Speaking for Myself

I know it’s been a while since my last post but I’ve been on the horns of a dilemma for the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing stories. Love em, love em, love em… I like to think of each story as a potential pilot for a new series.

On my computer, I have an Excel Spreadsheet that outlines the writing projects that I want to work on. It’s not easy for me to work on a schedule so when my inner rebel starts acting up, creativity tends to lag. I’m not making excuses, merely telling it like it is.

During a relatively sleepless night this past evening, I took advantage of the time to do a little self-analysis and I came to the conclusion that I have a bad habit of creating routines that aren’t sustainable over the long term. Lights and Shadows is moving along at a snail’s pace and while I have faith in its potential, I feel the pull of the Parallax Sequels.

In retrospect, I believe that I didn’t take enough time off between projects and because I made a personal commitment to Lights and Shadows, I’ve been feeling a little stuck. Down Time is important whether we realize it or not and while finishing by September is certainly attainable, creating new story worlds and characters for each and every individual story from scratch gets a little tedious after a time. However, the process is as it is and no amount of complaining on my part will change that. It feels good to vent a little though…hehe.

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40,000 Words! Lights and Shadows is Officially A Novel

I’m pleased to announce that I broke 40,000 words on Lights and Shadows today and I couldn’t be more pleased. I could, but that won’t be until The First Draft is done and I start editing. I’ll admit that the lag in getting this beast tamed is mostly due to me being distracted by promoting my other books on Amazon and my soon-to-be-ending obsession with studying the sales rankings to see how they are performing.

I’ve known for a long time that I perform best when I ignore outside advice (which often turns out badly), stop fixating on what others are doing, and generally do my own thing. I don’t write by consensus and never needed anyone to tell me how to write. Point of Fact, selling books (or not) isn’t my main focus. It never has been.

I write because I love to write. Period, end of story. As long as people know that I’m putting out new stories, that’s enough for me. Yes, of course, I’d love to make a living at it, but I’m not a storytelling machine and I don’t care all that much about making money at writing. I’ll worry about the money aspect when I start to make enough at it to make it an issue.

Anyway, back to the grind. I’ve made some serious progress and I want to keep that momentum going. Thanks for your time. 🙂

Metaphor Monday

Note: A special thanks to the folks at http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/metaphor for the dictionary definition of today’s topic.

Oxford Dictionary defines the term Metaphor as follows:

NOUN

1A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable:

“’I had fallen through a trapdoor of depression,” said Mark, who was fond of theatrical metaphors’

‘her poetry depends on suggestion and metaphor’

1.1A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract:

‘the amounts of money being lost by the company were enough to make it a metaphor for an industry that was teetering’

That being said, on with today’s discussion…

Metaphors add flair to what may be otherwise dull and lackluster prose. Let’s face it, when you are trying to show and not tell, adding a little spice to your wordage can reap dividends when using dialog and exposition to their fullest potential.

In Corona, I use very subtle metaphors to foreshadow future events with the story and how my Present Day characters deal with events that aren’t very Present Day.

In The Three Safeties, I use a time machine not only as a plot device to move back and forth between the Ordinary and Extraordinary Worlds but also as a metaphor for changing perspectives within the plot.

In Vessel, the use of certain metaphors within the plot allow for my main characters to transcend their surroundings and explore new ways of thinking and acting.

In Parallax, Space itself is a metaphor for Life and each light-year traveled is a step forward for my main characters and how they must adapt to new circumstances and grow from each experience.

What are your thoughts on using metaphors? Feel free to add to the discussion with your comments and remember that all of my books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

Settings Sunday

There are characters that often go unsung in stories.

I’m referring, of course, to Setting, the surroundings that our characters interact with and among within a story. Without good settings, all you have are characters milling around talking to each other. If that’s what you’re going for, then bravo. If not, then let’s examine the importance of Setting in Storytelling.

1) What is Setting?

As I stated above, Settings are the surroundings that characters interact with and among. Settings are slices of the world they exist in. A room, a car, the pizza restaurant they eat at. Think of them as the stage backdrops to a literary performance, complete with sets, props, etc.

2) What qualifies as a Setting?

Anything can qualify as a Setting. In Corona, for example, I used a haunted Victorian Hotel as the setting for the story. In The Three Safeties, I used a variety of settings including a suburban home, a coastal Chesapeake Bay City, and a secret complex located in a warehouse, among others. In Vessel, underground cities, The Earth’s surface in Nuclear Winter, an alien planet and a couple of spaceships here and there. In Parallax, I pulled out all the stops and used the Milky Way Galaxy. There are no limits.

3) How important are Settings to a Story?

Settings are important because they literally add the world to stories. Even if for some reason, the writer decides not to describe a setting at all, they are still adding a setting because the reader will fill in the blanks with their own imagination.

4) How much description should go into a Setting?

I don’t feel that there’s an easy answer to this one except to say that in many cases less is more. You can go into intricate detail over it or you can simply describe enough to give the reader a general idea of where each scene is taking place. I don’t think there is a wrong way to do this.

5) How do I pick a good Setting?

A good way to decide is to remember these steps and let your imagination and creativity take it from there: Who, What, When, Where, and Why

6) A Pizza Restaurant?

Yes, I like Pizza. 🙂

As always, comments are always welcome and the books I’ve mentioned here are available on Amazon. You can find the link to my Amazon Author Page on the Right Sidebar.

Happy Writing!

Special Thanks to The UK

I’ve noticed some increased interest in Parallax and Vessel over in the UK and I wanted to take this moment to thank those who bought copies and are reading them on their Kindles. You guys make me feel a little like when Hendrix went over and made it big before returning to the US.

Thanks ever so much. 😀

Parallax and Vessel are available on Amazon for $4.99 and $.99 on Kindle, respectively.

Parallax Price Change

Earlier today I had a heated argument with someone close to me and while I love a good debate, I couldn’t deny that the points they made regarding the book’s pricing were very valid. Their points were as follows:

1) The price doesn’t reflect the quality of the work.

2) Lower prices mean lower royalties on Sales.

3) Lowering the price may present the appearance of not having enough faith in the material

4) Lowering the prices to encourage exposure isn’t a good reason. All I was doing was shortchanging myself in the long run.

If you recall, I made an announcement some time ago that I was lowering the Kindle Price from $4.99 to $2.99. The intention for the price change was to make the book more attractive to potential buyers. Well, dropping the price made no difference whatsoever and seemed to have the opposite effect among those who had previously bought it and contacted me about it wondering why such a drastic (their view) drop in price. My explanation didn’t appear to be satisfactory to anyone involved.

Then, there were the articles that came to my attention recently about customers demanding more free books and the backlash among authors who feel (rightfully so) that they should be paid for their efforts. While making money is low on my list of priorities, I’m not a fan of working for free.

I’m sure that you can guess where I’m going with this. Parallax is back at its Kindle Price of $4.99 and no more shuffling of the economic deck. If people buy it, they buy it. If not, then I move on to the next project. Rome wasn’t built in a day.