November update

So I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog lately. I’ve started a higher dose of anti-depressants and I feel better, but I have been asleep quite a bit.

Hopefully this just means that I’m adjusting, and I’ll be more energetic in a few weeks.

I anticipate being able to do more frequent blog updates now that the WordPress app on my phone works. So that’s good, right?

I’m still writing a little bit. I’m yet to complete my first three-word challenge. Could it be tonight ? We’ll see!

No Way Home

So I finished up No Way Home Part 2. It’s a bit shorter than expected, at just under 1000 words.  Have a read of it if you like!

I haven’t actually finished up the challenge that I set myself.  Still got to find a way to work the word ‘snapped’ into the next part.  I don’t think it’ll be a problem, though.

Also, active vs passive cooling for laptops

Ha!  Two blog posts in one day!  You just can’t shut me up. 🙂

So, as you may have gathered, there’s active and passive cooling.  Active meaning that your fans are spinning, passive meaning that they aren’t.

Now on the one hand, passive cooling does allow your laptop (or netbook in my case) to save power.  But generally this is done by allowing it to slowly radiate heat, while your computer runs slower so that it stops producing too much heat for the passive cooling to deal with.

The thing is, not only does the heat make your computer run slower indirectly, it also makes the components directly use more power to run even though things are slower.  At least until it cools down.

The net result is that yes, your battery lasts a little bit longer, but the actual time in which your computer is useful while you’re using it is (arguably) less, with programs skidding to a halt or slowing down considerably when the processor is trying to cool off.

Running the fan may cut your battery time in half, admittedly, if my experience with active cooling on battery today is anything to go by, but it’s something that I can live with if I’m not waiting for the computer to catch up with all those keystrokes I just made. 😉

Likewise, keeping the computer cool using active cooling also reduces power usage by the components which tend to get hot.  It’s a trade-off, but I would argue that it is worth it because heat can also make the lifetime of those same components dwindle.

Progress update and a request

Today I’ve finally got around to doing some writing.  You know what?  The whole challenge thing was a good idea.  I mean, admittedly, I’ve only done 346 words today, but I feel relaxed about it and the words are actually coming.

More to the point, I’ve already used two out of the three words that I set out to use.  Not that it was a very difficult set, mind, but it’s nice to actually get somewhere with it!

What I’m working on today is an update for No Way Home, Part 2.  I’d say that about 600 words or less should wrap it up, in which case I may well get finished with it tonight!

Um, so the not so great news is that I signed off this week with depression.  It’s nothing to get too worried about, but the tiredness and lack of motivation I’ve been experiencing lately seem to indicate that my anti-depressants aren’t effective any more at the current dose.  It isn’t an unusual thing with SSRIs.

I called the surgery and the doctor agreed that I should go up an increment, and I’ll be going in for an appointment in three weeks to discuss how my treatment is going.  I could do with more support, to be honest.  And you know, it doesn’t have to be from a mental health professional.

What I mean is, like many writers, I do sort of thrive on feedback.  But persuading readers to stop by and let me know what they think is sort of difficult when I have incomplete stories and not a whole lot of progress going on.

Still, I’ve decided that I would rather bug a lot of people to come and check out my unfinished stuff, than sit back and wait for them to come to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that I need to write for me, rather than being  dependent on the audience.  But equally, if I don’t engage with the readers a little bit, then I’m writing only for me, and that’s not really what I want.

So, if you find a DM in your inbox asking you to come read one of my stories and tell me what you think, this would be why.  If you don’t, well then maybe you could come and read them anyway. 🙂

Post-mortem for September 2014

Well, again, I didn’t hit my target of 2900 words.

If I’m being honest, having that goal to beat isn’t really helping much.  What actually helped more than anything last month was having three words to set me off in a particular direction and write a particular piece that I wanted to do.

So that’s what I’m going to do from now on.  Word count is irrelevant now, apart from when it comes to managing the chaptering of the story.  All that matters is that I find an interesting way to use some words in a bit of writing.

We’ll see how that goes!

Desert Island Writing Challenge

Imagine that you have been shipwrecked.  You decide to write a story to pass the time in between surviving and creating an S.O.S. in Times New Rocks Extra Large on the beach.  But what horror is this?

