The Challenge Decomposed

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I think I meant deconstructed. Well, decomposed means stuff breaking down, so same idea, if not entirely accurate for this situation. Or maybe it is. Only time will tell.

My notebook, with words of self-encouragement.

My notebook, with words of self-encouragement.

So here’s the commentary on the challenge I’ve given myself.

As I said before, I love a good challenge. And I figure it’s a good way to keep myself motivated and working towards a goal. And out of trouble. Kind of ambitious, but I’m dying to see if I can pull it off.

The Budget: Let me explain the budget. It’s a really, really, teeny, tiny one. Why? Because if I succeed – no, wrong phrasing – when I succeed, I want others to know that it’s possible to achieve, no matter how much money you make. You might have to give up something, but I think to scrape together $200 is realistic. And the way I’m doing it, you don’t even need the whole $200 at once. This amount is to cover everything – all promotion, all production, all learning (courses, how-to books etc.), everything – until the other part about earning more promotion/marketing/publishing money kicks in. Also, I got burned big time on a previous venture, so I learned my lesson. I’m starting small and not spending what hasn’t been earned – except for the paltry $200 I’m starting out with.

You’ve noticed that I haven’t included the editorial costs in the budget, but they do have to be deducted from future earnings. I’m not willing to compromise on having an editor. I believe it’s crucial to having a good book. And I respect my audience enough to make sure that the final product is the best it can possibly be. Right now, the book is free, so it’s kind of read at your own risk (although, I think I’ve done an okay job so far with the editing, but who knows, maybe I’m delusional). But once I’m asking people to pay, I will give you nothing less than a top notch product (thank the perfectionist in me). But I did compromise a bit by saying that I get no more money to promote until the editing costs have been paid back.

The Double or Nothing Clause: I put that in, just in case things don’t go well. And added a little twist, just to make it not so easy. This clause has to be executed within the first year or no go. Okay, seriously, what is wrong with me? Why in the world wouldn’t I want to make this easy? There really is something wrong with me.

The Exclusions Clause: The whole reason for this challenge is to be successful as an independent author, so obviously, to have the assistance of a traditional publishing house would be cheating. And possibly make things easier. (Yep, there I go again. There is definitely something wrong with me.)

Plus, I’m a control freak. I love to have my hands in every aspect of what’s going on. So being an indie author these days is perfect for me, what with all the hats you have to wear. Apparently, I’m not happy if I’m not crazy busy and losing my mind because I’m swamped with things to do.

Of course, this clause excludes Burgundy Hill Publishing, because that’s the company that’s going to be publishing this book to start off with, but it also has never published a book before so it’s hardly a traditional publisher. And it also happens to be my company.*

The Date: It was just some random date I pulled out of my shiny, light up hat. I figured it was just before the holiday season, when the kids are out of school and everyone plans to go away. Maybe you’d like a book to take with you on vacation. Oh, hey! I’ve got a good one to recommend!

Oh, and by the way, I’ve already triggered the right to change the date, thing. It’s going to be July 4th, 2013 and the reason? This entire journey officially began July 4, 2012, so I think it’s fitting to begin the next phase a full year after that date. I’m a sucker when it comes to meaningful dates.

I went back through my notes to check on some things, and I noticed in the margin, I had scribbled: “July 4 – The start of something big”. It’s funny that I wrote that. On July 4th, I hadn’t even started writing the story. At that point, I had no idea of what it was to become. I was just throwing some ideas down onto paper that were running through my head so I wouldn’t forget them as I was working on a movie script at the time (Needless to say, that script didn’t get thrown to the wayside, it was hurled! Like an Olympic hurler of some kind. Or someone who drank an awful, awful lot. )

I officially began writing the story on July 22, 2012 and then everything went to hell from there.

Besides, July 4th is Independence Day**. Kind of a fitting start for an independent author, don’t you think?

 

* Contrary to popular belief, Burgundy Hill Publishing was not created to self-publish my book. Okay, so no one actually believes that. But it was actually created to work on another project, that never came to fruition, but still might, so I’m not going to talk about it yet. And BHP also happens to be the supreme ruler of a small website called Puppytropolis.

**Yes, yes, I know I’m not American! But I’m married to one (born Brooklyn, NY) and I have lots of friends and family that are, so it kinda makes me one by proxy. Heck, even my dog is American too (born Springville, NY)! Yes, I’m totally aligned with the state of New York (Go Mets! Yes, I said Mets! Except if they’re up against the Jays, then sorry, has to be Jays all the way. My loyalty only goes so far.)

7G2UV3HM4GZ4    There you go Technorati!

