Taxi Adventure Is Published and FREE Thursday through Sunday

 [Cover of Taxi Adventure: A Novel by T.F. Torrey] Taxi Adventure, the story of how a taxi driver changed the fate of himself, his girlfriend, his company, and his state, all in the space of 24 hours, while making friends in the comedy and porn industries and helping inspire other drivers to reach for their driams, is finally here!

And from Thursday through Sunday, it is FREE at Amazon. Have a fun read for free this weekend, and tell your friends.

Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 2, Day 1

Tuesday

As has been standard lately, I spent the day with my daughter, squeezing work in where I can. There was a lot of cleanup here from the big storm Monday night, but we were not affected too much personally.

Writing

Finishing the checks of Taxi Adventure took much more time than I thought it would. I thought I would find few things to fix, but instead I found more everywhere I looked. In the end, I had to work late into the evening, but I got it done. I even pushed publish to get it into the Amazon system. It should take about twelve hours to go live, at which point I’ll be able to schedule a free blast for it Thursday through Sunday.

I also took a walk in the evening, during which I worked out the plot arc of Threshold of Vengeance. A few days ago I was wondering what project I would work on next. It seems now that Threshold is determined to be next, so I’m glad I decided to let it. It’s going to be a fun book. I should get started on it tomorrow.

Any day you publish a new book is a great day.

Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 1, Day 31

Monday

Another Monday making it work with my daughter on board. We went swimming in the morning. She likes Project Runway, so we sketched a vest then made it out of paper. It turned out okay, but she really liked it. I tried to adhere to my schedule, and I managed to get some work done.

Writing

As I’m still working on the final smoothing of Taxi Adventure instead of plowing into Threshold of Vengeance, I’m already behind. I did at least get to the end of the smoothing phase today. Tomorrow I should finish the checks, and depending on how that goes, Taxi Adventure may go live.

For the record, though, zero new words of fiction today.

Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 1, Day 30

Sunday

After a morning trip to services at UUCP, I had the rest of the day to lounge and work on my stuff, both of which I did.

Writing

I worked through more of the final smoothing for Taxi Adventure, which involved more decisions regarding time of year, use of celebrity names, and so on, than I expected.

Most of the day, however, I worked on my plans for what comes next. I made excellent progress on that. I developed a schedule for getting words and work done, a schedule for promotions, and a schedule for releases. The end result is extremely aggressive, but completely possible.

If I succeed, I might be rich and famous by the end of the year. That would be interesting.

More on all this later.

So, it was another day of zero new words of content, but exciting stuff nonetheless.

Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 1, Day 29

Saturday

I unexpectedly had the opportunity to spend the day with my daughter and my parents, and that’s what I did.

Writing

I didn’t turn my attention to Taxi Adventure until late in the evening, when I began to work through the final smoothing that the text needs, and then I got some of that done, but not enough. Instead, I spent quite a bit of time developing the setting for Threshold of Vengeance. For that, and the other books in the series, I’ve pretty much decided to adopt an “alternative present” setting. The idea is to have a setting where different choices in the past led to a present slightly different than our own. Specifically in this case, passenger train service still runs between small towns, the small town still has a newspaper and a movie theater and small grocery stores, and other things like that. Basically, cool real businesses that existed in the past still exist in the present day setting. I suppose it is similar to steampunk and alternative history books, but I don’t know of any other books that do exactly the same thing.

So, in total, Saturday added zero new words of content, but lots of good behind-the-scenes stuff.

Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 1, Day 28

Friday

It was another day with my daughter, practicing letters and building a nap tent. While she was napping, I got some focused writing energy into Taxi Adventure. In the evening, we went to our usual Friday dinner restaurant, then I went to the side job for the last time for a while.

Writing

In the afternoon, I finished writing the scenes to complete the end of Taxi Adventure. It was challenging work because there were so many loose ends I wanted to tie off, and I wound up cutting and consolidating the information of several scenes, though it is not clear that that is the right thing to do. On one hand, the results seemed so inevitable or obvious that readers might chafe at a full scene to describe them. On the other hand, people read to spend time with characters, and cutting one of these scenes is removing time a reader could have spent basking in the glow with them. In the end, I have to go with what strikes my gut as the best balance, and in this case, less wound up being more.

I still have to go back through Taxi Adventure and remove the FIXME and CHECK notices and make the changes I listed to make the beginning chapters match the changes to the plot points I made in later chapters. That should take no more than a couple hours. I intended to do it when I returned from the side job, but I decided to let the story stew in my head for a few hours and tackle it tomorrow.

With all the cuts, the net words for the day wound up at only 900. I like to separate out the removed words and keep a clean count of new words, but I didn’t do that today. Nonetheless, to get to the end, I’ll take it.

What a good day!

What comes next

I want to build more momentum and skill before tackling my big series, but I don’t want to delay it long. I also have set a goal (that I have not been meeting) of releasing one new book every two weeks. So, I want to find a small project or two (or three) that I can finish in a week. Here are some candidates.

