The Struggle To Get Back On Track

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After a productive April and May where I felt on top of the world and was knocking out words, I find myself stalling. Words are still finding their way to paper, and I’m down to two chapters on Descent; however, I’m not where I had envisioned myself being by July, and each and every word is a struggle to get down.

As with all things, I know this will pass, and until then, I aim to just push through. My ultimate goal is to have the last two chapters of Descent concluded by the end of this weekend. Then I hope to catch up on posts here, including a continuation of the Lessons for OUAT series, several book reviews, and more letter posts. I’m also hoping to launch a profile series of indie authors. If you are interested in being profiled, please reach out to me at the below contact form.

Hopefully, I’ll have a happier report at the end of July. Please wish me luck.

New Release And Sale

“A kid doesn’t belong on a military base.”

“Hard to say that, ma’am. Especially after what we saw last night,” Aquila responded, tone grim. “We may not all be gems, but I like to think what happened to that girl wouldn’t have happened here.”

“The Promise: A Heritage Verse Story” By S.M. Wright

Beginning May 29, a revised version of The Promise, the prequel novella to Heritage Lost that shows Katya’s life on Reznic prior to The Maelstrom, will be available for download on Amazon for 99 cents: https://amz.run/3EdL. This prequel novella will also be available for free to subscribers of my newsletter; simply sign up using this link, http://eepurl.com/g4lYwr, and wait for the welcome email — you might need to check your spam folder.

The Promise will be released on the Kindle May 29.

If you do sign up for my newsletter, rest assured that I will never spam your inbox. I aim to do a quarterly email, with the odd release email sent out from time to time. My newsletters will include exclusive content, news, writing tips, and more.

In addition to the new release, the Heritage Lost‘s e-book will also be on sale from May 27 (starting at 8 a.m. PT) through June 1 (ending at 11 p.m. PT) for $1.99 (normally, it is $4.99). If you’ve been wanting to dip into the Heritage Verse, now is the perfect opportunity to do so!

If you end up purchasing either story and enjoy them, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or wherever you prefer. Reviews are a major help to authors and can keep us going.

OUAT Writing Lessons: Concerning Plotting A Series

For a bit of fun, I thought it would be great to examine the TV series, Once Upon A Time, which, in my opinion, started strong before faltering in quality and becoming laden with oh-so-many plot holes, inconsistencies, disappearing characters, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I still love OUAT despite all its flaws. However, I thought it’d be fun to glean writing lessons from it. Even though a novelist doesn’t have all of the external factors that can plague a screenwriter or showrunner, such as actors leaving before your narratively ready for them to, there are still commonalities embedded in the simple act of telling a story. (Spoilers begin after this point.)

Continue reading

Self-publishing: What I’d Do Differently

I have previously written about my self-publishing journey: why I opted for this pathway and how I pursued it. Heritage Lost was my first full-length novel release, and as such, there was an immense learning curve that my short story releases couldn’t prepare me for. There are numerous things that I will do differently (as long as I don’t self-sabotage myself) with my next release.

Here are the top four elements of my release that I would do differently, especially now as I reflect about six months later.

No. 1: Better Time Management

I gravely miscalculated the amount of time that I would need to finish up the final polishing revisions, which pushed back the formatting of Heritage Lost and, in turn, the finished paperback cover as an official page count was needed to determine the spine’s dimensions. Yes, there were circumstances beyond my control–a death in the family–that greatly impacted my original plan of having everything wrapped up by the end of my vacation from the day job. However, if I’m being honest with myself, I should have had a larger dent done in the revisions even before my vacation.

Continue reading

Into the Heritage Verse: B is for Brek

She relinquished her grip, recoiling from the creature’s pinched and pulled face filled with sharp teeth that poked out at odd angles [. . .] Their faces (were) somewhat narrow with furrows around their jaws, flat noses. A large amount of body hair. — Heritage Lost, page 27-28

This mammalian species offers brute force to the Magistrate as one part of its elite special forces. Breks were made infamous by their role in the Re’alle Conflict, which resulted in the utter eradication of a fringe military group on-world, with some accusations of extensive collateral damage by those residing in Re’alle’s Low Country.

Breks are built with muscle and are both bipedal and quadrupedal.  Hair covers most of their bodies, except for their faces (much like gorillas). Like the other species who form the Magistrate’s elite special forces, much of what is known about them by the general populace is hearsay; however, they are known to be carnivorous. Continue reading

A Tardy April Recap

Marinus was a constant companion during Camp NaNoWriMo. Sometimes, he would even contribute to my manuscript.

