INTP Stresses

INTP – Fiction writing

I’m a fan of Myers-Briggs, if only because it does, for me, encapsulate a lot of my traits both good and bad. When I was younger I came out as an INFP, but for the last 15 years or so I’ve been an INTP, and haven’t deviated from that as of yet.

But as an INTP, some of those traits both help, and hurt writing fiction. And because I’m me, I wanted to write a blog post exploring that. Besides, it’s my blog, I can write what I want. *Insert maniacal laugh here*

So INTP’s are logical, clear headed, and tend to strongly make decisions based on facts and logic. This overall serves me well, as once I get the facts, I can make clear decisions. I almost never second guess myself once a decision is made, though getting to the point of making the decision can take longer than I’d like, if only because I’m gathering information.

Writing as an INTP has it’s challenges however.

  1. I tend to keep almost everything in my head. – Good or bad is subjective, for me it’s only a challenge because I fall into trying to lay it out mentally. I always fall back to seeing a story as a tree. The trunk is the main plot, branches are subplots, characters are twigs, events are leaves. Everything grows together, in a system. I like systems.
  2. Emotional writing – this is my biggest weakness. My characters tend to reflect my own reticence with basing decisions on emotion. While I’ve gotten a lot better about this, emotional aspects of my characters is something I have to force myself to expand on. If only by saying to myself – if I were in this situation, how would I NOT react?
  3. Talking about my writing – I do write about it easily. But I HATE talking about my writing. I don’t like to even describe it. I’ve found myself unwilling to even acknowledge that I DO write. I actively try to find ways to avoid attention.

Those three challenges can be overcome of course, and I’m trying hard with #2, and some with #3. The first point will be a sticking point for a while I think LOL

Being an INTP has some advantages as well however, I’m very good at not making consistency errors. Meaning, if I say something in chapter 3, it needs to line up when the subject is brought up again in chapter 38.

There are other advantages, I don’t get into things like mood boards, music playlists, or arguments over best program to write with.

*NOTE* Some of those things are essential to some writers, I’m not knocking them at all, but for me, and my process, they are fairly useless. I write with total silence or at most white noise. I write with just Word, and I’m still not clear on the use of a mood board.

Twitter

Pitching… and a hit?

So I did a thing. I pitched my book. And pitching was easier than I thought. Way back when I thought that Kindle Scout would be around, the plan for ‘Blood of a Fallen God’ was for me to attempt to get this book traditionally published. When Kindle Scout went away, (see here) I was not happy. I hate selling myself and my work in the direct way, I never was a very good salesman, makes me feel slimy. Maybe it’s just the salesmen I’ve met in my life that make me feel that way.

But anyway, once I finished Blood, I didn’t know what to do. I could self-publish again, but since I’m crap at marketing, did I want to just throw it out there and have it do nothing? Again? No, I didn’t want that. Then, I remembered, pitwars/pitmad. Where you make up short pitches, tweet them with the appropriate tags on the right day for agents and publishers to see. If they ‘like’ your tweet, then you send them the requested information, and see what happens next.

I like this because I don’t feel like I’m forcing my way into their awareness. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but for me it works. Pitwars is a bit different animal, maybe I’ll write a blog post on that down the road, but the next pitmad was coming up.. March. I can do that, I can get ready, give me a month to perfect my query letter, my synopsis, etc.

Then I found out #SFFpit.. the morning of the event.

SFFPit is like pitmad, but just for SciFi/Fantasy. I had no query letter, no synopsis ready, but I pitched anyways. And got likes! More than one, more than 5, less than 10. So in one day I put together a synopsis, a query letter, and sent off the requested info.

I’ve gotten one full request so far, and the others haven’t answered back yet. I’m a bit surprised. Nothing may come of all this, but still, it’s good to hear from an outside source, who doesn’t know you, that your first three chapters were great, they love the story, and that your writing is very good.

So, maybe pitching isn’t so bad after all.

Dusty book

Bit dusty in here, time to change that.

So it’s been what, 6 months since I updated the blog? That’s sad. Dusty old posts, full of promise and hope, and then silence. Well I’ll change that now. Not sure who even reads these but here’s what’s new, what’s happening, and what my current plans are.

What’s new?

Well, not a lot. I’m still editing Blood of a Fallen God, though I’m close, very close to being done. I have a page of sections I’ve noted down that I want to improve. More emotion, better wording, clarification, and a small plot hole. I hope to have those changes made sooner rather than later. I’ll go into why later on.

What’s been happening outside that?

