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Posts Tagged ‘Writer’s Block’

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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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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I have learned through experience that when I struggle with a story as much as I have been struggling with BECOME lately, it means there’s something wrong.

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It’s time to take a step back and try to figure out what and how to fix it.

And yesterday I might have come up with an answer. Maybe. Not sure yet.

I’ve always known that the structure of BECOME was going to be odd.

I really feel I need to include the background of the brothers’ relationship as adolescents. In the latest iteration, I’ve tried to do that through flashbacks, but that just interrupts the flow of the story and forces the early part of the brothers’ story to be very episodic–only the most important events can be included that way.

Then, of course, there are some important events in the protagonists early manhood. In part, because of the weight of those extensive flashbacks, I’ve been forced to keep those somewhat episodic, too. Because it’s already taken way too long to get to the inciting incident.

And, even then, there’s still going to have to be a major skip in the story because there are a couple of important characters who haven’t even been born yet. (That part, at least, has the possibility of being somewhat fluid. I could make some changes in who those characters are, though I’m not sure I want to. I’ve intended more to use that as a cut-off between the first and second books of the series–which, unfortunately, tends to end book one on something of a cliffhanger.)

The result of all of this is that I’m not happy with the story as it’s developed so far. And if I’m not happy with it, I can’t expect anyone else to be either. So, then, the question is what to do about it.

I think, though I haven’t made a final decision yet, that one answer might be to break it up. For example, I might just reconstruct the brothers’ early story–I have a lot more written than I’ve been able to include in those flashbacks–and publish that in novella form. Maybe certain other parts of the early story, too–in a separate novella. Then start this first part of the main story line much closer to that inciting incident and move forward.

I’ve got to think about this some more before I jump in. It’s an unconventional way to publish an epic fantasy. It’s not too unusual to publish prequels, but they’re usually published after the series is complete, not before. On the other hand, that’s one of the advantages of indie publishing–it allows me to try unconventional things when I think it’s the right way to handle the story. And I can always bundle the novellas together. Even include then with that first book.

Well, we’ll see.

 

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Not yet. But as of next week, I’ll have three writing projects in process.

The first revisions of WAR OF MAGIC,

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which will be my primary project. The rewrite of MAGE STORM. And the first draft of BECOME.

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That should be interesting.

Both BECOME and MAGE STORM have been significantly delayed by a whole lot of real-life administrative stuff I’ve had to deal with lately. It’s not writer’s block, but it almost might as well be. Hopefully, I can get that all out of the way before it’s time to get serious about revisions on WAR OF MAGIC.

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Sometimes real life just sucks all the creativity out of you. I thought I’d gotten a handle on things. Friday that blew up. And I’m finding it very difficult to concentrate on writing anything right now.

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Busy day. I almost forgot to post.

But I didn’t forget to write.

In the last week, so far, I’ve completed three chapters of WAR OF MAGIC,

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one of them today, and two chapters of BECOME.

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I can see the climax of WAR OF MAGIC starting in just a couple more chapters. The end may actually be in sight! At least of the first draft.

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Time to confront the truth. I’m stuck on my Weird Oz Story. I can–and probably will–finish Chapter 10. After that, I just can’t see my way ahead. I know where the story needs to end, but I don’t see how I get there.

I’ve only been in this place with a story once before. That was SEVEN STARS, the original version of FIRE AND EARTH. The reason then was that I had just gotten the story wrong. (In retrospect, it was a real stinker, too.) I wasn’t able to move ahead and produce a story I liked until I took a step back and reimagined it. A lot of things about that story changed when I did that, but it ended up so much better. That, after all, is the goal–a great story, well-told.

Fire And Earth Cover (Provisional)

So, I’m going to have to take a step back and try to reimagine my Weird Oz Story. Let my subconscious play with it and see what ideas float up out of the depths. I suspect part of the problem was with the initial idea–throwing my Dorothy into Oz alone.  One character by herself can only stay interesting for so long. Chapters 9 and 10 were about getting her some company, but I think it’s just too late. The point was to force her to take charge, but I just don’t thnk it’s working.

Meanwhile, for now, I’ll be doing some revisions to DESERT ROSE (formerly MAGIC AND POWER) and probably working on revisions to the rewrite of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. That’s the great thing about multiple projects: you never have to be idle.

In other news, I’m getting antsy, so I’ll likely move the publication of the combined edition of BLOOD WILL TELL and BLOOD IS THICKER up to next weekend (about ten days earlier than planned.)

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Meanwhile, another chapter of BLOOD IS THICKER is available free on wattpad. Or, you could just buy it and get the whole story all at once.

Blood Is Thicker Cover

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