7 Years to Remember

Hi.

It’s been a bit since I posted, but I’m back for the moment, and I have a new book out!

The Forgotten Mask” is the start of a new series, called Temple Theater, but it’s also one of the oldest books I’m publishing. I wrote most of the novel in 2014, but only finished the draft in spring 2021.

Why is that?

The book didn’t take seven years of WRITING time, and no, I didn’t revise it completely at any point, though I’ve done so with other books before.

Why leave a book on the shelf for so long?

This first book of Temple Theater and the premise of steampunk fantasy really interests me. Gods and monsters, magic and machines. I dig that vibe.

I did at the time of beginning the book in 2014 too.

When I started Temple Theater I still planned to submit to publishers, rather than independently releasing books. I wrote 50,000 words and stopped because (If I recall) I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to build up to a huge finale over another 50k, but something stopped me.

That’s the little voice I now associate with my thoughtful side. I don’t consider the voice to be part of over-thinking, it’s about actually having thoughts. I often push that voice away, but when there’s a problem with a writing project it always prompts me to consider what the real issue is, often stopping my progress in making new words.

Well, earlier this year I figured out why that part of me stopped writing the book in 2014.

I’d been closer to the end than I thought.

So if you ever want to see what a book that took seven years to write reads like, here is a link to the ebook on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099X4J3JB. It will be out in print on all major on-demand platforms soon.

In spring I added 10,000 words or so. With some serious editing I tuned the whole novel. And now, it’s done. It’s out, and I’m working on the sequel.

And here I go waxing on, when I should be writng.

Thanks for reading, folks.

Stay safe.

I’ll write again soon.

Tim

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.

Problems

Today I stand (or rather sit) at an impasse. Productivity has slowed despite a continuous concretion of ideas including those for the story I’m currently writing. First of all, I think if you’ve read this blog (or my mind) any amount you will have an inkling that I sometimes (i.e. frequently) have little crises in my writing, and I am constantly overcoming them. In reality the solutions I have been developing are not sticking. So the problem is not resolved, despite my climbing wordcount. I think it is the problem of having spend over a year without even working on a book as my main focus. I’ve written over 100,000 words over the last 12 months, but not enough in one story to truly call it complete. I still have more ideas than I will ever need, and probably more than half of those are good enough to become novel-length or series works.
I keep building up these ideas because, like so many other things in my life, I’d rather have something than work on it. Or has the issue become a simple lack of desire to tell the stories I’ve amassed in my backlog? In either case, the solution seems to be this: to let go of the old bag full of stories that I never started. I’ve probably spent 9500+ hours on writing over the past 8 years, but with school going on until recently I haven’t had time to devote whole days to it except in the summer. It is summer now, but like last summer I’m having difficulty keeping a consistent rate. Do I need motivation? I don’t know. I’d like to make money at this, but that can’t be rushed, and I’m still submitting stuff to agents. Oh well, as far as I can see the problem breaks down into three interconnecting issues.
1. Disinterest – I am not interested in the story I’m telling to the degree I need to be.
2. Distraction – I looks for excuses not to write.
3. Laziness – I simply don’t have the mental stamina to write for 4+ hours per day every day.
So rather than just ranting, how can I deal with each of these?
Disinterest seems to be the root cause. I simply don’t have the story I want in front of me. So I should make a list of things I want and find ways to incorporate them into the story.
Distraction will likely become a lesser problem as disinterest is cured. If shutting off the internet is what it takes then so be it.
Laziness is something I can only fight with practice and determination.
But that’s the plan.
Have a good end to the week, people.

Happy Saturday, also two-timing stories.

Just a brief post today, as I fell asleep during my wordcount last night (It’s tough changing sleep schedules) and have a large though manageable chunk to catch up on today. I’m writing two stories at once now. One of them is more casual and experimental in form (3rd person omniscient perspective for one thing). The other is somewhat more typical of me in form (3rd person limited). I’m quite pleased with both, and each has a different daily wordcount goal. The experimental stories word-per-day goal is much smaller for starters, and I like it as a palate cleanser of sorts between scenes of the other story.

