Review news and more Watt
So, first off, exciting news on the game review front: I reviewed my highest profile game, yet! 2k Sports latest edition of WWE games, WWE 2K19! It was a pretty cool and you can expect an extended review here on the blog soon because, man, did I have a lot to say about that game. It was my longest review ever and that's after I cut out maybe 500 words.
So back onto the literary front. I'm still working out my thoughts with WattPad. I have a little bit of the prequel on there already, along with the first chapter of a completely unrelated story about a fairy. It's more of a children's story, something with a feel like The Secret Life of Arriette or Ferngully.Maybe more the former and less the latter, but yeah.
Point is, I'm not sure what to add to it. Obviously I toss out Val's Blog, Wolves and Wild Roses, and The Heir of Archmond, but beyond that, should I keep going? I'll be honest; it's a bit of a desperation move. It really could add some more eyes to my site, but I'm just not certain if it will look all that impressive to potential agents. In fact, I'm worried it might turn them off completely.
I guess for the time being I'll wait a bit. I'll see what my next agent response is like and go from there. In the mean time, perhaps I should do some more writing on... anything, I guess. I need to exercise those creative muscles or they'll atrophy while I'm waiting.
Watt or Not?
So I've been contemplating something for a few weeks now. Something I'm really torn on. See, I need more eyes on my work. I need people to see what I can do. I get my name out there a little with my game reviews, but I need my fiction out there. To that end, I started a Wattpad account way back when I first got serious about The Paladin.
Here's the thing... I'm sure there's great work on Wattpad, but everything I've seen has been... okay, I'll be frank, it's miserable. And yet the fans there are freakin' rabid. Most of it's some glorified fan fic about boy bands and what not, but I know there are real, serious authors on that platform. People who work hard and write well. There's just SO much content on the site that it's hard to filter through the flotsam to get to the treasures.
I started a little story on there about one of my characters from The Paladin, Reagan McCarthy. It was something like a prequel for the main novel, something that I could just write a little bit on every week, but I ended up abandoning it. I'm wondering if I should revisit the idea.
Not just the idea of the prequel, which I fully intend to complete with or without Wattpad, but with putting other work on there. I have a few short stories on my website now (you should really check them out!) and I'm wondering if tossing them out into the Wattpad sea would be a smart move. I'm not seeing any immediate cons to the plan. I can't be worried about people stealing it as I've already put it out here on the blog.
So... I guess I'm asking for anyone that reads this, what do you think? While I'm waiting on queries, should I put effort into Wattpad? Would you be interested in more short stories from me like what I've done? I'd really like to hear some opinions.
Thinking about Realism
Maybe it's not everyone's cup of tea, but something I pride myself on in my stories is realism in fantastic situations. But realism has meant a lot of different things over the decades. Way, WAY back in the day it meant stories like Wuthering Heights or any of the other Bronte-style stories. They were real. They weren't like the gallant adventures of Arthur or Odysseus. But they were a little too dry.
Certainly not knocking them, just following the trend for realism. What came next was this idea of realistic reactions regardless of the scenario. This is what I like. Unfortunately time moved on and somewhere around the '90s the term realism changed and now realism is usually preceded by "gritty." Everything is dark. There is no happy ending. Everyone has PTSD. There's a lot of unnecessary cursing. Everyone is dark and brooding. This isn't what I'm going for.
I've been trying to stress what I mean in my query letters by using the phrase "realism in fantastic situations." It's not about my characters being gritty or cussing (though some do their fair share), it's about balancing suspension of disbelief in the fantastical elements while making characters' reactions to those elements real. It's really just as simple as saying "what would I do if..."
I think this gets overlooked quite often in world building. Lots of people prefer to let their imaginations run wild, and while that's fine, they never follow through with the realistic consequences. If your world has magic, you need to know what effect that will have on daily life. What will that change about money? About jobs? Technology? Relationships?
Let's say your world has psychics. Those psychics better be rich. And is there a government restriction on them using this ability? If it's the future-seeing kind, casinos would have tons of ways to detect and deter them. I lived in Vegas, they don't let you use perfectly normal means to increase your odds, psychics would be screened and logged extensively. What if it's the mind reading kind? Government agencies would be on them in a hot minute. Even if they're satisfied with being a barista, no government would want a security risk like that going around unchecked.
What if people can fly? That would change everything about transportation. And security! Fences would give way to enclosures. Would people wear parachutes in case something happened to them in mid-flight? What would this do to public transport?
