Thursday, September 27, 2018

Fall Vacation

Today is my last day of work for a while. I'm going on vacation and won't be back for well over a week. I'm telling you, I need the break. I am so worn out right now.

Things are coming along well with my book. Hopefully, by the time I get back, my proofreader will be finished, and I can start making final corrections. It's time to move on to the next phase: marketing. I'll be sharing what I learn about that as I go along. Hopefully it will be helpful to any #aspiringwriters out there.

Anyway, it will be a while before I post again. When I do, updates for my project will start coming fairly quickly. There's only about 4 1/2 months between now and launch. Wish me luck! :)


Peace,

-Troy

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Solved a Problem!

I'm not just writing one book. I'm writing a series. That's a bit of a spoiler, but not much of one, I think. I'm under the impression in the fantasy and sci-fi genres, people expect sequels. As a result, I'm writing my first book with that in mind.

I've been struggling with a particular story thread, and it basically stopped me from writing anything new. I just could not reconcile it with my overall story goals. It involved a tree that granted wishes. The imagery of the scenes involving the tree are incredibly vivid in my mind. I want to show my readers the moss that grows on the park, the rotted cavity at the bottom where you place something precious to buy a wish, and how the branches look like hands reaching out to embrace or, perhaps, restrain.

But it just doesn't work. The whole story-line involving this thing is redundant and interferes with the main plot, so I can't include it in my upcoming works. I've decided to cut it. The seeds of this subplot were going to be sown in my upcoming novella, but now that has to go too.

Sometimes as a writer, you have to chop out parts of your book for the overall good of the story. That's painful. I really hate to do it, but now I realize it's the right choice. I'll save the idea. Maybe I'll be able to use it in the future. Doubt it, though. Some things just aren't meant to be.


Peace,

-Troy

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Another Illustration Is Coming

A couple weeks ago I showed off the roses of my book. I have another illustration coming soon. It's a location in my novella, an important one. I'm not sure I'll use it in my final draft, though. It's not turning out exactly the way I want, and even after the artist finishes the revisions I requested, it might not be right. I plan on showing it to my beta readers to see what they think. Anyway, I'll very likely reveal it once it's ready one way or the other. Stay tuned! :)

Oh, and here's a hint:


Peace,

-Troy

Monday, September 24, 2018

Arguing is not the Right Course

Good news! My proofreader is now about half done. I'm very thankful for that, but I did get into a bit of an argument with her about a relatively minor point this weekend when she asked for clarification. That was wrong.

When getting feedback from anyone, it's very important not to defend yourself. First, it makes you look weak. Second, it may inhibit them from giving you honest feedback in the future. And if it does inhibit them, you're going to lose out on something important: the truth. You need that pure and honest feedback. A "good job" and a pat on the back are worthless when you're trying to improve your writing.

IME, the best course of action, if you disagree with something a beta reader or editor says, is to acknowledge their feedback in a positive way and move on. Hopefully, you've been clear with anyone who works with you that you may or may not accept all of their suggestions. So, you're free to reject them later without debating whether or not their feedback is correct or useful. As a result they feel edified that you're actually listening to them, and you maintain the right to reject suggestions you don't like guilt free.

It's been tough swallowing my pride at times during this process. I've been so blessed to have some great beta readers who weren't afraid to tell me the truth and risk hurting my feelings. I've grown more accustomed to the brutality of beta reads and editing, but still, I slipped up this weekend. I'm going to try to not let it happen again.

Here's hoping!


Peace,

-Troy

Friday, September 21, 2018

Weekend Goals - 9-21-18

Alright, so this weekend I hope to delve deeper into research for launching a first book. I have about a dozen videos to watch and three articles to read. I also want to brainstorm more about my book's cover. Maybe I should try doing some of my own mockups and seeing what they look like. Finally, I need to get some sleep. I'm running pretty ragged right now, and I really need to recharge my batteries. Fall is almost here, and it's my favorite time of year. I want to be able to enjoy it and finish up everything on my novella.

Peace,

-Troy

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Playing Well With Others

Setting goals for yourself as a writer is really important. My goal was to have the final draft of my book done by the end of September. I won't make that goal, and the reasons for that are entirely out of my hands.

The further you get into your process of writing, producing, and publishing a book, the more people you're going to need to get the job done. You'll email back and forth with artists, layout specialists, editors, beta readers, customer support, printers, and so on. I have a lot of great stories to tell, but since I'm in the middle of working with these good folks, I haven't had the benefit of reflection on how our interactions have proceeded. So, sadly, the stories will have to wait.

But what I can tell you now is that when you are dealing with so many different people (I've worked with people on three different continents so far to get my book done), it's inevitable that disaster will strike. And I do mean disaster. Family illness, hurricanes, traffic accidents, financial corruption, are just a few of the challenges the people you collaborate with will face. I like to call them "unlikely inevitabilities." The odds of one of these things happening to any individual in the world populace is infinitesimally small. However, they absolutely will happen to you when you're trying to produce your book, especially if you're trying to do it right.

