A few things:
1) I was in Beverly Hills a while back, to see the doctor, I had to park in one of the public parking structures. As I was pulling out in The Falcon (my Jeep), I passed Michael T. Weiss in his car. He was making a turn, and he slowed down to do so, so I got a great view of his face. He still looks good, which was awesome. I LOVED him on The Pretender and it makes me sad that he’s been playing bad guys recently.
And not too long after I saw the guy, he shows up on Burn Notice! It was great to see Michael T. Weiss and Jeffrey Donovan together again. I was inspired to look up the show and see just how many episodes Donovan was in, as Kyle, Jared’s messed up brother. I was shocked to see that it was only three TOTAL episodes! He must have been mentioned more than that, for him to have been as pervasive in my memory as he is. Or he was just that awesome.
2) A friend forwarded me an e-mail about this writing program called Skyword. Skyword hooks writers up with different websites that are looking for content and they pay you based on hit counts for each article that you write.
I applied to write for gather.com and I was chosen to write for the news and political channels of the site. I’m really enjoying it- I pick my own topics, do my own research and then submit my articles to be published on the site. They have editors that read for content and they do edit articles as needed, which is a great service.
I’ve already started to make money, although it’s a very small amount at this point. But cash is cash, and it spends. This is the first time I have ever been paid for my work. Woo!
If you are interested in writing for the same program, check it out here.
Some of my currently posted articles are here:
a) Black Valedictorian Forced to Share Honor with White Student
b) Married Lesbian Couple Save 40 Teens from Norway Killing Spree
c) Murder of Gay Student Ends in Mistrial
d) After 66 Years, Nazi Secretary Reveals All
e) New Jersey Bullying Legislation Hits Hard
f) West Memphis 3 Released After 18 Years
3) Keep Calm and Finish Your Damn Book
Beth and Deb linked me to this post, via twitter, and it hit so many buttons for me, it isn’t even funny.
First, I love the art. It reminds me of Hyperbole and a Half, which is awesome, and the actual content just really speaks to me.
I mean, I am that person. I freak out about all the people that are better/wittier/funnier/darker than I am and that have great books out there, getting read and possibly sold by a major publisher.
In fandom, I always get sad when my stories don’t get the kinds of comments that other stories do, some that aren’t as good as mine but get a billionty more comments. And I wonder if people just don’t like me, like you do. Or if I’m that uncool kid that people just put up with because it’s the internets and you can’t really kick people out until they become REALLY creepy or crazy or dangerous. Am I that girl that you went to school with that had the terrible hair and smelled like peas?
And then I wonder if it IS, in fact, the content of my work that just isn’t getting the response that I want. If my stories are okay but not good, even if they aren’t BAD.
As an aside, I had a story that was due for a fannish challenge and I knew that I had to get it done, as it was for someone else and I would be gifted with a story of my own. You never want to be that asshat that DOESN’T meet the deadline, okay? And I thought I had a good story but I asked an amazing friend to beta read the thing for me. She’s totally awesome and totally honest and she didn’t like it. Like, at all. So I had to break it down and really try to find what the story was I was actually trying to tell. In the end, I had a much better story that I actually really loved. I still did not get the kinds of comments that I was expected, based on the fandom and the characters involved. My ego is ridiculous, okay? I get that. But man, I just wish I could write a story that not only connected with ME but connected with everyone else.
And that’s what I think this post is really about. I question my worth as a writer based on the feedback from other people (or the distinct lack thereof). I also question my worth based on my own comparison of my work/blog/twitter/facebook to that of other people, just like the blog talks about. I psych myself out, creating all this doubt that doesn’t need to be there.
What is the answer here? The answer is just write the damn book. Just tell the story the way I want to tell it, the way that I see it in my head, and just get it on the page. Don’t worry about what other people will think about that paragraph or that character turn. Don’t get caught up in all the peripheral stuff, like blogs and twitter and stuff. Just focus on the work. Because in the end, that’s all you have to stand on and it will have to be enough. Make sure that the focus is on the work and just get it done.
That’s what I’m taking away from the post.
