Sermonizing, Failing the Payoff & Jumping the Shark: The End of Doctor Who

Warning: Offensive Opinions, Ranty Snarkiness & Spoilers Ahead

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The latest announcement from the BBC on the new Doctor has me thinking a lot of why I have been dismally disappointed in hind sight at the years of the New Dr. Who.  A show I’m quite a fanboy of.  Or at least I was until recent years.  I have considered many of my convoluted thoughts on the subject, and have come to realize that it’s a trifecta of issues that bothered me.  The reason I have not enjoyed the last 4-5 seasons of Dr. Who, despite remaining a fan of the series or individual episodes are as follows:  (and things I’ve learned from their mistakes).

 

Failing the Payoff

Ever since the decision to make “Season Story Arcs” had come about, we’ve had an unholy partnership of bad finales brought about by Failing the Payoff which I directly link to Jumping the Shark.  Mind you, individual stories have been great.  Fantastic even, but the season arcs with the exceptions of David Tennant’s first season, Matt Smith’s first and second season have been a bit rubbish.  Well that’s if you can call a smouldering dumpster fire a bit rubbish.  But why?

Every season save for the three I mentioned became massive “Save the Universe” type moments.  Even the oft appreciated Bad Wolf storyline from Season One was better save for jumping the shark at the very very end.  They’ve failed at the end because the writers wrote themselves into a corner.  Moffat was so good at it, he could practically have his picture in the dictionary for it.  His buildups are excellent.  He has some inventive ideas that create classic thrills and scares and seem like its going somewhere good.  But at the end, he loses confidence so he whips out one of my biggest irritant the Deus Ex Machina, and in doing so spoils all the build up.

Cases in point: Bad Wolf.  Companion gets phenomenal cosmic power.  Why?  Reasons.  With the exception of the three seasons mentioned all the companions develop a phenomenal cosmic power which ends the enemy but to save her the Doctor must rejenerate.  This is a rubbish copout.  Sure you can say that this groundwork had been laid all season long with Bad Wolf… which to be honest is the only reason I don’t go off on it more.

And poor Martha, who just has an out and out dumbass ending of Carebear Feels and Johnny Appleseed talky bits that really were silly beyond belief and became the poster child for wasted companions.  She didn’t jump the shark but the solution sure did.  Plus it was slightly alleviated because she had the best reason to leave the Tardis as anyone.  She was the rebound companion and had too much self respect.

Then you have the whole Doctor Donna Metacrisis in season 4.  What the Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!11!1!???  An awesome build up of planets being ripped from time leading to a face off between the Dr. and Davros?  Oh come on!  This has awesome written all over it.  But the solution was once again? Superpower Companion to the rescue at some forgettable nonsensical cost… if any!

What I learned is that if your ending isn’t good… guess what?  It poisons all the rest of the good work you did. You failed in the compact between you and the reader.  They expect you to do certain things, write about specific things specific to your genre even if you subvert or twist the trope.  But if you chintz out at the end…  no one will care about what you did before and possibly no one will trust you again.  (Full disclosure, I have seen only the “Return of Doctor Mysterio” and “Pilot” from season ten because A) they both jump the shark and B) I’m pretty pissed at Moffat’s serial violation of all these points.  Which is sad because I wanted Capaldi to have a better run than Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker… who were also stuck with crap stories and wasted potential  (well not Colin Baker.  Ick).

Jumping the Shark

As you can see the theme for jumping the shark was Companion based.  Donna was great… then she got made into Doctor Donna.  Rose was great… then she became Bad Wolf.  Rory… the companion, through the power of Runninggag, who just wouldn’t die.  (Amy was good except by using her force of will to you know… drag the Doctor and the TARDIS across an impenetrable wall in space-time and back into reality.  You know… stuff like that) Clara was great… till she merged with the Doctor’s time stream and what was originally an interesting story became a gawdawful mess of “SuperClara and her trusty Sidekick, Some Schmuck Chauffer in a Blue Box”.  Hell, even River Song traipsed up to the line, but she was the one companion, other than say Micky, who didn’t become all-powerful or bend reality to their whim.  I will say that Rose at least had a good ending, all be it terminally sappy and now she comes back time and time again like a Brown Recluse bite and just as damaging to the integrity of the series and her own character’s credibility.  What part of “trapped in another universe unable to cross” don’t you get, writers?  Stop violating your own rules!

