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Friday, January 21, 2011

The Future of (my) Writing-

When I got my Nook ebook reader there were a lot of free books offered. One was from the Spinward Fringe series by Randoph Lalonde. I read this book and hope to get on to read the rest of his series. His style of writing is interesting, and I enjoyed the story. Good pacing, lots of action, shallow characters which (at least some of them) display a potential for development over the series. In the case of action packed space opera, shallow characters are not an impediment.

Indeed, depth of character development can severely impact pacing, and some readers just want the story to move along. Indiana Jones is not a particularly deep character, and any depth is developed over the whole film series. The story is action, plus a lot of pretty good comic bits.

Back to Lalonde, and the future of books. Lalonde offers his books in electronic format, and keep in touch with readers through his blog, Facebook, and other developing media options. His works are evolving, and he recognizes that. He has reached a point where the series provides a living, and enough money to hire professionals to help polish what might previously been considered a finished work.

Yes, his whole series is getting a polish. Since it is electronic media, it is possible to update the original works after the fact, and for free. Essentially, you get version 1.0, plus updates. We have grown accustomed to evolving media. Computer programs get updated all of the time. They evolve. Books learning how to evolve is a natural development in a universe where plasticity is the norm.

I am not sure what model my own work will follow as I move from writing to publishing. I don't know that I have the chops for the 'big league,' where you pitch to an agent and if you land an agent they pitch to the publishers and maybe you get a nominal contract and maybe you get a good promotion package. I really don't have the patience to work so hard for potentially so little. Probably for nothing.

These days, however, we are seeing a writers minor league which is more than community college classes and writers clubs of various forms. Publishing is easy through a growing number of venues. Sure, you won't see any million dollar advances, but the likelihood of that remains small even for established big league writers.

If I can put my work out in an epublished minor league format and get some return for my efforts, I think that is great. If my work is really worthwhile I suspect it will eventually fetch me something more than a cup of coffee and a sandwich. I at least intend to try.

Book two of my series is approaching completion of the first draft. Then I go back, polish book one, and then polish book two, as I write the third installment. Additionally, I am compiling a lot of my short stories to publish along side these other works.

I am making progress. I am writing as if it were my career. I find it fulfilling unlike any other previous professional endeavor. My past jobs were jobs. This is more, and I am motivated.

Lalonde is doing pretty well. Minor league? Arguably so. Still, a minor league salary to play the game of your choice is not a bad thing.

I think I will go for it.


Jerry said...

Updating published e-books. That is a new wrinkle that I hadn't considered. I have to think about that one.

Good luck and keep pushing on your writing ventures. The main thing is that you enjoy it. And that doesn't make it so much of a job.

Dave and Megan Lockridge said...

Hey Michael! I think it's so neat that you found a fellow Lockridge family and I'm glad you enjoy my ramblings about our decidedly unremarkable lives. :) I've so enjoyed your comments and have definitely checked in on your blogs from time to time too. I found this one especially interesting and think the opportunities out there for new writers have never been greater. As an English major, occasional blog writer and fellow avid reader it's encouraging to see someone taking advantage of it! Good luck!

Randolph said...

Great to hear you're actively writing and looking to put your work in front of an audience. I'm not the first to say that you never truly know what kind of entertainment value your work has until a number of people you don't know has taken a look at it.

I'm glad you enjoyed my work, and hope you've learned from my journey so far. As for character development, well, I abandoned first person perspective because I found it confining and that I wasn't doing my best character development in that form. After six books of not using that style, I can happily say that I'm glad I did.

My point is, that every writer has different lessons to learn, and I hope you learn yours faster than I did.

Best of luck!

jbchicoine said...

Although you say that you "really don't have the patience to work so hard for potentially so little" by trying to get published in the Big Leagues, you sound like a very motivatied writer.

Personally, as someone who is exhausting herself by querying agents and all that, I wish I'd had a clearer vision of what I wanted right from the start. You seem to already have that. Good on you!

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Well, you have a small but dedicated audience for your work already.