The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 07 Results
Caught a flu bug which took me out for two days. Otherwise, I wrote every day. The trick to author success, as showed up, is in the publishing…
Written words – 4 out of 7 days – 10305
Fiction: 3063 – one day out of 7
Non-Fiction: 6026 – 3 days out of 7
Published words (free) – 8739
Published words (paid) – 0
Subscribers – Aweber: 0, Mailerlite: 0, MailChimp: 0, Rainmail (own site): 5 = 5
Instafreebie – 0
Book sales – 0 (again, nothing new published, so nothing to sell.
Not the week I had hoped. But we made some real breakthroughs.
Essentially, I got laid up by a 24-hour bug that lasted longer than that (nearly 48.)
The point is to see this as a lesson.
Now, we’ve seen that I can generate 7 days of writing as I want or need to. Practically, in some weeks I have produced more than my quota of 2K words a day in writing both fiction and non-fiction. (Overall, I still made that quota for a 5-day week, as you see.)
Technically, as I wrap up the research into the basics of fiction craft and the business of writing, this will then become another non-fiction book. With the breakthroughs this week, we are getting quite close.
I stumbled on fiction as I’ve over-written a story and need to get back into editing it down to size. Simple. One of DW Smith‘s axioms is that when you can’t write anymore, you’ve gone past where you should have stopped. (Now it’s time for editing.) What was fascinating is that this inspiration lead me into a format which will produce both serial and series work. Unlimited.
Procedurals, As Seen on TV
This is what the 10-year series have to show us. The stories each week are different and fit within the worlds, but the story arcs of the main and supporting characters continue to evolve.
This gives you a series of short stories that lend themselves in chronological order into a series. The trick is to write them with a teaser for the next episode, giving them a cliff-hanger of sorts. You use the hook of the following story. Just as seen on TV, and people are used to.
I have a very long story arc as an adventure-romance already. But I’ll need to go back and edit these into a final shape before publishing them.
This new inspiration is very open-ended, and will have weekly stories that can be written which are nearly disrelated, but will follow the character’s evolution as they continue to solve the problems of the world they are in.
This potentially gives me two lines of writing to utilize.
Meanwhile, Business Not As Usual
The two posts also contributed to solving this problem that the new series exposed.
I still think we are on the right path of how a beginning author would learn to produce good quality work. Proving that you can write daily, and are dedicated to the discipline.
But you don’t get paid unless you put and keep the stories on sale.
I’ve been writing for fiction months (since somewhere in October in order to wrestle the basics of all this out. When I run into a barrier, I research it and tell you all about it.
Heinlein’s Rules was a backburner project, and I was surprised at its power when I finally wrote it all up. Because it gave me in 5 simple rules, exactly what I was missing.
The core lesson is this: Writing is useless unless you finish it and put it up for sale.
Yes, it’s good to know you can write every day for seven days, every week of every year. Now, can you produce final work and publish it every week of that year? Both Bradbury and L’Amour set themselves to writing a short story per week (50 per year) when they buckled down to writing. And made their goals.
So you take a day to write it, then revise/edit/proof it, then publish it. Very simple. And take the entire process very exactly, like an assembly line – no steps omitted, in the exact sequence that works for you. With the four-proof method I’ve laid out, you’ll wind up with the book versions you need to publish. The trick is in getting it done rather than setting out to write another story.
Write, revise/edit/proof, publish. All in the same week.
The discipline is in getting your individual stories done in that time frame. Then work on getting two of them done a week. When you are routinely successful at that, work on getting three out, and so on.
And those days of writing will overlap. You may have a three-part or four-part story to write, which may take you the entire week to write/edit/publish. The first part is published that week, and the rest are published on a pre-schcdule. Yes, you drop back to “only” one book published that week, but you’ve effectively quit “feeding the beast” as you did. Because now you are well ahead in your overall schedule.
Prove that you can write on demand. Now, work to get your work out to the world where people can pay you for it.
Promotion, the Third “R”
Coming up is to get these books onto Wattpad, LibraryThing, Goodreads, and Medium to build and expand your audience. Because promoting your books enable them to be discovered. Otherwise, in this world of massive overproduction of new stories that never go out of print, you can get lost in the dust of the also-rans.
It will become more and more apparent that unless you build your own audience and get a list of avid fans, you’ll be forgotten for sure. Amazon is sinking under its own weight and greed. So is Facebook. Just be sure you aren’t under them when these dinosaurs drop. There are some years ahead for both of them, but the non-Amazon-centric authors will weather the coming disruptions with less pain.
Professional Studies, the Fourth “R”
That is what came up this week. I’ve written three posts this week with more technical details about craft. The first dealt with the 7 Stages of an Author – how and author starts as an avid reader and then can go as high as they want to climb in their craft. The second on Heinlein’s Rules had more to say about writing like all those TV shows you’ve watched all these years. Your readers will thank you as you adopt this. And the third was about the craft of “blockbusters.” While that article’s book review is about the dying standards of corporate publishers, you also see that the biggest hit movies do have these elements in them. So do the continuing series on TV.
The trick is to continually be studying your craft as you go to keep improving. And reading only what you like, dissecting your favorites. And maybe coming back to re-read them once a year or so to see what other lessons you can find.
Because the top end of writing has nothing to do with sales. Half-way up is when you start writing perennial-selling books, not just “blockbusters.” The world of writing and publishing is completely backwards, and per Sturgeon’s Law “90% full of crud.”
Become the most successful writer you can and then the income will follow. Ignore the “bestseller” rankings. Ignore “reviews.” Ignore “guru’s.” Find your audience, and give them what they want. Which will be exactly what you like to write most. Odd, but true. You will attract a quality of audience that appreciates your quality of writing. The more you improve your writing, the broader audience you will attract. The Harry Potter series is an example of this. Stephen King’s books are another. Ray Bradbury, Louis L’Amour, Jules Verne, Charles Dickens – all these got their quality up and their audiences grew by leaps and bounds.
Read what you love. Write what you love. Promote your stories to people who will love them most. And meanwhile, keep making every story better than the last while you keep studying other current and past Masters to learn their lessons.
But above all else, do this:
- Finish what you write.
- Revise/edit/Proof until you’re happy with it.
- Publish it.
- Keep it in front of people so they can find it and buy it.
That might mean “slowing down” to “only” a single short story per week that you actually get published. But your speed will improve as you go, your efficiency will increase.
And the heavens will open, the angels will sing, etc. etc.
Luck to us all.
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Also published on Medium.