And I’m going… Where?

Its been another long blogging break. Nearly 2 months, so not as bad as last time, but still. Unacceptable! I’ve been editing editing editing, and working working working on the condo, and as for real work? We shall not speak of it.

We shall, however, speak of editing, which is nearly – God willing – finished. Another leg of this long journey, almost complete. And a big one too, because this time it means I’m nearly to the point where I need to let go of my little beastie and see if it will fly.

But it’s scary. Not because I’m afraid to let someone read it, but because of what it implies. Publication. And that is terrifying.

I know I should be excited, and I kinda am, but I also know too much about the industry to not be concerned. Publication means I have a whole new set of skills to learn, while on a time budget that is already too tight. I’m sure I’ll be able to deal with most of these, one way or the other, but the big and looming specter is marketing, about which I know jack.

Self published authors live and die by their marketing efforts. Complicating matters is the fact that I have only one book to market. And then there’s the day job time constraints, which will slow everything down.

Of course, I could just phone it in and say frak the marketing, but I don’t want To Kill the Goddess to just sit there and collect virtual dust while a handful of friends and family throw me a bone and read it. I mean, what is the point of all this if not to be successful? Not necessarily financially, although that would be awesome possum, but to have people read it. And more than just a handful. I want to go somewhere someday and hear a stranger talking about my book. Not for vanity’s sake, but because then I’ll know all the years of effort and sacrifice were worth it.

Until then, I’m moving forward, on faith, or maybe just stubborn determination. And I’m going… Where?

In which Shawn tries to justify his blog’s silence

Let’s go back to where we left off: October 8, 2013.

(Holy crap has it really been that long?)

October 8 – To Kill the Goddess was with my editor and I was trying to get started on Moon Sister (book two). This is roughly the same time that my work life turned to complete shit. I won’t go into details, as companies don’t look kindly on employees spilling dirt on the Internet, but let’s just say that it was all I could do to not have a complete mental breakdown. Did I write? Yes, but like a drowning man clinging to a life preserver. There was no time for frilly stuff like blogging. Somehow in there, I managed to bang out a first draft for roughly the first third of Moon Sister.

Christmas came along, then January, and the Antarctica-like deep-freeze that drove its claws into Minnesota. We resumed our search for a downtown condo and – surprise! – we found one. It’s awesome, and we are moved and living in it (Woot!) but yowza was that a lot of work. Six weeks of no writing are now in my rearview mirror.

So now here we are: April. I haven’t touched that first draft in a couple of months. Instead, I’ve been focusing on (what I hope are) final edits for To Kill the Goddess. My editor had far more complements then she did criticisms and I’m deep into the final stages of polishing those off. The book is in great shape, but now that I’m going through it again after so many months away I’m finding all kinds of niggly things that need to be fixed. I think I am going to make one more pass through the entire book before sending it off to a few new readers. After that? Line edits, finding someone to do a cover, e-book formatting, and finally: Amazon!

The First 1000 Words

Waiting

To Kill the Goddess is with my editor.

This is an awesome thing. It’s a huge step, and I should be so excited.

But the wait is making me crazy!

And in the meantime, where am I at with book 2? Not a single word written. A blank slate. Nothing.

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been in this position? So long that I have no tools for this in my writing chest. I don’t know how to start and that’s even scarier than the wait for my editor.

Moving On

I’m trying to take my own advice and put words on the page, but right now that is so much easier said than done. Where do i start? It doesn’t help that instead of having one main character, I have 6. So where does the story begin? Which one do I start with? Even worse, I could easily go all George RR Martin on this thing with like a dozen or more characters – if I wanted – and someone please organize an intervention if I do!

Yes, my friends, I problems!

But – after a week of freaking myself out – I finally picked a character and started writing. I don’t know if it’s the right one, but it’s a start.

Now I’m on chapter 2, with over 1000 word in the bag, and I know this is what I need to keep doing. I need to keep picking characters and just start writing.

Intellectually, I know that after a while it will begin to come together, that I will start to see where all the pieces fit, but right now every word is filled with a doubt and uncertainty that threatens to stall me all over again.

I need to man up!

I need to take the 1000 words I have and do that another 80-90 times.

How hard can that be?

It can’t possibly take me another 10+ years, right?

RIGHT?

The Unknown

Here’s the post I did last week over at The Scribblerati.

Enjoy!

——–

It’s a strange time for Scribblerati Agent Shawn. My WIP is once again back overseas, nestled up against all those British 1’s and 0’s on my editor’s computer – and I wait.

But for what?

