On December 1, 2021, my new novel Dragons of the Ashfall will be released from Dark Owl Publishing!
Orphans never have easy lives, but they’re especially brutal in the ashfall. Londinium grinds children down to nothing in its factories. Patty Rinkin, a rare grindery girl with a last name, just wants to survive. Then dragons arrive and make everything so much harder. Or will they give Patty the opportunity to fight back against the Gear that’s caused so much suffering?
This novel’s also book one in a series. How long is the series? Well, more than one book! We’ll have to see how sales go.
But this leads to my problem. Less than two months ago my debut novel, The Keeper of Tales, was released. It hasn’t been long at all! I’m very grateful that Dark Owl is once again trusting me. Two novels in less than a year? Not many authors can say that!
But… that first novel just came out. I should still be pushing that. And now I’ve got another one on the calendar. I’ve got a number of short stories I’m working on and submitting to various places (and yes a number being published in the next few months). I’m waiting for the edits from another novel to get back to me. I’ve got at least two more novels in the immediate future to work on. Plus I’ve got that novella on Vella to keep an eye on, and this week I’m meeting with another author to see about cowriting a project together.
And this is my problem. I’ve got so many writing projects going on! Oh, and writing isn’t the profession that pays the bills currently. I’m still very much a full-time pastor!
But this problem is such a blessing. I’m not writing just for me. I have places to put that writing. I’m creating worlds that other people get to visit. They can read the short stories in so many places. One novel is out, with another well on the way. Two years ago, I don’t think I could have imagined such opportunities that I have now.
With all these opportunities, I feel like I’ve walked into a massive grocery store with a billion choices for chips. I want to try them all, but I know I can’t do it all. Decision paralysis!
I’m complaining about good things, really. Just like anything else, I need to take it one day at a time. I do have a plan for moving forward. But even as I move forward, I need to look back.
Amazon is debuting a new program: Vella. It’s not yet open to readers. Instead, Amazon is focusing on writers so there’s product there for readers to, you know, read when the program opens up.
If you didn’t click the link, the basic idea is that on Vella, authors will post episodic fiction. Each episode will be 600-5000 words, and the stories will be formatted to be read on mobile devices. The first three episodes of each story will be free, and then reader may purchase tokens to unlock each next episode.
Honestly, I think it’s a neat concept, and apparently there are several sites already that make the idea work. For me it has the feel of the old pulp serials which I still enjoy.
But now comes the question for me as an author: Should I put effort into a new, untried platform?
Amazon is being relatively up-front about what an author can expect to receive for each read-through. The pay is comparable to those other sites. The rules about posting make sense to me. I love the idea of serial fiction.
But I’m also working my butt off with other writing projects. This would be adding one more thing. Do I have one more thing in me?
As an author, how do you decide where to put your effort?
Today, at Dreamforge Anvil, you can read my new story, “I Will Never Fly Again,” for free.
You may want to poke around the magazine there more than just reading my story, though. The magazine has two really neat focuses:
They focus on hopeful stories. Not saccharine stories where nothing goes wrong, but featuring protagonists who struggle and still find hope. That’s very different from a lot of speculative fiction published these days!
They want to help writers grow, so they also publish earlier drafts of stories so you can see the evolution of the craft.
So yes, check them out. You may notice my story doesn’t have an earlier draft. That’s because they accepted what I submitted as-is. Before I send any stories out, they go through a number of revisions. This time around, the story hit the editor just right!
But if you look at the sidebar in my story, you may notice that in an earlier draft, the second-to-last scene didn’t exist. If you’d like to see growth in this story, try reading it, imagining that scene missing. It was absolutely necessary for the protagonist to make the jump from hopeless to maybe, just maybe, having something worthwhile in his life.
Anyway, go check out the magazine, read the story, enjoy!
You take the steak off the grill. Oh, can you smell that? The char entices, and you know it’s the perfect doneness.
But don’t cut into it! Not yet! You need to let it rest.
Resting meat is absolutely necessary. Cut into that delicious meal too soon, and all the juices will run out. All your work will be reduced from sublime to… passable? Maybe?
Last week I wrote that I’d completed the rough draft for a new novel. My rough drafts always need a major revision. I need to tighten up scenes, themes, all sorts of things. (I also think one of the minor dragon characters may have changed gender halfway through the novel… I should probably check on that, unless I feel like introducing a wrinkle into dragon physiology.)
So why not just dive into it right away?
Because when you create something, you need to let it rest.
You need to approach your creation with fresh eyes. Does this scene work? What about this character arc? If you come too soon, you’ll be too close to catch many of the issues. Some will certainly be apparent, but others simply won’t be.
I do the same thing with short stories. I’ll complete a draft, and rather than going through it again immediately, I’ll set it aside for a day or two. I need to! But a novel is a longer, more involving beast, so it needs longer to rest.
Of course, letting a novel rest doesn’t mean the writer should do nothing. I’ve been cleaning up some short stories and figuring out my writing schedule for the summer. By concentrating on other stories, I’m forcing my mind to step aside from the novel for a bit.
I’m hoping to start in on the revision next week, but we’ll see. I may wait another week before tackling it. Either way, it’s rested.