I made the decision to pull Wine Bottles & Broomsticks off of channillo.com today. In large part, the decision was based around packaging and marketing the book as a whole rather than one chapter at a time (I’m going to pack this up as a novel and put it out there that way) When I first started writing it, the story was just supposed to be a fun little jaunt into unfamiliar territory. As these things sometimes go, I fell in love with the characters and the concept and I’m neck deep in finishing it as a novel and drafting a second one. I’m going to put it out in this format. I’ve got a strategy for getting there, but it’s far too early to say how that’s all going to play out. In any case, the book will be available at some point. I don’t know when, but I have the means to carry it off regardless.
I have no particular beefs about channillo.com. Like any publication, you’ve got to really work hard at advertising and selling yourself. Something I didn’t do after the first few chapters. This is not so much because I’m lazy as because I started to feel that this change in direction was inevitable and I didn’t want to invest too much in a platform I was going to abandon anyhow. Had this been any other story, I’d likely have stayed with channillo, for a whole variety of reasons, but for now, I had to bow out. Perhaps someday, I’ll spin up another series to kick out there, but for now, it’s single minded focus on selling Wine Bottles and Broomsticks as a novel.
I feel like I should do this more often, but I’m not sure I’d say too much that was useful. As it is, I don’t know that I’ve had anything to say in a while. All that said, it’s been a couple of weeks since I declared Draft #1 of Wine Bottles & Broomsticks fully drafted. What has been amazing to me in the past few weeks has been the response from beta readers to the book. Not only have all of them actually finished the book, they’ve all done so quickly and provided phenomenal feedback. I spent a half an hour on the phone with my sister this evening discussing character motivation and her general reaction to the book.
Where do I stand right now? First off, I want to say that writing this story was exceptionally fast. The bulk of it was actually written during free time on two trips out of state for training. So, basically 40% of the book was written over the course of less than 2 weeks. With that in mind, I’m aiming (probably optimistically) at having a fully expanded, edited draft ready by the end of the month. This is possible largely because virtually all of the readers thus far have provided feedback that hits the same spots – ‘expand this’ ‘what about that’ and so on. So, now I’ve got a plan to expand the manuscript from just shy of 60K to near 80K. In the mean-time, the channillo.com will continue on with the early draft and probably sometime on Sunday, I’ll turn up the crank to release a chapter a week for a while, then maybe up to a chapter a day. Then, I’ll let it sit out there for a few weeks.
My goal is to have this thing ready for a copy editor roll over it sometime early in February. Then, I guess I’ll see if I can drum up any interest from a publisher. If not, well, I’ve got cover art and the book will have been edited, so self-publishing it is.
Another random thought while I avoid making my word count on NaNoWriMo. I’ve finished a draft of a high fantasy and I’m most of the way through a humorish urban fantasy (do I really have to put a genre label on it?). I’m having a much easier time of the urban fantasy, in part because the set-up of the adventure stays in one city. A city with cars and trains and stuff. So the events can happen all over the city and a reasonable distance outside of it over the course of a few hours. To simplify things further, the MC is actively searching out witches – providing immediate conflict with very little set up.
In a high fantasy, you might go from one city to the next, but that trip is going to take some time and require supplies, like food and gold and stuff. Not only that, getting all of the characters together in the right spot at the right time takes a bit of work. Then, to give the complexity wheel another crank, the MC is probably trying to save the kingdom or the world, or possibly the universe or a multi-verse. In any case, you’re not just going to get a phone call there and drive off to the evil emperor’s house to have an encounter where somebody just barely escapes with their life and someone else plots revenge. Nope, ‘ol MC’s gotta fight his way through the labyrinth to the goblin city then tell the goblin king “you’ve got no power over me – now give me that staff you weirdo and put some real pants on.” At that point the world will shatter and all of the plot holes will be filled in with unicorn pee and cement. See? Hard.
I will concede that you can pants your way through a good high fantasy, but there are so many moving parts that an average reader is going to spot a plot hole from a mile away. If you’re like me, then this is going to cause problems. In no way am I going to claim I’ve got an answer except to say that writing high fantasy is a hell of a lot harder than folks give credit to and writing a novel is already hard. At some point I’m going to explore this topic with a little more gusto because I need to solve it or my precious high-fantasy series will die on the vine.