Well my day to day life has been busy, but good. Kids getting older, lots of trips to Disney (thanks to winning annual passes) trying to get into better shape, via the rowing machine. I bought one right before Christmas, and while someday I hate it, it’s been a great workout. And while I haven’t lost a ton of weight on it yet, it certainly does a good job toning things up. My biggest issue with exercise has always been me getting bored with whatever I’m doing. I’m working to stick with this, but we shall see. So far, so good at least.

What’s the current plans?

I’ve been giving a lot of time thinking on this. My goal with this book was always to try and get it published via Kindle scout. But since that program is gone (booooo!) I’ve been unsure what to do. Self publish again? Traditional publishing? I was torn. I think however I’m going to throw myself into the world of #pitmad. Pitch the book to agents, see if I can move this forward this way. I have no idea what exactly I’m doing, but I think that’s a good thing. Gotta grow someway, right?

I’m also going to try and be more active here, and on social media. I’ve always been so bad at marketing, but mostly because I always feel like I’m ‘bothering’ people. I’ve got to get over that. So, I’m going to try.

So that’s what’s new with me? What about you?

Dice

Creativity, Writing, and Role Playing Games

Creativity or at least trying to have a creative outlet was the whole reason I started writing. (You can see more about that here.) I like having that outlet, I find it enjoyable, even if this go around has been far longer than normal. But I digress. See when I was younger, much younger in fact, I was pretty heavy into D&D, or for you reading this who don’t know what that is.. Dungeons and Dragons. I loved it, classes, races, exploring fighting, done all in a story telling environment. It was all pretend, and it was all fun.

My son has started exploring that world, and I’ve been along for a ride somewhat. What’s interesting to me now, is how much it’s all changed. Now I played what’s known now as “1st Edition” rules. Old school. Like 6 races, a dozen or so classes, that’s it. These days there’s so many variants, half-breeds, sub-races, etc that really, I can’t keep track. My reaction to this has been interesting. One one hand it’s pretty cool to see SUCH a huge range of choices for a player.  You want to be a half jinn warlock in a pact with a fae lord? Sure go ahead.

But on the other side I kind of feel that SO many choices ruins a chance for the player to explore other aspects of role-playing. Finding new ways to make a character unique. Here’s my personal example..

Back when I played,my favorite character of all time was a Dwarf Fighter. Boring you think? Predictable? Not at all! See this particular Dwarf (Named Barstile Ironpeg, a name I’d use many years later when I got into MMO’s) had a quirk. He was deathly afraid of Doppelgangers. In D&D terms a Doppelganger is a monster/creature who can basically mimic any one. Copy them and BE them, until discovered. They don’t have to be evil, and a great many aren’t. But in my characters backstory, an evil doppelganger had tricked his village into letting him in, and he betrayed them to a band of gnolls. Ever since Barstile was constantly worried that everyone he met MIGHT be a doppelganger. He spent every drop of treasure he could get on making sure people weren’t. if I had a good DM who went along well with this quirk, things got really interesting. I even got to the point once where I’d have Barstile stay up till everyone else was asleep and take a blood sample from each other character and use a “magic” item he bought that was supposed to tell him if they were a doppelganger or not. (Note: it was a fake magic item, Barstile was easy to dupe that way)

The reason I bring this up, is that in a lot of fantasy/sci-fi I read, I don’t see a lot of this sort of thing. Giving something common a quirk, a twist. Instead I seem to find a lot of crazy rare races/powers/etc, but yet they act fairly normal. Taking this farther, in my current WIP (Blood of a Fallen God) one character, in this world of dead gods, creatures, and (rare) magic, has turned to drug use to cope with something. It’s not working out for him, but it gives what could be a ho-hum story line something to bite on. Creativity can be mental, not physical.

 

Lesson: Don’t be afraid to take something normal and give it a twist, instead of making something fantastical, and making it normal.

One book

One book, or Three books

One book, or three smaller books?

Recently I did a full read through of what I’ve done so far on ‘Blood of a Fallen God‘ this epic fantasy story I’m working on. And realized I had some really good break points in the story, which meant if I wanted, I could break it up into three books. There’s advantages and disadvantages to that however, and so I went on some social media to ask. What was interesting to me was the while the voting actually clearly favored breaking it up (78 to 12) the comments were mostly in favor of keeping it as one large book. Note, the people I was asking were, for the most part other self-publishing authors, and if there’s one thing a group of authors will do, is come up with 1001 different ways of doing the same thing and being 100% sure they are in the right.

Some of the comments were somewhat amusing.. the idea that for something to be an “epic fantasy” requires a certain word length I found rather funny.  But I guess if you think length of story means it’s epic, sure.. though that’s not where I go. Epic fantasy to me means a grand story, covering multiple locations with multiple characters. Now this usually means a larger story, but that doesn’t really mean a minimum word count.

