No real blog, but no excerpts from my plays either. Instead, three random thoughts:
Random Thought #1: I’ve finished the first draft of The Sword of Unmaking (The Wizard of Time – Book 2). I’m very happy with it. With revisions and editing and proofing, I can have it ready to publish this winter. Maybe February. I had hoped to be able to get it our earlier, but my new YA sci-fi novel Celestial Blade took up more time than anticipated. I found I couldn’t really work on both novels at the same time. I have some final editing to do for Celestial Blade before handing it off to a friend for a last proof. It’s been through an editor and proofer already, but it never hurts to have someone else take a look.
After Celestial Blade and WOT #2 are out I’ll be turning my attention to an edit of my non-fiction books, The Chrysalis Age & The Alchemy of World and Soul. Then, I’ll start work on a Fantasy/Paranormal Romance for adults. My thinking is that adult centered fantasy will sell better than the Wizard of Time and Young Sorcerers Guild series. While YA fantasy sells well, and much of it is purchased by adults, I think a fantasy series aimed at 12-14 year old kids will not sell as well as fantasy romance series. At least until more younger adults and teens have ebook readers. In hopes of increasing sales, I’ll begin alternating novels aimed at adults and YA until the WOT and YSG series are finished.
Random Thought #2: I was thinking the other day about the length of novels and how indie publishing is changing them. With the agent/publisher gate keeping system there were defined ideas about how long novels should be for each genre. YA could not be more than 80,000 words (unless you were J.K. Rowling) for instance. Now, authors can write to the size of the story they want to tell. That can be a mixed blessing. Authors are selling works with only 60,000 words or less as novels, which might leave some readers annoyed by brevity. Other authors, with no editor to insist on trimming their work, might produce bloated novels. What’s wonderful about this is that readers, via reviews, will give the authors feedback on what they like and don’t like and allow authors to react (or not) in subsequent works. Or, because indie publishing allows fairly easy revisions, an author with a novel readers think is too long, could issue a new edition. It’s an exciting time to be an author.
There are so many new possibilities and options available and many of them are changing even as we adopt them. Singles. Serials. Emotobooks. Primitive Metamedia. It’s a little difficult to keep up with it all, much less plan for the future. Currently my problem is not planning for the future, but finding enough time to write for the future. After having some time off between jobs to write WOT #2 I’m back to freelance work. I find it hard to get much done at the end of the day and working in the mornings is simply not an option (night owl not early bird). But for now, it’s not a bad balance. Work when I need to and write when I can. It will probably be a couple of years before I can turn to writing fulltime, but that’s not so bad. I’m making money from my writing and that income will only increase with each novel I have for sale. Slowly, slowly as my Buddhist teacher used to say. It’s a good phrase that applies well to most of life.
Random Thought #3: I read in interesting article in The New Republic about the dynamics between blockbuster movies and the future of filmmaking. The basic thrust of the article is that so much money gets spend producing and marketing massive tent pole action films that less and less money is available for smaller budgeted films. A secondary critique is that these films all start to look and feel the same — A hero in a $200 million dollar movie must save the world, but not before we get to watch a bunch of stuff getting destroyed via the joy of CGI.
While I agree with all of that, I don’t see the size of the budgets or the ubiquitous use of CGI as the problem. I think the problem is the lack of storytelling. Too many ‘blockbuster’ films rely on CGI special effects to keep people watching rather than investing them in the characters and the plot. I understand, it’s not easy to create fully dimensional characters in the midst of spectacle. And plot, the important things that happen to tell the story, can get overwhelmed by the need to create scenes of spectacle to justify all the GCI or action sequences that audiences have come to expect. I recently watched the Avengers and I thought it mostly succeeded in the face of all these obstacles.
Even that is not as much a problem for me as the fact that most of the big budget ‘blockbuster’ movies are all resembling each other more from the narrowness of their source material than anything else. Almost every big movie out of Hollywood is an adaptation of a comic book or a sequel to a comic book. Part of the reason I think Inception was so successful is because it took all the usual aspects of big movie spectacle and put them in a story we hadn’t seen before.
Low budget independent films have other problems. The costs of making a film are as lower than ever due to digital cameras and editing. A group of filmmakers and actors with a good script and some determination can get a film made. Getting it seen is the real issue. Film festivals are a place for indie films to be seen, and possibly picked up by a distributor, but this is much like trying to get your indie novel picked up by a major publisher. As viewing habits change (I rarely go to a theater instead of watching films on the wide screen TV), and as viewing options increase (I can rent or buy digitally easier than I can with DVDs), what will determine if an indie film gets seen will be the same thing that determines if an indie novel gets read — good word of mouth and an active fan base.
All this thinking about movies leaves me wanting to make another film. Unfortunately it will be a while. I have an idea for a film I’d love to make, but I need to write the novel first. And I have several novels to write before that. It’s a lovely little fantasy horror story. Very different from the last film. No more experimental meditations on spirituality and terrorism. They’re too damn hard to market.
That’s enough random thinking for one day.