samuel x. brase likes to write

2011

Posted in second novel, third project by Sam X. on 30 December 2010

A follow-up to my post at the beginning of 2010 which laid out some basic ideas of what I wanted to accomplish in 2010. Let’s look back for a moment.

In 2010, I wanted to…

  • Edit EE by end of February; query agents upon finishing. This mostly happened, although it was by the end of March. I did query some agents but quickly became disillusioned with the quality of the manuscript, even after editing. I think making this a saleable book would require much, much more work, which I’m not prepared to enter yet. Maybe in 2012….
  • Write sequel to EE, beginning in April. I quickly abandoned this plan, as I ceded to the advice Never write a sequel to an unpublished book. Thus, work on HR began instead, which I have written approximately half of to date.
  • Write five more substantial short stories (~20 pages) and five shorter pieces (~10 pages); continue to send catalog to markets. I entered the post-EE period by writing a number of flashes, a few which graduated to substantial short stories. I didn’t do five, but I think four happened. Numerous flashes were written, although I don’t think many ~10 pagers were written, if at all.
  • Read a book every two weeks. I realize this is a lowly amount to some of you, yet it will represent a vast improvement from a couple of years ago. This breakneck pace–26 books–was not attained, although that can at least be partially attributed to my four-month siege on Ulysses.

So, overall, not very successful. I made progress on all fronts but not enough. I did start a job this year, which certainly played into how much I accomplished, but I won’t get anywhere chucking up excuses. No excuses, play like a champion. I’ll do better in 2011. I’m going to make a similar list; a little loftier, and with one new item….

  • Finish HR (novel #2) by the end of March. Perhaps edit in the fall, although project #3 will hamper that.
  • Similarly, I need to finish reading Ulysses by the end of March, so I’m good to go on project #3.
  • Begin and continue project #3, the serial. First issue by end of May. This will constitute the vast majority of my writing in 2011.
  • Read a book every two weeks! For real this time. Once out of the Ulysses woods, that is. Project #3 will require avid reading of indie sci-fi books, but those are shorter than your average paperback (~200 pages), so I don’t expect much trouble. I also want to keep up with my nonfiction reading, which is primarily current events at this point.

2010 provided a good basis, a good rhythm of what I need to do in order to get where I want to be (a well-informed sci-fi writer on sociopolitical issues). I’m excited for 2011, especially project #3. But I have to stay focused, one day at a time, and get novel #2 down on paper first. I promised myself back in 2009 that I wouldn’t leave novels unfinished and I’m not breaking that promise this early.

Repeat: If only for the experience, writing a second full novel is good for you. If only for the experience….

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A Purse to Snatch

Posted in Uncategorized by Sam X. on 10 December 2010

One of the primary things I’ve wrestled with when considering my third project–exploring DIY publishing–is the overpowering sense in the writing industry that self/e/indie publishing is The Wrong Way to Do It, especially if you want to be respected and courted by legit agents and so on. So I’ve resisted my punk sensibilities and worked to do it that way.

Of course, that’s not the only way; self/e/indie publishing doesn’t preclude you from ever achieving literary acceptance. It mostly just precludes the material you publish through independent channels from ever achieving literary acceptance.

That idea is liberating in its own way, forsaking literary acceptance–if only for a little while.

A lot of online advice about independent publishing is focused around the question: is it right for you? Because if you want that work-in-progress to be the next Da Vinci Code, independent publishing is probably not the correct avenue. However, if you just want to make like 50-500 copies available, well then perhaps it’s something worth exploring.

I thought about it. I want mainstream success; of course, everyone does. The idea of living comfortably off merely making shit up every day sounds like a fantasy. I think ostensibly it is a fantasy; but enough people achieve it to make it a fantasy that the other 99% strive for. Kind of like sports; yeah they’re fun but wouldn’t it be awesome to get paid millions to play a kid’s game? And I thought about it more. What else do I want?

I want to affect readers, sure, but an emotional response isn’t priority number one for me. I want to take them on a journey, but that’s almost assumed with my chosen genre (science fiction). What do I really want? What do I write for?

I write to rebel. I write to educate. I want to write stories that explore and expose politics, economics, sociology. And so the plan for my third project comes into ever-clearer focus. It will allow me to develop my writing style and skill, but it will also allow me to explore current political developments and juxtapose them against technological developments. I’ll be exploring myself (writing), my world (politics), and my genre (technology). I’m so excited to begin.

But I still need to finish that darn second novel which is only half done. 46,000 words. Come on, Sam. Get to work.

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