You discover that your only writing supplies are a single sheet of paper and one pen.  Undeterred though, you decide to press on with the task, since it is the only thing keeping you focused.  But you cannot make notes, or an outline, or a synopsis, because your paper is precious.

Rules:

  • Your story must fit on two sides of an A4 page.
  • It must be somewhat legible, but under the circumstances, mistakes and strikeouts are acceptable.
  • You cannot delete any words once you have committed them to paper, not even your mistakes.  Think before you write!
  • You may doodle crude pictures or single words in the sand, but of course, since the wind will eventually blow them away, so they’re only good for a day or so.
  • Your story must be self-contained and have an ending.  It is the only story you will ever write on this island, so it had better be good!
  • You will be rescued in seven days, whether you have finished your story or not.

Servant of the Siphen

It’s no longer for sale on the Kindle Store and will shortly be withdrawn from Nook Press as well.

It’s just not selling, so it’s kind of pointless leaving it on there hoping for a sale and the crappy royalty I’ll get if I do make a sale.

You can still read it on Wattpad or here on the site.

Brainstorming a plan

So it’s time to formulate a plan.

A plan for what, you may well be wondering?

Well, for a start, turning out a better word count each month.  Stories don’t write themselves, after all, and I’ve got several to get through.

I made a start in the right direction by doing my writing before unwinding with games each day, and I can be quite productive when I do that.  But one day of intensive activity in a week isn’t enough to really crank through stories.

Then I’ve got to consider how to better promote my stories.  For example, doing a reading of one of my stories, adding a music soundtrack and releasing it on YouTube or a similar platform.  I’ve done this on a Let’s Play video so I’ve got a bit of experience to draw on there.

Then I need to consider whether it’s worth my while trying to sell any books on Amazon or B&N when the royalty rate is what it is.  I’ve yet to make a single sale on either store, which isn’t surprising since there’s a lot of competition and I haven’t done much promotion.

I also think that in the reader’s shoes, it doesn’t make much sense to pick up a story in the middle.  So again, I need some serious wordcount to finish the whole novel rather than just one part of it.

I think what I’ll do is check with my web host and see if there’s a simple storefront that I can add to my site.  While it’s true that distributing with the likes of Amazon might result in more sales, especially if the promotion works, I’m still going to be looking at a rather small share of the takings.

You see, I’m not looking to open a store with a huge number of books or directly compete with Amazon, so I can scale things according to my rather modest needs.  If it doesn’t work out, I can look at other options, like finding an agent to negotiate a better royalty rate.

Again, I really need to find employment.  Being in work will mean that potentially, I have money to spend on things like cover design and cost-effective promotion.  Working during the week will mean that I’ll have less time to write, but I’m patient – if I can make steady progress towards my goals, that’s what matters.

Regretfully, I’m going to stop giving away stories.  More specifically, I’m going to be a bit less generous with sharing any and all chapters here on the site and on Wattpad.

The reason for this is simple.  Wattpad stories get scraped and distributed elsewhere, from what I’ve seen.  I write to entertain readers, not so some asshole can steal my content and use it to sell ads or some bullshit like that.

So that’s it, the free ride is over.  When I choose to release something on Wattpad or here on the site, it’s not going to be as long as Servant of the Siphen, and you’re going to have to pay to read the rest.

I realise that by doing so, I’m potentially going to alienate the readers I do have, and that every story eventually gets pirated, even if DRM is employed.  What I’m saying is that if it doesn’t stop or if I don’t get some reasonable compensation for my efforts, the stream of content will dry up, just like that.  Just because I want to entertain readers, doesn’t mean I have to, not if this is what I have to put up with.

If you know a better way to gate the content so that only real readers get to see it, I’m listening.  If I don’t like what I hear, then maybe I’ll stop writing for a couple of decades.  I’m fairly sure I can find something else to do in the meantime.Have a nice day.

Status

Martin
Martin September 10, 23:56 GMT+0000

Stopping at 1086 words tonight, finished the challenge, which is pretty good.  And all I had to do was give up a few hours of gaming. 🙂