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Where the inane meets the mundane

Of words and things

It’s early morning, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep. The resulting blog post could end up being slightly incoherent.

Last week, I finished the first draft of The Mermaid’s Tears. Not tooting any horns – it’s a hot mess, and I’m too burned out from writing it to want to fix it right now. But, it has a beginning, a muddle, and an ending, and there is at least some sense of closure to a story line buried in there somewhere. Pitmad is next week, and that’s pretty tempting despite the mess that is the novel as it stands (I mean, that’s what editing is for, right? Right?)

Meanwhile, the mental butter mill continues to churn on the next novel. As is the course of the things, I find myself muddling back and forth on outlining vs pantsing. Instincts of course say I should take the time to  outline the next book, find the direction it’s going to take, get a roadmap for speedy writing. The side that usually wins, though – and it’s not helped by a current reread of King’s On Writing, says outlining is for fools. What I need to do, what I really, really need to do, is just sit butt in chair and start getting those words out. “You know what the story is [vaguely] about,” that voice chides, “and you know where it ends [ish]. What’s the problem?”

And that’s the problem. I’m a glutton for diving right in. It’s usually a mess and I hate myself for doing it, but it’s so much fun along the way.

OK, coffee time. That next book isn’t writing itself.

Nineteen Years

Today’s post is actually an (edited) excerpt from my journal entry for the day.

Nineteen years ago today, an amazing woman stood in front of a bunch of people and agreed to be my wife. I don’t know how its possible, but we’re closer today than we were then, and we were madly in love back then. She’s my best friend, my confidant, lover, keeper of all my hopes and dreams, and I love her unequivocally and unabashedly. We have three amazing girls, each one a beautiful blend of her wit, charm, and beauty, with a dash of whatever it is that makes me me.

What plans do we have on this wonderful Tuesday? At her suggestion, and because we have a kid in rehearsal all night (opening day of the school play is this week), we’ve booked a table at Guardian Games. We’re going out tonight, just the two of us, and playing some board games and eating  junk food, and I can’t imagine anyone I’d ever want to do it more with.

Quiet of Late

I haven’t been blogging much of late. Truth be told, I haven’t been doing much of anything worthy of a blog post. I’ve been reading a lot, or at least trying to. I’m half way through the Fall of the Malazan Empire, a read through that’s been both rough at times (it is long), fulfilling at others. As promised, I’ve been taking breaks reading non-fiction, but also some other books. If you follow me on Goodreads, you know what I’ve been up to (mostly).

Of writing, though, there hasn’t been much to say. For a while, I was going through a “poor me” phase. To say my books aren’t selling is an understatement.

I realize, as does the astute reader, that this is the turning point. This is either where I throw in the towel, declare it a good run while it lasted, and walk away, or this is where I rally again.

Honestly, I hate giving up. In no small part because I made a promise with Chrysalis that there would be a sequel. A few weeks ago, I dusted off the draft I’d been working on and began giving it a thorough revision. My aim is not to drop too much, but to fix what needs corrections, patch up the parts that are just giant leaps of narrative, and then finish the novel. I’ve added about 10k words in the last week, which all things considered has a nice feeling.

This may also be the last time I pull out an old project and try to repair it.

My problem is that I have historically written without a solid plan for the story I’m working on. So called “pantsing” is great, and a lot of successful writers do it. But I’m not a successful writer, and it has bitten me far more often than it has helped me. Because for every exhilarating writing session of discovering something new in my story, there are all of the other times where the story falls flat and gets shelved. How many times have I pulled out my epic fantasy and “given it another go?” More often then I’ve recorded in this blog, that much I know.

The problem I am discovering is that I don’t like letting go of what I’ve written in the past. My creative bursts gift me with a typical 40-60k word chunk of narrative before I run out of steam. But once that steam is gone, I don’t know where to go and shelve the project until the next time I get a bite. Over, and over, and over.

Finishing Mermaid’s Tears will be the end of that cycle. I hope to have the first draft done by this summer, at which point I will reach out to a few beta readers that have been great to me in the past. Then I plan on buckling down and planning out a novel from the very beginning. No more recycling, no more reusing. All new, all fresh. And all planned.

In addition, I’ve pulled my two books from Kindle Select and redistributed them across multiple platforms. I’ve had zero sales since the initial release of Chrysalis. Because of that, I decided rather that if I was going to have zero sales, I might as well spread that across multiple booksellers. Effective a few weeks ago, you can find my books on Amazon, as well as Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and a half dozen other ebook sellers (links at the bottom of this post).

Meanwhile, it’s a cloudy Saturday here in Oregon, and I have a ton of errands to take care of before I take my eldest daughter to her last behind the wheel class before her test next week. Have a good weekend!

A Scent of Roses

Chrysalis

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