1. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Marshipan 2021

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by marshipan, Dec 26, 2020.

    I think 2021 will be good. I've laid groundwork and plan to stick to only one pen name. I've established myself a little in my niche, have begun to find what I'll specialize in compared to what other authors offer in the niche. Each of my books seem to do better than the last and I've got a good grasp on what seems to sell more easily.

    So, goals!

    Books: I plan to publish 6 books. Which is less than last year but these books will be longer and so I may end up publishing the same amount of words. I'm not planning to start any series this year. Lucky (book I plan to publish 2021) was originally planned as a trilogy and I'm unsure I can successfully turn it into a single book though. Planned order (liable to change):

    Blood Asylum - February. Vampire horror romance.

    Her Demon 2 - sequel! Agh I'm nervous about that.

    Lucky - the first book I ever finished! Needs a total rewrite and new outline but otherwise this story/characters/etc is known. About a thrill seeking leprechaun who has her luck taken away while an unruly, powerful irish sidhe is after her.

    Thrillher - Female lead is trying to find a serial killer who is obsessed with her. Dark and gritty.

    Undecided
    Undecided


    Writing: I want to move towards outlining more heavily. Just bought a book on outlining, think it's called Take Your Pants Off.
    I'm getting a better idea at what I do well and I've been trying to bring those things to the forefront with each book. Example, dialogue. Witty banter I guess it's what it would be called. With my last book I made sure to push more dialogue into the scenes and I think that worked out well.
    Want to also get better at my niche specifically and I'm still not exactly sure what tone I should stick with or if I even have to.

    Publishing: start a website, newsletter, and Facebook group. Start using promo sites. Start charging more for the books this year. From 2.99 to 3.99 to 4.99.

    Money: I need to make more this year to justify to myself how much time I'm giving this. I want three figure months to turn into four figure ones. This year will be a determining year. If I don't make the progress I think I will, then 2022 I'll consider throttling time spent doing this.

    ---

    So "Blood Asylum" is already on pre-order and has a first draft outline. I've already sold over double the pre-orders on this book than any of my others, and 3x the royalties since it's priced higher than my other stuff. I think it'll be fairly successful as long as I write it right. I'm feeling confident about this book though! I'm also hoping to write in a secondary character that I could focus on in a "sequel" of sorts if this book does really well.

    I also plan to do a lot more, marketing wise, with this book than others so I've got a lot to do in anticipation for release in hopefully February.

    First, this weekend I'm going to re-edit and re-format my Christmas book. I'm going to go ahead and make the paperback for it too so that I can add it to my shelf.

    I'm also going to read Take Your Pants Off so that next week I can re-outline. I'm very excited to write a book with a solid outline.
     
  2. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    My Christmas book has been re-edited, reformatted, and I put together a paperback. It performed better than I expected in it's first week and the reception was really great. Since Christmas though, it's dropped off in rank quite a bit. So in the end I do think it was a bit limited by it's holiday theme (plus I saw multiple people say as much in fb groups). I figure I'd run deals on it near Christmas every year and hope to see a surge of interest. I'm pretty happy though. I knew what to expect going into this project but wanted to write something easier to get my head back on right after my last big project.

    Have only just started reading Take Your Pants Off but I like the direction it's taking. The plan this week is just working on the outline. My hope is that with a good outline, the first draft will be very straightforward and the base writing will even be a bit more complex since there will be minimal "discovery" writing.

    Blood Asylum I anticipate to be my longest story yet but with the outline I hope the first draft will take 4 weeks.
     
  3. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Not much to report. Made it through the first half of the outlining book I'm reading (was about setting the book up with the characters' journeys, theme, and etc) and finally getting to the meaty plot outlining part.

    I feel like I'm strong arming myself to thoroughly outline and the deeper I get the more unsure I am. I think I'll have to fall back on "one act at a time" like I've done before. I personally find that the only manageable way to outline. So once I'm complete with Act 1, I'm going to start writing. Then once that's written I'll take a break to make an outline of Act 2.

    I'm not rushing through outlining like I normally do. I really want to think it all over and make every scene satisfying. That was the big trouble with Christmas Elf and why I had to start over the final time--scenes were becoming a pointless point A to point B that weren't very satisfying. Every chapter/scene needs to offer something gratifying and propel the plot/relationships forward.

    That said, I need to understand how I want each part to end in the book so that I can understand what I'm striving towards with my scenes.
     
