2017-06-25

Restart

Sometimes, a writer must scrap large swaths of work to put the story back on the right track. I just had to do this for my current work in progress. I never outline. I've tried doing it but it's just not my gig. A few days ago, I realized that the way I got my characters into the situation they needed to be in was not really something that could happen. It was also quite boring and boring is not what a reader wants to read. So, I inserted a blank chapter and began to write.

The new storyline reads much better. I am now in the process of adjusting the remaining chapters to conform to the new series of events. I think I can reuse quite a bit of what I'd written earlier but I'm going to have to make some changes to keep things consistent. The good thing is that I caught it early and not much later.

This isn't the first time I've written myself into a corner. Even authors who outline get themselves stuck in unworkable situations from time to time. Stories often tend to take on a life of their own especially when the writer is totally immersed in the work being created. I would say that out of the 11 books I've published, I knew how four of them would end before I started writing them. One of the joys of writing my own stories is not that I control everything in my universe, it's the surprise I get as the story reveals itself as I write.

Course Adjustment (not firm on that title yet) currently stands at 15,834 words with 1,889 words in my holding bin. Those are the words I chopped out so I could reset the storyline.

My efforts to learn HTML 5 and CSS 3 have been paying off. I have a preliminary new author website up and running on my local PC. I have a book on the way that's filled with information on how to build a responsive website. This is a design that uses the power of HTML 5 and CSS 3 to allow a single website to look good on any device without having to write a bunch of complex code. I'm still learning and experimenting (which is how I learn a new programming language).

My current contract with Webs.com does not run out until May of 2018. Early next year, I will be opening an account with a new host and building a test site under their sub-domain. After making sure it displays properly on as many devices and browsers as I can find, I will transfer my domain name to the new host and build my new author site there. Why am I moving from Webs.com? Because I am stuck using their proprietary website builder instead of being able to build my own site by hand using HTML.

Another reason is that I have an Excel spreadsheet I use to verify the math in my science fiction stories. I hope to put that on my website for anyone to use. That will require either JavaScript or server-side Java to run and Webs.com does not support those goals.

If you're looking to build a simple website, Webs.com offers an inexpensive alternative. If it's small enough, the cost is free except for the cost of obtaining and holding onto your exclusive domain name. It was a good choice back when I was just starting but it's time I moved up to a different level.

2017-06-18

Launch Pad 2017

In my last post, I explained I would not be posting until I returned from Launch Pad. I arrived home late Saturday night on 6/10/17. I slept in late the next day and still had unpacking to do so I decided not to post last weekend. I had a great time at Launch Pad and met another group of fine writers. Funding this year was even tighter than last and next year looks like it's going to be even more of a challenge. Unfortunately, this will most likely be my last trip to Laramie.

Although sales have been okay, they are not great enough to justify the expense of making the trip to Launch Pad. There is also the looming possibility that I might be unemployed in the near future because of what is happening to the nuclear power plant I work at. If you've followed this blog or the news, you know that FirstEnergy (the company I work for) has decided to get out of the generation business and is selling all their power plants--including mine. Because we don't know if the plant will be sold or closed, I'm preparing for the worst--unemployment.

I might have a title for my next novel. It was suggested by one of the Launch Pad attendees while we were discussing our current projects. The possible title is Course Adjustment. So far, I have written 14,264 words in the new novel and I hope to have it finished by winter. That will allow for editing and cover art creation to take place over the cold weather with a release set for early next year. After that...well...I'm not sure. I do have a dragon book in mind but the Dragonverse series does not sell as well as I would have hoped. People these days seem to read more military science fiction. I guess it's just a sign of the times. Perhaps I will have more luck if I write a horrific book involving an alien species without any compassion towards humans.

I used to think that the people of this planet would eventually learn that cooperating together for the good of all makes more sense than fighting each other, spreading hate, or thinking only of oneself. It is obvious, however, that we have not managed to set aside our primitive, caveman mentality. There are a few individuals out there who actually try to work for the betterment of all humanity, but the vast majority of people are simply not evolved enough to even realize they are still behaving like the primitive people we were a few hundred thousand years ago.

It's a beautiful day outside and I intend to enjoy it by drinking a calming cup of green tea, listen to the birds sing, and get some writing done.