I know it has been a while since my last post but when you have a crisis of faith, it becomes necessary to stop and take stock. Yes, I started doubting my ability to write entertaining stories because I got hung up on where I was on the Amazon Ranking System and the slowing of my sales to date. I took on a second job and scaled back my writing activities accordingly in the hope that the additional income would carry me through my perceived drought.
However, over the past few months, I became more and restless as my lack of creative pursuits began to gnaw on me. Do I leave my characters, both actual and conceptual, languish in limbo? Do the stories that beg to be put on paper stay locked away for a future date?
The answer that I came to was a resounding NO. Stories that need to be written should be written. Characters deserve to be given lives for everyone to enjoy, hate, sympathize, whatever. I write because I love it and to be honest, that’s the only legitimate reason in my mind to put my energies into it at all.
I fell into a kind of production rut and nothing beats the fun out of a pleasant activity than forcing yourself to perform it on a scheduled day in and day out. Maybe other people can do that but not me. I need to feel good about what I am doing and punching a time clock (real or virtual) isn’t something that appeals to me when I am on my own time. I’m not saying that creating writing habits aren’t a good thing. They are. They only turn sideways when one starts to feel forced to operate under them. We are not machines and Life has a way of throwing monkey wrenches into the gears from time to time.
My hiatus had a negative effect on my writing because it’s been going on two years since I started writing the sequel to Parallax and I’m playing catch up to recover lost ground on Parallax: Genesis if there is lost ground at all.
Well, that’s it for now but hopefully, it won’t take me months before I check in again. Have a good one.
I’m settling in today to work on Parallax: Genesis and I’m finding it easier than expected to walk (metaphorically) the decks of John Pratt’s ship, Artemis, as I kick off this latest installment of Pratt’s odyssey through Space. I’ve decided to approach this particular story a little different than I did with Parallax.
(Side Voice): You mean you got more organized this time?
Anyway, this time around I’m preparing both ebook and paperback manuscripts simultaneously which is proving interesting since both use different formats to accomplish the publishing process. Still the same story, obviously.
Sequel stories, at least to me, are unique in that they have to achieve not only a continuation of the current storyline but must also be able to stand on their own. After all, not every reader approaches a series from the same starting point so grabbing and holding their interest becomes very important from the getgo as well as getting them caught up with what’s already happened without overly explaining what happened in the previous story. That would be redundant in my opinion and defeat the purpose of writing the first book.
I finished a rough outline of the book recently and since I use outlines mainly as guides to help me tell the story, they are subject to change as the plot dictates. Suffice it to say that Pratt is on a quest for answers with the bad guys in hot pursuit and the rest of the Galaxy dealing with their own problems in the meantime. The plot’s focus will shift this time around from the borders of known space to taking place mostly on Earth, which should be interesting because up to this point I had only made vague references to it in snatches of dialog between characters.
After a few abortive attempts, I’m once again running a month-long pair of advertising campaigns through Amazon Marketing Services for Parallax while I write Parallax: Genesis. I say abortive because setting up a stable writing budget to fund this endeavor proved to be something of a challenge and I prefer to err on the side of caution with respect to these things.
But I did it and I’m glad I did because despite all the romantic notions I’ve ever held as a writer, making a living at it requires some sacrificing and hard work. After all, you can’t eat fun though you can eat FOR fun. Of course, it costs me very little on average to put out a book even though I would prefer to have some kind of return on my investment and have my books pay for themselves (and me) over time. Balancing a Day Job and a Writing Career isn’t as fun as you would imagine.
I’m still coping with the effects of putting Lights and Shadows on hold but anything is possible with it including revising it later as a future episode of a new series I’ve thought about doing after The Parallax Trilogy is complete involving John Pratt and his merry band of wandering do-gooders.
Anyway, that’s what I’m up to at the moment. Back to outlining Parallax: Genesis so have a great day. 🙂
It’s never an easy decision to pull the plug on a long-term project, even if it’s only for a brief time.
Lights and Shadows started off as a filler project to kill some time while I was winding down from getting Parallax off the ground. Unfortunately, now it’s a year later and it seems that both my interest in it and my progress has slowed to a crawl. That tells me that I need to evaluate how much of an investment I should continue to contribute to it. No, I’m not abandoning it altogether, merely putting it on hold in favor of Parallax: Genesis.
Of course, putting Lights and Shadows on the back burner means that my goal of getting a new book out this year will go unfulfilled. Goals are funny things because they don’t always get accomplished when you intend them. I still believe that Lights and Shadows is a good story that deserves to be put out there, just not at this point in time.
That being said, it’s time to devote my energies and resources to revisiting John Pratt and The Parallax Universe.
I don’t stick to a daily word count when it comes to Writing. Some days I’m on fire and can easily knock out a chapter or two while other days I’m lucky to get a paragraph. That’s simply how it works with me.
I write because I enjoy it, which basically means that if I don’t feel like doing it, there’s a good chance that it won’t get done that day. Thankfully, I manage to get caught up in the long run but to engage in a set writing schedule is tantamount to throwing my hands up in the air and shouting “Please shoot me now.”
I do keep track of my progress though because it’s good to know where you are at and how far you still have to go. I’ve been making slow and steady progress between Lights and Shadows and Parallax: Genesis while working out some logistical stuff for getting L&S ready to go by the end of December and P:G by the end of March 2017. Unfortunately, the blog has been semi-neglected in the shuffle and while I enjoy updating you all on what’s happening over here, it’s a little lower on the food chain.
Before I forget, a small update on the paid advertising venture I was doing with Amazon Marketing Services. I didn’t run the campaigns for the full month as I originally planned but I did notice some significant results and am planning to restart Parallax’s campaign some time in November. I’m not thrilled with the expenditures involved but I’ve been told that’s what you have to do when you self-publish so I accept it.
I’ve been getting a number of messages from people asking me when I’m going to start work on Parallax’s Sequels and though I am loathe to work on multiple projects at once, I’ve decided to dust off the files and get to it.
A little background on where I am at this moment:
Parallax: Genesis takes place immediately after the last battlefield scene in Parallax. Pratt and his crew find themselves trapped in Hyperspace after the ship’s Hyperspace Regulator module overloads and burns out. This poses a dilemma because while the ship’s fusion reactors provide a large amount of power, it is not infinite and when the fuel runs out (exacerbated by unique Time-Space conditions inherent to Hyperspace) everything including their Life Support Systems will shut down. In other words, if they don’t fix the problem, they will eventually drop into Normal Space feet first. Therefore, the first story event in P:G will be a race against time with plenty of opportunities for character development and drama. While I could probably put together a fairly good tale using this by itself, I plan for Pratt and Co to solve their problem and make their way to Earth, where the remainder of the plot will unfold.
This particular sequel is an expansion to the original outline I wrote for Parallax but decided to break into three parts because I felt that it was too extensive for one standalone book.