As with everything writing-related, things tend to take longer than I think they will. It’s taken me about two weeks to get one story from drafted to what I consider reader ready. That said: the first of the Tattoo Magic stories is reader ready and off to my proofreader (Jared). I’ve also spent a good amount of time putting work into my Patreon page. It’s not live yet, but I want it to be ready for launch when I need it.
One down, three to go until launch!
This week, I did both macro and micro revisions to what I think will be the first story in the Tattoo Magic Patreon Project. It’s off to my beta reader (Jared, of course) for first impressions and comments. Once I get three or four of these finished I’ll be ready to launch the project.
Finishing this first story is a huge accomplishment. This story gave me no end of trouble. I eventually had to go back and research some really basic things, like the purpose of short stories, to figure out where it was going wrong. I owe a special thanks to my friend Julius for kicking me into gear for finally fixing the myriad of problems in the story. Right now, I’m quite happy with it.
I’m working on cleaning up short stories for my Patreon project. At this point I have one story that is pretty much good to go, and another story that I’m in the macroediting stage of. The one that is finished, I’m not sure where in the story arc I’m going to place it. Right now it’s the first story, but I’m not sure that it really fits in that location, though for continuity reasons it needs to go before some other stories. I think the second story might make a better first story, but that one needs some serious work.
I also launched a writer page on Facebook and did some Patreon research. So far, this getting up early to work on writing thing is really working for me.
Sometimes I feel like I’m doing this writing thing backwards. Right now, I’m reading through the short stories I’ve drafted and I’m creating outlines for them.
But don’t you outline first, you ask? For a novel, yes. It just has too many moving parts and if I purely try to discovery write, I will get lost in the weeds and bogged down. But with short stories, I usually just have the idea that I want to do, the character that I want to explore, and run with it. That’s why short stories are fun for me.
Maybe the reason I love short stories is that I’m an outliner by necessity for novels, but in my heart I’m a discovery writer. I tried outlining with short stories, but I discover so much about my characters as I’m writing them, which invariably changes the outline because their decisions have to make sense for them. And there’s a lot less room to get lost in a short story. A couple characters, a single or at most two desires… I can keep all the moving parts in mind at once.
But this means my first draft of short stories tend to meander. And so revision is mostly tightening them up, centering them on the desire and what they need to do to get there and what is or is not getting met. This is particularly true of the story I’m revising right now for my Patreon project. It’s a lovely atmospheric bit of writing… but it doesn’t do what short stories need to do. As I’m reading it and outlining it, I realize I’m going to have to entirely gut and redo the middle.
Such is the writer life.
At this point, I’m just working on revising short stories for the Patreon project. It’s neither fun nor exciting, I’m afraid, but very much a necessary part of the writer life.
I’ve finished four stories of the initial five that I want to have set up as my buffer for my Patreon project. Then I need to revise these stories until they shine, and do some research on Patreon in general, and I’ll be ready to launch. To reiterate, this is the short story project cataloguing the rise, misuse, and fall of a magic system in a secondary-world fantasy setting.
Cue (more) heavy breathing.
This entire thing is making me apprehensive, much more so than my usual querying apprehension. I think it’s because it’s such an unknown. I have to keep reminding myself that this is an experiment, and it’s okay if it doesn’t work out, even if I’m not entirely sure what ‘working out’ looks like.
Since I’ve made progress to the point where I feel like I should be setting a deadline to be done with editing and so on, my personal, non-binding goal to launch is April 1.
Thanks to a writer-friend inviting me to write once a week at a coffee shop, and another writer-friend having a February writing sprint, I’m now done with three short-story rough drafts for the Tattoo Magic Patreon project. Whee!
I’m currently embroiled in a writing sprint, which is exactly where I need to be in terms of getting stuff ready for my Tattoo Magic Universe project. I’m mostly working on rough-drafting the first few stories, so that I can revise those and get going on the project. I’m torn between being anxious that it won’t be successful and having no idea how to define to myself what successful will look like.
It’s just something I want to do to show myself that I can do it: my little adventure into self-pub. But I want to make money on it to validate to myself that my art has value. And then I want to give some of that money to other queer artists because we need all the support we can get right now.
So far, I’ve modified one entire story to fit into the universe. It always wanted to be in the universe, but it lacked that little extra kick of connection. I’ve moved two stories over (both of which were already set in this setting, but before I had a firm idea of what the setting really WAS), and I’m about 2/3 through drafting the first or second story.
I figure when I have the first four or five stories in the arc good to go, it will be time to actually seriously start that Patreon thing. That would give me four or five months of buffer, which should be good enough to keep the project going even if I don’t have everything drafted out in advance.
I’m also looking at revamping my website and turning it into more of an author website with a blog than a blog about writing. I might do that today or Sunday, or I might push it back until next week. Stay tuned!
It’s been a hard week to focus on writing, but I did make some progress worldbuilding and thinking on my (probably) Patreon short-story project. Namely, I’ve worked on the magic system, created a syllabary and some language/grammar rules that were necessary for naming conventions, and drawn a preliminary setting map.
I’m not yet decided on whether I’ll post finished but unrelated stories in the meanwhile. That’s kind of a tougher decision than I thought it would be.
This weekend will be busy with real-life stuff, but I intend to take the time to draw a more official setting map with my Wacom tablet. Then comes the fun part of creating borders and the notes that go along with them.
I’ve also decided on the project format. Instead of just doing an array of short stories in this setting, as I initially planned, I’d like the stories to themselves tell the story of the setting. Think World War Z. So I will have to invest some initial time into loosely plotting out the stories and how I’d like them to connect.
The result will be that the Patreon project will have a delayed launch, but I think in the end, it will be more satisfying this way.
As well as being utterly down and out from the flu while having to work my day job from home because Things Are Due And I’m The Only One Who Can Do Them, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about writing.
I have a lot of short stories in my stable, and a lot more that I want to write. But the time and energy I put into shopping them around to an ever-decreasing supply of professionally paying magazines is really not paying off. Even doing a simple numbers crunch, if I sold one of my stories at a market rate (rather than accepting the below-market rate that many ‘but you get exposure and you’re published!’ places offer), I’d be making less than a dollar an hour in most cases.
I honestly think I could do better self-publishing these stories on something like a Patreon. Because I love writing short stories, and I have so many other short story ideas floating around in my head, but the amount of energy I put into marketing them is not only not worth the payoff, but it detracts from the amount of energy I have to market my novels. Which, honestly, that energy is at a premium right now.
If I did that, would I only publish short stories on it, or would I move my blog over there as a ‘perk’ of supporting me in my writing? And what about my idea to pass a part of the proceeds on to other deserving artists? These are all things I’d have to think about before doing an official Patreon launch.
But the seed has been planted. And I think I might water it and see what it grows into.