Sunday, November 17, 2019

Reforming A Business

I've come out of hiding long enough to say that moving is hard.  I recently moved from Kansas to Tennessee, and all of the BS that comes with moving is creeping up on me.  One of those things is registering my business in my new state.  Unfortunately, my new state isn't making it easy.

I was all set(I thought), only to find out they need more paperwork to charge me $300 for making almost no money.  Some of this paperwork is straightforward, but some is a pain in the ass.  I need organizational articles I didn't need in Kansas.  Furthermore, it's near the end of the year, and I have to decide if I want to register it as doing business this year in Tennessee or if it can wait until next year(ie, January 1st).  The obvious benefit to waiting is no paperwork for this tax season.  However, I don't want to get in trouble with some bureau-weenie because my meager business that makes almost no money was off by six weeks.  Frustrating and annoying.

And yes, this'll likely be the pattern of my posting for a while.  I just started a new job(did I mention that my writing doesn't yet pay the bills?), and I'm still trying to unpack in my new house.  Moreover, I have to finish up Schism and haven't done shit for weeks.  Yes, I got some information to beef up the novel, and there really isn't much further to write, but I have to break the inertia and get it done.  Much better use of time than blogging.  I know, I know...HERESY!

Maybe I'll put together a post on the progress of Schism next week or something.  Of course, that implies progress by next week.  Maybe that can be my motivation...

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Blog Break?

I am looking at taking a blogging break.  I will keep trying to blog on weekends to stay caught up, but finding new topics is an issue.  More than that, I haven't done a damn thing on Schism in over a month, and if I want to meet the publication schedule of late April 2020, I need to buckle down and concentrate on it.

So although I will blog on weekends if I can, all of my weekday writing will go to Schism.  If I miss a post or three, just know that I'll eventually return.  Or don't.  It's not like I'm getting paid to do this.  :-P

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Five Books And Done?

I may have to stop publishing much after Homecoming(my 5th book, due out in well over a year).  Why?  Because unless I start selling, bringing out books properly will get challenging.

This is not to say I'll stop writing.  I will still write the sequel to Salvation Day and Akeldama, but beyond those and my other three - Wrongful Death, Schism, and Homecoming - I may not bring out much more, or at least not as quickly as I have previously. It's a question of money and quality.  Sure, I could slap a bland do-it-yourself cover on something and just upload it to Amazon, but that wouldn't be my best work, and I wouldn't feel right about it.

Want me to keep publishing?  Help me out by buying my books so I can afford quality covers and editors!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Forgiving Mistakes(ie - responding to Cancel Culture)

Here I go, wading once again into the culture wars like an idiot.  But still, this kind of stuff can affect us writers.  What I'm talking about is the current Cancel Culture.

For those who don't know, Cancel Culture is when we find something - anything - objectionable someone has done in his or her past, and we insist that, based on that past, the person should be excluded from polite society.  The most recent example was that of Carson King in Iowa.  For those who don't know, Mr. King is a 24-year old Iowa man who held up a sign at a college football game asking for beer money as a joke.  Playing along with that joke, lots of people sent him money, and he soon found himself with over $1 million.

Now, if I had that kind of money, I'd pay off my car, put some money away for my kids' college, and pay off my mortgage.  I might give a little to charity to assuage my conscience, but I am almost certain I wouldn't do what King did, which was to give everything to a childrens' hospital.  That in itself made me know he's a better man than I.

Unfortunately, better people are not allowed, so enterprising reporters from the Des Moines Register dug into his past and found tweets he made that were racially insensitive...from eight friggin' years ago when he was 16.  King was not a public figure running for office or someone known for his donations - he is a regular schmoe who gave lots of money to a childrens' hospital that treats kids with cancer.  Then scumbags in the media decided he had to be destroyed for that.  Luckily people fought back against that kind of stupidity, and King will be just fine.

So what was the point of that tirade?  That we all have likely said or done really stupid stuff in our past, especially when we were teenagers.  I'm grateful there was no Twitter or Facebook when I was 15 or 16, and I'll bet a lot of us feel the same way.  Teenage years are for being dumb.  You do dumb stuff, learn from it, and grow and mature.  As people who live publicly, writers say all kinds of wacky stuff.  Do we really want folks looking into us to determine if we've strayed from societal orthodoxy, especially when we were young and stupid?

