Category: Writing Now

Been Busy Doing Things That Aren’t Especially Exciting to Talk About

Popping up here, again, to show that I haven’t died. And to excuse myself by revealing the several irons I have in the fire. And playing with fire is what’s been keeping me quiet, hypnotize by the jumping flames. (Anyone who remembers me from Boy Scouts would know I’m a bit of a pyro.)

Okay so, I have been getting some things done, simply nothing that warrants an announcement—yet.

Such as?

Such as recoding A Perfect Blindness as an HTML file, by hand, while learning how to use CSS in various formats from Guido Henkles’ excellent book The Zen of eBook Formatting and simultaneously teaching myself all the new software required to do that.

But why would you want to recode all 129,000 words of a perfectly acceptable eBook already in multiple marketplaces? I hear rattling around inside various heads.

Actually, several reasons, including a certain masochistic streak painted down the middle of my life.

Mostly though, it boils down to flexibility, control, and not wanting to shell out yet more money for every small change in the text (mostly in the end matter after the story is over) and experiment in promotions, all of which is critical for success in digital marketplaces. That and creating a more eBook friendly version of the book which includes links and invitations in the very back of the book. Ebooks are based on HTML after all, and what better place to ask people to visit my site and join the mailing list then right after they finish a book they enjoyed. (People put down books they don’t enjoy.)

With this new version, I’ll also be able to take much greater advantage of Amazon’s huge marketplace by publishing the eBook myself through KDP: Kindle Direct Publishing. (iUniverse will continue publishing the soft cover version as needed.) Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc. won’t be forgotten. But Amazon is the biggest market, so there first.

Ultimately, I’m looking to relaunch it while laying the groundwork for a Fantasy series I’m also currently writing and bolstering me as a Writer. See, that was a capital-W.

(More on the specifics on these reasons later when I have the time for a broader survey of my delusion/brilliance.)

Just a couple of days ago, I wrapped up making sure all the single quotes and apostrophes go the right direction. As I said, hardly anything one announces. Currently, I’m tweaking the Table of Contents and inserting my author’s photo as well as figuring out what premium someone will get for forking over an email address through a new link in the back.

By the by, if anyone has a suggestion or three, I’m all ears.

Oh, and I’ve also written 54,000 + words of a fantasy novel, which will be the first in that series, with a working title of “The Book of Visions”.

An ordinary man lost in a world of magic. He holds the key to stopping a fabled book from engulfing two worlds in war: If he survives long enough to use it.

(I’m closing in on the end of act I now, with about 100K as the final word count.)

So, stay tuned for more, and seriously, if you have something you’d like to get from an author, specifically me, in exchange for giving up your email address, let me know.

Talk to you again in November. I’m hoping with a big announcement and perhaps more explanation about why I’m recoding a book from scratch. I’ve a few facts to look up, and I do hope they line up with my beliefs. Else, you’ll see someone change his mind in almost real time.

 

Words of Wisdom
(some found, some used, perhaps even a discarded illusion or other.)

 

“If you ever wonder why you are where you are in your life, go to a mirror. The answer is staring back at you.”

News Extras

Good News for Fans of Wax Trax! Records and their music, which does play a large role in A Perfect Blindness, being the label signing Mercurial Visions, the band the fortunes of which the books follows. It’s just been announced that the movie and soundtrack will both be available in April of next year. Read all about it:

Wax Trax! documentary ‘Industrial Accident’ due out on DVD in April — plus a soundtrack

 

 

Groovie Mann and What’s in the Wings

Hey there,
It has been a while.
Not because I’ve been hiding, or running about entertaining myself to death.
I’ve been working and will have announcements on that work soon.
(Two hints:
  • when the text gets prepared for uploading to Kindle Direct Publishing, the entire text must be reworked even if it’s already been published?
  • A tagline I’ve been playing with: An ordinary man lost in a world of magic. A fabled book. Legends will be forged.)
I also met one of the musicians whose band appears in A Perfect Blindness: Groovie Mann from My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult (America’s most dangerous cult). At a screening of Industrial Accident, the story of Wax Trax Records, which also plays a huge part in the novel. A must see.
Here’s a photo of me autographing the novel for Groovie Mann:
Signing APB for Groovie Mann
The Smile on Groovie Mann’s face says it all.
      You can get your own autographed copy of A Perfect Blindness too, you know.
Available on Amazon right here for $14.37 (plus shipping). Just pick W. L. Hunt as the seller (me you know). (Or if you have a copy, let me know, we’ll get you one too: ldarley4@gmail.com)
As always
Soon, I’m going to be going after more reviews, that includes by you, the readers. So, if you haven’t left a review on Amazon, Goodreads or Barnes and Noble, please go—it’s the most important thing after a good cover, and readers check that before they ever make it to the description.
If you happen to be any of those places, click helpful on the reviews you find helpful. It’s a quick, easy, free way to help A Perfect Blindness rise in the search results at Amazon. (You might need to click “see all 5 reviews” to get to them all.)
Thanks for reading,
W. Lance Hunt
And let me know what you think. Much obliged.
As for other tales of the way things might have been or could yet be: several pokers in the fire. Will be asking for your thoughts and input soon.

Took Long Enough, pt 1: People Want the Familiar

Or: The Difference Between Being Told Something and Experiencing it. A note to myself.

Something clicked while I watched Ready Player One with my son. Finally.

