Concerning Camp

Much like in earlier years, I’ve decided to take part in July 2014’s iteration of Camp NaNoWriMo. During this period of time, I’m taking it upon myself to completely rewrite a manuscript I began work on during April 2013, as well as compose a number of short stories to join the three I already have polished, hopefully all to be compiled into one neat, self-published volume.

The primary denomination of these stories’ genre could be adequately described as ‘weird fiction’— the same kind of tale you could expect when reading such authors as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, or Arthur Machen. There are a few which do fit fairly well into the more conventional side of sci-fi and fantasy, but that, much like genre denomination itself, is rather subjective.

As for the larger manuscript, my current intention is to transform it from what had been for nearly a year —a fairly conventional mystery story with some fantastic elements added in— into something quite different. It still bears the same vibe of mystery and the wait for revelations which was present in its first form, but the setting and premise have gone through a fairly radical transformation, ending up as something I feel will work far better than its previous self, which I had attempted to rewrite a few times, without success.

There is also the matter of the stories I intend to make available here for everyone to see— they’ll fit the same sort of character the other short stories possess, and more on that will be shared shortly.

My Return

After too many days for me to care to count, I’ve decided to get this blog up and running again. Those of you who show interest towards what other people are doing might be wondering why I’m doing what I’ve established in the previous sentence.

Well, the gist of it is, now that I’ll presumably have a long, uninterrupted period of free time after a particularly jarring series of uni final papers, I’ll have a chance to get back to work on writing. My immediate goals are to finish the manuscript for the novella/short story collection I’ve been working on for over a year, and to produce as many short stories as I can manage, some to be added to the collection, some to be published here for everyone to see.

I’ve also begun making a series of readings for some late 19th/early 20th century pieces of weird fiction (which you can listen to on my YouTube channel here), and mean to give a similar treatment to whatever stories I do end up publishing here.

Beyond that… not that it’s much writing related, but there is a remote possibility that I’ll be able to do some livestreams on the following week. That has yet to be confirmed, but if it does become viable, I’ll try to mention it here as well.

This is where I usually see people ask something related to what they just posted to encourage discussion, but honestly, I can’t say I’ve said anything discussion-worthy yet, so go ahead and post whatever or just carry on with your day.

The road to self-publishing. Vol. I: The Manuscript

For months now, starting with the iteration of Camp NaNoWriMo that April 2013 brought about, I’ve been working on a manuscript consisting of a series of stories and a novella. After the draft was finished, I proceeded to put off working on it for a long time until I finally decided to edit the thing, resulting in a manuscript which, although not yet completed, is well on its way to becoming what I hope will be an at least somewhat successful book published through Amazon’s self-publishing services, CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing.

As such, I believe that these final stages of the self-publishing process, which comparatively few of the many aspiring authors of this day come to see, should be chronicled in some way, hence my decision to use it as a topic for a handful of blog entries. Continue reading

Future progress

The second week of my current semester at university has begun, with enough time having passed to let me get somewhat settled into the swing of things.

As things stand presently, I expect that I’ll devote most of my time after classes to three activities in particular: Doing schoolwork, revising, and reading. Most of the time, if required reading is part of the schoolwork, it’ll be integrated into the general reading.

What I suppose my primary goal is during these months is to finish doing superficial revisions on my manuscript and hopefully have it polished enough to publish before at least late October, as I also want to start writing a new manuscript come this year’s NaNoWriMo. I expect that one to be much longer than the one I am presently working on, so who knows how long I’ll spend on revising it.

In a way, I suppose I could say that my projected activities cover at least the rest of the year. As somebody who is not constantly concerned by the certainty of their near future, I must say I find this somewhat surprising, though not really something that warrants commenting on further than a remark.

Present progress

Immediately prior to a return to university, the project I started writing during April 2013’s iteration of Camp NaNoWriMo stands as a manuscript that is approximately 60,000 words in length and is about halfway through the first pass of revision. Some of the work done of this manuscript was originally somewhat rushed due to semi-related time constraints, but as things stand there is no real deadline. At a reasonable, consistent pace, it should theoretically be possible to finish work on this first revision in a week or two. However, given that I am about to return to a work-oriented environment that is not strictly related to this project, time shall tell how this pace of labor (or a lack thereof) holds over.

Needless to say, I would like to do the best I can as quickly as I can, though it will only be in time that it will be made clear how this progresses.

Irrationality and empathetic appeal in fiction (and why it’s not reliable)

I can’t usually relate to other people. I can’t say I’m entirely clear on why, but if someone, be it in real life or in fiction, asks me to imagine how somebody else feels, there is an extremely low probability that I will actually be able to do so. If it has anything to do with relationships, it’s practically nil, and when creators decide to focus on scenes that feature stuff such as that, I’ll probably try to skip through it as fast as possible, since unless it is absolutely vital to the plot, I have absolutely no interest in it.

Something else that fails to appeal to me 99% of the time is “comedic” irrationality. I put comedic in quotes because I usually fail to see any real humour in non-sequitur writing, hyperbole, casual sarcasm, or similar dialogue devices. Most of the time, I perceive them as something extremely juvenile, attributed to a character to give them some sort of appeal that I cannot understand, which I see as nothing more than an attempt to develop them without actually making them significant.

However, if my experience on the internet has shown me anything, it’s that apparently there is a number of people that is both numerous and vocal to whom this sort of thing has a tremendous appeal. As puzzling as I find it, I cannot find another explanation for the success of such things as YouTube Let’s Players, Tumblr blogs, and Doctor Who episodes written by Steven Moffat.

Now, I’d be lying if I said I was entirely unappreciative of the impact of emotion in fiction. However, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, I think that in order for that to be effective, it should be handled with some degree of subtlety. If I’m watching a television show and suddenly there are eight straight minutes of unrealistic talking between characters that have repeatedly exhibited the aforementioned traits with over-dramatic music playing in the background, chances are I’ll be flailing my arms and yelling at the screen the entire time for them to get on with the plot, without feeling an ounce of emotion. And when I say that, I am also completely certain that just as there are millions who disagree, there are just as many people who share in my opinion.

So, how do I think stuff like that should be handled? I won’t expect anyone reading this to follow it, but I believe I should at least explain my own reasoning.

I am an extremely rational person. When I write, I believe fiction should make sense, or at least be intuitive, and I value the importance of ideas over that of events, which I value over that of characters. If I want to establish emotion pertaining to a character or groups of characters, I would much rather make a subtle implication and let the reader imagine what they will, without setting anything in stone, and definitely without interrupting the plot for one word longer than necessary.

Whatever your opinion is, I believe this post should at least help in clarifying my own stance on writing such as this. Now, if you are the sort of person who actually enjoys writing like that, I would very much like for you to explain why it is that you like it in the comments, since I have asked that to people before and only received one real explanation, which has been contradicted by another who shared their opinion. Thank you very much for reading, at any rate.

Post-camp laziness; the next course of action

For six of the days following the end of Camp NaNoWriMo’s  April 2013 iteration, I have done virtually no writing-related duties, partially due to slight burnout, partially due to illness. However, before the end of this week, I hope to have completed all missing sections of the draft, so as to devote the remainder of the month to editing. This task must be completed prior to the end of June, so I hope not to run into any snags.

Currently, my drafted project consists of 5 short stories and a novella in 7 parts. After the remaining drafts are completed, I estimate it shall add up to somewhere between 60k and 70k in length, to vary according to edits.

Regardless of what happens, I suspect I shall be satisfied as long as I can see whatever the final product is as a physical volume.