Liner Note 15

37 6 0


 If you've ever wanted to know more about who Cecilia Tan is... This video is of Cecilia Tan accepting the Pioneer Award in Genre Fiction, and the Career Achievement Award in Erotic Fiction, from RT Magazine, at the 2015 RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas, TX. Written text of the speeches is on the blog at http://blog.ceciliatan.com/archives/2361.

And now to Liner Note 15, TUESDAY SERIAL BLOG HOP.

Our friends at Tuesday Serial recently had by , whose new book The Productive Writer just came out. (Note: "just came out" was at the time this liner note originally published on the http://daron.ceciliatan.com/ site) She asked a series of questions in her post, and invited web serial writers to answer them in their blogs. So I'm doing that today as today's liner note. Here are the five questions I'll answer:

* What has writing web serials taught you about writing a successful story, building an audience, and sustaining a writing and publishing momentum?
* What did you read that taught you something about your craft, your platform or how to take your writing and publishing forward?
* How did you nurture and sustain your well being–in mind, body, spirit?
* What did you learn about your writing rhythms: time of day to write, managing procrastination, how and when to revise, making use of slim margins of time, etc.?
* When and how were you successful at juggling the competing demands of family, writing, work, and everything else in your full life?

* What has writing web serials taught you about writing a successful story, building an audience, and sustaining a writing and publishing momentum?

I've actually been publishing two serials this year, Daron's Guitar Chronicles (DGC) and an X-rated one entitled The Prince's Boy (TPB). They've been studies in opposites. With DGC I started publishing with a huge backlog of material so my focus has been mostly on the audience-building aspects and other parts of running a web serial, while with TPB I've been writing it as a go along. The challenges have been completely different. With DGC, it's on a stand-alone web site where the only reason to go there is to read the serial itself. TPB is serialized on circlet.com, where many other things run including microfictions by many authors, sample chapters of books Circlet publishes, and the serial by as well.

There have been weeks where I wrote the TPB chapter after midnight the morning it was due to post. It's also turning out to be twice the length I originally predicted. And yet it's been one of the easiest-flowing writing projects I've ever done, especially of that length. There were times when it flowed so much I had to write 4-5 chapters in a single day, other times when my life was so busy that I had to wait until the deadline loomed to get it written and queued to post. But I never missed a post (we're on week 77 now, with about 20 more to go...).

What I've learned most is to trust my subconscious. My muse knows what its doing, and if I just keep writing, it will all work out in the end. All the little plot twists and character quirks and details that I didn't know why they were there, all come around to be wrapped up if you just keep on writing. TPB will be coming in for a landing in a few months. DGC, on the other hand, I don't know when that's going to end. I will soon have run through all the pre-written material, but when I had tried writing it as a novel years and years ago I didn't end it so much as force myself to stop.

That's the other important thing I've learned. A serial is different from a novel, or it can be. The pace is different and the ways in which you shape reader expectation from chapter to chapter are different. It's very different to end a chapter with a cliffhanger when all a reader has to do is turn another page versus when they have to wait days or a week to find out what happens next. I've also been very interested to see how commenters on both serials try to predict what will happen, and how often they are right or wrong.

The feedback from readers also makes running a serial quite different from the usual experience of writing a novel in a vacuum, or just for a few beta-readers or a writers group/workshop. The audience really lets you know if you got your point across or not.

* What did you read that taught you something about your craft, your platform or how to take your writing and publishing forward?

Sometimes the best advice is when you hear something you already know, but when someone else says it, it validates it and brings it home. That's how I felt about reading the writer/artist advice series by . It's required reading for anyone aspiring to a career, or even side-earning, in writing or the creative arts. (She's also the author of a web serial, , of which I am fond.)

* How did you nurture and sustain your well being–in mind, body, spirit?

I seem to learn two lessons over and over in life. One is that if I don't write, my mental and physical health suffers. I need to write to live; I need to do the thing I was put on earth to do, or my body starts punishing me. The other lesson, though, is that I need to not do too much. When I try to juggle too many responsibilities, it eventually comes crashing down in the form of poor health, too. This winter I caught a cold at the end of October and I haven't been able to rid myself of it! I am tired and run down. I need to delegate some other responsibilities while jealously guarding my writing time.

* What did you learn about your writing rhythms: time of day to write, managing procrastination, how and when to revise, making use of slim margins of time, etc.?

I'm a night owl. I've known that all my life. So I do a lot of my writing between midnight and 3am, which also happens to be a time when very few other things demand attention. It's not a time people tend to want to make social plans (except for the occasional midnight movie premiere), the phone isn't ringing, Twitter goes quiet, meal-preparing and eating is done for the day, the gym is closed, etc.

But to meet all the deadlines I'm juggling, that means also writing in doctor's waiting rooms, or in an hour in the cafe outside the doctor's office before returning to my own office and multiple other projects there. On airplanes, in hotel lobbies, on trains. It has taken years to develop the focus to just write at will. I like to write in my office with music on and a pot of tea at my side, but if I have to, I don't need any particular cues or aids. Just put hands to keyboard and do it.

I discovered cafe writing this year, too. I know, people have been writing in cafes for a century, but I never really had before. But to plow forward on a few projects I found it a great way to give myself more focus on a specific plan or section of my to do list. It's like making a writing date with yourself. "Tomorrow I will work on Project X." I spend 1-2 hours in each cafe, sometimes moving from one to the next to the next so I don't monopolize a chair in a single place if I'm going to write for several hours. I'm spoiled rotten to live in a neighborhood with literally 15 cafes walking distance of my house. But I remind myself this is why I live here and I should take advantage of it!

* When and how were you successful at juggling the competing demands of family, writing, work, and everything else in your full life?

That's the big one, isn't it? I know I need to write to live an stay healthy and happy. But if I'm trying to make a living from my writing? One of the goals of earning well from my writing is so that I don't have to do as many of the other things in my life to make money. Those are the things with the biggest demands on my time. The more money I make, the higher a priority I can place writing on the scale of importance that others see, as well as my own internal scale.

I don't think I'll ever be a millionaire from my writing. But this little online garden I've been nurturing, Daron's Guitar Chronicles, bears enough fruit to make it a viable and sustainable part of my writing life. Like a garden, the more time I spend on it, weeding and cultivating and planting, the more it can flourish.

*********************************************************************

Please remember to "vote for" this story on Wattpad! And if you've enjoyed reading it, please tell your friends to come read, too! 


Daron's Guitar Chronicles: Vols 1-3Read this story for FREE!