Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I'm down to the last edits of the Silky trilogy, which has been out in eBook form from two different publishers down through the years and is now going to a third and getting a print version. Actually, the third book of the trilogy hasn't been out before and it will also go to Holly's shop so that people there have a chance at it! This has been a lot of hard work, and the new editor has done a fantastic job with it. So many little things that just slipped through, as well as the work of making certain all three books remain consistent, especially since they were written over about a twenty year timeframe.
The publishing industry has gotten interesting. My current publisher is an experiment with other authors combining the strengths of traditional publishing (including an outside editor) with the power of the new world of publishing, which does include more control by the author. We'll see how well it works. I'm leading the way in the group of authors because -- well, because I am prolific and can afford to experiment with some of my work in a new enterprise. It's exciting. It will be at least another month, and possibly longer, before the publisher goes live. There's a lot of work to be done before then!
So I am dipping a bit more into the world of self-publishing in an odd, backwards sort of way. That suits me. I know the power of having outside people who can vet the work because authors can be blind to problems, especially after they've worked on something for so long. I also know that if I had done this when I first started writing (if there was such a thing back in those dark ages), I would have failed miserably because I wasn't a good writer. I thought I was, but after years of learning, I know how much I didn't know back then. I know that I can continue to learn, too.
I also know it's time to stop hording novels. I let a few out a year to go try their presentation to various publishers and agents. I have been working towards the high end for a while and not doing all that well. I know why. I often get notes back saying the writing is very good, but the story is not for them. It's what I've come to realize and said before -- I am writing for an Andre Norton audience in a Laurell K. Hamilton market. I don't fit what is selling right now. Will the market come back around? Maybe.
But I've written over 80 novels. Even taking just the top group of really good material, I still have more novels than I can get published in the rest of my life, even if I stopped writing today. Which, of course, I am not going to do. (The Devlin outlines are up to #6, by the way, and still going very well!) So, I am taking control. I am going to work through the new publisher and put out a number of them in both print and eBook format. We might do some shorter work as well. Then I'm going to be marketing like mad.
It's going to be a lot of work -- but for once, unlike Vision and Forward Motion, it is going to be work for me. That's probably not something people think much about. I know I don't consider it very often! I like FM and Vision (most of the time), but I spend far too much time trying to help others with their careers. I need to take an equal amount of time for my own. Well, maybe not an equal amount -- I don't have that much time just sitting around! LOL
Things are looking interesting. This might work. It might not. But at least it is something I can try.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
This is just a quick post to show what I'm doing with one of the books. It's really a novella and I'm expanding it into a novel. This is made easier by the fact that it really is lacking in almost all details. My first drafts are often that way.
Here are the original 337 words:
The Deervale cemetery sits up on the hillside, to the south and a bit lower than the AviTen HQ. It's full of gardens and wind chimes, benches and fountains -- but very few graves. Like everything else here, it's new, ornate, and refined. Mr. Kimura was the first person to be buried here whom I had known very well.
Akio sat alone under the canopy by the casket. Mr. Avigion had arrived just ahead of us, and there were a few more people from the office, gathered behind the empty chairs, watching as the minister pulled out his bible. Mr. Avigion sat on one of the chairs, though not beside Akio. She never looked up.
I wondered where Nadine was right now. Too busy to come to the funeral? Why did she show up in Deervale, then?
I thought about going and sitting by Akio. I didn't.
The minister spoke quickly about the shortness of life, about the need to hold on to what love we had, and remember all that is good in our world. He said we were blessed, here in Deerfield. I knew he was right, but I somehow felt worse for it, as though we had taken our blessings at the cost of the good life to others. I thought about going out and buying a new car, and about all the people who had trouble finding jobs because they couldn't afford a car to get to work. I thought about next year, going to college when some people couldn't even afford to finish high school. It wasn't my fault -- I knew that, and at the same time I thought there ought to be something I could do, like Akio and her no-kill animal shelter.
I hadn't expected Akio to speak. But she stood when the minister signaled her, and walked to his place. Dressed all in black, her head covered in a black hat, her eyes behind black sunglasses -- she looked like a ghost summoned unwilling out into the light.
Here is the new 440 word version:
The Deervale Cemetery sits on a gently sloping hillside to the south, and a bit lower than, the AviTen HQ. It's full of carefully tended gardens and wind chimes, trees, benches, fountains, ponds -- but very few graves. Like everything else in our secluded little world, it's new, ornate and refined. I hadn't really known anyone buried here before Mr. Kimura.
