My Blog Is One Year Old – Anniversary Post

So – A year ago, I finally decided I should make sure that my name is available as a domain, and I should squat on it, and if I’m going to squat on a domain, I might as well do something with it. Besides, I keep hearing that it’s a good idea to get a web presence built up before you get published, to hopefully have readers waiting for your work when it comes out. That, and to log some old posts so that you have material for people to browse when they come to your site.

And so my little blog was born. I’ve had fun posting, and my Aspergers brain likes the stats page that shows me how many hits on what posts. It’s like a turn based strategy game. It makes my autism happy, as my husband would say.

They’re right when they say it takes time to develop a following. My first month the number of hits on the site was piddly. But after about six months, it climbed to the two to three hundred hits per month range, and more recently, cracking six hundred. I even have subscribers now, and they are much loved.

Anyway, to commemorate the anniversary of my first post, I figured I would highlight some of my most popular posts.

Steampunk vs Dieselpunk: A post on the differences between the two, by far getting the most clicks for a specific post. The only thing that has got more hits is my homepage.

Occupy Winnipeg: My first brush with activism: My report on the opening of occupy Winnipeg last spring. Local events did manage to draw more attention – I’m guessing because there are fewer other sources covering them.

Report on Keycon 29: Self explanatory, also benefited from being one of few local sources covering the event.

6 Essential Dieselpunk Movies: After the Steampunk vs Dieselpunk post seemed such a hit, I figured I’d do more of that, seeing as I’m writing Dieselpunk and all, with similar success.

I really don’t understand how some people can be so stupid: A lament on the abuse heaped on a poor unsuspecting author by a readership with a terrifying sense of entitlement.

And, last, but not least, a highlight of search terms that brought people to my site. Not the most common ones – those are boring; just various spellings and misspellings of my name and combinations of Dieselpunk and the trappings thereof. No, I’ll just give you the most entertaining ones, and the ones that made me go wtf:

стиль dieselpunk: NFC.

people walking on the street & shouting/people walking: These two, I’m guessing were taking people to my Occupy Winnipeg post, but I thought it was random.

final fantasy advent children who is the girl in the pink dress?: *Spoiler alert* She’s a character from the original video gam, who had a rather mysterious past. The spelling of her name varies between Aeris and Aerith, and *Spoiler alert**Spoiler alert**Spoiler alert**Spoiler alert**Spoiler alert**Spoiler alert**Spoiler alert**Spoiler alert**Spoiler alert**Spoiler alert**Spoiler alert* she dies at the end of disc 1 when Sephiroth runs her through with his sword.

andrew garard: I have no idea who this is, and I don’t recall having ever posted anything with the name in it.

i’m not good at dealine: Sucks to be you, huh?

bradley p. beaulieu the straits of galahesh torrent: Book wasn’t even out and someone was trying to pirate it….

it bothers me too much when someone unfollows me on twitter: Seriously?

white wolf enjoy sex merit: Not sure which book you’d find this one in.

часы diesel punk: NFC.

why wont friends and family buy my published work: Because they’re afraid they won’t like it and you’ll force them to either hurt your feelings or lie to you. Stop pressuring them.

*   *   *   *   *

So there’s the rundown of the first year of my blog. I’m pretty happy with it overall. Warm welcomes to all my current followers and all new ones that show up. I’m sure year two will be even more interesting, as I begin submitting my novel.

Advertisements

General update and thanks to Beta Readers

So, the big revision has been done for a bit, and I’m going over beta reader critiques. There’s definitely stuff to be touched up on, but it’s very close to being done an this is by far my best work yet. Of course though, it must be shiny as shiny can be before I want to send it to editors. I may start sending out queries to agents though – it’s at a stage where I don’t think the touching up I have yet to do is going to change an agent’s answer. It’s mostly fiddling at this point. Possibly adding one scene, but I have to figure out what’s to be in that scene. I might have it though, just involves some rearranging, which may even make another scene run a tad smoother.

And thanks to my beta readers giving me valuable feedback. There will always be things I don’t pick up on myself because I know what I’m trying to say in my head. I think writers will always need a second set of eyes to keep them honest.

But there comes a point when the author needs to decide how much fiddling is enough, and send it out into the world to fend for itself. I’m edging towards that point. I’m sure I want to have at least one person finish the novel (besides the mother in law, who’s biased :P) to get feedback on the ending. There’s one other point in the ending I may change, and the more I think about it, the more I think I’ll need to change it, because it’s just not as meaningful if the character making the decision hasn’t got anything left to lose.

