10

01/22

Takin’ my own sweet time

If you don’t give me a deadline, I assume “anytime you want”. Teen Guardians, the newest Grimaulkin story, is at 11K words because of a few reasons.

Podcasting.
Pain.
Health.
Boredom.
Lack of attention.

I do two podcasts: commercially, Small Publishing in a Big Universe; and always Dark Mystic Quill once a month on the last Friday of the month.

I have pain in my left hand due to arthritis. Forty years of typing hasn’t helped because this is not the hand that does the typing–I have to raise my thumb to keep it out of the way. All you touch-typists know what I’m talking about.

Still on dialysis. Still dealing with the heart attack (myocardial infarction). I am double vaxxed and boosted and waiting to get Covid so I can get it over with.

When I sit down to write, I only pretty much know what the scene is going to be. After that, I have no idea what’s going on with the rest of the story. And whenever I try to plot it out, I get mad at myself because I don’t want to write it out. There’s no fun in that. I have an ending in mind for the main plot, but no idea for the sub plots. I don’t want my writing to turn into a bunch of words with no story. That’s what I was afraid of with Carnival Farm–that it had no story. But it’s doing really well (I might have a double-digit royalty check this month!) despite my thinking there’s no story involved in it. It’s a book club book.

Lastly, I look around and see things I need to do. Clean the cat litter box. Read for my 2022 Reading Challenges. Finish reading this humongous book on the Middle Ages. Research, learn, and perform ceremonial magic. Do divination/spiritual explorations. Not to mention prep for podcasting and watch movies/read books at dialysis.

Coming out between February and April 1 (tentatively) is War Mage, the Extended Edition. It’s War Mage the way I wanted it done. An editor wanted me to rewrite it, which I did, and it came out as the tiny book that’s on sale now. But this one is much better. It’s only got my name, L.A. Jacob, so Jake is gone.

And one more thing: We’re doing Rhode Island Comicon November 4-6 at the Convention Center and Dunkin Center in Providence this year. There will be TONS of books (trust me, I have to carry them) from Water Dragon Publishing. Myself and a really good author from Boston, Steven D. Brewer, will be there with his short story collection. My son will be cosplaying somewhere around there, too. More information forthcoming!

15

09/21

Pantser, Plotter, Plantser

I’m not a pantser anymore. I have a poster up on my corkboard that has “My Contract With My Reader”. The first thing is: “I will not waste your time.” Ergo, “I will not waste my time.”

As a pantser, that’s what I did. I would write myself into boxes, toss half of it away, and start over. Frustrating as all hell. So I tried plotting, and you know how that goes (read some past posts).

I plot with a lot of wiggle room. I have a point where I start, and usually a point where I finish, and how I get there is…open. Most of the time. There are a few times that I there are certain things that need to happen, and I make room for that.

However, with this newest WIP, I’m creating a “bible” that has all the background information. The story is told in the main character’s POV, and she hasn’t got a clue really what’s going on. In an attempt not to infodump (which is what my first draft was) I’m trying to spread the information out a little bit at a time. But I have to put the background somewhere.

I have a 3 subject notebook. The first subject is characters. The second subject is scenes behind the scenes, that the main character doesn’t know about but that I have to clarify for the other characters to move on. The third subject is for the live plots in the story.

I’m still working on the character page. Right now I have:
Age:
Relationship to MC:
Titles:
Family:
Personality and Skills (Thank you GURPS and Vampire: The Masquerade)
Physical Description (Which is the name of an actor/actress from IMDB)
What chapters they are in and what they do.

So yes, Jason Momoa and a “Raiders” Harrison Ford are in this book. I’ll let you figure out who they are.

I haven’t written down any background scenes and I’m still organizing the plots.

Oh, and what is the WIP about, you ask?

Imagine that the northern part of Maine, north of Route 95, are all feudal societies. Some live with technology and no magic; the rest live with magic and little technology. What if a person is able to use magic in the technological world, and technology in the magic world? That’s the Taurin. Among other things.

I’ll give you a few more snippets of the story another time. My editing is going slow now because I’m doing podcasts for Small Publishing in a Big Universe and my own Dark Mystic Quill. SPBU is a showcase for my publisher’s wares. DMQ is the same thing it’s always been: Writing, Witchcraft and Woe. Maybe not so much woe anymore.

So I am off to get my hand looked at. Carpal Tunnel, here we are!

20

07/21

Oh, to the Shredder with it (for now).

1:48 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Grimaulkin,Inspiration,Methods of Writing,Writing

I picked up A Rook Given and decided to establish the POV as Rook’s only. This meant I had to change Edwin as “Master Edwin” or “his master”, and Mebahel didn’t exist any more. The scene that sparked the story had to be taken out (Mebahel heals a little crippled girl and the parents are upset because they can’t get insurance or money from her disability anymore). After rewriting the few chapters I did, the story got cut in half from 22K to 11K, six chapters to four.

This morning I sat down with my outline and plan, and went right off the rails when writing. This means that the Muse is just as sick of being forced into the square peg of this story, that She wants something else. I pulled out my trusty box of StoryMatic, and pulled something random. I sat with a blank page for about ten minutes, then wrote ideas. None worth anything.

