Descent update and other life events

One tired editorial assistant!

I’m approaching the midpoint in initial Descent edits, which is massively behind where I’d envisioned I would be in April. I’ve been under a lot of stress in my professional life as I looked to transition from one career to a new one. Pair that with a nasty upper respiratory infection, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. In particular, the “is the new job going to happen or is it not going to happen” was a killer when it came to creativity and consumed so much of my mind that revisions fell to the wayside.

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The Joys Of Audiobooks

A variety of audiobooks, including Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood, Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood, Peace Talks by Jim Butcher, The stationary shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Broder and Never in Finer Company by Edward G. Lengel.
Above are a just a few of my completed and future audiobook titles.

Three months into 2021, and so far, I have six read books under my belt. Juggling two jobs and edits, I’m amazed with this progress toward my twenty book goal on Goodreads, though I’m aware of the irony. When I only had one job, I was lucky to even read ten books in a year. Perhaps, it’s the lack of free time that truly makes me appreciate what time is available. Maybe it’s the carrot of my local library’s Break into 2021 Book Reading Challenge. Or perhaps, after a rough couple of years, I really need a bit of escapism. No matter why, audiobooks have been my saviors.

My love affair with audiobooks began while traveling with my brother and sister-in-law to Indy. It was a Dresden Files audiobook, and it wasn’t even at the beginning, but narrator James Marsters (yes, Spike from Buffy) had me sold. Thanks to Overdrive, I dove into the Dresden Files audiobooks from the beginning, even loading my cellphone with them for a work trip to Florida.

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Website updates, writing progress, and more

The website has received a complete overhaul along with an official domain name, smwrightauthor.com. Visitors will now be greeted by a static homepage featuring my most recent releases, updates on works in progress, and other news. Shortly, I hope to add a countdown to Descent‘s release and hopefully a new event this September (there are still moving pieces, so we will see).

Several of my site’s pages have also been updated with new information, and I anticipate The Heritage Verse sections will be growing over the next few months. The blog has migrated to its own page, but no worries, I have big plans for it.

Plans For The Blog

Making my blog more active is forever one of my goals, and here I am again in 2021, hoping to make it happen. Right now, Descent revisions are receiving the bulk of my attention in what little free time I have, but I am working on getting more posts scheduled that are broader in scope than just on writing. Some of my plans include:

  • More Once Upon A Time Writing Lesson posts: I have three planned OUAT Writing Lesson posts currently planned. More might appear after I have a chance to rewatch the series, which is on my list to do.
  • “Rewatch Parties”: This potential series would see me rewatching some of my favorite TV series from the ’90s and ’00s. I would probably lead with Fringe, which I’ve wanted to revisit.
  • “It Came From the Bargain Bin”: In this series, I’ll be raiding bargain bins for fantasy and sci-fi books to read and share. The goal is to uncover some out-of-print stories, but I will be starting with newer books claimed at my local library’s book sales. The first will probably be The Courtship of Princess Leia, a book from my teen years that I remember loving, and now, I want to revisit it after snagging a copy.
  • “Four Questions and a Twist”: This is a future profile of indie authors that I would like to start, where each profile would receive four writing-related questions about their works, followed by one out-of-the-blue question like “What Google search has probably landed you on an NSA list?”
  • “Into the Heritage Verse”: This dormant series is going to be revived! I left off with C, which will be about the Csek species, but I aim to reach Z.
Writing And Edits

I’m up to my head in Descent revisions but majorly behind where I’d envisioned I would be during February. I knew several sections were rough, but I hadn’t accounted for the number of strategic surgeries required, where scenes were cut and rearranged with rewrites following to hide the sutures. More intensive editing sections lie ahead, which is stirring doubts. I do feel that Descent will be ready for publication in 2021, but I’m growing hesitant about whether I’ll hit a July/August publication date.

The two jobs situation seriously hindered momentum, but I’m buckling down to persevere. Life seldom goes as planned, and sometimes, you have to roll a hard six.

Newsletter

I do have an author newsletter that is averaging an every-other-month release schedule so far. New subscribers receive a free copy of The Promise, so don’t forget to check your spam folder for the welcome email. The newsletter is a great way to stay up to date on new releases while enjoying exclusive sneak peeks, sales, and freebies. In the last newsletter, followers were treated to an excerpt of Descent‘s first chapter.

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Once Upon A Time Writing Lesson: Right-Sizing Cast

Once Upon a Time is a case study for plotting out a series. It exhibits why it is important to have a game plan–no matter how rough–in place at the beginning of a creative endeavor. This helps writers avoid retreading past plot points or completely dropping the ball on others. Characters need to go hand in hand with this early plotting–their arcs, their backgrounds, etc.

