Wooot! I made my writing goal for the week! I hit 30k and a bit more on bk 3 of The Immortals. So much is happening that keeping it straight is making me crazy! Probably most of what's written is utter garbage, but hey it's a first draft right? How about a tiny teaser? This is unedited and of course may be deleted in a fit of self doubt in the future:
I've heard this topic come up a lot lately and it's made me think. Fantasy, and its use of magic, is a given. What's also given is that most systems of magic in a fantasy world have rules.
Now, we all know that fantasy is all about 100% imagination. If you think it, you can make it happen in a fantasy world. The same applies for magic. You think it up, it goes into the story, viola! No research, no factual framework needed, right? Anything goes.
You will hear classical fantasy readers and writers talk about the cost of magic, which by right is an unspoken rule. What, so I pay 5$ per spell? Huh? Nope, what they are talking about is generally speaking a give and take relationship with the magic. The cost can be almost anything to be honest (I'm waiting to see who can come up with a story that does cost the magic bearer actual cash btw), but often involves a personal exchange with the bearer/caster. This exchange of bearer/caster pays X and gets Z magic is very very common, but is often subtle or not important to the plot and goals so it is left as a side thread and ignored. In some books the cost of magic is so high that it nearly relegates its use to myth and legend. (The Elfstones of Shannara comes to mind, though I haven't read it in a looong time).
My take on the rules of magic are a little sideways. There is no hard and fast rule for magic, yet the rules are almost required. Yeah, rules and I don't get along. That being said, I am not a fan of having a lack of rules turning something beautiful into something cringe-and-eye-roll worthy. So I turned the cost rule on its head in my books and made a single rule that affects all of the magic users. The twist is that the rule affects who they are, not what they cast or use as magic.
In my Immortals series, the Immortals were created by gods who needed soldiers to save their world. What these soldiers found out the hard way was that the spell was imperfect and crude. Yes they had powers and could use them at will, but their Immortality was only for their soul, not their physical body. So they died, often, and reincarnated into a new body, and kept going. And going.
The cost here? An unending parade of faces in the mirror. An unending parade of relationships lost and never found again. That is a basic summary of the cost of magic in my fantasy world, the details are, of course, more finely tuned than that. The key is consistency.
What is your take on rules in fantasy magic? How do you apply them? Why?
Ok Amazon, this is war. 3 more reviews vanished (this time I have a screenshot of what was there before this latest round so I know who's reviews are missing...same person for all 3). I've emailed the blogger for help in resolving the issue, and hopefully it will be. I can't afford to lose any more reviews guys. Please spread the word to everyone you know who reviews that reviews may be pulled unless a certain privacy filter is unchecked. To fix it please try this:
- Log into Amazon
- Go to Your Account
- Scroll down to Personalization
- Click on Your Public Profile
- At the bottom of the page you see a box with *New and Privacy Settings
- Click the "Privacy Settings" link
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page
- UNCLICK "Hide Sensitive Activity"
When i stop and consider my options for marketing my books I am instantly overwhelmed and want to cry. Of course, I don't. I pull on my big girl panties and try to make a sensible go at getting my little fishes out into the big big sea.
You sea (sea what I did there?) with the advent of self publishing/indie publishing anyone and everyone who has half a set of cajones can write and publish a book of some variable sort of quality. I believe in the concept free creativity so I will never tell anyone not to try their hardest and do what they feel works for them even if it means publishing books that others may find lacking in any of one or many departments. If you have the balls, go for it.
That being said, that means there are millions of books out there with only a handful of decent ways of getting them before potential readers. The sea is deep and wide and the readers only have a little fishing pole, right?
So what to do? Here's where the bzillions of "professionals" spout off tricks, hacks, shortcuts, insider knowledge, and so forth that has worked for them. Great. Yay. 2 thumbs up? What works for some people won't work for others and I've tried many a thing on a microbudget to see what works and doesn't.
A lot doesn't. My books are buried and they barely come up for air. One trick that has worked, but is somewhat controversial, is the 'first in series perma free' one. I have the first book of a series set to perma free through Amazon (which was a pain in the arse btw.) and it has seen a steady upwards slope of takers. Yay? Sorta. The second book in the series hasn't been following the first. Does that mean no one is reading the freebie, or that whoever reads the freebie doesn't care enough to want to read more? Perhaps. Don't know.
So what do I do? Well, I found a lovely 'sign up and get free hints' mailing list subscriber post that especially tuned in on the marketing of books by way of a month long email campaign. This current mailing campaign with tips and tricks is quite intriguing, but as the sign ups are done for this round, you can check out the rest of the page here: http://badredheadmedia.com/
So far so good as the tips/tricks/info has both been practical and informative. I was already doing some things...but had never thought of others! As with anything, the process of finding the write techniques is slow and a labour of patience.
So, what do I do? I have the second book in my series, THE IMMORTALS PART TWO: ALLIES & ENEMIES, going on sale on February 21st for 99c, and I've certainly tried to duplicate some of the hints I've received via email. I've got a paid mailing promo going out via Ereader News Today and I'm using Copromote to pass the word along via twitter. Other more expensive things will have to wait unfortunately, but slow and steady is the way to do it. What do you think?