That and one other scene might need some delicate treatment for potentially triggering subject matter, and a minor character’s dialogue needs to be completely rewritten so that he doesn’t sound uneducated because when I originally wrote the character, he and another character weren’t brothers, and there was no need for them to have similar backgrounds in education.

Down to nitpicky things, mostly though. And then, copyediting for flow – I have a friend who’s really awesome at that.

And I have written a query letter, and said friend has gone over it to beat the lumps out so it reads smooth and makes sense. I will touch up my synopsis too, since it’s a 1 and 1/2 page synopsis, and I should be able to get away with two for most queries.

Then, out into the wide scary world with it!

Writing vs Career vs Writing Career

One of my blog readers and (beta reader :)) brought up an interesting topic, and I think it was worth it’s own blog post.

So this is only vaguely connected – but I’d like to hear people’s opinion and it has a bearing I think on Lindsay’s situation. I think a serious writer who is earning a living from other work (not writing) can have a job but not a career because there is only so much emotional commitment and energy to go around and you have to put it in to one thing.

I think this is true for nearly everyone – there are a tiny number of people who are so exceptional they can do anything fairly brilliantly – for the rest of us there is this choice.

Andy

Agree? Disagree?

I agree with part of this – that if you want to be serious about writing and aim to make a career out of it, it’s very difficult to balance that with a career outside of writing. I have a job – it pays the bills, barely. And by barely, I mean, my husband and I have just moved in with my mother in law because they jacked up the rent on our ghetto apartment, and we can’t find an affordable apartment that will allow us to keep our cats, and doesn’t require me to have a car.

But part of the decision to do that was, I admit, that I don’t want to have to get a second job to survive, because if I did that, then I would seriously have no writing time. And that would kill me. I’ve been in the have-no-time-to-write situation before, and the frustration and depression that led to was crushing. I ended up quitting, once I found another job that paid better. I don’t want to do that again, ever.

My husband knows what happens to me if I don’t have time to write. When I get grumpy sometimes, he’ll take care of supper and tell me to go write.

I could move up in the company I work at if I wanted to. I’d even be interested if I wasn’t so busy getting my manuscript together right now. The elation of having finished the revision has sunk in, by the way – haven’t been in such a good mood in a long time.

I don’t know about these fabled people who can do both, though. They say no man can serve two masters. I’ve never heard of such a person in real life. Anyone I hear of does choose one or the other.

Lots of people write as a hobby, and there’s nothing wrong with doing it just for yourself. It’s no different from taking piano lessons, or ballroom dancing. People do it because they enjoy it, and develop a skill worthy of praise. As opposed to say, spending that time playing video games. Bragging about working on endgame content in World of Warcraft just doesn’t garner the same respect and sense of accomplishment as bragging about a dance or musical recital – or writing a novel.  These people may not aspire to getting published. They might, though, and some do, and they might be happy with getting a book or two out there in their lifetimes, but these aren’t people who aspire to make their living writing. They likely find themselves fulfilled by their primary career.

Then there’s the people who want to make a living writing. I don’t think you can really do that and work on developing a career at the same time. You could already have a career, and work on building a writing career, but there will come a point where, if you want to really get somewhere and accomplish enough to have a chance at making a living writing, you’ll have to decide which is going to come first – the other career, or the writing career.

You can spend twenty years revising a novel to perfection, and it could be a great novel at the end of that, and sell passably well. But that won’t make a career in writing. Most writers who support themselves writing, they’re saying you have to have at least one book out per year, to survive, and now they’re saying even that’s not enough. That takes discipline, and it takes more passion than the hobbyist writer needs to give it.

There’s a lot of people who say they’d love to make a living writing. There’s a lot of statistics saying the odds of getting published professionally, are pretty low (the most common one I see: 1/100), and the odds of getting published a second time are even slimmer.  But there’s also a lot of people who say they’d like to get published and don’t really try, or don’t try very hard. Or they try, and then they can’t handle rejection. Or they try, but shoot themselves in the foot by not doing their research on the importance of following submission guidelines. I love those people – I don’t have to compete with them. If those statistics include all those people who won’t get published because of something they don’t do, then that means whether or not I eventually make it, is far more in my own control than the statistics would make it seem. The question becomes “How badly do you want this?” Because if you want something badly enough, you’ll do whatever you need to, to get it.

You put enough quarters in the machine, eventually you’ll get that winning black gumball.

