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Deciding the fate of my writings

In the process of ripping and shredding everything and deciding on an entirely new set of priorities there’s still a few loose ends to decide upon.  I intentionally avoid anything that’s going to add an extra bit to my workload at the moment, I follow my reduced work hours fairly well, spend more time with Kat, basically all the changes I told myself I’d make to my life.

Now that a lot of it looks like it’s being implemented properly (I still don’t know about a full time or part time gig yet) I’ve got time to look at those loose ends.  One of the important ones is writing.  I want to avoid adding more things to my day that I have to do, and writing is one of those things I feel is best done on a semi-consistent schedule (it doesn’t have to be EVERY day, but close).  I pondered this long and hard – I’m not really getting that much return from writing.  The Horror Game didn’t do bad at all – I definitely made money on that one!  (Mostly in electronic formats – print books sold mainly at book signings rather than online or in bookstores.)  The Story of Gamer Zone has sold a few dozen copies – not as good as The Horror Game, but, it was never really designed to sell a lot of copies.

From a sheerly return on investment standpoint, my writing isn’t worth it.  I contemplated some of the options – maybe finish the Muse trilogy and call it good.  That’s 6 books under my belt – 6 more than most people would ever write, and 5 more than a sane person would write (I figure if you keep writing after your first book you could be declared insane.)  After deep thoughts on the subject, I finally decided on a different route.

First off, I don’t do all the “support stuff” necessary to be a writer.  I don’t go to cons very often to sell my books and do signings.  I do, however, sponsor two events a year at the Great Plains Ren Fest.  I have to acknowledge the fact that if I want to do this, I’m going to actually have to DO this – cons and everything.

The point behind my life changes are to be happier overall, when you get right down to it  Does writing make me happier?  Despite “Muse” bringing me down sometimes with it’s low points, I love writing – it’s one of my favorite things to do, even more than programming.  It’s an act of creation that completely lacks boundaries – construction and programming are in a similar class, but there are boundaries one must work within.

So if it makes me a happier person, then I should do it.  But I still need to make that correlate with relationship – I don’t want it to be something that takes away from the time I spend with Kat, really.  I asked her if she was interested in traveling to a couple of conventions a year – she likes things like the ren fest, so it seemed like a possibly logical question, and I talked to her a little bit about me continuing to write.

In retrospect, I should have realized she would fully support the idea of me continuing to write on a reasonable schedule (that means no multi-day writing binges 😉 – she’s got a degree in English and has had one of her pieces of poetry in print.  She can understand the drive to write.  And she like the idea of traveling a bit – however, after there are kids in the equation it gets a little more interesting.

That brings me back to my own thoughts – do I want to continue?  Yes.  Do I want to continue doing what I do now?  No.  I’m doing it wrong for what the market is like these days.  I need to get myself out there, and I need to write some stuff that more people want to read (while at the same time being a story that I feel is worth telling.)

And I’d also like to do it a little more scheduled – I want it to fit into my life in a better slot.

I thought about the things I’ve done and tried so far, and wondered what I really felt kept me on a schedule for writing.  I don’t really want to do it every day – there are plenty of days that I just want to whip out a blog entry, for instance.  But I also want to stay motivated.

I decided I’m going back to where I started, in some respects.  When I was writing The Story Of Gamer Zone I did something cool – I created the concept of “Read Ahead” accounts.  I pre-wrote large sections of the story, and dribbled them out piece by piece – but for those who wanted instant gratification, they could read the (unedited) pieces I already had in the queue.  And it worked – I sold read ahead accounts for an obscure book without really doing any work to push it.

Now I have two stories I want to write that I consider to be “fluff” – but both of them are genre redefining.  The first one is a new take on the classic “zombie survival horror” setup – by changing one rule I can change the entire way zombie horror works.  I’ve given this one quite a bit of thought before – World War Z, for instance, changed the genre, in my opinion, by looking at the issue in a global scope and applying some science to it.  Very cool.

I never liked the “virus / asteroid / end times / strange chemical / odd radiation” setup behind zombie movies anyway.  So I rethought how it all gets started, and gave it a premise that changed the rules.  Oh, I’m not going to say WHAT yet, but I’ve got one heck of an idea that I’ve written in my head that lets me have all sorts of fun with it and takes it new, more suspenseful directions.  Though, I’m going to admit that I am keeping Max Brooke’s World War Z in mind too – I think his thoughts on how the world deals with such a scenario is great.  But since I changed the rules, trust me, it’s not a re-telling of his book (and, lets face it, I don’t want to write something someone has already written.)

Might even provide a nice tie-in with The Horror Game, too – I could see a scenario book based on various elements of this book.

So far, the name isn’t decided upon yet.  “IZ” has been one I’ve kicked around a bit.  “Protocol H” is another one.  As soon as I have a name, I’ll get started. 😉

There’s a couple of really cool things about writing as a serial… I don’t have to worry about word count like I do with Muse (I have a goal for the length of each book.)  I don’t have to worry about ending the story – I could, in theory, just keep writing on the same story forever.  One of the other things I like is unlike everything else I’ve written I don’t really know how it ends, or even completely the direction it’s going to take.  There’s a blueprint of things that have to happen, but beyond that it’s wide open.

As for the second story – I’ll get into that one later.

Along with the an inexpensive subscription plan for the website I’ll also offer an iPhone, iPad, and Android subscription for those on the go.  I’ve got the shell laying around for it already, I only have to add my content. 🙂

So the plan:  Start two new stories on here.  30 minutes a week of writing on each story.  Publish results weekly, and start filling my “queue” of stuff for a Read Ahead account setup again.  Write something that’s a little less obscure than Muse or The Story of Gamer Zone.  And travel with Kat a little more to start selling the books I do have (OH, and publish the TWO I have that are setting here unpublished.  The Horror Game expansion only needs a little extra work, and my first miniatures gaming book is complete already – though I may add one more section.)  Find out the status of Muse – I may even serialize the first book of it (but ONLY the first book. 🙂

I’m going to write – I’m going to do it a little more seriously than I used to, but it’s one of the things I enjoy enough that even if it doesn’t have a heavy monetary return it’s worth doing, and I’ve got a significant other who supports the idea.  Definitely worth my time. 🙂

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