Lack of Inertia

boat great colors

Currently I am working on all three books in the trilogy. It’s not easy. I’m getting ready to actively launch Book 1 while at the same time reviewing Book 2. I’m double checking the coordination from Book 1 and to Book 3, and endlessly proof-reading while it’s at the publisher now. Each morning I try to write the next chapter for Book 3.

Launching the book is all about promotion. I don’t have a huge (far from it) budget so I started by just asking a few friends to read and review the book for Amazon. Wrong- and I know better, too. I will say that I made up a spotty Marketing Plan several months before the book was out. I’m not sure where it is now. Recently I made another, more complete plan. Other information I gathered to add to that plan is in several notebooks, online (in likely more than one folder), on my desk, in paper folders on a table in my office, in a book and in my mind. Not good.

Up until now my focus has been on throwing a kind of meet & greet the author night locally in an intimate, nice place that serves beer and wine and on continuing to give out copies of my book and ask for reviews in exchange. Did you know that even when someone says they will happily do a review – they don’t always ? It’s true. 75 requests, gets you 25 reviews.

This morning I finally googled: How to launch a book. Every site said you need to procure many, many, many reviews and the way to do that varies. That topic requires a whole separate post so I’ll just say I’m embarking on the methods given.

Book 2 is a couple of weeks from my receiving the first interior pages- Pass 1. Even though I had an editor review and proof, and two more academic individuals edit and proof with much success for the first book, I found a tiny typo after the book went to press. One tiny typo suggests there might be others. Of course I have seen them in other books, and it did not mar my enjoyment of the book, but still, I remembered it. So naturally, I’m doing my best to publish a professional book.

Finally the last book. I’ve had more trouble writing this one than either of the prequels. A main contributor to that, I think, is focus— lack of it. I’m all over the map with the first two, and my other work—teaching. For the first time it’s been difficult making myself write in the morning as routine. I desperately want to get back to that ritual minus the invasive thoughts of other obligations that I have. I also am completely unsure where Book 3 is going.

There are multiple websites to help me with what I need to do, but as a fellow writer told me about herself recently…what I absolutely really need to do— is take action. No more self-study, just make time to do it. Posting this entry next. That’s my action.

SERIES CONSIDERATIONS

PrairieDogs

Writing a series brought in a whole new set of questions as I began the second book and  they continue with the third. The first thought that came to mind for me was how to provide back story for readers who started with the second book and not bore to death those who read in consecutive order. What’s too little and what’s too much? I knew the second book had to stand alone by itself, but there had to be balance between the two with regard to the back story. Finding ways to accomplish this through the words of characters rather than telling the reader this information is a challenge that had to be observed. Having my critique group read it helped, as their questions for clarity, not always remembering info from the first book, made me re-write sections in the second book.

In the third book — writing now — I find that I’m including characters from the first book, that I didn’t use in the second. My feelings are that it will pull all three books together even more. Then again, I was very tempted to leave the same characters out of the third that I left out in the second, but this was not something that would work for my story line. In my story the antagonist changes. He’s still in book 2, but incapacitated, so a new antagonist joins a weaker one established at the end of the first book. In book 3, well – we’ll see how that develops.

Checking facts: I couldn’t remember everything I researched and used especially cities or names from the other dimension. At times I thought I’d mentioned something previously and hadn’t or did and guessed I didn’t. So checking back to be sure is must. In my case, using a different language for the Norraenders caused me to memorize a number of the words and I found myself using them more in the second book requiring me to add translations indirectly. I added a glossary to both the first and second books which helped to save time when I was stumped on spelling or meaning in the second book.

Timeframe: It’s difficult, I found, to manage the scale of time. How many days does it cover or is it hours? My books encompass a year. I had to make sure the seasons, holidays, weather worked as Skye moved between the dimensions. She had restraints to protect her health imposed on her as well. This meant watching the days and dates closely. Did the action Skye was experiencing match the time frame for the action with the other characters? This also actually added to my story as I was able to use holidays in the plot. But if instead of a trilogy, this became a longer series, I’d have to consider time even more. Maybe time would barely be alluded to. Because this series is a thriller, there is always a need to keep the pace going. Consequently each ending has to spur the reader on in a ticking clock mode to get into the next book. Time is a variable that one needs to keep a watch on. ;{)

Finally there is the promotional question of book covers once the trilogy is completed. One school of thought is to match them – have similar colors, slightly different design or even the same. I think this is the prevailing thought, however my covers are different from one another. About the only similarity is greenery. Maybe when packaged together I’ll opt for redoing the covers. I haven’t looked into branding yet. At some point I’ll likely need to consider a strategy for that, too.

I know there’s a lot more to consider and I’m learning as I go. I’m just getting started on promotion and advertising. As I continue with book 3 my focus on the above and more that I learn will be of paramount importance.

CREATING IDEAS

A question that someone asked me at my first book signing was, “Where do you get your ideas?” In other words, how do you write a whole book and fill it continuously with ideas?

That’s a great question because I’m sure every writer has different answers and not just one. Many of my ideas come from being awake early in the morning, but not having to get up right away, my mind throws out different ideas. Sometimes that happens in the middle of the night (which I don’t like much because it keeps me awake). A lot of times ideas come when I’m taking a shower—sometimes in a dream. I’m guessing my mind is less preoccupied with doing something else and there is a space, and being relaxed, the ideas flow.

Many writers will say ideas are character–driven. Meaning the character you create will think, speak and behave in certain ways consistent with how you imagine him or her. So you conceptualize what that person might say and it creates new pathways in your story. Then again, if you need to move away from predictability, you can imagine that character moving in a way contrary to their character. That gives you the leeway to really play with ideas.

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Researching is a constant source and place to get motivation for new ideas. Perhaps you’re looking for particular culture. A ritual or belief may spark a discovery that one of your characters can utilize for action in his own culture. For example, maybe you conjure up a trip that a character makes or include a new character from another country. One idea can lead to a combination of many others.

If you are sharing your story with someone else as you progress, ask them for an idea. You might not like it, or use it, but it could help you diverge to other new avenues or convince you that your own idea is better for what you’re trying to achieve.

Creativity is something we all have. And inner artist if you will. In fact – pick up a copy of The Artists Way and read it. You’ll be amazed at what’s locked up inside.

Here’s a link to some pretty outrageous ideas that might jar you, but might be just what you need for developing more creativity:

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-writing-exercises-that-will-make-you-more-creative/