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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Some Figures For You

Just saw THIS article today. It appears as if young readers are stimulating the publishing industries growth with eBooks. Fantastic! Now we have middle aged women and kids on the eBook trend. Now if only we could get a demographic that I care about, the SciFi/Fantasy nerds, to jump into the game. Then I would be all set.

Come on nerds. Adopt the new technology already!

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Time To Move On

I’m going to do a bit of complaining, so bear with me. It is time we move past jabs at Twilight. Specifically the “vampires don’t sparkle” one. Not because I want to defend Stephanie Myer. Far from it. It is just that the jokes have turned into cliche.

Since the release of Twilight, I have read too many stories about or containing vampires that have a little quip against Twilight. The first were funny, but now it feels like pandering to me. And what does that end up doing? In my opinion it will cheapen your vampire lore. Not to mention you inadvertently tie it to those books. This may even have the nasty side effect of taking your reader out of the story. Sure they’ll have a chuckle, but then they’re thinking about a story that isn’t your own.

Personally, I’d rather keep them focused on my world.

Consider it this way. Let your vampire stand on its own merit. Give the reader something new about that fabled monster. Wow them with your take on the concept. This is your time to shine, don’t spoil it with another writers vision.

And rest assured, readers and reviewers will make a Twilight connection for you. But hopefully, after they’re done with your book and thinking about it in retrospect.

Your vampires don’t sparkle. Got it. But I’m not interested in what they are not doing. I want to read about what they are doing. That sounds better, right? Write.

Writing Out of Order

I don’t get how people do it. Over this weekend I had to do some major surgery with my novel and move some stuff around and ended up writing a few things out of order. And it really messed with my head. I began to forget what the characters did and did not know. When certain plot points happened or if I already mentioned something.  It let me know that I can’t do that.

But I admire those that can. It would be a lot easier if I could just pop around and write this scene here or that scene there. But I think my mind would implode. Especially since I’m doing a mystery. When your character is right in the middle of their investigation, writing different scenes can be super confusing.

Currently, I have an excel spreadsheet that lists each chapter long a column, with the dates that make up each chapter, with a another column for what happens in each chapter and even columns for individual characters to give me an idea of what they’re all doing during those days.

That’s no including my circle structure and frame written out for the book. Which both need to be revisited as their information isn’t compatible with how the story has changed since being written.

Oh the joys of writing a novel, right? Write.

Missed Update and Novels

Well, it was bound to happen. I missed my first update since dedicating every Monday-Wednesday-Friday to the blog. But those things are bound to happen from time to time. My reason is that I’m getting knee deep into my novel. As of last night I breached 30k words and I’m on the down slope to my goal of 50k.

So, the novel is coming along really well. Last night I had sat down to transcribe chapter 10 from my notebook. I knew it was going to need a lot of work to make things flow better so I began editing. The next thing I knew, two different scenes than I had written popped up and chapter 10 was entirely different. So what I had originally written for 10 was moved to 11 and 11 has been moved to 12.

I guess that is the creative process.

I’m going to keep cracking on the book. The second half is going to be a bit harder I think. It is when things are going to get a bit crazy. The mid point takes a very drastic shift in tone from the beginning, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to having my critique group get a hold of it.

Thrillers, Romance, and Amazon

What is selling on Amazon? That’s a big question. Looking at Amazon right now, in the top 10, you see mostly Suspense/Thriller and Romance. And mostly a combination of those three. Right now, “The Hunger Games” trilogy is eating up the top spots. But we can figure the reason for that is the movie coming up.

But even those have a certain level of suspense.

I wish I could find the article again, but the latest polls show that the majority of eBook readers are women over forty. Which this demographic, in majority, read what? Yeah, thrillers and romances. Now we can see a correlation as to why the top ten is the way it is.

Let’s also take a look at two of the top performing self-publishers to grace Amazon. J. A. Konrath and Amanda Hocking. Writers of thrillers and paranormal-romances respectively. So what can I take from that? That it may not be the quality of their work that is driving their sales, but the genre in which they write.

