I Was A Middle Aged Writer

March 24, 2009

Writing Work, Writing, and Waiting

Filed under: writing — danielrdavis @ 9:41 pm
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Greetings,

A number of things to gab about today.  The first is that I’m revising a film script, officially, like for money.  I’m rather happy about this because it’ll be the first official rewrite I’ve done.  It should take me about two weeks to finish the rewrite, provided that’s all I work on, which means my other projects are on hold.  I won’t go into what the script is about, but it will be interesting.  I’ve sent them the first 5 pages to make sure they want me to do it.  After that I’ll give them a price.  It won’t be much because they don’t have much of a budget and one of my acquaintances is helping produce it so I’ll likely give him a deal.

Next order of business, being a writer.  This is something I touched on somewhere else in another discussion, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while.  I am a writer.  I consider myself a writer.  I always have.  Some opinions are that you aren’t considered a writer until you actually complete something.  Honestly, I have completed a few things; short stories mostly, but I have completed some things.  Even when I hadn’t I still always considered myself a writer, and there’s a reason for this.

To coin a phrase from Throw Momma From The Train, A writer writes, always.  I’m not sure if someone else said it first, but it’s very true, no matter who said it.  Whether it’s an essay, a short story, a novel, script, or even a blog, a writer is always writing something.  They can’t help it.  It’s a compulsion.  When we’re not trying to write the next great novel we’re blogging about it.  When we’re not blogging about it we’re trying to finish the next short story or the next script.  When we’re not doing that we’re trying to compose the perfect letter of inquiry to best sell what we’ve written.  It’s never-ending.  And we have to do it.  I think there’s something in our genetic makeup that makes us want to do it, no matter how frustrating it is at times.

It has noting to do with the possibility of money (from what many authors say it’s likely we won’t ever make more than some extra comfort money).  It’s usually not about fame, though some do like the fans who do end up coming to their book signings, no matter how few there may be.  We have a story to write, a tale to tell, and we feel the need to tell it.  Will I be like those writers they show in movies that write a bestseller and and suddenly move on up to that deluxe apartment in the sky?  Probably not.  Will I get a mansion and get to hang out with movie stars and other bestselling and more famous authors?  Likely, no.  What I will do is tell my tale, obstacles bedamned.  And yes, I will sit down with the finished novel and read the thing, I’m silly like that.

This is also why I have no problem with self-publishing.  Some would say that if you are only into writing novels as a hobby then it’s fine to self-publish, but I’m not 100% in agreement.  Others say that you’re just a wannabe writer/novelist if you cop out and self publish, but again, I can’t agree.  If you’re willing to put in the time, effort, legwork and money to sell your tale then self-publishing may work for you.  After all, to be quite honest, from what I’ve heard the publishing company isn’t even really going to promote your book, unless you are one of those few who hit a massive bestseller that sells a million copies out of the gate.  Sure, they’ll put your books in big chains like B&N or Borders and such, but it’s still up to you to promote it, no matter what shelf it ends up on.  And, on top of all that, they get the lion’s share of your hard work.  So far, I’m not seeing the incentive.

However, It would be awesome to say you’ve been picked up by this company or that company and book deals for a number of novels or a number of years, etc.  That brings stability.  You know your next book will be picked up.  There’s also definitely appeal in saying you went the route of various other authors and got accepted.  It’s a feeling like you’re now with the “in-crowd,” secret handshake forthcoming.  You can get to meet and make friendships or acquaintances and connections with various people in the publishing industry and also learn a bit about how things are done as well.  This, I feel would be a good thing for a writer.  Still, if you want the bulk of the money you make for your writing, you’re not likely to get it through mainstream publishing, so I’ve heard.

Now, before I go farther and people start calling me a staunch defender of people who aren’t good enough to make it in the mainstream market (yep, I’ve heard that line before), keep in mind that a good deal of the money you get for your books while self publishing will most likely go back into promotion (the books won’t sell themselves, no matter how good the story may be), travel, and POD company payments.  And unless you go with a company like Lightning Source, you’re also most likely not going to get your novel in mainstream stores like B&N and Borders.  Honestly, in self publishing (another reason why I can’t agree with it being a hobby) you’re going to have to do even more legwork to get yourself out there than you would if you were picked up by a publishing company.  So that right there shows a certain level of dedication to your craft beyond it just being a hobby.

Either way you go, do it with eyes open and dedication to getting it done.  If you’re 100% behind it and willing to go the distance to get there, you’re much more likely to succeed.

So anyway, a writer writes.  A novelist or author, however, has finished something that’s as close as they can get it to a publishable product.  And there’s where I draw the distinction.  There’s the difference.  You’re a writer because you write, but you’re a *novelist* when you finish that next great novel and it’s out of your head and onto the page from start to finish.  And no matter what approach you take to publish it, it’s your heart and soul, a piece of you that you poured and sometimes tore out and placed onto the page.  Don’t let anyone degrade or denounce that because of their own beliefs.  Because opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has one and thinks everyone else’s stinks.

Now onto another bit of news.  I heard recently that my RPG supplement will be out soon.  Well, it was said that it would be this quarter, but this quarter is nearly over with no sign, so I’m dubious.  This is the supplement that took a lot of research and time to make and I’ve been waiting to see in book form for the past couple years now.  Before I created that supplement I knew a little bit about pirates.  Now I know far more than anyone who is not a scholar or historical reenactor should have to.  It’s an awesome book and I hope it will be well received, but it has to come out first.  I’m ready for closure on that front.  I hope it’s soon.

And with that we’re done.  The next post will most likely be about the trials and tribulations of rewriting a film script, but that’s for another time…approximately two weeks or so from now.

D

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March 20, 2009

ARRGH! My Simple Story Is Not!

