30

07/21

Dark Mystic Quill Returns (again)

1:41 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Dark Mystic Quill

My podcast has returned! Take a listen to it on iTunes (er, Apple Podcasts).

Whatever you do, don’t go to the website darkmysticquill.com. It’s a mess. We’ll get to fixing it soon.

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.

11

07/21

“A Rook Given” continues…

5:58 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Inspiration

I’m on Chapter 6 of A Rook Given and have finally introduced one of the catalysts for the story. Maybe it’s kind of late by now.

In a way, I don’t like switching the third-person-limited between three main characters: Rook, Edwin, and Mebahel. What one does, the other doesn’t know the reasons for. Example: Rook’s friend saw everything that happened to Rook and feels the need to tell Edwin. But the reader doesn’t know why. Or how she feels afterward. How do I tie up that loose end?

I’m up to 19K words, a quarter of the way through. Seventy-five K is my goal, but because my writing style is sparse, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get that far. I meant for Chapter 2 to introduce the “call to adventure” but maybe it’s now Chapter 6, and everything else before it is going to get tossed out. I hope not.

The werewolf story… this is where it gets weird. Or magical.

In my writing group, there’s a woman who writes fantasy, and somehow the conversation got on werewolves. “I’d want to write a story where each phase of the moon, the wolf changes.” Well, the funny thing is a couple of weeks ago, the publisher and I started talking about that. I didn’t go with it because it’s been done by White Wolf Games and their Werewolf: The Apocalypse series and didn’t want it to be fan fiction. Coincidence?

In Big Magic, by Elisabeth Gilbert, she goes into a section where writers will suddenly have the same idea. It’s not that she stole the idea from the publisher and me, but it’s that the Universe has this idea, and someone is going to write it, by God. If not me, then maybe this other woman.

It hurts my heart to feel that the Universe doesn’t bless me with the story idea, Even though I rejected it. It’s like not being invited to a party so you could tell them “Oh, sorry, I can’t.” Doesn’t that hurt?

05

07/21

What to write…

8:00 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Bitten or Born,Carnival Farm,War Mage

In the hopper are War Mage, Carnival Farm, and “Death”, a short story for October.

I wrote a little bit in A Rook Given, but I stalled really quickly. In the middle of the month, I started writing a story called Bitten or Born. Not sure if it’s a novel, novella, short story, or what.

It’s a spin-off of a character in War Mage, Director’s Cut. Kurt is a werewolf, and has been in the Army for six years. Now that his tour is finished, he’s moved to New Hampshire where there are way too many werewolves. I’ve plotted most of the story, but the problem is, the plot is too short. Of course, this plot is the main plot, no sub-plots inserted yet.

Once I got that plotted out, suddenly A Rook Given seemed clear. It was like I had this other bit I needed to push out in order to continue with Rook. Bitten has male and female characters that have no romance. It took me days of thinking and five minutes with my Muse to figure out how to do that.

In the meantime, I’ve been watching too much Marvel. Bad influences.

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.

16

05/21

Writing like you’re gonna die

5:43 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Characters,Inspiration,Life Sucks,Writing

My days, empty of work now, have been filled with what am I gonna do when I die. Skip the following block if you don’t want to hear anything about my medical issues.

{begin) Last June, I was told that to get out of dialysis, I need to weigh 100 kilograms. I’ll let you go calculate it, but it sounds better in kilograms. I weigh more than that. It was suggested that I get gastric bypass surgery. Before that, I needed to go on a “strict” liquid diet. Um, I’m on dialysis? Liquid diet is bad? So they allowed me one meal a day, and protein shakes for two other meals. Fast forward to today, where I’ve definitely lost some weight, though it took me a year to do so. I’m not at 100Kg, but I’m within sight of it. Because of that, I’m seriously thinking of not doing the gastric surgery and just trying to lose the weight by eating less and less, and drinking these shakes, which really aren’t that bad if you shake them up really good and they get frothy. I’m giving myself another two years to get down to 100 kg. Problem is, will dialysis last that long? (end)

I’ve been thinking of my own demise, what will happen after that, what will happen with all the stories and characters that are in my head. Gone. They will be gone. So I’m writing and creating characters like the hounds of Hell are on my tail, because I believe that they are. I’ve kind of stopped initiating Role Play in City of Heroes/Villains, but I have characters with eensy-weensy backstories. (I’m lazy in the costume creator and I like mohawks for some reason.) If faced with an RP group, I join in, of course, pulling out those one-line backstories and throwing myself into a character. But I don’t make a point to RP.

