Jun 18 2016

Time For Something New

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Okay, now the moving is pretty much dealt with (again and hopefully for the last time any time soon) and my AnthroCon prep is about as far as it can go until it comes time to actually put stuff into the car, it’s time to get back into the writing groove.

And, I think, time to come up with something new. I’ve got chunks of Brigid and Greg, I’ve got a giant blorp of Michael Macbeth, but honestly my brain wants a break from those. I want something new and different to think about.

What that is, I’m not sure yet. I periodically consider writing a fairly standard genre fantasy book, i.e. elves and wizards and things, but I would like to find a way to put a fresh spin on the idea so it’s not just “Howard McTolkienface and the Etcetera of Ditto.” I also want whatever it is to be a project I can have fun with. One of the things that I relished about Sky Pirates of Calypsitania was that Verity and Tanya were fun characters to write about, because of the chemistry between them. The fun was a bit hampered by the harrowing circumstances they lived through, of course… those poor gals are going to have some PTSD to deal with in the next book I suspect, assuming there is one.

A new thing would also come without baggage, or at least with different baggage. B&G and Michael Macbeth both suffer a bit from having a “what they should be like” thing I’m trying to stick to… a new project I could just open up and let it be its own thing. A lot of the stuff that’s been bothering me about my older ideas, can inform the direction I go with new ideas right from the start. I can also outline with a view towards writing 100,000 words, instead of coming up with yet another 60,000 word idea and then being stuck for another half a book to tack onto it. 😛

So I think for the next week or so, depending on how long the process takes, I’m going to simply play around with new ideas and brainstorm, figuring out what I want out of a book, what I would enjoy writing, and what I think would suit the market, and find something that covers that part of the venn diagram that intersects all three. As much as I like Sky Pirates, my discussions with professionals on the topic all suggest that it’s going to be a hard sell for a first novel. So I might have to tuck it into a drawer to pull out later once I’m already a name, so to speak.

-The Gneech

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Apr 20 2016

Fictionlet

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Greg shook his head. “Everyone talks about how sophisticated continental Europe is, but I don’t see it. I mean, can you imagine if Prince had sung about how ‘She came in through the ausfahrt’?”

“Greg darling,” sniffed Isadora. “Would you do me the great favor of putting a sock in it? I am trying to have a conversation with my daughter.”

-The Gneech

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Apr 08 2016

Prolifiction

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The tech writing hasn’t entirely gone as planned (although it has had some interesting twists). So instead I’ve ended up redoubling my efforts in the novel writing department. I polished up and submitted Sky Pirates of Calypsitania for publication, and have spent the past week on a second draft of Tend on Mortal Thoughts, my first completed Michael Macbeth novel.

(Speaking of Michael Macbeth, I will probably post “The Unfortunately-Worded Affair of Mister Fox,” an unpublished MM short story, for my Patreon supporters soon. It’s languished too long in development heck waiting for the would-be publisher to move on it.)

Anyhow! As I’ve been chewing on how to make writing pay, I’ve been thinking quite a bit on prolific… ness? Prolificitude? (Bah. There isn’t a good word for “the state of being prolific.” The closest one is “prolificacy,” which is the sort of word that makes me wince and reach for another cup of coffee.) Point is, the writers with the most financially-rewarding careers, are the ones who write and publish a lot.

Well, I’m halfway there: I write a lot. Unfortunately, it tends to come in the form of blog posts or miscellaneous stuff related to my D&D game! But as I’ve truly committed to “writing IS my day job,” this is shifting. James Van Pelt recently posted on the subject of prolificitatiousness, saying, “I feel more professional when I produce stories and submit them at a regular interval. I feel less like a hobbyist. This is not a dig on writers who are not prolific. It is only a comment on how I feel. Everyone’s path up the mountain is their own.” It’s a good article in general and I highly recommend it, but this particular post resonated the most strongly with me.

I have suffered for most of my writing career from a perfectionist streak that has often led to paralysis. Just look at Michael Macbeth: I created the character back in 1995 or so, and have started and discarded at least five novels trying to “get him right” (and being increasingly frustrated that none of them were as good as his inspiration, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency). I recently had a long and frustrated rant on Twitter (later repackaged to my LiveJournal) about problems with the entire concept of a Brigid and Greg novel, and so on.

But the thing is, all of these issues stem from a place of shortage: if I only have one or two books, then those one or two books have to be TEH TOTALLY AWESOME because they’re all I’ve got to show! On the other hand… if I have a lot of books? The qualities of any one book are considerably less self-defining. Yes, Brigid and Greg have a diversity problem… but on the other hand the heroine of Sky Pirates of Calypsitania is a bisexual woman of color. By writing a lot of books, and a lot of different books, I can build a career that hits all the bases, instead of just sitting there fretting about how to “make this book do everything.”

