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Posts Tagged ‘first drafts’

All authors suffer from this disorder to one degree or another. Other people wonder how we get the ideas for our stories. The truth is: When you’re a writer–and actually writing–ideas fall all around you like rain. It’s more an issue of sorting out the good ones.

And, usually, when that happens, we’re able to just jot down the idea, file it away, and keep going. Those ideas aren’t quite ripe yet, anyway. They’re just the seeds of stories. But, then, sometimes–and usually without warning–two or three of those ideas come together. And that’s something else altogether. That’s a story.

And a new story is always more exciting than an old one. It’s a New Shiny Object and we’re all, every one of us, magpies.

That happened to me this week. The story in question is a new sub-genre for me–a fairy tale retelling. Specifically, Cinderella. But with an entirely different motivation for the stepmother. What collided with this germ was the idea of a thriller-ish twist to what happens–or is supposed to happen–at midnight. And the half-ripe idea I already had that this story could fit into the same world as DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING,

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although with different protagonists, and continue the greater arc of the jeopardy facing Far Terra. I always thought that story had the potential for a weird sort of series featuring different protagonists in each book, with the previous heroes turning up as side characters or mentors.

I’ve only just started a new epic fantasy series with BECOME: BROTHERS

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and I really, really need to keep my head in that story. But, as I mentioned in my last post, I’m having some motivation issues with that. Plus, I need to be working on research for taking my books wide over the next month or two.

And then along comes this New Shiny Object. I’ve jotted down the ideas, but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to beat this one off with a stick.

 

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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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Brothers

Become: Brothers is now live. It’s still only 99 cents for a while longer.

I really need to get off the dime and start doing some more promotion for this one.

I also need to:

  1.  Update the back matter in all my other books. Again.
  2.  Make a definite plan for taking all of my books back to wide distribution in the next couple of months.
  3. As part of the above, give BLOOD WILL TELL and BLOOD IS THICKER a brush up.
  4. Hopefully review and finally approve the audio files for THE SHAMAN’S CURSE audio book. And start thinking about an audio book for THE VOICE OF PROPHECY.
  5. Oh, and get back to work on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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Hmm. Maybe that list is why I’ve been slacking off this last week. Well. There’s a solution to that. Prioritize. I guess that’s the first step.

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Cause for celebration: The prequel novella to BECOME: To Catch the Lightning is now in the hands of one of my critique partners.

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While I wait to hear back on that, I’m reviewing what I’d started on an entirely different epic fantasy, currently titled MAGE STORM.

 

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I’m still working on that new chapter for the prequel to BECOME.

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Partly, that’s because I’m still working on overcoming those bad habits regarding my writing time I blogged about last time. And last week turned out to be a very bad time to try to work on that due to several real life show stoppers.

Partly it’s because I backed up a little bit to fix the current scene. I realized that I’d set up my protagonist to be just a little too pure of heart to be truly believable. Now, I still need him to do the thing I was setting up. I just needed to provide a better motivation.

Now, instead of being just a little too good to be true, I’ve set him up instead to internalize a lesson from an earlier episode. This works much better.

Motivation has been the bugaboo through this whole part of the story. The first version set up the brother to be too nasty–a bully. Which is not what I want. The second version set up the protagonist to be a saint. Again, not what I need, here. This version will work better. But it’s probably not the last time I’m going to need to do a little work on the motivations of these two before I get to the final version of “BECOME: Brothers” (working title).

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I usually post on Sundays and Wednesdays, but tomorrow is going to be . . . well, shall we say, tightly scheduled. Which actually ties in with the theme of this post pretty well.

I have not been making the kind of progress on BECOME

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or its prequel that I think I should be making. Not the kind of progress I’ve made on previous books–even WAR OF MAGIC

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which sometimes felt like I was trying to carve the text out of granite.

And, yes, part of that is due to my subconscious nudging me to realize that the brothers’ early story wasn’t the right place to start the main story. That part needs to be the prequel, which I am currently working on.

But, you know, that isn’t the only reason progress has been slow. Part of it is that I just haven’t been writing at all the same times that I used to since last September. In fact, right now, I’m mainly only writing on the weekends. And, sometimes, my time gets taken up for other things on the weekends.

My work location changed in September–which isn’t at all unusual. And, all right, the new post really kicked my *$$ the first couple of weeks. It’s also about twice as far from home–but, you know, the difference between two miles and four miles isn’t that big a deal. Except, that in this case, the route I was originally taking had some really rotten traffic at times. But, again, I solved that issue months ago by finding a better route.

So what is the problem now? I think it comes down to forming some bad habits during those first couple of months. And I’m definitely going to have to do something about that. Starting this week. Well, after tomorrow, which is going to be a hopeless case anyway.

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Well, remember that new scene I was going to write for the BECOME prequel. Yeah, turns out it’s going to be more like three–or maybe four–scenes.

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I’ve got the first one written, at least. And a pretty good handle on the second one. But it’s going to take a little longer than I hoped. At least I’ve got a three-day weekend coming up. Two, in fact–one right after the other.

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