What this has taught me is that if you paint yourself into a corner, you’re going to have to go back and fix it where it starts and not… NOT… take the cheap way out and just ret-con some cheesy fix.  It also has taught me that sometimes, you just can’t bite on the tasty bait of a kewl trendy idea without taking into account the dangers of what it might create down the road.  This is also a major sin of Marvel Comics lately.

And that takes us into the last, most egregious sin:

Sermonizing

A while back I was introduced to the phrase “Story, not Sermon”.  It’s part of where lots of Christian Fiction falls down.  Too many focus on preaching while neglecting the story, and that life doesn’t always fall into neat little boxes of quantified faith and philosophy.  Lately, though, sermonizing has become endemic throughout movies, TV and music.  It isn’t so much in books much more than it had been in the past, other than artificial markets created for identity politics which are then weaponized by publishers and retailers with an agenda.  BTW, everyone has an agenda.  Those who claim otherwise are lying to your face.  When I read a book to learn something, sermonizing isn’t so bad.  For instance, I don’t pick up “Hind’s Feet on High Places” and don’t expect it to address me directly or obliquely.  On the other hand, if I pick up “The Screwtape Letters”, I don’t get sermonizing at you, but its more of a morality tale or fable where I can choose to ignore its subtext towards me, and the philosophy becomes a backdrop.  On the other hand, if I read “Ender’s Game” I don’t get any sermon or morality tale outside of the broad general themes of an Sci Fi adventure story.

What this has this taught me?  There are expectations on how much you can preach a belief or faith before it interferes with the good story.  “Hind’s Feet” is a book that uses allegory to preach directly to you about its subjects in an entertaining parable.  But I went into reading that book knowing it was going to preach to me.  If I had not and was averse to Christian theology, I’d have been pissed by the bait and switch.  Same goes for “The Screwtape Letters” if I did not know it was a morality tale with a solid trope twist.  But if suddenly I started getting either morality tales or parables from “Enders Game”, a book based on the pretense it is nothing more than an entertaining story, I’d have launched the book across the room.  It’s part of why the sequels have been failures.

So I work hard to use the morality tale/fable line in my work.  People know going in that I’m putting this out there as an aspect of the world.  I’m not preaching to the reader that this is how to believe.  It’s just the way the characters believe.  The instant you cross the line and try to make people agree with what you’re putting in the book, you leave prose and entertainment and become rhetoric.

How does this relate to Dr. Who?  For a few years now, we’ve been seeing creeping political correctness joked about, more libertine attitudes being normalized and the slow slow descent into forced Transacceptance theology.  Post Modernism and Social Justice has poisoned too much of the show’s underpinnings and has been slowly dissolving the “just for fun” nature of the show into subtle fables and sermons on how we should act and think. Social programming at its most nefarious.  Captain Jack was the first hammerblow.  Missy was the next.  Then came the “Day of the Doctor” with gender changing generals (a rubbish episode that wasted John Hurt), and then Bill and now… this.

No one who’s been paying attention is fooled as to what this is about.  This is pushing a political agenda and using the popularity and love of a trusted franchise to do it.  As a fan of the show since 1980, I find it insulting and infuriating that something used for entertainment and twisted it to push an agenda.  This is equivalent to a reboot of Star Trek making James T. Kirk into some man-hating feminist. Or Darth Vader was Luke’s mother.  It’s a comparable betrayal, and its something people need to realize is wrong for it violates trust for the sake of a trend.  I have no animosity towards the actress.  In fact, I feel kinda bad for her, because she’s going to be vilified and roasted on the spit of public opinion.  To them it’s now a delivery system for a socio-political agenda to sneak unpopular/abominable ideas past critical thought barriers of impressionable fans and normalize aberrant behavior.  All in the name of hypocritical “Tolerance”.