But I digress.

Advantages to breaking it up:

More $. Fact is, three books will, traditionally make you more $$ than one. Assuming the price points are good.

More reviews (hopefully)

Lets me say I’ve written 10 books instead of saying 7 *heh*

 

Disadvantages

Costs are higher.. instead of one cover, I have to provide for three.

Usually a single book that large costs a fair amount more to buy.

If you don’t publish all three at once, it becomes a pain for readers to wait.

 

The other side is break it up into three, but publish them all at once as both separately, and as a ‘box set’. Nice idea.. but…

I want to put this out over kindle scout. I don’t think that strategy will work there.

 

I think I’m leaning towards putting it on Kindle Scout as one book. If it doesn’t end up getting ‘picked’ then I’ll break it up into three and sell it as three seperate books and a ‘box set’ that way I’ll get the best of both worlds, so to speak.

Elves

Elves? We don’t need no stinkin’ Elves!

Elves. One of the largest fantasy ‘tropes’ out there. I use them to, though mine are a bit more sinister than the ‘high fantasy’ types of Elves. That being said, I just ran across a great TEDx talk from Terry Brooks, titled ‘Why I write about Elves.”

Now, I have read some of Terry Brook‘s work. Not much as of late, and honestly after this talk I think I may pick up some of his stuff again, because I want to see what he’s talking about from my newer ‘writer’ persona. Mr. Brooks makes a good point about taking things out of our world, and translating them to a fantasy world for the purpose of giving writing some weight. Having been a reader of fantasy for more years than I care to mention, there are far to many fantasy books out there that don’t have any substance. There’s a story there sure, but it’s such a surface thing, and it’s highly highly formulaic. I’ve seen other videos and read books where it’s “Hero, artifact, quest.” that’s it.

And yes, that’s basic fantasy, but if that’s ALL that’s there, it makes for a bit of a dull read. Take Tolkien, at first glance it seems like a very light story, hobbit takes ring, destroys it to save the world from evil monster spirit thing.

But that’s only a slight reading of Tolkien. And yes, the movies (which I greatly enjoy, I have the extended releases for all of them.) sort of made it worse. But there are a LOT of environmental themes (Tom Bombadil, Mordor itself, the Scourging of the Shire, etc.) the overarching theme of the passing of ‘old world’ of magic and superstition to the world of men and technology, etc.

Good fantasy books carry this additional under story out there to the reader, to give them something to latch on to. Even in Tolkien’s work, Elves are portrayed as a very powerful, but old and vanishing race. Leaving the world of Middle Earth to return to their far away true home. In truth the Elves of Tolkien carry a fairly melancholy background, full of betrayal, racism, and tragedy.

I think the point Terry Brooks makes is a very good one, fantasy writers or truly any fiction writer, needs to give thought to giving the reader something real to latch onto, something they can translate to the real world, or even thier own personal experiences. I’ve linked the talk at the end here, it’s a great short video.

 

Busy times

November Update

November is here, and I’ve been slacking! Well not slacking really, but slacking on blog updates. So what’s been going on?

  1. Election: It happened. That’s all I’m going to say about it right now. In a former version of myself I was a political junkie. I moderate myself on that stuff these days for ‘reasons’
  2. Book promos: I ran a Book Gorilla promo, and did a two week blog tour. I got 14 sales and 1000 pages read out of the BookGorilla promo, but still ended up being a net negative. The book blog tour… well.. it was ok. But I didn’t really get much out of it, no book sales, no real increase in blog or twitter traffic. All in all, I don’t think I’ll do it again. Do NOT take this as a negative on the company I used, they were awesome. I just don’t see the point of the book blog tour after doing one.
  3. Photoshop: I’m learning it! Whoot! Main reason? I want to do my own covers. I’m cheap, I want to make them for myself. Who knows if I get good enough, maybe for other people… maybe.
  4. Writing: I’m working on the next book in the Echo Worlds series, started a new book in a new series, and have had an idea of a book that sort of goes along with the Echo Worlds series. I be busy.
  5. Time of year: It’s the holidays, or at least the Holiday ‘season’ here in the States. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Add in my son’s Birthday (and mine, though I don’t really think about it much.) and personal life is busy.

So all those reasons being said, I still feel somewhat bad about slacking on the blog updates here in November. I shall attempt to do more, and be more active!

Don’t forget that Bridgebreaker is out in Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook!

