May 24, 2012

blogging break

I really don't feel like blogging or participating in any social media right now, so I'm going to take a much needed break (first ever break, actually), and finish up the things I want to do with the new edition of The Clockwork Giant. Priorities, yo.

Really, life has just been a bit weird and emotional and bleh lately, and I'm really too drained to socialize. I thought I'd still be able to blog through it, but my heart just isn't in it right now. What little motivation I have to do things needs to be put to more important things, like putting out the new edition of my book. Once life gets back in order, I'll return to the blogosphere and become more active again on social media, but for now, I think it's good for me to get away for a while.

How long I'll be away, I don't know for sure. I could come back next week, or it could be two or three weeks before I come back. Hope you all understand.

Hugs and fairy dust and all that,


UPDATE: I'll be returning Monday, June 11th. I think three weeks away is plenty. See you then!

May 21, 2012

back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 3

Continuing with Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions, today, we’ll look at the next four stages: Villainy or Lack, Mediation, Beginning Counter-Action, Departure. We’ll continue using the films Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust for example material, and as stated before, the examples are mine, but the comments on each stage are paraphrases of the material in Christopher Vogler and David McKenna’s book Memo from the Story Dept. Also noted before, Propp’s Functions are not a rigid structure. The functions can be in nearly any order, as you’ll find is the case with my examples.

Note: these four functions are a unit that Propp calls “Complication”, and it may occur in the body of the story or at the very beginning. So, for this particular post, I’ll present the four Functions, and then afterward, give the examples, showing how these four functions sort of meld together.

May 17, 2012

the benefit of writing breaks

I’m going to be honest with you guys: since the beginning of this month, I haven’t really done much as far as writing goes. I had a sort of emotional breakdown about two weeks ago—mostly to do with writing—and I decided that stepping away for a while would be good for me. I was stressed by the fact that writing The Guild Conspiracy has been rather difficult and the fact that I now essentially have to start over. As a result, I was seriously worried that the book wouldn’t come out when originally planned. It was a bit much when heaped on top of other life things.

May 14, 2012

back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 2

Today, we resume the more in-depth analysis of Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions, continuing with the next four stages. As in the last post, we’ll be using the films Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust as examples. The examples are mine, but the comments on each stage are paraphrases of the material in Christopher Vogler and David McKenna’s book Memo from the Story Dept. Propp’s Functions are not a rigid structure. The functions can be swip-swapped around in nearly any order, as you’ll find is the case in my examples.

4. Reconnaissance: The villain, perhaps tipped off by the third function (but not always), seeks information about the hero. (Or the hero may seek information about the villain. Somebody’s interested in somebody else.)

In modern literature, the villain may not make an appearance until the end of the first act or early in the second, but his minions will likely track down the hero and keep tabs on him. The hero can also perform this function, seeking information about the villain, attempting to right whatever wrong that the villain might have done.

May 10, 2012

back to basics: propp's functions, pt. 1

All right… today, we start the more in-depth look at Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions, starting with the Initial Situation and the first three stages, using Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Stardust for example material—film versions, since they’re easiest to analyze and are probably what people are more familiar with. It’s been so long since I’ve read the first Harry Potter book, I’d spend most of this blog post flipping through the pages to make sure my facts are straight, and as you well know, I haven’t read Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

First up, The Initial Situation: there’s a family or a hero living somewhere.

This is the part of the story that introduces the main character in his natural setting.

The initial situation for Aladdin, in the Disney film of the same name, is being a “street rat”, stealing bread and running from the palace guards to keep out of trouble. He’s living on his own in an abandoned house in the center of Agrabah, and his only friend is Abu.

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, rooming in the cupboard under the stairs. He has no friends or anything of his own.

Tristan, in the film Stardust, lives with his father and works as a shop boy.

May 7, 2012

back to basics: propp's functions, introduction

Next up in the Back to Basics series is Propp’s Fairy Tale Functions, which I discovered upon reading Memo from the Story Dept. by Christopher Vogler and David McKenna. Most of what I have to say on the subject will be story analysis. The actual breakdown of each stage is Vogler and McKenna’s doing. In their book, they compare the functions to the Hero’s Journey, but I’m not going to list that here. In all honesty, you should read the book. I learned a lot from it.

Propp’s Functions result from his observations of about a hundred Russian fairy tales. In those stories, he found repeating patterns, identifying thirty-one in all. These functions are not necessarily a structure, as we would consider The Hero’s Journey or Three Act, but instead, they are pieces that can be mixed and matched, a “compendium of possibilities” as Vogler says.

May 4, 2012

april sales

April was an interesting month. I sort of got burned out on trying to sell my book to the internet so I did absolutely zero marketing. And I learned an important lesson: no marketing = no book sales.

April Sales for The Clockwork Giant

Price: ebook $4.99, paperback $10.79/$11.99 (depending on where you buy it)

Kindle: 1 copy, $3.44 in royalties
Kindle International: 0
Nook: 1 copy, $3.24 in royalties
Smashwords: 0
Createspace: 0
Direct: 0

Yep. Two sales. All month.

Let’s see if a renewed marketing drive will get those numbers up for May. If anything good came out of this month of sales, it was the fact that I didn’t obsess over my sales. When you log in for two weeks straight without a single sale, you kind of lose the desire to check.

I did learn that Smashwords reports sales from third party sellers quarterly. I was pleased to learn that I sold three books through Kobo between January and March. So there’s that.

Also, one more thing. This blog will soon undergo some pretty smallish changes. I’m going to blog on Mondays and Thursdays instead of my previous Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. Multiple reasons: I need more time for other things, like, you know, writing; and I’m in a phase where I feel like blogging is a waste of time since my views are less than satisfactory, even with my decent following, and comments are nearly non-existent. Hopefully the phase will pass soon.

Other changes: new color scheme and header (the website will also change to reflect the blog), and I’m going back to my Back to Basics series next week. Every three or so posts, I’ll post something non-Back to Basics related. Also, I am now going to report sales quarterly, once I get my info from Smashwords.

That's all for now. Now that the design is up, what do you think?

May 2, 2012

thoughts on marketing

Now that I’ve wasted most of the morning napping and being social on Google+, I suppose I ought to write my blog post. This is definitely the downside to not writing posts ahead of time.

Anyway, I’ve been having an interesting conversation on G+ about ratings and reviews and how they influence potential buyers. I’d like to believe that a reader looks at my book reviews and trusts these random strangers at their word, but I know that’s not necessarily case. I firmly believe that readers purchase books based on being exposed to a book, either by ads, book trailers, and book reviews, or by the more personal word of mouth and friend recommendations. Both in combination is going to make for a book sale rather than not.