  4. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Lots of good progress. Made a playlist. Made an inspiration list for some of the characters and relationships. I've got a theme and goals.

    Anyway, I'm glad to be doing this part of story planning. I never realized issues with creating gratifying scenes was an issue of character and not plot. I'm feeling good about this.

    Today I'm working on the plot for act one. I've started developing it but it needs to be reworked.

    I've already decided to change my publishing order for 2021. Trying to make better marketing choices instead of what I think I should do or want to do. Since I know this next book is going to be fairly successful I need an easy one click pre order option for the following book. Which is not a sequel to a book not many people have read (Her Demon 2). I'm leaning towards writing something contemporary instead of paranormal, a stand alone, forbidden themes, and hopefully shorter.
     
  5. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Reading this outlining book overwhelms me sometimes. I've internalized, or at least memorized, the standard plot structure and requirements for a romance. I've studied my sub genre and niche and this specific niche setting... And now I'm reading a book that asks me to visualize it all on yet another level... (Hero's journey)

    Organized thought is not my forte (unmedicated a.d.d.) and so I think I'll have to take this book in, in small doses between actually writing or else everything is far too abstract and ends up a melted banana split in my head--ice cream flavors all mixed together and toppings drowning in the goo.

    So I've got an outline for act one. Some scenes I'm more confident in than others but at this point i need to start getting scenes on paper to help with thought organization. Plus, writing inspires the next scene to develop more fully.
     
  6. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Happy New Year!

    I'm starting the first draft today!

    Opening: FMC is slinking around her therapist's house, having decided to upgrade her obsession to stalking. She instead finds a bunch of dead bodies and him killing someone else. She gets caught, which forces her therapist to enact a plan to have her forcibly committed. And oh yeah, he's a vampire.

    Goals for this part: introduce two main characters and their messed up relationship, introduce the major flaws of both these characters, establish tone, set up for "inciting event".

    I've actually written this scene twice before. See, Blood Asylum was actually something I anticipated writing and publishing June 2020 but placed on the backburner when I realized I still had a lot to learn. I'm approaching it very differently this time and so the writing is changing a lot.


    Anyway, no word goal for today. I just want to work through this opening, so however many words that takes.
     
  7. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    Darn it, I was too slow getting here. I wanted to be that annoying guy that writes "First!" when you opened your new thread.
    That, or make an elf joke about those ears of yours! *winks*

    Good luck with those 6 books Marshi, it's nice to see you changing things up to try and maximize each book's release.
     
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  8. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    @Steve Rivers Well, you are the first one to comment, so you'll always have that. ;)

    ---

    Blood Asylum: 5k

    Not sure how I feel about the first chapter but I suppose that's destined to be my response on a first chapter first draft. I feel like they can only get punchy once you've become more acquainted writing the characters. I mean, not always... I have one book where the first chapter is solid and then it all went to shit after that. ANYWAY, I've also started the second chapter. I should mention some of what I accomplished today was pre-written. So instead of actually having a meaty word count, I mostly just grimaced at pre-written paragraphs for several hours. :agreed:

    I'll probably write through the weekend because I'm restrained to floundering around the house (bruised my coccyx on the infamous rollerblades... there's a lesson here and I guess it's don't be coccy when you're still learning).

    Next up... Chapter Two is the inciting event. She wakes up in the dreaded Asylum where she finds out she's been forcible committed and isn't getting out anytime soon. [Her main outward struggle for the rest of the book is getting out.] So, her therapist is one of the doctor's on staff here and orchestrated this (he explains). Plans to keep her there forever pretty much. This is a very toxic relationship, obviously. Anyway, I think this will be a good lead up to her throwing an epic, crazy person fit in the main room which should be good for some laughs or something like that... :bigconfused:

    But yeah, the explosion/fit is a new idea but I like it because it's exciting and could result in her put in some type of solitary padded cell in the basement where she meets another main character who is always kept down there... and also, she potentially becomes aware that there is more going on here than just normal mental hospital things. Like secret, illegal things...:whistle:
     
  9. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Blood Asylum: 8k

    And it took forever! My mind couldn't stay focused. it's been nearly two weeks since I was regularly writing/editing and first drafts are hard. However, I do feel like I'm getting more into the jive.

    Made some changes to the scene because it made sense and because it was starting to feel like I was just going from point a to b and not enjoying the flow. It's better now.
     
