Using Slang to Spice Up a World

Oi! You gonna shilly-shally here, you tuft-hunter? Well, don’t be kicksy! Pull up a chair and let’s voker, shall we?

Right.

So, my forthcoming novel, Dragons of the Ashfall, takes place in Londinium, an imaginary steampunk city. And when you’re in a steampunk setting, your characters should talk that way. If they speak like 21st century Americans, like yours truly happens to be, it hurts the setting.

Well, I’ve never lived in an imaginary steampunk setting.

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I Lost My Pants

I had no idea where the novel was going. When I wrote the rough draft of The Keeper of Tales, I really had no idea what was going on. Who were the characters? What was this world? When I began, all I had was a feeling I wanted to replicate. I wanted the story to begin where I felt Return of the King ended—not the plot, but the emotions.

I introduced new characters haphazardly. I discovered the nuts and bolts of the world as I wrote. After that first draft, my wife read the words. Then we did the world-building to weave into the first revision. As we wrote the backstories for the main characters, I had an epiphany. “Lazul’s wife is dead!”

My wife looked at me like I was an idiot. “Of course she is!”

Because I had made it up as I went along, I really had no idea who most of the characters really were. Apparently my wife had a better grip of that than I did!

This process of writing is called pantsing. In other words, I made it up by the seat of my pants.

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Depression Doesn’t Make Art

All the great artists were messed up. Picasso fell into a huge depression, and look at what he produced. Just imagine, if he had medication, how much art we would have missed out on.

Okay, if someone says that to you, deck them.

Maybe not deck them. At least not physically. But tell them: Is your art worth that much more than a person’s life?

And imagine, if Picasso had access to medication that had helped him, not just how much better his life would have been, but how much more art of his you would have to appreciate?

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I Have a Problem

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.

So, hey, if you enjoy my writing, check out my Published Works tab. And purchase Keeper of Tales. A lot of people seem to really like it!

And if you really like my writing, another novel is coming!

A New Platform…?

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?

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