Spark Check!


I’m on a roll this week. Over 7000 words for me so far. I need to keep pushing. The best part is these words have already been edited by Julie. I’ve made the necessary changes except for one thing that effects multiple scenes.

I have an exciting picture to post tomorrow! I’d do it tonight, except I’m beat. It’s after midnight and this is the earliest I will have gone to bed this week. Cheers!

Self Publishing or Small Press?

I know most of my readers are going the Big Publishing House route, and that’s fantastic. But if any of you are debating small press or do it yourself, you might find this helpful.

Advantages of small press:

1. They take on all the costs of editing, cover design, formatting and publicity. If you’re broke, going with small press is very compelling because then you’re not out of pocket. I have yet to make back the cost of covers on any of my books, I’m sure that includes the ones published at a small press, though they might get better prices than I do. I also am fortunate that my editor and publicist work on a percentage of what I make. When I make it big, so will they, but right now they are making nothing :(

2. They take on all the time of editing, cover art design, formatting, publicity and uploading. Self-publishing takes a huge amount of time. I just thought I would be writing, writing, writing. I did not realize how time consuming filling out the cover art forms, uploading the books, designing the Call to Actions with all the right links, blogging consistently, tweeting consistently, Facebooking consistently would be. Small presses take care of a lot of that, though the blogging, tweeting, etc. is still on your shoulders. Uploading is a bear. Smashwords in particular is very finicky and I’ve spent near a whole week dealing with their grinder and I’m still not 100% published there.

Advantages of Self-publishing:

Complete control.

Really, control is the main reason to do it yourself, and I think it’s worth it. Yeah, I’ve spent a ton of time last week linking all my books together as I continue to put out new episodes for my serial, but as I mentioned last week, I’m finally starting to see a trickle of sales. I feared after I posted last week, it would stop, but it’s continuing! If the trickle continues, maybe I can turn it into a stream. I have to keep producing. I have to keep spending the time uploading and linking, but this way, my books don’t stagnate.

Another part of control is pricing. A small press sets the price, and that’s pretty much it. The book never goes on sale unless the vendors put it on sale or unless the small press decides to put their catalog on sale. But I can lower or raise my prices and experiment to see what works. I can put books in a bundle if I want for a limited time and try and get new readers that way. Really, whatever tricks I come up with, I can give a try. Because I have nothing more to lose.

Except time. I do have to be careful that publishing doesn’t take over my life.

Spark Tally Saturday!

When I get really busy, my mind starts thinking up new stories or adding to old stories. Right now I’m working on two stories at the same time. I thought that would mean my mind would be overloaded with stories, and even though I’m super busy, it wouldn’t start working on new stories. Wrong.

This week I got an idea for a new story and filled out new plot points in two old stories. Not on paper. Just in my head. When I was doing things like going to the bank or Target or Hastings and losing track of money. Don’t become a writer. It’s dangerous for your financial and mental health.

I guess I’m a little late on that advice since we’re all writers here.

The good news is I have work to do when I’m done with my current work load. Which seems like will be never.

I wrote 2500 words this week on one story. The other story I was editing and don’t have a firm word count there. Eighteen chapters changed after Julie put in her comments and edits. Now I know what plot line I can cut out and which one needs trimming. Good news since the book was getting way too long.

How did you guys do this week?

Spark Check


Monday was a holiday in the States so I decided to take the day off of blogging. I’ve been writing and editing and wishing I had not written anything for my Silver Orchard series last spring. I’m so far behind now, and it’s entirely my own fault.

This week I’ve written 5000 words so far and edited fourteen chapters. The novel isn’t done, but I felt like some plot lines needed more meat at the beginning, and I was right. The bitch of it is, no one has read it but me, so there’s still a chance I will have to rerwite the whole thing. In which case, maybe it won’t come out until next year. And I will cry.

In other news, yesterday was International Literacy Day! Grammarly sent me a nifty graph to post on my blog, which I will do in a minute. I wanted to put a plug in for schools. Most of them would welcome help from volunteers for reading assistance. There are a lot of children who benefit from an extra half hour each week with a volunteer reading in the library or wherever the school puts them. You have to get a background check, at least in the States, but after that it’s really easy to help out.

How is your writing going this week?

Literacy Graph:

Literacy Day

Actual Writing Advice: Cutting Characters

On Friday before I wrote Spark Tally, I was disgruntled about my current story. It was taking far too long to get the protagonist away from her home, and I had these new side stories going on which I’d never intended. So I wrote Spark Tally, played Pathfinder and still wanted to throw the virtual manuscript in the trash.

In the morning I woke up to my weekly critique from my crit group. I didn’t even care. I read the comments though and they were fine. I needed more sensory details and such. But I knew they didn’t touch the core of my problem. If only I knew what that problem was.

And then it hit me. I needed to cut a character.

Which meant 37,000 words shredded.

In my experience, there’s nothing an author hates to hear about their story more than “You need to cut a character.” Whenever I suggest it to someone, I always want to add, “Don’t hate me. I’ve had to cut loads of characters in my time. It’s really for the best.” But I never say that.

Writers get attached to their characters. The first time I used the current story I’m writing in a class, the teacher told me I really didn’t need all the brothers. They cluttered the story without adding anything. “But what about the Weasleys?” I wanted to cry. JK Rowling has several characters in her stories that don’t really do much. At the very least she could’ve combined the two oldest Weasley brother’s into one.

But I cut them—all but one. And magically, that swept away a whole lot of problems. I saw more clearly what I really wanted to focus the story on.

The current character I’m cutting, I’ve introduced to the story in various ways and guises. He really belongs in the second book, and I don’t know why I keep trying to introduce him in the first book. Maybe to give the main character one friend she can trust. But even though she really could use one friend, he’s not helping the story at all. He’s distracting from her brother’s story, introducing subplots that don’t belong and delaying her departure. He needs to go.

It wasn’t hard for me to delete him like it was the brothers several years ago. Some writer’s talk about their character’s being their babies, but they’re not. They’re fictional constructs. And as fictional constructs, you can reincarnate them in other stories. In fact, if you really like a character, then make a whole book around her.

Cutting characters is about being a mature writer. It’s about seeing the big picture. The worst part for me was all those words lost. It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten so far into a book before I realized a character had to go. And he wasn’t a minor character. He was major.

I’m 5000 words into the new manuscript already and so much happier. My fingers need to fly because I want to get this done before the kids are out of school. That means at least 20,000 words to write this week. I’ll let you know how it went on Friday :)