Good Tuesday To You

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. 🙂

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Parallax: Genesis (The Planning Begins)

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.

Lights and Shadows Update #13

Note: Not much of an update, I admit, but it’s progress. Enjoy.

Vague whispers carried through the air tormented him as he tried to sleep. After a few hours, they stopped and Matson opened his eyes. The building was in Night Mode and the quiet darkness punctuated by tiny red lights embedded along the wall base did little to ease his mind as he put his uniform back on. The reinforced fabric fared well despite recent punishment but the wear and tear made its presence known in several Irish pennants that hung from the seams. This wouldn’t have happened if I were wearing my leather, he mused, as he splashed some water from the sink onto his face. He shook off his thoughts and went to the Control Room.

Finch cursed under her breath as she adjusted the emerald samples in the scanner. Small amounts of the stone worked out fine but as she added larger quantities, problems soon developed. What little she could glean from the readings indicated that while the radiation the emeralds emitted wasn’t harmful to humans, higher levels crashed the equipment, frustrating her efforts to learn more. She didn’t look up as Matson entered the room.

“The scanner’s detecting some unusual properties in these emeralds,” she slapped the scanner’s side. “When I can keep it working, that is.”

“Beating on the thing isn’t going to help,” he said, squeezing in beside her and noting to himself that the space between the mini-laboratory and the control console didn’t appear to be as open as when they first arrived, “Did you do something to the equipment?”

“I moved the consoles closer together so I could work on each more efficiently.”

“Efficient, but cramped.”

Nuts and Bolts

It costs little to nothing to write a good story.  That’s a fact.  We think it, we write it…bang zoom…it’s out there.  We do it out of a love of storytelling and the satisfaction of taking a vague idea and giving it life.  That’s the point of it all.

However, when we take those finished stories and shop them around, money enters the scene.  We pay for office supplies (we do anyway but still), postage, mailing materials, etc, to put our babies in the hands of literary agents and prospective publishers.  It’s how the Traditional Publishing Game is played and there’s no way around it that I have found and I’ve been taking bites out of this particular elephant for a long time.

Self-Publishing incurs many of the same costs with the added joy of having to shop around for a good cover designer, editor, and if you are so inclined someone to assist in promoting your work to the masses. This particular batch of trail mix has an exceeding amount of nuts in it and though you can keep the costs down by doing them yourself, eventually a realization sets in after that first great cover reveal that going back to using the “free” services isn’t an attractive option.

I’ll admit here that I’ve had some Writer’s Anxiety of late concerning Lights and Shadows.  I sit down, stare at the manuscript in Scrivener for several minutes, and then practically dive out of my desk chair.  There’s nothing wrong with the story itself.  It’s as solid as the day I first did the outline. So then why?  I’ve pinpointed my particular dose of anxiety with the cost of a new book cover and a dearth of funds available to purchase said cover.  I’ve since solved that particular issue due to revising my writing budget, but I find it interesting that I would be delayed by something that most wouldn’t consider part of the creative process.  Sadly, when we move our pastime into the realm of income producer, new considerations come into play.

Personally, I’d rather have Writer’s Block…

A Random Literary Thought

Every so often while I’m writing, a stray thought pops into my head and I have to stop and ponder its significance.  Most stray thoughts drift out whence they came and some stick around long enough to get written down. I guess that’s how it works.

Today’s random thought involves retooling Lights and Shadows so that I can fold it into The Parallax Universe as the lead book in a new series that will pick up where The Parallax Trilogy ends.  Of course, that means changing a bunch of stuff (timeline, some characters, etc) to line it all up with the events I’m currently leading up to.  That also means a delay of sorts since Parallax: Genesis and Darkfall haven’t been written yet.  Lights and Shadows was originally intended to be a spinoff set within the same story universe but about seven years into the story future.

Yes, I know that since it’s my story, I can do whatever I want with it.  Yes, I know that retooling L&S has the potential to put it on hold in favor of the Parallax Sequels.  Yes, I know that delays may push the release date way past the end of September and despite the hordes of voracious villagers assembling with pitchforks and torches, I would rather delay a release in favor of a better end result.

My inner voice tells me to consider very carefully before committing to an action like this because internal consistency is very important.

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.