Words of fiction only
2013 – 210,470
2012 – 270,600
Total – 481,070
Goal for the new year
2014 – 350,000
Of all the architectural elements in the fiction writing process, plot is the primary scaffold. Without it, there is no story. There are some writers who begin with characters and evolve a plot from them, but it all has to come down to plot.
I'm fairly new to the writing process myself, but I'm an old analyst, steeped in software tech, and lately I've been contemplating what it is about plot, the way it's used by writers, that makes it special. Why do people struggle so much with it?
I'm not sure what “writer's block” really means as it's commonly described. When I'm not writing when I should be, it's almost always because of external factors (stress, depression, etc.) Only rarely have I been able to pin it down to the work itself — when I've produced a scene in first draft, and something about it feels false to me, I can't continue until I resolve the problem.
My analytical brain has been chewing on what's going on when that happens.
It's been a busy, busy year. Here are a few of the highlights, but before you read, go take a look at this announcement from Perkunas Press, so I can brag a little.
In the spring, I moved the contents of two houses and a warehouse from Virginia to Pennsylvania, into a cabin and a very big warehouse. That major disruption took over my life for quite some time, as I am daily reminded when I look at all the boxes in my office yet to be unpacked.
We purchased Baughman Hollow Farm decades ago, in a brief moment of fiscal responsibility, but it hasn't had any permanent inhabitants for over a decade, so we're still catching up on some of the basic maintenance tasks. It's a nice place, about 300 acres, mostly wooded, and full of deer, turkeys, and black bear. Local coyotes, porcupines, and barn owls have all come by to say hello. The cabin was built in 1812, with a modern addition for plumbing, utilities, and some more space. The farm occupies the top part of a hollow about a thousand feet up in the Allegheny Front, and the cabin, nicely sheltered just under the top of the plateau, has a view down to the western edge of the Appalachians across the Bald Eagle valley. The weather comes in from the west along the Allegheny Plateau and sweeps down over us from the back and then on down the hollow.
The complete and unabridged audiobook for To Carry the Horn is now in the hands of the distributor. It will take a few weeks for it to become available in all channels, so stay tuned for updates from Perkunas Press on where you can purchase it in all three formats: Digital Download, CD-Audio, and CD-MP3.
In the meantime, the Digital Download (MP3) version is available now, direct from the author. You can listen to an excerpt and link to the retail site here. You'll want to have a high-speed connection to download the file from the retail site, since it's quite large – 1.3 gigabytes.
It was lots of fun to record and produce this audiobook, but I had no idea how much work it was going to be. To begin with, this recording runs 14.5 hours and spans 13 audio CDs. (The MP3 CD is much smaller). Just to record it, correcting errors as they occurred, took half a week. Then I had to listen to it carefully at least twice, and then re-do bits of it. I was fortunate to have a good studio engineer nearby to do the technical production (I still don't understand how he was able to remove all the pops and swallows without mangling the words — must have some impressive software filters.)
I turned up a few more typos in the process of reading it aloud, including one really impressive wrong name. My eagle-eyed readers who tell me about my typos (I'm looking at you, Joan) missed these, too, amazingly. One of the pleasures of self-publishing, however, is that I get to fix these things and upload ever-cleaner versions.
I'm sure that everyone who has stumbled over one of my Welsh names will be pleased to think of me trying not to mangle them myself, now that I had to read them out loud. Serves me right, eh?
If you listen to the excerpt, or buy the audiobook, I would very much appreciate your feedback on the narration. I am waiting for feedback before I proceed with audiobook production for the rest of the series. After all, if you don't like my voice, better I hear about it now rather than later.
As I begin my second year as a writer, I've started to take steps to further professionalize my publisher presence. What that means, in practice, is that I am separating my Author activities from my Publisher ones.
Hollow Lands is my new Author site, where I will maintain my blog, provide all sorts of extras and goodies for my books, and offer special “direct from the author” deals. Perkunas Press will remain my Publisher site, where I will reformat the book offerings into more of a catalogue form. Right now Perkunas Press only publishes the works of one author (me), but that could change, and likely will.
All of the blog articles so far, and all of your comments, have been copied to this site. The old links will still work, but each of the old posts and stories will point to the new ones here. When you click on the banner for Hollow Lands, you will end up on the “Home” page, which is this blog. If you've been getting RSS or other feeds from Perkunas Press, you will want to point to Hollow Lands instead (or as well), since all the blog posts will come from here.
There will be a “latest works” front page for Perkunas Press, but no blog. Each book page will be streamlined there, and some other commercial stuff will be added. It will take a little while for all the changes to be made to the Perkunas Press site, so please be patient.
If you have signed up for the newsletter, don't worry — the same newsletter will be used for both sites and you don't have to do anything. (And if you haven't signed up for the newsletter, I encourage you to do so).
Most of my blog posts are for my readers, but occasionally I post something intended for fellow writers. I've given those posts their own place, under “Just for Writers” in the menu.