Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What Do You Mean I Have To Build A World!

I'm a pantser, which means I write by the seat of my pants. I don't plan out my stories. I have the basics in my head, and flesh it out as I go along. I always found plotting and planning to be restrictive when the character went one way and the plan went the other. 

This week I met with my friend Kayelle Allen, who is a wonderful Sci-Fi writer, for lunch. I wanted to pick her brain on a workshop she attended. I wanted to go, but it was my daughter's 12 birthday, and well, my baby girl comes first. 

We started talking about my current project. It's the first in a YA series with the main character being a medium. Her name is G. W. Sanders. Her being a medium is not public knowledge. She likes to keep it on the down low.  This originally started as a short story, but as this pantser knows, the story got away from me. It happens. We were discussing a plot issue I discovered and she tells me, "You need to create a world and know exactly how your ghosts interact in that world."

Crud. I've never built a world before. You would think the ghost world would be easy to create, but it's not as easy as you think. I'm having some problems on how my ghost world would work. Why are they here and not gone into the Hereafter? Do they have reason to stay? Are they being punished or have unfinished business. Were they scared to "go into the light," or going to Hell? How strong are they? How do they manifest and where do they get the energy? There are a lot of things to think about. 

That's just one thing. What about G. W.'s friends. How do they interact with her as a medium, or the town itself. Why is the town so full of paranormal, supernatural and magical energy? Is it on a ley line? Near running water? Have bad things happened that attract this sort of energy? Does the layout of the town give the ghosts more power? Did something happen to make the town a magnet for paranormal, supernatural, and magical happenings? How does this effect G. W.'s gift? Her studies? Her friends?

There is so much to think about. I think my brain hurts.

Maybe I should build my fictitious college town in Minecraft. I could get my son to help me.  I could build the college, the shops, the cool stores and restaurants like Cosmic Mysterioso and Batter Up. I could play out plot problems with Steve the ghasts, sheeps, cows and pigs. I know, I'm dramatic and over the top, but it might be rather fun. 

My daughter loves anime. She talks about it all the time. She's in the anime club at school, draws amazing pictures of characters in the shows she likes, as well as, original characters for stories she creates. She talks about the "canon" quite a bit. That is what I need to create. A canon. Where all the rules, character profiles, plans for the town, and the ghost reside. I've never done this before and the task is daunting. So the story is on the back burner until I get all this figured out. 

The task at hand is to finish getting The Girl in the Golden Cage, my latest finish, to my beta reader and edited, and to build the world of G.W. Sanders. Wish me luck and I will keep you posted. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Intentionality - Phase 2 My First Event

On March 1st I participated in my first book signing event. Book Exchange, a local book store in Marietta, hosted an Indie author and publishing event. I hesitated for a moment to sign up, but something pushed me to do it, so I called the bookstore, talked to the owner, hopped in my mini-van and paid for my table. I promoted the two books I have available right now, Fat Farm, and Mallow Mayhem.

I decided to do two give-a-ways, one for each book. I cross stitched two simple bookmarks, bought some candy, a Starbucks gift card and baskets. I put it all together. They looked so good. I had bookmarks with my logo made, I created a sign-up sheet for my mailing list. I was in a perpetual state of freak-out for three weeks. My poor husband.

The night of the event arrived and I was as prepared as I was going to be. I had a nice table. I set up my wares. My assistant, my beautiful daughter, was by my side and people began to arrive.

It was a good crowd, despite the thunderstorms that came through. My friends and family came to support me. I talked with people, and other authors. I got up and spoke about my books. I listened as the other authors spoke about theirs. It was a wonderful night. I didn't sell that many books, which was disappointing, but that was not the purpose of this event. The purpose was to get me out there. It was to sell my brand. To network. And it worked. I got a few more names for my list. Now I have 14! Woo Hoo! Every little bit helps, because these names can bring more names and more fans. I hope.

Here are some things I learned:

1. It can be hit or miss with the crowd. You might hit your demographic. You might not. Since Fat Farm is a dystopian tale, I wasn't sure the senior citizens in the crowd would buy it. And I think that made up most of the group.

2. You're selling you. I'm not a salesman. I never was and I never will be. That is why I had a hard time working with the limousine service. If they didn't want the service after the I gave them information, then I wasn't going push it. Writing is a solitary business. I'm an introvert, although I think there is an extrovert in there somewhere. It's hard to be out in front of people, hawking your wares and selling yourself as an author. Be personable and charming. It can be fun. The most die-hard introvert can light up when talking about their passion. I did.

3. Step back and punt I think Mallow Mayhem is a wonderful story. It's a fun read, but it's not selling like it should. I only sold one copy. That was disappointing. From what I learned from the crowd, was they thought it was a children's book. It's not. And it never will be. It seems that no matter how much I say to the contrary, that's what readers think, so I'm rethinking the Philippa Marlowmellow series. Am I going to stop writing it. No. I may do it as a free series on my website. I'm still pondering that one.

4. Keep writing. This is the most important. When I left that evening, all I wanted to do was come home and write. It jazzed me up to keep going. To keep telling stories. When you're not selling, or on the best seller list, it can be hard to keep it up. I would love to be on that list and one day I will be. I just have to keep going. Keep creating the stories.

So, after all this the question is: Would I do another event? The answer is Hell Yeah! The Girl In The Golden Cage is being sent to beta readers soon. And then to be edited. Then off to another event! Off to hawk my wares It will be fun!