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Monday, 21 November 2011

WHAT IS THE NATURE OF MY WORK?

Posted by RLL for REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE. © RLL, 2011.

Storytelling, plain and simple. Except when I’m writing advanced and complex plots. Those consist of plain and simple plots flying in close formation, giving the illusion of complexity. The nature of my work is writing. Notes, written by hand. Large chunks of text, generated by typing.
   The nature of my work involves reading. Swilling around between reading and writing is the skill of cross-referencing. After the horse of a story has raced from the starting line, I whip it into shape and edit the damned thing all the way to the finish.
   No horses were hurt in the preceding paragraph, though some animal-lovers may have had their sensibilities bruised. This is a pre-publication blog. I decided to write on several topics, blogging away merrily, before I self-published my book on Amazon Kindle. The first book I’m putting out is called Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords.
   This is the third blog in the series, and I’ve mentioned Neon Gods in every blog so far. In each blog, I’ve had the temerity, the audacity, to spout opinions. I’m sure some of you find that shocking. Not even published by the company, yet daring to have opinions on writing. Well, kiddies, ’twas ever thus.
   I’m not here to give advice – I have nothing to teach, and a great deal of fun to be had with so much to learn. If you love to rush headlong into things with nary a pause for thought, love it to bits and run on. I’ll catch up, or take a different path. Send me a postcard from Valhalla or wherever you stop, if stop you do. I’m pausing, taking a deep breath, then reaching for the handle. FINISHED WITH ENGINES. For reach, I must.
   (Because I’m on a timer. I was the one who set the alarm. The pin on this grenade is missing. That can only mean one thing. Countdown to publication. While these blogs go out weekly, and while I’m writing and editing other things, I’m having some tax matters tidied away.)
   Why blog about an unpublished book? To generate advanced publicity. This is always preferable to degenerate publicity. What’s that? Oh, I think I can provide an example. Just to show you how not to do things.
   Several people prompted my blogging career. One person who strongly hinted that I should blog was the Canadian author Karen Woodward. That is a blatant plug. Go to Amazon Kindle and type her name. I started to write to her about the poisonous nature of some of what I was looking at on the web. Truly desperate attempts to generate publicity. Beneath and behind the call of duty.
   This blog also constitutes a truly desperate attempt to generate publicity, but it doesn’t feel poisonous. I stopped writing to Karen about it, and decided to drop my comments into the blog instead. This is the sort of thing that troubled me, though not to the extent that I lost sleep…

I was wondering how much of the web we should invade, as writers. Some of those forums feel a bit poisonous. There’s a smack of desperation. A writer chips in with a comment, and some other poor sod acts like a spam-bot. To some, it’s akin to a gag-reflex. No way around it.

FICTIONAL KAREN: As a Canadian writer, I sometimes feel intimidated by the vast body of top-notch fiction written by many deceased Canadian authors. Oh, and a few still living. Any thoughts out there?

WRITER IN SPAM-BOT MODE: That’s an excellent question, Karen. One I feel is answered in the first of my Vampire Whoremaster novels, Slutolika, available now on Amazon Kindle.

SAME WRITER POSTING FROM A FRIEND’S ACCOUNT: Wow! I’ve just read Slutolika, and couldn’t help but notice the Canadian themes. Gave it five stars on Amazon. Will you be exploring Karen’s Canadian themes in the sequel, Verminators of Slutolika

WRITER IN SPAM-BOT MODE: I hope to explore more of what Karen posted, but first I have to check sales figures on Franken-Karnage, my latest shot at historical romance set in the mystical world of Plugging.

FICTIONAL KAREN: I’m speechless.

WRITER IN SPAM-BOT MODE: As is the Verminator General, in book three of…

READER: I really must check out this review on Amazon…

Slutolika.
1 of 0 people found this review helpful:
Five Stars. Put the SLUT in SLUTOLIKA, 30th Feb 1902.
By AUTHOR POSING AS AUTHOR’S FRIEND, PRETENDING TO BE GENUINE CUSTOMER. (Bide-a-Wee Rest Home, Englandland.) – See all of my reviews of my own work.
Bottom fifty reviewer.

What a triumph! This book cured the lamb, raised the blind, healed the dull, parted the Dead Sea Scrolls, and changed my life for all time up until the point at which I dropped dead. Why the author of Franken-Karnage isn’t in charge of the world, I don’t know. But I’d get my vote. He’d get my vote.
   Is your life empty? Buy this book. Then buy multiple Kindle readers so that you can buy this book again and again. Slutolika is the best female character ever to traipse her way across an electronic book-reading device. She’s more than a force of nature. Last night, reading chapter three, I was shocked to see her step from the Kindle into my bathroom, where…(Edited by Amazon on grounds of taste, decency, purple prose, length, and sheer insanity.) And the goldfish was so inspired that he’s writing his own novel too.

This review is from: Slutolika. (Kindle e-desperate edition.)