This process is starting to make me more genuinely excited about writing than I’ve been in a while. Hopefully it’ll stick. Being child-like when writing can be a huge advantage, because it means asking questions while storytelling. I know when I wrote my first (awful) novel I was able to get it done fairly quickly simply by not worrying about all the work it would take or was taking. Worrying is a killer for me, as I’m sure it is for many writers.

But I’m having fun now. And I’m trying not to worry too much.

Here I am in defeat, but not discouragement

So I didn’t exactly get the book written. Didn’t get much of anything written lately. To be perfectly honest the novel in 20 days was a bit of a stretch to consider even leaving aside the fact that I had a lot of worldbuilding and outlining still to do for it.

Lessons learned:
1. I can’t consider the book as a flow without losing detail and emphasis. Scenes are my friends and they take time to think up individually in order to get the most out of them.

2. The process of creating characters is one I need to look at more closely. If I don’t like the character and find them fascinating, then what’s the point? I like everyman (and everywoman) characters who turn out to be amazing, but I like them to be amazing all along too.

3. Sometimes more writing advice is too much advice. It bogs me down the more there is.

4. Details are easier to convey than scale, and more effective too a lot of the time.

5. Talking about writing is fun, but it spoils the actual writing.

There are probably more. I’ll get onto them later.

And I’ll be writing more soon!

Scariest Comedy I’ve ever seen…

I watched the film “Being There” starring Peter Sellers last night for class.

This film is nuts, but in a very subtle way. It is about a gardener who appears to be mentally disabled (at least to me), who has never before left the estate of his employer who dies at the beginning of the film. Evicted from the only place he’d ever known, the gardener stumbles through the world and somehow is recognized as being profound at first by a dying billionaire, then by the president, and so on. This film is a high, high satire, and really felt in place with the sociology class I watched it in. That class is called Strangeness in Everyday Life, and boy is it a doozy. Maybe I’ll write more about it later, as it is powerfully strange.

Anyway, back to the film–Peter Sellers’ last film as it turns out. I’ve never seen anything with him in it before, and never really understood who he was. Now I think I get the reason I’ve heard his name around though he is over thirty years dead now. He is a funny, funny man in a very simple sort of way (in this film at least).

“Being There” — Great film, probably a classic really.

P.S. I read the Roger Ebert essay or review or whatever about “Being There” after seeing the film. I think he was mostly spot on, but he did go off about how the main romantic/sexual subplot in film was unnecessary. Truly, I think he is mistaken in this regard. The subplot seemed like an important part of the satire for me, because it demonstrated how even an unintelligent person can make headway in that form of scenario without trying, knowing, or doing anything really. Plot-wise, it also sets up the ending a little bit better. Ebert may not have liked it, but I thought it added a bit. Even ‘love’ is capable of being passed (sociology term), glossed over.

Doppelganger Wake and its sources…

I wrote this book between Fall 2007 and later in the Fall of 2008, taking it off a couple stories I’d just been reading to begin it. Neon Genesis Evangelion was the first of the two main sources I worked with, an anime series recognized by many as a classic of the mecha/giant robot genre. I sort of loved it.

I sort of hated it.

Basically, the show let me down in some key ways, not least of all was the lack of the title giant robot’s importance to the plot after a while. The main character was powerless to fight the real enemy, and I grew frustrated with it, even then, without knowing why.

Now I know it was because I like characters to be stronger, larger than life, not weak and completely at the whims of greater forces, no matter how interesting that might be sometimes. The parts I liked about Evangelion were the technobabble and the violence level, and those are the two elements that really made it into Doppelganger which is a science fiction, and my most violent book.

The other main source of ideas for Doppelganger was Orson Scott Card’s Ultimate Iron Man mini-series, which put the idea of the armor into my head, and the young protagonist was something I wanted to try. Iron Man’s battle armor also presented a somewhat different take on super weapons than Evangelion’s unwieldy giant robots.

I tossed in an element of my own: shape-shifting.

So I knew the book would be violent, involve a high-school-age kid and shapeshifting technology, but it took one more idea, a line I’ve heard a few times in my life, to really put it together.

The ocean is almost as unknown as the depths of outerspace.

And this is the book I’m beginning to edit. I’ll have more on it in the coming weeks.