Writing from the Middle 03/14/21

Here’s a bit of practical writing advice that has always worked for me:

The major issue with getting any work done is dealing with a blank page. There’s something intimidating about making something out of nothing, and I find that it never really goes away. If there’s a ton of white space after your last sentence, it feels as though you’re walking through a snowstorm with no direction.

I like to put at least two paragraphs between the end of my proper writing and the white space. These can be lists of things that have to happen, scene sketches that I’m still working on, or even a note to myself. It could be a diary, anything really, so long as it pertains to the book.

If I had to guess, this tricks your brain into thinking the book already has an ending, something that you’re moving toward. A forest with familiar signposts (in this case, words). Anything to not have to face the precipitous drop off into infinity.

Another theory is that this acts as a buffer against some kind of void, a vast emptiness that possibly reflects our fears of death (but not death itself, not by a long shot).

It works every time. If I’m stuck, I’ll bust something out really quick, go up a few paragraphs, and start writing from the new thick of it.

This blog’s readership shot up significantly over the past week. Welcome to all the new readers! Thanks for your time. I’ve got to remind myself to share my stuff, just in case you’re interested. I currently have the first 3 of the 5 Black Gum Novellas up for “pay what you want” right over here. Please don’t be shy about downloading it for free if you want to see what you’re getting into. The system is in place specifically to allow people who want to pay to have the space to do that, and to allow folks who are unsure (or in a tough spot financially) the opportunity to read it. It’s a great set-up, much better than the strict price points of The Evil Empire.

I’ll condense this into a boilerplate endnote for blogs, so you don’t have to bother reading through my spiel every time. But if you get the first three here, I’ll send you the other two for free when I drop ’em.

Also! If you’re one of my long-suffering Kickstarter backers, I have some exciting news about Dying World (one of the four books). My plan is to release that, the entire Black Gum Cycle, and two other books (Desert Priest and a book of writing advice) in limited edition short runs. I’m looking to have the books feature French flaps and nice paper stock. They’ll look great. I have a two-year plan for having all of this done, but the good news is the books will be/so far are great, and you’ll be happy with that investment you made long, long ago.

I’m hoping the continual blogging and releasing of novellas and full-length novels will inspire confidence for my readers, considering I had a dry spell of about six years.

I’ll start with runs of about 250 copies (minus those that go out to the KS backers), and re-up on stock depending on demand. The idea is to have these be relatively rare, but I’m not going to commit to a “once they’re gone, they’re gone” model (as that’s been tried by other writers to decidedly middling results).

The holistic publishing approach is essentially “ebooks will be pay what you want, while hard copies will be sold through my blog/Gumroad site in limited capacity.” This free and open system juxtaposed with optional collector exclusivity will be my mode while I shop around a horror book I’m working on to big presses. The idea is to have a multi-pronged approach, between the books and the blog and the podcasts, that all build on each other, with the end goal being a career as a working-class, professionally curious person.

In the meantime, I edit books in order to pay the bills. I am booked through the end of April, but if you’re interested in work, please contact me for quotes.

Have a good Sunday!

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