Strange as it sounds, a lot of this was prompted by that crazy ghostwriting gig offer, because when I was looking at that, for the first time I actually thought in terms of “If I was writing 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, how much could I really produce?” Obviously, if I could crank out the “15,000 original, quality words per week” the gig wanted, I’d be set for life, and I sure as heck wouldn’t need to be ghostwriting (although I would probably need a pen-name or two).

But with the Snowflake Method, and with Scrivener, and the various other tools and techniques I’ve been teaching myself, I do think it’s within my power to write a novel every three months or so, which would make four a year. With time and practice, I might be able to go even faster. And that would not exactly be a career to sneeze at, either!

So that’s what I’m gonna do. 🙂

-The Gneech

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Mar 23 2016

Fictionlet

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“Well, young Greg, do you see anything on the menu that suits you?” Isadora asked.

“Quite a bit actually,” Greg said. “The hard part is narrowing it down to a single dish.”

“Ugh,” said Brigid. “There’s not enough chocolate on this menu. I’m going straight for dessert.”

“It’s an Italian restaurant,” said Greg. “Where would you possibly put chocolate besides a caffé mocha?”

“Lots of places!” said Brigid. “I mean really, eggplant parmesan? Fuck that noise. Smothered in chocolate is the only way you’d get me to eat eggplant.”

“You’ve never even had eggplant,” said Isadora.

“And nobody ever serves it smothered in chocolate,” said Brigid. “I detect a pattern.”

“Not everything is enhanced by adding chocolate,” said Greg.

“Oh yes it is,” said Brigid. “There’s nothing on this menu that wouldn’t be better with chocolate. Spaghetti? Better with chocolate. Lasagna? Better with chocolate. Garlic bread? Better with chocolate. Hell, I’d eat wasps if they were covered in chocolate.”

“Is that something you’re often called upon to do?” Greg asked.

“Well, no,” said Brigid. “But if the situation ever comes up, I know my stance on it.”

“At least you’ve got it well thought-out,” Isadora said, and quaffed some more of her wine sample.

“Shakespeare would be proud,” Greg agreed.

“To thine own chocolate, be true,” Brigid said, and began to raid the bowl of after-dinner mints.

-The Gneech

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Mar 17 2016

Fictionlet

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“Ugh, St. Patrick’s Day, what have they done to you?” said Greg, wincing in dismay at the bar they drove past. “When I was a kid St. Patrick’s Day was ‘wear something green or you get pinched.’ When did it turn into ‘virulent idiots getting drunk on green beer’?”

“When I was a kid Halloween was ‘trick or treat,'” said Brigid. “When did it turn into ‘Sexy Axe Murderer’ costumes? Everything’s been screwed up for ages now. I blame the baby boomers.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. Growing up being told everything was all about them, they believed it, and have just trashed the country and the culture.”

“Hmm,” said Greg. “Well as much as I’d love to use them as a scapegoat, those aren’t baby boomers wearing plastic leprechaun hats and getting blotto we just passed. And it’s certainly not baby boomers in the Sexy Axe Murderer costume. Not any more, at least. You may have an argument for baby boomers having made the mess, but let’s be honest, generation X isn’t exactly cleaning up after them very well.”

“When you grow up in the asylum, you don’t realize that everyone around you is insane,” said Brigid. “Generation X was screwed from the start. All we can do is try to pave the way for the millennials to un-break the world.”

“…says the woman who thinks children should neither be seen nor heard,” said Greg.

“I believe that children are the future,” Brigid said. “And they can have it.”

-The Gneech

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Mar 15 2016

Fictionlet

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Brigid stalked the edges of the party, looking like nothing so much as a panther looking for a baby rabbit to gobble down. Finally she spotted the rabbit in question, to wit Greg, who was in the center of a cluster of people, holding them spellbound as he told them some ridiculous anecdote. She instantly made her way to him.

“…and so she pulled out a lighter and said, ‘Lean down here so I can set you on fire,'” Greg was saying, as Brigid elbowed her way through the crowd.

“C’mon,” she said, grabbing his arm. “Let’s go.”

“It’s only 9:30,” Greg said.

“Yeah,” said Brigid, “which means I’ve been here a whole 45 minutes and my oath not to commit murder is wearing thin. Let’s go.”

“Fine, fine,” said Greg, and turned back to the faces eagerly hoping for more snappy stories. “Sorry, all. But She Who Must Be Obeyed speaks, and I’m the one driving the car. Good night!”

Coats retrieved, they slipped out into the night. “I do get tired of you wanting to end every party before it begins,” Greg said. “You realize these binges are my main point of contact with the outside world, right?”

“Sorry,” said Brigid, as he unlocked the door. “Work has been bad. We’ll stay longer next time, I promise.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” said Greg, as they got in the car.

“For all your time spent alone, you know how to work a crowd,” Brigid said as they pulled out into traffic.

“Well that particular crowd was not a particularly discerning bunch,” said Greg. “I’ve learned that the secret to success, is to only hang around people who are easily impressed.”

“Uh huh,” said Brigid.

-The Gneech

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