When you fail in the payoff, it’s often because you over-reached or sold something you couldn’t figure out and had to cheat.  If you jump the shark, it’s usually caused from the previous point, but made worse because its outlandish and violates the rules of your universe or at least sprains credulity.  And sermonizing… Well… that’s a direct violation of trust between you and your reader if you were not up front with the fact ‘Here there be rhetoric, not entertainment”, and that is the most bitter betrayal of all.

Some very important things for me as an author to consider.  Something I hope never to violate or at least be up front with my level of rhetoric/sermonizing/story.  A balance that I hope always comes out with story first.

If you think that this level of fan outrage has not happened before or is not coming, I refer you to this:

 

 

 

Walk n’ Talk

Tonight was a stellar night for me and Akiniwazi.  Both creatively and healthwise.

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As most will know, I am not in the greatest of health, due to a shattered elbow and long term weight problems.  It had left me very sedentary, for too long, and I’m now trying to reverse that trend.  The problem is that I never could seem to get my butt out the door.  Nothing motivated me enough.  Well, tonight, that changed.

For most of my youth, I used to walk a lot.  Miles and miles.  A mile walk or bikeride to school.  Plus, I was a paperboy and had to walk my route.  I did not have many friends, so I entertained myself by telling myself stories and working on RPGs I was playing or running.  But occasionally, a friend would accompany me and we’d talk for hours while we walked.  I miss it and it’s a habit I sorely miss today.

Combine this with me struggling with a touch of agoraphobia and hating to be out in public for various reasons, and my physical issues, my situation got worse and worse.

So what changed?

Tonight I got someone to talk to, and was able to unburden myself with all the book secrets and long term plotline of Akiniwazi.  I mean they got EVERYTHING.  “Inside Baseball” level of info dumpage.  But I noticed as I talked, I was pacing in my apartment constantly, so I said:

“Self, Get your pants and shoes on and start walking and see what happens.”  So out the door I went and started walking around my complex.  At least it was evening so it’s not like I burst into flame from the sun.  Ick, sun.

The reason I needed to talk like this is I have been struggling with how to finish the beginning hook.  I had the pieces sitting there in front of me, mocking me because I didn’t know how to put them together.  I did not want to mirror what happened in the previous book, and I sure wanted it to be exciting.  So, after all the big plot expose was done, and I left my collaborator in shock, I broke it back down to this one little piece of the picture and started trying to talk it out, because that’s how my creative process works best.  It was like putting a can of “Sea Foam” engine cleaner into a 40 year old engine!  It blew out so much black smoke and noise but in a few minutes of running it, the storyline became clear again!

And boy did it have a few logical twists I never expected too!  What really made me the most happy is that I was walking and never noticed my back.  See, sitting for work so much as both a commercial driver and now a desk jockey, my back, butt and thigh muscles have atrophied a lot, and walking hurts.  I had to stop every once in a while, but long story short, I’m fairly certain I walked about 2 miles tonight for the first time in about a decade!  That unto itself is cause for celebration for me.

Plus I cleared out a huge narrative problem that will leave the beginning hook’s resolution a lot cleaner, logical and tragic all in one swell foop!  I still don’t know what I’m going to do to top it for the climax… well not true, but I don’t quite know in what form that climax is going to take.  Once again, the middle build conclusion might be more dramatic as it currently stands.  I dunno.  See, this is the problem with the complexity of this book and what it will launch coming up.  Book 3 is going to have to get fatter still… and I love it.

Anyhoo…

2 miles of walking.

Major plot point fixed.

Enthusiasm pressure restored.

Time to release the brakes and start rolling forward.

Thank you all for coming on this ride with me.

 

Laundry Money

That is my sales goal for now.

To make laundry money every month with my book sales.

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I have meltdowns when thinking about book marketing/advertising and everything else about promotion.  Seriously.  I freak out.  I’ve bought a few books, I’ve taken a few seminars, I’ve discovered I get very angry about then being sold to by email lists I thought were not supposed to treat me like a hick on a used car lot.  It’s really left me flustered.  Flustered?  No… not strong enough.  Discombobulated?  Sure that’s decent.  And angry, because I don’t like being discombobulated nor flummoxed or flustered.

