Sunday, June 13, 2010

Revising "Escape from the Wastelands," Self-Publishing, and a Character's Blog

I've spent the last couple of hours waffling between surfing the Internet (including an earlier update on this blog) and revising my novel Escape from the Wastelands.

At my Kennesaw writing group yesterday, in addition to pointing out some issues with the latest version of Chapter Five, one member said that my sentences tending to be long and have a lot of commas.  This slowed the reader down.  This is rather ironic, given how in both the Kennesaw writing group and especially in my Lawrenceville writing group, I regularly leave comments on manuscripts with such advice as "break up this sentence" or "this should be its own sentence," in order to make things punchier.

So I've been going over the first five chapters of Escape, practicing what I preach.  This issue is particularly bad in the earlier chapters, although it is less so in the later chapters where there's more violence and, consequently, shorter, punchier sentences.

I'll finish this process with Escape (and make the last revisions to Chapter Five) this afternoon.  I'll apply this to my other writings later on.

Also, when I was hanging out with my folks yesterday, my Dad gave me a Wall Street Journal article he'd saved about Print on Demand, self-publishing, eBooks, and other related topics.  I was already aware of this topic to some degree, since I used it as the basis for my blog post on the possible return of the pulp magazines.  However, this one had a lot of specific information on different entities like Apple and Amazon, who publish eBooks for their respective electronic platforms.  Amazon currently offers authors who publish with them 70% of the money, while Apple is going to do the same.

I'm currently working on a collection of short fiction with Daverana Enterprises, but if that project falls through, I might give Amazon or some similar service a try.  Between my own theories, the stuff my Dad gave me, and an e-mail from my friend Nick last week, this is starting to look interesting.

Here's the article:

Also, I came across this blog I'd read a long time ago and I still think is rather cool.

Basically, Darth Vader is telling his life story--and, more particularly, the events of the original trilogy--via the mechanism of a blog.  It's funny in places and quite interesting in places.  For example, the entry "The Tao of Sith" is a fascinating look at Sith philosophy.

I've got another unfinished novel entitled The Gates of Vasharia.  This project is a significantly more complex than the Wastelands novels and deals with issues I don't have a lot of experience with, like marriage, the trauma of civil war, etc.  That's one reason I've decided to put it aside and finish Escape first.

As a means of viral marketing for the Vasharia novels when I finish them, I wondered if I should have a blog from the perspective of Patrick Sain Rassam, the Dux Primoris of the armies of Mahonistan (one of Vasharia's two continents), known by his supporters as the Wolf King and by his enemies as the Dark Lord.

Patrick is not a villain like Vader, but an anti-hero.  He has virtues (bravery, loyalty, honor, intelligence, martial skill, vision, and a strong sense of fairness), but many character flaws (social clutziness, holding grudges, a quick temper, a guilt complex, insecurity, pettiness, a bit of an ends-justify-the-means mentality, and a propensity to, in TVTropes terms, to Pay Evil Unto Evil) that contribute to several acts that are, how shall I put delicately, extremely ethically dubious.  The fact he surrounds himself with the trappings of supervillainy as means of dealing with his insecurity and intimidating his enemies doesn't help.

A blog from his perspective could be used as a viral marketing strategy (much like how the creators of Cloverfield created web-sites for a soft drink that plays a role in the film), provide insights into Patrick's past and mindset that aren't revealed in the books (most of the first novel is told from the perspective of Patrick's comrade-turned-enemy Dux Cal Grenville, who is the real protagonist of the story), serve as another creative outlet, and possibly even serve as the basis for another book. 

After all, Stephanie Meyer has started writing another book, telling the tale of Twilight from the perspective of Edward, as well as a novella telling the tale of one of the later books from the perspective of another character (The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella).  Assuming I'm successful and can generate even an eighth of the fan-base she's got, they'd love this.  And although Cal is higher on the moral food chain than Patrick is, Patrick as I envision him has got enough bad-boy appeal that I expect the project would get a lot of attention.

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