7 Minutes About 10k words of Fiction

Before I get started, Tenlyres is free until the end of Today (Pacific Time). Go get some free fantasy adventure if that sounds good to you! HERE.

Now then. Starting the clock.

I love Rachel Aaron’s little book about writing entitled “2k to 10k” because it offers concise guidance on both craft and productivity. Most importantly for me, though, the book describes how intertwined writing speed is with excitement.
I don’t outline my books like Aaron suggests in 2k to 10k. No, I can’t get a book off the ground with that much baggage on board.


She recommends planning, but only as a personal tactic.

Me?

I double down on enthusiasm (Which she is one of the other two key points of her metric) in place of planning. I think through what’s going to happen, turning things over and over when I’m not writing. Once upon a time, I did this compulsively.

As a teenage writer I escaped through language and character. I’d probably have been mad if someone pointed that out to me at the time. That’s hindsight.

But 10,000 words?

That’s around 35 pages, depending on you count them.

That takes 4-5 hours for me to type. Not a boast. Others can go far faster, but that’s not the important part.
10,000 words is a goal I’ve often shot for, given the few times I’ve hit it in the past.
Well, today I’m trying that again. I’m up early (WAY too early, actually), and so I’m taking a moment to write this blog post.

Seven moments, I guess.

Time for this post is running low.

I finished one rough draft yesterday. It took 7 years since I started. Most of that time, the book sat on the back burner.

Since I came back to it, late last month, I added only about 12,000 words to complete the draft.

That’s not much more than 10,000 in the grand scope.

What can you do with a 10,000 words? It might surprise you. I can’t put my finger on a way to express any exact, but quite a bit.

I’m looking forward to my next set.

Thanks for reading.

7 Minutes to Wake Up

7 Minutes to Wake Up Again

Happy May the 6th for those of you not living in the future. I don’t normally drink alcohol, but yesterday I had just a little bit of rum with dinner.


I may be a big guy, but due to my medications get the the effects of drinking pretty fast. One drink.

Just one.

And now I’m drowsy an hour after waking up.


I’d been waking up better lately. Just pull off my mask and then jump out of bed the second the alarm goes off, like I was only waiting for the sound, not sleeping at all.


Waking up isn’t just the first thing I do each day.


It’s a pretty good metaphor for feeling of growing up and maturing.


When I was younger, I did things and said stuff I’d never repeat now. I wouldn’t say I’ve become wiser, just more alert.
That’s one reason I went back to a book I started writing around 7 years ago. It’s really working for me.


I’m going to finish that one soon. I’m close to the end. Seven years is a lot longer than this post, which is already running low on time. Normally when I write, I don’t take that long. Getting stuck is a whole other topic, though.


Regardless, the book feels RIGHT now. I’m into it.

Thanks for reading.

7 Minutes About Canceling Projects

Hi.

I’m gonna just come out and sat it first. I’m sorry, but I had to cancel the preorder for Science of War.

The book just wasn’t coming together.

For more full disclosure, I have to add that I was trying to write this book from an old manuscript I’d started in 2018. The book involved a plague in the science fiction universe where it’s set.

I realized over the course of my attempt to revive this project over the past weeks that it just isn’t what I want.

I don’t want to release a book I’m not happy with, so the preorder is canceled.

Officially, the mess of this book is over. Perhaps one day I’ll write a second Forces of Empire book, but not for now.

I don’t think what I need this month is more scifi. I want to keep writing fantasy.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

I’m happy with my decision, though I should probably have never put this book up for preorder in the first place.

More books will come out, and maybe sooner than you expect.

Thanks for reading.

Stay safe out there.

Over 7 Minutes to Break Free

I’ve been writing a lot this week.


Surprise, surprise.

Right?

I also feel like I made a break-through or two in the process. Specifically, I’ve once again accessed a level of inner darkness I’d lost touch with for some time. Part of that is some stuff I won’t write here, because to be honest, I can’t explain it in a less than weird way without you reading Well Country first. And as that book comes out next month, I won’t be delving into it further in this post.

