Sunday, September 18, 2016

Confidence In Writing

The ups and downs an author goes through can drive anyone to drink. Think of all the stereotypes you have ever heard about authors. How many of them involve drinking and/or smoking? These vices generally calm the nerves of people who partake in them. The battle that authors go through daily is a battle of confidence.

This battle of confidence is vicious within the psyche of an author. What if what I am writing is total crap? Should I let anyone see it ever? Should I burn this and start over? This self doubt helps drive us to perfect our craft. Without this doubt authors would just publish their first drafts which are awful. Yes they are, don't delude yourself. You can do better.

This is why letting go is so hard for an author. I never feel like I am completely finished with a story. There is a finality that comes with publishing and saying that a story is finished. It never feels that way to me. The nagging question of "What happens next?" always tickles at the back of my mind. There are loose ends that never get resolved for whatever reason. If I covered everything then I would never finish anything and my novel would be 8,000,000+ pages. Still we have to let go at some point and click that publish button.

This feeling of the novel never being good enough drives authors to pour their heart and soul into them. It feels like a contract signed in blood is needed to write a novel. This is why some authors take bad reviews so personally. When we are targeted by a hate group it is even worse. Bad reviews can tank a work of fiction by cutting off opportunities for promotion like a Bookbub ad. So please do be kind to authors. We torture ourselves enough while writing a book. A harsh negative review can be soul crushing. That doesn't mean you shouldn't criticize authors, we need that criticism to improve our craft. The trick is to make it constructive criticism and not a Godzilla sized foot stomp.


Progress Updates


Virtual Wars Booting Up (currently in editing hell)
Final edits: On page 160 of 168
Putting edits into computer: On page 138 of 168
Custom Chapter Headers: 33 of 41

Virtual Wars Running (Book 2)
Outline: 20%

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Pump the Positivity

I was recently reminded of a principle that I try to live by, but have had a hard time sticking to in everything. It sounds like a simple concept. Stay Positive. Two words that sound like they should be so easy, but it is much easier to lose your way and find yourself in the forest of mushrooms. Trust me, nothing good comes from the forest of mushrooms.

I was reminded of this from a friend I ran into recently that I hadn't seen for a while. He had this energy and pure joy emanating from him. It was truly infectious. It made me wonder what drugs he was on and where could I get some. He wasn't on a drug of any kind. He was filled with positive vibes and the happiness of just being. I could see how everyone there was drawn to him and the energy he was putting out. Everyone wanted to be a part of this positive vibe.

Your Writing

I sat down today thinking about how I generally try to keep a positive vibe, but recently I have been slipping out of that. Little negative comments here and there have been slipping out. I don't want to be that person. The next thought I had was... How can I apply this to my writing? Usually everything is collapsing in a work of fiction and there isn't much room for positivity. Sure the characters joke around, but then Godzilla steps on Jimmy and everyone is sad again.

What I thought of wasn't about using that positive vibe within the actual work of fiction, but rather using it toward the actual work. An affirmation that yes what I am writing is going to be good, that the editing will fix the problems within, that the cover art will help consumers to click that purchase button, etc..

Over the time that I have been writing my first novel I have dreaded or even avoided working on it because I had negative feelings toward the busy work of editing or lack of direction toward a specific chapter. I wonder how much quicker it would have been completed if I had taken a more rainbow colored pixie dusted unicorn view of it.

I am prone to procrastinate or completely avoid working on a project when I have these negative feelings toward it. From now on I want to pump the positive view on things before sitting down to work on it. My hope is that it will squash the urge to pick up my phone or play video games to avoid it.

Progress Updates


Virtual Wars Booting Up (currently in editing hell)
Final edits: On page 146 of 168
Putting edits into computer: On page 116 of 168
Custom Chapter Headers: 29 of 41

Virtual Wars Running (Book 2)
Outline: 20%

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Olympics of Writing


It has been a while since I posted something on Ye Ole Blog. It isn't for lack of having things to write about, but rather my focus on fiction writing that I am trying to finish up. Lately I have been thinking about the Olympics (Who hasn't?). Specifically I have been thinking about how Godzilla would win nearly every event if he entered, but which country would he represent? Applying the Olympics to writing is another idea I had.

Obviously this isn't a sport like those we see at the Olympics, unless competitive sitting has become an event. There are also many different awards available to writers awarded annually. The physical nature of the Olympics limits the age of competitors, but with writing there is no age limit. It could be argued that with age comes experience and an established narrator voice that gives practiced writers an advantage.

For writing I would also like a return of amateur status as a requirement similar to what the Olympics once had. This could be a competition to help undiscovered amateur authors get discovered and perhaps launch a career. Of course that only comes with the competition gaining a measure of prestige. This could also be considered a team event with editors, beta readers, etc.

Difficulties

The Olympics has always been an international competition and there are many different languages that are spoken around the globe. This means that there would be a need for judges that speak every written language for the stories submitted for judging. How can we overcome this? If the competition is limited to one language then that gives an unfair advantage to native speakers of that language. How can you capture the true spirit of the Olympics without it being a just and fair worldwide competition?

Forming teams would be problematic in itself. Just starting out you can't expect nations to spend money to put together teams of writers for this kind of competition. Without national backing who would compete as an amateur writer? Who would organize the team then if given the opportunity? In Olympic competition they have national competitions to help decide who moves on to compete with the best in the world.

