During the incredibly rainy month of May, I worked on the first of several serial short stories that have been dying to get out. This has been a lot of fun to write, but has been the genesis of serious distraction. First off, I started to develop a pen name for the project, mostly because I have always wanted to have a pen name. The reasons vary, and are the subject of another blog. Let's just say I doubled my work for the same results.
Like many writers, I have a regular job and a family--lots of important life choices to make. Play with the kids, yes. Pay the bills, yes. Maintain twice as many social media sites, no. Why start over when promoting and marketing is already hard enough? Why not take advantage of the modest success I have experienced thus far as a writer. When I began working with a pen name I realized the colossal amount of work I have already put into this web page and publishing project.
So I decided to publish my short stories under my name, without partitioning each genre to a separate name. The genre of my Grendel Uprising series is science fiction, with a twist. One of my universe building projects has focused on a society where there are planets dedicated to various forms of recreation, like a golf planet or a NASCAR racing planet. The most common theme in this Commonwealth, are various historical reenactment societies. Grendel Uprising focuses on a planet dedicated to an imitation of 9th Century Earth, specifically, the rise of Vikings.
This allows for adventures that feel a lot like time travel without the paradox issues common to time travel stories. It also creates interesting worlds where the historical reenactments have gone off course. Hello creativity, hello fun.
The first story in the Grendel Uprising series (of rather long short stories) is schedule to be released in June. The advantage of shorter works of fiction, is that the editorial expenses are more manageable, since most price schedules are based on length of the work. This should allow me to put out the series monthly while still working on my novel length projects.
I am really excited about this new era in story telling. Please take a moment to visit Grendel Uprising and my bibliography page for my current novels.
It will come as no surprise that I dream of earning a living with words; writing full time; going pro and whatnot. As such, I revisit the idea of writing under various pen names in various genres. I read widely, why not write in the same manner. The idea of using pen names is purely for reader convenience. When someone searches for Scott Moon on Amazon, that awesome person knows to expect science fiction adventure, urban fantasy, and a little horror.
A reader would not expect literature fiction or political fiction, or let’s say erotica. Would I consider (or have I tried) writing either of these genres. Sure. None of it is fit for sharing at this point. Any writer who wants desperately to become a full time, professional author, must consider writing romance, even if said writer drops the idea. Romance writers make money. I even read and enjoy reading it from time to time.
Amazon allows for authors to publish under three names on one account (the last time I checked). Currently, I am not using a pen name, but I think there is one in my future. Perhaps it will be a different type of science fiction or horror or something else.
What are your thoughts on pen names? Do you currently write under a pen name? Do you plan on trying this out? If you have experience in this matter, what are the pros and cons?
Thanks for visiting my blog. My currently published fiction can be found here.
Stephen King has a way of drilling a phrase or detail into your head. The last time I wrote a blog post, it was “Travlin Jack.” I discussed how the use of this phrase and others could be analyzed through the lens of Book Architecture (a new literary technique by Stuart Horwitz). As The Talisman progresses and Jack Sawyer heads west with his werewolf buddy, each Series (as Horwitz calls certain repeating story details) varies in usage, meaning, and intensity. As Wolf might say, “It’s happening right here and now, wolf!”
The “Travlin Jack” and “My Mother is Dying” series/mini-themes continue to find their way into Jack’s internal dialogue, but less frequently. Somewhere around chapter fourteen, Jack begins to struggle with a recurring memory (..Jack was six, Jack was six, when everyone lived in California and no one lived anywhere else…who plays those changes...) of his father and Morgan Sloat discussing Jerry Bledsoe, a maintenance man they employ. In the memory of a six year old, part of the conversation about a jazz album mingles with a growing understanding of what happened to Jerry Bledsoe.
“Who plays those Jerry Bledsoe changes?”
The fate of the maintenance man becomes a metaphor for unintended consequences. Jack sees every catastrophe as something he caused by his actions in the Territories. This mini-theme, or Series, dominates the “plot” for several chapters. Mr. King likes taking the scenic route, which is probably why I enjoy his novels!
(Also, Jerry Bledsoe in the real world, the right here and now, God pound it, not in the Territories, is an American author and journalist according to Wikipedia. This could mean nothing, but I find it terribly interesting.)
Today I am deep into chapter twenty-one of The Talisman, enjoying every audiobook minute, and not for the first time. The “Travlin Jack, My Mother is Dying, and Jerry Bledsoe” Series remain powerful and vivid, but Wolf has taken center stage with the changing of the moon.
“You’re the herd now, Jack. A wolf who harms his herd is damned…”
The interesting thing about the link between Book Architecture and Stephen King’s work, is that Mr. King is the champion of organic writers (seat of the pants, story excavators, and so forth). If you Read Blueprint Your Best Seller and Book Architecture, both books provide useful tools to coming to grips with a long, winding first draft. What do writers say? First get it written, then get it right?
For several years I have struggled to understand and wield story structure more intentionally. I love the concepts in Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. What I am coming to discover, is that the entire process is faster and smoother for me if I write like King advocates and then revise and structure later. Thirty-three years of serious writing brings me to the method I currently use. In essence, it is all about story--some entertain, others do not.
Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to read your comments.
Presently, I have five books available here, if you are interested and enjoy a good read.
There is nothing like attending a writing conference and mixing it up with other writers. I was going to put up an article last night, but had some issues with the wifi connection. ...And so wrote on Dragon Land instead. This, my friends, is a good thing. Anyone who has written a series knows the trials and travails of bringing it all together for one last hoorah and parking the plot satisfactorily.
In 2012, I attended my first conference and felt young and full of energy. This is it. What I’ve always wanted to do. This is my bestest most coolest daydream, I thought. Still love the feeling and still get it.
Today, though I was not planning to pitch a novel, I decided to go for it (Dark House Press). All day I had been remembering that first conference and how the most magical part, and the most terrifying, was that I pitched a novel. Win, lose, or draw--I love to pitch ideas. Even if the agent or editor says no (or calls the law to have me removed, or perhaps sicks an attack dog on me) I still had them as a captive audience of one for twelve minutes.
Bam! I just told someone a story.
My only regret so far is that I missed the presentation on becoming a Hybrid author.
I’ve always planned to self-publish some of my writing and seek an agent and traditional publishing arrangement for other work. So from now to eternity I will have a book completely ready every year for pitching and submission, no matter how many self-published books I produce--not so much because I am chasing the a big advance or whatever, but because I love the process.
It helps to have a day job at this point. In Scott Moon Fantasy-world, I write full time, teach, travel, edit, adventure, and meet fabulously creative people of numerous mediums. There will come a time when I can retire, or at least scale bag the big obligations, and I want to be ready when opportunity rears its beautiful head.
How about you?
Life is an adventure. I read to expand my horizons and write because I must.
- The Craft of Writing: 7 Magnificent Books
- Use of Force Myths
- A Really Useful Tool
- Project Rotation