Wine Bottles and Broomsticks Inkshares campaign

Winebottles_Broomsticks

Inkshares link: https://www.inkshares.com/books/wine-bottles-and-broomsticks?referral_code=b03ff715

If you’ve spent any time at all following me on social media the past week, it’ll come as no surprise that I’m working on getting this project published on Inkshares. It’s more than just that though. I’m also trying to get the most pre-orders to win a contest with Geek and Sundry. If I can work this to the top of the list, Geek and Sundry will help me promote and sell this book. In order for that to happen though, I need support. Like A lot of support. I need hundreds of pre-orders. So, like a profoundly broken record with no actual sound, but lots of repetition, I’m asking for help. And the help is its own reward – if you pre-order for the usual price of a book, you get the book once it’s been edited. You’re just buying it ahead of time. Of course, if you wait, there won’t be a book to buy, so if you’re in the mood for a light-hearted urban fantasy in the vein of The Dresden Files, check out the first chapter. Don’t worry though, if i don’t make my goal, which really nobody wants, you get your money back. So, this is a win only situation, what do you say? Take a look at the sample on Inkshares.

-Dave

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Writer’s ego – taking advice (again)

ego

Anybody know how to engage beta readers without sounding like an asshole?

Here’s the problem. I know my book needs work. It’s my first completed novel. What I don’t know is what needs to be modified from the perspective of the reader (ie: What doesn’t work, what sort of things to the readers do not like, and so on.) I also know that the reader is not always right, but the reader is always the reader and any complaint should be heard out. A decision to modify the work according to the feedback should be something that is deliberative. I genuinely want the readers to come back to me and give me honest feedback as to what stinks. Of course, those people are friends and family, they want to be supportive right? They don’t want to make critical feedback that’s going to make me feel bad.*

So today I had an exchange that ran: “So, tell me how much you loved my book so far.”**
“I only read the first two pages.”
Both of us laugh, “Sucked that bad did it?” I asked.
“No, no, I didn’t say that.”
The joking starts to cool, but I try to keep it going.
“Really, did you not like it? What sucked – I can’t fix it if you don’t say.”
“Oh, well, it was fine really.”

… This went on for a while before coffee break ended and I went back to work.

I did finally get some advice from this, and I feel like it was good and addressed some things I have been worrying about. It essentially confirmed my worry. The problem was that it was pulling teeth to get that feedback out, and I’m pretty sure I sounded like an ass in asking for it. As near as I can tell, the reluctance is that the work is a little rough, and in pointing out issues there is concern that I’ll take it badly or argue about the advice. All I really want to do is to improve, and even if I think the advice is crap, I do appreciate it. Of course, I also recognize that I’m asking people to read 95,000 words of something they may not like, and not because the writing stinks.


 

*I’m going to feel bad about comments describing any significant revisions.
** This was done jokingly, and appropriate in context.

Progress report

progressbar

The summer is moving by so quickly, I think I might have missed it. Temperatures have been hanging out in the low 60s and cracking into the mid-40s at night giving a very distinct late summer vibe. I mean, except for the 21 hours of daylight.

I’ve been doing a bit of work on my current project, and last week I even tore through a rewrite of a few chapters that I’d been putting off. These chapters are a distinct sub-plot with a different lead character (in cliché fantasy tradition). They make up something like 1/4th of the book.

As I was going through these particular chapters, I noticed two major things. The first is that they needed (probably still need) quite a bit of editorial massaging. The second is that these particular chapters are, even with final polishing necessary, arguably the best chapters of the book. On one hand this is cool. I’ve got a few chapters that generally work. Unless a beta reader notes a major problem, these are good to go until editing! On the other hand, this is ¼ of the book. That means the other 3/4s still need a tremendous amount of work to be up to scratch. I think I’m making major progress on that score, but it’s hard to tell until I sit down and attempt another full re-write.

One theory of why this sub-plot is working better is that I don’t really care about the characters as much, and so as things start going to hell for them, I really don’t mind and just sort of let it happen. My main characters (the heroes, if you will), however, I care too much about. As a writer I’m not effectively putting their backs against the wall (more clearly stated: The MC should have a simple goal ‘right now’, simple goal right now is being blocked by a clear and present antagonist). I can’t say that this is THE problem I’m working through, but it’s definitely a contributing factor. The characters aren’t being driven from place to place so much as they are going from place to place. It seems to me that this isn’t doing any favors on the overall conflict and rising action.

So then what am I going to do about that?

I’ve already started tackling some of the problem bits. The first four or five chapters actually weren’t awful as far as this is concerned. The eleventh chapter, however, is a different story. The night before last, I completely rewrote it. It took the immediate conflict in a different direction that still managed to land the main character in almost the right situation to start chapter 12. The change also did good things for the conflict in chapter 12, which becomes something of a pivotal chapter (it always has been, but it just doesn’t have that feel or flavor yet). In any case, chapter 11 feels vastly improved from what it was, but I won’t know how much better this strategy is until I get to the end and look at the story as a whole.

So, anyhow, that’s where I am. The wife is out on the town tonight, so I’ll probably get a full chapter re-write in and if I’m lucky, tomorrow will be mostly a writing day and I’ll see if I can hammer out a few more chapter rewrites.


Photo credit: Me (don’t judge)