Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Bigger Challenge

Someone once said, "Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words."    Another person said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."  What do these two quotes, by St. Francis of Assisi 1  and Mahatma Ghandi, respectively, have to do with writing?  Well, they speak to me of an important lesson:  to learn or teach something, it's best to first do the darn thing yourself, and then show it.  In my case, if I want to be a self-published author, it is best to actually do it.  Learn--and share--by doing.

Another inspiration came from Kim Lavine's Mommy Millionaire book.  She started her own business, became a success, and wrote down in exacting and engaging detail what happened to her and what she learned.  I have never quite seen a book like hers before, and though it is not about a writing-related business, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Because of her inspiration, and the quotes above, I decided to do the same for  . . .  da da dum . . . The Great Writing Experiment:  Self-Publishing an Ebook (for Better or Worse).  The very idea excites me--and scares the dickens out of me.  But why should that stop me if I really wanna do it?  Besides I think turning it into a blogged project is the very kick in the shorts (hate pants) that I need to get moving.

So today, I started the Project.  Tomorrow?  Hopefully, I don't chicken out ;-)  But we'll see what's what then.


1 Some people say that St. Francis didn't in fact say this or do this.  But at this point, I care more about the quote and its meaning than who said what.

(This blog post took me 35 minutes to create, from conception to posting) 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


On the nanowrimo forums, there are threads to help people get to 50,000 words.  Some of these are challenges, and the concept of these challenges inspired me to do my own in the Walker series.  Three novels of the five have a challenges in them.  But it all started with Novel 1.

The challenge for Novel 1 was to see how often I could get my male main character, Walker, naked.  (And recently I just thought of another place for this to occur.)  Why?  I think because I started out with him naked, and I thought, "cool, why not?"

The Prequel, or Novel 0 (I really have to rethink my numbering scheme), has a minor challenge:  a greeting.  Basically, if possible, whenever Walker and the vampire meet, Walker flips the vampire Valor, straddles him, and threatens him in some way.  Why this?  Because I had an image when thinking up this novel of Walker doing this after a long time apart and saying something funny about how they keep end up meeting this way.  I really don't think I can have Walker do this more than a couple times in the novel, but we'll see.

The final challenge came to me recently upon thinking why I am turned off by much of current fantasy fiction:  The ubiquitous romance subplot.  Well, I can't write romance--every time I do, it ends up bad, and instead of happy endings, I like killing people off (at best) or making them have ulterior motives (at worst), or both.   So that lead me to thinking of something related to the ubiquitous romances, but in tv/movie media:  The rampant, pointless sex scene.  Now that I could work with.  So, in Novel 3, the challenge is rampant sex, with bonus points for making it pointless.  Why that novel?  Because I already am using sex a couple times, one time to make a plot point and another time for humor.  So why not?  Oh, and don't worry, it's not erotica.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but that would be a major upset in tone for this series.

As of yet, Novel 2 and Novel 4 do not have any challenges.  Probably because they are more serious, and the other novels have a stronger sense of humor running through them.  But anyway, that's what I'm doing in this series:  Challenges.  Don't ask me why, I think it's fun :-)  And I can't see traditionally published novels doing this.  :-)  And I get bored easy.

So what about you--are there any challenges you can add to your novels?