How about we enjoy what we do now, mmmkay?  Yes, adults who do stupid stuff in the moment should be called out, but even then, unless it's totally egregious, shouldn't we be willing to forgive those who say or do dumb stuff and realize their mistake?  Be careful of what you want to cancel, for tomorrow, you may find yourself in the crosshairs.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Are Writers Crazy?

I've come across a few posts recently questioning the sanity of writers.  Yes, these pieces have been written by writers.  Do they have a point?  Perhaps.

Most of writers write down are the stories(voices?) in our head.  We feel an obsessive-compulsive need to write.  Furthermore, we invent new people and wild situations(if we're any good).  We obsess over tiny bits of dialogue, think our characters are reacting to the story instead of us making them react, and invent stuff that doesn't exist.  Sounds like crazy to me.

Of course, the world sometimes needs a little bit of crazy.  Crazy has advanced the world.  Yes, the boring, hum drum stockbroker or serious news pundit get things done in a sober, serious manner, but they don't progress.  The Wright Brothers were crazy to think they could fly.  Albert Einstein was crazy to think that time slowed down depending on the mass of an object.

As with anything, crazy can be overdone, and writers have no problems going there on occasion.  Go to a writers conference of some kind and you'll see crazy in droves - blue hair, multiple lip piercings, tattooed necks, people with stuffed animals, people talking to...no one, the crazy is evident.  Even as "reasonable" and "logical" as I think I am, I have extremes in my own mind and life, especially in my passions.  I know crazy when I see it because I've got a few symptoms myself.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Hitting A Block?

Going off of my previous post, I'm considering stopping publishing after my fifth book(Homecoming), or at least massively reconsidering my strategy.  It costs me on the order of $750 to publish a book because of a cover and conversion to both print and ebook.  Or maybe I'll reduce costs to approximately $500 by going to only ebooks(covers are still necessary).  Either way, I'm not made of money, and unless I start to make more of it, I'm going to have to scale back.  I'll continue to write, but whether anything new comes out may depend on how much I sell.  We'll see.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Running On Fumes

I'm quickly running out of blog ideas.  Maybe I'm just not writing them down when I have them.  At this rate,  my posts will slow down considerably in the future.  Thoughts?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Differing Styles

I've often wondered how consistent a writer should be with his or her writing style.  Yes, writers should be somewhat identifiable with the style they write with, for many readers stick with an author because they like how they write.  However, can a writer attract new readers by changing styles every so often?

I've written three novels and have a fourth on the way.  I've varied my style twice already - twice with third person limited and once with first person limited - and will do so again with Schism(using a more omniscient perspective with snippets of "news stories" thrown in, as well as no single main character).  I like to do this because I think it gives the reader a different experience in what he or she reads.  That said, I wonder if I'm attracting more readers or driving away a proven audience.

What do you think of writers varying their styles, whether you're a reader or a writer yourself?  Does it help you expand your experience and talent?  Or does it make things too bumpy and the author untrustworthy?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Hooking And Shocking

Books need a hook, something to get readers reading the story all the way through.  The question is...how?

Picking a hook at the beginning of a story is hard because readers aren't yet emotionally invested with the story or the characters(assuming it's a stand alone story and not part of a series...a successful series doesn't need as strong of a hook).  That makes it hard to start with a death or a battle.  It also means you can't drop someone into the middle of a story they don't care about.  I'm not saying I have an answer, for each story is unique, but it's a consideration.

It's similar with shocks.  Twists and turns help make a story compelling as long as it enhances the story and doesn't become the story.  So how do you spin a twist that creates the right effect instead of making readers put your story down in disgust?  It needs to fit and be shocking enough without being so far outside the realm of the story, or negating their happiness, that it makes folks want to read more.  Each story requires its own twist, but you can't use the shock too often or it'll become cliche(look at M Night Shyamayan  for proof of how easy it is to go from promising new director to running joke).

These are the tools we have to consider in our work.  Hook and shock - a powerful combination.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Silly Or Serious?

My blog has alternated somewhat between silly posts and serious posts.  I've talked about the creeping erasure of history, and I've talked about the new header to my blog.  Basically, anything that struck my fancy has gotten on here.

But should I find one way and try to stick with it?  I've been wondering about the fastidiousness of readers and whether or not they prefer me to be serious or silly...or do they like the mix?  Some topics attract certain folks, and some turn off others.  I wonder whether or not my audience grows or shrinks based on what I decide to talk about.

I use this blog as a form of catharsis, so I've varied in what I've chosen to discuss, but I'm curious if I should choose to stay on one track or the other.  I'd be interested to know what you think.