The Year of the Three Novellas (which are probably novelettes, but whatever)

Books, Publishing

First, update to The Party at the Last Tomorrow (Click image to go to Tablo and read it)

last-tomorrow

I am now 4 chapters and about 8500 words into this one. That’s the least amount of progress on any of the things I’m working on right now, which is surprising because it’s the one I conceived earliest. I chalk that up to pantsing, or “discovery writing”. Other than a bare scene outline and it’s inspiration (Poe’s Masque of the Red Death), I am making this one up as I go along. This is both freeing and frustrating. But progress is progress, and progress pleases me.

Of course, I should probably talk about what I’m progressing towards. I decided sometime before the New Year to make 2017 The Year of the Three Novellas. The Three Novellas are the books I’m currently writing on Tablo, and they’re on my Books to Preview page, but basically:

The latest Chapter of Void is exclusively available in newly-arrived 8th issue of Unnamed Journal for the next month. Did I mention subscriptions are free?

Unnamed Journal Issue 2, Volume 2

Anyway, the plan is to finish Devil this month, Last Tomorrow sometime in March/April, and Void by June. Then I’m going to give them each a deep edit, and put them on Amazon and iBooks over the second half of the year, while I’m writing the next project, which will be a bigger novel. I’ve got a couple of ideas started, and I just need to decide which way to go.

Right now Devil is sitting pretty at about 11,000 words and one more chapter (possibly two) to go. I should round off at about 15,000 words. Last Tomorrow and Void are about the same in terms of word count, and have the same number of finished chapters. My guess is Last Tomorrow will end up slightly longer than Devil, and Void longer still.

I’d originally conceived Void as being 6-7 Chapters, and I’m starting to think I’ll go as high as 8. The story is taking it’s time. I’ve got more of an outline with this one than with Last Tomorrow, but the exact nature of antagonist is demanding a slower reveal. Which is all to the good, in my opinion, because any good author should like it when characters start making their own demands on you.

Of course, according to Wikipedia (by which I of course mean, according to what Wikipedia sources), anything between 7,500 – 17,500 words is really a novelette rather than a novella. But two of the three might just qualify, so nyah.

challenge_accepted

Naming the Dark One: a “The Devil Left Him” Update

Books, Publishing

First off, there’s a new chapter up. It’s actually an old chapter, since I update on Tablo one chapter behind. So When I finished Chapter 5 this morning, I made Chapter 4 available. I do it that way because it feels good not to be behind my audience.

That means I have about 1, maybe 2 chapters to write, and the first draft will be finished. Then I’m going to give it a good, deep edit, then put it up on Amazon for the world to enjoy.

I’ve also added the new cover I showed in the last post:

devil-1

And I’ve done something else, which has to do with the title of the post, and the title of the book. I’ve taken out every time in the text that “the Devil” is used, and replaced it with “the Satan”.

Wherefore did I so?

The word “devil” comes to us from the Greek, diabolos, which means “slanderer” or “accuser”. This makes it a rough translation of the Hebrew Shaitan, which also means  “accuser”. In the Hebrew texts of the old Testament, “satan” is usually preceded with a “ha-” indicating that the word is a title, rather than a name. Some English translations also reflect this.

This raises the question of whom the devil is accusing. We find our answer in the Book of Job, the first text in the Old Testament where the word “Satan” is used. In it, Satan argues with God that Job is not really righteous, only comfortable, and so God gives Satan permission to test Job. The Problem of Evil ensues.

Some traditions of Judaism thus regard Satan as an agent of God, whose purpose is to tempt and try men, to find the wickedness in them, and then accuse them to God. Christianity takes a different view, of Satan as a fallen archangel and lord of demons.

So because Yeshua bar Mariamme spoke no Greek (that we’re aware of), he likely never heard the word “Diabolos” in his life any more than he heard “Jesus” or “Christos” (both of which are Greek translations of his name and title). So replacing “Devil” with “Satan” serves the same Judiaizing verisimilitude as that of referring to Yeshua by name. Also, it lets me consider how I might toy with title vs. name in the climax.

Other names of the Devil:

  • Lucifer comes from a Latin translation of the Hebrew “Heylel”, meaning “morning star” or “Light-bringer”. The word appears in the Book of Isaiah, referencing either a Babylonian King, the Kingdom of Babylon itself, or a Canaanite deity. It is often used to reference the Devil before his fall.
  • Beelzebub is Hebrew for “Lord of the Flies” and is a pun on the name of a Philistine or Canaanite God. It is sometimes used to refer to the Devil, and sometimes to a lesser demon, as in Milton.
  • Mephistopheles is a demon from German folklore, usually as part of the Faust legend. The word either comes from Hebrew or Greek. It’s not usually intended to refer to the Devil, but an agent or representative.

Anyway, Enjoy!