The reason?

I’m not good at it, and if I had enjoyed it, I’d be doing it for a living elsewhere.  I hate sales.  Seriously.  It is anathema to me.  I just want to focus on putting out a good book, and let the chips fall where they may.  I’ll be honest, I have a big ole psychological block about the subject that leaves me contemptuous of the field, and jealous at those who can do it because I wish I could.

I’m a complex little pirate, ain’t I?

Anyway, In my few furative attempts at advertising and promotion, I’ve come to realize that most if not all big hits is completely out of the control of the author or publisher.  That said, I do believe that promotion is in their control, but not something I’m good at either.  The worst part is that it’s a Catch 22 in the end.  You have to promote to earn money, but if you don’t earn money you have to have money first, and if you don’t have that… ummm kinda stuck.  See, I’d rather hire someone to do this for me because of how angry/stressed/discombobulated I get.  But, that costs money on a budget I don’t have because right now… I’m covering laundry money.  That’s it for now.

I do expect in the future this to change though.  When book 2 comes out, I hope to be making GAS money every month from both books.  And then when the 3rd one comes out, I hope it’s going to cover my utilities too.  By the time the 5th book comes out, I better be making rent or I’m going to wonder what the heck is wrong with me.

Ultimately, what I realized is that this all takes time.  The get rich systems/plans is just Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir sold by street-corner mountebanks designed to separate me from my hard earned money, not help me.  I don’t think all books or seminars out there are that way, but ohhhhh 85% possibly are.  Of course, I’m biased and cranky about it, so YMMV.

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But I really would love to hire someone who both loves and is skilled at marketing/promotion.  Farm out what I suck at to someone who’s good at it.  I did it with my cover.  I don’t care what people say about doing it myself.  I cannot do it as good or as fast as a real pro, and I think it shows with my cover.  Why not do the same for marketing/promotion?  Sure, it saves me money, but… is not my time better spent doing the one thing nobody else can do, which is write my books?

Tada!

But… someday… when I make more than just laundry money.

Stupid Catch 22s.

The Long Night is Over

Last night was a great night.  Got to go visit my parents while they were camping, meet some of their friends who I found out were reading my book and talk about it and pass on interesting stuff, and see how they’re reacting to it.  And then went to the drive in with my parents to watch Wonder Woman on a glorious summer’s night.  A good night was had.

But the reason the long night is really over is that I finally got all the obstacles out of the way, and “A Light Rises in a Dark World” is available as an ebook, Paperback and Hardcover.  BTW, don’t trust amazon when it says something is temporarily out of stock.  It’s a flaw on THEIR end.  The book is POD, and you can get it sent probably far faster than they’ll claim.  Been seeing that with other products too, and some of my fellow members at ALLI have been reporting the same problem for books not published by an Amazon imprint.  Just… come on guys.  Don’t be petty.

Anyway, as I mentioned and added to the site, I’m a member of ALLI.  Great resource for those who are published or just about to publish.  Great people over there too.

As an added bonus, I had an epiphany about the global story going on… and it has the potential to really REALLY change the direction of the entire series moving forward.  Them big picture storylines can really shake up your thoughts on what the world was supposed to be.  What it helped the most with is that it gave me solid motivations and plans on the “How” will be accomplished.  It also spiked the drama way up for what’s going to happen with poor ole’ Brother Finn and Reimar when the time comes.  We’re thinking big picture, mind you.  Book 4…?  Book 5?  Ummm… not sure when.  Maybe some moves will start happening earlier or the seeds will be laid.  I dunno yet.  Still working on the fun stuff and conceptualizing.  You know, the fun part of writing.

So that’s the update.  I’m focusing more on Book 2 now that I’ve got the wreckage of Book 1’s crashed launch off the runway, I can go back to getting Book 2 ready to fly.

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Where Have You Been, Young Man?

So, okay, one year anniversary has come and gone, and my posts have become a little less regular.

 

Okay… a LOT less regular.

 

But that said, I’m still here and still working on stuff.

