Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 278)

November Wrap-Up

November was a kind of tipping point for me, although what it is exactly that I tipped between, I’m not sure.  It feels like I tipped between “not confident” and “confident” on a personal level, as in, “She is a confident person.”  But where that came from or what it means, I don’t know.  It’s probably a bunch of little things getting resolved or addressed over time.  I had to say “no” to several people on a personal level; I brooded on the matter for some time, but eventually came to the conclusion in various cases that I didn’t have time for drama, but I did have time to shop for clothes.  Plus I took a personality quiz that said I was confident now, and you know how those are always accurate.

I’m looking ahead to next year already (as you do), and I’ve decided that I need to spend more time working on my own writing, and less time getting my own writing out–that is, I need to get my writing out, but I need to be more efficient about it.

Methods I’m currently testing out:

  • Write 3K a day of my own stuff, first thing in the morning.  Results so far: GREAT.  This has been taking me 70-80 minutes in 10-minute bursts.  The fingers are FLYING.  A drawback is going, “Uh…you finished this story with 600 words to spare.  Now what?”  Answer:  Flash fiction.
  • Start stripping down existing processes to a simpler routine/template in order to save time.  Results so far:  I’m dropping Smashwords and Kobo in my direct uploads process.  I’m still uploading to Amazon and Draft2Digital.  The Kobo promo pages haven’t been doing much for me, so I feel that I can move Kobo direct sales over to D2D without much of a loss.  Smashwords has never done me a whole lot, and I’m finally just saying, “That’s another 10 minutes every time I have a book to upload that I don’t want to deal with.”  I’d already ditched Smashwords .doc files and was using .epubs only.  Still in testing:  should I switch over to InDesignCC or stick with my outdated CS2 version?  How much time can I save?  Can I convert straight to HTML or epub?  If so, how clean is that code?
  • Start shifting more work from my desk to a virtual assistant/contractors.  Not started yet.  I feel that I need to get the routine solid and efficient before I start asking other people to feel my pain.

I feel overwhelmed right now, because only one minimal efficiency has occurred at this point, and I have to spend extra time trying to work all this stuff out.  BAH.  But at least I’m writing waaaay more of my own stuff.  Something that occurs to me is that I’ll probably stop putting out short stories by themselves as separate ebooks, and concentrate more on story collections.  If I keep writing at this speed, it won’t take much longer to get them done and out.

Talk to the Hand

Something I’m exhausted of lately:

The kind of drama that comes from people who want more from you than they’re willing to give.

Sometimes that drama comes in very polite packages, and it’s only when you step back can you assess what’s not being done or said and strip the message down to its core content,

“But me.”

Sorry for vaguebooking, but this has come to me from multiple fronts over the last few days, and I had to hit the pressure release valve a couple of times (or the button under the counter that the bank tellers press when someone starts doing something suspicious?).  But really what gets me is how much of this type of behavior I’ve had to purge from my daily life over the last year.  It started out with bullying, openly troll-like behavior, bullshit “logic” presented just to spin up my wheels, controlling behavior, behavior designed to hurt my self-confidence (especially from freelancing clients), sexist bullshit, racist bullshit, and so on.  And now I’m down to, “You don’t get to use me for your agenda, especially not to prove you’re a ‘good’ person.”

A long road?  One I should have set out upon years ago?

The cool thing is what it leaves behind.  I feel a lot more free to like people, because I know I can boot out the ones who aren’t here for friendship and company and good cheer all the more easily.  Even if I still like them.  Because they’re not good for me.

And it’s far, far easier to get over stupid things.  “You’re a good person but you put your foot in it.”  “Ayup.”  “Moving on.”  I’ve been on both sides of that lately.  It’s nice.

I still spend some quality time every morning flipping off the news.  That hasn’t changed.  And I’m still pretty vinegary.  But I don’t feel like I have continuously flinch away from the world, either.

Although honestly it’s probably more like signing up for online newsletters than anything else, where you have to go through an unsubscribe for all the crap you signed up for, yet again, about once every six months.

New stuff out!

  • Very Mysterious Christmas Bundle:  Available for preorder, on sale for 99c.  My story “Old Friends, Annoying Houseguests, and Christmas Ghosts” is featured: a mystery/ghost story told by a not-entirely-trustworthy old friend.
  • UbiquiCity: Tales of the Fractopian Future:  I keep calling it UbiCity, after UbiSoft, but noooooo…anyway, cyberpunk a hundred years in the shared-world future.  Featuring “To Summon Mountains,” in which a monster meets her only living kin.
  • Stars in the Darkness: Stories of Wisdom, Justice, and Love:  an anthology of SJW-appreciation stories, profits going to the SPLC and the Human Rights Campaign.  I’m in with “The Page-Turners,” an alternate-realities metafiction story that made me cry to write.

A busy Friday 🙂

 

Running twice as fast just to stand still

This morning is not the world’s greatest morning for a packaged sound bite about writing.  The World Fantasy Awards have been released and nothing that I read and liked won.  There’s a new conflict about how to handle serial sexual harassers in an entertainment industry adjacent to mine–everyone agrees that they should be handled, but the “how” is ripping people apart.  I’m finishing up a project that I love, but for a client that doesn’t treat me with respect and certainly hasn’t built respect into the contract.  I’m poking another client whose book was supposed to be started already, and not getting any response, and might need to scramble to get another ghosting book in place.  I’m struggling to learn how to do ads for my books, as part of my business, a.k.a. “Why are my clients’ projects selling better than mine?  Let’s learn that.”  And it’s not going the greatest.  I still don’t have any reviews on my new release.

