Thursday, February 16, 2017
In two weeks (give or tale a few days) I will have wrapped the current novel I'm working on, a thriller for Macmillan. I'm working with the same great editor for whom I wrote STAY. It's been awesome.
I'm looking forward to wrapping it up so I can pivot to the next project. I'm contracted for a comic book thingy, so I'll be working on that obviously, but I need at least one more project and can't decide between a few choices ... all of which I'm excited about. Part of me wants to juggle all of them, but I took my lumps learning a guy can get burned out trying to do too much too fast. And old man Gischler needs his sleep.
Some of these things are "wait and see" projects ... meaning that I'm excited about them creatively, but I'd need to wait and see if they actually turned into anything. For example, I had a nice call with a producer about a week ago, and she suggested I write a TV pilot to show as a sample. I'm keen to try this, but it's not the sort of thing that'll put food on the table ... I mean, maybe down the road, but not immediately. Another filmmaker and I have hatched a plan to come up with an idea that can be shot on an ultra low budget but still look like a "real movie" ... as opposed to something middle school kids shot in the backyard with smartphone cameras. I'm writing a page here and there. I'd love to get on a roll and finish the thing. But again ... a "wait and see" project.
So ... yeah. I want to work those things into my schedule. I'm excited about them. But I also need to pay the mortgage.
Obviously, I need to be working on a novel, and at the moment, the main chunk of my enthusiasm is still for the fantasy genre. Part of me wants the clean slate of a whole new world and cast of characters, and I already have an awesome idea and three chapters. But the Ink Mage books have reached a lot of readers, and I'm equally excited to return to the World of Helva for more adventures. I invested a good bit of creativity thinking up the system for the tattoo magic, and I feel there's more there to be mined.
So. That's what I've been stewing on. I guess I'll know in about 2 weeks what I've decided.
Or think up nine new ideas and try to write them all and explode.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
So I'm pulling together some thoughts from a previous blog post and some stuff I was talking about on Facebook ...
I mentioned before that I'd created a lot of stress for myself by not saying NO to offers of work. I mean, when you pay the bills as a freelance writer, you never know where that next paycheck is coming from, so you take all the work you can get. The result is that there was a time I was juggling a lot of comic book and novel projects and just simply burning myself out. I felt pretty frazzled. I'm at the point now where I'm doing less, balancing things better, and this situation has led me to be more disciplined about sitting down every day and routinely hitting my word-count goals with seeming ease.
The appropriate reaction to the above revelation is "No shit, Sherlock."
I guess hindsight really is 20-20 because I find myself wondering why I haven't been doing this all along. It's early in 2017 and I have a thriller due in March. There was a time I might have been worried about that. No longer. At a thousand words a day (the minimum goal I've set for myself ... I write more if the flow is good) it's not a problem, and I know it's not a problem because the math is so simple even I can do it. I've built in a certain number of "life gets in the way" days, but other than that the strategy is ridiculously simple, sit down and write and do not stop until you get those thousand words. Period. Well, yes, I can get up to go to the bathroom or make another pot of coffee, but you know what I mean. In the swirling chaotic vortex my life had become juggling so many deadlines on multiple projects I'd forgotten this simple process: Sit down at computer. Write. Wake up the next day and repeat.
The most embarrassing thing, I suppose, is that I'd forgotten the advice I'd given to so many others. A pal of mine made a spreadsheet to keep track of our words during an informal NaNoWriMo contest. The simple act of looking at the small word count each day but then seeing how it all added up at the end of the month made me rediscover the cliche but true bumper sticker advice that slow and steady wins the race.
So when I turn in my novel in March, I'll probably give myself a week of beer swilling and TV binge watching and generally not writing. But then I'll be right back to work, a thousand words a day. If I can't knock out two more novels in 2017, then I'm not doing it right.
Friday, December 30, 2016
So here comes 2017. What is it I want exactly out of the coming year?
First, some obvious things. Like be healthier. I am signed up to run two 5K races (with a third likely as soon as registration opens) so my hope is that with these races looking me in the face, I'll actually "train" ... meaning get off my fat ass a few times a week and ease off the potato chips.
