Sunday, July 6, 2008

Why Write?

I find that creative acts, over the long term, give more lasting satisfaction than non-creative acts. For this I have no explanation; I simply take it as a given of my psychology. Two exceptions to this rule exist. The first is reading. I love to read and do it close to compulsively. Literal years can go by without a single day in which I haven't read for at least a half hour. The second exception is finding things out. I'm insatiably curious about a wide range of stuff. Add these three things together, and one can immediately understand why writing is an excellent thing for me to do. It is a creative endeavor that allows me to make constructive use of my constant reading and curiosity.

So, why haven't I written more? Why in the past did I always give up? Depression, anxiety, fear, weariness, self doubt--all have knocked me off course. However, a few things have changed over the last few years. One, the Web now makes it possible for anyone to share his or her work without gatekeepers. Two, I've been on antidepressants long enough that many of my negative emotions are under control. Three, Alexandra Erin has pointed the way. (If Ms. Erin happens to read this, thank you.)

Alexandra Erin, by her example, has demonstrated that fiction writers on the Web can both find an audience and get paid for their work. Some people disparage pecuniary considerations, but I don't. For one, getting paid for an endeavor allows one to spend more time doing it. There are only so many hours in a day, so many days in a life. For another, as a first approximation, people are willing to pay for what they value. (Yes, there are exceptions. That's why I called it a "first approximation" and not an absolute truth.) Money is a sincere compliment and indisputable evidence of value received.

Therefore, there are a few things I want to accomplish with my writing. One, I want to improve my craft, because skill in itself creates satisfaction. Two, I want to find an audience of reasonable size. Three, I want to make some income from writing. Ultimately, I suppose the dream is to make enough income from writing to support myself. Can I do these things? I have no idea, but managing to complete the first volume of Magician's Merger was a significant step.

Volume one was highly educational. I learned that discouragement and lack of inspiration pass with rest. I believe my skill grew as I wrote, and I learned what it takes to complete a novel-length work. It also felt good and continues to feel good. I suggest that anyone who dreams about writing just grab a free website and start writing and posting. Nothing else will teach you more, and it helps you get over the fear of rejection. If it's your first work, don't worry about giving it away for free. It's unlikely to be a masterpiece. Just think of it as an educational expense.

I purposefully didn't put up a donation button for the first volume of Magician's Merger. I wasn't about to ask people for payment for something I might not even finish, and I figured that reading and constructive comments were plenty of payment for the efforts of a beginner. (The advertising on my site brought in only a small amount of money, which I simply rolled into advertising for my site.) For volume two, I'm going to put up a couple of donation buttons and see what happens.

If I see my audience growing and a stream of money proportional to audience size starts coming in, it will be evidence that my work is of value to others. That would encourage me to continue. If the audience doesn't grow and people don't find my fiction of value, that will tell me something, too. (If you like my work, don't worry. I just want to see some growth and some income for my second effort. I think my expectations are realistic.)

Anyway, at this point in my skill development, it seems that volume two is going to have to continue in a highly serialized manner, with maybe one or two major story arcs along the way. I've been doing a lot of thinking and research while trying to develop a tighter plot, and I haven't been able to do it. I hope to develop that skill as I continue writing, but thus far, I don't have it.

I've also decided to post all of volume two as a serial on BlogSpot before I post it all at once on Storiesonline. That, I hope, will bring more eyes to my donation buttons and advertisements. It will also help me find and eliminate mistakes before I subject my work to the Storiesonline rating system.

Thanks for reading.

15 comments:

Warlord said...

Greetings

Keep writing!

It is a 'muscle' that responds to frequent exercise.

I enjoyed Magician Merger and am looking forward to the next volume.

I love serialized release of chapters, it builds traffic and interest as the narrative builds to climax One suggestion, I'd still release the story on SOL as a serial just to keep it from getting lost

Maybe post a couple weekly chapters on Blog then weekly at Stories but with lag that allows for catching major issues but still uses SOL to drive traffic to your blog.

Just a thought, it matters not the mechanicsjust keep the words flowing

Enjoy the journey

WarLord

Xenophon Hendrix said...

Warlord, coincidentally, I finished reading the first five chapters of Blood and Iron last night. I was enjoying the story, but then it stopped.

Gia said...

Solid conclusions! I eagerly anticipate Volume 2!

Xenophon Hendrix said...

I meant the first twelve chapters, above.

excelerent said...

I personally would be more than willing to donate, your work is excellent!

Warlord said...

Greetings

Its up to 13 chapters before I paused to sort out some issues

Here is where I'm hanging out lately [url=http://www.sultryangel.com/index.php?board=74.0]Sultry Angel WarLord[/url]

Has my latest stories plus a couple story stubs

Enjoy and do keep writing

Enjoy the journey

Amanda Cast said...

Ooo....

I was thinking that I would love to see some side story or short story involving Mary. I think she's my favorite.

I really want her to magically own someone's rear end.

rabababa said...

How is volume 2 coming along? Eager readers salivate longingly.

Xenophon Hendrix said...

I'm doing some research, thinking, letting my subconscious earn its keep.

I'm also weighing some ethical issues. Ursus is certainly going to consider the wider implications of his plans.

Then there is poor Arthur. Just how badly am I going to kick him around?

Anonymous said...

I have very much enjoyed the story so far, Xenophon.

I have one suggestion and that is to add a prologue with Ursus doing something spectacular. If many readers are like me then they will only read a chapter or two before deciding whether to read on and your first chapter is not that eye-catching. Also If you write in the occasional flashback then you provide evidence of a big plot line some way down the line.

Looking forward to the next volume in any case.

Moridain said...

I have to say, to the last post, that U does do something impressive. Its not many people that can, while dead, search all known Nodes, modify a woman to be fertile and then create a body to his specs attaching his own memories.

Beats the crap out of a fireball. ;)

Looking forward to your story continuing. And I think you are right pondering the Ethical issues. It would be far too easy for U to completely screw up Arthur 'for his own good'.

Stormy said...

Sorry – I couldn’t find your email address. This is Grace from Wibbly Press and I’m doing a series of interviews with serial authors, and was wondering if you’d like to take part. If you’d like to, or more information, please contact me at admin@wibblypress.net.

Chris Poirier said...

Hi Xenophon -- couldn't find an email address for, so I'm going to leave a comment for you here. Feel free to delete it once you've read it.

Just yesterday, we opened webfictionguide.com, a listing of online fiction run mostly by authors of online fiction as a service to the community. One of our editors had read Magician's Merger and created a listing for it. Unfortunately, in the rush to get things open, we forgot to get your permission to use your description text.

You can find the listing here:
http://webfictionguide.com/listings/alphabetical/magicians-merger/

Please have a look. If you'd like either the description text or the screenshot replaced, please let us know.

Thanks!

Chris Poirier (feedback at webfictionguide.com)

Belial666 said...

Greetings

Apparently, joking may not carry very well on the internet. I've just been informed that my reply to one of your comments in my own story could be viewed as offencive. I never realised it might come across as such at the time an I've been trying to contant you with my apologies.

As for your story, I've just read a few chapters and I've got to say it is a very well-written piece. Keep up the good work.

Sam said...

Hello, XH
how are things going? Haven't seen any new blog entries recently, and was curious. Are you writing new stuff? Taking it easy for the summer? Reading some interesting new fiction, on-line or off?