Dithering on the Diving Board #amwriting

Confusion reigns...
An environment can also be too target-rich… (Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at http://FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I remember a time, every summer—heck, every trip to the swimming pool—I’d stand on the high diving board looking down. I knew that I’d jumped before, that it had been fun, and that I’d spent the rest of the afternoon swimming to the side of the pool, climbing out, then climb the ladder to the high board and jump again. But the first jump of the afternoon always required almost more courage than I could muster.

Publishing is like that.

I’m dithering about my characters’ names, about the very formal diction I’ve chosen for a story in nineteenth century London, about whether I need more suspense, more violence, what the frobozz am I supposed to use for a title….

It’s “first jump off the board” fear, that’s what it is. Strangely, I don’t remember this kind of anxiety when I gave recitals growing up, before the few amateur theater productions I’ve acted in, nor when speaking before large crowds. It may be that I didn’t care much about those audiences, but I desperately want a positive response to my writing. Or, it may be simply that having an externally imposed time constraint keeps me from winding myself up.

… That last sentence is the first argument I’ve heard that might actually convince me to consider traditional publishing.

But no more dithering. I’ve got the cover picked out. I’m going with my original names, with a slight spelling change so that there’s no possible confusion with other authors’ fictional characters. I’m making the violence just a touch more graphic so as to justify the title I’m choosing. I’ve got the catalog description sitting in my brain waiting to be written down. Episode Two is waiting to be written.

After all, there comes a time when you either have to jump, or climb down so someone else can jump. I’m not climbing down.


I’ve Reached “Have Written” #amwriting

I have actually finished something!
I have actually finished something! (Image courtesy of jscreationzs at http://FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

That’s right. I’ve got a publishable-quality novella, the first in (what I hope will be) a series. I looked through it, decided that I needed another pair of eyes on it, and sent it to Number Two Son for his opinion.

His opinion was that, aside from a typo or two, it was ready to go. So much so, that he asked for and received my permission to publish excerpts to his own fan base. Said fan base responded with “Ooh!” “Ah!” and “Who IS this masked author?!”

Dang. Considering that his fan base is a generation or two younger than I am—I seem to have done a decent job, here.

I’m actually crying for joy, and for fear. I’m 62 years old, folks, and I’ve wanted to be an author since I was 12. That’s fifty years of getting an engineering degree, working at nerdly jobs, and dying a little each year. I occasionally dipped a toe in the fiction pond, and ran terrified back to dear old safe technology. But here I am with a manuscript…

Er, give me a minute to get myself back under control…

There. Now comes the business part—and I will definitely not be using this blog as my book/story/marketing blog. The reason? I’ve watched other authors (“Other authors”! Is it cool to be able to write that, or what?) do exactly that—and been disappointed. I wanted to keep reading about their writerly struggles, but their blogs have morphed into the reader-pleasing tools that they must be in order for those writers to move on in their careers.

No, this blog will be where I whine and bitch and moan and exult about being a writer, and share writer-type tips and tools. My fiction readers, when I have them, quite properly will not give a flying flip about that . . . stuff. Think about your last trip in an Uber car or a taxi. Did you care how tough it is to be a driver, how insurance rates have gone up, how really mean the competition is, how rude the other drivers? Heck, no. You just wanted to get from point A to point B. If you wanted your driver to talk at all, you almost certainly did not want him to talk shop.

My fiction readers won’t give a darn about my struggles, either—they will want to know when my next story is out, and cool things about the current one. They’ll want a place to engage about what I’ve created, not about how.

So my job now is to build that. Dear old technology—safe and easy. I’ll get that job done, no problem. Then output my draft to Kindle, iBooks, Nook—the usual suspects. Again, just tech. (If you’re a writer who cringes at “just tech,” I’m really sorry—but seriously, tech is so much simpler than people. I think that’s why people-type people find tech tough—they expect it to be complicated, like people.) The hard part will be writing the book blurb and setting my categories. Not so easy, in fact fear-inducing since it involves people, but doable and I can always refine my choices. A cover design, perhaps… it’ll be the only real expense here.

And yes, I really am going to use a pseudonym. If this thing bombs totally, I can start over with another name. If you want to read my fiction and not just read my articles about writing and Scrivener, please use the blog contact form here after I’ve actually published, and I’ll send you a link.

On Being a “Wannabee” and Sour Grapes…

I just read the latest posts from David Hewson’s blog, “Writer Pro: The Emperor’s Clothes Are Missing”, followed closely by “Writing and the Application of Snake Oil.”

Yeah. While I liked his “Snake Oil” post, after looking at his review of Writer Pro, the “Snake Oil” post has a distinct aroma of sour grapes.

Not that I’m immune to the bad-tasting fruit syndrome–see my recent “Outdoor Ice Hockey” post. If the NHL had chosen to price its tickets so that I could attend, I would be singing the NHL’s praises and praying for a coldish, overcast but not rainy, day.

I am a “someone never having sold a book in their life or even worked in publishing” who is hoping to self-publish. I have no delusion that this is easy. I must put my work up against that of established authors such as Mr. Hewson. I must write a story that engages my readers. That alone is enough to deal with, as he says. Then, without the resources of his publishers, I must make sure that my work presents a polished, professional image. Finally, I must provide the distribution and marketing that his publishers provide for him.


You bet that I and others like myself are sitting ducks for snake oil salesmen. As a result of NaNoWrimo participation, I’ve recently gotten a few free copies of “How to Self-Publish” tomes, which have hit my Mac’s trash folder. A few of the iOS apps I’ve bought for my iPad have gone the same way, with my money following them. Scammers always know where to find carrion.

There is not now nor will there ever be any software that makes it the least bit difficult to write a bad novel.

And, Mr. Hewson? You’re right. Writing fiction does not require rocket science. I’m a rocket scientist, and I know that writing fiction does not require rocket science.

Writing fiction is harder. Trust me.

gaelle kermen

écrire en liberté


Digital Artist

Blissful Scribbles

Musings through the journey of writing my first novel

The Cat's Write

Milly Schmidt

A writer & her adolescent muse

writing, writers, & worlds (of my own making)

Bestselling Author

of Faith, Fantasy, and the Fantastical

Can Anybody Hear Me?

Uncovered Myself One Pound at a Time; Discovering Myself One Day at a Time

Kanundra's Blog

Writing and life. Life and writing.