But it’s been a back breaker lately, I just want you to know.  My job has been cranked up to Nightmare Difficulty.  I’m having some big problems dealing with getting the paperback book published which might descend into a legal fight if I cannot get a resolution this week… I don’t wanna have to get a lawyer to get my intellectual property back!  And the hardcover’s dustjacket problem has been almost fixed… I hope.  I will know this week.

So, know that I’ve been trying to move forward, and it has been happening, slowly.  Much slower than I wanted, and that may be okay.  All the delays thanks to scattered focus, lack of energy, working on health issues, and trying to de-stress from my job have made the second book far harder to push up the hill.

On a positive note, a few “no-dustjacket” hardcovers were sold and made it to customers before it was pulled, so a few people inadvertently got a collector’s item.  LOL  listen to me pretend this is a collectible already.  I’m also learning to not make announcements till it’s already in the bloody online store!  BLARG!

I am also going through a lot of chaotic thoughts about marketing and how to get the word out for my awesome book.  I don’t want to do the things I get pissed at myself.  Spammy mailing list?  ummmm, why do I need one of those?  I barely hack writing out my blog?  Why not just use the blog and worry about the rest later?  I dunno.  It would be nice to know from readers how they like to be marketed to, so if you have an opinion, please share.  How do you want to be told about new books and products without me being spammy and sleezy like too many authors have become lately.

Junkfood for thought.

Gloria in Excelsis

 

Self Reflection Through Current Geo Politics

A bit of a different direction today spawned by several things coming together.  This will have little to do with Book 2 or the print release of ALRDW.

What spawned this little walk down memory lane into the deep dark forest of my youth is this video between Stefan Molyneux and Bill Whittle.  It is very much worth watching unless you are easily triggered or love the Bolsheviks, Stalinism, Maoism or the Soviet Union.  It is a great discussion on history, and the cold war psychology that existed at the time.  Just warning you ahead of time if you’re that kind of person:

 

I am a child of the ’80’s.  I grew up in all things Reagan, played Pac Man, watched “Night Court” and wanted to be Marty McFly.  I listened to Purple Rain, 99 Red Balloons, Rock Me Amadeus and King of Pain.  The mall was the center of my generation’s culture, you could be left unsupervised till the street lights came on and had to come home and never feared being abducted.  It was a great time to be alive in so many respects.

Thankfully the filter of 20/20 hindsight and nostalgia colored glasses help nowadays make things seem better than what they were.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was good as compared to today in so many ways.

But there was also something in that era that really shaped the Generation Xers in ways that the Millenials and burgeoning “Gen Z” can never understand in a real way.  The idea of an impending nuclear holocaust that looked likely to kill every last person on the planet at any time and the emotional scarring that such a pressure puts on a society.  Today?  Pffft.  Sure we have the terror of Islamofascism maybe… possibly getting a dirty bomb, or North Korea splashing a nuke somewhere off the coast of Japan.  But there is nothing… NOTHING… in this world that compares to the psychological pressure that existed in that era and peaked in the 1980’s.

Of course the 1960’s begat all of it with the Cuban Missile Crisis which had a real chance to spark the death of billions of people.  The “Duck and Cover” drills of the 1950’s where everyone practiced sticking their butt in the air from under their desks like dogs scared of thunder were legitimate too.  I’m sure those were just as terrifying.  These were actual, realized existential threats.

The 1980’s were terrorized by the movie technology finally reaching the level where civilians could see ‘believable’ nuclear destruction on film, or the invasion of the US with limited nuclear exchanges.  Movies like “The Day After” and “Red Dawn” burned in our psyche.  Games like Twilight 2000 and Gamma World were toys of the imagination to play in the irradiated landscape pretending we were the next Mad Max.

To this day, I remember being shown the data for what would happen when the missile that was targeting my home town was launched.  The size of the fireball, the instant incineration zone, the debris field, and then the fallout chart.

I was 11 years old.

It scarred my soul.

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An entire generation grew up with the belief, and it seemed a pretty sure thing with what we had shoveled before us by the media, the arms race and the mass media of the happy warriors and blasted remains we all expected to experience before leaving high school.  I did not believe I’d ever see the year 2000 unless I was an unlucky survivor of a nuclear doomsday.