  10. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    I've been struggling to focus on my current scene the past two days and today it's become clear the scene I'm trying to muscle through sucks. There is too much information that is being exchanged. Three big things that need to be revealed in three separate scenes but I'm failing to come up with interesting scene ideas at the moment... Not really much I can do but about that except ruminate.

    I'm not feeling inspired by this story suddenly. I've been really excited about it for a while but now I'm straining to "get it". I think I've been a little too focused on market success/reader expectations. It's brought distance between me and the story. I keep running into this issue and I think it's because when I publish a book, that's when I watch how readers react to it, how it does in the market, how I can improve, etc. However, I need to then turn that focus off when I get to writing the next project.
     
  11. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    New project idea (don't judge me). I'm going to write a sequel of sorts for the first book I published march 2020 (pen name 1). That book has been my best performing of all, bringing me a steady amount each month and maintaining it's rank. So what I'm going to do, is write a book for one of the side characters. Also, I'm going to insert the niche from my newest pen name (reverse harem) because I'm wondering if that will help it have even more success than the first one. I'm hoping to broaden my market. I've been thinking of doing this for a while but now I finally have a solid story idea and have written a loosey-goosey first chapter and then a short description of what's to come.

    Great news too, I've decided to use both pen names on the book as "co-authors" and I'm pretty pleased with that (two markets, two "fan-bases", and attracts readers to almost my entire published collection of books). This also means I'm breaking no promises about sticking with the recent pen name, haha!

    Could also offer the first book at a discount when I publish the new one.

    I'm excited about this idea! It's the best of both worlds. Now the question remains... what to concentrate on! Oh boy, I know the answer to that but I'm afraid my muse doesn't. So, on to the project I'm supposed to be working on right now...

    Blood Asylum: 7.4k

    Alright, I've got an idea for a scene. Took out (but saved) the sucky scene, which had about 2k. Now I'm going to go for the new scene which will be sort of an orientation type of thing for her. This asylum doesn't really get new people all that often so I'm trying to imagine all the overzealous and weird interest others might have with her arrival.

    Despite what I just said above, I really am going to stick with this one and finish it first before working too much on other things. I've already learned my lesson about taking breaks from books already on pre-order. "Oh the publish date is so far away, I have time for *new project*!" I was so young and naive back in August.
     
  12. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That's a heck of a lot for 2021!

    I'm impressed.

    What's the name of the book you have published?
     
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  13. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    The one I'm talking about in the last post is: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084KR
    Started to reread it today and my gosh, it needs more editing. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
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  14. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    I wrote about 2k for the new story idea and finally feel that's enough of the concept down to move back to my main current project.

    Back on the wagon today, or at least clutching the side and trying to jump in as it moves along. My eldest is back in school and I'm about two minutes away from starting some pomodoro sessions. I'm not confident that what I'll write will be quality but I think I just have to accept some discovery writing in the beginning. I have to settle into the new characters before I can really play around with them. So... here I go! ...:confused:
     
  15. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    You're... making tomato sauce?
     
  16. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    I don't even know why they call it that. It's a time management technique. Usually you time 25 minutes of zero distraction work time followed by a short 5 minute break for distractions/bathroom break/snacks. It helps me a lot when I'm having focus issues and keeping my day in order. Which is important because I've still got a child at home. Throughout the day I trade off responsibilities with my partner concerning that. It's best I don't have a lot of wasted time sitting in front of the computer child-free, so cutting out my ability to check websites is helpful. I installed a chrome extension that will block any websites I tell it to while the work timer is on.
     
  17. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Yesterday was rather half-assed but at least I went through the motions. Today I'm starting early. I've decided that for now my goal is time instead of word counts. Three hours is what I'm going for today. With my last book I liked breaking that up into two 1.5 hour sessions (pomodoro style: 25 on, 5 off, x3) with a long break between them.
     
  18. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Wrote about 3k of that, the rest was pre-written material. Love when that happens. I've introduced all the characters now. It's coming along.
     
  19. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Have finally started writing chapters in the other main characters' POVs. Getting closer to the end of Act 1. All the characters have now interacted with one another and I feel like that is a big step towards feeling like I'm finally in the story and not just stumbling through the beginning hook.

    I've also made a decision about one of the character's arcs (the therapist). He's going to have a fall from grace, going from doctor to patient in the asylum later in the story.
     
