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Showing posts from July, 2013

Balancing Act

It's not easy balancing publishing me with author me.  Essentially, balancing what makes money with experimental stuff.  Starting a new series in a new genre is fun for the author me but it's always a risky decision.  You're stuck with the series until the end and if turns out to have low sales numbers, it's time wasted that could have been spent writing something that was more certain to make money.

But money isn't everything.  Even if the new series never sells, it's still valuable writing experience.  The more action scenes you write, the better you become at writing them.  Every word that is put on a page teaches you more about the craft of writing which, in turn, will actually make your books sell better.  Genre isn't everything.  It can attract your audience but it can't make them buy the rest of your work.  Your work has to sell your work.

To keep me from neglecting pen names and to keep my inner author and publisher happy, I finally broke down e…

Review of "Gnit-wit Gnipper and the Perilous Plague," short story by T.J. Lantz

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Summary: No matter how hard she tries life never seems to go quite right for Gnipper Tallhat, an eight-year-old Gnome determined to receive the recognition her intelligence deserves. This time, however, she's got it all figured out. Finally, her father will have to be proud of her accomplishments...provided he manages to live through them.

Thoughts: I felt like this story completely missed the mark given the target audience.  There is one point I would like to make clear before I go on: Lantz can write.  This story was polished and read smoothly.  My issues are with the content and plot.
"Gnit-wit Gnipper" is a child's story.  My guess is that Lantz was trying to go for more of a Grimm's fairy tale approach rather than Disney.  There's a dark humor to the story which is not necessarily a bad thing if done correctly.
I'm a teacher and I work with children ages three through teenager on a daily basis.  I'm not one for talking down to children but I also …

Flash Fiction Fumblings

Writing flash fiction is not easy.  So anyone who thinks they can just whip together a collection... think again.

I enjoy the writing process but in a different way from longer works.  When putting together a novelette, it's several sessions of just nonstop writing.  I set up the characters and the scenario and then it becomes a matter of putting as many words down as I can during my writing hours.

Flash fiction is not the same.  It requires more brooding.  More mulling.  Let's be honest: the resulting story may only be twenty words long.  So the words must be carefully chosen.  A flash fiction writing hour may involve a lot of staring out the window then turning to the computer and spend fifteen seconds writing down those twenty words it took me an hour to think about.

It's kind of creatively draining.  After putting together a flash collection I often find it a relief to switch to something longer.  Something more "brainless" (bad choice of words, but you get i…

Review of "True Equitation," short story by Caitlyn Santi

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Summary: Tuscany, Italy 1341.
Have you ever wondered who first turned dancing with horses into a dressage competition? Or maybe how the arena letters got their order? This short story is an enchanting ride through history to a time and place where most men considered themselves experts in all things, they were harsh riders and considered horses as merely tools of transportation. In this time when women working with horses was frowned upon by society, will one young woman teach the men a thing or two about about True Equitation?
Review: Without a doubt Santi has considerable knowledge in the equestrian area.  However, the historical value of this short story seems to stop there.  Not only is it completely implausible that a woman publicly display herself in such a fashion but even more unrealistic is the fact that the knights (men) would create a competition with such loose contestant rules.
I get that it's supposed to have a fantasy feel.  But there are dozens of writing devices the…

An Unexpected Lesson from Publishing Short Stories

I may not be making a million bucks from writing them but one nice thing about being a short story author is the freedom to publish constantly.  You're not trudging through an epic 150,000 word fantasy for years.  You can write a 25,000 word fantasy, publish and be done with it.  Still on a fantasy kick?  Right more.  Bored of fantasy?  Try a different genre.

This publishing flexibility suits me.  It also helps me to stave off writer's block.  When I publish too many stories of the same genre I start to feel like they're all turning out the same.  A formula rut as it were.

But what I didn't expect was that branching out in genre also taught me a lot about the business of publishing.  I started to see that certain genres really do sell better than others just because of subject material alone.  Certain genres simply have a bigger audience.  But with a bigger audience also comes more competition.

Seeing certain stories take off under a brand new pen name just because it …