But there’s two ideas that are noodling around in my head. One is from The Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy world, where an archeologist who is on the station for SCIENCE! hits a wrong button and…oops. The other is Mike (Grimaulkin) goes to a local Comicon. Both would be fun, for my own…edification, not meant for public consumption. Maybe I need to write those before the Muse will either go back to A Rook Given, the Werewolf story, or something else new. Time to clear things out for new stuff.

06

06/21

War Mage

3:40 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Iron Butterfly,Methods of Writing,War Mage

I finished editing the printed-out version of War Mage. What I usually do when I finish a book or when I start to edit is print it out in 12 point Times or Book Antigua font. I grab my red gel-pen and start marking it up. I know some proofreader’s marks, like # is put in a space, and three underlines under a letter is to capitalize it.

I like it a lot better now than what got published the first time. There were a few things that I pretty obviously screwed up on, like not finishing a scene. I did enough foreshadowing that it confused me, so I had to tone that down. No wonder the first editor wanted me to trash it.

Taking that editor’s word as gospel. I rewrote it from the beginning and published a piece of crap. I should have just read a couple of months later what I had sent her, to see where the problems were. It is a good idea to let the story rest your eyes before editing.

The ending was a lot better than the one published. I’m proud of myself for it. Now, for it to see the light of day.

I also edited A Rook Given. I gave myself a target of 75,000 words for this story. I don’t think it’ll get that far. I’m on Chapter 5, scene one (according to my plotting outline) and I’m at 15,000 words. I caught myself repeating names or using wrong names and had to clear that up. I am glad that I plotted most of it out, because the writing comes easier.

Max’s reboot is going well. I sold two copies and have a SFW introduction going on the blog. Part of me wants to start something brand new, with vampires or shifters or fae for market value. Another part wants to shove Iron Butterfly out there into the world, because it’s a damn cool pair of main romantic leads I want to write, and I want to immortalize The Domina forever (yes, that’s what she called herself IRL). Interesting? Let me know.

31

05/21

Writing for the week

This week I wrote a short story for The Storyteller’s Tarot called “Death”. I’ve taken the same story and spiced it up for Maxwell Thomas’ reboot and called it “Thanatos.” That story will be available through the website mailing list.

I have been developing Max’s social media for the most part over the past week. Things to do this week?

  • Post “Descent, Introduction”
  • Edit War Mage (which is located at the bottom of my Books To Read pile)
  • Read over/preliminarily edit A Rook Given
  • Get back to writing A Rook Given
  • Plan the next M/M Romance for Max (Iron Butterfly?)

I updated Max’s social media content until August. That’s where I’ll be spending most of my time.

  • Twitter (Monday update) and Instagram (Friday update): @MaxwellTAuthor
  • Facebook (Wednesday update): MaxwellTAuthor

I’m not going to go nuts with Twitch and Tumblr and Snapchat. These three are enough for me. It’s a lot easier to shoot at a target with a rifle then with a shotgun. The rifle is targeted; the shotgun goes everywhere. Yes, the shotgun hits the paper, but it doesn’t hit the target.

Mercury is in retrograde until June 22, so any real writing will be crappy.

05

05/21

Is it me?

4:32 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Methods of Writing,Platform

Is it me, or is Urban Fantasy, Erotica, and M/M Romance trashed now with the horrible stories I’ve seen on Kindle Unlimited?

I’ve been hanging out on Twitter to look at what some of the new authors are peddling. I’ve gone and looked at their stories–most are on Kindle Unlimited.

They’re horrible. The first chapter! They’re either info-dumps or prologues (I HATE PROLOGUES). I ditched ones that look like Canva covers or the modern literary fiction cover of WORDS ON WALLPAPER. Out of all the authors I followed, I only selected a couple of books to put on my Kindle Unlimited, but if they don’t keep my interest in 50 pages, they’re dumpable.

And I don’t feel bad doing it.

I have learned that it’s okay, not against any religion, to toss books out. I have way too many Nazi books because I was into that time period years ago. Now, there’s no way that story will ever see the light of day any time soon, so I have all these books that have even a tiny mention of the Waffen-SS. I sold the ones on eBay that made me money, and what’s left is a bookshelf full of thick tomes on the Allies in the latter part of the war, Rommel, the Warsaw Ghetto, books on Nazi uniforms and insignia, Mussolini, and OMG way too much about uniforms and the Afrikakorps.

I’m tossing two books per trash-bag that leaves my house. The bags are a little more heavy, but the Nazi books find their way out the door without me worrying if the FBI would end up at my house thinking I’m a white supremacist.

I don’t know if it’s me, or if it really is that Kindle Unlimited (and soon to be presented, Kindle Shorts) are taking anyone with a pulse and no editing skills whatsoever.

04

04/21

“A Rook Given” – 8000 words

3:42 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Inspiration,Methods of Writing

My newest novel is tentatively titled “A Rook Given”. It’s about a magician who makes too many familiars and God is jealous. So God sends one of his angels to destroy the magician and his familiars.

I’m already up to 8000 words with it. My plotting is out to three chapters so far, and I’ve written two. I do have the overarching plot already written out. I decided to use a notebook to keep track of all my ideas, and then transfer them to Scrivener 3’s index cards. Scrivener 3 has a way of keeping track multiple POVs by coloring the index cards.

The good news is I now have disability starting July 1. No more worrying about whether work cares if I write or not. No more worrying about whether I have a job (I don’t have a job to go back to–I was notified last week). Just two more months of TDI (six weeks, actually) and then I’m on the dole.