Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ahead of myself

Way, way, way ahead of myself. For the short version click here. For the full story read on.

Last year I completed a kiwiwriters challenge. Write a novella in a month, focusing on word count over quality. It was a nice break from my longer term projects, and strangely liberating not having to worry about plot or internal consistency. The end result was Kazhure Genesis, a semi-epic fantasy tale about a young wizard who's world is threatened by war. Needed a lot of work, but I was quite pleased with it.

It made good sense to let it sit before I started editing it. In the meantime school got busy and baby one came along. The little usb stick didn't really stand a chance. Other projects came and went, we move first into our own home, then back to my parents, then into another city. The stick spent most of the time in an unopened box.

Baby two is due in a couple of weeks. That means unpacking boxes in a mad search for clothes, cloth nappies, blankets, creams and all the other things little people need. In the middle of it all I found a tiny red usb stick, and my novella in exactly the same state I left it.
Now I'm set up to sell the book through createspace. Why createspace instead of a traditional publisher? This one is an experiment. I've read lots about self publishing and print on demand, now its time to see if it works for me. Kazhure is a great one to try it with, because I don't have a huge amount of energy vested in it if it doesn't work.

Setting up the store is getting way ahead of myself. My inner editor is working overtime retrofitting a story arc. My external artist (aka my beautiful wife) wants to give the cover a makeover. It may be some time before publication.

Nevertheless the store is active. Yippee!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Money money money

For the last few years I've been living off next to nothing. The student allowance in this country is about $160 a week. When you consider that board averages around $100 a week it doesn't leave much left to spend on basics, like food. And you can forget about luxuries like going to the movies. The numbers changed slightly once baby was born, but expenses went up too.

Now I'm finished my degree and working a full time job. My salary is comfortable. Its nice not to worry about money all the time. Sure we still have to keep a budget. But it has a little more wiggle room. Any wiggle room is more wiggle room.

But all of that pales in comparison to the corporate world. One of my roles is a project manager. I wanted some money for an experimental project. Disclosing actual amounts probably violates one of the forms I signed when I started, lets just say it was more then three months of the student allowance.

So I pluck up the courage to ask the capitial coordinator for money. He looks at me blankly. I'm thinking this is bad. I start to back down, remember I'm not even fully convinced this is going to work.

"Chump change," he says.


"Chump change. Two grand will barely show up on the radar. And if it doesn't work it doesn't work."

Puts things in a little bit of perspecitve. But that was just the start.

A few weeks later I'm sitting in a training meeting with the global capital coordinater, a pay grade or two above our local coordinater. He's talking about project methodology for small to medium projects. Because I'm completely lost I interupt him.

"So what exactly do you define as a small to medium project?"

"Its done on the basis of cost"

"So ten thousand would be a small project and a medium project might be one hundered thousand?"

I get that same blank stare again. Turns out it doesn't count as a small project till its more then three hundered thousand. Medium cuts in somewhere between seven and ten million dollars.

Thats some perspective for you.

Life experience

I read an interesting blog article about teenage writers. To sum up: You need life experience to write a story worth reading. Those without experience (ie young people) can write to get practice, but shouldn't try and get it published.

Okay, that's not exactly what the blog said, but the sentiment was there, buried between the lines. Most of the article has good advice. But I want to focus on life experience.

Where do I get experience fighting dragons? Riding dragons? Seeing dragons? Anybody had any practice kissing vampires? How about a serial killer, any volunteers?

My options for writing are starting to get severely limited. Who wants to read about a guy who works a nine to five in front of the desk. Everyone knows how the story ends. He retires to a rest home and his grandchildren feel guilty about not visiting.

Any experience age or life can give I can get. I don't want to read something I can go do. Even if I would have to travel to the other side of the world to do it. Eventually I will experience being old for myself.

Rest assured there are other ways to get inspiration. And they work while you still have all your teeth.

BM out