Sunday, 9 August 2015

Strange thoughts and the taking of plunges

It's a strange state.  I have a lot going on, and yet none of it is really going on yet; it's all planning and sorting out, and wondering, and decision-making.  I feel a bit in limbo.

I was bound to feel in limbo in the circumstances.  I mustn't let it get to me, that would just be plain silly.

I've got two major writing projects nearing completion at the moment.  "If you're interested..." is (there's no way to sugar-coat this) pure smut.  It's actually gone quite well, though, and I've had some good feedback on it so far from dedicated smut-readers (i.e. smutty-fan-fic-readers).  But it is original fiction, not fan-fic.  It's too short to count as a novel; it currently stands at about 26,000 words with maybe another 5000 to go.  Snce erotica is no longer quite the shameful secret it once was, particularly in online publishing, I'm thinking of e-publishing this as a free-standing erotic novella.  I can draw the cover image myself (one of the protagonists is an artist, so a drawing is highly appropriate).  I'm seriously thinking this might be the one to take the plunge with.  Sooner or later I'm going to have to e-publish something.  At least I know erotic fiction has an existing readership.

Then I've also been working for over a year now on a long project, with the working title "The Healers".  More filth, I'm afraid, but in this case the sex scenes are part of a real narrative; a fantasy slightly-alternative-universe Western, set in 1880s Kansas and Missouri. 

I'd had the basic premise on my mental back burner for about fifteen years; but it didn't take off until I got a clearer picture of my male protagonist.  Once he had appeared in (out of?) my head, as well as the female lead, who had always been there, things finally got going.  It's written from the man's point of view, which isn't something I'd ever felt up to trying before.  I'm not sure how well he stands up as a male pov, but it's been a thoroughly enjoyable challenge writing him.

This is now a fairly mammoth piece of work, though; currently at some 130,000 words and not yet finished.  I think it's going to be easily 140,000 before I can wrap it up, and possibly more. 

There are a couple of scenes that got left out, earlier on, in an attempt to shorten the story when I realised how long it was getting.  And there's a subsidiary character who gets very short shrift, who I would have liked to develop more.  It could easily grow to 150,000 words if I let myself expand his elements of the story, and insert the scenes I've cut.

So I'm starting to think, maybe I should split this into two regular-sized novels on the 70 - 80,000 word scale.  And then, since this is also original fiction, maybe they can go the e-publishing route as well.

If I do that, the first one will be called "The Healer" and the second one possibly "The Southern boy".

I do need to do a few other things with regard to this publishing project.  I need to find out how to self-publish online, and sort out if there are any skills involved that I don't have (e.g. I'm hoping you don't need to do any HTML!).  I need to get those cover images done, I need to get them scanned, and I need to see if I can lay them out easily as cover designs myself (or find someone else to, someone who knows what they're doing but will accept only getting a small fee for the commission because I can't afford to pay much). 

Then, I need to revise and proof-read my manuscripts to within an inch of their lives. 

I also need to decide if I risk publishing under my own name, or find a pseudonym. 

And, of course, I  need to actually do it!  After all, there does come a point when all the preparing and polishing can slip into procrastination.  I'm not at that point yet, I know; both of the stories are unfinished, covers undrawn, technical know-how unlearnt.  But that doesn't mean the procrastination point doesn't exist.  I need to be alert to whether I've hit it yet.

At the moment I'm at an earlier procrastination point, where one looks at everything still to be done and gets nervous, and ends up not doing any of it.  This is really not a good idea (understatement) and is something I need to beat.  Example; I have just cleaned the bathroom this morning, not a favourite job by any means, instead of writing.  Bah!  I love writing; but it's a torment sometimes as well.  And I am a chicken sometimes.

On top of this, there's the September project.  Running away with Pausanias.  I need to decide whether to do that in this blog, or set up a new blog for it; if I choose the latter, I need to set that new one up and have it all ready to go.  I need to get a camera with which I can take decent close-up pictures that are in proper sharp focus.  I need to know if I'll be taking this laptop (Tinkerbell) or whether the larger and more comfortable, but heavier, Frankentop is coming back anytime soon. 

I need to decide where I am going, and plan my routes.  I need to sort out all the practicalities.  It's quite a big thing to be planning, after all; a whole month abroad. 

At the moment, it looks as though I could get a pretty good price on daytime flights from Heathrow to Athens with Aegean Airways if I book soon.  I've never flown with them, but all I ask of an airline is to get my and my luggage to my destination; I don't mind if it isn't in luxury!  So I need to pick my dates and commit to that, fairly soon. 

Once that's done, I will have passed the point of no return.  Which is another strange thought.  I've always been a fairly risk-averse person and now I'm planning to do something that excites me but is also risky.  I'm looking some of my fears in the face.  It's okay, I know I can do it; but it still feels strange.  I realise with sadness that I've spent much of my life not facing these particular fears because I've had a good solid excuse not to do so.  The excuse is gone, for now at least.  I can no longer say "I don't have the time" or "I've no money".  I need to walk my talk. 

So I have a lot of stuff to do, and several quite significant plunges to take. 

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