Category Archives: A writer’s quandaries

Moving day

So after thinking it over for a while I  decided to create a new primary site for myself (yes, I love wordpress.com. but I wanted something that would give me both a bit more freedom in terms of plugins and customization, and the ability to monetize my site). Anyway, you can find the new site here: http://witha2ist.com

Oh yes, and as if that weren’t enough I also have a new book out. It is Of Shards and Shadows, the revised version/ sequel of The Shadow Walker.

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What’s in a name

Hi guys. Okay, so it’s been ages since I last updated this site, and yes, I’m still around, and I’m still writing. It’s just that I had little to say about my writing. There were no new releases, and I was afraid this blog was getting a little too disorganized.

Anyway right now I’m putting the finishing touches on a book that’s having a bit of an identity crisis. What happened was that I decided to write a sequel to The Shadow Walker, only writing a 16,000 word sequel to what was a 24,000 word novella to begin with felt wrong. In fact it felt almost like a scam, so in the end  I decided to rewrite The Shadow Walker outright, and incorporate the sequel into that one. Unfortunately that has caused a bit of an issue when it comes to the new book’s title, and I’m not sure whether I will stick with The Shadow Walker -a title I actually like- or come up with an alternative that combines both that title and the one I had originally intended for the sequel, even if that title feels kind of off. Oh yes, and as if that weren’t enough there is also the fact that while I will be taking the original version off the market once the new one is released, the Spanish translation is not being revised, a fact that may lead to some confusion.

As I said, I’m currently struggling with the whole naming thing. I also have a couple of additional projects in the work, but more about those in a future post (who knows? maybe that way I won’t go so long between updates).

Walking a fine line

I admit I sometimes enjoy reading fanfiction. In fact that’s where I first got the writing bug, and while I agree that some (most?) of it can be pretty awful, there are some hidden gems that are well worth taking the time to actually find them. Anyway, this post is about one thing that’s driving me crazy. No, it’s not restricted to fandom, but that’s one place in which it is particularly noticeable. I’m talking about the proliferation of trigger warnings.

Yes, I understand that there are things some people might find disturbing, and there are some instances in which a heads up can come in handy, but lately these have been taken to the extreme. What some authors don’t seem to realize is that there is a very fine line between a trigger warning and a spoiler… and the same goes for author’s notes. If you want to apologize for not updating in a couple of years, fair enough, but if you want to go into detail about the intricacies of your writing process, or something else related to the story in question please, please, please  put your author’s note at the end of the chapter, where it’s easier for your readers to skip it (and where chances are that they’ve already read the chapter in question and they’ll know what you are talking about) not at the beginning… and also, call me old-fashioned, but while there are a few warnings that are customary (major character death, rape/non-con, slash [i.e. same-sex pairing], and maybe explicit violence and child abuse), I believe that anything beyond that is bound to do more harm than good.

Okay, getting down from my soapbox now, it’s just that trigger warnings are a great way to trigger my rage. Just a warning.

When a book has a mind of its own

I am currently dealing with a rather weird situation, and I still don’t know where this is going. What happened was that as I sat down to plan a sequel that sequel turned around and basically hijacked the first part, so at least for the time being it looks like the sequel will morph into a book that will incorporate as alternative version of the first part… of course, that can change. Oh well, it’s not like I expected my books to play by the rules anyway.

When reality and fantasy collide

For some fourteen years I’ve been working on a fantasy series, and in the past few years I even managed to publish the first three volumes of the thing. In fact I was beginning to work on book four when the whole thing was basically poisoned in my mind. In a nutshell, I had entrusted the covers to one of my closest friends, and that was a mistake that wound up causing the friendship to implode as we were trying to agree on a design for book three. The end result was that for a while there I couldn’t even look at those books without a lot of pain… and then I reread them.

I don’t know how tainted my perspective was by that recent debacle, but I wound up cringing quite a bit. That led me to push book four to the back burner. Now I am back to contemplating what to do with the whole thing, and I’m leaning towards a full revision of the first three books, to be released simultaneously with book four (and hopefully a new set of covers that doesn’t cause my stomach to get twisted in a knot whenever I see them). Yes, I realize that it is a bit extreme, but one of the downsides about publishing a series is that you are bound by what’s already published, even though at times it might be described as cheating, this will enable me to  go back and make some changes… and it is that freedom to make changes that brings me to the main question I wanted to address with this post: how am I supposed to tackle the subject of technology?

That’s one I hadn’t expected to become such a major issue, but the truth is that given that the first draft was written back in 2001, there are a number of aspects that seem a bit anachronistic. I realize that there are plenty of books out there that gleefully disregard that particular aspect, that literature has a permanence that is part of its charm in an age of planned obsolescence, and I don’t even know how feasible is it going to be for me to work that into the story without totally disrupting the plot (not to mention that, even if I were to succeed, in five years the books will probably be back to feeling as dated as they feel now), but at least for the time being, I am tempted to give it a shot.

BTW, the series in question is Citlalli, but if you want to give one of my books a shot I would probably suggest that you give those a wide berth, and consider Horsesh*t (history/humor), Homo Ex Machina (SF), or The Eyes of the Dead instead.

Hard SF is hard

I’m currently working on a story I’m not sure will ever see the light. The world in which its set… well, that one’s pretty much set. It is the plot that’s currently giving me a hard time, as I’m still struggling to find one that actually works. That means that the world in question runs the risk of finding itself consigned to the ‘half-forgotten worlds’ drawer (or folder), and I hate the idea of doing that. What can I say, building that one from scratch hasn’t been easy. From the get-go I set out to create a hard SF alien world that was as unlike out own as I could possibly make it. The problem? I seem to have succeeded a little better than I hoped, and I’m having a hard time creating characters that can a) function in that world, and b) come across as remotely relatable.

Still, even though writing hard SF has its challenges, I have to say that it is a lot of fun.

Am I working or wasting my time? Sometimes it’s hard to tell

As you may have noticed, I just published three books. That’s the good news. The bad news is that that means that I’m out of works in progress, and back to square one, to that dreadful stage that can probably be described as ‘pre-production’. Fair enough, that’s part of the game, and I do have an idea stuck between my ears that I’m currently trying to develop. The problem is that I usually try to maintain a certain routine when it comes to my writing habits, and at this stage the line between working and wasting my time has an annoying tendency to get more than a little blurry, why? Well, because in order to work out a story I have to give my mind a kind of freedom, but if I give it that freedom it tends to wander. If I try to drag it back to what it should be doing -usually kicking and screaming- it just sits there and sulks. If I allow it to go wandering along it doesn’t sulk, but I still don’t get much done.

So here I am, allowing my mind to go where it pleases… and wondering whether I am working or merely wasting my time.