I managed to finally get a new keyboard for my laptop (the same one I bought three years ago for $11 at Best Buy is now selling at Wal-Mart for $13) which put my next chapter of The Lost Princess on the fast track. Instead of four days to finish Chapter 5 of Darkness Falls, this time it only took me three hours and change to complete the eleventh chapter. (I still haven’t written anything on The Life of Pi yet. It’s been a slow month.)
Today was just as crazy. I had to go pay the power bill which was already fucked up. We bled through $112 in wattage because the past month and a half was fucking cold beyond belief. So we used a new heating unit to compensate for our own apartment’s heating system and we kept warm as a result.
Nice and warm.
Then I had to pick up my pills and come home. I’ve been trying to pick up the pace on my walking regimen by going twice a day, but I don’t seem to be slimming down in the front much. But the rest of me is just fine.
I also went to the post office to pick up the mail and noticed that our post office box dues will be $40 for a six month lease and $80 for a 12-spot. But the notice on the door is still tacked there. It’s addressed to the Everett City mayor (Stevenson) to tell the city that they may end up moving the downtown post office to another location because that branch office has been losing money–among other things.
So I don’t know what to make of that yet.
But the money I used as a leftover from this month, I spent on detergent, garbage bags, and conditioner. So while we’re tight on money, things are still running smoothly.
Now if I can only find a job, I’ll be set…
So I decided to modify my workload this year by tacking on two more book projects for 2014-15:
The Lost Princess (Fantasy/Adventure)
Darkness Falls (Paranormal/Mystery)
The Life of Pi (Fantasy)
Blitzen And Comet (Mystery/Thriller)
Blood Orchid: Sword of Omens (Fantasy)
Así que he decidido modificar mi carga de trabajo de este año al virar en otros dos proyectos de libros para 2014-15:
La princesa perdida (Fantasía / Aventura)
Darkness Falls (Paranormal / Misterio)
La Vida de Pi (Fantasy)
Blitzen Y Comet (Misterio /suspense)
Orquídea sangrienta: Sword of Omens (Fantasía)
So I’m going to be having a lot of fun this year. I was planning on writing on as many as 18 novels, but then I realized that it was simply too much. So five a year is more doable. But the process is going to be long, tough, arduous, and time-consuming.
While I’m on a sugar high from eating too many gumballs and fighting the urge to sleep for the next century (instead of going to the library today to pick up my library loan of Star Trek-Into Darkness), I figure I’ll let everyone in on a little known problem that I seem to be combating for each and every time I plunk my butt down to write a novel.
And that is coming up with titles.
Seems to be my favorite game these days and believe me, I’m always coming up with some doozies that would rock the world–if only for the sad fact that they are already taken by someone else before I could get around to publishing them!
The Lost Princess? Taken.
The Life of Pi? Famous and already taken.
Lead Me Into Temptation? Taken and…taken.
I spent the last twenty minutes on Amazon typing in the titles for my books and finding out to (not surprised really) that a growing number of my book title choices have already been taken.
Of course, I could probably choose something else in the interim, but the truth is, it’s only a matter of time before that title is taken too–by some lucky stiff who has a bigger bank roll than me at the moment.
But this what I get for coming up with my titles independently and not stealing from someone else’s pocketbook.
The truth is, titles are so misogynous. They proliferate like Tribbles and there’s really no way to keep them tamped down for all it’s worth. I could come up with Hell’s Angels and in a heartbeat–or two–some schmuck in New York will have already thought up the same title, slapped it on a lunch box and published it with the blessing of the mainstream publishing industry.
At the same time, I will have everyone within earshot biting my head off for having the same title as this other published dumb ass and should look for another one.
But for how long?
My imagination can’t stay pat for long. I’m always dreaming up stuff before the next guy gets a hold of it. So I have no choice but to ride the rapids.
In that case, there’s nothing I can do. I can’t change the titles of my books once they are firmly entrenched in my collective psyche. But this has nothing to do with me riding someone else’s coat tails for all its worth either.
I want my books published–or self-published–under those titles. And as far as I am consciously aware generic titles like mine can’t be copyrighted–unless trademarked or something.
Only the material.
Which is fine by me. I don’t think anyone is going to blink at a book that is either fantasy/adventure (The Lost Princess), comedy/romance (The Life of Pi), or simply sci-fi/fantasy. (The Starchild)
Of course, I could probably be sued by said agencies and have my life’s work yanked out from underneath me, but that’s not something I’m terribly concerned about right now.
The thing is, titles are everywhere and everything. Look at how many reincarnations of your favorite box of cereal has gone through over the past 35 years: It’s mind-blowing.
So to simply say, “You’re stealing an already published title!” is a bit superfluous and a stretch. You can’t steal what came from someone’s imagination. (Or in my case, my dreams.)
All you can do is sit back and watch things unfold from a set vantage point. Because sooner or later, all these titles will be filled up by generations of writers–looking to cash in on the next best thing.
And then where will we be?
Better think of another title quick before that’s taken too!
See? Losing battle no matter how you look at it.
