The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 46 Results
Book writing solved. Let your books write themselves. Take a day, write a book. Get ‘r done. Proof, publish, repeat.
Published Words Fiction:
– free – 0 (Own Site)
– paid – 25272 (D2D, Amazon), 0 (Medium)
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free –1674
– paid – 0 (Medium)
New Others: 0
Overall Total: 3572
Book sales this week:
Amazon – 1, Draft2Digital – 1, Gumroad – 2 = Total Week’s Fiction Sales – 4
Books (pre-)published this week:
- The Moon Cleaner
- Moon Shadow
- Moon Queen
Total fiction books published this year: 116
Total short stories published as individual ebooks: 94
Total anthologies published: 21 (plus two 200+ page books)
Countdown to 100 published short stories: 6 in 7 weeks
Planned new short stories: 3 left of 10 through end of Nov (NaNoWriMo), 4 left of 4 in Dec. (101 total short stories, plus around 7 more anthologies for 30 total – 131+ original books published in a single year.)
Just wrote fiction. Let everything else go. Wrapping up my writing for the year. NaNoWriMo took over – what a monster.
The Over-Prolific Fiction Writer Surfaces – Again
I simply piled ahead with writing. Meaning I didn’t work to get other stories published to Medium or my own site. And I didn’t bother with writing non-fiction analyses or observation.
What I accomplished was over 33K words written in a single week. That last one I am mid-proofing and it will show up next week, early. And two more this next week (in spite of Thanksgiving) and will complete that Hooman Saga series. (Spoiler: the villains still lose.)
The other trick was to let the stories take the reins. I was thinking in terms of stories all week, asking the character how they would solve these various plot problems. So darned many moving pieces – again, as I say in the book, a chess game where all the pieces can move at any time they feel like it.
And out of those twelve books I had covers for, I ditched three of them. Main thing was the pacing. It kept increasing. Sign of a good overall story arc. And while it all looked good “on paper”, when I got to those books, there just wasn’t enough material for them – or what I thought was a good idea turned out to be only a couple of chapters in the book just before them (or instead of them).
I also revised one of the earlier covers so I had a moon image visible in every cover. This hold them together as a series. The word “moon” otherwise shows up now in all the books except the first two. Again, to hold the series together.
Could I improve on these? Sure – but I’m not re-writing any of them. When I’m happy with them, and they are proofed, then I publish and move on. Trust your characters and your pen-names to write the best story possible.
Again, the method is writing short stories as a serial and in a series. So you are proofing as you go, and don’t have to go back to revise and proof a huge 300-page book. When you need a detail, you simply go back and find out what their hair color or did they ever have that discussion earlier – by opening up the earlier book. I keep a huge “as I go” document filled with the total works. Once I publish the last book, I’ll then go back to copy/paste the published books into that big document, which then becomes the anthology. I can edit these at that point with inserted comments, etc. But in a serial, they don’t need them. Because I’m writing the beginning of the next story in order to finish up the “teaser” in the last one.
One thing I’ve gone back to do was to add in a preview of the next in series – the marketing hook. That is the great part about publishing everything as pre-scheduled. So revising a book title, cover, and even author’s names (adding a co-author) is simple. The one I’m thinking of revising next is still ready to publish in January, so I can revise for marketing purposes simply.
The only real cost to these is that any title/author revision means your ISBN is a throwaway. You have to simply delete that book and publish a new one – but only for print books, apparently. (I’ve given up on ISBN’s for ebooks until I come back to the two aggregated distributors that require them – again, this coming year.)
The last book will have the complete series listed – all with links to my own site for purchase. Nice.
And points to just a single short story each week is better for marketing. NaNoWriMo is its own monster.
How I Write Books.
Let them write themselves. Let the book live through you. Hold “character conferences” where they can hash out the details. Be their devil’s advocate of “how does this story hold together?” And look for plot holes they miss. You’re the director and scriptwriter. But those characters are going to be doing a read-through of the script and making suggestions. You just hold their feet to the fire and insist they come up with the plot-twists and surprise endings, as well as inter-chapter hooks/cliffhangers.
After you get the bulk of it hashed out, then you start writing.
That means you will be dreaming these books, and using your other humdrum activities to get their input. All you have to do is to commit to bringing their story to life – your job is to “leave out the dull parts” and trim their story into real drama.
Again, read everything you can get your hands on about writing, but feel free to throw out the trite and overworked. Test everything you read. Then forget all you studied about craft and simply write. What you’ve tested and absorbed as workable will find its way through your fingers to a quality book.
If you aren’t enjoying yourself every step of the way, then throw it out and start over. The reason you write is enjoyment – the same reason your readers read. If you put your book down when you’re proofing, then your readers will, too. Fix it, revise it, or ditch it. Plenty more stories around where that came from.
Getting a Book Ready to Publish
Over this year, this sequence has really boiled down to a consistent approach now:
- Cover, Title, Marketing Blurb – in an empty book on Calibre
- Open up a Blank OpenOffice document, format imported from the last one. Save in to Calibre folder, and import that format into that Calibre book.
- Write until your done. Get a habit of asking if there is anything else that should be there if shy of 6K words (not vital, but a simple act that gives you a nice building block).
- Ensure you save into Calibre (Save As…)
- Generate an epub from that book. Close the OpenOffice file.
- Do a word count (take special Calibre plug-in for this).
- Download locally and proof on your smartphone (colored highlights as reminders.)
- Open the document from Calibre (takes care of renaming you might have done) and edit in the revisions needed.
- Set the book up in Draft2Digital, up to being able to download the digital files.
- Download locally and proof a second time.
- Edit/revise – re-upload to D2D and publish.
- Then publish to your own site via Gumroad, Lulu, and Amazon – follow with aggregators Publish Drive and StreetLib, optimally.
- Start your next book. For serials, put the cover and marketing blurb inside the last one as “next in series”.
When you have the 2 solo proofs done, then either turn it over to an external proofer, or let it go live its own life. Somewhere above 95% of all errors fixed (any that you find) will make you too bored to do a third proof and catch anything else.
I’m a trained graphic artist, did a grammar course three times through, and have been writing and publishing every week (starting with blogs) for over a dozen years. If you (still) need an external editor, proofer, cover designer – that’s your overhead. Means your marketing will have to be even better. Everyone’s mileage differs.
Last Week’s To-Do’s:
- Emails out. DONE
- 2-3 new short stories written and published. DONE – 4 written, 3 published.
- Kickstarter lesson reviewed and homework done. (Tues) DONE
This Week’s To-Do’s:
- Emails out.
- 3 last short stories in Hooman Saga
- (Vacation from PW’s Kickstarter training – their plan.)
- Enjoy Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. (New cow this week, a Dexter.)
Also published on Medium.