Because I don’t want my ideas, the characters, the stories, to spill out from the page that they’re meant to be on. I believe that my writing needs to exist somewhere on paper/computer files for it to be real. Posterity. That isn’t to say I haven’t touched some people by role playing; I’m afraid these characters will go up into the ether. Since I’m a Published Author (TM) I’m afraid of losing ideas.

Now, if you read “Big Magic” by the woman who wrote “Eat Pray Love”, she is of the opinion that The Universe Provides Infinitely. Yeah, wonderful. But I have a finite time on this earth. I’m too scared to lose any ideas that are given me. Which idea will pay off, put me in the best seller list, get me that one big break?

I have 51 characters on City of Heroes. That could be 51 stories if I flesh them out. Once I hit the top level of a character, I will usually stop playing that character because what’s left is lewt and pwn sets. The only one I still play is Grimaulkin because I can play him in my sleep and I don’t have to make much effort.

But let me be honest. I miss the effort, the reasons to role play. If I join an established supergroup (“guild”), they’ve already established story lines and cliques and relationships and I’m a third wheel. If I join one from the ground floor, it’ll go “poof” (That’s happened twice already, so I know better). And then, there’s Pocket D, the club where everyone role plays; but they want to talk about how badass they are and not involve you except as a soundboard. RP in groups is slightly better as long as you don’t get the one who talks about themselves and their backstories in the middle of a fight.

Grimaulkin the book proves that the character ideas in CoX are worth while. I just have to claw through them to find which one to stay with.

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.

29

04/21

Muse: WRITE SOMETHING!!!

7:33 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Iron Butterfly,Life Sucks,Writing

Ok, so I want to write. But I have so many ideas. I have a brainstorming notebook that I’ve been scribbling plots and ideas in.

I have A Rook Given that isn’t going to be out until 2022. Because it’s so long to wait for it to come out, I’ve lost interest in writing it. (I like writing under deadlines. Call me crazy.)

I’m trying to resurrect Maxwell Thomas. I don’t know whether I should go back to the Brothers of the Zodiac and re-explain what Ishtar’s role was meant to be and do more stories in that world, or should I redo/replot Iron Butterfly as an M/M romance instead of a heterosexual romance?

Meanwhile, the Muse is demanding me to write something. Anything. Please. Just something.

So I pulled up this blog. Hi there!

I have fallen into the trap of, “My writing needs to have purpose.” Years ago, I had a discussion with my publisher (before he was a publisher). Why do we write? Oh, said my starry-eyed self then, “I write because I like it.” He said something to the effect of, “Don’t you want to be paid for it?” Oh, no, said my naive self. “Write because it feels good.”

What a unicorn-and-rainbows thought. Now it physically hurts me to write too much (carpal tunnel and arthritis are THINGS people my age get), so I have to be cautious. That adds to the “Writing needs purpose” command. I try to rest my hands, but I need to rest them by NOT playing games or scrolling through Twitter. #1stWorldProblems

I take three Tylenol every four hours and hope for the best.

23

04/21

Nothing new

5:31 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Life Sucks,Writing

Well, this week was a bust. I’ve written a total of 300 words, for a grand total of 15,800 words. Pretty sad on my part.

Slightly depressed, to tell you the truth. First, I found out that I’m my job and I have a “mutual separation” due to medical issues. They can’t fire me, and I can’t work, so they said if I come back in a year, I regain my benefits. To tell you the truth, I don’t want to work for any more corporate companies. They want to be the center of your life and culture, and I’m sick of that.

Second, A Rook Given probably won’t come out until next year. Which is bad, because that is way too much time for me to get it ready. I think I unconsciously blew it off once finding out that the story doesn’t have to be finished for about a year.

I mean, it’s good that the Press has many more authors. I’m happy to see other books and stories come out by such a diverse group. All we have to do is sell the books.

That’s next.

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