So why is it that I still find people on other “other side” of the spectrum still trying to convert or mold me into whatever literary functionary they deem fit to use? Why can’t they see that what I do with my writing has a purpose?
I know that most people are geared and conditioned to not accept anything less than the status quo, but why take it out on those of us who see things differently?
My writing isn’t perfect. Even after the numerous edits and the professional edits, it never will be. It will never measure up to the mainstream standard of perfection without some ass backwards knuckle dragger getting a hold of it, taking it apart at the sub atomic level and really pointing out how lame ass this is and how this doesn’t grab the reader and how everything else in between is subsequently boring.
Tonight, I got a taste of why I hate the mainstream with a passion. Instead of impressions and understanding from this nameless someone, I got back the usual, “If you’re not going to take writing seriously, then I’m done.”
This after the first two chapters.
(Holy shit, I’m glad she never got to the part where my two main characters were having sex for the first time! Would she also say that it was faked or forced like everything else in between–including how awful the dialogue was?)
No matter how hard I try to avoid the mainstream, sooner or later, their attack dogs on the internet find me. I really wish to God that they would leave me the fuck alone to my own devices. I know for fact that nothing I write is going to appeal to the masses. At this point, I’ll be lucky if I sell even ten books.
Because what I don’t understand is how people can be so critical of people’s hard earned work that they can’t see what’s being done on the surface?
As I told this person, what I write doesn’t hook people. It just doesn’t. What its underlying function is to tell a simple story in the only way that I can. It doesn’t mean go all postal on me by insinuating that I’m just a useless writer with no serious aspirations to be published.
That I’m just wasting my life away writing books that no one is going to read. In other words, “Why are you writing? Shouldn’t you be quitting?”
It’s the same dog-eat-dog world mentality that I’ve had to deal with all my fucking life because people saw me as an easy mark. Somebody that they can push around and mold, or convert to their standards.
But I pushed back. Hard.
I don’t give up on something that I feel a particular affinity for. Writing is in my blood. I am not going to stop writing my way because someone says that my books are absolutely boring and should be burned. But the question is, why did you sit there and offer up your time and services if you knew what you’d be getting yourself into?
It’s not like what I’m doing is a company secret. These blog entries of mine should be proof of that. If something annoys the fuck out of me, I’m going to be posting my innermost thoughts on the subject at hand and let the whole world know how I’m feeling.
And right now, that feeling is persecution. By an industry that doesn’t value uniqueness, originality, or raw talent.
I feel persecuted by the establishment at large. I can’t function using my own sense of self-worth or self-identity.
I have to be like everyone else. I have to be the next Isaac Asimov, the next Greg Bear, or the next whoever is a legend in the damned writing community.
But I can never, ever be myself.
So I look at my books tonight, and I saw a lot of potential. Not for exploitation, but for personal exploration. Something that the industry doesn’t even bother to acknowledge.
I don’t write for the masses. I don’t write for the accolades of being famous. I just write. I’m a free agent!
I don’t have any rules to live by when I write. When I can write novels like The Life of Pi and Darkness Falls and so many others, I’m not trying to impress people with my tomes. I’m trying to (desperately) impress upon them the ideals of what it means to be free of the shackles and restraints of the mainstream.
Where you can be free to write whatever you want. Does it really matter if it’s done correctly, or if it’s politically correct?
Too many times I see people assigning numerous values on people’s writing. If it doesn’t fly with their impossible standards, it should be torched out of existence. Never to be heard from again.
Never mind the fact that there might be a reason why it’s there in the first place. To these parties, such underlying logic doesn’t really matter.
“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” -Remember that famous line from the OJ Simpson trial?
That’s how I feel right now. I’m being judged based on what I’ve done. And right now, it’s all negative. Nothing is ever positive. People just don’t see the symmetry or the beauty of the words beneath the pages. They just look for patterns that have been pre-programmed into their market-driven psyches.
That’s all they want. They want shit that’s market approved. And I have no intention of ever publishing traditionally.
So why try to force me in that direction?
I’ll tell you something else: When it comes down to writing a romance novel, having fight scenes, death scenes, and action scenes (where your characters are beating each other senseless) isn’t what I would consider an equitable trade.
But some of you out there feel cheated that my Codename: Velocity novel didn’t have any more brutal fight scenes, missions with the alien Hoard, or basically having my characters whomp the shit out of each at the drop of a hat.
Instead–from your disappointing comments–you chose instead to attack the book because there was too much romance and too much sex involved that literally had you bored out of your minds.
Sorry to say, but I don’t control the fate or overall destiny of my novels one way or another–once things start getting going.
In the beginning of the book, I thought, “Action/adventure. A mission down to the Southlands. Some really kick ass action scenes.”
That’s what I thought at first. I really did.
Because I’ll be honest with you all, Codename: Velocity was supposed to have been only one book. One!
Then as I started writing the novel and getting really into it–isn’t chronic depression grand?–the overall symmetry of the fantasy novel started to…change.