Celebratory Alcohol: The Eyelet Dove revision is done

It’s not absolute final draft, but it’s close, and it’s worthy of human eyes besides my own. I have made it as good as I can make it, and Beta readers will help me polish it.

This was a lot of work, and I’m damn proud of myself.

My mother in law is reading part 3 now – she’s already read part 1 and 2. She gets the honour of being the first person to ever read the ending. Besides myself, of course. And she has no idea what’s coming. I’m kind of curious, and half worried what she’ll think of the piggyback ride scene. She reads fast – she’ll likely finish tonight. She’s liked it so far. Lets see if she hates me after she reads what I’ve done to my poor unsuspecting characters.

In the meantime, I’m drinking till it feels real.

Next is polish up a query letter an synopsis while I go through beta readers comments, and then send this puppy out.

This will get published. It’s my goddamned turn.

Defining Steampunk (and Dieselpunk)

Someone tweeted this article today – it’s old, but it’s awesome and I agree with everything it says.

Also, someone on goodreads.com was looking for non-Victorian Steampunk, and someone *actually* answered “Why non-Victorian? I think that’s a positive element in Steampunk. There are some wild west stories that are Steampunk and I started reading one based on Alice in Wonderland that was alternative American history based but I can’t say that I was enjoying it. I’m primarily looking for good Steampunk that *is* Victorian England now.”

*headdesk*

I just finished one book a couple of days ago, and was today skimming through my ebooks to see what to start next, and decided I’d try out Gail Carriger’s Soulless, which I got on sale for 99 cents a couple months ago. I read about 5 or 6 pages of the main character beating etiquette into a vampire with a parasol, and stopped. It’s not a bad book, or poorly written or anything, it’s just not my *kind* of book. But it seems that has become the definition of Steampunk lately, and I dislike the whole idea that Steampunk is becoming pigeon-holed into this, and people are starting to say if it doesn’t have X,Y, or Z elements, it’s not Steampunk.

That resentment comes from my main reason for writing Dieselpunk in the first place. Which is, quite frankly, that I’m bored with traditional medieval fantasy. I wanted a setting that’s fresher and not done to death. So I have a setting a little farther ahead, tech wise, for the hell of it. I could set it in a medieval fantasy world. Easily – my character’s could ride dragons and their giant base could be more blatantly magic, rather than the magnetic handwavium powered gimmick I’m going with. Magic items could serve the roles of radios and radar, and my orphans could live in the “dark forest” instead of the sewer. But my way is more fun for me.

I just write what I write though, I’m not writing to a definition. Dieselpunk is just the closest definition there is for what I write, so I use it. So what happens if a book doesn’t fit into a particular category? Should the author be forbidden to pick the closest thing? Or worse, be forced to introduce elements into the story to solidify it’s placement in a genre category? Don’t think it doesn’t happen – I’ve seen discussions online where people insist that there be magic in a story for it to be classified as fantasy, so if that’s true, then where do you categorize secondary world fiction that doesn’t have magic? Because the Literary section sure doesn’t want it.

I say just relax, and let writers write what they write. If that means taking a little bit more time to describe what a book is like, then so be it. If it makes it a bit more difficult to write a pitch, then that’s the author’s problem. 😛

Soft Deadline for Finishing this Draft

So, my work is likely offering full time hours at the end of the month, and we’re broke, so I have to take it. That’s going to leave me with a lot less time to write. But I’m almost done this draft, and I have worked full time and still revised a novel, so it’s not going to *stop* me from writing – not even stop be from making significant progress on my writing.

Still, I’ve been at this revision a little over a year, and it’s going to be annoying to settle into a new routine, worse with having moved in with my Mother in law, and busing to work now – my routine is all messed up. Nothing going badly – the move went as well as it could have, and everyone’s getting along in our little combined household, it’s just, changes, and adjusting to changes is stressful, and even more so for my poor little Aspie brain.

So I want to get this draft done before july 28th. And then I’ll be able to do full novel trades, and have a couple lined up, even. I’m excited to have found a critique partner (through Miss Snark’s First Victim Critique Partner Dating Service) who’s actually pro published and repped. She was looking for a writer of similar calibre to trade critiques with, and I seem to have passed muster. I look forward to our partnership. 🙂

I’m through part one, with only revisions based on critiques yet to do, and those have been pretty much cosmetic so far. No major changes in the plot.

Anyway, today I’m off to the first critique meeting of Winnspec, a new sci-fi-fantasy writer’s group, at the library, so I’m off to print off my material.