People are clamoring for this stuff. They can’t get enough of it. And I don’t begrudge this demographic for liking what they like. It is just unfortunate that the genres that I write and read are not having the same pull.

Which is rather funny to me. SciFi/Fantasy readers tend to be early adopters to new technology. Go to Dragon*Con, Gen Con, and PAX and I guarantee you’ll see more iPhones in one place than you’ll see for the rest of your life. We love our tech. So why haven’t the majority of us moved to eReaders?

Whatever that answer is, thrillers and romance novels dominate Amazon. If you’re looking to make the BIG BUCKS through self-publishing, don’t look to SciFi/Fantasy. I’m not saying you can’t make a living from your work. I’m just saying I can’t see you pulling down 100k in a single month.

At least not yet.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to write my YA-SciFi-Horror novel. And after that? Maybe a paranormal-romance. Just for kicks, right? Write.

SciFi-Horror and You

I’ve been pretty tight lipped about my novel. This isn’t because I think people will steal the idea. It is because I don’t have a title yet. I have a working one, but I haven’t found that title that really captures everything I want to convey. So far it is being called, “Where The Weird Things Are.” And it is definitely a nod to “Where The Wild Things Are.”

It is a YA SciFi-Horror novel. I sometimes call it Paranormal, and will probably still use it from time to time. Mostly because people can identify with it quicker. But the reason I want to set it as SciFi-Horror is for a very particular reason. About a decade ago I was introduced to H. P. Lovecraft. Since then I have been enamored with the world he has presented. He is to SciFi-Horror as Tolkien is to Fantasy.

While his work can be overly verbose and strange to read, his ideas were downright creepy and fun. I wan to encapsulate what he started and bring it to a new generation.  The theme I really wanted to latch onto is the sense of hopelessness against the things that can’t be explained. We are but ants to the creatures of the cosmos.

The current trend in YA, that I’ve seen, is that the main character(s) have special powers of their own. Harry Potter, Edward Cullen, Alcatraz, Percy Jackson–you get the idea. But for a SciFi-Horror novel, having powers doesn’t really gel. How can you feel hopeless if you have a special ability.

This lead to a major theme in my book. None of my main characters have any supernatural powers. All they bring to the table are their own natural gifts. But they will still be faced against the same monsters the above face. And I hope that fact intrigues you as much as it does me. Think about it. If your skill is being good at baseball, how can you have any hope in fighting a vampire?

Now that’s horror.

Obviously, for the YA book to work, these characters will survive. At least physically. But mentally, there is no guarantee. You can’t fight against the horrors of the cosmos and not be changed.

I’m essentially using this as the hook:

Where Harry Potter meets H. P. Lovecraft. Welcome to the Weird.  All magic is mind-bending, soul-shattering evil, and all monsters are out to eat you. Your are a morsel, a spec on the windshield of the universe. How can you ever hope to survive?

This may turn some people off. But if there are others like me, I know this will peck at their curiosity. You feel the peck, right? Write.

Becoming Invested

Last night I wrote a difficult scene. Not because it was hard to figure out,  but because of my emotional investment into the character. Which is a wonderful experience. It means I’m starting to understand and see my main character as a real person. I want to see him attain his hopes and dreams just as mush as he does.

Unfortunately for him, I have to put a few road blocks in his way.

And in the current chapter, things turned a little more serious. My main character, Wil McEnroe, is loosely based off myself and my experiences growing up. Thankfully, I didn’t have it as hard as him. While I was bullied in school, I was never bullied to this extent. Working up the chapters, it had been verbal. Mostly names and jokes at my expense.

But in Chapter 9, things turned physically violent. I hated to do it to him. Especially in the circumstances that it happened. But I know, for his sake, that it is something that needed to happen.

I suppose what made it difficult was that I had been in his position emotionally. Feeling betrayed and alone.

Ultimately, I’m interested in seeing how my critique group reacts to this particular scene. It is pretty heavy for the tone of the book so far. But I feel that I’ve sewed enough that it felt like it was coming. Only time will tell.

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