Tag: cold streets (page 1 of 9)

Writer Report: What’s In A Name?

Bard by BlueInkAlchemist, on Flickr

It almost feels redundant posting a Writer Report the day after discussing Cold Streets and how it’s not ready yet. I mean, things I’m working on are nowhere near ready yet. But I do think people get a lot out of learning about the artistic process, and I’d like to be as transparent as possible about my work.

So yes, I’ve been plugging away at the new novel. In addition to the dayjob, the freelance writing, and the games that keep me up late, I’ve been aiming to write at least 350 words a day on the thing. I have a character spreadsheet started, to track the descriptions and motivations of the people I dream up, and a general outline of how things go that I should really write down one of these days.

What I don’t have is a title.

I’ve had a couple of ideas, but none of them have really stuck in my mind the way Cold Iron or Godslayer did. Do I just call it ‘the novel’ until something pops out of my subconscious? I’m not sure what alternatives I have.

In the end, the important thing is for me to keep writing, as much as I can, as often as I can. That is, after all, how this shit gets done.

Self-Publishing Self-Critique

Simmering on the back burner is something I’ve been working on for over a year. It’s relatively complete. It’s got a beginning, a middle, and (in my opinion) a pretty cracking end. I’ve gotten people to look it over and agree it’s at least decent. And yet it sits there. It simmers. It waits.

Because it isn’t ready yet.

Cold Streets is going to be my second self-published novella. And as veteran self-publisher Chuck Wendig will tell you, there’s nothing second tier or ‘minor leagues’ about it. While you don’t have to go through the rigors and the wait and the hoops of the traditional publishing model, part of the trade-off is that the onus of the actual publication process is on you, the writer. You have to be your own PR. You have to be your own editor. And you have to be your own critic.

Despite the good words from my test readers, regardless of what polish and improvements I plan on making, the fact of the matter is, I am the sole arbiter of quality when it comes to what I write. And if something I’ve written isn’t good enough, it won’t see the light of day. That’s why I shut down Godslayer, and it’s why Cold Streets continues to simmer. I want to publish it, sure – it’s decent enough to warrant that – but I don’t feel it’s quite good enough yet.

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. With Cold Iron, I held back on lining up the cover and arranging publication until I felt it was ready. And even as I fired it off, I felt there were things I could change about it. But it was prepared, and worked over, and good enough for other eyes. It may not be perfect – most of my work may never be perfect – but it worked well enough to earn some decent sales and good reviews. Cold Streets needs to be better. It will be, but it isn’t yet.

That’s the price we pay for publishing ourselves.

Well, that, and paying for talented folks to help us with our covers and whatnot.

Writer Report: Another Year

Bard by BlueInkAlchemist, on Flickr

I’m crossing my fingers and knocking on wood (ow) in the hope that the worst of 2013 is behind me, and that the new year will not open with bad news. Cold Streets is still getting tested, and I’ve got a decent idea of what to shore up, what to cut, and what to expand. I’ll wait until everybody’s chipped in, though, before I get started on that.

In the meantime, I’ve been getting more ideas about Godslayer. Specifically, how it should begin. My recent foray back into TV-watching has had me taking in some cracking good pilots, and they all have a few things in common. They hit the ground running with their stories, they get the audience invested in their characters and worlds pretty quickly, and they don’t over-complicate the opening of a long narrative. I think a lot of genre novels can have trouble doing this, and I would rather not be counted among them. Especially if I want to gear Godslayer towards a younger audience.

Let’s see, what else? Got some local projects cooking. Keeping up with Flash Fiction. Still not sure if Fantasy Flight would be interested in a novel set in the Twilight Imperium universe.

Was something else happening today?

Eh.

Couldn’t be that important.

Writer Report: The Long Dark Highway

Courtesy http://pedaldamnit.blogspot.com/

To paraphrase a line from Terminator 2, the future is like driving down a long highway in the middle of the night.

Even if you know your destination, the road right in front of you is shrouded, dark, and uncertain. When there’s enthusiasm and hope, the darkness doesn’t matter as much as the destination, and it’s easier to do things like sing along with the radio or look for interesting landmarks that appear out of nowhere – generally, having a better time. But when the driver’s tired, the car rattles, animals wander out onto the road, and the Check Engine light comes on, there’s little a driver can do but keep their eyes on the shadowy road just in front of their headlights.

I say this because I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I’m doing my best to handle things day to day, and stay on top of everything that’s happening. Cold Streets has been getting pretty good feedback so far, and I have other projects I am embarking upon, all while giving the dayjob as much attention as I can so details are not missed and communication is clear. One way or another, I will be relieved when this holiday season is behind me. Q4 is always a rough time at the office, and this one in particular has taken a toll.

But I’m not going to give up, nor am I going to pull over. Too much is at stake and too many people are putting faith in me for me to turn back now. I honestly believe that I used to be a lot better at quitting things. In the past, if something didn’t work, I’d give up a lot sooner and then wonder why I felt like such a shitheel. I’ve come to realize that successful people aren’t necessarily more talented or more devious or even luckier than I am; they’re simply determined and stubborn. And, of late, I’m doing my utmost to be determined and stubborn, as well.

For me, there’s no other way to see this journey through to the end. And as dark as the road may become, daybreak is coming. It’s inevitable. No matter what happens in my little life or how dark I feel things have gotten, the sun will always rise again. If I can at least face the dawn knowing that I’ve done everything I can, I can face it without shame. And, at the end of everything, that’s all one can really ask for.

Writer Report: Winter’s Here

We had our first snowfall here this past week. Temperatures have dropped and winds have picked up. Clearly, winter is on a little bit of a warpath this year. I’ve been trying to muster up similar motivation and dive further into Godslayer.

It’s something of an experiment, I realized, as I looked over my outline and carved out some character points this week. A lot of fantasy novels out there are perfectly happy to maintain the status quo of the genre and stay well within previously defined boundaries. I look back at old movies I grew up with, like Krull and David Lynch’s Dune, and I see those lines smearing, if not disappearing. Why don’t more modern tales do that?

It’s been said that writers should write the stories they want to read. And I want to read more stories where it becomes hard to tell if it’s one genre or another. I’m not talking about radical shifts in tone, or anything; mostly, I want to emphasize character and theme more than ticking off the boxes folks have been ticking off since Tolkien’s days.

In other news, Cold Streets has test readers who are providing me with excellent feedback. I think I can do everything I need to do in one more pass of rewriting/editing, and then it’s on to getting the cover art and other particulars nailed down. Sure, I may be a bit behind in my original schedule, but I feel like the end result will be worth the wait. That’s the vibe I get from my test readers, as well.

I hope you all have an excellent weekend. Try to stay warm, won’t you?

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