Largely trapped at home, save for work, thanks to COVID-19 self-isolation, I did manage to get a lot of writing done during the month of April. I fell short of my 30,000 word count goal for Camp NaNoWriMo; however, I did come close to completing Descent‘s  rough draft. I am down to four chapters, according to the outline. So despite not hitting my marker, I will count April as a win because I can finally see the light at the end of the tower.

I reached some scenes I had been looking forward to for quite some time. I also got to write some new characters who I adore. I like to think I crafted some really great lines and scenes, but I’ve also had a lot of dark spirals into doubt and impostor syndrome. I try not to entertain such feelings, but it did latch in fairly hard, using the roughness of my draft to mock me. But as always, I know that sensation will pass. It only takes time. Continue reading

Into The Heritage Verse: A is Agoranomi

In Heritage Lost, one member of the Oneiroi’s Agoranomi–Kyros Anagnos–is introduced. The Oneiroi, who will be receiving their own entry once we reach “O,” are based loosely off Greek mythology, and so the Agoranomi also have their roots in Greece.  They were namely magistrates of the market where they maintained order and policy. Among their duties, they settled disputes, examined of the quality of the articles exposed for sale, inspected weights and measures, collected harbor dues, and enforced the shipping regulations.

When it comes to the Agoranomi of the Heritage Verse, their roles have evolved greatly over the decades from such domestic affairs to more wide-ranging tasks that are both on-world and galactic. This growth in role was spurred by the close relationship developed by the Oneiroi and the Res Publica de Magistratus, with the latter elevating the Agoranomi above other councils the Oneiroi had established. Continue reading

Of Francis de Sales, Chaos, Insanity, And Series Bibles

Full disclosure: I’m not Catholic, but I could really use the divine intervention of saint Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalists — I am both — to sort out the mess my series notes have become for the Heritage Verse, thus saving me from a madness of my own making.

When I wrote my fantasy series, I meticulously plotted out a series bible for it (a paper binder at the time). However, with my sci-fi novel, I have engaged in rather opprobrious cataloging efforts. I will have people remark when I’m explaining world-building elements that it’s pretty incredible the amount of information I have and they always ask how I keep it all straight. The answer? Very poorly. I’m trusting my brain too much to remember it all, and now as I’m diving into the sequel novel, I am finding that some information is slipping, meaning lost writing time as I have to pause and refresh.

And that is where a thorough series bible would come in handy. For those who are diving into series, series bibles really are essential. When you are world-building, there are so many details to keep track of, and without a series bible, some of those details are going to fall through the cracks. In my own experience recently, I am finding myself going back through my published book more than I thought I would need, and it would just be so much easier and quicker to have a document that tracks everything I need for continuity as it pertains to characters, plot, and world-building elements. Continue reading

Don’t forget tomorrow, April 3, and Saturday, April 4, I will be doing live readings at 7 p.m. on my author Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/smwrightauthor. Friday will be chapter one with chapter two to follow on Saturday. If you miss Friday, don’t worry. I will do a brief recap.

Saturday, I will be probably myself a nice glad of wine in honor if my birthday. Bring your own glass.

It should be a fun relaxing night. If you have any questions, ask them as I read and I’ll answer them.

Live reading tomorrow and Saturday

March Recap: Live readings and more

In an attempt to be a more consistent blogger, I plan to start writing recaps at the end of each month on just my general writing progress, release information, and general life things.

The Writing

At the end of 2019, I’d created a five-year business plan of goals I want to accomplish from 2020-2025. For the opening months of 2020, I was overzealous in my planning as I was unable to finish the rough draft of Descent by the end of February. While I have been more consistent in writing almost daily, I’ve had some off weeks, especially in March when I experienced a relapse of abdominal pain, which is stoked by anxiety and stress. I had been doing better at managing my stress and anxiety, but with the time change, some stressors at work, and now the pandemic, my coping techniques failed me.

However, I have Descent within shooting distance of 80K words. My aim is for it to be longer than Heritage Lost as it is a larger-scale work with more moving pieces as the galaxy teeters on the edge. I have it all outlined; however, I’ve had to split a few chapters in two, so the outline is adapting to that and some other minor changes. Some characters are throwing surprises at me.

I had wanted to focus on my historical fiction novel during Camp NaNoWriMo this April, but since I’m on more of a deadline with Descent, it will be my project for April. I estimate that I have about 30,000-40,000 words left on it, which means it should be done during that writing event. With my birthday being April 4 and having nowhere to go except sheltering at home, I think I should be to start Camp NaNoWriMo on a strong footing. Continue reading