Events

In spite of these difficulties, I can't help but to think of how these events would go. If you look at Wattpad, they have many competitions going on all the time. I'm sure they probably have their own Olympics of writing going on that has probably concluded by now. Imagining a competition event based upon a writing prompt for each genre with a word count limit is relatively easy at this point. Word sprints are a regular occurrence on social media as well. Coming up with a plethora of events to compete in would be easy. This sort of thing makes me wonder What if?

Progress Updates


Virtual Wars Booting Up (currently in editing hell)
Final edits: On page 109 of 168
Putting edits into computer: On page 101 of 168
Custom Chapter Headers: 27 of 41

Virtual Wars Running (Book 2)
Outline: 20%

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Plagiarism

I'm sure you all have heard about the most recent episode of plagiarism that has taken place. I don't want to talk about that today, but rather what people's reaction to it has been. I was appalled to find that half of my friends seemed to think the whole thing was a big joke and the other half seemed to think it was fake or not a big deal. To an author the thought of plagiarism is a horrific experience similar to having a nightmare about a never ending vapid conversation with the Kardashians.

Let's start with the definition of Plagiarism - the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.

At it's heart Plagiarism is theft. When you have developed an intellectual property, there are multiple revenue streams that you can collect from them. When someone steals your work and passes it off as their own, it dilutes the amount of revenue you could be collecting and gives it to someone else. This is money you will most likely never recover as an author unless you can somehow identify who it is that is doing this and they live in a country that will pursue such claims. Then there is the cost of court fees and lawyers and so on. For many it isn't even worth the effort to try to recover lost revenues.

Let's say you work construction and you build a house. It's a very nice house that you are expecting to get paid for. Now let's say John Doe picks up your tools, poses by the house for some pictures, and claims to be the one who built the house. Your boss says, "Wow! What a nice house! John Doe, you're getting a bonus!" I bet you would be pretty angry about it all when you find out, but John Doe has already skipped town with your bonus money and your chances of finding him are very low.

That is how it feels to be plagiarized as an author. This sort of thing happens all the time now that it is easier than ever to publish an ebook. People will make an exact copy of a book (even well known classic books), make minor changes to the cover, and then begin to sell it online as their own work of fiction.

It can be quite an ordeal to get Amazon to remove the offending novel that contains your stolen story. I have heard tales of an author's work being removed from Amazon because they found another similar book, which was published by someone who stole the work of fiction. If you search across the internet there are many tales of horror that rival that of Pikachu being melted down then frozen into a flavor of ice cream.

If you don't think plagiarism is a big deal then I want to be your friend, so I can take your ideas and eat them. I will be your personal idea zombie. I will craft and cultivate your best works by changing a word here and there and I will profit from your hard work while you enjoy diminished returns on your investment of time and energy. Thank you for your contribution to the Grand Idea Zombie Horde!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Write The Writing Writers

Yes I recycled a graphic I used previously. I like it... shutup! Anyway I have recently come up with a few new story ideas that I have no idea when I may have time to write them as I am still stuck in editing hell. I could make time to write other stories, but I am trying to get out of editing hell on this novel ASAP!

I also came across a few people who have set up a patreon to help get their writing in the works. In case you are wondering what the chickenbutt a patreon is... www.patreon.com. I am thinking about doing the same thing. If I decide to set up a patreon then I have to set up membership tiers that will outline rewards for each level of contribution. I don't expect much in the way of donations, but it would be nice to make a little money while working on these stories that are in my head. If anyone has any feedback please let me know.

Here are a few of the rewards I was thinking of offering to my patrons for monthly donations:
  • A new weekly chapter for a revival of my serial stories that are up on Wattpad. I plan to revive these stories for several more seasons, but have yet to make the time for them. I also have ideas for at least 3 more serial stories that I have yet to begin writing. I find that I am more likely to work on them when I am writing a new story rather than when I am editing and rewriting. Which doesn't make sense because I am going crazy with the urge to create new stories. I know I could keep up with writing these weekly chapters for my patrons.
  • Access to portions of whatever new project I am working on. Sort of a sneak preview that goes beyond the usual chapter at the end of my last work kind of thing.
  • Copies of all of my novels in ebook format once I have removed them from KDP Select or perhaps before I enroll them in KDP Select. It seems only fair to give these out if my patrons are paying more than enough to purchase one of these on their own.
  • Signed print copies of each novel as it comes out. Possibly for a higher level donation than the previous reward depending on shipping costs. I may use a flat rate shipping box for this to make it easier to calculate what my cost will be.
  • Other swag as it becomes available. I plan to put together different kinds of promotional materials including trading cards, figurines, flash drives with ebook copies on them, etc..
  • Name a character or become a character in my writing. They are probably going to die. Perhaps they will have extra lives like in a video game?
Anyway those are my ideas for now. I would love some feedback if anyone has any. Now it's time for an update on progress (YAY!)

Virtual Wars Booting Up (currently in editing hell)
Final edits: On page 105 of 168
Putting edits into computer: On page 70 of 168
Custom Chapter Headers: 20 of 41

Virtual Wars Running (Book 2)
Outline: 10%