The Write Identity

September 21st, 2010essays, fiction, operation: awesome

See, I lost focus.

And that happens. I’m fallible and I know it. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have initiated Operation: Awesome. I would have just sat around wondering why no one recognized my genius.

A couple weeks ago, I talked about how I had some connections to a potential publisher and how I was looking at novel options suited for that. I let those connections overshadow something very crucial: the identity I want as a writer. Instead of thinking “What type of career do I want?” I thought “What’s my best chance of getting published?”

Now that’s not a bad question to ask. If you have an opportunity, hey, take it. I will never fault a creative for taking the money. In this case, the opportunity was something I’d like to have, yes, but not what I really truly want. My passion lies somewhere else. When I walk into a bookstore, I know the section that feels like home. I know where I want my books to be stocked. When I look at the list of authors I’m studying, they’re in that section. And while I read books in a variety of genres and markets, I have a clear vision of who I am as an author right now and where I want my career to start.

So I’m not writing one of the novels I talked about in that post. I’m still writing a novel. I’m just not writing the novel that makes sense for that connection. I’m writing the novel I want to write. The novel that makes me smile and makes me want to keep writing.

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Operation: Awesome’s Novel Idea

September 7th, 2010news, operation: awesome

Last week, I put a list together of all the books I had plots for. Nothing new, I didn’t invent on the spot, and I came up with eight titles. Later that day, I remembered another three. Today, I found another. Just typing this up now, I remembered another one.

That’s a lot of imaginary books.

And that’s what they are right now: imaginary. They don’t exist. I haven’t written them. And carrying around the ideas doesn’t make me a writer. After I jotted the first eight, I decided it was time to kick off the novel phase of Operation: Awesome.

The goal is to write three novels within the next six years. One novel every two years is doable. I hope to fill the remaining time with paying gigs and island vacations. The former more probable than the latter but while I’m hoping, why not?

So, three books. Okay, sure. But which ones?

Good question. I have a couple connections with some solid genre publishers. It makes sense to me that I aim in the sci-fi, fantasy, and/or horror direction. I said my goal with Operation: Awesome was to become a better writer first, sell second, and that still holds. I’m still in Phase Four, certainly, but I see no contradiction in rolling both goals into one action, if I can.

I’m aiming at one publisher in specific. I’ve read through their mission statement, history, and have researched their catalogue. I think some of my ideas are well-suited and am currently looking through them, trying to suss out which is the leader. There’s the one I’m sure I can write, write well even. It’s horror, a genre I’m comfortable with, but I wonder about its marketability. It’s a bit strange. There’s another that is in a genre dear to my heart (near-future sci-fi). It’s a thriller and, frankly, is probably too smart for me. It’d be a great challenge, would be impressive if I could pull it off, but I worry about plotting something so complex. Truth is, I’d probably worry about my ability to pull off a coloring book depending on the day. There’s a trilogy I’m psyched for I originally conceived for the Young Adult market. Could be converted though. It’s near-future again, conspiracy this time. There’s another horror one, a mystery, that like the near-future book is larger in scope than I do normally. But y’know what? I normally don’t write novels so maybe stretching out in all directions is exactly what I need to do.

(The other books are either non-genre or Young Adult- or Middle Grade-focused which is outside the purview of this publisher.)

So, anyway, there it is. The next phase of Operation: Awesome. I’m writing my second novel. My first adult fiction novel which means more swearing and twice as many words as I did on that Little Fears: The Wolf Pact book back in 2007. I don’t have a hard deadline yet. I’m already milling on some for-pay projects and am in the running for another gig I’m really excited for. Fingers crossed, I’ll have a very busy holiday season and into early next year. But this is a commitment I’m making to myself. It’s time to push forward.

The next step in this will be choosing the project. I need to think on that but eventually I’ll need to just pick one and go. Any advice on that? What criteria do you use when picking a project from a stack of potentials? How does one idea rise to the top?

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Hamlet’s Hit Points

September 2nd, 2010essays, rpg

A couple months ago, I had the honor of proofreading Hamlet’s Hit Points, the new work by esteemed game designer Robin D. Laws. In the book, Robin discusses how stories work and codifies the aspects that you find over and over again, the pillars of storytelling. He also dissects three classic stories in very different genres (Dr. No, Casablanca, and the titular Shakespearean work) by putting his code into practice. And all of this is done with an eye toward tabletop gaming.

Gameplaywright, of The Bones and Things We Think About Games fame, released the book at GenCon and it quickly sold out. If you have an interest in stories, games, and especially stories in games, and you missed your chance to get it at GenCon, you can get the book now straight from the publisher.

I’m always looking for solid texts on story and this is a good one. That it’s by a designer I know and respect makes it that much better.

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The Haunted House, an Illustrated Tale

September 1st, 2010fiction

The following is based on a true story.

The Haunted House, by Cambden Blair

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© 2010-2013 Jason L Blair except, y'know, stuff that belongs to other folks.