Forcing my body to obey me

Sunset picture from my balcony, pinks and blues
Sunset past the Fall Equinox

WRITING FICTION REQUIRES THE BEST I’VE GOT

And when I don’t have it, the fiction doesn’t done.

It’s frustrating.

It’s also my life, and, if nothing else, that life has given me Pride’s Children, and so I forgive it.

Writing posts that reveal

I have two almost complete posts:

Laying out my writing wares for the passersby

and

Tagline, logline, pitch are the hardest writing ever

both of which are my brain kicking up something I’ve been resisting: serializing Pride’s Children NETHERWORLD.

Why? Because it is half finished, and I only had 40 finished scenes when I started serializing PURGATORY, and I have well over that for this book.

These posts are pending until I make the big decisions.

The first book was serialized several places, a new finished scene every Tuesday for two years. Read that again, and realize that, for someone as physically and mentally challenged as I am, that kind of commitment – which I fulfilled – is almost the same as spitting into the wind.

I honestly don’t know if it helped me write, or helped me focus. But I do know I finished.

At the time I hadn’t published anything else, so there was no sense of bravado – no one would probably care if I didn’t finish the story, the scenes didn’t get published on schedule, or I disappeared into the unpublished ether as a debut author.

Other publishing tasks got done simultaneously

During that same time, I learned Pixelmator and worked with J.M. Ney-Grimm, who kindly mentored me in producing my cover, a process which took a whole summer.

And I learned all the editing and formatting and proofing and layout tasks needed to produce an ebook and a print version. ALL. Seems a little foolhardy looking back – a rank amateur attempting a story which will be as long as GWTW when I’ve finished the third, as yet unnamed, volume.

Many of these tasks turned out to be easier for me to teach myself, at my own slow pace, than to find someone and communicate with them to get what I needed. For someone with a damaged brain, explaining is as hard as doing, and a LOT more expensive, so I just plowed through.

It should be easier the second time around

But it’s not. It’s harder – because there are expectations. And because the second book in a trilogy has to kick everything up a level – loosening up or staying flat aren’t options.

And, never fear, the kicks have been planned into the structure – but they are also harder to write.

And I’m older, and have been damaged longer

And there’s a pandemic going on, and a heated election, and a world going up in a different kind of flames.

The body’s older. The brain’s older than when I started this particular story – in 2000. If I weren’t so slow, I would have been long finished by now. GWTW took Margaret Mitchell ten years; I’ve already been at this twenty.

Serializing is a promise

But the idea of serializing again, only now with possibly more readers because they’ve read PURGATORY, excites me.

That, and developing the website for the books. (I have found a marvelous little book called Making Your Website Work: 100 Copy & Design Tweaks for Smart Business Owners, by Gill Andrews, just packed with good ideas I can’t wait to try.)

And publishing and making available as a reader magnet the Pride’s Children prequel short story, Too Late, which was a featured story on Wattpad, all this is exciting.

And I’ll put PURGATORY on sale periodically via Kindle Countdown, so that anyone reading something they like on the prideschildren.com website serialization can get PURGATORY, read and catch up, and enjoy knowing what happened before.

Just in case something happens to me

This is something any author involved in a several-book project right now has to take into account: not making it.

Many a series out there has been ended prematurely when the author clocks out for one reason or another, and Covid-19 is very hard on people in my age and disability cohort. So I will do a ‘Pride’s Children finish file,’ where I flesh out, just a bit, the structure of the remainder of the story, and leave instructions with my literary executor to provide the file to those who have signed up to follow the serial. Not as good as finishing, but, in my mind, a whole lot better than leaving it up to the readers’ imaginations.

Coming full circle to the title of this post

Forcing my body to obey me.

I am in the middle of a great experiment to work with the many problems, and use some of the features of a medication (ldn, low-dose naltrexone) tweak, to have more usable brain time every day.

I’m already getting a couple of pool dips, and possibly a trike ride – to keep things functioning – every week.

And I’m using the data I record about how things go to see if I can’t figure out a more usable schedule that caters to my dysfunctionalities instead of fighting them. For some reason (recent successes?), I feel I might be able to do that now.

I won’t start serializing until I’m sure, but it’s been my dream since we moved to USE the increased time I have here at URC, and during the pandemic when the social life is restricted, to finish the books, and then take a break from the writing to market more extensively.

Time’s passing, time’s awasting.

Cross your fingers for me!

A brief survey

  • If you had a favorite book coming out with the same process that I use, a finished scene at a time, would you read it that way?
  • Some readers won’t tackle something that is unfinished; but would the ‘finish file’ concept reassure you?
  • If you’re a writer, have you had any experience with serializing – and how did it go?

I would love to have your answers in the comments.


13 thoughts on “Forcing my body to obey me

  1. marianallen

    One of my favorite writers is sending out a book a chapter at a time to subscribers. I’m saving them all, for some reason. I say “for some reason” because I will certainly BUY the book when it’s published. But the thought of a “finish file” wouldn’t make me read the chapters as they come. I want to devour a story all at once, or at least have the option to. I know serialization has a long and honorable tradition, but I’m not a fan. I want to binge. 🙂

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      And yet – you supported me on Patreon, for which I’ll always be grateful.

