What you need is an approach

by Gerhi Feuren on 3 August 2014

More than a year ago I made myself a note. I was writing to get myself writing again. Which does not always work. A process journal for theatre or painting makes sense because the work is not writing and you cannot fool yourself that you are busy doing the work when you are doing the journal. But with writing you can, because words are words.

Except that it is not so. So I wrote this bit on the first of June 2013:

“What you need is an approach, a system, that works with your intentions and if you follow that with distilled discipline and focus you will have the result of something worthwhile.”

I think it might be paraphrased from something I was reading at the time but I did not make a note of that. And today, to a large extent I agree with what I wrote there. But not a hundred percent.

Because a system might trap you. It does trap me. A system is something I immediately see as a straightjacket and I go 180 degrees in the opposite. Which should mean that that system was not aligned with my intentions.

You can’t write the way others write.

Never revise, a thousand words a day, three drafts and beta-readers and kill your darlings and so forth.

You have to write the way you write and I think my way is rather messy, without approach or system. Which is my system.

I write a lot. I know that when I look back at what I have written. But I don’t have a sense of that while I am writing that. Making it as a writer it is kind of important to write, a lot or very well; preferably both. I can do better writing in terms of quantity and quality. But I can’t settle on a system.

I can only write what I write today and tomorrow see what happens. The piece I got from last year was because I was transcribing from a notebook. I find all kinds of gems in old notebooks. But I don’t type them up and forget they are there. Even if I type them up I forget them. Except when I remember them in the moment. And in the moment they become pieces of writing worth knowing.

Today I started the first scene of a new story. As I write this now I have done 508 words on it. I might do some more later.

I have also extracted 44 different pieces of writing from a trashed folder. I put them back into a folder where I can access them. Pieces of fiction, almost finished short stories, novel plot lines and other ideas. Stuff that can become stuff if I continue writing on them. I can’t finish all 44 at once. I might never finish most of them. But I have them back on the table to work on when they want some working on.


Today, I have written:

  • Fiction: 500 words
  • Blog Post: 500 words
  • Journal: 850 words

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I did not worry about genre fiction until I tried to finish and publish a story—and try to make money with the effort. And what I got from worrying about it was not a whole lot of productive at all.

Reading around about what writers (and publishers) worry about you would think a couple of strange things about genre. Things such as that genre was pre-ordained at the foundations of the universe and that you would unravel the space-time continuum if you would dare classify your story in the wrong category.

Poppycock!

Just the other day I found out that Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is classified as Urban Fantasy. Since I’ve read it I have always been thinking that it was a bloody good and entertaining story.

Honestly, genre is an artificial and contrived box placed around story and for the most part (to me) means absolutely nothing.

I know some people read Urban Fantasy and will not touch Supernatural Romance with a ten foot pike. Others will never mix their Sword and Sorcery with their Epic Fantasy and don’t you dare mess with their Cyberpunk or Gothic Steampunk Revival Porn.

The headache really starts if you begin to try and figure out if that Japanese vampire is turning your cyborg story into Space Opera Romance or Urban Fantasy. Though, adding some fairies and a reptilian shapeshifter with a Nazi zombie is very likely pushing it into Bizarro territory.

Some people (readers, writers, publishers and other plebs) would fight the boundaries of genre tooth and nail. Some people just don’t care.

For me, I’m leaning to the ‘why bother’ side. Never mind how much I hate thinking outside the box the thing of the genre box is is that creativity is implicitly outside of it. Which basically means that I prefer to think of, write and read story, rather than genre.

As in, do I like this story? Am I being pulled along and am I enjoying the ride? Am I being scared, thrilled, amazed or entertained?

Beyond that, who cares what it is.


Writing Blurb

Today I have written quite a bit of fiction. About a thousand words. Picking up a story after the whole family had been taken out for two days by a stomach bug. I am dallying with the idea of reporting on my writing progress more regularly. Mostly for my own satisfaction. Consider this a trial run.

So, today (Saturday 12 July 2014) I’ve written:

  • Fiction: 1000 words
  • Blog posts: 400 words

But the day is not done so this might change. Or not.

Sorry, no free story today

by Gerhi Feuren on 24 April 2014

The Priest, the Astronaut and the Caveman coverFor the past twelve weeks I have published a free to read short story here every fortnight. Exactly what does that mean? I have to look it up.

Well, Wikipedia says:

A fortnight is a unit of time equal to 14 days (2 weeks). The word derives from the Old English: fêowertyne niht, meaning “fourteen nights”.

With that settled, where is today’s story?

Uhm, not coming. Today I am not doing the same. I have published another story but I cannot put it up here for free. You see, I went a bit exclusive on this one.

It is called Kindle Select. Not that I’m select, it is there word for the thing. Basically it means that I publish something electronically on Amazon Kindle and tick the box that says Select and then it is available through a whole other distribution channel inside Amazon.