Decisions

We make decisions every day, and even the smallest affect the course of our life. For instance: soy milk or almond? Okay, maybe that one doesn’t have a significant impact, but the experience is different, and those experiences do put you on a slightly different fork of the road than you would have been on otherwise. Even the act of writing this blog sends out little ripples into the course of my life and the lives of those who read it.

But what about those moments when you reach one of those big forks, where the course you choose takes you off the well-traveled path you’re familiar with and sends you into the unknown? Like getting on that airplane that’s going to take you overseas for the first time, or debating that job offer that will take you across the country, or looking at your girl and thinking, I’m going to marry her.

That’s where I feel like I’m at today. The road hasn’t forked yet, but I can see it running up towards this mountain with the words BIG DECISION carved in the rock face, and I have no idea how my life is going to look afterwards.

That decision is going to come in the form of an email with British 1’s and 0’s. My editor is going to tell me just how close I am to publishing, and then…

Do I just have more of the same to look forward to? Do I throw in the towel? Start something new? Revel in her praise, put To Kill the Goddess on Amazon, and focus even harder on writing the next?

The wait is driving me crazy!

Good Advice

So there’s this kid at work. He’s a writer, or at least on his way to being one. He found out that I write and we ended up at lunch, where he proceeded to tell me all the problems he’s having with his writing. It was so familiar – like listening to myself from a decade ago – trying to figure out how to do the most basic things.

So I gave him a few pointers, a little try this, or how about that, and it felt good to be able to help someone out – even if only a little bit. But then he really began to open up, and his questions turned into a litany of self-doubt. How he doesn’t measure up to JK Rowling, or his own expectations, and how sometimes he despairs of ever being any good.

I finally stopped him and said, “Don’t be so hard in yourself. You are at the beginning of a lifelong journey and you can’t expect to be perfect right out of the gate. Think about how many canvases Claude Monet must have thrown away before painting waterlilies. And consider that I recently heard an interview where Stephen King said how ten years ago he wasn’t a good enough writer to write his new book.”

He looked at me, really looked at me for maybe the first time we sat down, and I said, “Be patient with yourself. Put words on the page. The rest will come with time.”

Maybe I should listen to myself, eh?

That fork will get here when it gets here, and when it does, I’ll face what comes (or doesn’t).

The unknown will resolve itself when – as my father would say – it’s damn good and ready.

I just wish it would hurry the fuck up.

Done! (Again)

What’s up, minions?

Is been too long. Too much work talking too much time, leaving me just enough to snatch an hour of writing time here and there, with nothing left for blogging.

But FINALLY I’m done! Again.

But still not done done.

To Kill the Goddess is being shipped back over the pond, to let my editor have another go at it. I suspect that this time it is where it should have been the first time, but I wouldn’t be where I am now without Brett, so I’m cool with that.

What’s next? Taking what I’ve learned and applying it to Witness It. Can’t wait to get back to Jaskaran and Lolian. And maybe – sketching out some ideas for the follow up novel, Moon Sister.

Another milestone complete.

One step closer to publication!

How can there be more?

This is what I thought today, after cutting another 500+ words from chapter three.

And this is supposed to be my finishing draft. One last quick read through.

I understand why, and it wasn’t as odious as it sounds, but I know what most people think.

Take my father, for instance. He TOTALLY doesn’t get it. For him, its been years of asking how I’m doing, a me never finishing.

“When’s that book gonna be done, son?”

“Soon.”

He’s probably given up. Along with a lot of other people.

But I am almost done.

For reals.

Six months. 5 new chapters. 14K less words. (Make that 14.5 and counting.)

An almost complete rewrite.

What’s next? Finish this pass! Then a final draft on Witness It, so that can go to the editor too. And then…

I have to learn a whole knew batch of skills.

Publishing. Scary.

Elevator Pitch

So I met this guy at work. He’s young, like he could probably be my offspring young, but he’s nice. Anyway, a few weeks ago we kind of bonded over a copy of the Hawkeye graphic novel he had on his desk. Fast forward to yesterday (I’m busy, OK?) and we ran into one another in the elevator. We got to talking and I found out he’s a kindred soul – a writer!

Now, when most people find out I’m a writer, and they ask me what I write, and I say, “sci-fi fantasy” they say, “Oh.”

I like this. It’s easy.

But this guy, the writer/geek, says, “Cool! What’s it about?”

This is a terrifying thing to ask a writer.

How do you encapsulate a 90,000+ word novel in ten seconds or less?

It ain’t easy, I can tell you that.

(Tangent: Leann says I should say what I told the nurse when I was under anesthesia, “It’s about faeries and monsters and stuff.”)

But I didn’t, and there I was, stammering like a schoolboy. So embarrassing.

And the moral of this post?

I need to work on my elevator pitch.

Literally.