That kind of pressure, I now see gave rise to the nihilism of Post Modernist thought, the hedonism of our parent’s generation and the insanity of what we now know as the Security/Industrial complex.

Even after the Soviets fell and Yeltsin brought a new Russia out of the ashes, none of us could believe it.  Even till today, some of us still are looking toward that far off horizon waiting to hear the sirens in the middle of the night that missiles are on their way.

I realize now how much that shaped me.  How much this belief that I should not bother planning, or thinking about a future still taints my thought process to this day.  When you are sure that somewhere, deep down in your soul, you are going to die at any moment and all those who you love will be ash as well… planning for the future is not high on the priority list.  Why prep when the land will be poison?  Just keep enough money to survive till some maniac thousands of miles away decides it is time for mankind to die.

Just as this mentality was starting to ebb, but wasn’t out the door 9/11 happened.  But even this is not the same as what we felt when we knew that all life could be reduced to radioactive isotopes and shadows blasted forever into rock.

But today, we have a future, and it’s hard for my generation to cope with it.  We who failed to launch in so many ways, because launching was pointless now struggle to deal with the fact that there will be a tomorrow.  Those who were more prepared have already begun to march too and are shaping it into a world that so many of us are angry with.  A world that is based on a hatred of truth, where the moral are ridiculed and derided.  A land of silence through violence, and freedom is only found by obeying those with the faster fist.  Where facts are lies, and feelings are law.

This world we have found ourselves in is just as alien to us as a person coming out of a catatonic fugue.  It is great fodder for a writer, I will give you that.  In fact, there are so many things happening, it is making it very difficult to focus on a fantasy novel series that is focused on faith, history and fantasy.  The truth has almost become too strange for fiction, but then again, reality does not have to abide by the rule that it must remain plausible.

This is what I had to get off my chest.  A lot of personal musing on the memory of what it was like to be a teenager in an era where life could be snuffed out like a candle.  An era that I pray no generation has to fear again.  Global genocide is off the table for now, and God willing forever more.  We have other crazies to fear, that is certain, but a lot of that is jumping at shadows and the phantoms of a people gone mad because there IS no existential threat to all life.  No… no… Global Warming is not a threat when compared to Mutually Assured Destruction.  That’s just fog pretending to be a threat.

But it’s good to remember what it was that shaped my mind.  To remember for a moment that that there are no more missiles aimed at my home with malicious intent.  The freedom and relief that thought brings is paradigm shifting.

Now, back to living in a new, better world.

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In the Mire

I’ve been struggling mightily to write lately.

Not because I couldn’t make the time due to work or life, but because mentally I was not there.  The story was not jelling.  Pieces were missing that were critical to make things go together.  For me, plausibility and motivation are big.  If they do not work in my head, I know they won’t work for the reader.

So I’ve been thrashing about.

Not to mention I’m still stressing about book sales and getting ready for the print release of book one (Yes that’s still happening soon) and just all the other stuff in life.  It’s been overwhelming to my brainal like substances.

With that being said, last week has been quietly good.  I’ve done a lot of research on medieval life and culture.  It has had lots of points that are transferable to my setting.  I have also gotten some good feedback from a reader or two, so that’s a plus out there too.  My head likes maps and seeing the location of things as well as understanding some of the subtleties of a culture.  A single piece of information that came was just sort of a toss off on one bit of research became critical for me.  That piece of information?  In the middle ages, people believed insanity was contagious!

Ta Da!  Tons of problems solved.  Don’t get me started about balancing the humors.  I still don’t quite get that and am grateful for divine healing in the setting.  Just ick.  Even the word “Black Bile” does me no favors.

So now, I’m on the verge of the surge in writing.  I just have to clear my space of distractions… (see you later Guild Wars 2)… and focus on putting out more content.  It has been helpful to talk things out with a few people too.  Simple things even like tonight.  I mentioned my struggle about the setting of the village of Kynligrspiejl and one word helped push me past it all, and that word was ‘artisan’.  And that was the term that helped me bootstrap into what I need to fix so I can start another plot line that is required to weave into this tapestry I’m making.  Where ALRDW was more of a thin braid, this is a tapestry.  Very big and audacious.  Many themes that will set up the rest of the books will be started and enriched.

