Why I’ll Never Outline Anything

I’m beginning to think that past me, who claimed to like revision, deserves to be punished…severely. Present me certainly disagrees. If I had any doubt left that being a professional author is what I want, I’d quit two weeks ago.  Or maybe twenty years.

Then again it could just be that at the moment revising “The Enemy Within” is mostly just rewriting and I’m so not a planner. Writing with an outline, while still enjoyable, doesn’t give me that “buzz” pantsing does. I like not knowing where I’ll end up, or villains who decide to switch sides on me. You know, the whole element of surprise thing? I get none of that now, but I’m soldiering on. I didn’t spend all these years on writing only to throw in the blanket at the first sign of hardship. It matters too much to me for that.

Or it could be the fact that this story was trouble since I first wrote it. It’s just as stubborn as me. One of us will cave and it won’t be me. Worst comes to worst, I’ll trunk this and revise something else. I’m nearing the end though… . Of this draft.

Only thing I know for sure is that my next step will be a pure writing project. I’ll ignore the backlog, just waiting to be revised, to write something new. After that I’ll alternate. No more back to back revisions.


So Much For A September Release

After John & Other Stories took me more than a month less to get ready than I had anticipated, I underestimated just how much more work The Enemy Within needs. Considering how much trouble this story was already giving me when it was a 500 words flash fic, I should have known better. At least I had no plans of putting this one up for preorder.

I suppose I could rush it to get it out in September, but that wouldn’t do the story justice and I’d rather lose a little momentum and release a higher quality product than put it out there just to say. “Hey, I did it!” Especially since I’m trying to get it to 10k+ words without padding.  I’ve rewritten maybe the first quarter now and gone from ~5k to just above 7k, but right now the MC goes from being freaked out about the voices he keeps hearing and the memories he doesn’t have to “I’m haunted. Cool.” without much transition, so that needs more work. For now, I’m officially pushing The Enemy Within to October. If it gets done earlier: Great.

On a more positive note: I’ve had an actual sale.

Serial, Series Or Standalone? An Experiment

Thinking that having a more or less steady style, will generate a better result than switching back and forth,I’ve been thinking about the above question a lot; collecting pros and cons on all. They pretty much even out in my opinion., so I took a closer look at everything I’m currently working on. And–lucky me–I’ve got stories that could with the right approach during revision fit into those categories without breaking my vision for the story in question. Too make things better, they’re also similar enough in genre and style to not skewer results that way.

So, I’ve decided to run a little experiment by releasing stories in all of the above styles over time  and see which does best as well as which suits me best. No point in realizing that say serials will make me millions but hating to write them. Since money is a secondary concern to me, what I like to write better will figure in heavier than  what does better.

This whole thing will take months, maybe years, but I want to do it and since I’ll be writing and publishing anyway, I might as well gather some data while I’m at it. People have probably done this before me or it might not be worth the time, but, while I’m not opposed to taking advice or tips, I like to gather my own data and make my own mistakes.  After all what worked for X might not work for me.

I Made Money!

A whole 36 cents if Select pays out at the estimated .0057. I had another borrow and this one read the whole 38 pages, thus forcing me to revise my earlier theory. I thought the pages displayed on the store page were the KU pages, because they showed four more pages than my file. Turns out there’s another number hidden in the depth of my author account.

Time for a new theory. Since neither reader quit right off the bat and left me a one star review ( which admittedly they might just be too nice to do), I’m going to assume my writing isn’t all that horrible.  Or maybe I’m the only one who can’t finish books that feature atrocious writing…

According to the kdp forums I should either be enraged/disappointed because I’m not selling more or happy because that’s more than most self published books get. There are too many negative things  in this world, so I’m going with happy. Besides I exceeded my expectations. It also proves to me that sticking JOHN in Select was the right decision. Compare 64 pages read to 0 outright sales.  I know which one I’d rather have.

If I didn’t have to wait for it to reach 100, I could buy a bun or a duplo. So, yeah, definitely going with happy.

And Then I Found Canva

As the title says, I’ve found another thing to play with when I’m avoiding the evil that is revision. Besides, cover creation may well be my least favorite part if the whole DIY approach. Anyway, I made this  last night.

Th e Enemy Within

It’s nothing stellar, but at least it doesn’t look quiet as much like someone stumbled upon Gimp and used a bunch of filters.

I haven’t been completely idle on the revision front, though. I’ve started to type up the changes for my horror short, which may or may not be dark fantasy instead. I suck at this genre thing almost as much as at writing summaries.

Here’s the 1st draft within a 2nd draft first paragraph

Littered with cracks and holes, and more of its shingles on the ground, half hidden by the patchy grass, than on its roof, the house at the end of the driveway looked nothing like the one had left behind almost a decade ago. In its current state it b resembled a dried up carcass more than a building. Every fiber of his being urged Ash to turn around and pretend this place never existed; like he’d done until the dreams started. He’d put this visit off as long as he could, but there was no going back now. By next week Ash’s childhood home would be no more than an empty plot of land for nature to reclaim.

And what it started out as.

Ash used the door of his car as a whimsical shield while he allowed himself a moment to just look at the remains of his childhood. After almost a decade of neglect , the house looked like a hollow shell of itself. Cracked shingles, knocked loose by countless storms, and splintered wood littered the ground. It was a pathetic and kind of sad sight. Nothing like the gnawing monster, he almost remembered from the night he left–ran, really. He wouldn’t acknowledge that, though. Not even in his own mind.

I kind of don’t really like either version, but we’ll see. This story is in for another round of edits anyway. When did September become so short?

I Think I Did That Wrong

John & Other Stories has now been available for purchase for a little over a week and, as expected, I’ve had no sales so far. I got around 50 downloads when I ran an unplanned free promo over the weekend so I could get a copy without paying for a “prettied up” version of something I already own. I’ve also had 26 pages reas, which is awesome because that’s ~.15 more than I expected to make and a flat out profit.

as that appeared as first 16 and then later an additional 10 pages, I’m going to assume it translates to two people reading.  If that’s true, then one read John and quit partway through the second, and the other finished the second story. It’s probably way too early for this, but I’m starting to wonder if putting John as the first story might have been a mistake. I think it’s the strongest story in the lot and probably my favorite, too, but being third person present tense with a blind protagonist, it’s also very experimental in nature. Anyone who isn’t put off by that or even buys/borrows because of it, might end up disappointed by the more traditional second story. This whole collection is really a mix of experimental and traditional stories. Maybe I should haves split it into two, but oh well. I’m not really worried. It’s a learning process and considering the lack of promotion I have done and am doing, I’m happy with my numbers. The one thing, I really wanted, was a rank on at least one Amazon and I got one.

That said, I making good but painful progress on my horror short, so I’ll have something new to release by the end of the month. I need to add in one more scene and then the rest is more or less cosmetic changes.