The idea is, or mine for this one story, is that I will be able to get new readers for my fiction which I won’t normally get. Amazon Select subscribers can borrow my story and read it for free as long as it is on there and for every story downloaded I get a percentage of money from a global pot.

Not that I expect to make much money. My aim is to gain some readers, and with that some traction, any kind of traction for my other stories. Where does the concept traction come from?

A definition on The Neighborhood Entrepreneur says traction is:

“… a measure of how well a startup is delivering its business model and how well its target demographic is accepting that business model.”

Meaning, in my world, how good am I at getting stories to readers and how are they liking them stories.

To say the least, my traction so far is abysmal.

Abysmal as in: “extremely or hopelessly bad or severe.”

So, the The Priest, the Astronaut and the Caveman is the seventh story I have published (re-published) this year and it is available on Amazon Kindle. And because of Select, only there (for now).

I published it there late last week and just checked if it made any difference to my traction. And it hasn’t. That is nothing, nada, zip, bugger-all. All ways of saying less than something, or “free” which is what my fortnightly fiction was so far.

So for some keyword traction, if that may help, I have a science fiction short story on Kindle Select. You Select fellows can read it for free. Give it a try. For all the others, please buy it, It won’t hurt, at least not my pocket.

What kind of people has a wedding on a Monday?

by Gerhi Feuren on 21 April 2014

I’m not asking about those people that have to do it and end up in front of a Magistrate. I am mean the people who sat down and made a decision and planned a do it on a Monday. With the cheesy invite and a guest list and the whole shebang.

When I was small weddings were on Saturdays. Predictably and sensibly. Sometimes in the morning but mostly in the afternoon so that the thing becomes an evening affair.

A rigth and proper bash so that the children fall asleep under the tables and the adults slosh around on the dance floor and the bride and groom leaves when everybody is bleary eyed.

Not that the bride and groom is not bleary eyed to start with. With a good wedding the bride should throw up before the ceremony and the groom should collapse half way through. Wearing too tight shoes can do that to you.

But a wedding on a Monday? During the day when it is bright and sunny? It just does not seem right.

Some Saturdays can suck. If you booked your day to coincide with a major (or any) sporting event. But you had no choice because last week was a valentine’s ball and next week a vacuum cleaner conference. So, half your guests will be hanging onto a screen somewhere watching a bunch of guys standing around on a large lawn, batting a small ball about every couple of minutes.

At least if you have it on a Monday you will only have the people there who really want to be there. The rest will be at work. Which will make it much cheaper too with less guests. And no staff workign overtime.

Unless you are stupid enough to plan it for a public holiday of course. Like today.

Then everybody can come because it is a family day.

Congratulations if you have a wedding on today. May your whole family be there to make it great for you.

Price reduction or A tip of my own

by Gerhi Feuren on 14 April 2014

The Bigger Tipper coverI have been publishing my short stories at a uniform $2.99 each. That is in dollar, it works out differently in other currencies. I price them there because I think it is a fair price.

But as an experiment, a favour, a tip and a promotion I am dropping the price of one of my stories to 99 cents.

So, The Bigger Tipper is now available for $0.99 (or whatever the dollar equivalent wherever in the world).

More about The Bigger Tipper

Fortnightly Free Fiction: Grizzle & Bone

by Gerhi Feuren on 9 April 2014

Grizzle & Bone coverShaw Peel is under pressure. His wife, Minky, is bringing her boss home for supper and his stew, using a secret family recipe, takes a whole day to prepare. Will Shaw get the stew done and will Crippen, the talking werecat, be a help or a hindrance?

Shaw Peel is a dutiful stay at home husband with a dark hobby, and not only because his kitchen is in the basement.

Crippen, the werecat has an acidic personality and a sharp wit. And gets on Shaw’s nerves. How will Shaw cope with everything that needs to get done?

Grizzle & Bone by Gerhi Feuren was available to read here for free for two weeks. It is also available to purchase available to purchase on Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords, and other e-bookstores.

Fortnightly Free Fiction: Clywick’s ReMembering

by Gerhi Feuren on 26 March 2014

Clywick's ReMembering coverWhat if you did not win a boatload of cash, but rather a total body make-over in the lotto? But not just an external make-over but a total re-sequencing of your genetic material?

Of course this type of treatment would be horrifically expensive. Which is why the lottery makes sense. To give everybody a fighting chance. But what if some of the results of the genetic re-sequencing is unpredictable, very much a question of chance, like uhm … playing the lotto?

In the short science fiction story Clywick’s ReMembering an ordinary handyman wins the lotto and gets a whole lot more than what he bargained for.

Clywick’s ReMembering by Gerhi Feuren was available to read here for free for two weeks. It is also available to purchase on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Lelivro, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and other e-bookstores.