Threshold of Vengeance is one possibility. This got started decades ago as my first real attempt at a serious book. At the time, I was just writing into the dark, and the attempt fizzled out because I had no idea what I was doing. Lately, I have been rethinking the story, keeping the characters but changing the protagonist to Denis Grey, changing the plot to a murder mystery, and keeping the title and a few of the scenes (rewritten, of course) because that would feel like finally finishing the book, which would be cool. I really like my current vision for the book. My sense is that it will be fairly short, 50,000 words or so, and it feels like it would be quick and clean to write. Also, it has been coming into my brain a lot lately to talk to me, so it is a strong candidate for next.

Paper Cuts is another option. Also decades ago, this was my second real attempt at a serious book. Though I had a better idea of what it should be, with a cast of characters and a scenario to play with, I was still writing without an outline, and in retrospect it wasn’t very coherent. After I enlisted in the Army, I made a good attempt to finish it in the weeks before I left. I made great progress, pounding away on the story on my computer every night those last few weeks, but in the end I came up short, and what I did write was a meandering mess trying to figure out how to be a story. A few years ago I took it up again, intending to redraft as necessary and get it done, but I could not stay interested in the project. Something seemed off. Lately, I have liked the idea of changing the protagonist to be Denis Grey, and that idea has traction in my brain. He was my first choice for protagonist way back at the beginning, but I changed him to a minor role because he is a writer, and I thought stories about writers were lame. With Denis Grey back as the lead, however, the story comes together neatly. And, as you may have noticed from the previous paragraph, it becomes a nice series. I’d prefer to write the first book in a series first, so this project probably won’t come next. However, the outline is pretty complete, and that should make it go quicker, so maybe.

Spring Rains is yet another possibility. This one also goes back a long way. Back in 2005 I was writing a serial called Crusader (before the publisher literally disappeared), about a former Special Forces solider turned vigilante. The next year, I decided to write the origin story describing the events that first led this retired soldier to become a vigilante, and that became the novella Winter Kills, which was written as part of the 3-Day Novel contest over Labor Day weekend. I had planned to write another book to transition from the the activities of Winter Kills to the activity of the serial. The transition book would be called Spring Rains, and the serial stories would be modified into the next in the series, tentatively called Summer Storms. The plan didn’t work out, mostly because I lacked an understanding of what the story needed to do to work. Two things are different now that make this project possible. First, I understand how the story can say what it needs to say and still work as a solid story, and second, I have decided that modifying the serial for the summer novel is not a useful idea, and that leaves this story free to be whatever it wants to be. One reason I’d like to do this project next is that it’s been “coming soon” forever, and if I’m to be taken seriously, I need to keep my promises. Also, Labor Day weekend is coming again soon, and it would be neat to make it another 3-day novel. I could do it. Maybe I will.

I’ll make a decision soon.

Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 1, Day 27

Thursday

I aimed toward getting on a schedule, with daughter time in the late morning. This morning, I took her swimming for 45 minutes. We had a great time, and I was impressed with how fearless she is in the water with no flotation devices. She has had swimming lessons over the summer, and she is nearly able to swim on her own. I’m so proud and happy.

After the swimming, she was perky and ready for whatever, but I was wiped out. I took a short nap, we had lunch. Late in the afternoon, it was nap time for her, and I got writing time.

In the evening, we went to have dinner with family, then I went to a side job. Late in the evening, I was able to focus on writing again.

Writing

Here at the end of the story, many of the wrap-up scenes that I thought would be natural do not fit at all. The story and characters have their own momentum, and that’s what needs to be wound down. It is interesting that here, whatever time I spent outlining was pretty much wasted. Or maybe not. The ending has evolved as the story has evolved. My initial ideas were shallow compared to how complex and detailed the story is now.

Anyway, I wound up doing a lot of taking out and reworking things, and I only netted 1,700 words for the day.

Nonetheless, this is the end. I should finish the writing tomorrow. I will still have to cycle back through to spread the changes I’ve made here in the end back through the book, but there isn’t much of that. If it isn’t done on Friday, it should be on Saturday.

On Sunday or Monday I will start a new project. I’m not sure which one it will be yet, but I’ll probably go where the energy is. More on that later.

On sustainable growth: Weekly tasks

In the spring, I conducted my Spring Challenge, with a goal of selling 10,000 books in the 13 weeks of spring. It occurred to me at the time that that isn’t a very good goal, because it depends on things other people do, not things I do. But, it sounded good.

I pursued success in that challenge by making a plan to do four things every week:

  1. Write a certain number of words,
  2. Do one upgrade action to improve my writing operation,
  3. Do one outreach action to attract new potential readers, and
  4. Do one promotion in the form of a discount to try to convert potential readers into new readers.

These are all good goals, because they are things I can do: write, upgrade, reach out, discount.

Ultimately, I did not meet my sales goal, but in organizing my efforts to try to hit it, I think I found the formula for my ultimate success. If I can take those actions on a weekly basis—write (and publish), upgrade my tools and designs, reach out to readers, offer discounts on my products—I don’t see how my writing business can fail to thrive.

Immediately after my spring challenge ended, we went on an extended road-trip vacation, and I came back with terrible sciatica pain and my thoughts about my writing process scrambled by the Heinlein/Smith writing rules. It took me a while to really embrace the Heinlein/Smith writing process, but now that I have, I see that it fits in perfectly with my weekly tasks.

Today I spent some time reconnecting with those plans. On Monday, I plan to renew my weekly actions.

I’m in a great place right now.