I’m looking forward to that, but it’s making my life a bit crazy because it’s been like dragging a boulder behind me.   I wonder if I’ll have to do a fast again?

ANYWAY!… move we shall.

Hopefully more reviews come up soon.  I like hearing what you have to say.

So time for sleep, then awake, get the chores out of the way so I can sit down and write again with a clear mind.

Therefore, toodle and oo!

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Moving blindly out.

Self Awareness and the World

How many times have we heard this expression spoken to us”

“You are special.”

Everyone, right?

How about this one?

“You are unique, just like everybody else.”

A smartypants way of putting perspective on the fact that you are unique, but that unto itself is a paradoxical awareness that being unique makes you no longer unique.  Individual and collective truth collide and nothing happens.  The two ricochet off each other like billiard balls and carom about the pool table of life.

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The working title and the map for “A Light Rises in a Dark World”

Lately I’ve been dealing with my own narcissism and struggles with getting my book out there.  It has been good to see the impact I have had so far.  The people who have read it and spoke to me about it have had almost universal glowing responses.  They’ve all gotten something deeper out of the adventure, and that is what I hoped would happen.  I desire to make this series something more than just a popcorn nom-fest, and have things to it that stick around with you for long after.  Ideas that make you consider the world a little different, or maybe be that “Shakabuken” that changes your entire perspective on life.

What author doesn’t want that, right?  Yeah, you know it.  I see it in your face.

It’s that desire to live up to the accolade “You are special”.

But then comes the sharper edge realization as you watch your book rank drop, and you question whether or not what you wrote was any damn good.  You go through the stages of ‘poser syndrome’ just like every other artist in the world and you come to realize another universal truth out there.

“I may be special, but the world don’t care.”

There’s not much you can do to make the world care either.  Why?  Because there are almost 8 billion other people in the world wanting to declare “I am special” too, and that just means you are another spike in the static of the global zeitgeist.  Just another set of subatomic collisions producing incalculable numbers of quarks beyond that which go unnoticed

But, what we do not always know is that when we are that one particle that starts a chain reaction.  Plus, we have the benefit of being fired out of the proton gun of personal will as many times as we choose to try.  Fire.  Nothing.  Fire.  Nothing. Fire.  Something?  No nothing.  Fire again.  And again, and again, again again.

But then you hit something and the chain reaction starts.  Now the world sits up and takes notice because your idea, your creation is impacting the world in a way that cannot be ignored.  You are breaking down the status quo, releasing energy into the world and creating or destroying to bring about something new.  In a world of static, new is always good.  New means something is happening that can be interacted with.

Or perhaps you are the particle just sitting there till something hits you and how you respond to it is what does the trick.  Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time when the right particle just nails you in the keister and you light up the world around you with your reaction, be it good or bad.  Just remember, for every quark created, you could be a cute or charmed reaction.

pew pew pew.

So, be aware of these simple facts.

You are special

The world doesn’t care

But that shouldn’t stop you either.

And if you keep trying, someday, you may change the world on purpose or just by being in the way of someone else who is.

 

The Smoldering Crater Set Before You

Oh what a rough week or two.

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A very old WIP I did in Bryce and Poser.  Not a selfie, but it’s how I feel right now.

Special torture followed up by a work week from hell… (84 hours in 7 days) has left me a mess.  No writing done in that time, but a lot of anxiety over book sales and everything I should not be concerned with.  But… it has been illuminating to struggle through this.  I’ve learned how easily a single sale pops up your ranking, if only for a day or even a few hours, not to mention how important listing your book in the right list will help in exposure.

