Writing is hard

This week, I finally got done all that “big picture” sorting of what-happens-next ideas, and it was time to start writing again. Which I did. I plunged into the POV of a new character, someone who should be interesting and engaging, but was a little on the alien side, so the potential for discontentment with what was coming out of my fingers was high (not alien enough! Too alien!)

Shortly after plunging in, I realized there was a bit of prose I had already written for another character that suited this one better, and all writing came to a halt as I tracked it down. During the tracking, I found a lot of other old blurbs of writing that I had stored away for when and if they became useful, and realized, well, gee, I need to go through these and see if any of them match up to my list of story ideas. After all, nothing gets the writing going like already having a little something to jump off of.

So I started poking through my back-up prose, sorting what was useful and what seemed too far afield. I felt this palpable sense of relief; “Yay! I can procrastinate writing some more!”

Writing is hard. It’s always hard. Editing a written draft is tedious, composing a first draft is like coaxing blood from your pores and dribbling it on the page (who was it that said something like that once?) It’s a magic moment when the words flow freely, or, alternatively, when you are ridiculously pleased with the words you’ve produced. But it has happened to me enough times I keep chasing that feeling like an addict.

‘Tis a pity…

…the Star Trek series Enterprise was cancelled. It actually started to become interesting in its fourth season, to become the show I’d wanted to watch when it first aired. The prequel; the show that actually paid attention to its future canon and told the story about the first days of Starfleet and the founding of the Federation, and tread those already sketched-out paths in imaginative ways that couldn’t be predicted (their take on how the Klingons lost their forehead ridges for a while, ribbing off the human Eugenics Wars? Inspired, because it was so, so in character for the Klingons).

I suppose it was a show that was doomed to failure from the beginning. You can’t explore strange new worlds and seek out new civilizations when your characters are just getting to know species that to the audience are familiar faces. You either have to take the story far afield into alien species we don’t understand why we never heard of before (which they did a lot of, for three years), or write that prequel that could fall so quickly into predictability.

In the end, I didn’t watch the show because I didn’t bond personally with any of the characters. There was no one who intrigued me, or got under my skin. And so many of the early plots seemed warmed over [insert TOS/TNG/DSN/Voy episode here].

I finally got done catching up on the entire series on Netflix. Now to figure out what to catch up on next.

POD and self publishing

Still working on pulling together my ideas on forthcoming plot events and wrapping my brain cells around who my characters are. However, I did spend a couple almost entire days on the new story this week, which put me ahead of the game on this part of process.

Last weekend, I went to one of those traveling lecturer seminars at Changing Hands bookstore. This one was a guy with a background in the publishing industry who was talking about alternatives to traditional publishing, specifically, self-publishing, which, as it turns out, is different than print-on-demand publishers. He was actually pretty down on POD, saying that bookstores in general see POD labels on books as a warning of sign of the book’s lack of quality and are therefore hesitant to stock them.

Changing Hands is one of those indies that’s willing to give self-published and POD books from local authors a go for a limited time, but of course, that all depends on your marketing strategy, getting people to seek out such a book, either before they get to the bookstore or while they’re standing there staring at a bunch of book spines on the shelf. If it sells, CH won’t yank it off their shelves in a month.

The lecturer also talked about self-publishing as a step to attracting the attention of agents and publishers (again, this only really works with good self-marketing strategies upfront). One of things he mentioned, though, was that publishers usually don’t want to deal with writers who don’t have a lot of future book ideas under their belt. They like to have writers under contract, producing. So I think I am on the right track with planning out my new story as a number of separate novels. I have yet to figure out exactly how, since at this point I am still getting to know my “story world”, but I know I am in the right ballpark with my plans.