I just uploaded the manuscript for my new book, Story Plot, and hit Publish.
And then I clicked some more buttons, and filled out some more forms, because that’s how the self-publishing process works.
Today is an important moment for me, even if it doesn’t feel like one. When I started publishing this year, I told myself that I would write four things. 4. Here we are, six months later: one novel, two short stories in the space opera genre (TSSRW and Dreadnought in the upcoming Expanding Universe anthology) and one non-fiction book on writing patterns. Story Plot is a 75-page catalogue of plot beats and structures defined by everyone from Aristotle, who defined the basic three-act structure used in theater even today, to Joseph Campbell, who wrote the roots of the greatest and the most epic myths.
I learned a lot while writing it. Firstly, about all that stuff about stories, of course. But also, and most importantly, about myself, and about how far I can push.
- My edge lies primarily in the kind of ideas that I can produce, not how fast I can produce them. I can tie together bleeding edge tech, economics, literature, history – because I take in a lot of information and keep sparking away. The challenge really lies in turning these one-off ideas I keep generating into worlds that I can explore over the course of multiple books; I need to do, and practice, and learn better worldbuilding. The writing with Suresh should get me well used to this.
- I can get through twelve thousand words in a month, regular. This puts me on the mediocre end of indie writers, many of whom can manage three times as much. I can push myself to 20K a month: that’s 60K words in three months, or novel every three months. Add a month for editing and that’s three books a year.
I can really deal with that pace: it gives me time to experiment, and, until I build up the writing muscle, it also lets me work for a living and all the other important things in life.
- My health is deteriorating. First bronchitis, then fever, and now this cough. Every time I meet Navin he gives me this look like he fully expects me to drop dead within the next twenty minutes. So, in the interests of my lungs and sanity: I’m stopping smoking, except in social situations, and I’m going to start exercising properly.
- And Blue Mountain. Having written almost half that book, I can honestly say I’ve flouted every sane rule and pattern that I’ve just spent months putting together: the book is likely to be a colossal flop, albeit a readable one. The first act is half the book, for crying out loud. I am, however, consumed enough by the project and its current form that I want to continue it regardless. It’ll be a wonderful experiment: and now that I’ve met my targets, I have enough time to write it rather leisurely – perhaps until December?