What’s the Sitch?*

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facebook_iconOkay, so I told you the reason why this blog exists in the world. Basically it’s a journal chronicling my adventures towards eventual publication of my masterpiece of a novel. Don’t worry, I’m not that conceited – I say that with tongue firmly planted in cheek. But I’m hoping the book will be very entertaining to the five people I’m anticipating will read it. So far I have two that have read it to date, so I’m well on my way to achieving my goals. I’m experiencing a mild sense of accomplishment.

So let’s start at the beginning, shall we? I had an idea for a story that very rudely interrupted my perfectly normal life. It was so brash and brazen, that I had to put everything aside and actually pay attention to it. Now most of my waking, free time and not-so-free-time (remember I warned you about the state of my house?) is spent working on this damn thing. I still pretty pissed off at it. That happened back in early July. That rude idea manifested itself into 220 Word pages (approximately 97 000 words as of this post) of what is known as Darkness Becoming, or One for short – the first novel in the The Destined Revolutions series.

I’ll spare you the writing process with One for now, but suffice it to say the story came relatively easy. The ideas poured out of me like Niagara Falls and it was an absolute joy to write. I was stunned and delighted at the story that emerged. (Unlike its sister sequel – Two, aka Darkness Gathering, aka “That #$%^ing Piece of @#%^“, was like trying to pass a stubborn kidney stone. Of course the fact that I even had to start writing it was One’s fault – One was supposed to be the material for NaNoWriMo but of course it made its appearance early and left me with no choice but to start Two. Just another reason why I’m still very bitter towards One – in fact sometimes I just want to set it on fire, I hate it so much**. But I digress – get used to it, I do it a lot.)

Just over a month after I started writing, my easy, free flowing novel that appeared to be writing itself, came to a screeching halt. I was totally and completely blocked. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, I could see where I wanted to go, but I just couldn’t get there. Incredibly frustrating. So instead of losing the momentum I had going with the story, I started thinking about the end of the writing journey, which was where the promotion journey would begin and decided to start there. So I have a website www.thedestinedrevolutions.com and now a  blog (you’re reading it, just in case you were looking for the link), which freeloads off of that location. I also participate in several writer’s websites.

And where is Darkness Becoming at this point? It’s almost a full-fledged novel, which I am in the process of editing. I say almost a novel because there are still a few key scenes/chapters I need to write for it. Mostly bridging how I got from here to there, so the reader understands the story better. If you want to see where I am to date, just head over to the main part of the site and you can get a pretty good feel for where I am in the writing process of any of the books I’m currently working on. I’m anticipating One will be out of my hair and ready to assault an unsuspecting public,  Summer 2013. But I’ve already had to push that date back several times. Despite writing most of One within a month, I far under estimated all the work that was involved after you write the first draft of your story. If you’re feeling all proud of yourself when you finally type those two glorious words – The End – at the bottom of your manuscript, if you’re feeling exhilarated because your blood, sweat and tears have finally manifested itself into a wonderful masterful piece of sheer brillance – don’t worry, it’s short lived. Now the real work begins. Yes, very anti-climactic, I know.

I guess the whole moral of this post is that I’m at the very beginning of my book writing journey. So you’re right on time and you’ll be right here with me at the start and we’ll journey through this together. Constant companions and BFFs.

And just so you know, I’m still holding a grudge against One.

 

That would be Buffy, not Kim.

**Ahhh! Yes, that’s exactly it. You’re very clever. Have a cookie.

This Blog Has a Raison

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No, not shrivelled up grape. As in raison d’etre. Excuse the lack of proper French accents, I’m writing on the fly here.

Okay, so I think it’s only fitting that if I’ve found my reason for being, it would be important for my blog to find it’s reason as well.

I’ve decided that this blog will chronicle my journey, my quest to become what I’ve always wanted to be. Because it’s always kind of cool to look back on things, some time in the future, shake your head and say “I can’t believe I was so naive!”, because I love looking back and seeing how truly stupid I was. It gives Present Me a sense of superiority over Past Me.

But mostly, I’d like to teach people as well. For those who want to set out on the same path I’m starting out on now, maybe I can make it a little easier for you, having trampled the grass a bit and cut down some branches out of your way. Maybe I can help you see your way through the forest, because right now, I’m standing at the edge of it and it feels like there’s no path and it’s thick and dense with trees and I have absolutely no idea where to go. At this point, I’d really love for someone to take me by the hand and just tell me what to do.

There’s so much clutter out there, so much noise, it’s hard to know who to listen to. The writing industry is big. Yes, I know you know that, but what I mean is that there are so many people out there who want to be writers and write the next best seller. And there are those who prey upon that desire.