Filed under: writing — danielrdavis @ 3:19 am
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Simple, that is.

What started out as a simple hunter tale set in a fantasy realm has turned into a horrid monster from beyond the darkness between the stars.  It has morphed into some epic tale that could take as many as three books to complete it.

Oh, I’m sure I could make it much smaller in scope; change it around so that the bad guy gets his just desserts before all Hell breaks loose, but I just wrote an epic…no, EPIC! synopsis that not only traverses a continent, but includes a battle that spans an entire region maybe the size of Texas or maybe Florida and threatens the very existence of the humanoids who call the continent their home.  My only problem writing this will eventually be the battle at the end.  How will a battle of that size really be fought?  That much ground can’t be held, can it?

Okay, picture, Texas, or maybe Florida.  I think Florida is a better comparison.  Now picture the bottom third as one vast and dark swamp.  Now picture armies and armies of monsters coming out of that area to attack a number of lordships, like smaller states all banded together to fight off that horde.  Now picture that they get reinforcements from other good races/governments.  Yeah, it’s that kind of big.

So, what was once going to be a simple story about a group of monster hunters going against a powerful villain is now a massive epic tale that could easily encompass three books.

I’m not sure yet if this is a good thing or a bad one.  Guess it depends on whether I can actually get them all written…along with the multitude of other things I need to write and do.

D

March 13, 2009

To Color or….

Filed under: writing — danielrdavis @ 12:18 am
Tags: ,

Greetings,

My map for one of my fantasy novels is nearly complete, but now I’m going back and forth over the idea of coloring the thing or not.  The plusses to coloring it are that I can show the ocean, coastal and lake depth on the map.  I can also show by color what is grassland, wasteland, swampland, steppes, etc.  The downside is that if the pic is used for the book it’ll be in black and white anyway so all that color will become gray scale.  The other option is just to make the depths as dotted lines and leaving it as is.  Then again, if I do end up getting the book published I may want someone to remake the entire map to look better than I can get it with my meager drawing skills.

If anyone has any thoughts on this go ahead and toss ’em out here.

Thanks,

D

March 10, 2009

Cartography Time

Filed under: writing — danielrdavis @ 4:07 am
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So,

It’s time to start drawing maps of my regions in my two works.  It’s one of those necessities in stories that take place over a large region.  I’m not always able to keep all that straight in my head and like to see where my characters are going.  Unfortunately I’m not the greatest cartographer in the world and don’t really know how to use the copy of CC2 that I have very well.  I also don’t always follow the natural laws of the universe, so I’ve been told, when I draw my maps.  I never really understood what he meant when he claimed I didn’t have a great grasp of geological terrain and whatcherjiggers, but I ended up using the age old excuse…it’s a magical realm, whaddya want?

So now I’m drawing maps, which also means that I have to also think harder on how each government in that setting has set things up.  Are they feudal, are they dictators, are they all powerful, are they a freestate?  This is one of the bigger undertakings when writing a fantasy novel and can be a bit annoying and mildly daunting because not all of them will follow strictly real life governments.  Still, the more you know about your world the more real you can make it for the readers.

Luckily most novel maps lack one important item that other maps tend to have, measured distance. 😉

D

March 6, 2009

So, On That Time Issue…

Filed under: writing — danielrdavis @ 7:53 pm
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Yeah,

So, I think about restructuring my time and what ends up happening instead is that yet one more idea for a story pops into my head.  It always seems to happen this way.  That’s in part why I have some odd million (Maybe not that many) stories laying around the house and on zip disks here and there.  I love that I have so many stories in my head trying to get out, but could they just wait till I finish one of the older ones first?  I’m so practiced on writing beginnings that I have some of the greatest story beginnings around.  I have beginnings that can grab attention right off the bat, but unfortunately, that’s all I have.  Oh, I’ve got some short stories that I’ve finished at around 5-7k words and a couple novel beginnings coming in at around 15-20 pages, but no novels done and no place to send those short stories.

What’s popped into my head this time is straight fantasy.  It’s actually stemmed from seeing the multitude of urban fantasy hunter novels hitting the scene lately.  Don’t get me wrong, I love ’em.  I think they’re great and they work well, but most all of the hunter stories coming down the line lately are urban fantasy.  And fantasy is actually one of my favorite genres and it’s how I started writing in the first place.  So, why not a straight high fantasy hunter novel?

Now, I don’t know if it’s because Earth-centric urban fantasy is all the rage right now and straight fantasy is waning, but there’s just a lot of it out there all the sudden.  Maybe the straight fantasy novel will be harder to sell in today’s market.  I haven’t researched it.  What I do know is that I’m good enough to put some interesting twists into a fantasy novel to garner interest in it…as long as I can actually finish the thing.  Now I’ve got three projects I have to budget time for.  Hopefully no more ideas hit me for a little while.  Well…no, I can’t say that.  The day that I no longer have ideas is the day I just give up and become some crotchety old coot hollering on his porch about the good ol’ days.

D

March 4, 2009

Time Restructuring

Filed under: writing — danielrdavis @ 7:37 pm
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Well, looks like I may need to budget my time a bit more wisely and actually schedule myself certain writing tasks on certain days. We’re going to need to get our scripts finished for our movies, so I’m going to need to write on those as well. So, I may take the weekdays and split them up into perhaps 4 to 5 hour blocks of writing. This also means that distractions like the internet must be shut down during those times. This is the only way I’ll get anything done. I’m also going to need to start getting up earlier. If anyone out there knows of a good way to get some energy to do this I’m all ears. Seems like I want to wake up later and later and feel groggy if I don’t. It could be time for another B12 injection. Probably a vitamin supplement as well. Hopefully with some structure I’ll be able to get more done. My word count has been sparse, to say the least.

We’ll see,

D

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