Email Lists, Book Covers, Periscope, and Other Assorted Jazz

Blog, Books, Publishing

In my research as to the proper way to have a career as an indie author, I’ve read a good few useful books and absorbed what some successful authors have had to say. The boys over at Realm and Sands, who do the Self-Publishing Podcast, have coined the phrase “Write. Publish. Repeat.”, which is the title of their indie author self-help book, which I’ve read, and found useful.

Then, scrolling through my twitter feed today, I found this:

You need not watch to the whole thing, as his cheeky meta-obvious promotion might or might not be your cup of tea. But he’s a success, what he and Write. Publish. Repeat. have in common is the insistence on the importance of an email list.

I’ve resisted this, because I get so much email that I barely bother to read it. But apparently it works, so I’m going to have to get a list going. I’m leaning towards MailChimp right now, based on initial research, and also because it’s free until I hit 2,000 subscribers. Free is the right starting price for an indie author.

Also, I have this urge in me to start Periscoping. I think it might add something to my social media presence and help get the word out when I have some new content to talk about, like a book or a new issue of Unnamed Journal. Speaking of which, did you see this?

uj8cs

February 1st, people. Mark your calendars.

I made this on my iPad using Adobe Spark, which is a fun little photo design app that’s allowed me to up my book cover design game. At least, I think so.

For example, here’s the current cover for The Devil Left Him, along side a cover I just did on Adobe Spark:

thedevillefthim

devil-1

The second one just Pops more to my mind. What do you think?

Progress on the Writing Front

Books, writing

Chapter 3 of Void got finished last night (I’ve made some minor edits to the first few chapters). It will be part of Unnamed Journal, Issue 7, which is supposed to be out November 15th. That will be our year anniversary issue, so check the Facebook Page. Big changes will be afoot: a free back issue starting tomorrow, an omnibus, and a new design from a new platform. It will be rad. .

I’ve also laid down some good outline material for The Devil Left Him, so some new material should be out on that soon as well.

That’s all. Just what I been onto.

 

Prepping vs. Pantsing, Outlining vs. Discovering – Where I come down on the Great Writer Divide

Books, writing

In the minds of many authors, there are two ways to write a piece of fiction:

  1. Outlining (“Prepping”). You figure out what’s happening, who the characters are, the arcs, everything. You do this before you’ve “written” a single word. Then, when you do sit down, you have a plan.
  2. Discovering (“Pantsing”). You sit down and let the story come out of you. You figure it out as you go along. You let nothing stand in the way of pure creativity.

Most authors who discuss the distinction, such as Larry Correia here, don’t say that there’s one best way to do it:

There isn’t really a correct method. Either one method works for you, or it doesn’t, or you use a combination of the two. Whatever. The important thing is you write a good, sellable book. Here is my usual disclaimer about anything related to writing, despite what your English teacher told you, there aren’t really any rules to this stuff. The only rules are 1. If your readers like it, you can do it. 2. If your readers think it sucks, take it out. For every rule you find, there’s a bunch of writers who violate the hell out of it and sell a lot of books. So the following is just my opinion about what has worked for me.

My experience goes along with this. I’ve done both ways, and there are advantages and disadvantages.

The first thing I ever wrote, which will not see the light of day for a long while (if ever), was a long bit of swords & sorcery fantasy called The Island Prince. I spent three years on that, because it was pure Pantsing. I made up every chapter as I went along, with a very vague idea of where the plot was going to go. Keep in mind, I knew the world extensively, as I’d been putting together the backstory of this kingdom, that dynasty, etc. since I was about 14. I knew where I wanted it to go. Still took three years. I laugh when I think of it now.

On the other hand, I’ve got an entire mystery novel outlined, scene-by-scene, character-by-character, beat-by-beat. I put the outline together in an afternoon. This was years ago, and I have one chapter and part of another drafted. Because I’m now bored of it. I know it so well that I have nothing to learn of it, so sitting down and writing it interests me very little. I’ll get back to it someday – maybe.

You might infer a lack of discipline here, and I certainly won’t argue that point very hard. But I find some combination of the two has enabled me to actually finish things.

Solar System Blues was the result of some initial pantsing, some basic freewriting to establish the world and the idea, and then a very workable outline that I was able to adjust as needed. It hasn’t sold magnificently, but it got a few favorable reader responses on Goodreads, and SelfPublishing Review liked it.

Right now, I seem to be operating under a “Pants it until you can’t, then outline your way home” philosophy. The first two chapters of Void were pantsed, and there will be things tweaks I want to make as a consequence. But now I’m at the point where I need to sit down and figure out my next several moves. I’m almost done with Chapter 3, which will appear in the next issue of Unnamed Journal before it gets posted on Tablo. I’ve hit the same point with The Devil Left Him: two chapters in, and I now need to plan my next moves.

This gives me the thrill of discovery, of building a world out of will, while at the same time organizing my work so I can actually finish things and ship them. Void and Devil will be the next works I complete and publish, and I feel very confident about that.