Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 2, Day 6

Sunday

I got up rather early this day, around seven-thirty in the morning. First thing, I needed to get the oil changed on the car, and buy some groceries. That wound up taking until past noon. Next, there was a big meeting of Elizabeth and her cousins at their grandmother’s house, so I had the rest of the day pretty much to myself. I should have kept the television off and gotten more work done, but I turned to the NASCAR race for a moment at the beginning, learned they had decided to make the cars as difficult to drive as possible, and got stuck watching that for four hours. Yikes. In the evening I worked on updating the code that handles my exports (because the previous version was broken and limping along), watched a little television with my wife, and finally got to writing late.

Writing

I was wondering how my new structure will hold up for the story that is Paper Cuts, so I thought I might write on that as well while I’m doing Threshold of Vengeance. Almost all the development for Paper Cuts has been done for quite some years, so I should be able to plow through it, provided the structure I’ve decided to use for the series with Threshold didn’t wreck it.

So, I explored, and I found that it worked fine. I got most of Chapter 1 complete, but mostly because the new structure let me use two of the opening scenes that I really liked from the first version. It needs a little revising still, but it works pretty well.

With that, I turned back to Threshold of Vengeance to try to finish Chapter 1 and get into the groove. Almost immediately, I had to find the answer to what the official name of the school in Bolivar was in the late 1940’s. So, one quick search later …

I stepped into a sticky trap. The search turned up the Bolivar New York Fan Page on FaceBook, which had tons of pictures and descriptions of historic Bolivar—all the rich detail I need for exactly what I’m trying to do. So, I got stuck there for about five hours. Yeah.

I did avoid another potential problem, though. One of the sections of the fan page deals with another novel written about historic Bolivar, We Dance and Sing by Richard Dougherty. This had the potential to chase me off this project altogether. After all, he and his work are really admired in that area. It makes me afraid my project will pale in comparison. Fortunately, those fears aren’t going to stop me, or even slow me down. For one thing, as you may recall, I’m writing my books first for me to read, and I will really like this story, so it’s going to happen. Also, I recently read Dean Wesley Smith’s article about Dare To Be Bad, and once again I think his advice is sage. So, the book is happening. All the same, it would be nice if it was appreciated. We’ll see.

In the end, I did get to work on the opening scene of Threshold of Vengeance. It was slow, because it involved a lot of calculating dates in order to describe things accurately. I only managed 500 words before calling it a night, but it’s double yesterday’s quota, so I’ll take it. I hope I can keep doubling, but the next few days will be a challenge.

More On Promotion

Yesterday I thought about Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s post on Promotion, and what that meant for my outreach activities. Today, I was thinking about her advice again, only how it applies to my website.

I currently have my website on WordPress. The primary reason for this is that 95% of all successful writers have websites using WordPress, and I thought it was important to project that image.

However, I do not like having my website on WordPress. It is slow, both for posting and for reading. It is a resource hog. It has no easy way to work off-line or to test major changes without breaking the current setup. And comments are a pain. Some people love WordPress, and I know that it is the perfect tool for some people, but … not for me.

The site that I liked best was the site I had before this one, a simple set of static pages with a weblog like the one Ran Prieur has on his site, menus at the top and bottom similar to those on Thomas Elpel’s sites. I switched to WordPress because the cool kids were doing it and it made the social shares easier and all that. What that adds up to is I switched to WordPress because I thought that it was important for my promotion efforts.

Now, after seeing Rusch’s information about what really matters to book buyers and what really works for promotion, I don’t think WordPress helps enough to warrant doing it. I think my static website is not only good enough, but perfect. It projects not just my image, but my identity.

I’ll probably be switching back to a static website in the next few days. The main problem now is that I’m no longer using the tool I used to create the static website before, and no other mainstream static website generator tools seem to be a good fit for me. No matter. I already have code that generates the content of the pages from metadata in the project files. It won’t take much for me to round that out into a full page generator.

Soon.

And thanks, Kris!

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