So what can you learn from my experiences? One, treat others with respect. I'm going to write about treating your book as a business down the road, but people are frail and fragile, and we're all in this together. I know they promised you a thing by a certain deadline, but when their life is shattered, you have to be understanding.

Two, build in lots of time for each stage of your project. You absolutely must have margin for error, because errors are going to happen. I don't anticipate my book being out for another 5 months, but even then, I feel like I'm cutting it close (and I'm on the final draft). Emails can take days to get answered. Drawings might need to be revised. Covers aren't perfect on the first mockup. You have to allow humans to be human, to make mistakes and to have a chance to correct them.

Three, build a support team around yourself with people you really trust. You're going to freak out. You're going to worry. You're going to doubt yourself and doubt the intentions of the people you work with. In those times, you need someone to help keep you grounded - to remind you of your goals and your values. I can't stress this enough.

If you're writing, I wish you the best of luck. I hope my experiences can help, even if it's just a little. Stick with it. I believe in you :)


Peace,

-Troy

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Brainstorming a Cover

One of the most excited and most intimidating aspects of this process I've dealt with so far is my book cover. I'm working with a fantastic company with a lot of experience at making some gorgeous covers. I'll talk more about them down the road, but at the moment, I'm very intimidated. Their skill is beyond my imagination, and right now I have no ideas at all for my cover.

Thankfully, they have provided me with a five page questionnaire that asks for all kinds of different details concerning my novella. It's very time consuming to write, but at the same time, it's clearly getting me ready for publishing. I'm new at this, so naturally there's a lot about producing and selling a book I don't know yet.

So while I'm very nervous about beginning work on the cover, I'm feeling more and more prepared to be a published author. I'll be sharing more details about cover ideas in the future...once I generate some. Anyway, here's a sample cover from the company doing my book:



Peace,

-Troy

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Proof is in the Proofreading

So right now, I'm waiting on my proofreader to finish. This is the last step before my manuscript will be finished. It's agonizing right now because I know real life events are taking time away from her to finish with my book. I'm sympathetic. I know how busy my life is, but I am SO ready to be done with my first work. I'm starting to get sick of looking at it.

So let that be a warning for all you #aspiringauthors out there. Even when you love your book (and I REALLY LOVE MY BOOK), you will get sick of working on it. It's normal, and all it means is you are reaching the end of the process. If anything, that should be reassuring. :)



Peace,

-Troy

Monday, September 17, 2018

A Troupe of Roses

So here are the main characters of my book together in all their glory. Now all I have to decide is how this will manifest itself in the pages of my novella. Should I present them one at a time throughout the story or all on one page at the most appropriate spot? Open to feedback! Follow me on Twitter and G+ (my preferred social media atm) and let me know what you think :)


Peace,

-Troy

Friday, September 14, 2018

Character #5 - Tristan

This week, I’m introducing the characters of my book. This is the POV character for my book. The bloom is strong and full, but see the stem? It was damaged when it was growing. There’s a notch where it healed and went in a different direction.


Peace,

-Troy

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Character #4 - Mersha

This week, I’m introducing the characters of my book. This is Mersha. This rose is by far the best the artist did for me. When I saw it, it took my breath away. The bloom is opening up wonderfully and the thorns are so realistic, it almost looks like you could prick your finger on them. This is the image that solidified in my mind that my book would come out, and I would be a published author one way or another. This rose made it real for me. I can't wait to tell you more about this character in the future.

Peace,

-Troy

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Character #3 - Phen

This week, I’m introducing the characters of my book! This one is Phen. See how the stem is strong and linear? Also please note how the thorns of this rose were carefully removed with a razorblade. Interesting, eh? Quite thoughtful and considerate. I also like how sophisticated the bloom is on this rose. The artist truly captured the complexities of this character.


Peace,

-Troy

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Character #2 - Mikhelena

This week, I’m introducing you to my characters of my book. This is Miki. Note her long, elegant stem. And see how her bloom is just now starting to open up? I think this is my favorite of the roses I’ll show you this week. I find this image very sophisticated and though provoking. The artist did a beautiful job based on my description. The curved stem draws your eyes along its length, kinda like a maze. It seems easy to get lost there, and difficult to truly discover all this rose's subtleties.
Peace,

-Troy

Monday, September 10, 2018

Character #1 - Scratch

So this week, I'm going to be introducing you to my characters. This is Scratch. See how the stem is short and the petals wilt at the top. Note how the leaves invite embrace but they’re empty. No one’s there. This rose is rather misunderstood but also so closed up that no one can draw near and form a bond.

Peace,

-Troy

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Preludes and Premonitions

Welcome to my site!

Here, we're going to take a journey together. I've got something cooking, and I'm going to be very excited to tell you more about it over the next few months. In the meantime, here's a hint: