Shawn Vs Chaos

My writing life is in chaos.

With To Kill the Goddess done (for now) my daily routine of picking up where I left off is a thing of the past. It was grueling, but at least I always knew what needed to be done next. Now it’s time to move on to new projects, some of which are in better shape than others.

Project #1 is, of course, TKTG, which is currently taking a well deserved nap while waiting for a couple readers to give me the thumbs up/down. After that I’ll tackle the daunting “find the perfect freelance editor task.” Gulp.

Project #2 is Witness It, my TKTG companion novella. I wrote two drafts of WI late last fall and when I picked it up to read it last week I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is. It needs some TLC, but another editing pass should get it ready to share with the Scribblerati.

Project #3 is Moon Sister, the sequel to TKTG. You would think that writing the second book would be easier than the first, which I’m sure it will be, but planning & plotting is another thing altogether. TKTG grew organically, in fits and starts over the course of several years and multiple drafts. I want to be done with Moon Sister inside of two years. That means I’ll need to do a lot of up front planning before putting words to page and I’m learning that process as I go.

So far I’ve bought a bazillion multicolored Post-Its, rearranged my room to free up a wall, and started slapping them up. This is either my best idea ever or a complete waste of time. Time will tell!

In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done – chip away one day at a time. And one Post-It.


In Which Shawn Merges Onto the Self Publishing Highway

My book is done! Woot!

But I’ve been here before and here too.

I’d like to say, this time I’m really done, but now I’m older and wiser (ha!) and I know there’s more work ahead. Have I taken this thing far as I can by myself? Yes, unless one of the few people who I’ve lined up to read this says, “Hey this part blows.” I’d fix that but otherwise, yep, I’m done.

So what’s next?

What I’m not doing: querying agents.

I want creative freedom, fair compensation for my efforts, and full control of my intellectual property rights. Agents work with traditional publishers and traditional publishers won’t give me any of those things.

What I will do: self publish

But not this kind of self publishing:

[David] has no interest in self-publishing and worries that the flood of substandard self-published books is creating a backlash. “You have to be dedicated to the craft of writing,” he said. “I don’t think doing straight e-books answers that. You don’t get better. There isn’t an editor, an agent or a line editor to go through the books with a very fine-tooth comb to massage it into something that is of high quality. Instead, you have people who think the first draft of whatever they put down is good stuff.”

That’s David Housewright in a recent Star Tribune article. I understand his point of view, it’s point of view that he shares with many, but I do not believe that self publishing and producing a quality product are mutually exclusive. Plenty of authors have already demonstrated that self published works can be of high quality and not only do I plan on doing the same, but I plan on doing it entirely though ebooks. Will I have a Print On Demand option somewhere down the line? Probably, but that’s getting ahead of myself.

First, I have to write the best book I can. That involves hiring a story editor and then making revisions. It also involves hiring a copy editor and making more revisions. Finally, there’s the book cover designer. No revisions there – whew!

So as you can see, there’s no part of what comes next that is going to be easy or expedient. Or cheap. I have a lot of hard work left.

I think this puts it best:

When I suggest that self-publishing a book is too easy, I mean it in the sense that descending a mountain by jumping off is too easy.

That’s Clark G. Vanderpool in a post titled CAUTION – Self-Publishing Is Too Easy, which I have pulled from Porter Anderson’s Writing on the Ether. Clark goes on to say:

It can be accomplished with minimal effort, little or no assistance, and very short-term planning, but too often the too easy can lead to disaster.

Unfortunately, some authors who consider self-publishing seem ready to take the swan dive rather than endure a controlled descent.

That is what David was talking about. More from Clark:

I began my analogy at the top of the mountain…Now, in the rarefied atmosphere of accomplishment, he or she (our author) searches for the fastest way to disseminate this newly written creation to the population below. A relatively small percentage of authors will be able to descend in the harness of a publisher’s parachute. The thing about parachutes is that they require a commitment preceded by a leap of faith and followed by a lack of control.

And with no publisher’s parachute?

And that is what I was talking about. As well as this:

For the rest of us who do not wish to remain on the summit like a solitary Oracle awaiting the sincere reader to scale the heights in search of our wise words, there is always self-publishing–an increasingly accessible option. But the ease of access carries with it the temptation to ignore the process. Those who succeed through self-publishing do so, more often than not, by careful steps and with the help of a guide who has been over the ground before.

If an author will invest as much effort in getting down the mountain as in reaching the summit, self-publishing can be a rewarding path.

So wish me luck, friends. I’m about to go where no Scribblerati agent has gone before. I’m going to jump off the mountain, but I’m going to do it the right way. The hard way.

I’ll keep you posted.

It’s done!

To Kill the Goddess is done, like as of an hour ago, and I’m so scattered I can’t even hardly think straight.

I’ve been “done” before, with previous drafts, but this is different. This time I’ve taken her as far as I can without the guidance of a professional editor.

More later. Until then I’ll leave you with the question dancing through my head: what’s next?


Two. That’s how many chapters I have left to edit. One of those is about half done and the other is super short. So my book diet is like a hair’s breadth from done. It’s weird. Exciting. Terrifying.

Don’t know what to think yet, so well go straight to the deets. 

Weight loss goal: 16,000 words

Words lost: 18,435

Progress towards goal: 115%

Status: at a loss for words

In the last week I completed Chapters 32-37.

Here’s how much I’ve saved:

  • Chapter 32: +76
  • Chapter 33: 550
  • Chapter 34: 228
  • Chapter 35: 89
  • Chapter 36: 80
  • Chapter 37: 59

Nearly done

10 weeks and I’m nearly done. The number of words saved is dropping, but I expected that. I’m also well into some of the most difficult/complex chapters. Each one is a roller coaster of action and drama, successes and failures, cats and dogs living – you get the picture.

I have four chapters ready to report, four more half done, and four more lying in wait. Or is it laying in wait? That’s why my next step is to hire an editor.

Here’s the deets:

Weight loss goal: 16,000 words

Words lost: 17,505

Progress towards goal: 109%

Status: sweeeeet

In the last week I completed Chapters 28-31.

Here’s how much I’ve saved:

  • Chapter 28: 179
  • Chapter 29: 362
  • Chapter 30: 495
  • Chapter 31: 261