In case you're wondering about my world, I try to make sure that people's reactions to events are in keeping with the real world. Where would werewolves live? Running around in the woods isn't a sustainable life. How many people would know about the world of the magic and monsters? How would that be kept in check? How does a clandestine group manage monster hunting and payroll?
Just things to think about.
Paladin Playlist 57
Okay, so this one is a little weird. Usually I'm sharing a song that I've written to or at least something that gets me in the right mindset and inspires me to write. Today I'm just sharing a song that I can't stop listening to. No, I suppose that undersells it. It's a song that has been driving me to be productive, to get moving, and perhaps even to write. A little.
Bataille Decisive from the Neon Genesis Evangelion OST is... powerful. It's the song they play when they're preparing to fend off an Angel attack. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, consider watching the anime. I say consider because it is a very divisive anime. Some friends of mine were scarred by it.
But I digress. The point is this song gets me jazzed. I am so ready to do anything. When I need to get prepared in the morning, this song. When I was packing for the holiday last week, this song. When I need to put together my thoughts and notes for a review, this song. It's powerful. It's driving. It has an almost military feel to it. It gets me moving and ready to do whatever I need to do.
So, please enjoy Bataille Decisive from the Neon Genesis Evangelion soundtrack.
So... is it back to editing? I got that rejection letter and I was a little bummed, but I'm still pressing forward. I talked with some members of my writers' group and, yeah, it's probably the word count.
I knew going in (and you've seen a hundred posts from me on it) that my word count was high. A debut novel of any genre can't be too high. It's about publishers wanting to risk the cost of all those extra pages. I have virtually no fanbase, no built in readers for a publisher to exploit, so the cost of those extra pages just isn't worth their investment. Agents know that, so they won't waste their time.
Furthermore, and this is the part that stings the most, it stinks of amateur. It's not like I didn't edit this or run it through betas. But with such a high word count, they're going to assume I haven't done anything.
It stings because I've run this through betas, I've edited it over six times now, and it's still not going to be enough. I've done the things I know they're going to suggest I do. I just have no other choice. The word count is going to disqualify me right out the gate.
So it's time to start marking scenes. I need significant cuts to the manuscript before agents will take it serious. I'm going to finish off this round of queries because, hey, maybe someone will like it, but I'm not hopeful. I'm realistic.
Don't worry. The book will come out. I've started this journey and I will see it through. I won't rest until I see The Paladin on a book store shelf.
The First Rejection
Well... it finally happened. I got my first rejection. There were a few reasons, but the one that stood out the most was the ... -sigh- word count.
I knew this might be a problem. Furthermore, I'm afraid the word count might mark me as an amateur. Suggestions were given for things I've already done and I know it's the word count that's making this impression. But what am I going to do?
For right now, I'm going to wait. There's no need to panic after the first rejection. I'm going to wait it out, let all the rest of the agents get back to me (or just not reply within six weeks) and, hopefully, see if there's any consensus on why they didn't want to represent me. If I get more mentions of the word count, I'll need to cut it down.
This is hard, too, because my betas specifically said they didn't like the cut down version. They wanted the story to be as long as it needed to be. Unfortunately, I don't have a choice in the matter. I think over the next few weeks I'm going to look over the manuscript and start marking entire scenes that can be removed. I'm going to need to remove about 20,000 words to get it down to a reasonable size, so tough decisions are going to have to be made.
I won't remove the scenes just yet, but I need to start making an inventory. What needs to stay and what can be safely removed? I guess I'll need another round of betas. It's bummer. But I knew it was coming. That's just part of the process.
Be Excellent to Each Other.
NaNoWriMo and PitMad
NaNoWriMo is nearly over. How's your word count? I can't say much since I'm not participating this year, but my NaNoQueMo (?) is going well. Five agents queried with two more on the docket. Should have them done some time tonight. Then... the waiting. I suppose I'll have to move on to something else while I await the responses. Man... I just want this knot in my stomach to undo, but until I have responses, I'm boned.
So in the meantime, I guess I'm prepping for... PitMad. Yes. I didn't get enough of PitchWars and this querying isn't quite stressful enough. So now I'm working on fitting my entire pitch for The Paladin into a single Tweet. Yes, this is the world we live in.
If you're not familiar (and I wasn't until days ago) PitMad is related to PitchWars. In a similar fashion, for X amount of days, agents will be scouring tweets with the #PitMad hashtag. Your job, as the writer, is to pitch your story in 280 characters (less, I suppose, because you need room for the tag.) If an agent likes your pitch, they'll like it/heart it/whatever. This is your in. If they don't follow up, you can message them and point out they liked your pitch.
