Story Time

Note: I gave myself two choices for this particular installment:

1) Write a really snarky piece poking fun at stupid things that defy Common Sense.

Or

2) Tell a story.

Without further ado, let’s have a story that’s completely free written with no planning or commercial interruptions…

He stood by the railing, the dark red glow of his cigarette pointing toward the ocean waves moving below. Sally loved taking cruises and he tolerated them so long as there was an adequate supply of Dramamine available. He shook his head as he smoked quietly, one hand holding the polished wood for security as his stomach fought to contain the overpriced buffet that threatened to make a break for it. Communing with the evening dark seemed to be his only solace on this particular trip.

I should have said no, he sighed, tossing the cigarette butt overboard. Sally was always the more adventurous one, pulling him along for one adventure after another. He’d dodged bulls in Barcelona, watched whales in Dutch Harbor, and logged more hours on ships than his entire time in the Navy. Retiring from The Service was supposed to be restful, but as he approached 40, he felt that circumstances were conspiring to steal away the time he had earned. He had no real complaints regarding his wife. She was as sweet and loving as the first day they had met. She was also a powerhouse personality that unless he checked her frequently, would run over him like a bulldozer. But I didn’t and that’s where I am now.

He considered lighting up another smoke, but an insistent beep from his suit jacket dissuaded him. Sally was texting him, asking when he was coming in for the night. He answered the text with ‘soon’ and slipped the phone back into hiding.

A Month of Decisions

Yes, I know it’s April Fool’s Day.

No, this isn’t an April Fool’s Day prank.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten THAT out of the way, on to today’s discussion:

Some of you may know that Lights and Shadows hasn’t been moving along as well as I had hoped. I’m still planning on getting it finished and out on Amazon by the end of this month, but time has been a premium of late and I’ve had to consider pushing back the deadline later. I don’t particularly want to do that because I want to start working on the sequels to Parallax.

It’s not that I’m losing interest in the story by any means. It’s just that I’ve been tired lately with the Day Job making demands on my time. I’m currently stuck halfway through Chapter 11 and trying desperately to get the story moving again. I have no real deadlines except those that I’ve placed upon myself but I don’t like leaving project unfinished and even a minor delay is enough to make me want to pull my hair out. Thankfully, I have hair to spare (See what I did there? Hehe)

I guess the real issue is do I persevere with Lights and Shadows no matter how long it takes, or do I put it on hold if not finished by April 30 in favor of starting Parallax: Genesis (Yes, it does have at least a title at this point)?

This is going to be an interesting month, to say the least.

Thoughts on Social Media

First off, this is not a rant against using social media to develop an online presence. I firmly believe that it has the potential to generate a huge following when applied in the right way.

Ah, Social Media, Home of Cat Pictures, Videos, volcanic social and political discussions, and a virtual watering hole for those seeking to connect with other people on a global scale. You get out of it what you put into it, I suppose.

I currently utilize between 4-5 different outlets to relay this blog across the Internet. I’ve gotten Likes, Follows, Retweets, and the occasional dissenting voice that wants to disagree with what I’m saying. It’s ALL good.

Social Media, in general, amuses me and tests my ability to present myself in various lights. I’ve even used it to get the word out when I publish a new book. For the most part, I’ve been pleased with the results.

However, I’ve come to see Social Media lately as being synonymous with a crazy ex-girlfriend who drives me nuts but is amazing between the sheets. What? You were expecting me to be PC? Silly Wabbit. I’m pushing 50 and have no time nor patience to be anyone other than myself. Take me as I am or walk the other way with my eternal blessing. 🙂

I doubt that I’ll be shutting down any accounts anytime soon because I’ve invested too much time and energy in setting up such a wonderful collection of tin cans on strings to give it up now. Besides, I’ve come to notice that when I get a little fired up, people seem to dig that…hehe. Can’t let you all down now. 😉

Snapback To Reality

Note: I’ve noticed that my periodic absences are becoming more and more pronounced. I’ve just been busy, not gone.

This discussion is probably going to rankle a few feathers among the “For only $XX.XX, I can make you a bestselling author by sharing this secret” Crowd, but since I rarely give many damns these days, I’m not going to stop now.

When I first decided to take this writing thing of mine online, it was with the idea that no matter how much experience and knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the past 25 years, I can always learn more. So, I adapted my methodology to studying other writers doing the online thing and learning what they have to offer in terms of how to improve as a writer and getting my name out there.

My Results:

Improving as a writer: Minimal, mostly things that I already knew about and do.

Getting my name out there: Apparently, there is a secret society of those who are privy to vast sums of guarded knowledge that ensure success by the payment of cash. While I somewhat applaud their efforts to make a living through the use of pretty promises couched in vague prose wrapped in a candy-coated Paypal Shell, I’ve found this to be less than helpful.

I won’t say that none of them work. I’ll merely say that I can’t afford to experiment with methods that have a cash limiter involved. And you shouldn’t either. I won’t name names for obvious reasons.

I’m an Old School Kind of Guy. That means I work hard on creating stories that entertain my readers. It also means that while I’ll discuss Writing all day long, I won’t tell you how to write. In other words, do what feels right to you and let the rest take care of itself.

There is no right or wrong way to write. There are only basic grammatical rules to follow. Learn those and everything else will fall into place. Read others if you must, but remember to have fun with what you are doing. After all, that’s why we do it, right?

My problem is that I allowed those marketing people to divert me from the First Rule of Writing which is to WRITE. Nothing else matters.

Now I’m thinking of coffee, a good smoke, and something to get me fired up to get the next book out. After all, they don’t write themselves. Thanks for your time and feel free to leave any comments. 🙂

Promoting Causes Me Stress

I don’t like the idea of having to sell people on the idea of buying my books and as much as I want to feel otherwise, it doesn’t matter all that much to me if they are purchased or not. I write because I love it and despite my best efforts, my apathy toward doing more for them other than to put out the word that they are on Amazon knows few limits.

But Wallace, you may ask, how do you expect to make a living with writing if you don’t sell your work?

When I look at my writing ability in terms of moneymaking potential, something inside me shuts down. I never decided to pursue a writing career with dollar signs in mind. Yes, I have to consider the practicals and being a full-time author with writing that pays for itself is definitely my dream job. But I have had a longstanding philosophy that I never do anything purely for the money. I have to enjoy what I do or my best efforts will never show themselves.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

“I’m a writer, not a salesman. I’ll never be a failure so long as I never stop.”

Writing Dilemma: Writing in a new Character

I haven’t done one of these in a while so let’s have some fun:

My current Writing Dilemma is that I have a character that I need to reintroduce into a scene. Pretty straightforward, right? Unfortunately, the scene involves one where my two main characters are trapped in the lower levels of a facility and can’t get out through the usual routes while this new character needs to have a way to get down to them.

I’m toying with the idea of having them arrive as a telepresence robot that looks and acts human. However, being man-shaped, it would be subject to the same restrictions as my main characters. The facility is a converted space station that I jammed into the ground so there’s potential for previously unknown systems to reveal themselves. However, if I do that, then the question becomes “If the robot can get down there, why couldn’t the main characters figure that out and use that way to escape?”

I know I’m close to a believable and workable solution, but it’s slow going and honestly a bit frustrating.

Comments, questions, and potential suggestions are always welcome and there’s a great chance that you may end up being thanked on The Dedication Page down the road. It could happen. 🙂