Cover Art

I finished a major revision of a novelette August. Can’t afford professional editing so I dawdled that month checking a couple sites for trade or betas, but nothing came of it. Then September was dedicated to a major illness and surgery of a close family member. Recovery is slower than I hoped, but I’m starting to have energy and time for my original writing again.

This story is very dark for me, and I believe Halloween is a better time for release. While betrayal and faith are themes, the ending has loss and can be taken as horror or slight hope.

demons by jeanieforever

demons by jeanieforever, creative commons attribution

My issue is that releasing it to Kindle/Createspace whatever they are today, will require cover art. I really am proud of cover art I made for some fanfic or NaNo placeholder, but I have no concept for this one. How will I try to visually represent false representation/slow change/demons/manipulation/svengali/demonseed/illusions/regaining agency? At points it looks like a romance, but through a warped mirror. (and that was a challenge to keep as I like happy endings usually)

Where is that thinking cap???


Whew, that’s a Big Task!

Now that I’ve had a couple of days to relax after that big sprint that is NaNo, I can look at revisions. The last original NaNo novel, a moderately epic fantasy about empowerment and freedom bogged down, because I could see problems overall, but had no idea what to do and how to start.

Shuffle them words!

Shuffle them words!

This year I decided to work on shorter fiction. Novels end up being like you putting all your eggs in one basket  and feedback (and hopefully) compensation lag way behind. So I worked hard, and finished five collections of mostly flash stories. I might be able to finish another set before the end of the year. I’d hoped for seven, so I could release an omnibus with fifty with the new year. Usually during most NaNo runs, I can write my 2k words plus a few short stories and such as a break.  This year, just NaNo was finished by the skin of my teeth.

I doubt I can sustain the 1500/day that I could do before the arrival of two new roomies. That doesn’t even include non-fiction writing, like blogs and tool/app experiments, and those can’t be cut much. It’s beginning to appear I cannot do any mix of short and long fiction.  Long is so much more labor intensive, and there I need second opinions. But I did make minuscule Kindle sales with the shorts. Which should I put my efforts towards for December? I can’t stop writing for the holidays, or it takes months to regain momentuum. Revising the NaNo w could take all my time for months, but so can the shorts collections treadmill.

…And There’s that Bleh Point

Like many other people on the NaNo treadmill, I find there’s a pattern to my ups and downs during NaNo. I can’t say X will happen on the seventh day or I have to have a block every Sunday when I have a little more open time.  My cycles vary much more on the particular project and the things in real life that get in the way. (Thank you, half grown dane!)

  1. Stage 1: Hesitancy – Is this the right idea? Did I do too little or too much prep, outlining, names, character summaries?  This lasts only a day or so into November, but takes a LOT of October.
  2. Stage 2: Galloping – once I get started, it’s a full push forward. Not that I can do the ten hour sprints I did in ’07, but any slowdowns or stuck moments to fix a plot issue don’t even last over night. This usually lasts for at least a week and usually about a third of the month. As things are generally going well, it’s not too stressful.
  3. Stage 3: Bleh – This is when the writing has gotten harder, and I have outpaced my more detailed sections outline. I know where the story is supposed to end, but some smaller things added in stage 2 have made the transition to the end hard. This is when I get discouraged and depressed. I’ve discovered that this stage is shorter and easier if I’m doing fanfic,
  4. Stage 4: Home Stretch – The last few days of the month or when I pass 50k I’m either winding down because I finished my plot, or I’m pumping out summares and scenes to get me to the end.

I rotate between stage 2 and stage 3 for most of NaNo usually. Now this year I finally hit stage 3 on the 16th. Grabbing enough time to write has been an big issue, and the 2k a day has been worse this year. My project has promise, but I’m already tired.

Good luck to all the other NaNos too!

Identity Crisis

I was reminded by Lois McMaster Bujold of that amusing site “I Write Like” that analyses your writing style. I run my writing through it every so often.  Usually, authors like Clarke and sometimes Asimov from my preferred genres come up, though I wish they had more variety and more recent masters within genres.

I’ve come to think my writing style is steadying. I’m a little wordier than I want and it’s sometimes hard to choose a more common word when there is an obscure word that fits much better. But I’m too close to be able to rate stylistic tendencies. I’m not totally convinced an automated tool can adapt the way a reader can. A SF zombie story could almost be an exact rewrite of Pride and the Prejudice, but the scanner would miss the English Regency style because of the horror nouns.

woman changing faces at a mirrir

Image “Faceless #3” by Benoit Champaign. no changes, under Creative Commons 2.0

So I fed some of my writings into the IWL analysis page, mostly recent writing, and got five different authors.Yesterday’s warning post about phone scammers rated like Chuck Palahnuik. I’ve gotten him before in this tool and have no idea why. A fun little flash fanfic rated as like Vladimir Nabokov. Now, I don’t think I’ve written anything Lolita-like as the characters are much older and more savvy. This does reveal a huge bias in the tool as it seems to prefer capital L literature as a result.** Why doesn’t a chapter of a light romance rate like some name from the romance market? There’s dozens if not hundreds of major romance authors with a bestselling body of work. Why Lolita instead of Jayne Ann Krentz or J R Ward? Or even Barbara Cartland with her virginal heroines and their ancient Greek names?

My next sample is from a SF/Mystery in progress, and that was judged like Arthur C Clark, just for mentions near-space travel and stations. I was going for a different mood, but that’s the challenge still. The tool lacks, as Clark is known more for ideas than characters among readers. I’d prefer to write like Bujold, Lee/Miller, or Weber but I doubt they were on the list for the IWL people. A flash story about  husband-hunter was written like L Frank Baum? My light horror and Wizard of Oz? All you can do with that is shake your head and move on.

The oldest one I checked was about a page’s worth from a longer fanfic of drama and derring-do.  Apparently that hit the flags for Stephenie Meyer. **She is the exception for who I write like, and the only author I’ve seen for mine that isn’t already Literature, or matured into academic respect after thirty or fifty years. I’m not especially happy with that rating as I don’t like her writing for various reasons.  I could pick a diferent POV section for the same novel, and I’m sure it will be a different author.

I’m not sure of this variety of styles is good or bad. Probably good, more variety in storytelling and characters and challenging my habits? Who do you write like?