Will this lead to anything? I sure hope so. Things are already stressful, and now I need to condense my query letter down to a tweet. Why do I put myself through this kind of stuff? Because I want to be published. It's really that simple. The business has changed and there are all kinds of new hoops to jump through, but if it gets this wannabe author a deal, I guess it's time to do some jumping. I mean, it's not as if I don't do silly things to entertain people anyway...
Even More Queries
Man, just when I think the website troubles are over. Still, I’m pretty used to this keyboard. And I actually think it’s my poor internet this time, so I’m not going to complain. Much.
So I’ve sent off even more query letters. It’s strange researching a person, trying to figure out their likes and dislikes. I wonder if this is what online dating is like. Seriously, I check out profiles, stalk some twitter posts, and then send my message out there in the hopes of a response.
The really hard part is it takes about six weeks for most agents to get back to you. IF they get back to you. There’s no shortage of people trying to get agents, so these people don’t have a lot of spare time. I guess I understand. Once they’ve signed someone they have to dedicate a lot of time and effort to get that person published and getting a good deal for them. I suppose I wouldn’t want to be represented by an agent if I found out they barely did any work.
Still, it’s hard. Six weeks from today I might, maybe, possibly get a reply from some of the people I’ve queried. That won’t be until 2019! That just seems insane, but I get it. Gotta keep busy, though. Can’t sit around refreshing my inbox all day. New projects are on the horizon and a new adventure is just down the road.
I’m excited to share what I’ve got planned with you guys, but I need to get things moved along a little further. In the meantime... I don’t know... maybe I’ll watch Wreck It Ralph 2.
To everyone in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a lovely day and were able to spend it with family and/or loved ones. So what are you thankful for?
Well, I talked about the people in my life last year, so let me just go with some different things. I'm still very thankful for my wife and others, but let's try to focus on other things for variety. For one, I'm very thankful for the opportunities that have landed in my life. I have a book and a few short stories done. I have my work going in front of agents. Even if they don't pick me, I'm thankful for the opportunity. Matias from a few years ago never thought I'd actually make it this far.
Writing the novel isn't the only opportunity in my life. I'm grateful for the opportunity to use my writing in a public manor by writing for DLH.net and GeekNifty. I get to play video games all day and call that productive. I even got to review a AAA title most recently, something I'm absolutely thrilled about. And, of course, I get to keep the games. I've played so much this year and spent so little, it's insane. I'm very grateful for this chance.
I have a great gig going at my local university. I'm able to train new journalists, help them learn how to film, edit, and tell stories. They have been insanely kind to me and actively seek my help and advice. I'm grateful for the opportunity to teach, to help them grow their skills, and to get closer to their dreams.
I'm so proud of the guys I'm training for my pro wrestling group. I haven't been able to provide a lot of things for them, but they've soaked up the knowledge I've given them and shined in ways I didn't think they could. They've grown into amazing athletes and I can't wait to see what they can do in a real ring.
And I know I said I wouldn't mention stuff like my wife, but... she's awesome. She's supported me through all this crazy novel stuff. She's gotten on me when I tried to take on more work days, insisting that I focus on the novel. She's stuck with me through crazy ideas, traveling to places she didn't exactly love, and she's still beside me for the crazy adventure we have in front of us.
If I mention everything I'm thankful for, we'll be here all day, but just know that there's so much more. So many people to thank. So many opportunities to be grateful for. I hope wherever you are in your life, you have people and opportunities to be thankful for, too.
Oh! And if you're not in the US, happy Thursday!
I'm actually not the kind of person to celebrate a holiday specifically on the day it falls. I've worked Christmas for several of my jobs and it never bothered me to exchange gifts before or after the 25th. So the fact that I'm loading up to visit the in-laws for Thanksgiving is a little... odd.
Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against them, in fact I think a fair share of them read this blog so -- Hello! It's just the idea of doing something on the day-- for the day. I mean, I didn't even do Halloween this year, which was a bummer, and I'm certain that whatever we do for Christmas will be pretty lowkey. Likely shooting the breeze and eating Chinese.
That's all to say that I'm not sure what to post for Thanksgiving. I know everyone's out traveling, getting ready to see their loved ones. I mean, I vaguely recall what the holidays were like when I was young and I imbibe enough media to know what the "average" Thanksgiving should be like. But I so often feel like an outsider on days like this. I really don't engage with holidays in the way I once I did.
So... I guess my message is just the typical "be safe, be thankful" message that makes the rounds this time of year. Oh! Wait! I do have a message! It's very important and it's for all the writers out there! Ahem...
Back up your writing before you leave for the holiday!
Be Excellent to Each Other.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.