Sunday, January 23, 2011

Connect the Dots...Who Knew?

I am feeling much more productive this weekend than I was last weekend. I cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry, homework, finished 1/3 of GMC, by Debra Dixon, and was able to get a good chunk of writing in as well. I started out this weekend finishing up one chapter and was very please with it. Then I started the next chapter, and I just didn't feel like it had that umph that I was able to get into the previous one. Now, I know that not every chapter is going to be incredibly brilliant, but there was a post that I read earlier this week by Amy Davis Rose, which discussed how the writer needs to ask themselves if the words they are writing are fulfilling 3 purposes: driving the plot forward, developing a character, or describing setting. This post was very helpful in making sure I wasn't just putting this, that, and the other into the story, so when I started to feel like this is what was happening I stopped writing to assess why. I realized that I had not figured out my characters' Goals, motivations, and conflicts as deeply as I would have liked. I had the parts to almost all of my main characters, but those parts that were missing where leaving me feeling incomplete on things. Thus, the reason for working through Dixon's GMC. I must say, it has been helpful.

I am happy to report that I haven't let this block stop the writing process altogether. I have been seeing scenes and conversations between my characters in my head. Now, these scenes and conversations are at parts all throughout the book, so instead of just letting them go I have written them down. I feel like I am coloring-by-numbers, and when I get to those pieces it will be more like connect-the-dots, but when it is complete I hope to have a masterpiece. I am not counting these out of sync conversations and scenes as part of my words on my counter because they could just be notes right now, but if I count these words with what I have written this weekend, then I have written about 1200 words. Not as much as I would have liked, but I am still moving forward, which is all I can ask for.

For those of you looking for something to read, a fellow indie author,Heather Hildenbrand just released her book, Across the Galaxy for just $2.99. I haven't read it yet, but it looks good and another fellow indie, Aaron Niz, mentioned he started reading it and thinks it is good so far, and I trust his judgement. It is on my TBR list, so I will keep you posted.  

One last thing, and this is really more of a rant than anything else. I keep seeing these McDonald's billboards everywhere advertising their happy meals for $2.99. My rant is that every time I pass one of these stupid signs I think to myself, "Man, it kinda sucks that I am working so hard to write a book, and then I will be selling it for less than a McDonald's happy meal, or if I am lucky or brave, I will be pricing it to compete with these stupid happy meals". So, go out and support those indies that work so hard in providing quality entertainment. Because all you are really giving up is a happy meal or a Jr. Bacon cheeseburger ($.99), and reading is a lot better for your mind than the stuffers they put in that meat. 


  1. Hey Angeline, You're doing great from the sound of it!! Kudos for working hard to understand your craft. That's huge. But let me also say, from experience, you can't always tell when your writing does or does not have that POP or certain something you want from it. There have been days where I would swear on a stack of bibles that what I just wrote should be flushed down the toilet, never to be seen again. And yet when I re-read it later on, I find that actually what I wrote was pretty awesome!

    Other times, I've been "in the zone" and feeling unstoppable. But upon re-reading, it hasn't been so great as I thought and actually needs to be completely rewritten.

    Part of what we deal with as writers is the mindgames we play with ourselves while writing. The self-critique, the internal monologue, the self-doubts, the sudden grandiose fantasies...all of it is just rubbish really.

    We write and write and write some more. Some of it will be good, some not so good. The more words we put on paper, the more we learn. Going back after we've completed a big chunk of material and have gotten some distance, is when we really can start to understand how we've done.

    Although I think it's great that you are learning and thinking about the craft, nothing--I mean nothing--can stand in for simply writing a shit ton of material. That's been my experience. Good luck and keep trucking! Never ever stop!!


  2. I understand your sentiment about people being able to buy their books cheaply. That is why I am a firm believer in not creating books that are extremely long. I think I have a little more leeway as a non-fiction writer.

    I also think this strategy is working for me because I am now choosing to write books for large groups of readers who are under-served in their genre or not served at all. They don't have the option of choosing from thousands of .99 cent books and then talking trash about the authors. For instance, my grappling books fit this category. I believe the same thing can be done with a twist in overpopulated markets like Amanda Hocking and use of Zombies.

    I am also going for quantity. The more books I have on the market, the better the return, hence the shorter e-books. Readers can't continue to expect Indie authors to write long books and then pay next to nothing for their work. If it keeps happening then a lot of writers will leave the market.

  3. Aaron,

    You make a great point about not knowing the quality of our own work sometimes. I was struggling there for awhile, when I was too busy to be able to really write anything, with doubt on the quality of my writing. I felt I wasn't good enough to publish anything, When I went back and read what I had written, I was supper excited because it was good!


    I think it is marvelous that you are able to write books that are so unique. I wish I could that as well, but my knowledge base just isn't that broad. At least for now, I need to stick to the simple, which is what I am familiar with.

    Your post gave me a brilliant idea! I have had this idea kicking around in my head that I wanted to work on once I was done with my current WIP. I was planning on making that a full length novel, but you are right- shorter e-books, better return. I am now going to turn that second idea into a short story. I wish I would have thought about this a long time ago. I would have done the short first and priced it at $.99, then put out the novel at $2.99. Now, I have to decide if I put my current WIP aside to work on the short, or do I continue as planned and release the short after the novel? What do you suggest?

  4. Oooh, I would be venturing out of my territory to give my opinion on that one. Yet, I will say this. I always have a project that I am giving top priority to but when I hit a wall on my number one I will work on other ideas I have.

    Also, I know that you wish to publish your first novel so in the scheme of things I would have to rank that priority as higher. For instance, the longest document that I have ever written was my dissertation. It was around 400 pages. Once I wrote that I knew that I could write anything. I'm not saying that I couldn't write a book before that but after writing that the lessons I learned about staying focused and hammering things out helps me write as much as I do now.

    And finally, who says you can't do both.

  5. I can't do that bits and pieces thing. If I write down a conversation between my toons, I feel like I have to twist the story to fit it in and it becomes very un-organic.

    What I will do, is write down a few descriptive words, or one line that I think might fit. It becomes easier to work an idea in, or one piece of description, than a whole conversation/scene depiction.

    I know each writer has their own way, just thought I would share :)

    J. E. Medrick

  6. Medrick,

    Isn't it amazing how different our minds work? I haven't gotten to the part where I need to integrate those scenes, but I think that they will happen as I imagined they would. The lines of the conversations might change a bit, but I am pretty sure those scenes are going to happen.

    I have things that are going to happen during certain points in the story, and it is the areas that I am not sure what is going to happen that I get stuck at.

    It will be interesting to see how this changes for me as I go along. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Hey there, Angeline! Thanks for the shout-out! :)

    I totally agree with Bakari on the ROI of shorter works. As soon as "Ravenmarked" is live, I'm going to work on two more novellas and a short story for an anthology project. I'm hoping to have book two out by the end of this year, but in the meantime, I'm shooting to produce a bunch of novellas.

    I'm glad my "three Ds" helped you! :)


  8. Oh, and I also wanted to say--price your book at whatever you think is fair, not what everyone else is pricing at. I'm not going to price "Ravenmarked" at $2.99. I don't think it's fair to price it at that. It's taken me over a year to write it, and it's about 150,000 words.

    And when I told a consumer what I was thinking of charging, she said, "is that all?" :)

    The paradigm is different from the consumer's perspective. They see $4 - $7 as cheap. We see it as expensive. :)


  9. You're doing a great job keep it up!