NaNoWriMo ’16–final day @ 68,362 words

I officially reached over 50,000 words on November 23rd and have continued writing. Since I finished on the same day last year, it seems that’s how long it takes me to write that much with everything else going on.

I have seen people’s avatars on the NaNo forums who reached 100,000 words before I even finished. -__- Sorrow and jealousy. But regardless, the goal I set for myself last year is 70,000 words. In a few hours, I will reach that goal.

Its been a challenge. There’s always some mess or other going on in the background and distracting me. The good news is I did it. The even better news is I only have about five major scenes left in Oracle before I’m finished writing the novel. (The first draft or whatever you prefer to call it.) This is the first time I’ve ever written a full-length novel in six months. The bad and good news is I’m not done yet and the story is getting too big and too long for my head so I’ve decided to write it in three books. Originally, I had intended for it to be a much shorter project than it is. I’ll let the muse continue to carry me until I reach the intended and anticipated end of Oracle.

I’m going to finish Nation Novel Writing Month 2016…then I’m going to take a long nap. *sigh*

What next?

Coming down with it. I feel an overwhelming pressure to publish something this year.

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My plan is to run a short story/novella on JukePop. ^This is what I’m working on, ORACLE–fantasy fiction all the way!! I did these e-book covers on Canva.

Welcome to Oracle–a sprawling school of magic overlooked by a crystal mountain, surrounded by fields and forests beneath whipped clouds and endless blue skies. But you know what they say: If something is too good to be true…it usually is. Caprice Bilberry is a witch who suddenly arrives at Oracle’s extraordinary campus and is informed that as a student here, her greatest wish will be granted: She will be freed from generational enslavement and have the right to go to school and practice her magic. Why leave the only life she’s ever known, risking death and the murder of her family? Why say no and return to life as a slave in a colonial village where using magic is an offense punishable by mutilation and death? Caprice, Nezzle, and Bossa become friends, soon unraveling a terrifying secret: The school is more than what it seems, demanding a price more sinister than its lofty goals reveal or make up for. Its the ultimate fine print. For one does not simply enter and become a student at Oracle school….

And I just got an email that JukePop is doing the 2016 Summer Writing Project with 1888. Perfect, I’ll just do that.

Personally, I’m a little selfish and I don’t want to share my work for free but that’s my vanity talking. Most people advise against doing this though some argue that giving away some work for free helps build an audience. Writing is my calling and art should be freely shared, yet some part of me still wants to write for a living despite what that actually means in my society. Its a working class/poor people thing I guess, that dream of getting paid for doing what you love. I’ve had multiple people tell me I should be paid for my work and I decided to believe them.

I didn’t publish anything last year. Even if I do publish, I’d have to do book covers, editing, proofreading, and back matter/synopsis–all on my own. Not to mention promoting it. Or attempting to rather. I guess I’m already part of the way there: books covers done, synopsis okay, and first four chapters finished.  I wonder if its enough to go, “I wrote this thing” and shove it out there. Wanting a little bit more than that is a lot of work. (If I’m wondering then maybe its not….)

Less is More? Social Networking Sites

Social networking: I’ve never been one to use Facebook, Google+, or Twitter. Honestly, I thought they were superfluous fads. Of course, they can be useful but most of the time it’s about numbers. Yes I want people who are interested in me and interested in my work and want to follow me but blogging and social networking sites look like a popularity contest with a circus on top and I’ve never been the type to get caught up in those types of things or the type to attract that sort of attention. If rather have one reader who really likes and finds value in my work than a thousand followers that I have no real connection to. I’ve created profiles in several different places but I don’t use them, not the personal ones or the professional ones. Now that I have them, I’m not sure I should get rid of them even though I don’t use them. You never know what will be useful later. A tool that’s not relevant now might be a good thing to have in the future.

As much as I hate popularity contests and trying to win people over, planning and scheming, and numbering people, I always agonize over whether or not people hear me (as evident in my agonizing over whether cover art is part of my problem). Am I writing and no one is reading? But aren’t I writing for myself? If that’s true, then why does it matter who read it and how many? But, as a writer, I’m supposed to care about that right? With so many digital methods of reaching people, or audiences as they say, shouldn’t I be doing everything I can to connect with readers? How can you know for sure if you reached even one person on a meaningful level?

I’ve always believed that social networking and the internet has made people lazy and ultimately uninterested in each other. Everything seems so impersonal. Click a button to “like”. Share with contacts. “Unlike”. Follow. Retweet. Reblog. It seems meaningless and shallow. It gives some people a reason to be lazy and hide from solid connections with others. Some it strengthens and helps maintain their connections. Others it gives them a chance to meet in the first place.

So far I’ve deleted my Twitter and my Tumblr (which is still there but I’m not using it). I still have a FB page that isn’t getting any hits so that’s next on the list because I see the tumbleweeds a-blowing ’round. Honestly, I don’t know what will work for me. Even with this blog, I try only to post once a month out of concern for doing way too much.

Progress

I have made some surprising progress with Path of the Righteous, my novel set to be released by the end of Spring.

I’m not much of an editor but looking at the story myself instead of getting someone else and waiting for them to do it for me has really brought me to appreciate my work instead of look down on it.

This book has been around since I started writing it in college, in 2008 I think. As I edit, I see why this book came to me and why I wanted to write this story in the first place.

I’m over halfway through the book and I’m excited to finish editing.

To Publish or Not to Publish Without Professional Editing (and Other Issues): Releasing My First Full-Length Novel

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A lot has been going on since my last post here at Sepia Heaven, including the passing of my grandmother.

Path of the Righteous is a story that begins, depending on how you look at it, with a girl who just wants to read some books and it seems her thirst for knowledge has led her into a bigger trap than she realizes at first.