      Thanks for your opinion – I’d rather read the whole thing together, too – I am irritated at my own slow pace. Finished is good – but means the NEXT one is unfinished. Hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Widdershins

    It’s so great to hear about your plans. : )
    Survey answers …
    As a reader I like to have the entire book in front of me … as a writer, I tried serialising a fictional story on my blog and crashed and burned after about seven or so episodes. That’s when I realised I needed to have a tight outline to write that way, and I’m a ‘pantser’ through and through, although I do have a bit of ‘plotter’ tucked away here and there.
    Serialising ‘Prelude’ however worked great, because it was non-fiction, and I knew my material forwards and backwards.
    If I was into reading the serialised version, knowing the ‘finished file’ was there would be a wonderful bonus indeed. : )

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thanks for the feedback.

      I’m a very tight plotter, and the system worked for me for serializing the first book in the trilogy, so I know I’ve done it.

      I think most readers are a little hesitant about unfinished work – thanks for saying my idea would help. I would definitely have it completely written and ready before I started posting anything.

      I don’t think I’d still be a plotter if the writing itself wasn’t a freeing experience within those bounds – it’s hard to get started some days. After all, I’ve known the story for TWENTY years now – just slow at learning everything I needed to master before I could do the job I wanted to do.

      The trick is always: when do you switch from serializing to ‘the book is now finished and available for sale,’ which I want to be the very clear aim from the beginning. Forwards and backwards covers it.

      I don’t expect readers of my blog to necessarily be readers of my fiction – any experience is relevant when you’re trying to sort out the various possibilities. It WOULD be more work BUT it would also be encouraging to see any reactions.

      Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. acflory

    Mein gott in himmel! Or something like that. German was never my strong suit. I, personally, cannot think of anything worse than what you’re proposing. -sigh- but we are very different writers, you and I.
    I did kind of serialise Innerscape – 5 parts, one part a week, until the first week of xmas 2016 – but the whole story was finished, so publishing that way was really just a marketing experiment. I ran a competition each week and gave away Amazon gift cards as well as some of the music I listened to while writing Innerscape, but…it didn’t really work. I think you need a) a very strong following and b) the right market niche.
    Have I mentioned that I’m terrible at marketing?
    If you can make it work, then do it, but for heaven’s sake don’t kill yourself doing it. -hugs-

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      It was kind of fun last time, and I got a lot of good comments, some of which were helpful for marketing.

      My books are massive – this cuts them into small enough pieces for some to try.

      It all depends on whether I have actually figured out how to make my body work better (all a matter of timing and choices about eating, which diverts blood from my brain). If so, I can use it. If not, it’s all moot.

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      1. acflory

        Yeah, it’s the body that messes everything up. I’ve found that I cannot eat bread during the day. If I do, I get sleepy and useless. Even oat porridge makes me a little fuzzy so I eat only nuts in the morning while I try to write. Once my best writing time is over, then I’ll have porridge and do the things that don’t require my ‘best brain’. I’ve had my blood sugar tested and it’s fine so I suspect it’s ageing plus an underactive thyroid. Or something. lol

        Sounds as if you’re getting at least some of your physical deficits under control so why not try it and see? But you can’t be stubborn about it. Rethink and regroup if necessary.

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        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          I’m trying things I didn’t know before – some are working. If I can get it into a system, I don’t care if I have to eat only three hard-boiled eggs dyed bright pink, as long as I can write, preferably reliably.

          I spend so much time on stuff like you not being able to eat bread while you’re trying to write.

          But I think of it more like providing the body the environment it needs – I’m the one trying to make the body let me write when I want to. And still have time for other things.

          Eventually, I would be grateful to write a set number of hours in the morning – but I haven’t been able to. Yet.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. acflory

          -sigh- I look back at my younger years and wish I hadn’t wasted time on irrelevant things. Then again, none of us has a crystal ball. The way I see it, what we have is the best we’re going to get…at. this. moment. We have to work with that. If things improve, great. If not we adjust and keep moving. 🙂

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  4. Chris

    I think the answers to your survey questions would depend a lot on the genre as well as the reader. In other words, my answers are very likely not representative.

    In any case, I don’t value linearity and continuity all that much. To put it another way: Not only would I not mind an unfinished text, but some of my most favorite texts have been indeed unfinished (I’m thinking of Kafka’s The Castle and Coleridge’s “Christabel”).

    And so, I would prefer an unfinished manuscript, rather than something put together by someone else, even if they did so following the author’s instructions.

    But, again, I would take this with a pinch of salt (or a whole bag of it), because I’m likely not part of your intended audience.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I HATE reading other people’s unfinished anything. When I read something, I commit to it fully, creating the inner landscape to go with the words.

      Now you want me to do that again? With a different text? Sorry, no can do.

      That is what kept me out of a writing group I joined in the beginning: I was expected to keep three other novels-in-progress in my mind – and they kept changing them! With a damaged brain that is simply a demand I couldn’t meet.

      My ‘vision’ has always been straightforward, whole story – so apparently that’s the only way I can do this.

      Which also made it possible to serialize the first book. For me.

      There are a few other writers who do this, MCA Hogarth being one of them, and I enjoyed reading her story that way.

      I still have to decide – it IS more work, but will it have the benefits I want. I have the experience of having tried this on Patreon with a single friend signing on.

      So, we’ll see. It depends on me being ‘better’ – and I’m not sure yet that I am. I don’t need objectively better, just better at using what I have right now.

      Liked by 1 person

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