A more difficult question is what exactly is next for my writing career? As a writer, I usually have to strike some kind of balance between "the projects that currently excite me" and "the projects that pay the mortgage." Sometimes I'm fortunate when these things coincide. If you know me, then you know I juggle novel writing and comic book scripting. I'm also dabbling in screenwriting, and while there are some glimmers of optimism on the horizon, I'm not counting screenwriting as significantly contributing to my income.
I will also continue to throttle back on comic book work. One of the reasons for this is that comic book publishers are not exactly ringing my phone off the hook with offers ... although the fact is I'm not calling them either. Don't get me wrong, if DC called and said they really needed me to do Batman ... But that's not happening, and that's fine because the only comic book work I'm really eager about is some creator-owned stuff. For example:
Will we have some more of that? I think so. Stay tuned.
But mostly, I will be moving back toward novels. I love the "team effort" of comic book writing, but often getting an artist and colorist and letterer all together only to find that certain publishers want you to pitch but prefer to pick their own artists ... ugh. It can be a headache.
My fantasy trilogy A Fire Beneath the Skin has reached more readers than all of my other novels put together. (I haven't actually run the numbers on this ... but it's close.) Furthermore, fantasy is where my head is right now. So it's a no-brainer that I would continue to write in this genre. The one thing I'm struggling with is if I should return to the world I created for my trilogy and write more Ink Mage stories ... or if I should start with a clean slate on something else. I just don't know yet, but I'll need to figure it out soon.
And of course I'll be writing other things too. I'm fortunate to be able to write for a living, but I'm not one of those authors that can leisurely work on one book at a time. I need to have other irons in the fire at all times. I'm currently grinding hard to deliver a thriller, and I will be looking ahead to the next thing even as I'm writing my next fantasy novel. I have a handful of things optioned, so there's always the chance of some giant Hollywood check ... in which case why would I write anything I didn't want to? But experience has taught me not to hold my breath for such things. Who knows?
In the meantime, I need to think fast about what's next. The novel I'm currently working on will be done soon. And then ...?
Friday, November 25, 2016
It's that time again, when Americans rise from their turkey comas to fling themselves into the deadly embrace of Black Friday. If YouTube videos of previous Back Fridays are any indication, many of you will not survive. Imagine being one of the lucky few to make it through unscathed only to return home and realize you forgot a gift for some uncle or cousin. You don't want to go back out there, do you?
The answer? eBooks. That's right, from the comfort and safety of your home, you can gift one of my books to that friend or relation with a Kindle or other reading device.
The cost of my FANTASY TRILOGY is far, far less expensive than the average Lexus.
Prefer something gritty and hard-boiled? Then try my first novel Gun Monkeys!
Prefer something strange and offensive? Then grab yourself a copy of Gestapo Mars!
Comics? Perhaps my B-Movie creator-owned Sally of the Wasteland is what you need.
The above is a selection. There's plenty more. And since writing is how I pay the bills, I feel like I need to go all carnival barker once in a while. Hopefully you've been inspired to give the gift of reading.
Good shopping, and happy holidays!
Saturday, November 12, 2016
I HAVE ...
Been around the world. Twice.
Written for Marvel Comics.
Gained too much weight.
Been guest of honor at a convention.
Broken my collar bone.
Been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.
Beered myself "around the world" at Epcot.
Been to the top of the Tower of Pisa.
Earned a PhD in English.
Seen a moose in the wild.
Seen Warren Zevon in concert.
Reluctantly made myself into a morning person.
Run a 5K.
Had surgery after an automobile accident.
Been an extra in a movie.
Read Lord of the Rings multiple times.
Met Joss Whedon.
Ridden a horse on an Alaskan Mountain trail.
Been on a chase team for a hot air balloon.
I'VE NEVER ...
Been south of the equator.
Written for DC Comics.
Won any of the awards I've been nominated for.
Flown in a helicopter.
Ridden Expedition Everest.
Learned to tune a guitar.
Been white water rafting.
Been selected for jury duty.
Had a cavity.
Been scuba diving.
Made "beer can chicken" on the grill.
Seen the film Sophie's Choice.
Been to C2 E2.
Played Pokemon Go.
Had a perm.
Served in the military.
Contributed money to a political party.
So ... okay. That's twenty in each category. If you take the I HAVE / I'VE NEVER challenge, leave a link in the comments so we can check it out.