Friday, December 30, 2016

The Time To Go For It Is NOW!

If there is one thing I can take away from the writing and publishing world this year, it is the re-emergence of the necessity for authors to be their own hype-men and managers. It is not enough to just write, and it hasn't been enough for some time, but with the rise of independent authors showing how to succeed outside of the traditional publishing paradigm we see a trail being blazed for others to emulate, adapt, and follow.

We are now seeing successful examples that cannot be ignored, not without engaging in willful delusion. That's a breakthrough moment, that point that precedes a critical mass and sets off a preference cascade. The window of opportunity is here, and the time I spent this past year watching a few making this work will prove itself valuable.

The Big 5 in New York City are wobbly as hell now, and their convergence by the Social Justice death cult only gets worse, meaning that they will fail to satisfy yet more audiences heretofore given lipservice and now getting none. This is the opportunity a lot of people have wanted, so they got themselves a window of opportunity to act before the circumstances shift yet again: find that un(der)served audience, and serve it good and hard.

A more thorough take is at author Brian Niemeier's blog, which you can find here.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Looking Ahead to the 2017 Publishing Game

The publishing game changed a lot over the past year. The old certainties are no more. The new possibilities are still making themselves known to most people, but I think we're reaching a critical mass of adoption for both writers and readers and next year will be when the jump off hits and there is no going back.

I intend to be ready. Shit I've sat on this year (for one reason or another) I want done and out, now that things I've been missing got found and put into place, and that means that when the manuscripts are ready I'll be looking for help on things I can't do myself (covers in particular) as I'm able to keep my head above water.

But right now it's Christmas. I'm going to enjoy the season, and then New Year's, and once the holidays are over and 2017 is here then it'll be time for putting plans into action.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Story Fragment: The Resolution of the Yamato

This got cut from the revision of the Solador story because it is not directly relevant to the protagonist's story; this is something that the deuteragonist does to aide the protagonist in the climax of the story. Rather than let it rot, as it were, I'm going to post it here. The scene's intention was to demonstrate that the deuteragonist's organization--the Hidden City--has at its disposal more than just some well-trained agents and access to a pre-Cataclysm network infrastructure. However, without a series to build this out it becomes irrelevant to the story.

"Master Control, this is Agent Johnathan. I am at the resolution zone."

In his ear, John heard Master Control respond: "This is Master Control. We see you. Proceed."

John activated his holographic overlay, allowing him to see where to-be-resolved objects could be readily placed. His eyes quickly scanned for, and found, the Gate icon and placed it partially submerged into the waters of the Sound. With a gesture, he initiated the resolution protocol for the gate.

A flash flicked before him and spread out into a wireframe outline of a circular design. Two-thirds of its diameter stood out of the water, dwarfing John who stood well away from it with his eyes fixed forward and his body stiff as he concentrated on each element of the resolution protocol in turn. First the skeletal frame, and then key power components and conduits. Sinks, inputs, outputs, all drawn in step by step as if he coded it in a design program. Finally, the outer shell and its finish. Then back again, layer by layer, he make the framework solid and materialized each part into existence.

The glowing, pulsing, floating man-sized (and think) crystals on either side of the gate now linked up to it and brought it full to life with a loud pop and enough light to be a beacon to craft far out over the waters. With that, John dropped to his knees, exhausted: "Resolution. Complete.

"Stand by, Agent Johnathan. We're sending it through now."

John looked up, breathing deep as he got to his feet. He saw the gate light up, and a whoosh of air come forth as the gate's interior became a wall of white light. He heard the hum of such great energy being poured into the gate- something big now resolved into the Outer World. As he saw the bow of a ship, come forth, and then the first three-gun turret, and then the second, and then secondary turrets, and then the control tower, and a third three-gun turret on the stern, and the aft come crashing through as if exiting a dry dock he knew what he beheld.

"The Yamato!" John said in a gasp.

"Agent Johnathan, this is Master Control. Your request is granted. Good luck, and good hunting."

Note: this is not the I.J.N. Yamato of World War 2. This is the entirely fictional Yamato of Space Battleship Yamato. So those turrets have Shock Cannons, there is a fighter wing aboard, it can fly, and you're damn right that the Wave Motion Gun is on that thing. Why does John put in a request for it? Because the protagonist--William--is going up against The Archmage and the Exalted directly, and John alone is not enough to even the odds, so John calls in backup. The entire point of this ship's appearance is to force the opposition to have to split their attention and thus their forces.

So, rather than go on about it--since the story follows William and not John--I find a good reason to keep cut-aways from William to just those few that are nonetheless about William's story directly. This? This is not; it's there for a meta-narrative, and therefore can be cut here to maintain narrative focus.

As for what the Yamato is there to do, it's something like this episode from the recent 2199 remake (which is really good and you should see it):

Friday, December 9, 2016

Story Fragment: The Cancer Comes From Spookville

Another story fragment. Comment below if you have anything useful to say.

"So, what's bother you, and why only me?"

"I told you about my uncle the minister, right?"

She nodded

"And I told you about his missionary work, right?"

She passed me a cup of coffee and nodded again. "This is the one whose wife died of cancer, right?"

"Fast cancer. Same with one of his daughters, and the other's fighting like hell to keep it at bay."

"I'm waiting to see how I help here."

"One of his sons is part of a contractor crew in Africa. Has been for years, subcontracting from multinationals as a trouble-shooter. His dead daughter married a prominent man in Bulgaria. His living daughter got a Federal Reserve job early and easily rose up the ranks. His other son is a major businessman in Montana, now a player in the GOP there."

"Africa, you say? When was your uncle there."

"The 1970s, when Idi Amin was the big man. My uncle was a pal of his, took photos, and got out just in time."

She smiled. "CIA?"

I nodded. "And my father found out by accident a few years after they returned Stateside, when he stumbled upon the photos. My mother knew all this time, but didn't tell me until last week. It came out of nowhere."

"Now I see. So, what can this ONI brat do for you?"

"You already know. Don't make me say it."

"Dad's been busy lately, but I'll see what I can do."

Friday, December 2, 2016

Redeeming The (Writing) Time

The Deleted Scene. It's something that gets cut from a manuscript, a film, etc. because it is deemed irrelevant to the story told. In the last decade or so, it's become fashionable for filmmakers to include some or all deleted scenes as premium content to entice people to buy physical copies of that film. It's also something that you can use for your benefit.

That's why you have a landing page of some sort, right? A blog, a page, whatever- someplace for people to find you, and from which they can go buy your stuff after you sold them first on yourself as a storytelling. Take that stuff you cut from your manuscript and post it there. Use it to sell the book. Take other things you come up with, but won't do anything with for a while, and post them there; A/B test those to see what hits and what misses, and build upon the hits.

Sounds like business? Like selling? It is, and that's because you need to sell to make this more than a hobby. This is particularly important if you're already known for one sort of book and want to branch out to another sort, something writers of series in genre fiction know too well. Since you're going to spend so much time putting together the best manuscript that you think you can make into a viable commercial product, make use of all that you cut away from the final product to help sell it- that's "redeeming the time", the time you spent writing.