A New Direction for a new start

I know I said last week that I probably wouldn’t say more about what the next project is until I’ve got something to show, and I wasn’t going to say more, as I really wasn’t sure what it would be. I had a lot of options staring at me, clamoring for time, and whatever choice I made, it had to be something I was excited about writing.

It also had to satisfy some new ideas about the direction I want to go with my writing career. I’ll talk about them in the future, but it’s important, I think, for you to know that they exist just as context for the rest of this post. I’m not going to step out of speculative fiction or anything like that. It’s more like doubling down on the things that turn my crank.

Darned near six years ago, I started a new fantasy series, a sword & sorcery series that was going to be five books, all about the length of Mendleson Moony or Minders. Sixty thousand words and change, each. I planned to write them all as a set, and then release them once a month until they were all out.

I finished the first book, sent it to my alpha readers, and started on the second book. In the middle of this, all my life things that were going on at that time really put a crimp in the writing. I have two thirds of that second book complete. And it’s been that way since early 2019.

And then the writing came to a complete halt.

I’ve had it in my mind to finish that book out, then finish the series out, and release it as planned, so I started reading it all over again, trying to catch up. And as I was reading it, I kept running into things that I wish I had done differently. It wasn’t the kind of book, as written, that fit where I wanted to go. And if I had to match that for three and a third more books, I don’t know if I would have been able to complete the series.

And then, as if struck by lightning, it occurred to me last night that I could just rewrite the whole thing from the beginning so that it would fit my new criteria.

This morning, I wrote almost 2000 words of a new start of the first book of that series. I know you have no idea what it is, or what the goal for it is, but I’m excited about it, and I hope you will be, too. The first iteration really focused on one character in typical Sword & Sorcery style, but this new direction will expand the book quite a bit with more from the other characters, and is likely to have more of an Epic Fantasy feel. I expect it will at least double the first one in length, but that’s really only an estimate. There’s a very real possibility it will be even longer.

I’m excited about it. I hope you will be, too!

What a year

The last time I came here to write anything in this space, I had a hope that things were going to be changing for the better. I had no idea that the bullshit I’d been dealing with would continue to drag on and on and on. It did, though.

Except!

Except I wrote and recorded a new record, Down, Not Out which got released in October. In my own opinion, it’s fantastic, but some other people really liked it as well. Check it out if you get a chance. The link there will take you to my band page, which has links to most of the places where you can find my music.

Also, I’m still alive, which is a fine place to be. I’m enjoying being alive, and looking forward to getting vaccinated here, real soon.

The title of the previous/last post is still accurate. There will be more books. I just don’t know what, or when, and I’m not going to really say more about them until I’ve got something to show. I don’t expect it to be quickly, though. There are a lot of things I have to resurrect.

If anyone still hangs around here, comes to see if I’ve got anything to say, I love you. Period, end of story. I hope to give you some good things in the weeks, months and years to come. I’m excited about the future, for the first time in a long while, and I want to share it with you.

P.S. If you are still here, drop me a note in the comments (assuming they still work). I’d like to hear from you, what your up to, and what’s kept you going the past year.

There will be new books

Why does that title seem like a repeat? Because it is? Yeah, that’s probably it.

All that shit I said in the previous post, it was all true, except the parts where it wasn’t. I’m not going to go into exactly what happened, because it’s not really relevant, but everything I thought I knew about some things turned out to be lies, and finding that out destroyed any desire I had to write, think about writing, or even be part of the community of writers that I called my friends.

I still went to our monthly lunches, for awhile, but it was super difficult to go, face them, listen to them talk about the thing I could no longer do, while feeling all the while like someone was grinding their boot into my face.

Now, of course, because of this wonderful virus, I can’t go and see them at all.

In the meantime, I’ve been making new “art”, if you want to call it that. Recording music and playing it live on Twitch. Hit the Music tab up at the top to see more about that.

While I enjoy doing that, and I entertain fantasies of playing live, for real, in front of super large crowds, it can never satisfy the need I have to tell stories.

Through therapy, and the support of a few good friends, I’ve reached the point where I think I can tell stories again. It’s going to be slow progress, I’m certain, as I have only a couple hours a day to work on new things, but it will be progress, and the thing that stopped me will no longer stand in my way. I refuse to let it.

The new stories probably won’t be continuations of existing series. Not for awhile, perhaps not ever, though I won’t say never. I’m just too far removed from the mindset that wrote those stories, and anything I did with them would likely feel quite a bit different.

If there’s one thing this virus lock-down has taught me, it’s this: You never know when the weirdest shit will happen that could potentially ruin your dream forever. Go after it before there’s no time left. If there’s something in your way, go around it, over it, move it, or destroy it.

P.S.

If you’re wondering what this means for the software side of my life, specifically TrackerBox and StoryBox, I’ll have an update on those next week. They were affected by the event that occurred, too, and I want to address them in a separate post.

There will be new books

First, short story time.

I’ve been working through some mental bullshit. Some of you know that. I may or may not have been clear about it on the blog in the past. It is what it is.

Artistic work, being what it is, relies on being able to clear away that mental bullshit (or harness it) for that time period in which you’re creating. You have to be able to lose yourself in what you’re doing, especially if you’re writing. If you can’t lose yourself in the story your creating, and you allow your real life to intrude, it becomes harder and harder to make progress.

These are my word counts for the past six years. Read ’em and weep.

