Immersion for Authors – 7 Minutes of Thoughts

Lately I’ve been trying to solve some of the problems that regularly crop up during my writing process. Yesterday I got a piece of advice from Terry Mixon during one of the Dead Robots’ Society podcast’s live patreon recordings.

I asked him how he made a project the center of his focus.

His answer?

Immersion. He immerses in the book and then it takes his attention as a creator for as long as he can give it.

I like that answer (I only paraphrased it here), and am thinking immersion has become a greater and greater challenge for my personality as I’ve aged.

My early books were easier to get lost in while writing them, but only because I was more desperate to not be in my life. Well, I may be happier, but let me be candid: I’m not happy with my life. Yet, I’m more invested in the real world than I’ve ever been.

What an awful state, but I can remedy it. On my recent vacation I read a coupe of different novels to the end just to survive long hours in the car. I can use the same principle to separate myself from my current living situation, in mental terms, by escaping into the books I’m writing.

I need to immerse myself in fiction, now more than ever.

I don’t know if this will be helpful to every reader out there, but it won’t hurt to pay more attention to your work.

That can only improve your writing quality and productivity.

And if you want to immerse in another author’s story world first, mnay I suggest you check out my books here.

Thanks for reading. It’s an honor that your eyes follow these humble lines.

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.

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.

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.

7 Minutes about why I (Don’t) Write

The basic premise of storytelling is that one shares experience, whether their own or something they invented. My goal with writing is always to entertain. I don’t have that much to sacrifice for this goal, because I will admit I don’t know much about the world.

I knew less when I started writing, though.

I was thirteen or fourteen. That year was rough for me. I was in the process of adjusting to the middle school environment. I don’t remember that much about the time. Most of what I can recall I wish I didn’t.

I didn’t enjoy 8th grade much.

But I started writing back then. I took lengthy breaks during some years, but I’ve never hung up the spurs and six-guns for more than a few months at a time aside from in college.

And yet, I’m way behind. I don’t have series-length works like I’ll need to attract big readers on Amazon, and I’m not sure I have the will to write a mighty series along the lines of M D Cooper, or Michael Anderle, or any of the other giants out there.

What I have is my desire to entertain myself and others.

Got to keep that one in front of me. I tend to forget it’s there.

Lessons are nice.

Escape can be good.

Fun?

Why not.

Taking joy in what I do means telling tales I love and enjoy.

And still I struggle. I guess I want a series that never feels stale. A book like that. A scene like that. I get stuck looking for north too often.

Never fear. I don’t know how to give up at the game.

Let me tell you, I almost wish I could quite sometimes. But then, what’s the point of that?

Oh well. The timer is ringing.

Thanks for reading my rant.

7 Minutes of Typing Rehab

Two days in a row blogging? Could I be developing a new habit?

Kinda.

You see, ever since I switched to dictation for my fiction, I haven’t typed all that much outside of notes for RPGs.

Thing is, I like typing. I like sculpting sentence at slower than breakneck speed. I like retrospectives on my text. When I edit my fiction, I still get that part of the process. And I love it.

I also love getting words down fast. So, the trade-off here could be accomplished by treating the rough draft as the roughest and most bare bones part of the process. That is my current plan for fiction.

However, to get that to work, I need more practice typing. I don’t know if I’ll be posting here daily, but things could work out that way. I definitely want to do more hereabouts.

After all, a lot of you have followed this blog for some time. Quite a few of you can measure the span you’ve been subscribed here in years. I may have started releasing novels somewhere between the time you long-timers signed up and typing this sentence. I’m happy about that. I hope you are too.

The process of writing has always been close to the front of my mind. Not too long ago I chatted with Mal Cooper on my podcast, Alive After Reading. She mentioned to me she hated writing words that don’t end up in a book. Having authored dozens (Maybe hundreds. I can’t recall. The timer is a harsh master for this blog post), she certainly shows strong results from that practice.

Yet, I think if I don’t put down the rules and details of my world at least somewhat in advance I suffer a bit for it. It’s not because I get derailed in the course of the story, but more that I ENJOY thinking about all these aspects and creating these worlds. Without that part of the process, enthusiasm is harder to find.

But that’s 7 minutes of typing. The timer alarm is drilling into my ears through the headphones.

Thanks for reading.

7 Minutes to Check In

We just got the first snow of the season in my part of the world. It was light snow. Nothing stuck.

Sadly, this reminds me of the position my books have been in for the past couple years. Sure, I’ve gotten mostly positive reviews, but I’m simply not putting my books in front of enough people.

I want to share these stories. Yet, I don’t really know how to get people to read them.

Sure, I’m getting better at it. I’ve learned a few things about making book covers and even a little about writing book descriptions. Yet…it never seems to be enough.

Thanks to dictation, I’m faster and mostly better as a writer than I’ve ever been.

Still…

I can’t seem to focus on a series. My ADHD is a serious obstacle at this point. The time is coming to control those impulses, because I can’t keep failing to attract readers forever.

Honestly, this post started out as a bit of whining, but I think there is a good takeaway from my emotional shift while writing the last few paragraphs. I feel better. Maybe, just maybe, I feel better because I’m writing.

Writers, take notice.

You may just need to do the work to feel better.

Today has been a struggle to optimize marketing, at least for me.

Time to go back to the pages, the stories, the characters.

Thanks for reading.