But writing this book is changing me.

Very recently, I can see my past books as themes and elements of my life at the times each of them was written.
I love the way I can look back and see how happy (Or how miserable) I was, and in which particular way each book describes my life in fantasy and science fiction terms.

That said, I don’t know if Well Country will stand that way in a few years. At first, I worried that was because it’s a sequel, the third in a series. No.

I think Well Country is becoming special to me because it’s helped me break a seal in my mind that I didn’t fully realize was there for so long.

I’m reaching for a horrid sensation, a kind of perversity that does not involve love or lust, but which centers on power that comes from failure.

Heroes have to lose sometimes. That’s as specific as I’ll get with the story.

Personality chains us to our bitterness sometimes. Just the same, my memories of how much I hated others when I was a teenager and wrote my first few books, drove me to face a different reality. Happiness. Contentment. Those are powerful feelings too, but for a book like Well Country I had to dredge my old feelings and worst thoughts.

It’s dark.

It’s deep.

It’s brutal, sometimes.

I’m going over the time limit here, because I have to finish this thought.

This book will be joyful and satisfying to read, as well, I hope. I’m enjoying writing it for many of the same reasons I can’t describe fully. I hope I’m making sense.

I love this book. I love this world. And I love that both of these story elements evidence pain my story inflicts on them.

A bit personal?

Yes. A bit.

I hope you readers understand how much I put into a story. It’s more than the hours of dictation or typing. It’s more than editing. The fuel is vital, too.

Thanks for reading.

A Few Thoughts about Feeling Good

It’s getting warmer here in Minnesota…

A lot of us will say we’re doing fine. These days, things could be worse, right? Sure.

Fine. Alright. Okay. Whatever. Blah.

These feelings are not what we chase. They’re ruts we get stuck in.

I’ve lived for years as someone who is typically “A little bit down” but with chemical upgrades, better sleep from a CPAP machine, and a bit of improved fitness I’ve upgraded a lot over the past couple years.

Stop getting stuck.

Don’t give up.

Please. You don’t owe that to me or anyone else. Except for yourself.

A dream deferred is a dream denied, as applied by the sunrise movement.

You never know what will happen next. It’s not always easy, maybe not always possible. I thought I’d be miserable consistently forever. Now, with my recent changes in anti-depressant regimen I think my normal state is improving, expanding. In spite of the cold and the pandemic, in my mind, things are getting better and better.

Don’t settle for nothing.

As a writer, these changes are really helping me love my stories and process again.

I write some fairly long books, and I like to get deep into them.

They’re not always pleasant for the characters in them, but if I don’t love what I’m doing I won’t work hard enough. I’m pleased to say that as of today, I’m feeling the power of joy in my fiction.

What’s bringing you down this winter? What joys are holding you up?

Let me know.

And thanks for reading.

If you like epic fantasy, Demon Scroll is just 99 cents at Amazon.com until the middle of the week (February 23rd).

Stay safe, and let me know any ideas you have to stay out of ruts, whether in life, or creativity.

I’ll write again soon.

Tim

7 Minutes Without a Crossroads

Sometimes climbing gets tiring, folks.


Lately, I have neglected posting on this blog (As usual, I suppose) and in the next 7 minutes I want to explain a bit of how things are changing in my life.


First, I have an increased anti-depressant dose, as prescribed by doctor. It’s been a week, and energy levels are up already. I am pleased with those results, and they’re getting me back to the page more often.


Second, I am still hard at work on Well Country. I had to push the pre-orders I had up back by about a month each because of the slowness I’d been enduring before the increase in my prescription.


Third, I am in love with writing again. Hell, I may even be attracted to ACTUALLY reading books once more. I didn’t expect that to happen at all, but with a little of the energy I’m currently overflowing, I picked up my copy of “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” yesterday. It’s a traveling book I picked up at a convention several years ago and left untouched until yesterday.