I like the story because though Dahlia’s journey is harsh, it takes her to fantastic places and in the end she comes out stronger than any of her adversaries or obstacles.

Path of the Righteous is set to be my first full-length novel and I haven’t completely read through it for some cursory editing. I’d like to have a professional do it but hesitation and doubt just keeps winning in addition to literally not having the money to pay anybody to take the time to review and/or look over my writing. I have some inkling as to how to begin looking for an editor if I really want one and feel its necessary. I just want my first book to be kind of shiny and polished I guess.

In addition to living in an environment that’s counterproductive and sometimes even toxic to my writing process, I also want to roll out the book with professional cover art (more money) and a press release letter and everything. Though I want these things, I feel bogged down by my own ever-mounting delusions of grandeur that then collapse right back into the fact that I haven’t even finished editing yet and every time I look back at what I’ve already done, I see something new to edit. Something different to “fix”. There’s also an investigation into continuity with the sequel and a scene or two I’d like to add to Path of the Righteous (Book I) itself..

I’m so indecisive and emotionally and mentally constipated about the whole thing by now that I’m considering compiling a book of short stories to publish first instead.

But why? I think the reason is because it would take me even more time to write and compile those short stories, thereby preventing me from publishing anything for an even longer amount of time. Self sabotage. Doubt. Uncertainty. Attempts at perfectionism.

The truth is I just want to publish the damn book and forget about all this other stuff in my head. Shove it out there, edit as I notice stuff. Nothing like the pressure of sticking the book out there and trying to change typos and other editing issues before anyone else sees them, hahaha :-D. I don’t want my readers to have a potentially bad experience but this maybe the only way I can get anything out there without drowning in anxiety/panic attacks every five seconds and succumbing to procrastination and other forms of self-sabotage.

I’ll work through this, so please look forward to seeing Path of the Righteous on Smashwords in ebook format and available in hard copy probably on Lulu soon.

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a hardback copy of my book + a Valentine’s Day release

I’ve been in the clouds recently filling orders from my almost-small-business and I’m coming up on the deadline for an offer from NaNoWriMo to its winners to get a supposedly free first edition of one of my manuscripts from Lulu.com..

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I have three or so manuscripts that are unfinished but novel length. Path of the Righteous (Book I) is the one I chose.

So I’m in the process of combing through it for as much editing as I can manage then I’m sending it off. As I understand it, I only have to pay shipping and handling for this edition.  I had intended to offer this book for free on Smashwords, but what’s the harm in having both? Someone wants to pay for a hard copy, or they just want to read the book without hassle– all sounds fine to me. Believe me, I want to be paid for my work; however, this need conflicts with my beliefs as an artist (that art isn’t something you should have to pay for). So, as a reader and writer, if I read it for free, really like it, and had the money to pay, I’d want a hard copy 😀

Though I know that not everyone thinks like me, I’m “selling myself short”, and should stop giving things away for free (which is also a problem I’m having with my quasi-small business–not charging people what I feel I deserve to be paid for my art crafts).

In addition, I am also releasing a special Valentine’s Day novella–Cat Eyes (one of my older works). More on both books coming soon.

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Why I Published It Anyway

Its a big deal to me that I published a novella on Smashwords. I could be arrogant but its amazing that the world just keeps on turning, like nothing’s happened while I feel like everything’s spinning out of control because of this one thing I did.

I really didn’t think The Taker was ready to be published. I know its far from perfect in presentation and I need to read through it again. I know I have no way of improving further without a professional (and holistic) editor who can do the work for free.

But I published it anyway because all my life I’ve always gotten the impression from others that writing isn’t a legitimate life pursuit 1) unless you have the money to pay for it already or 2) someone recognizes you, you hit it big and you play the politics of the market to get ahead. Or you have to be a J.K. Rowling or a Stephen King, Dan Brown or whoever wrote Fifty Shades of [I can’t even completely mention the title here because I don’t like fads, especially ones that are rumored to promote misconceptions about sexuality and even violence–not that I completely believe rumors of books that I haven’t read myself]. I don’t have money. I don’t have connections or connections that have connections. I don’t have an editor, a cover artist, a publisher, or a literary agent.  I don’t have a support network of people who care about my dreams or passions who will help bounce back when I feel like an utter failure or like my stories don’t matter. I don’t have a job. I grew up poor.

Its just me, alone, trying to figure out what to do.

I’m always thinking that the reason no one cares about my work is because I’m weird, I think about writing the wrong way, I don’t do what’s popular and trendy, and I don’t try hard enough and put myself out there enough to get any real exposure. I’m just not “doing” writing “the right way”.

I am afraid of getting hurt, I’ve been hurt enough in my life. So I hesitate to offer myself (that means my writing as well) to anyone or anything. And that would be okay if I hadn’t always dreamed of being published in a way that is closer to the traditional idea. What if I get it? A dream come true, a little shine, a little attention, a published book that a few people read. I don’t know what I’d do then. Probably keep writing. Maybe I’d stay thirsty and hungry and keep trying to get more, maybe I’d keep trying to climb higher.

I published The Taker anyway (even though it could have repercussions if anyone actually finds it, buys it, and reads it) because I wanted to challenge myself. So far like twelve people have looked at it. No purchases. No downloads. No sample read. I didn’t expect instant fame. I hoped. I fantasized. I expect people to ignore it, leave it under its rock, to tell me its garbage. I’ll be hurt, I’ll fight to get over it. I published the novella anyway because for some reason I feel like if I can get people to read my work, maybe I’ll find love at last. I am prepared to accept rejection and obscurity as long as I try to help my dream come true instead of getting stuck on all the reasons that its unlikely.

I’m not looking for anyone to coach me or tell me the error of my thinking. I’m just putting this out as a sincere collection of my feelings right now.