Posts Tagged ‘writing’

My current writer problem.

My current Writer Problem. What did I do about it? I got to work on the story I dreamed about, of course!

I don’t often base whole stories on dreams. Once you wake, things that made sense in the dream just seem weird.

In this case, my dream offered an image that solved a plot problem. I needed a specific way my character would move her hands and shift posture while casting spells. That’s what I dreamed about.

Guess I’d better give my brain a kiss!

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My super fancy goal tracking system:
sticky notes!

My new year’s resolution this year was to improve my writing income over last year’s lack-luster performance. At right, you see the super fancy organizing system I’m using to track my priorities. That’s right, I have an array of sticky notes on the edge of the desk top. Assorted small creatures stand guard.

You can probably see that I have an annual goal, then monthly and weekly goals to support the annual. This month’s goal has been to reorganize my social media. I’m feeling good about it. When I’m critiquing work, I often tell young writers that they need to focus everything on one point (their theme, big idea, etc). Now I’m taking my own advice. By this time next week, anyone who visits my web site, Facebook author page, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram should see a unified “look.”

All these changes will necessarily extend to this very blog. You must already have noticed that the tone and focus have been different. But this is where I need your help. Yes, you! I have to decide what this blog should be about going forward, and I would love to hear your suggestions.

For seven years, I had a laser-like focus on dragons. I could switch over to another type of creature. Witches, perhaps, or Fairies? Would you rather hear about fantasy tropes and why they endure? Perhaps you prefer the general ramblings about my career and work in progress.

I need to know! Please take a moment to drop me a comment and share your ideas.

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Near the end of July, I finished the first draft of a fantasy novella, The Tower in the Mist. Just yesterday, I put the finishing touches on the second draft. It’s 75 pages (single spaced) and just under 32,000 words. What’s it about? As usual, I’ve come up with a rich tale that is difficult to categorize. On Twitter I called it a “Dystopian Swords & Sorcery with an Amazonian-type main character. Plus a lost civilization, giant badger and dragon that takes the form of poisoned mist.”

It’s Dystopian because the characters are living under the Evil Empire of the Wizard King, Dar-Gothull. Its Swords and Sorcery because half the POV is a group of hunter-guards who round up rebellious mages. Also, most mages are evil, which is a hallmark of Swords and Sorcery. The hunter-guards are all women, hence the Amazonian tag. The other POV is a rebel mage who seeks to overthrow Dar-Gothull by nonviolent means. Is there even a category for that?

One interesting thing to share is that I didn’t set out to write about a group of Amazonian women. My first pages had a woman mage being the one who aspired to change the world with kindness. She had been captured by a group of male warriors. It didn’t take me long to realize that a group of men trained by an Evil Empire would rape this woman viciously and often. This was something I just didn’t want to get into — and I’m always telling other writers that you don’t have to put anything in your story that you don’t want to do.

So I flipped their genders. A male mage, Keilos, was captured by female hunter-guards. Immediately the characters sprang to life. Zathi, the tough woman who had fought many battles, both physical and political, to pick her own troop. Keilos, the mage who clung to his ideals in a situation that forced him to compromise every principle. Will they all end up as grist in the mill of the Evil Empire? Hopefully, a lot of people other than myself will want to read about this.

Other things that happened over the summer: directing programs for SpoCon and a web site revamp. I’ve previously mentioned SpoCon as the insane juggling act of speakers and topics, rooms and schedules. I’m happy to say that everything went very well. A few speakers cancelled due to illness, but I was able to get replacements. A wonderful time was had by all. We may not have had enough people attending to break even, though. It depends if the hotel decides to be jerks about their contract.

During SpoCon, my husband got a good picture of me wearing a Wonder Woman tiara, which was my costume for Saturday. I’ve been using that to update my portraits all over the Web. I also re-did my web site, something I do every two to three years. You can check it out here: www.debyfredericks.com.

With all this going on, the end of summer comes as something of a surprise. I’m a school staffer, so I’ll be going back to work next week. Currently my schedule is split between two buildings, 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon. I’ve been interviewing in hopes of getting a full day somewhere, but right now my day is still split. It’s kind of a pain.

How about the rest of you — written anything good lately?

Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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I’m so excited to tell you that my latest book is out. Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore collects my favorite posts from the first six years of this very blog. It came in just over 500 pages in trade paperback — the size of a real novel!

