Recalibrating

Since April, or so, I’ve been writing and posting some of my serial fiction in various places. I received some feedback (mostly from friends) and got a lot of words in (which is the key to improving) but I’ve hit a road block.

In The Shape of Us, what started out as an experiment in POV has turned muddy. I wanted to see if I could tell a story from the point of view of side, or incidental characters and while there are episodes that I think work better than others and the idea has been beneficial in a number of ways, ultimately, I felt drawn toward creating a master narrative (a mystery in this case) that kept pulling me away from my experiment. The episodes became less about the POV character and were bent to fill the need to progress the overarching plot. I felt like I was writing a novella from the inside out.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Baron and Sykes and a few of the side characters, but that love didn’t get conveyed to my (very, very few) readers. Without existing inside one or both of my main characters, it was harder to connect to them and it became increasingly hard for me to write them without resulting to repetition or cliche. Perhaps this is more inline with my inexperience as a writer, but I am choosing to focus on genre as the issue here.

It had all started out as a flash fiction and I enjoyed the process of writing from a side character, that I forgot that Baron and Sykes then had to fade into the background, that they would become the side characters. I like them too much for that.

I’m stopping the series where it is, because no one is really following it anyway, and I want to see if I can rework the “background plot” into the main plot and then bring it to life from the boys perspective. As I write this sentence, I’m falling in love with this idea. The boys will be back. Soon.

Wound: Thirst is also going on hiatus, but not for long. I’m excited by the story, but I’ve lost touch with the characters and what I want them to do. I think in the excitement of writing serially, I forgot a lot of sensory detail that would provide depth to the story. I’ve been taking Dean Wesley Smith’s “Depth” course this summer and am finding it super helpful. Around week 2, I thought, “I’m not sure this is for me.” Then I realized it was exactly what my writing was missing.

My ensemble feels flat right now and, trying to write for the serial audience didn’t exactly push me to make them deeper. It’s possible that what I really want to do is write a long piece as if they are a series of shorter piece, which is what a novel or novella is anyway. I want this story to move fast, but get down into the feelings and motivations of these characters. I feel as if I’ve scratched the surface.

My plan this week is to take the first couple of episodes in Wound and rewrite them, keeping the action/plot but adding the sensory and descriptive details that will help readers get into the story. I think by testing out how I can immerse myself in writing, I’ll get a good understanding of how to proceed. I can think of the original 25 episodes as an outline. If all goes well, I’m hoping to have the first novella ready to publish this fall.

I feel like all the other writers that start and abandon projects. There are so many half-started projects lurking in various hard drives that I know more about quitting than finishing, but I feel strongly that the writing is more important than the outlet and the writing my stories need is something more than what I’m doing. I’ll keep reading on those platforms and I’m grateful to those who read my stories, but I think until I find a story that’s perfect (something with alpha werewolves or an intricate leveling-up system, apparently) I’ll just get back to writing.

Series updates and another thing

Good morning Thursday. Due to my inability to plan correctly, both of my series– The Shape of Us and WOUND: Thirst –are updating today. Chapter 11 of The Shape of Us is one of my quiet favorites and has a lovely bit about ice cream. On the other side, WOUND: Thirst updates with episode 9 and has one of the best sentences I’ve ever written. I wonder if you can tell which one it is.

Also, in the coming days I’ll be finishing up my outline so I can start writing my novel-length thriller, Sanatoria. I want to chart the process of writing in this blog. It’s had stops and starts before, but I’m giving the outline an overhaul so it feels fresh though familiar.

I also think that working on these series has really helped me define the kind of writer I am and want to continue to be. The kind that just keeps on writing, day after day. I hope you like my stories.

Currently running series:
The Shape of Us at Tapas | Wattpad
WOUND: Thirst at Tapas | Webnovel

New Cover for The Shape of Us

Anyway, head over to Tapas to see the new cover (a new episode launches today as well).

There were two moments when I couldn’t contain my emotions while commissioning the cover art for The Shape of Us. The second was the delight I felt when I saw the image. I don’t have a lot of experience working with artists and my fiction, so I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to describe my boys right. Thankfully Andrea (Kumiho_5), my artist, was able to get my meaning. I love, love the result.

The first was the laugh-out-loud sketch I provided for the premise. I’m still laughing at it. Do you want to see it? Perhaps I’ll save that as a bonus at some point. Maybe when the ebook of Season 1 comes out this summer (with two bonus stories from Baron and Sykes’ point of view.) Anyway, head over to Tapas to see the new cover (a new episode launches today as well).

I’ll leave a peek here…

I love them!

Why write serial fiction?

Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay

I’ve been thinking about this question for a while and I wondered if it should be a blog post. I don’t know if I’ll be able to answer this question for you, but I can come close to an answer for myself, and, perhaps, in there you will find wisdom.

I’ve been struggling to finish projects for a while now and, although I am very close to finishing my first (slight) paranormal romance, I have a thriller that I’ve had outlined for a few years just sitting on the back burner. I like the story, too, and the characters and I want to turn it into a character-based series, but…finishing is hard.

Finishing is the number one piece of advice that successful writers tell new writers. (I don’t have the stats for that but it sounds right and if it’s not right, it should be right.)

The thing is, after all this time, I’m not a new writer. I’ve been writing for decades, but I rarely finish longer works (short stories, flash, and poetry are not an issue). I think my mind starts to wander on a project after about a month, so if I can’t get the writing done in 30 days, then off to greener pastures? I guess.

What about NaNoWriMo, you may ask?

Meh. I’ve never won it. I write under a pen name and don’t have writing friends physically close to me. And this last year has shown that I definitely have an end point to my online stamina. I think it’s a worthwhile thing and maybe I’ll give it a try this year, but, again, meh.

I’m revisiting the “Write a Novel in Three Days” post from Ghostwoods – a post so popular, they made it the 404 page. I do love the idea of working out a lot of the story before writing. Combine that post with Dead Wesley Smith’s resurrection of his pulp writers posts and perhaps the world was speaking to me: “Get all the meat out and then write like the Dickens.”

Which brings me back to my original question (see what I did there), why write serial fiction? Serial fiction allows me the satisfaction of finishing something small on a regular basis, while still fulfilling an overarching storyline. I think building in cliffhangers is energizing as a writer, particularly in my Wound series (at Tapas and Webnovel) as I’m posting it shortly after I write it. I know where I want all my characters to be at the end of the season, but I’m not entirely sure how they’re going to get there. And I am in love with writing it.

Serial writing allows me to play with timing and characterization as well. How much can I deliver to the reader about a person in just one line of dialog? What inner thoughts can I share about them without it feeling like filler? What peril can I put them in at the moment the scene ends? AHAHAHA.

These little thrills give me the motivation to work on the longer pieces. I was going to say they were like warm-ups, but I don’t want to diminish my serials in any way. I just as strongly about these stories as I do the novel-length stories that aren’t finished. The finishing with serials isn’t really the point, not initially. Some publishers suggest you have an endpoint in mind, or the entire piece mapped out – that seems more like novel serialization then serial fiction. That’s fine, but it’s different. Serial fiction is about the chase, the journey, jumping from cliff to cliff to cliff.

There’s an end, sure, but what a ride!