It is also surprising to see how Amazon ads work.  Not what I thought, and certainly not as effective as I thought, but then again, that could be also because of my pricing.  $3.99 seems to be daunting for many people, so I have an idea and if you are out there listening, I’d sure like to hear opinions. 🙂

I’m thinking of splitting the book up into 3 volumes.  Price the first one as free and the second two at $0.99.  It will not have the same cover, just something simple, tasteful and elegant using the seal.  Nor will it have the map.  Those are the benefits of buying the whole book in one piece, but perfect for those not sure if they want to invest in the first book of the series.  Opinions now accepted. 😉

I’m also a little concerned with who to use as my POD supplier for my hardcover and paperback.  I’m not thrilled with Createspace (because your royalties for their Expanded Distribution are beyond laughable.), nor Ingram Spark (For reasons not worth going into).  Direct2Digital looks the best, but they can’t sell on Amazon, so that’s a big concern but it could sell on Kobo and Smashwords among others.  So… it’ll still be on Barnes & Noble too.  Sigh.  Plus the cost is looking as high as $15.00 for trade paperbacks!  Yipes!  (Most not for me)

Anyway, that’s why the silence for a long period.  I could not get around so many things.

BTW Reviewers!  I haven’t seen too many around save for a few of y’all who have been fantastic!  They really do matter a lot for sales and rankings and promotions, so if you haven’t done one yet on Amazon, Smashwords or Kobo, (or Goodreads if you use it)  please do!  😀    BTW, if anyone has had any problems purchasing on Amazon, let me know!  Please!  One person tipped me off that Kindle’s and the iPad ap may not be accepting purchases for my book.  That’s just dirty pool if it’s happening to others.  Otherwise you can still get it from the other two main vendors.

Okay, now… the plan as it sits right now.  Stop focusing so hard on book 1.  Work a new cover image, and see about splitting the book into 3 parts for sale, cheap.  And of course, I will be ecstatic if I can get 10 chapters done by this time next week, 5 by Monday.  So that’s the hope and the goal.  I am going to be pushing hard to finish book 2’s first draft by Easter again.  So that’s the big goal.

Special Torture

Sigh…

I have discovered a new type of torture that unto itself is not unique, but it’s application is unique to creatives who have put themselves out to the world and are holding their breath.  And that torture is…

Watching their book rankings.

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Oh it’s torment!  And the worst part is it’s completely self inflicted.  I just have to stop looking at Amazon, and Kobo and Smashwords.  Wait a week or more THEN look and react.  I keep saying my inner Veruca Salt is running riot screaming “Make time go faster!” over and over again, so I can see the result, or worse give me something that I have to figure out how to fix.

But then the rational me kicks in and says the things I must remember to cool my conscience.

This is only the first book.  The best marketing is publishing the next one.

Give people time to read.  Not everyone is like Tdub.  (he knows who he is… 😉  )

This is now in God’s hands.  (That’s the one that really hurts to remember.)

So I get to sit and squirm about it, or… I can take the best advice I’ve been given so far and that is get writing on Book 2 and stop obsessing!!!1!

Speaking of Book 2…

I am going to be changing up the direction of my writing on this book and start a different method.  Currently, there are five plotlines, soon to be six in book 2.  Yeah, compared to book 3 this is going to be a monster.  Why?  Because I have so many things running in the background that must occur before Book 3.  I’ve been discovering the alternating chapter story structure (plot1, plot2, plot3, plot1, plot4, plot5, plot2…. ) type of sequencing is really not helpful for writing.  It’s probably going to serve me best to just write a single plotline till it needs to intersect, then write the one that it intersects with till they are ready to link up.

In the end, I hope for a nice smooth transition and a powerful braid of stories.  The key to this of course, is to avoid a stinker of a plotline where people go “I’m just gonna skip THAT chapter till it gets good again”.  I know I’ve done this on other authors, so… well there’s that.

Some plotlines are nothing more than transitional pieces of story that you need to know to tell a better novel, but could not stand up on their own.  That’s something else I’m learning.  Neat ideas that need to be re-purposed and made to earn their keep.  Which, BTW, is also not necessarily easy to accomplish.  Sometimes, the characters wanna do what the characters wanna do and as an author, there is only so much coercion you can do before you end up wrecking the character or worse, wrecking the relationship between you and the reader as they go… “ummmmm lame!”

So, tonight, it’s back to writing since I’m off from work, and building more and more and more.  I still can reach my goal of finishing before Easter.  (That always seems to be a good time for me finishing a project) and turn it over to the editing process for hopefully a summer release.