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The Struggles Of Platforming As An Introvert

To start off, this post isn’t going to offer any grand solutions to platform building — I have none. This remains one of my greatest struggles as an author in addition to being a point of frustration and bursts of depression. For every step forward, no visible progress seems to occur, and now that I’m juggling so much more in my day-to-day life, time seems too limited to get anywhere. Making it worse, I’m a massive introvert.Continue reading “The Struggles Of Platforming As An Introvert”

Writing Recap: Revision Madness

After puttering out in the last couple of chapters, I overcame the rut and finally finished Descent, the follow-up to Heritage Lost. Well, finished the drafting part . . . I’m currently neck-deep in revisions. Revisions, however, have always come easiest for me. My drafts are always sparse, so revisions include more fleshing out, particularly descriptions. Like most other writers, there are intensive rewrites, too.

So far two scenes have undergone massive rewrites, and being only 82 pages in, I’m sure there are going to be several more as the story is refined and characters come into their own.

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The Struggle To Get Back On Track

After a productive April and May where I felt on top of the world and was knocking out words, I find myself stalling. Words are still finding their way to paper, and I’m down to two chapters on Descent; however, I’m not where I had envisioned myself being by July, and each and every word is a struggle to get down.

As with all things, I know this will pass, and until then, I aim to just push through. My ultimate goal is to have the last two chapters of Descent concluded by the end of this weekend. Then I hope to catch up on posts here, including a continuation of the Lessons for OUAT series, several book reviews, and more letter posts. I’m also hoping to launch a profile series of indie authors. If you are interested in being profiled, please reach out to me at the below contact form.

Hopefully, I’ll have a happier report at the end of July. Please wish me luck.

New Release And Sale

“A kid doesn’t belong on a military base.”

“Hard to say that, ma’am. Especially after what we saw last night,” Aquila responded, tone grim. “We may not all be gems, but I like to think what happened to that girl wouldn’t have happened here.”

“The Promise: A Heritage Verse Story” By S.M. Wright

Beginning May 29, a revised version of The Promise, the prequel novella to Heritage Lost that shows Katya’s life on Reznic prior to The Maelstrom, will be available for download on Amazon for 99 cents: https://amz.run/3EdL. This prequel novella will also be available for free to subscribers of my newsletter; simply sign up using this link, http://eepurl.com/g4lYwr, and wait for the welcome email — you might need to check your spam folder.

The Promise will be released on the Kindle May 29.

If you do sign up for my newsletter, rest assured that I will never spam your inbox. I aim to do a quarterly email, with the odd release email sent out from time to time. My newsletters will include exclusive content, news, writing tips, and more.

In addition to the new release, the Heritage Lost‘s e-book will also be on sale from May 27 (starting at 8 a.m. PT) through June 1 (ending at 11 p.m. PT) for $1.99 (normally, it is $4.99). If you’ve been wanting to dip into the Heritage Verse, now is the perfect opportunity to do so!

If you end up purchasing either story and enjoy them, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or wherever you prefer. Reviews are a major help to authors and can keep us going.

OUAT Writing Lessons: Concerning Plotting A Series

For a bit of fun, I thought it would be great to examine the TV series, Once Upon A Time, which, in my opinion, started strong before faltering in quality and becoming laden with oh-so-many plot holes, inconsistencies, disappearing characters, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I still love OUAT despite all its flaws. However, I thought it’d be fun to glean writing lessons from it. Even though a novelist doesn’t have all of the external factors that can plague a screenwriter or showrunner, such as actors leaving before your narratively ready for them to, there are still commonalities embedded in the simple act of telling a story. (Spoilers begin after this point.)

Continue reading “OUAT Writing Lessons: Concerning Plotting A Series”

Self-publishing: What I’d Do Differently

I have previously written about my self-publishing journey: why I opted for this pathway and how I pursued it. Heritage Lost was my first full-length novel release, and as such, there was an immense learning curve that my short story releases couldn’t prepare me for. There are numerous things that I will do differently (as long as I don’t self-sabotage myself) with my next release.

Here are the top four elements of my release that I would do differently, especially now as I reflect about six months later.

No. 1: Better Time Management

I gravely miscalculated the amount of time that I would need to finish up the final polishing revisions, which pushed back the formatting of Heritage Lost and, in turn, the finished paperback cover as an official page count was needed to determine the spine’s dimensions. Yes, there were circumstances beyond my control–a death in the family–that greatly impacted my original plan of having everything wrapped up by the end of my vacation from the day job. However, if I’m being honest with myself, I should have had a larger dent done in the revisions even before my vacation.

Continue reading “Self-publishing: What I’d Do Differently”

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