I wouldn’t say I regret all my low-energy days, months, years…but I wish I had tried to get this kind of increased help sooner. So, I’m climbing again. I’m off the landing and moving up the staircase.


I’m typing fiction, non-fiction, and role-playing game material a bunch all through the last week. I’m seeing the world with more child-like wonder than I have in some time. While this post is not a PSA for anti-depressants (Everyone will have their own solutions to lethargy) I do intend this as a reminder to all you readers and myself not to leave yourself in lurch. Don’t give up, people.


I thought for years that I couldn’t get better. Much as before I got my CPAP machine, I thought that was the best things could feel. Well, I’m pleased to report I was wrong.


There is the timer. Stay safe and thanks for reading.

No Limits

Happy New Year.

It’s still January 2021, and I’m gonna stay 30 years old (Officially-speaking) for just another week or so.

I’ve been typing a bit today on the next Demon Hunter book, but feeling like I’m a bit slower than I’d like.

The story is flowing, but I’m putting in dams along that river.

My problem is I think too much when typing rough draft. I like to just go wild, but since I finished re-editing Demon Scroll I’m stuck in the perfectionism that comes on during edits. I want the sentences to sound good now. I want the details and voices and characters to pop off at the fullest in rough draft.

That kind of writing takes longer. Time is a limiter for all of us, and I know if I can just get words down 15% faster, as I’ve seen myself do as recently as early December, I can get more books done more easily. That said, the factor that is more dangerous than running out of hours each day is running out of stamina.

Mental energy isn’t always well-understood, but without it nothing gets written or edited, no matter how long I stare at the page. The good news? Each of us can rebuild that same energy by relaxing, by going with the flow.

The way I relax is the real inhibitor.

That tells me I only have one skill to master to write as fast and as much as I want.

I need to relax.

I need to get out of my head and into my fingers.

It’s 2021 folks. That’s my entire goal this year.

Good luck out there. Find your flow.

Thanks for reading.

No Timer

I’ve grown from dictating books. I conceive of story beats and turns faster than I’ve ever done before learning to dictate “effectively,” and yet.

Allow me a digression, please.

When I was a kid, before I ever typed a word of a novel, I came up with the idea for a universe weirder than any I’ve ever read to this day, at least in the geographic sense. That’s the pillar universe in which the Forces of Empire series is set.

Occasionally, I long for the days when I approached my author career with that kind of insane, child-like boldness. Someone could ask me, “Who needs a story set in a pillar universe where the majority of the physical laws are different?” and I’d be at a loss to answer them.

Sometimes you have to create the thing before you know it’s purpose.

Sometimes art is just a step to a greater piece.

And sometimes the child knows more than the man ever could, though he doesn’t realize it at the time.

I never really tried to mature. I guess the process doesn’t work that way, not really. I actively fought against my own maturation at times, wanting to remain a kid just a little while longer.

I’m a twin. I was born second, and by C-section, due to taking too long to emerge. You might say I’ve always been afraid of that next step.

Still, along the past 20-odd years since I first conjured the images of the towering pillars, the vast mists, and the creatures that plied the icy cold between bright points, I somehow grew up anyway.

Time passes, and we, mere mortals, cannot wait.

I’ve been typing more lately. I think it will be my primary mode of creating stories from now on.

It’s true, dictation produces the rough draft at 3-5 times my old typing speed. Despite my increases in pace after dictating for over a year, I’ve increased my rate at the keyboard so the discrepancy is somewhat less.

I am back at the typing game, regardless.

I enjoy it more. I have the time to change things, and the editing is easier as well as faster. Most importantly, my voice is stronger when I type. I bet you can tell. I hope you can, anyway. I’m happy to be back to typing, because even in my slowness, I’m not waiting around so much now.

Thanks for reading.

Stay safe.

7 Minutes about Free Books

Before I start the timer: As of this posting you have about 80 hours left to get Origin of Storms, my epic space opera adventure novel, for free on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B084DH8D5Q

Alright. On with the show.

