Taking the Plunge to Self-Publish

It has been a long road since I started writing my novel Blood Feud. The journey began in April of 2012. I remember it well — a month of straight writing where the ideas just flowed like water. They pooled onto the page with little effort as months of thinking about my story and characters finally found a permanent place on the page. My story flourished but my poor family suffered from neglect. So at the end of the month and about 50,000 words later, I took a break. A few weeks later I came back to my marvelous work of art to realize everything I had written was total crap. And that pretty much sums up the next four years. Awesome spurts of writing where words flowed and family suffered just to end up with… yep you guessed it, more crap.

That my friends is the way of the writer as I am sure some of you are quite familiar with.

But something happened in my fifth year of writing. During my sixtieth (and really that’s not much of an exaggeration) rewrite of Blood Feud, the crap fell away and a good story finally started to form. At least to the point where I felt confident enough to send my work to a professional author, editor, and friend (Michael Knost) so he could tell me it was crap too. And to my surprise, he said it was a pretty awesome story.

Crap, what do I do now?

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When Your Own Bad Writing Makes You Sick

Ever look back and read work you’ve done in the past to realize it sucks so bad you almost feel physically ill?

Yep, that happened to me in a big way Sunday. The previous week my son started school on Wednesday, so I started working on my new novel with gusto (I’d been waiting all summer to start!), but realized I had some background information and research that needed to be done first. Then I got the bright idea to read the half completed first draft of my second novel (Dark Territories) over the weekend. God, what a horrible, awful, terrible disappointment that turned out to be.

I couldn’t even get all the way through two chapters before I decided I’d had enough, because I was real close to vomiting. Yeah, it was that bad. And I can’t even pinpoint one specific thing that was terrible. There was a well balanced amount of terribleness from stiff and completely out of character dialogue to plot leaps that would make a mountain goat proud. There were tie-ins from one story arc to another that left me wondering exactly how much I had to drink that day. And please don’t even get me started on my long windedness. I could probably make a schooner set sail with all that blustering air moving about in each scene.

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Should I Write a Novel or a Short Story?

What a great question, and one may writers struggle to answer in their writing journey. The best part about this question is there is no wrong answer. And yet, a writer often feels like the whole world hinges on that one important question… Should I write a novel or a short story?

The simple answer is… it depends.

It depends on the subject matter, how long you really think it will tell the best story, and how much staying power you have. Let’s face it, writing a novel is not easy. Many people have tried and failed. And many people have succeeded and wished they’d just wrote a freaking short story.

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My Writing Progress

I know it’s been a long while since I’ve posted on this blog. I do have a perfectly good excuse. I’ve been writing like a whirlwind on my new series of novels. It’s been a fun, but tiring process of getting the story down as fast as possible. I posted a blog called Marathon Writer: Riding the High back in May, and well I’ve been riding that high ever since. I managed to finish that book (Shadow Games) and start on another one (Blood Feud), which I’m about 68,000 words into right now. The story is just huge with plot twists and events happening all over the place in my Universe called Ethia.

It starts with a suicide attempt, leading to a kidnapping from Earth to a strange new Universe, then a ancient tradition called the Blood Feud, and it just goes downhill from there (ha ha ha… so loving torturing my character!). Right now the series (called Emperors of Ethia) is up from my original idea of 3 books to 6 and there’s still more story to tell beyond that. If I’m not careful I think I might get a bit overwhelmed. Who am I kidding, I’m already there.

Anyways, after a week or so of feeling exhausted and close to complete burnout, I’ve decided to take a little break from my series and try updating my blog and maybe work on a short story. My goal is to return to finish Blood Feud after a little break, but we’ll see what happens. Hopefully a little time away from Ethia might help me not feel so blah and used up.

I have a few ideas for blog post that I’ve been saving up to write about. I will try working on one today and see how it goes. It will certainly be a switch from writing about Adar and Markus (my two main characters), but I think I’m going to make my guys take a backseat today. So shut up you two and let Mommy work.

A Year in Review

It’s actually a good thing that we have a built in system that insists that a person take stock in the past year and give thought to the coming year. I suppose the infamous January 1st isn’t the only date that does this. Birthdays tend to have this effect on us too, especially the big 30, 40 and 50. It’s these times of reflection and reassessment that help us understand what we’ve done and what still needs to be done. It forces us to take a hard look at ourselves and redefine our goals. So this is my attempt at taking a look back into the year to see what I have accomplished (or not accomplished) and where I should go from here.

2011 has been a big year for me writing wise not because of any big publishing accomplishments (though I did get one short story published) but because I made a big step in the way I think about writing. I finally accepted the fact that writing wasn’t just a passing fancy and it was something I wanted to be serious about, so I took my amateur hobby to the next step by learning more about the craft of writing.

In 2011, I purchased as many writing books as my budget allowed, I took many online writing classes, I went to Context 24 (a writing convention), I became more involved with my writer’s group, I started a personal and writing blog (this blog), and looked for opportunities to reach out to my writing colleagues. In just a few short months, my overall knowledge of writing blossomed beyond my expectations and I found myself immersed in numerous writing projects.

I will not go into detail of everything I covered over the year, browsing through this blog would be a good taste of the topics I studied; each post created was a reflection of my interests. What wasn’t posted remains in the several notebooks full of things I never had a chance to transfer to this blog. I think the biggest topics I did touch on for the longest would be plot, characterization, sensory description, showing vs. telling and dialogue.

The biggest reward for me came when I compared a recent story to a piece I had done a year before. The difference was staggering. Granted, I realized I still had a long way to go, but I was amazed at how far I had come in such a short time, because of the new found dedication I had applied to my hobby. Yet, even with all the progress I made, it still was not enough to keep me from hitting a major wall of writer’s block in the fall.

The writer’s block was debilitating. It got to the point that each word was a real chore to write, which soon caused me to lose the desire to write. I knew something was wrong, but could not articulate it until I came across the book How to Be a Writer by Barbara Baig. This book caused me to re-evaluate my writing process. I spent the better part of December working towards this and now have a new writing process that has opened up a flood gate of ideas for new and current writing projects.

I look forward to the new year and all the possibilities that await there. I’m not sure where this writing journey is going to take me in 2012, but at least I know where I’ve been, where I want to go and how to get there.

New Year Writing Goals to be posted soon.