WIP Wednesday

The Great Divide (Changers 2) is under way as I type this. (Well, not as I type this because I’m typing this rather than working on Changers 2, but . . . Yeah. Let’s just say I’ve been working on it.) Here’s a taste:

Guin felt as though a net were closing around her. One she couldn’t see or fight. She stood there, opening and closing her fists while her mind reeled. Go back to the Vulpes? No, couldn’t put them in danger again. Go after Marcus and Cee? Maybe…

Warm hands closed around Guin’s own and drew them gently together, startling her out of her racing thoughts. She lifted her head to meet Rand’s dark, compassionate gaze.

“It’s going to be okay,” he said.

“You don’t know that,” Guin said. The words felt too big for her throat, but she managed to squeeze them out. “You can’t promise that.”

The Kinds of Books I Can’t Read

We all talk about what we like to read, but what about what we don’t? Not to be negative, but there are just some kinds of books I don’t enjoy and cannot seem to get through no matter how hard I try or how many people encourage me to read them.

1. Erotica

Yeah, just no. Maybe it’s my prudish, religious upbringing, but I don’t want intense descriptions of sex in my books. This is why I like Regency romances (and why I’ve started writing them, too). I have many friends who write and read erotica, and more power to them. Just not for me.

2. Cyberpunk

Okay, so I took a science fiction and fantasy lit course in grad school, and I discovered I just can’t make myself read cyberpunk or hard sci-fi. We were supposed to read Snow Crash, which so many people say is brilliant, and I don’t know if I ever made it past the first chapter? Like, I’ve totally blocked it from memory, and everything William Gibson too. It’s like my brain repels these books like ducks do water. I dunno.

3. Epic Fantasy

I love fantasy! Except I can’t read the kind where there are a dozen characters and twenty books and I’m expected to keep track of ALL THE THINGS. It’s not that I don’t have brain space—I manage to remember really stupid bits of trivia all the time. But there’s something about . . . I don’t know if it’s the writing style or what, but all these pseudo-medieval worlds with names and kings and fiefs and elves and poor peasant boys being sent on quests . . . I tried to read Robert Jordan, tried to read George R.R. Martin, and just nope. Can watch Game of Thrones, no problem, but I can’t read it.

What about you? Any types of books you wish you could read but for whatever reason can’t? It’s not even a matter of not liking something, it’s like a brain block that refuses to absorb the content. If so, tell me about it in the comments!

Popularity

It occurred to me the other day that being an indie author these days is a bit like a never-ending popularity contest.

I only say this because so many online sites where indie authors are featured have contests where the author has to try and get friends, family, readers to vote for their books. So instead of a book being judged on its own merits, or an author being judged on ability, it’s really the author being judged on how many people he or she can muster.

And when agents these days insist on an established platform, what they’re really asking is, “How popular are you?”

Sites that demand you have a certain number of reviews or a minimum star rating before they feature your book—they’re asking you to prove your popularity.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve never been popular. I don’t think I was unpopular in school, either, just sort of quiet and people left me alone. Which works well enough for me being a writer, but not so well when I’m trying to market myself. Or when “popularity” is the deciding factor in whether my book wins an award or an agent signs me.

Life is not a meritocracy. It’s a shame, but true. It turns out gold stars are not for stellar work; they’re given to the students the teachers like the most for whatever reason. Same goes for job promotions. You don’t have to be the one who is really good at the job, just the one other people like.

Alas, in school they don’t teach you how to get other people to like you. Feels like a missed opportunity, doesn’t it? “How to be Popular” would be a full course every term, I bet.

Maybe I should grab a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People . . .

IWSG: Blocked!

InsecureWritersSupportGroup It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Read and support writers by clicking here, and if you’re a writer you can also join!

Writer’s block is what has me insecure this month. I simply can’t seem to make headway with the Changers sequel, and that’s causing a certain amount of anxiety in me. I’ve got a little over 20k words written, and now I’m well and truly stuck. I’ve tried just writing through it, but no. I’ve outlined, so I know where I need to go, I just feel like a wagon with its wheels in the mud. I’ve considered skipping the chapter I’m on and writing the rest, but I can’t work that way—I’m a linear writer. I’ve dabbled with other projects on the side, but I know this book needs to get finished, and that’s probably making things that much worse. *headdesk* Anyone else want to write this book for me?

Question of the Month: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Uh, I’ve pulled out some old stuff now and then and looked at it. I’ve even thought, I should do something with this. And then I never do. I don’t know why. In particular, I would like to rework my Master’s thesis, which was a middle grade historical fantasy. It’s on my list of project, but I don’t know if or when I’ll ever actually be ready to tackle it.