Origin of Storms is free right now, and I have been doing some active research on giveaways and free copies of novels over on the bestseller lists of a couple Amazon stores. Turns out, even without moving a whole lot of copies, a book ranks in the top 100 as long as the cover is nice and the ask isn’t too big.

I wonder if my ask with Origin of Storms is bigger than most of these free Science Fiction stories.

You see, as I discussed yesterday, the book is set in a VERY odd science fiction universe, one that defies comprehension by most people when I try to tell them how it works.

That’s an obstacle. The same could be said for the fact that book is over 600 pages long. I like a long book, but this one is currently my longest volume, and it’s scifi, not epic fantasy, so the genre expectations are different.

Even so, I’m pleased to see people downloading some copies.

I guess there isn’t much to say beyond that I’ve been told free series starters are dead on Amazon. Maybe that isn’t true? I don’t really know, and the book is only on sale until the end of October, so I probably won’t find out if it would do well permanently free.

For years now, I’ve wanted to do a sequel to Origin of Storms. One is in the works, but it’s far from completion. After I’m done with this post, some dictation is in my future.

Wish me luck, friends.

I like to type. I like to talk. Combine these two, and dictation should be fun, and it often is. As long as I don’t lose sight of my purpose in the moment and second of the process, I do alright.

The clock is ticking down.

Thanks for reading.

I’ll be out of here at the beep.

More than 7 Minutes into The Pillar Universe

I like some of the fictional worlds I’ve created. I love most of them.

One I love the best is also among the oldest. I created the first inklings of the Pillar Universe (As seen in the pages of the Forces of Empire series) when I was just a kid, definitely not yet 10 years old.

My thinking at that point was based on Star Wars, the original trilogy, which my parents showed me frequently at the time. Already a big fantasy fan, I fell into space opera or space fantasy (Whatever you call it) with a little more sense of what I wanted to do with my life.

I wanted to tell stories, and I knew pretty fast I liked originality.

While my feelings on originality have changed a little, the universe I created from the thought of “Star Wars plus something new.” have only increased in intensity as I developed the universe.

When I was a kid, I thought the least original part about Star Wars was the ‘geography’ (In a manner of speaking). I wanted to make a universe unlike any other, and for my hubris I ended up with one.

The Pillar Universe is a space opera setting, far-flung science fiction, without the physical hallmarks of traditional science fiction: planets, stars, even the void of space itself was replaced. In my case, I replaced the planets with pillars.

Pillars, in this case, are infinitely tall cylinders of stone with cores inside that go from light to dark and dark to light based on the passage of intervals of time. People live in caves within them or on outrcps arond the surface of these huge cylinders, but they don’t have gravity (The physical laws are different too, but that’s a longer digression).

Everything would fall into the airy, cloudy, abyss of space if it doesn’t have somewhere to land.

The abyss is breathable atmosphere, mostly. So much for the vacuum of space. But say hello to the wonders of storms the size of our solar system, massive hurricanes strong enough to hurl flying ships from the sky to tumble into the forever of mist below the storms.

But I missed a spot, didn’t I? The stars.

Where does heat and light originate? Well, some pillars are geologically active, but I figured that wasn’t enough. The equivalent of stars in the Pillar Universe come in the form of mighty serpentine creatures that are born in hives within some rare pillars and then fly out to find a new home as they mature.

These critters are called solnas, and they are nuclear generators crossed with dragons. Stars…in their multitudes (Please, pardon the Les Miserables reference). These creatures scan the cores of the pillars, which themselves are naturally occurring rudimentary computer systems, and the solnas use the data they garner to find the next place to start a hive to reproduce.

As you can see above, the geographty of the setting is rather steep.

If any of that sounds intriguing, check out Origin of Storms (It’ll be free on Amazon.com from the 27th of October to the 31st, by the way). Here’s a link.

That was well over 7 minutes, so I’m changing the title. Hope you stuck with me through all of the above.

And thanks for reading.