Not to say that there aren’t legitimate people out there who want to help, but everywhere you turn, somebody wants to sell you a book, a service, a video, a machine, a dog – that will make you a world famous author. And I mean, do you really need all that stuff? Well, maybe the dog. But is it possible to make it, without spending hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars on all that stuff? Well, I’m going to try. My goal is to get my book off the ground without spending a ton o’ cash. Ideally, none. Possible? We’ll see.

So here’s my promise to you: If you’re like me and you’re discovering that you too want to be a writer when you grow up, I promise to teach you everything I know. You’ll know what I know and I’ll give you every trick I pick up along the way. You’ll see everything I’m doing and I’ll tell you what works and what doesn’t work, so you don’t make the same mistakes I do. I’m here to be your friend, your guide, may be even one day a kind of mentor. I promise to help you out as best as I can by documenting what I’ve learned, in this blog.

Why? Because the path of a writer is a hard, long and very lonely road. You need every ally you can possibly find. You’ll have naysayers who tell you, you won’t make it. Or ask you why do you want to write about what you’re writing about? What you’re doing is a waste of time. You’ll have people who will take a copy of your work, promise to read it, then put it to the side, never to open it. When you ask for feedback, you’ll have people who give your work a cursory glance, tell you it’s good, to shut you up, then put it down half read. And these are the people who are closest to you. Yes, your friends, your family – your loved ones. 

But I’m here to tell you that you can do it! If being a writer is what you really want to be, then don’t let anything stop you. Despite the obstacles, if you want it badly enough, keep going, keep reaching, keep digging. Don’t let anything stop you. Because this is worth fighting for. And you can have it – if you want it badly enough.

I know I do.

I Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up!

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Just some random kids I found on the internet.

Just some random kids I found on the internet.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yay! I know, I know, I know!

You’re holding your breath, waiting for me to reveal what it is.

Okay, so here goes. Are you ready? Are you sitting down? Or maybe you should stand up. Okay, yes, sorry! Here goes. I want to be…

 A Writer. 

Alright, so, yes, you’re completely shocked. Yes, I understand it was a little obvious. But you see, I lost sight of that for quite a while in my life and I want to make sure I never lose sight of it again. I tried to live my life as a Normal person, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I think that somewhere in my head, I would pursue the Normal path – get a Normal Job and somehow write on the side, in my spare time. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Work the job until masterpiece is finished. Have publishing houses clamour over manuscript. Watch royalties pour in. Quit Normal Job and voila! Writer. 

The problem with that path, is that I never found the time to write because things like making lunches and dinners and homework and house cleaning and working late at the Normal Job and extra-curricular activities and charity work and demands of friends and demands of family and, and, and…

Life is what ends up happening and you never do get that book finished. Pretty soon you forget about it altogether. And just a little while after that, you forget writing ever existed in your life. It’s a time that I refer to as my Dark Ages.

Except, except, that my life is miserable without writing. The world needs shiny, sparkly, danger-filled, imaginative, spectacularly creative places for us to escape to. And I need to write about them. So now that I know that, I still have the Normal Job. But I make sure I make time for writing. Which means inevitably, something’s gotta give. My house is a disaster, I’m just warning you. I no longer do much picking up after the inhabitants of my household. And sometimes the guys don’t get fed. Luckily, the dog just needs a mug full ‘o kibble poured in her bowl and she is good to go. But they’re both big boys. They can fend for themselves. By all rights, they should be cooking me dinner. And sometimes, there’s not much in the fridge. But again, someone else really could do the grocery shopping, couldn’t they?

So, at this stage, I don’t feel at all guilty about abandoning them to write in my spare time. And by saying that, it totally means that I am. But if you want something to happen in this world, you have to make it a priority. And it doesn’t mean the boys aren’t a priority, but at forty-something and 18 years old, you’d think that they’d be able to look after themselves. Well, at least the 18 year old is a bit better than the forty-something year old. (I often say I have five kids – Son, Son’s best friend, the dog and The Husband counts as two. Believe me, there’s no exaggeration here.)

Since I’ve started writing again, I’ve been persistent in a way I never was in my younger years. I’ve already finished two movie scripts and now I’ve gone back to my comfort zone, my old stomping grounds of novel writing. I’ve started working on a series that I never, ever dreamed I’d end up writing, but I’m so excited by it. Namely, The Destined Revolutions series, the parent site to this blog. 

So with all the chaos of Everyday Life, I thank God that I finally discovered what I want to be when I grow up. Because it gives me a little bit of sanity that was otherwise lacking from my life, but most of all – it makes me happy.