Thursday, July 20, 2017

She Killed My Favorite Character

Dang.

I won't give any spoilers, but a favorite author killed a favorite character and I found it very unsatisfying.

Sometimes characters need to die. I suppose this might be a good place for him to end, but I didn't like it. Part of it is because I didn't want that character to end. I would have been happy to keep reading his adventures until he was old and feeble. But part of it is the way he died. It was ugly and undeserving.

I feel let down by the author. I have been a loyal fan and wanted some sort of reward for that long suffering character. Instead she gave him a nasty death and a long maudlin goodbye. Didn't work for me.

I went back to read some reviews of that book, and to find others who felt the same way. One person made a list of inconsistencies in the story, and after seeing them, I agree. A few lessons to learn here as a writer. As a reader, I am just disappointed and wondering if I want to read whatever comes next.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Emptying My Head

I thought it was all in there.

The problem with beta readers who already know a story is that they can understand inferences that aren't well explained.

Fortunately, not all my beta readers know this story in its various incarnations.

I'm getting feedback that tells me I didn't get everything out of my head and on to the paper. Of course I know why this character did that, but apparently I never shared the reasons behind the action. Which means I need to go back and add some backstory or build up. Dang.

When I go back through the scenes and realize what's been left out, it seems obvious. But until someone tells me what to look for, I don't see it. I know the story and the characters too well.

Thank goodness for my beta readers!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reading Out of the Comfort Zone

Every now and then I try to pick up new authors / stories / series.

As an author, looking for new readers, I hope this gives me some karma points. But it's also a way to expand my personal horizons.

As an experiment, sometimes it works out and sometimes meh. Since the explosion of Indies on the market, there are a lot more niches out there. Back in the stone age, when books were curated by publishers, the oddball niches were weeded out. Now there are so many I can't keep up.

I recently fell into a pile of magic/science fiction books. Wow. And very cool. I plan to work my way through them as Facade sort of falls into that category. I was trying to figure out some marketing when I discovered them. And as a treat, I get to read  all my competition. Although, not all of them are true comparables.

Having all these niches and sub-sub-categories can get very confusing. I look at the books listed and sometimes they don't fit at all. That could be authors squeezing their book into a more popular category for better discovery. But that's a bad idea, because if I want a magic / science fiction book and they give me space marines, I'm not going to be happy.

So I am still experimenting with the marketing. Still learning new things all the time. And this time, I get to enjoy myself along the way.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

If You've Read It, Please Review It

That's a request for all readers and all books by any author.

Reviews are so important for an Indie author. Aside from letting other readers know how you felt about the book, it creates a benchmark for advertising.

There are some advertisers that use the number of reviews as a cutoff point. Since they are inundated daily with authors signing up their books, they need a simple rule of thumb to cut down on the sludge. My mysteries are well liked, but lack reviews, so they aren't admissible. As a result, I can't use a lot of the better advertisers. So they don't get a lot of notice.

So if you like a book, leave a review. It's important!

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Bunny War

They started it.

It's been a weird year weather-wise. Spring was too warm or too cold. Tender perennials that I expected to die out - didn't. Even though we went down below 10 degrees things came back that shouldn't have.

The spring vegetables didn't like the hot days. The warm weather vegetables are hating the cold rainy days. We have had a lot of cold rainy days followed by hot dry days that wilt everything in the garden.

So that's my excuse for forgetting. The weather has been all wrong. And I forgot to fence the beans.

Now I knew the bunny had been nibbling on the peas. I had to fence them and put in more seed where they had been pruned. And I had an inkling that the arugula bed had taken a hit. It was looking rather spotty. But today I went out to check the garden and my lovely beans looked like lollypop sticks.


Someone had eaten the tops off of every one. I don't think they can survive that, but I'll give them a chance. Fencing them now is like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, but it's up now. If there's no new growth, I'll just have to re-seed the bed.

Dang rabbits.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Slow Going

I've been planning a big family reunion for over a year now. It finally happened last weekend. And relatives came in early to check out the lovely town I live in. So I had company for five days straight with a big party in the middle.

It was fabulous. I caught up with a lot of cousins and met new ones. Everyone had a great time. We all came together for a happy occasion and this started a tradition that I hope will continue. The next one, in 2019, is penciled in now.

However, the day after the last guest left I was a zombie. It took me two days to catch up on my sleep. Apparently, I spent a lot of time standing because my feet and legs felt like I'd run a marathon. And I pulled a muscle in my back trying to wrestle the compost pile into a more seemly shape. (Like anyone would notice?)

Needless to say, I didn't do much writing. But all the stress is gone now, so I plan to write harder. My deadlines are shot, but they are just there for me to aim for. It's more important to fix the book than to meet some arbitrary due date.

When I opened up the WIP yesterday it felt really good to get back into my routine. I feel like I've had a vacation. My mind is clear and my energy is good. Now I need to get back at it.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Back in the Groove

I found the missing subplot in my WIP. Now I just have to layer it into what I've already written. And that means a lot of cutting scenes and rearranging them. Which gets confusing when you know the whole story because you can accidentally refer to stuff that won't happen for another chapter or two because it used to happen earlier.

As I'm fixing/rewriting scenes I see the stuff that really didn't fit. Putting this subplot back in makes everything work so much better. I had tossed in a mini-plot that sort of made sense, because I knew it needed something, but it never really meshed. It implied a larger theme that I had taken out because that didn't work either. So dragging in a piece of it just made a bigger mess.

It's going a bit slower than I had hoped. Although I know what needs to happen, I have to figure out how to introduce it into the world in a logical manner. In the great doorstop it was a major info-dump that ran a whole chapter. Yikes. Now I not only want to avoid that kind of delivery of information, I also want to delay the full disclosure and extend the mystery. So in addition to the action, I need to weave the information in slowly.

And that means writing, which I need to go do now.