Saturday, Mar. 4, 2017
This week the theme is holy matrimony! Nuptials! Connubial capers! That's right: weddings! I thought I'd talk about a few things that are being married together this year.
Also, I'm sorry this is a bit late, and that articles of late have been coming up a day or two late. This week my explanation is the one that I'm happiest to give: I was very much absorbed in manuscript writing, and when I'm in the groove I like to stay there. Neither on late Friday, nor Saturday, nor even early Sunday (i.e., today) did I care to take time away from the manuscript writing to spend the time to do editing and uploading. I'm only doing it now because I'm too tired to do any more manuscript writing for the day.
Worldbuilding: Formal & Informal
I had a realization recently. I was looking at the currently-inactive Journal of Relance, which I had envisioned as a direct spinoff of my personal journal, The Sinistral, to serve as home for all Curious Tale entries that didn't otherwise have a home in one of the Regular Features. That spinoff never took hold. While the Regular Features indeed brought about a new, unprecedented era of formalized worldbuilding, something was lost: the more informal journal entries, the ones that didn't rise to the level of a feature. They belonged in the new journal, but instead they went nowhere, and there's a lot that didn't get said because of that. Now I'm finding the exact same problem again, except this time it's Curious Tale Saturdays that's losing out on content. A little while back, in planning the article for last weekend's Curious Tale Saturdays slot, I wanted to do a worldbuilding piece, but ultimately I talked myself out of it under the rationale that all worldbuilding energy should be going into Wiki Wednesdays. I had been telling myself that for a while, yet I hadn't considered a very simple fact: The wiki articles have certain, critical limitations in their tone and subject matter. I can't speak as myself in the wiki. I can't give background or meta information. I can't wander from topic to topic, following a single strand. I can do those things in a Curious Tale Saturdays article, and I really enjoy those articles, but I can't do them in the wiki. And the consequence has been that, once again, as a result of saying "Format X or it doesn't get said," there's a lot that didn't get said.
Marriage compels us to make compromises and narrow the scope of our behaviors, at least sometimes. Sometimes that works out, but other times it doesn't. Marrying my worldbuilding efforts into Wiki Wednesdays has ended up narrowing my worldbuilding a little bit more than I'm comfortable with. So how do I deal with that? As I see it, I have three choices:
1) I can accept these new limitations and accept that a great deal of worldbuilding that would otherwise have happened isn't going to occur, so that I can focus my energy on Wiki Wednesdays and make the official worldbuilding as productive as possible. This option would be best for my professional efforts, but it's unsatisfying because it means denying myself the right to act on certain creative impulses.
2) I can take some of the worldbuilding energy away from Wiki Wednesdays and spend it on Curious Tale Saturdays, or even, conceivably, on my personal journal or the Journal of Relance. This option would bring me the most expressive gratification, but it would slow down the pace of formal worldbuilding and quite likely blunt the color and passion in the wiki.
3) I can broaden the tonal and substantive constraints of Encyclopedia Reluria to allow myself to write in ways not typically seen in encyclopedias, in the hopes that worldbuilding will go up without taking anything away from the wiki. This would be the most creatively satisfying of the three options, but it would result in a sloppier wiki that doesn't look as professional. (Though, on the other hand, some fans will surely enjoy the added insights.)
What I have decided to do is give Option 3 a trial run. Starting with the next Wiki Wednesdays, you're going to see this new, expanded format in the wiki. Please let me know what you think of it! Speaking of which, once again I failed to post this past week's Wiki Wednesdays article on time. As it turned out, I was away from the computer for all of Wednesday, and on Thursday I was exhausted (and then, as stated, beginning on Friday I began an unplanned manuscript marathon). So as to fulfill my obligation for the week, I simply converted the existing article on Rhya Kimbrii to the new format. Check it out!
Audience-Building: Marketing & Making
My marketing initiative is rolling out with the usual plodding inefficiency you might expect of me, given both my overall style and my particular weakness at marketing. I've definitely been active in this area, spending time out on the interwebs trying to build my presence in a handful of communities, but not with the results I'd like to be able to show for it. Not yet anyway.
In particular I have found that my discipline to my daily commitments has been incredibly brittle, with the slightest disruptions to my schedule causing me to fail to post social media updates for that day. I'm going to be attempting to get this weakness under control by finding an application to let me update to all of my social media accounts at once. I'm also going to attempt a more disciplined schedule for working on social media outreach. Lastly, I'm going to bank posts ahead of time, try to write at least seven posts (i.e., one for each day) in one sitting, week to week.
My existing marketing efforts will continue, but, more broadly, I also hope to increase my marketing efficacy through a new technique. That's right! Marriage. I think the road to marketing sustainability lies somewhat through the realm of the making of my creative content. If I can design ways to wed or "tack on" marketing work to my creative work, I think it will help me out. I haven't had time to brainstorm any ideas, but it's on my to-do list for this week.
I also need to remember to give myself full days off, and not just parts of days. I get into that pattern easily, and it leaves me feeling stretched thin, which I often don't notice until I actually take an entire day off.
Storytelling: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Here's a little bit of trivia: Most of you know that I have two active, large-scale fiction projects: The Curious Tale, and my affectionately-named Star Trek Ripoff. (That's a working title, obviously.) But what you may not know is that, since resuming regular creative writing at the turn of the year, I have been working on both projects. The Star Trek Ripoff, although it does consume creative energy, serves two purposes:
First of all, sometimes it's the story I want to be writing, in which case The Curious Tale doesn't actually lose much from my deferring it in favor of the sci-fi work.
Second of all, it offers a rare opportunity for me to publish stories. The wait between Curious Tale books is a long one, and in the meantime there are these various features, but what if I were to publish actual stories on a more frequent basis, with the only caveat being that they're from the Star Trek Ripoff and not The Curious Tale? I think that would be a good thing.
And so, already this year I have wedded my two fiction projects inasmuch as I allow myself to work on either one at will, for the purpose of fulfilling my weekly creative writing quota. If I want to do Star Trek, I'll do that. If I want to do Relance, ditto. I'm happy with this.
Obviously, at some point I'll have to address the fact that neither this website nor my Patreon page accommodate the Star Trek Ripoff. But I have a while yet before it becomes a pressing matter.
Till Plot Do You Part
That's all for this week. But before I go, perhaps I should address one seemingly obvious omission: in-world weddings! Marriage in The Curious Tale is something I have rarely discussed over the years, no doubt reflecting my own deemphasized sense of its importance. I rarely fantasize about characters getting married. A couple of exceptions are the relationship between Spade and Celithemis, which eventually produces a wedding, and Javelin's hope of marrying Galavar, and there are not all that many more examples beyond these two. Even falling in love is something that I don't dwell on particularly often, though it certainly comes up more often than weddings do.
Join me next week, when I write about scavenging seven meals.
Until then, may you be wedded to a good week!
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!