A bit past midway of the movie, I caught myself thinking, “yeah, here’s the moment when she thinks he’s betrayed her, and it looks like it’s the end and that things are going to fall apart. Wonder how they’ll resolve this.”

Then, I recalled that I thought just about the same thing in Black Panther. And in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

The movie took me back into its world then, but on the walk home, I realized I could find examples of this from many other movies and books as well:

  • Hero and heroine who start off not liking each other (two heroes or heroines)
  • Eventually, they overcome this dislike
  • They join forces, many times with a dollop of the romantic
  • Then something happens. Many times it’s a misunderstanding, sometimes something beyond the characters’ control leaps between the pair, seemingly putting an end to the new team
  • Now all appears lost

But, this isn’t the Marquise de Sade or Baudrillard, so somehow, someway, something, almost always foreshadowed, will happen, and things will turn out positive. Not necessarily happy. But the bad guys will get defeated, and the pair with newly repaired differences head off to some future or another.

  • Separate, but with mutual respect.
  • Together as firm partners.
  • Or good friends.
  • Or lovers.
  • Or some combo.

If only in memory—heroes do die at the end sometimes. All depends on the flick or book. And the genre.

Fleshing out this truism as I walked home was an idea from an intensive copywriting course I recently completed. In the class, Bryan Cohen beat into us is that people crave the familiar. Therefore, you give it to them.

You write copy that fits genre expectations so someone reading that little bit of text will think, “Oh. This is the kind of book I’d like”, meaning the book will have the expected problems, solutions, etc. that the person likes to read about.

For example, in romance: Each person has an issue, and the question is can they overcome these to find love. It’s what Romance readers read romances for. The same in for any genre. Even literary fiction, which appears not genre by definition, but it always has someone whose life/livelihood is in jeopardy, and if only they find something in themselves will s/he save the day. †

Then these ideas jelled. What I’d superficially known became obvious. To me. At long last.

This is why people watch movies.  Or read books. Consume anything with a story in it:

To find what they crave, something satisfying to them. The kind of story they want to see or read.

Sure, different characters, places, plots, circumstances—different in the details, but fundamentally recognizable.

  • Will Joe and Sally finally find love?
  • Will Joe or Sally finally find it in his- or herself to do the right, the good thing, regardless of personal cost?

That doesn’t mean all heroes or heroines find or do the same thing, in the same way of course. If one is even passingly acquainted with Campbell’s Hero with A Thousand Faces,  the monomyth is familiar: the one great story, in which the details are merely costumes various functions dress in while describing this one basic story.

So, while the details and specifics of the plot of a story are (or should be) unique, it will have the expected, craved, problems and solutions/resolutions of its genre. If it doesn’t, it has little chance of being popular. A cult hit, perhaps, but generally not popular.

I’d known this intellectually. I’d read about it. I’d seen lists of what sells and what doesn’t. I know romance/erotica is the best selling genre.

But only when I was sitting in a movie and heard myself thinking in genre tropes did I actually understand what I knew. That romance/erotica is a best-selling genre because it delivers the needed fix to the reader.

Bottom line:

If it’s genre or sub-genre lit, it will have X, Y, and Z. If not, most readers/viewers won’t like it. And one thing people want, logical or not, is a positive ending *. Life is hard, mysterious, full of disappointments: Why would I spend my free time reading about unremitting misery and failure?

* Notice, not Happy, but positive. Even the hero dying in the end can be positive if they’ve accomplished something imporatnt with his or her life. Unrelenting dark fiction is out there I’m sure, but mostly with a small, cultish following.

Sure new genres do appear. Ones that actually work are freakishly rare.

And if you look at the numbers, take the outside view, books in established genres sell. Literary fiction as a “non-genre” continues to sell less and less. (Especially when the target audience is the author, or “people like me.”)

Now, about what writing what one wants to write vs. writing something to sell—I’m going to follow Jonathan’s lead, from A Perfect Blindness:

            “I don’t want to play between shifts,” Jonathan says. “I want playing to be my shifts. How I make my living. To be what I do. All the time. I don’t give a rat’s ass about art. Purity, selling out—those are just excuses masquerading as virtue for people who can’t make it. I’m done with ramen noodles.”

Back here in Brooklyn, the answer to the question I recently posed—what should I write next? Is that I’m going to write genre fiction. Fantasy. It’s what lit the fire in me to write in the first place. And genre fiction sells. (Fantasy and Scifi are the second best selling genre, it turns out.)

And frankly, I can’t stand answering questions about how a relatively expensive book of literary fiction by a first-time author is selling.

’cause it’s not. Not really.And understandably. For many reasons.

So, I lift my glass to Jonathan who saw this before I did. Art, purity or selling out be damned. (Kills me that I created him and WROTE THAT LINE—YEARS AGO!!!)

Next up from the writing studios of W. Lance Hunt: portal/high fantasy, with a dose of sci-fi. About a middle-aged man (shocking like me) who stumbles on a reality that exists just beyond our own. Magic. Physics. Adventure. It asks the question: what if you could live out your childhood dreams as a middle-aged man. Of being a hero. Saving the world. Being more than a number, a job title, a marital status and an address.

(†I’m explicitly excluding experimental fiction, the sole purpose of which is to defy expectations, which is in itself an expectation, but so very protean. And extra hard to sell for that very reason.)

Know someone who might like one of these stories? Post it or Forward this email to let them in on it.

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