Bridgebreaker cover

Marketing, Bridgebreaker, and Future items

Marketing : It’s complicated. So I did my mega-ultra-super marketing push.. and sold.. 34 units. 34 units at the sale price of 0.99 cents. Which because it was a countdown deal I got 70% of still at least. 🙁 Had a bit of a tail, but not a huge one. So all in all it wasn’t that successful. Looking back I think I made one really serious mistake, with so many services running at one time, I really have no idea which ones were truly successful, and while ones weren’t even close. Lesson Learned! I think I’m going to back off a bit on that, and marketing Bridgefinders in general. As it’s been said before, the best way to sell more books is to WRITE more books. So in that spirit.. I’m close to being down with the sequel to Bridgefinders! The cover above is in fact the cover of the next book, Bridgebreaker!

(And yes, there was much rejoicing.)

Currently the book is being read by Beta readers. Once I get that back, and ponder all of that input, I’ll be making changes, tweaking things, some more minor edits, then, publish time! I will again be doing an audiobook as well, so that will be going on, etc. So yeah, busy!

On future items.. I’m mulling over an idea of a story I sort of started once, and never finished. This is going to be a “I have nothing to work on so let’s work on that” project. So I don’t expect this to be something I’ll be pushing super often or super quickly. Who knows if I finish it, and polish it up I might do #pitchwars next year for it. Maybe not. I’ve discovered that while I love self publishing books, and find it fun, the idea of being ‘commercially’ published doesn’t really appeal to me much. I dunno. Maybe it’s because I am not fond of putting myself out there in that manner? Who knows.

Beside the point though. The real point is the coming of Bridgebreaker! Keep it tuned here to find out when it’s out. And as always remember to subscribe, join, follow, and all the above to see where I go with all this next.

 

— Josh

One book

I’m not a Young Adult author.

I alluded to this yesterday, now I’ll explain further. I am not a YA author. There, I said it. And I don’t think I ever will be.

Let me break it down a bit more though. I can already hear you  “A good writer should be able to write anything.” or “I bet if you tried…” or even “But YA books sell and make money, you should do that and make bank!” I’ve had some variation of those said to me when I tell people I’m not a YA fiction writer.

YA for those rare who don’t know, is ‘Young Adult’ fiction. Now I’m not really clear on what constitutes a Young Adult really, it has always sounded like a label looking for a reason to me, but I’m increasing both amused and dismayed by the number of labels used on people, ages, etc. (Which is like a whole other topic.)

But to do my traditional number it down style..

  1. 1. Maybe a good writer CAN write anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. Look at say Stephen King. He writes mostly Horror, with splashes of fantasy and other elements. But he has his genre. Look at Hugh Howey, author of the Wool series, He’s got his niche as well. Authors have area’s and subjects they are drawn to, and are better in.
  2. 2. If you only tried… This assumes I haven’t tried. But I have. And it is, well, bad. Worse than bad. And I don’t mean it in a ‘I’m my own worst critic’ way, I mean BAD. There are some actual reasons for this. To start with, I’m really to far removed from the YA experience. Though as I said I’m not quite clear on what YA is, my best guess is late teens, very early twenties. I’m 42. I don’t have a good frame of reference for that age range. Adding on to this is the fact that simply I wasn’t much of a YA when I *was* those age ranges. I was hopelessly weird and introspective, literally would flinch if someone brushed against me, and massively introverted. I wasn’t social, I was a complete moron when it came to women, and was wasting time doing pretty much nothing. I wasn’t even a good student at the time. I don’t have that connection in my mind to that time in my life, it’s all sort of vague and depressing.
  3. 3. I hate this one. Yes, YA books CAN be very popular. And of COURSE I’d love to make a living writing, (True fact, people think I make mad money off the books I’ve already done. I made 112$ last year off book sales. yes, 112$.) But writing something I don’t feel, and can’t connect to just to make money, well, I can’t do it. It would suck all the joy and fun out of writing. Period.

 

So what KIND of writer am I? Glad you asked.

 

I have no clue! 🙂

See the first few books I’ve done have all had the overall theme that you can’t trust a damn soul, and that pretty much everyone and everything is out to get you. Different stories, but that’s still the overall feeling through the books. This current book throws that dark world view out, and doesn’t even mess with it. Sure, my protagonist has a bit of a habit of not telling other’s 100% of the truth, but it’s not the same thing (It’s not! Don’t look at me that way.) This story is more exciting, more active, and more interesting. So who knows what kind of writer I am. Do I even need to know in truth?

 

First Podcast.. On Mind Mapping

Podcast One is up!

Disclaimer: I don’t know anything about podcasting, and it shows. I’m still learning here,so bear with me. I’m sure it will get better as I go along, but for now.. here you go. I’m still working out the kinks with podcasting plugins, etc. I also recorded this at 6:41 am this morning, so I wasn’t toooootally awake yet.

This Podcast is about ‘Mind Mapping’ and how I use it when I write. Hope you enjoy!