4) Speaking of Keep Calm and Finish Your Damn Book…
I’m trying to get my edits done on The Drake submission so I can send it out. I’m struggling with too much information. I’ve been thinking about the problems with the story and how to fix them for months and now that I need to actually sit down and pound out the fixes, I’ve got almost too much information pouring into my brain.
I need to rework the synopsis- crap, I have one, that I can just edit. Maybe. Or maybe it would be better to just start from scratch. Ack!
Add to that, I need to update my first three chapters to incorporate the changes that I am making in the synopsis. Let’s be clear- the changes are important, if only because they will help make the story not suck.
I feel both empowered, mostly because when I do have ideas hit me, they are pretty good and I am making a lot of fixes, but also like my hands and feet are tied. When I sit down to actually type out the new words, I freeze up and I don’t know why.
Am I intimated by the amount of work this will require? Am I afraid of getting it wrong? I have no idea, I just know that I need to get my act together and get these pages out so that I don’t miss out on this opportunity.
5) My Kindle.
I love my Kindle. I take it with me almost everywhere and I can read anything I want without anyone commenting on the cover, because I don’t have a cover. I also am saving myself a ton of paper and ink costs by putting fanfic on my Kindle instead of printing it out to read away from the computer.
In fact, fanfic is what I use the Kindle for more than anything else.
Since my husband has been out of work for 1 year and 9 months (aside: he was recently hired to work for a great place here in LA and starts on 9/15. Another post to follow regarding this!) one of the things we’ve cut out is the book buying. Granted, I do get amazon.com gift cards and can use those but I am pretty picky about what I pick up, because I know that my budget is so limited. So, I’ve been very slow to add actual published novels to my device. I have a lot of free stuff and a lot of samples of what amazon.com has available, but not a lot of purchases. To be very clear, I do not pirate e-books. It never does, as they say, to shit where you eat.
But the fanfic? Oh, HELL yeah. Lots of it. And I’ve been collecting some of my favorite stories for re-reads and getting all the long Big Bang stories downloaded so I can read them at lunch, at work. It’s the perfect little device for the avid reader of all types.
If you think you are interested in a Kindle but are concerned about the various format issues, be sure to download the program Calibre.
Calibre is a FREE program that will help you manage your various e-books, files, etc. Calibre can also convert files to other formats for better reading. For example, I have a number of pdf files that I have converted to Kindle format (modi). I have also purchased e-books from non-amazon.com sites that only offer pdf or epub formats and have converted those to Kindle as well, using Calibre. I love it.
And for all you fanfic readers out there, if you get your fix from An Archive of Our Own (AO3), you can download works in all e-book formats, including Kindle, so you won’t need to convert, just click and save. Just another reason that the site is so amazing.
6) My short story.
I had submitted a story to an anthology and it was not accepted by that anthology. Which is okay. Not everything is for everyone.
But I submitted the piece to my crit group and it didn’t get that great of a response from them, either.
So, that is a sign that the stupid thing needs a lot of work. On the plus side, now that I’m not writing it to fit into specific parameters, I can increase the word count and make positive changes without worrying if I am working outside the theme of the anthology.
The downside is that my husband really liked the story. He was my beta reader and he was the one that suggested the current ending. Apparently, my crit partners felt like it wasn’t a complete story, instead of an ending the implied additional action after the story was technically over. That is not good.
I’m wondering if their reaction to it is based on reading preference. They prefer the romance genre, that demands a HEA, and the husband prefers to read sci-fi and fantasy stories, that can be ambiguous and possibly sad or tragic. That’s a different audience and one story would create very different reactions from both types of readers.
I am not discounting any feedback on this one- I am taking everything into account, including that it’s currently in present tense but it might work better in past tense. This is something worth exploring. I do have some experience in changing the tense, as I did with First Lady and the Dead Presidents.
I need to make the ending really pop, so that even if I don’t write in all the action that I thought I was implying before, than at least the reader would have a better understanding of what actions was supposed to be happening, as opposed to thinking that the story wasn’t even complete. *sigh*
A lot of work, but worth it. I love the characters, I love the world, and I want to see this in print somewhere other than my computer screen. My plan, after I take it apart and rebuild her, is to send it to one of the guys that rejected the story from the anthology and see what they think about it after the overhaul. If he’s willing.
I will report back as things happen!