2012: 256k
2013: 199k
2014: 51k
2015: 49k
2016: 39k
2017: 32k
2018: 16k

Can you guess what happened? The voice of a person close to me took up residence in my head, and once it was there, I couldn’t get it out. Fear made the voice stronger and stronger until it choked me.

This person never intended this to happen to me. They never actually said the things that echoed within the confines of my skull. But I let them in, magnified them, and they became my own personal writing hell to the point where I was wondering if I was a writer anymore, or even if I wanted to be.

I’ve been on the cusp of solving this problem for a couple months, now. I could feel it. It was palpable. I just didn’t know exactly when.

Until this past Monday.

An event occurred, something that was a bit stressful, but generally not earth shattering. I’m keeping the details private, because the person involved may not want them public, but it set things in motion inside me. It was the push I needed.

The unwanted voice in my head that I couldn’t get rid of? It’s gone. The fear and stress associated with it? Gone. I wrote 1100 words on Tuesday, 2600 words on Wednesday, 3200 words on Thursday, 3100 words on Friday, and 1400 words on a fairly hectic Saturday. More than eleven thousand words this week. Compare that to all of 2018. The 3200 words on Thursday? They were the most words I’d written in a single day in three and a half years, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s writing.

All because I was able to exorcise a voice from my head that I’d magnified into a mammoth, frightening demon that was sucking the life out of me.

Don’t let negative voices into your head. Ignore people who have opinions about your work or about what you should be doing, especially if they choose to share them with you without your asking. Even if they are close to you. Especially if they are close to you. Your art and well-being are more important than their uninformed opinions.

Now, story time is over. On to the part of this post that sort of resembles the title.

I’m working on a new fantasy series, tentatively titled Sorcerer’s Bane. The first book is done (it was done over a year ago). The second book will hit the half-way mark on Monday or Tuesday, and there will be at least three more after that. The release date of the first book is tentatively scheduled for the end of April. Pre-orders for the other titles in the series may become available at that time, but the plans for that are subject to change.

Following Sorcerer’s Bane, I’ll be writing a few more Grim Repo novels. These will likely be about 20% longer than Parted Out, and like Sorcerer’s Bane, will come out one after the other until the story arc is finished.

And then, following the Grim Repo books, I’m finally going to finish A Wizard’s Work. The reason I’m putting off until later is that both the Sorcerer’s Bane books and the Grim Repo books are much shorter than the AWW books will be, and I want to be sure I’m in a good writing rhythm before tackling them.

I may sprinkle in some other short projects here and there, but for the most part I will be focusing on these three series for the next year to year and a half.

If it sounds like a lot, it is a lot. It sounds daunting, to be honest, when I write it all out, but like they say, you eat an elephant one bite at a time.

And you write series one book at a time. I’m going to have one hell of a good time.

This is the day where everything changes

This is the day where everything changes.

I’m not about to tell you that today is going to be an amazing progress day. Whatever progress there is will be fine. The measure of success is the effort expended and the intent followed.

Remember the goal. The goal is to give yourself choices. The goal is to produce.

Remember the plan. Work like you know you can. Enjoy the process. Focus on what’s in front of you.

Keep gratitude in mind. Others will fight you and fear you and fear for you, and that’s because they are not you. Be grateful that they care. Be grateful that you are capable of doing your thing.

Be patient. Whatever the accomplishment, it is but a step on the road. We suffer setbacks. A setback is not the end of the road, but the beginning of another step.

What Do You Want To Do? Why Aren’t You Doing It?

I read this last week:

Mostly because a friend wrote it, but I’m also sort of fascinated by the topic.

I’m too close to it/the person to be a good judge of whether the book is good or worthwhile, but he said something in the book, and then said it again at lunch on Saturday that really sort of tweaked my brain a little bit.

Paraphrasing, “You’ve got to want it.”

I had another friend at the writer lunch who was there for the first time, so he was asking Blaze all sorts of questions (and Blaze likes to hold court). He asked Blaze how he managed to write so much, and Blaze said, “because I want to”.

And it just kind of clicked with me.

Why don’t we all write more? Because we choose to do other things.

In most cases.

I mean, I can say I want to write 4000 words a day, but when it comes down to it, do I really? If I really do, then why am I not doing it?

Some people have obligations that cut down on their available time – sick parents, kids, jobs, and the like, and, so, yeah, probably can’t write 4 hours a day to get to that 4k words/day mark.

But the rest of us could probably find the time, if that’s what we truly wanted.

And people can talk all they want about leaving time to rest/relax, etc… but without any judgement laid upon it, that’s a choice they make. It’s not good or bad, they’d just rather spend the weekend or the evening doing something other than writing.

I say I know what I want. I say I want to write, and I say I want to write a lot, but the choices I make don’t always align with what I say I want.

So what does that mean? Does that mean I’m easily distracted, or does that mean I don’t really want to spend that time writing?

I think it’s quite a bit more complex than that, but it’s difficult not to ask that question when I start thinking about what I want vs the choices I’m making.

A lot of the time, I think I’m not consciously making choices. I’m running on autopilot, and autopilot takes me where the flying is the easiest path to take in the moment, without looking further ahead to see what might end up in my way.

My goal right now is to make conscious choices about what I’m doing. I need to get off auto-pilot and start flying manual. Sure, the ride may be a little bit bumpier, but it will probably get me where I want to go, and it’ll likely be more exciting, too.