering from a severe lack of motivation concerning my writing. I’m not entirely sure why.

  • It could be the dismal reports from Amazon, lately. If I had any doubt that page flip was eating me alive, this chart put them to rest.Page Reads PercentThat’s page reads as a percent of my royalty income (in the U.S. only). For months the number stayed in a small range. The upward swing corresponds to the release of WAR OF MAGIC.warmagicprintcover Then, after December–when, perhaps, people got new reading devices that were page-flip enabled–page reads from Kindle Unlimited start to drop like a rock. This is why I’m pulling my books out of KU. Yeah, that could have something to do with my motivation.
  • It could be related to the struggle I had finding my way into this story. I still believe in this story, but it’s true that it took me longer and more tries to find a way to tell works–I hope. I tried telling it chronologically, but that just took too long to get to the main story line. I tried using flashbacks, but that was distracting–and still took to long to get to the main story line. I finally settled on starting with the novella to get in the story of the relationship between these two brothers which is going to be important to the rest of the story. But I am still just a little nervous about starting an epic fantasy series with a novella. That doesn’t exactly comport with reader expectations for the genre.
  • Or, it could just be burn out. That happens. The good news is that it’s always temporary. But sometimes we all do need to take a break, even writers.

Or, of course, there’s nothing preventing it from being a combination of all three.

And, ultimately, it doesn’t really matter which it is. What matters is breaking through it. And, one thing I know: the only way to do that is to write.

So, here are my options:

  • Try to power through on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.
  • I have another epic fantasy series on the back burner, currently titled MAGE STORM. It should be a four-book series. I could work on that.
  • Something altogether else, like my Cinderella retelling.

Also, since I’m pulling my books out of Kindle Unlimited, I still need to research exactly how I’m going to go about taking them to a wider distribution.

Then too, because of the complications of the boxed sets, the first books that will be ready to go wide are the Chimeria series.

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But I want to run another editing pass through them first. So, there’s that to work on, too.

Now, all it takes is a bit of discipline to get back on track.

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