  20. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    I've done some thinking this weekend. I have a much better understanding of the therapist and FMC relationship, as far as betrayal and redemption. At first I was trying to lighten the betrayal but I've realized it will be a more satisfying read if I don't lighten it. Will need to do some finagling to the first act to get this right in this respect. I've also got an idea for the therapists downfall (the start of his redemption).

    Certainly not feeling like writing this morning but usually if I just press the pomodoro timer it'll get me putting words on the page. The immediate task is writing the next chapter. Which should be about the end of the first act. After I finish that I want to go back and fix up everything now that I've grasped everything a lot better.

    Edit--

    Blood Asylum: 21k

    Got through the final chapter of act one. Like I said, I want to go back over the entire act before moving forward. It's pretty sloppy and I know all my goals/aims now for this section. Then I want to attempt a plot outline for Act 2. Don't have a timeline for that. Just going with the flow and trying to stick with my 3 hour goal mon-fri. I've apparently another 1.5 hours left today so I'll start in on act one reading/edits/whatever after I laze around. The heater makes me tired.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
  21. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    After rereading chapter one I decided to do a full rewrite of it. It was a mess. I hated where it started, I hated the strange shifts in tone and personality of the fmc, and hated some other stuff too. It was a Frankenstein of old material that I'd attempted to caress into something good. My caressing ability proved subpar.

    It originally started with the FMC sneaking up to her therapists house with her inner thoughts revealing her obsession and talking about all the physical details of her therapist. Aka me trying to hide the fact I was shoving exposition in the first couple pages. Now it starts with her standing in a walk-in cooler with several dead bodies swinging on meat hooks and her pretty much thinking "oh shit my therapist is a serial killer". I fully believe starting a story in as much action as possible. Also, before she didn't really have any time to be concerned about getting caught. Now, I'm adding that in because it really should be in there. It adds urgency. Why would I deny my story urgency?? :confused:

    There are likely to be other big changes to the first act. I've considered a flashback chapter for one of the MMCs. Then the freak out scene where the FMC goes crazy was very glossed over and not very fun. Then the second scene with the therapist is weird.
     
  22. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Chapter one rewrite is complete for now. Chapter two and three is alright. Chapter four is a mess. It was a headache the first time I wrote it too because I keep trying to accomplish far too much in a single situation. I think I have an idea though. Since I've decided that this scene is making the FMC feel completely betrayed, I'm going to come at the scene differently. This scene should sting. It'll push her over the edge and lead to her snapped freak out right after. Originally I was trying to balance her love for him with the realization he'd screwed her over. Now I just need to accept that she'll currently hate him. Some black & white (aka love-hate) thinking would work well for her. I also want her feeling weak because that will drive her towards seeking help from others and therefore building bonds with them.

    Chapter five needs a lot of work too. It's the first interaction between MMC 1 and MMC 2 and it's weak. This is also where the freakout of the FMC happens and is also weak. Need to punch it all up and then throw some confetti.

    Chapter six, the last chapters of act one, is fine. I'll likely be done with this big edits tomorrow hopefully. Starting to wrap my head around what my goals are for act two.
     
  23. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Blood Asylum: 23.2k

    Which looks like it's less than it is because my first chapters word count is down after the rewrite. 3-4k today, or thereabouts. I've been questioning myself and hesitating a little too much lately so I just wrote what I felt like and didn't concern myself with wondering if it's the "best" next scene. Hoping to move forward with more of that mind frame.

    I did not continue with act one edits mostly because i didn't feel like it right now.
     
  24. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    I think I'll write through the weekend since I've been having a tough time maintaining momentum. Just an hour here and there, nothing crazy.

    Feeling a little depressed in general to be honest. Might affect my writing. Actually, it probably already is, hence me dragging my feet somberly each day to my word document.
     
  25. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Started the backstory for the therapist. Never really thought about it before, had always imagined him straight forward but now I've made it so he's not really who he says he is at all. Stolen identity and all that. I also gave him a secondary goal which made his being at the asylum make more sense. Time to work towards his downfall.

    I've come to realize and fully accept now that I am a comedic writer. When I try serious and dark I struggle for days. When I "let go" and write the stupid crap that makes me chuckle then I can write easily.

    So with that question answered I think I'll have a better time writing from now on and will stay away from dark and serious stuff mostly. I was thinking of trying my hand at a dark contemporary thriller this year but I may just have to skip that or at least revisualize as dark comedy. With Blood Asylum that is exactly what I'm trying to do, dark themes but lots of humourous moments.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021 at 8:42 PM

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