Progress is being made! I almost can't believe how well behaved my muse has been lately. I'm at 19k words in bk 3 (still untitled! Yikes!) and it's moving how and where it needs to get the characters and plots to align.
The main antagonist is unveiled and I'm letting a little of his POV creep into the narrative. Like mother nature, balance is key, even in fiction. Up to this book viewing the story from the antagonist's point of view would have thrown massive spoilers all over the place. Like, rained them down.
We also get much deeper into the characters psyches themselves. As always, my books are primarily character driven and it eats at me to have to carefully unveil them to the world instead of doing a 'tada!' thing. Lol.
I'm also beginning conversations with my cover artist so we can work out the cover. I'm so excited to see what he will come up with based on my input. All I will say is that like the previous 2 books the cover will feature a prominent character.
I am not going to promise a pub date, at least not yet, but it will be sometime this year. Lol... I kind of have to finish writing it... oh and it still needs a darned title!
Yikes. I knew I had to redo my website (I couldn't decide to use Weebly or Wordpress so I dragged ass on picking one permanently) and finally I HAD to. My hosting/website was up for renewal with Wordpress and I hadn't been impressed over the last year, so viola. Weebly wins. So... here it is. Maybe I can actually find time to blog a little now? (hangs head in shame)
I have been wondering for a while just how many people prefer paper books to E Readers (doesn't matter which kind) so here's a fabulously easy poll. I wonder because I was speaking to someone whether or not its worth it to make regular paper books in this day and age. So what do you think?
I now tell you a Tale of Two Tenses and why I am now banging my head on my keyboard. Repeatedly.
First and foremost my most natural form of writing is first person, past tense. It is what spills out of my mind and onto the page instinctively. I have tried other points of view and tenses, but they are simply not natural to me at all.
However, I had one of those Gru "Lightbulb!" moments while rereading through my first book to make sure I have facts aligned with what I am writing in the second book. Out of the blue I am reading the words, my own lovingly crafted words, out loud in a completely different tense. I literally sit and stare at the page, stunned by the the idea. It's more than just a good idea...it completes the story, makes it even better. Finishes it completely.
I am also floored by the magnitude of the concept. I would have to comb through the manuscript line by line and switch it from first person past tense to first person present tense, then do the same with what I've already written in the second book. I am literally shaken.
I am also now worried. Book One has been out on submission and is still out to about a half dozen agents/publishers. I honestly doubt they'd grin and nod happily at me if I were to throw a revised version at them and say "Oh, never-mind...this is the real manuscript!". They'd laugh hysterically and slam the proverbial door on my face. Repeatedly.
Now I am torn. I really really really want this flash of brilliance to work out, I am burning with the desire to "fix" the first book (I am not stupid, I keep copies of EVERY revision I do, so the original subbed one will be ok if it doesn't fly) but now I am wondering if I really AM crazy. What if my opinion of my own work is hopelessly biased? Okay, I'll do a test.
I take a random page from Book One and copy it to a blank page and carefully recraft it into first person present tense. It's actually shockingly easy. Oh, God, and it seems to make even more sense as I read it again. Now for the test. I send both pages, the new and the original to two of my beta readers and ask them to read the before and after and let me know which they preferred.
Not minutes later I get two fangirly (which is hard to wrap my head around as one is a dude) emails back proclaiming my new version is waaaay better (insert manly squeal here) because now it doesn't read as "a diary of an event that happened so long ago that the reader is distanced emotionally". Okay, I can handle that summary...because that was my first impression as well.
First person present, why have you eluded me all this time!?!
Here's the weird part. I still can't write first person present with any amount of ease. At all. I've screamed four letter words all day at my laptop trying. I can only rewrite that way for some reason. Gah!! I will have to write as I've always done, but go back and "revise" it to present for Book Two.
So, do I resub? Do I not fix it? Do I wait out the subs and then start fresh if it's not picked up? Gah!
Here, here are two small snippets from Book One so you can perhaps judge for yourself. Enjoy!
Okay, maybe he was really stoned, "What?"
He didn't answer, but kept his burning glare on me until he'd backed far enough away to turn and make a break for it.
My trembling fingers dragged the tangled strands of my dark blonde hair over my face again as I stumbled to my feet and toward my locker. I stuffed the hurt at the strange boy's response to me deep inside and locked it away with all the other pain I felt on a daily basis.
My hand froze over the combination lock. A small wad of paper taped to the dented metal door crinkled in the cool morning breeze. I plucked it off and unfolded it, puzzled.
Okay, maybe he is really stoned, "What?"
He doesn't answer, but keeps his burning glare on me until he's backed far enough away to turn and make a break for it.
My trembling fingers drag tangled strands of my hair over my face again as I stumble to my feet and toward my locker. I stuff the hurt at the strange boy's response to me deep inside and lock it away with all the other pain I feel on a daily basis.
My hand freezes over the combination lock. A small wad of paper taped to the dented metal door crinkles in the cool morning breeze. I pluck it off and unfold it, puzzled.