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Posts Tagged ‘work-in-progress’

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!

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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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It’s always funny how the muse strikes me when I’m least expecting it. I’ve recently been schvitzing about Blood of the Father because I haven’t had time to work on it. When I don’t have time to work on a story, I tend to fall into the trap of telling myself negative things about it.

“You’re using too much exposition and not enough action.”

“Plot, man! Where’s the plot??”

“Seriously, why did you think this story was a good idea?”

I don’t know if this is something other writers can attest to, but I’m least worried about my writing when I’m actually writing. When I’m left to stew about it, that’s when the negativity monster rakes me with its deadly claws of self-doubt. Which is good when I’ve finished a story and I want to go back and edit it, but not when I’m 1/4 of the way into the story.

But sometimes I get lucky and my muse will step in front of the negativity monster, and she’ll slap him around a bit. She paid me a visit yesterday, and rather than wading in a pool of self-deprecation, I had flashes of inspiration. One led to another, that led to another, and so on. And then I found myself energized and excited to work on the story again. Which is good, because I have a writers retreat this weekend and I need to keep that ball rolling so I can take advantage of the writing time.

I wish I knew how to thank my muse, other than to continue writing that is. Do muses like gift cards?

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Well, sales for Starting Over have been pretty dismal. Of course, I missed a week or two of pushing it because of circumstances, but still. This is one of those tough cases where it’s a book a I really believe in and enjoyed writing, but doesn’t seem to be gathering any steam. I guess I’m just going to have to knuckle down and get in peoples’ faces…

In other news, I’ve started working on my next novel, Blood of the Father. It’s the sequel to Blood of the Mother (obviously), and it’ll be an interesting book to write because it sort of subverts some of the ideas I built up in the first book. I don’t like “black and white” stories; I like… well, I was going to say “shades of gray”, but someone sort of tainted that phrase. So I’ll say I like more three-dimensional stories.

Also, as I mentioned below, if you’re interested in being on a mailing list to receive updates, promotions/discounts, and whatever else I feel like telling you, please contact me about getting your email added.

Now, back to writing.

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I am absolutely dying to release my new book, Starting Over. My goal was to release it in April, and I was so, so close to being able to do so. But I made a series of good decisions that has led me to a later release date.

The first two I’ve already mentioned in other posts. One was to hire an illustrator to do my cover, and while I adore the cover she made for me, I had to wait until I received the final product before I was able to prep it for my ebooks and print release (had to add the text that goes on the front and back). The other was utilizing beta readers for the first time, so I had to wait until I received all my feedback from them (and all the feedback I received was valuable).

One of the other decisions I made was on the recommendation of my wife. Katie suggested that I not release the ebooks before the print books as I planned, and after thinking about it I decided to listen to her. I’m glad I did because I put an awful lot of red into the proof of the print book.

There’s something about seeing the words in a different format that helps you find things you never noticed before. About a third of what I marked was misspellings or grammatical errors. Another third was formatting errors (exclusive to the print book, so that won’t affect the ebooks). The last third was last-minute language changes that I wanted to make.

So there’s something to be said for having a little bit of patience. I know the book still won’t be 100% perfect, but at least I didn’t jump the gun on it.

Still open to suggestions about marketing it, though.

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Figured it was time to give a bit of an update on my projects. I’ve finished my final paper edits for the Bardsworth novel (yes, even in this age of digital doodads, I still print my manuscript and take a red pen to it… or pink, whatever I have on hand), so now I have to go back and make the changes on the manuscript file. Then I will be handing it off to Katie for edits, as well as some beta readers (more on that in a moment). I’m in talks with an illustrator for the cover design, and then once all the pieces come together I’ll be able to get it out to your waiting hands.

If you’d like to read it before anyone else, let me know if you’d be interested in being a beta reader for it. Currently, I have several people who are familiar with the webcomic signed on as beta readers, so I’d like to get a few people who either have only a passing familiarity with it or – better yet – have never read the webcomic. I want feedback from both sides of the equation. So, if you’re interested, shoot me an email at pete@bardsworth.com.

Alongside the novel, I’d like to release the second print version collection of the webcomic. That’s a little more involved, though, so it’ll probably come after the novel. We’ll see.

Once the Bardsworth novel is over and out of my hands, it’s back to the world of Godblood for me. It’ll be tough to shift gears from a goofy fantasy setting to a more serious epic feel. But it’ll be good to get back into some serious writing. Maybe I’ll try doing a quick short story before that to bridge the gap. We’ll see.

Anyway, that’s what’s up in my world. The machine is constantly in motion.

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Since 2012, my wife and I have hosting a New Year’s Eve writers retreat at my aunt’s cottage on Lake Ontario. The last few years have been really good, both productivity-wise and creativity-wise. This year, unfortunately, it wasn’t as good.

Although we weathered a series of unfortunate circumstances to get everyone together again, there was one that we just couldn’t fight – the weather. Our friends got trapped by the snow at the last minute, leaving just me, Katie, and my son at the cottage. And while that sounds great because it means less distractions (beyond our son, that is), we were actually less productive.

There’s something about having other creative types around. I wrote about this the first year we did the retreat, so I won’t rehash it. But I will say that the environment in which you try to be creative is crucial to your productivity. Some people thrive on being alone, and sometimes that’s true for me. But it seems that my most productive days are when I’m around other writers and creative types, and we’re all working hard. Maybe it’s the inspiration I feel at watching other people, or maybe there’s some sort of energy that forms around us, but whatever it is we were missing it this year. Still, it was nice to get away from our usual surroundings and work in a more relaxing one.

All that having been said, I did manage to get my first round of rewrites/edits done on the Bardsworth novel. There are a few more spots I want to go back and fix, and then Katie will give it another run-through. And I’ve been in contact with a potential illustrator for the cover, so that’s happening! If all goes well, I may hit my deadline of April for the release of the book.

Oh, and happy belated New Year everyone!

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