And yet I’m showing up and putting the butt in the chair and getting the words done, and they’re not bad words.  So there’s that.

I looked at a meme about someone desperately needing to go on a beachside vacation and thought, “Nah, I’m good.”

 

Panicking over not Panicking

I woke up last night out of a nightmare due to the fact that I don’t have a list of tasks longer than my arm to accomplish STAT, only things that I really ought to get to sooner rather than later, and I was worried that I missed something vital.  In the dream, my teeth and legs fell off because I hadn’t been paying close enough attention.

Sometimes I get in one of those ruts where I’m working so hard that I hardly notice that I’m operating out of fear and avoidance, rather than reaching toward opportunity.

Every day freelancing is stepping off the edge and into a void, I swear.

New release:  October Nights: 31 Tales of Hauntings & Halloween.  If you like Ray Bradbury short stories, give it a look.

Fake Drama

Personally, I think if you’re going to end a horror story on an “everybody dies” note, it has to be because the characters chose it that way OR out of irony when they do everything right but it still doesn’t work, not because they oopsed into failure.  If the situation was always hopeless, there never really was any conflict.

Well…okay.  I’ll make an exception for An American Werewolf in London.

 

 

Unpicking what you know…

One of the worst parts about continuously growing as a writer is having to unpick lessons that I have oh-so-painfully learned.  It would be nice if I could look at the situation as putting down a crutch I no longer need–but there’s far more work involved on my part.  I have to do it slowly and consciously.  What it feels like is taking a seam ripper to a piece of cross-stitched fabric and pulling out one color among dozens of similar ones…then finding more errors…more…

I strain to save the pattern, but it’s too far gone.  Eventually, I put down the fabric, design something else, and get started, although my heart is still sore.

This doesn’t mean that I’m sinking into the bad habit of editing old work to death.  (Or at least not on a regular basis.)  This is up the next level from that:  the pattern of how to write in general, and not a particular story itself.

This time it’s letting go of the bare-minimum plot template I had worked out for myself.  I just got hit by the two by four of “But none of your favorite books work like that.  They work like this.”

I’m not ready to sum up this yet.  It’s too new.

And letting go of that still hurts.  I thought I had something figured out…nope.  I had a week of nightmares where I could feel my subconscious trying to salvage something, trying to deny the implications…

Pick, pick, pick.

Yesterday I had to stop mourning and fussing and putt my butt in the chair so I could get actual writing done before a deadline.

That’s the test, I think:  when your ideas about writing stop you from writing, give up on the ideas and go back to the writing.  Both yours and the work of other writers that you love.

If you liked this post, check out my shorter tale, “Rusalka,” which is about the grief that comes when you realize your assumptions were wrong as about anything else.

Marketing bootstrap.

This marketing stuff gets a little easier.  As I try different things, as I get more feedback from readers, I’m starting to realize who my readers are and what they want.  Why me?  Why not Stephen King?  Or rather why me and Stephen King?

What they want tells me how to market (not that I’m good at it, but the instructions are there).  And it tells me what I write, even though it’s all over the place.

The people who just write cozies or stories about colonizing outer space or epic fantasy, they can start with their genre and extrapolate and define themselves from there.  Me, I tried to observe what was common across what I write, but it was too hard.  It wasn’t until people started talking to me about my books that it started to make sense.

Finding out what people like about your work: a bootstrap.

If you like this post, check out By Dawn’s Bloody Light, a cheesy ’80s horror novelette, which I’m not gonna pretend is as good as Stephen King, but at least follows the same tradition.

What do you have to say?

The loudest people in the room, the ones who dominate the conversation, aren’t the most interesting ones.  They mostly just have this trick of being animated while they talk.  Excited about what they have to say.  At great length and, often, volume.  Wit and charm help.  So does a sense of order in one’s storytelling.

But they often tell the same story, or variations of the same story, don’t they?

I’m trying to work out how much I’ve been telling the same story lately.  Or am I just waving my arms and raising my voice?

If you liked this post, check out the Haunted Book Bundle, 20 stories of that which creeps you out.

 

Your words are pointless…

Your words are pointless but don’t say them here.

Your actions are too small to make a difference, so why don’t you just give up?

Your protests are useless and will change nothing but we refuse to tolerate them.

You’re just doing this to make yourself sound more important than you really are.

And if you don’t stop it we’re going to threaten to kill you.  But don’t worry, ha-ha.  It doesn’t mean anything.

This might not be the kind of post you can really “like,” but if you appreciate the post, check out The Clockwork Alice, a tale of a woman who has to sort out a lifetime of lies…

Cheesy

Cheesy is when you have something that uses a lot of tropes, but there’s no twist on the tropes.  Cheesy-but-good is rereadable and rewatchable cheese.

Nothing wrong with cheesy per se.

But once you put a twist on it, you’re doing something on another level entirely.

If you liked this post, check out my cheesy ’80s horror novella, By Dawn’s Bloody Light.  There’s a twist, of course.

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