I think I’ve taken that as far as I care to. It’s difficult to type while I’m laughing this hard. From my end, it’s all in Scottish dialect. So the books would be part of the Vampirrre Hoormaister series. Just that bit funnier, to me.
   Is this blog poisonous? I hope not. Several times, I found myself directed to Amazon titles on the subject of e-publishing. The reviews for those books seemed crammed with plugs for titles by the reviewers themselves. That, to me, was unseemly. Fair play to the people who advertise in that way. If it works for them, it works. Good luck with it. Wouldn’t be me.
   Lesson I picked up. If you feel uncomfortable about advertising your work in a certain way, find another way. Initially, I thought blogging would be uncomfortable. It has proved painless, I am happy to report. Okay, back to the main theme.
   What is the nature of my work? Well, self-publishing electronically…the nature of the work now includes publicity. Reading, writing, editing, publicity, cross-referencing, legal matters, cover design, boiling the kettle for a coffee, and, vitally, retaining a sense of humour.
   Though the proof of the pudding is in the eating, sometimes the proof of the pudding can be determined by catching a whiff of the dish from the kitchen. This pre-publication blog acts as a whiff from the kitchen. You are sensing my style. Especially by checking out the sample chapter of Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords.
   What does all this businesslike activity make me? Penny scribbler, writer, editor, cover photographer and graphic designer, publicist, publisher, kettle activator, legal beagle. (That last one flies considerably lower than the legal eagle.) Author. Yes, author.
   There’s a terrible stigma attached to the word author, and I’d like to address that in this blog. Too often, I’ve heard it bandied about as though an insult. It’s the self-loathing sort of insult used by writers who depict authors as sneering villains at parties in telly shows, strangely enough.
   The writers of those telly shows must loathe themselves, or other writers they’ve crossed words (if not swords) with over the years. That’s fiction. Thinly-disguised fact, sometimes. The party-loving author is invariably murdered, propelling some dastardly plot. This is done to make the act of typing seem glamorous, dangerous, and unbearably exciting.
   On a side-note, I understand that it is beyond difficult to depict authors in visual fiction. A writer in a movie may spend a scene at a typewriter. Two hours spent typing is nothing to me, but two hours spent watching an actor typing would be enough to make me hunt the director down and kill his babies.
   As Neon Gods nods in the direction of Robert E. Howard, try a movie called The Whole Wide World. I’m with Mrs Soprano in that I’m not really a big Zellweger fan. Zellweger acts her socks off in this movie, though, playing the writer Novalyne Price…Howard’s on-off girl.
   I claim the word author as a badge of honour, relating to the business of being a writer. As an author, I have the AUTHORity to AUTHORise financial exploitation of my © material. Just me. No one else. I’m the one who agrees to the deal. So I’m the one with the authority. The author.
   What does that mean? I sign on the line, or click the clickable thingy online. After reading the terms and thinking those terms over, I make the decision. Yay or nay. (Translated from the Scottish. Aye or naw.) Amazon’s terms will do me. They might not do you. Hell, they might do me today but not tomorrow…as the industry changes technologically, come sunrise. Consider everything. Reconsider everything periodically. The only view that’s set in stone is the view that no view is set in stone.
   I’m still a writer, as I write notes. Am I a typist? Of course. And an author? I have the authority to authorise. Any bad deals I enter are bad deals of my own making. Hard lines. The same is true of any good deals I enter into – they are of my own making. Accept responsibility. Claim the authority.
   Now I’m fixated on that dial, with the handle. FULL SPEED AHEAD. That’s a good setting. I heartily recommend it, as it quickly leads to FINISHED WITH ENGINES. There are other ways of dealing with things…
   MAN THE LIFEBOATS – that one’s not printed on the dial. If you hear seven blasts on the whistle, it’s time to abandon a project that’s rapidly gurgling beneath you. It’s not just rats who have the smarts to jump a sinking ship. Not all books are meant to be written. Live and learn from disasters at sea.
   This lowly vessel, a blog carved into a canoe, isn’t on an epic voyage. I’ll leave it here, with my readers cursing me for talking about the nature of my work and not my work. The nature of my work has many facets to it.
   That’s what I’ve been trying to say to you. All these facets are facets of business. What does all this businesslike activity make me? Money, I hope. Nature of the work. My actual work, though, is typing. I tried to write to you about typing.
   As I wouldn’t force a movie about typing on you, I had to veer off into the nature of my work. Which is not the same thing as the work itself. I can advance the plot in my head by reading a handy bit of information. And that’s the nature of my work. Reading handy information doesn’t directly advance the word-count. Typing does.
   I’m thinking about wool. If you ravel wool, are you doing anything different from unravelling wool? Yes/no/maybe. The first word, ravel, has that history of meaning to entangle and to disentangle. You’ll have to look at the words surrounding it to determine what the user is trying to say.
   What am I saying? This is text, kiddies. I’m not saying anything at all. That’s a lie, of course. I’m one of those demented writers. Oh yes. I read my work aloud. Even the silly voices? Hell, especially the silly voices. Now off with you. Go and ravel, or unravel, mysteries elsewhere. I have work to do. And by that, I mean unglamorous, non-dangerous, and bearably unexciting typing.

NEXT BLOG: REJECTION IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD.

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