Sunday, March 4, 2012

ROW80 Update and Pen Names, Etc.

It's Read An eBook Week!

In honor of Read and eBook Week, Smashwords is offering two of my books free! free! free! The Man Who Did Too Much, and Have Gun, Will Play will be free with the coupon code RE100 this week only. (The code is right on the page, so you don't have to write it down.)

A Round of words in 80 Days update for March 4:

Wednesday Day 59 - 0 minutes. Long long day. Instead of drawing OR doing any writing, I did some work formatting/correcting one of the short stories from a 1915 copy of The Strand.

Thursday Day 60 - 120 minutes. I did some formal work on that short story from The Strand, which I think I will post on another blog. (More about that when I do it.) I have ZERO energy, so I'm not too unhappy with doing that, so I counted it.

But as a result, I decided to skip Friday Favorites this week. And though next week is Spring Break, I notice that I have every freaking day booked up with stuff again. Even so they are relatively short/light commitments, so I should be okay.

Friday Day 61 - .... Crap. I didn't record what I did Friday. Maybe it was nothing? Oh, wait. I ended up doing Friday Favorites after all. I re-launched Daring Adventure Stories. I've got some good stuff in line for it coming up too.

Saturday Day 62 - 74 minutes. Mostly brainstorming. One of my favorite business/productivity books has a little essay about not forgetting to look at what is going right, and why. We tend to focus on what is wrong, and that can be a mistake. (But we're hard-wired to do it anyway. That's why politicians and snake-oil salesmen focus on things that are WRONG to get your attention.)

The things that are going well right now are the brainstorming session -- a lot of really good work there. And the other thing is writing sprints. I'm not a social writer, and I don't like taking part in group efforts, but I've taken to doing short, hot writing sessions -- just five minutes here, twenty minutes there. When I do them (and I don't do them often enough) they really work.

I need to find a way to enable these more.

Pen Names

I'm thinking about taking on a pen name. I'm mostly against the idea, because my name is my brand, and my stuff is scattered around, and I'm kind of creating my own genre out of my style/voice.

However, I do feel that if I have one thing that could be split off, it would be Noir. I don't write long Noir stories -- just short fiction. The thing about Noir is that it takes place in a pessimistic world. It isn't just that bad things happen, it's that things don't end well. The gods are not friendly in the world of Noir. They don't relent. If they do, it's in a twisted and ironic way.

That's is something that goes to the audience knowing what they can expect. They should be able to know whether they can trust you to save them from the horrible consequences, or if they should guard their feelings a little more.

And that seems to me to be a good reason to have a pen name for darker fiction.

The next question is: what should the name be? I feel like it needs to be like an old fashioned thug nick name. For some reason the name Vinky Black comes to mind. (Or I could go with Maude Katt.) I'll be thinking....

The Forty Dollar Sandwich Will Be Revisited

I got a whole lot of guff about how I must have calculated the $40 sandwich wrong. Folks: I didn't tell you how I calculated it. And the reason I didn't tell you is because the calculations relate only to me and my life. They don't relate to your life. Your'e not supposed to think they relate to you. You've got to find your own time/money ratios and go by your own goals to figure that out.

The point of that post was not about whether you should pack a lunch or not. But it appears that was what people wanted it to be about. (Both pro and con.) So I'm going to revisit that post -- maybe this week, maybe next -- and do what people seemed to want me to do and explain how a sandwich which might be worth a buck to you is worth $40 to me (sometimes). And we'll see if maybe I can bring that post around to my point, which was about the value of your work.

But I'm not sure if I will do that this week or next. You'll just have to wait and see what my Tuesday Post will be.

In the meantime, it is Spring Break... which appears to mean I am more booked up than ever for my time!

See you in the funny papers.


Lauralynn Elliott said...

The pen name dilemma is a common one, I think. I use a pen name because I write paranormal romance, and I have some people in my life that would be disturbed by that. Now that I'm also working on a Christian romance, I'm thinking of using my OWN name for that. LOL

Good luck with your goals this week. And I need to go look at that $40 sandwich post. I'm intrigued. :)

David Michael said...

