Posted in Letters, Publishing, writing

An Update, Brief and Modest

So Party at the Last Tomorrow has had its moment. I got some good feedback on it, and I’m pleased that it picked up as much interest as it did. A Kindle Countdown deal suggested to me that I’m pricing these novellas too high. I’ve already dropped the price on The Devil Left Him to $3.99, I may drop Last Tomorrow as well, and price Void accordingly when it comes out.

In other news, I’ve shuffled something of my Medium profile around, removed some publications that weren’t doing anything, and created a new one: Pop Culture is Filth, to review and discuss the various arts. The title is ironic, I think.

Here’s a discussion of Silence by Martin Scorcese to open it up:

This is a more relevant story that it might seem at first glance: the film doesn’t just cut into the difficulties of being a missionary in a foreign land, or in the clanging misunderstandings of East and West. It cuts right into the question of how far a culture can go to defend itself. Japan in the 16th century attacked Christianity largely because it judged Christianity as too foreign to gel with its existing conception of itself. Japan would not be Japan if it was Christian, the Tokugawa shoguns determined, and those that felt otherwise were brutally suppressed. The film highlights the sufferings of poor Japanese Christians who suffered for the sake of a vision of a deity that lifted them up.

In the process, however, it rather failed to give its heroes the strength of their best possible argument, and so somewhat undercut itself.

There’s some significant changes happening to Unnamed Journal, too. More on that later.

View story at Medium.com

Posted in writing

If You Want to Write a Story, Write a Story…

Good post at The Green Study:

My writing tip #234: Don’t read books on writing while trying to write a novel. First of all, it usually sheds bad light on whatever you are writing and secondly, it can make you overly ambitious.

I agree. What you need when you’re working on something is Inspiration. It doesn’t come bottled, but in my experience, it comes in paperback form. So what you should be reading is what will make you want to write.

The cusp of the post is the writer giving herself permission to write the novel she’s writing, rather than the epoch-shaking political work she feels like she’s supposed to be working on.

I also agree. Writing is art, and art is more important than poltics. As I have above my Twitter feed: Politics is now; Art is forever.

I’m going through something similary with Last Tomorrow. I’m torn between wanting to polish its rough corners and letting it be the little postabpocalyptic homage to Mask of the Red Death that it is. It’s a novella. I’m not going to turn it into a novel. I’ve got an actual novel I’m working on, plus shorts for the next issue of Unnamed Journal. But I want it to be the best it can be.

And how do I know which way is right? I won’t until its over.

This is why writers drink.

Posted in writing

The Downside of Pantsing

As I’ve announced before, a good bit of Last Tomorrow was written on the fly. Like the US  Navy in WWII, I simply went around difficulties. That’s fun, but at some point, you have to force those little hidden Japanese jungle plot holes (I’m getting all the elasticity this metaphor has, thank you very much) to surrender. And I just hit a big one in the second chapter. Something happens and I don’t know who caused it to happen. It’s not super-important plot-wise, so I could just get rid of it, but it’s kind of important thematically, so I don’t want to.

And I need to decide who caused it to happen, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. And I’m really not sure who it would be that did it. So I’m going to have to figure it out, or rework the event so that it makes sense.

Whatever, I’ll figure it out.

Here’s a post at Live Write Breathe that may have been useful to me when I was in this process before. Ah well. it’s never too late.

Posted in Books, writing

Vlad the Impaler and Cue-ing Your Readers

Good Post at madgeniusclub about making sure your readers are getting the cues you’re giving them, and more importantly, not reading cues that you don’t intend to be there:

You need to be aware that if you’ve got a strong mystery plot, you should be putting in the cues for the red herrings and the real culprit and all the other little goodies mystery authors tease their readers with. Similarly, if your epic fantasy does not have a strong romance subplot, take the time to make sure you aren’t throwing romance cues at your readers. That will just make the more romance-oriented ones unhappy. It could well make the non-romance readers unhappy too, because these cues are deeply embedded in our culture.

This may raise the hackles of those who want to bust out or overturn the tropes or expectations of genre, but you can’t do those things unless you know what the tropes are and how they are used.

The author, Kate Paulk, is one I’ve read before. Her Impaler starts out as a historically-grounded Vlad II-as-a-Vampire story, and then goes someplace completely unexpected with it. It confounds your expectations in a good way. When I read it, I kept thinking the story could not possibly be going where it is, and I felt a little confused, but I kept reading. The characters were sufficiently developed, and sufficiently interesting, that I wanted to know what was next even as I found myself wondering why the trope I had expected was not arriving. Plus, a great closing line. If you like a good broody vampire prince tale, you should check it out (click the link to buy on Amazon).

Posted in writing

Back to Work

I don’t just write and Dad (and Play Crusader Kings) all day, I also work for a living. And the end of summer means the resumption of the daily sweat to earn my bread. Which is fine, because it doesn’t put a halt to writing.

Specifically, it doesn’t put a halt to editing Last Tomorrow. I’m aiming for the end of this month as a release date. As I have for Void, which comes next.

And of course, The Sword, which will be drafted, hopefully by EOY. It’s going to be the next big thing after Void comes out, and the one I’m going to put the biggest push on.

In the meantime, here’s a perversely relevant historical argument I pose on Medium: Yes, the Civil War was About Slavery.

A lot of people seem to think otherwise, but they’re wrong. And I have the historical documentation to prove it. Plus, some rad Shakespeare quotes.

More posting will happen later.

 

Posted in writing

When Stories Balloon

Since reading some Raymond Carver, I’ve worked with the idea that short fiction doesn’t have to be a mini-novel. It can be a scene. It’s given me the confidence to do knock some short stories out.

I’m working on one now that’s going to be for submission to one of the magazines Author Publish keeps emailing me about. It’s all on the More Writing is More Betterer Principle.

Anyway, I started working on this short, intending that it just be a quickie. But a lot of it is dialogue, and dialogue…balloons. Especially if you want there to be any realism to it. So it’s at 2,000 words and climbing.

Which is good, because that means it has a life of its own. But it tells me that I may have something to learn about evocative concision.