Little bit by little bit. The relationship factor between Velocity and Jaen started to make itself known. The problems and conflicts of trying to start a teenage romance with an older man. Then there was Mari who had designs of her own on her partner and that started the wheels spinning in my mind: What could possibly else change the book’s premise than three people vying for the same thing?
So–naturally–I started “investigating” these elements in more detail–I started to write more and more conflict into the story line: How Velocity’s aborted attempt at romance with her Controller left her feeling out of place, confused, and groping for answers. I really wanted to focus on that for a bit.
Because as much as most teen writers believe that everything has an HEA attached to it, this novel of mine wouldn’t. At least not in the conventional sense.
So the challenges–for me–started to mount up a bit. What was Velocity’s true goal–if she couldn’t have what her heart desired? How was she going to accomplish her agenda when faced with such mounting adversity?
Some of you out there believe that romance should have action because you’re just too impatient to accept a novel that focuses so much more on the characters and their feelings–that all else is secondary in nature. It doesn’t matter.
You want instant gratification. You want pure pleasure in knowing what the author will give you, will deliver on that front.
But with me, I deny you those prizes. I don’t give you want you want. My books aren’t written so that everything wraps up in a single novel and pushes you on your merry little way. In the case of Codename: Velocity, I had to split the book up into six novels.
After 166,000 words, I had to end the book at some point. I couldn’t see myself going on much longer without endangering the whole entire novel. Plus, there is this little matter of what Amazon’s cut off point for large novels in print: Is 642 pages too large?
I just don’t know.
So I had to deny everyone who read the novel their prize. There are no fights with the Hoard in the first book, okay? There is no more fights with Velocity’s rival because I didn’t want to drag it out any further. I needed for the two of them to have closure. But above all, I was still committed to drawing out the relationships between my three main characters.
So in light of this, there is no more action. No more meat for the readers to glom onto. And for that, I have no apologies. The book wrote itself towards the end.
There was nothing that I could do. And thinking back to the novel’s overall creation, I don’t think I did a terrible job at writing it–being my first romance novel in a strictly fantasy setting. But some of you believe it should’ve contained more of one thing than the other: More action, less romance, and far less sex. (You seem to be bothered by the latter–judging from your comments.)
But I’m here to tell you: Writing a novel is all about balance. In romance, you’re focused primarily on relationships, love, sex, and everything in between–including the pratfalls of your said relationships. I may not be a big fan of romance novels myself, but I know enough of them to realize that action and suspense is not part of the equation.
It’s mostly about bonding, intimacy, trust, and love.
Perhaps it’s my approach that has turned you off to the novel to a set degree. I know that you were expecting more–especially with all the talk of the Southlands, the Hoard, and the characters’s chaffing at not being put on any missions–but you know what? That’s what draws in readers–not drive them away.
When you create circumstances where not everything is properly explained and the book just doesn’t have all the classic hallmarks of a well-written action-themed novel, there’s bound to be some dissent within the ranks.
In regards to what you want, what you desire, it will all come in due time. The series is just getting started. But it was important for me to establish the characters in their natural settings. Unlike the first draft–where I rushed things–this book set the tone for what’s to come for everyone involved.
We know that there is an upcoming mission being spearheaded. We know that there will be inevitable battles with the Hoard. We know that there will be plenty of action coming up, but until then, you will all have to suffer for a bit and cool your jets.
Writing a series is all about planning–whether or not it’s romance, sci-fi, fantasy, or horror. You have to plan.
So for the first book–this book–the focus will forever be on the struggles inherent to relationships, love, sex, and intimacy. There’s not a whole lot of action, there’s nothing to grab the reader’s attention in the way you wish it to be, it is simply a journey of self-discovery and personal exploration.
So if that bores you to tears, then you’re reading the wrong book.
Once in awhile, I’ll have a really good cover to show everyone. This one is no exception. I was really blown away by the artist’s ability to draw out the mesmerizing detail of the colors, shapes, and fonts–based on a stock photo I used as a default cover.
With some modifications, I plan on using this as the actual cover for the book when it comes out.
So what do you think? Good enough for a comedy/romance?
- Blog Notes
- Codename: Velocity
- Firebirds-A Novel
- Heroes and Heroines
- Lead Me Into Temptation
- Music To Write By
- My Novel Journey
- My Ongoing Battle With the Mainstream Publishing Industry
- My Pursuits in Publishing Under My Own Imprint
- My WIPs
- My writing
- Operation Kind Heart
- Playstation Memories
- Plot Bunnies
- Rogue Planet
- Sky's Book News and Other Things
- Sky's Daily Lifestyle
- Sky's Polls
- Sky's Posters
- Starchild Duel
- Stories of the Dead Earth-Book 1: Orphan
- The Farthest Star
- The Life of Pi
- The Lost Princess
- The Peacemaker: A Prince Amongst Thieves
- The Price of Freedom
- The Starchild
- The Vampiress Hunter
- What I Write
- What's In Your World?
- Why Fantasy Is No Longer Delegated to Just The Classics
- Why Fiction Has Changed So Much
- Why Twilight Sucks in The Worst Possible Way
- Why You Should Be A Fan or Reader!
- Word Counts