On pen names, my inspiration is Neil Gaiman. If he can have Coraline and Smoke & Mirrors, American Gods and The Day I Sold My Dad for Two Goldfish, all under the same name, I can to. Readers will sort themselves out.

On the other hand, unlike Mr. Gaiman, I have one of the most generic names in English fiction. Go to Amazon and do a search on "David Michael" and you'll get hundreds of pages of books written by men with "David" and "Michael" in their name in various configurations. Despite that, I've decided to keep my name (it's been my name since birth; I'm kinda used to it; I'm lazy).


Nicole Basaraba said...

For what its worth I kind of like the name Maude, but I'm not crazy about Katt, but everyone has their own two cents about pen names. I know I spent quite a few hours playing around the potential pen names and ended up going with my own name for now.

Jess said...

I've struggled with the pen name thing too, but I've decided if I am going to write straight romance, I want that to be under a different name than my urban fantasy/alt-historical/YA stuff. It just makes more sense to me to split it up. Maybe someday I'll be like Nora Roberts and it'll just be common knowledge who I really am. :-)

Good luck this week!

The Daring Novelist said...

Lauralyn: It sounds like you have a particularly good set of genres that suit the idea of a pen name. It isn't just language or content, it has to do with world view.

David: Sure, I've got work all over the place. I consider Roald Dahl to be a great role-model. But I'm not talking about dividing children's fiction from adult, or genres from one another. (And quite honestly, I may not do it for this one.) The key is brand building. My brand is my style. That style permeates _almost_ everything I write -- from children's to r-rated movie scripts.

But there is one kind of thing I write -- noir -- where the style is quite different. It makes a very different promise to the reader. That, I think, is worth doing a penname for. Still not sure if I will do it, though.

The Daring Novelist said...

Nichole: Ha ha, it's an inside joke. Maudecat is my feline secretary, and the one all email associated with the blog or my writing should be directed to.

Jess: Every writer has to make the decision for themselves. I myself am generally against pen names. They are necessary in cases like Lauralynn above where audiences do NOT overlap, they are useful for those who are very prolific.

In my case, and perhaps yours, they can also be a creative tool: even if you have the same audience for both, does a different name trigger you into a different voice? Might be worthwhile.

The biggest problem is that you want to do it from the start. You will create a mess if you try to change names in the middle.

Tracy McCusker said...

I quite enjoyed "The Tramp and the Tiger." Thank you for taking the time to format it and work out all of those OCR kinks. If your time allows for it, I'm quite looking forward to more Daring Adventure Stories updates. :D

Weighing in on pen names, today I discovered that Agatha Christie wrote romances under the pen name of Mary Westmacott. As a long-time fan of her mysteries, it was quite a coup to realize that! What's the lesson I take from that? Pen names for non-overlapping audiences seems to be good thing. Your core fans (us!) will know it's still your work. Casual fans will know your noir name for what it offers, and your mystery/lit fic name for its pop-sensibilities.

So I guess the only thing you need to do is think more about whether a noir audience will or won't overlap with your mystery one. I can see arguments on both sides. So it's up to you!

The Daring Novelist said...

Tracy: I'm going to try to post something there maybe once a week. Or a couple of times a month for a while. I was just looking at the 1915 issues of The Strand and a couple of issues I have of The Popular Magazine. Just the shortest stories from summer 1915 should keep me going for quite a while.

(As for the OCR thing: I discovered that I can actually type faster than I can correct OCR text, so unless my RSIs flare up, I might just prep the things that way.)

KM Huber said...

Oh, I can hardly wait for a return to the $40 sandwich. Always appreciate knowing the future holds yet another look at the sandwich.


The Daring Novelist said...

Karen: Alas, I realize I probably won't get to it tonight.

I think I have to do it for Thursday, though, because we're making a trip to Zingermans on Wednesday (which will be more than a $40 sandwich). Seems apropos.