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As a writer and an artist, I sometimes feel that I’m failure in that I’m not completely depressed and/or write depressing things. It’s a stupid thing to think about, but when many great artists and writers line up with that, it’s hard to believe that someone as generally happy and content as I am could ever be a good artist or writer, or even a great one.

At a writers Q&A panel that I participated in recently, I was surprised to hear devastating stories from the other three authors that I was with, and how those events shaped their creative lives. I sat off to the side thinking that I had never had to deal with anything like that, and I questioned if I was even a legitimate creative because of it. Should I have been damaged in some way in order to draw inspiration from and to give inspiration to others?

The answer is a resounding no. It’s always a momentary thing when I start walking that line of thought, but I always come back to the fact that it’s not a requirement to have to deal with an extreme tragedy in order to be creative. It’s a requirement to deal with life, the good and bad, to be able to draw on both when the creative product needs it.

It’s a similar debate that I have with myself when I’m writing and I feel that I’m not using enough conflict in the story. But I absolutely hate when I’m reading or watching something wherein terrible things frequently happen to a character or characters. Yes, I get that sometimes it’s a cliffhanger, and yes, I get that it’s supposed to keep readers/viewers engaged. But I do like to see good things happen to people more than just once amidst a sea of awful events. Experiencing too much negativity through a story as a reader or viewer just exhausts me emotionally, and it ends up costing me enjoyment of the creative product.

But this is all personal opinion. I know there are people out there that like to read the dark, depressing things, and there are people out there that want to read the fluffy, happy things. I like a good mixture. And that’s why there NEEDS to be creatives who have all experienced different things, good and bad, joyful and ugly. That way there’s a book or a TV show for each person who needs it.

What to Do…?

Another almost two months until this post appears. But I actually do sort of have an excuse now. We finally closed on our house, and I’ve been going crazy trying to prep it for moving into. I’m pretty much tackling it alone, since Katie has been knee-deep in work. So amidst the house prepping I’ve still been taking care of my son, keeping up with my webcomic, and trying to write when I have time. But the blog posts take a back seat.

In addition, I’m still not sure what I want to do with this blog. Really, there are a multitude of writing blogs out there, and by people who have had much more success than I. So what do I do? Do I write about my life as if it were LiveJournal? Do I pick a theme and stick with that? Didn’t seem as if my music posts really went over that well, but I could find something else I guess. Maybe I could just use it as a portal for ALL of my projects. I don’t know, but expect it to evolve in the near future.

I hope you haven’t given up on me yet…

I’m Still Here

Wow, it’s been two months since I last posted.  I wish I could blame it on being sick twice in as many months, or the holidays, or the craziness of our lives… and I could.  But the real blame lies squarely on my unwillingness to make a post for those two months.

I’m a creative person, as you may have guessed.  I’m also a Cancer.  This means that I’m exceptionally sensitive about things.  And the fact is that my stats for this blog are dismal at best.  So for the past several months I’ve been suffering from a case of “Why bother?”.  Childish?  Perhaps.  Unprofessional?  You bet.  But it’s my personality, and it’s not something that I can change easily, if at all.

In any case, I’m here to try to get back on track, because books don’t sell themselves.  Nor do they write themselves, and that’s one thing that I can assure you of – I have been writing over the course of the past two months.  Blood of the Father is still chugging along at my normal slower-than-it-should-be pace.  But I was also (and still am) juggling multiple projects for my webcomic, including a print book that I will post about here at a later date.

So, I’m over the “Why bother?” phase and back into the “Let’s do this!” phase.  It is 2016 after all, and I promised myself that I would be pushing me harder this year than I have been.

Onward!

Cyber Monday Special

So, I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon with a Cyber Monday special on my favorite book, Fantasy Noir.  If you use the coupon code “JU59Q” at Smashwords, you can get the ebook, normally priced at $3.99, for a crazy low price of $0.99.  If that doesn’t tempt you, I’m not sure what will.

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I promoted something of my own earlier in the week, and now I’d like to promote somebody else’s something.  A good friend of mine and fellow writer has started providing ebook and print formatting services.  Madeline Claire Franklin is not only an exceptional writer (seriously, check out her books), but she has been self-publishing since 2010 and knows the ins and outs of making a book look polished and professional.

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Let me tell you, this is not a service to take lightly.  I hate formatting my books (mostly because I’m using an antiquated version of Word XP) and it takes up time that you should be doing other things, like writing.  For a reasonable price, Madeline will do the work for you, and she offers a few extras for a only a little bit more money.  Believe me, I  know how to do all this stuff, but even I’m considering taking her up on this the next time I need to format a book for print (which I absolutely hate doing).

So, whether you’re a newbie to the world of self-publishing or a veteran who doesn’t mind paying for someone else to do the dirty work, take a look at what Madeline has to offer.  We writers have to have each others’ backs.  As the Canadian television character Red Green used to say, “I’m pulling for ya.  We’re all in this together.”

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I’ve been very quiet on the writing blog front because I’ve been focusing all of my energy in a different, yet not altogether unrelated, project.  I recently launched an IndieGoGo campaign a preorder for the second print collection of my webcomic Bardsworth.  The campaign will also help fund the printing costs of the book.  Take a look at my intro video for details:

If you didn’t watch the video, basically you contribute any amount of money and you’ll get some kind of perk for doing so, but if you want the book you’ll have to contribute at the $30 level.  Please take a look at the IndieGoGo page for full details, though.  And if it’s not something you’re interested, please spread the word in case someone you know might be.

Thanks!

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Work on Blood of the Father continues to move along, if a little slower than I would wish it, but that’s par for the course.  And for the most part, I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out.  However, I still do have those momentary doubts that nip at me and distract me with their sharp, pointy teeth.

One of the doubts I keep having is that I’m using far too much exposition.  And, really, it’s less of a doubt and more knowledge; I know that I’m adding too much exposition.  And I keep telling myself that it’s still the first draft, that I’ll be going back and trimming the fat when all is said and done.  Still, though, thinking about all that word vomit makes me think that the real action doesn’t start until too late in the book.  And then, if I remove that exposition, the book will be too short.  Then I’ll have to add stuff.  Then… then… then…

Do you see the unending line of thought here?  This is what goes on in my head, and I’m sure it – or a version of it – happens to many writers.  The best thing I can do is to keep writing, even if it is exposition.  The story is in there, in that giant block of stone.  I just have to carve it out and put the fine details on it.

Although sometimes it seems to me that carving a statue from a stone would be far easier than writing.

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