We left the car parked at the curb in line with the others and walked upward toward a pile of dirty and a canopy. I felt incredibly awkward in heels and a skirt. I'd even brushed my hair down and hid the odd colors beneath a scarf.
I felt like a fraud. My mouth went dry and I suddenly didn't want to be here, but I kept walking by my mother. Dad fell a few steps back, talking to someone from work, but I couldn't hear the words. Every sound seemed muted while the colors too bright. I looked down at my black shoes brushing through the perfectly clipped grass.
Akio sat alone under the wide, dark canopy by the casket. Someone had covered the lid with cherry blossoms, and I suspected the trees would be bare when next I went by the Kimura house. Mr. Avigion arrived a moment later and sat on one of the chairs, though not beside Akio. She never looked up.
Nadine hadn't shown up. Too busy to come to the funeral? Why did she show up in Deervale at all?
I thought about going and sitting by Akio. I didn't.
The minister spoke quickly about the shortness of life, about the need to hold on to what love we had, and remember all that is good in our world. He said we were blessed, here in Deerfield. I somehow felt worse for it, as though we had taken our blessings at the cost of the good life to others. I thought about going out and buying a new car, and about all the people who had trouble finding jobs because they couldn't afford a car to get to work. I thought about next year, going to college when some people couldn't even afford to finish high school. It wasn't my fault -- I knew that, and at the same time I thought there ought to be something I could do, like Akio and her no-kill animal shelter.
I hadn't expected Akio to speak. She stood when the minister signaled her, and walked to his place. Dressed all in black, her head covered in a black hat, her eyes behind black sunglasses -- she looked like a ghost summoned unwilling out into the light.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
A couple years ago I started reading the Britannica Great Books and taking notes. Those first notes grew into the background material for Draw the Line, a science fiction novel I wrote back into 2009. It worked VERY well.
I stopped reading for a while, though. Part of that is because of an eye problem and the small print. But I picked it back up a few weeks ago. I had already started doing notes for a new fantasy book, so I read through those and then started moving on.
This is working really well for me. I choose a line that draws my attention in the play, comment on it and the play in general, and then warp that thought into some sort of inspiration for my new story. This is how it works:
August 23, 2010
I have been reading a play a night, basically. I'm not sure how long I can keep that up -- the print is so damned small and my sight is not good. The plays are short and, well -- I admit it -- they are fascinating. And that's good. I need to read more things like this. And apparently I will be for a while.
Death hath oped his gates for him, and that this is his last look upon the light.
Euripides/Hippolytus Page 225, column 2
First, can I say how much I really disliked this particular play? The only good character, Phaedra, still does something despicable at her death. Yeah, yeah -- it's all because of the gods and everything, but still -- it's really hard to feel sorry for any of them by the end of the play. Hippolytus is a pain in the ass. The nurse is untrustworthy. Theseus is stupid for not even trying to find out the truth. Yes, yes, yes -- all of them set up by the Gods. And it probably felt more 'real' to the audience of the time. But it's really hard to like any of them.
But, okay, let's move on and apply this to the prince in my story. Have you noticed how almost all the Euripides' plays deal with death? Handy for me, but I suspect I'm going to have trouble with I get through Euripides and on to Aristophanes.
Okay, but this -- this has me wondering about something. If my prince has looked at death, can he see the real world again as it really is? Has it, in some ways, made him blind? I don't want him to be completely blind, but maybe there are 'things' in the way, making it difficult -- and dangerous -- for him?
But does that sight also bring him 'gifts' that helps him to fight an evil others can't see at all yet? Is that half the reason they think he's crazy?
You know, I am starting to see this as a first person POV, which surprises me. I'm not sure that would be right. I want the others. So maybe first person for him and third for others? I've read books like that and found them well done.
That's something for the future. But this has given me another piece to consider for the story. I wonder how much of this material I'll be able to fit in by the end.
So there is how it basically works for me. Just a little nudge of a thought, and see where it goes. It generally goes in ways I would not have thought of without the nudge, obviously. That makes it all the more interesting for me to work with. And the good thing is that you can use almost any kind of writing for this type of work. I happen to be reading Greek Plays, so those are what I'm using for the base. Eventually, I'll be reading something else. I hope to keep up this work even then, though.