Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Challenge Story #1: "The Peacock's Tower"

"The Peacock's Tower" is the first story in my incredibly well-named Short Stories Challenge Practical (SSCP #1, if you like.) I'll make a graphic for the challenge when I get back from vacation.
Bonus: Amazing Cover Art! WOW!

You can pick it up via:
Smashwords Free!
...until I put SSCP #2 up.

Obviously, the challenge itself is patterned on Dean Wesley Smith's more interesting 2011 Challenge, so I'm not going to get all fancy.

The Writing of "The Peacock's Tower"

This story developed in the same fashion as all the others. First, I had some Batshit Insane Dreams with a peacock and an adobe looking thing. Purple and green throughout, a sea wall...snow. Tests. A girl. Your basic disorganized lucid dream. I woke up and made a 'bracket outline', putting all the images down on paper like so:
[peacock, purple and green]
[an adobe looking thing]
and adding a few extras as they came up.
[tower in the snow]
Then I called it The Peacock's Tower, because why not?

Once I had about ten images, I proceeded, in the finest traditions of storytelling, to Throw It All Together, starting with the line (and blurb):

The walled town of Hugfast, at the edge of the Shining Sea, within sight of the Peacock’s Tower, across from the Other End of the World, was a meritocracy

Which was pretty spooky, so I sat on that for a couple minutes, drank a coffee or two. Then I sat back down and typed at high speed for about three hours until I was called away to PARTY. I came back at midnight, typed a few sentences (although they were quite good) before I fell asleep. Then I woke up at about 3AM and finished the story after a couple hours.

The next day I rolled through and corrected some typos, but it was remarkably clean copy, then I sat on it for a week before reading it again and deciding it didn't suck. Good enough for me! I'd genre it as "Fantasy with SF characteristics".

I made the cover using the template I made for the challenge, then formatted the story up in Word and put it on Smashwords. Once I have five or ten such stories, I'll format them all up in a collection with fancy cover art and put it up for sale on Amazon and B&N. And then I'll invite you to go buy that.

probably six hours produced
"The Peacock's Tower"
about 5,000 words
Smashwords Free!

I'll be on vacation this next weekend—paid for by eBooks, and that's cool—so I might not have the next challenge story done by next week. That's OK. That just means you have a longer time to get this one free.
feel free to comment

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Short Medium Long Term

My considerable writing productivity has been lagging a bit in the last month or so, and you may find yourself wondering "Why? WHY?!?"
I know I have...
But besides that: Why?

I'm still doing the Short Stories Challenge Practical, even though it needs a better name. I'm just doing that thing where you write a story and set it aside and read it after having written the next story. Also, whenever a story seems like a good fit for Beneath Ceaseless Skies, I send it to them. That messes up the flow of the challenge until I build up a backlog for a weekly release. This doesn't count as an excuse, that's just Sustainable Planning.

Overall, though, my mighty word output powers are at an ebb, and that's because I'm having to spend my short term stabilizing my medium term to ensure my long term. Understand? Probably. It's not that hard a concept, but I'll expand anyways.

I mean, who eats just one grape?
Short Term
is where writers write short stories.
My short term, that is: my day to day, has recently been spent in meetings with people and introspection of myself to obtain a stable medium term. My crazy jungle lifestyle needs to be extended somehow, but expanded so that it can fit all the stuff I need to accomplish. With that much on my plate, as it were, there's only enough time for a quick snack of grapes. Which is my metaphor for writing short stories. Books are more valuable, but, fortunately, writing short stories is easy, once you've practiced.

Medium Term
is where writers write books.
A book is a banana. Yes, that is a f*cking amazing metaphor, which I hereby copyright for all time. The medium term is what you get when you've spent enough short term time setting up a stable future. I'm looking for one or two years here, and to get one or two years of stability, I've found that I need to spend one or two months on prep. Once I've got those years, though, I can output like a BEAST. A banana-beast. Some sort of orangutan or typing monkey. Which is another metaphor, although it is in the public domain. Still, at the constant rate of three-four books a year, we're rolling through dynamite.

Pictured: Stupid Metaphor
Long Term
is where writers have written a lot of books
Long-term is what you get when you've got a big bunch of bananas. In this metaphor, bananas don't spoil. Maybe they're plastic bananas. In any case, a big pile of books is like a bunch of bananas that never spoil. They can hang out on that banana hook in the kitchen while you get on with the cooking. In this metaphor, cooking is writing. This is the five year plan: After five years I'll be a full-time writer, only writing, producing at least four books a year, plus short stories like unto the stars in the sky. Which, of course, means stars are grapes? Wait, that can't be right...

The point is, your long term is where you have achieved stability on your own, not based on other people. The kind of stability that rich folk were born with, but without being a jackass. I shall be a jackass for entirely different reasons, because it is the duty of every successful author to develop a couple oddball opinions so he gets in the newspaper every once in a while. I'm looking forward to it.

So, to use your short term to find your medium term, and, if you play your cards right, your long term finds you.
feel free to comment
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