Just like a novel, it’s packed with great stories, amazing characters, battles, drama, laughter, and many, many dragons. Unless you’ve been following me the entire time since 2012, I know you’ll find something new and surprising.

The book is available in all e-book formats for $4.99 and trade paperback for $17.99 U. S. dollars. Some formats take longer in processing than others, but by the time you read this, it should all be set up.

Please check out the book’s hub on Draft 2 Digital, where you can purchase from your favorite e-bookstore. That is, any except Amazon, which wants to be special and have its own book hub. By the time you see this post, it will all be set up.

You can also visit my author page at Draft 2 Digital. This shows all my e-books. You know, just in case you missed one. Amazon, again wanting to be special, has its own author page.

Now, my one request. Reviews are more precious than any dragon’s gold. If you buy the book and like it, please do leave a review. And tell all your friends!

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Just a quick note today, to keep you up on my current projects.

I hoped to get another short story collection together this spring. This one would feature my short work that’s more oriented to adults. However, when I sat down to organize it, I found I don’t have enough material. So that goes on hold while I pester myself to write more short stories.

On the other hand, the collection of material from this blog is coming along. I pulled down what I thought was the best material — general dragon lore, folk tales and myths, plus my silly poems and the ponderings about what dragons mean to people. I’ve tried to leave out anything that’s strictly publicity for my books and material that relies too much on links to other articles or using photos I don’t have rights to.

Even with that, it’s a lot of material to sift through. Currently I’m going over six years, from 2012 to 2017. But it’s so much, I may cut it back to an even 5 years. We’ll see.

I’ve also struggled a bit with format. My first try has been to sort the material into chapters, with all the folk tales together and so on. But I’ve found in several cases that this requires breaking up a particular thread into different chapters. Dragon’s Teeth, for instance, begins with mythology but then goes into some real-world objects that were named after the mythology. This feels to me like I’ve lost momentum.

For that reason, I will most likely publish the material in the order it appeared, and then figure out a way to include bookmarks or possibly hashtags to help people find categories such as folklore or mythology. Suggestions would be welcome.

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This coming weekend, I’ll be at RadCon Science Fiction Convention in Pasco, WA. This con is an old favorite of ours that we regularly attend, and I’m really looking forward to going again. Here’s my schedule of panels and talks during the weekend.

Friday, 3:15 pm — (Re)Tired Genres? Noire, vampires, zombies… What are some of the tired genres? Ones you think should be retired, and why they haven’t been.

Saturday, 11:00 am — Book Table. I’ll be in the dealer’s room, persuading anyone who comes near to buy one of my books.

Saturday, 3:15 pm — Reading. I’ll be reading from my books and greeting fans.

Saturday, 4:30 pm — Writers Answer Questions. Writers answer the questions you always wanted to ask.

Sunday, 10:15 — Reading Education for Writers. This is the panel I’m working hardest to prepare. Using my experience as an educator and children’s writer, I’ll discuss how Common Core has changed reading education and what opportunities this creates for writers.

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Don’t Let the Door Hit You, 2017

Last year was turbulent for many of us. The political climate in the U.S…. Need I say more? And the daily trials like large, unexpected bills. Plus I was intensely involved with SpoCon, my local science fiction convention. That appropriated a lot of my creative energy this year.

I’ve felt very much off my pace in 2017. My goal was to write 4 short stories and 15 chapters (60,000 words) of a new novel. I managed to write 2 short stories, neither of which have sold yet, and the novel I started last January stalled. I’m up to 10,000 words on a different novel now.

I’ve also been waiting for my publisher to set a release date on my next novel, Trials of the Eighth Order. I hasn’t come. That leaves me with no new, traditional publications in 2017. Of course, I did self-publish my two novellas, so I’m not completely skunked.

Coming Up in 2018

My next project will be a short story collection of my work for adult audiences. Tentatively known as Aunt Anne’s Archive, it should appear sometime in the spring. Aunt Anne’s Archive will contrast with Aunt Ursula’s Atlas which represents my children’s work as Lucy D. Ford.

There is also a good possibility I’ll go through my five+ years of blogging here on Wyrmflight to select the most interesting and popular posts for a collection. Dragon legends and Real-Life Dragons are probably the best categories for this project. I’d love to get feedback on which topics you readers might want to see.

Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

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