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Posts Tagged ‘wattpad’

FleaCollar

This is actually Jeff Shank working on a striking puppet for The Howling, which I absolutely yanked from this fabulous collectionof behind-the-scenes pics.

So, what’s up with Wattpad? It’s a hellscape. It really is just awful. Imagine a place with potentially millions of readers, with no way to promote your story to those readers outside the Wattpad People choosing your story and putting it on the main page (which doesn’t seem to change for months at a time). This wouldn’t me too terrible if they didn’t use an algorithm to choose what they promote, and if they weren’t deliberately catering to teenagers (who love “Werewolf Romance,” among other problematic things, which loosely translates to “Sadistic Beastiality” — not kidding, teenagers nowadays are fucking weird and I don’t think they understand how this looks). The only promotional resource they had that you could control was posting once a week (per story) on their forums. The problem with that is that readers rarely went to the forums — it’s full of writers. If you’re serious about your writing, you have two choices — you can do everything you can to get readers to read your writing, or you can content yourself with other writers reading your writing, which means you have to read their writing, and you can tell each other how great it is, and maybe even exchange ideas about how to promote your writing, but let’s face it, with all your reading and writing and backslapping, who’s got time to do much of anything else? That’s what’s called a Circle Jerk. Minus the super jacuzzi (and if there’s no super jacuzzi, I’m out).

And, no offense, other writers: I have a lot of books. A lot. I read them. I have at least three books going at all times, and I will never run out of books I want to read because something about them made me want to read them (including doing research for my own writing). I literally haven’t two minutes to read books I am obligated to read because someone said they’d read my book. In that case, I don’t want you to read my book — I want you to write and promote your book. I will do the same.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter now because they actually shut down the forums because — and I can’t stop laughing at this — a number of ultra-woke teens kept politicizing every other conversation on there, generally polluting and creating a toxic environment for everyone (which, was really a blessing, because being forced to spend any time on an Internet forum with teenagers at this point in my life, is just so very bad). But since the Great Forum Cataclysm (the kids were really upset), there’s been zero place to just throw up anything that simply says, “Hey, I got a thing. It’s about this. Come take a look.”

So, screw it. I’m going to be transferring stuff over from there to here. I’ve been hiesitant to so it because, well, it was a bunch of work to get drafts up to post there, and it’ll be a bunch of work to do that here (but at least here I can actually schedule posts, so I don’t need to do it manually). I’ll make a separate page tab for each book, and put up a clickable Table of Contents. It was totally my bad putting it up there in the first place — it just seemed like a convenient publishing platform when, at the time, I didn’t have this blog up and running again. But, now this is here, why bother over there?

Starting Monday, I will be posting “chapters” (they’re not chapters — the book is in four parts, but that’s too long to post) of my Robert Louis Stevenson werewolf book, The Beast of Gévaudan. Here’s the blurb…

Robert Louis Stevenson treks through the French highlands hoping to heal his recently broken heart — prompted by the loss of one Mrs. Fanny Osbourne — and to gather notes for a new travelogue, “Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes.” Along with the fickle Modestine, his pack donkey, Stevenson journeys 120 miles through villages and valleys, encountering innkeepers and fellow travelers, a monk-filled monastery, a violent, angry mob, and more superstitious locals than one could adequately poke with a donkey goad. These things he’d expected, but not the mysterious figure trailing him, the murder, nor, above all, a confrontation with the notorious Beast of Gévaudan of 18th-century legend. Hunted, heart-sick, questioning his own sanity and senses, Stevenson forms unlikely alliances as he is forced to face an entire region of werewolves — and possibly worse — in order to reach his destination and desire, Alès and a long-for letter from his estranged love.

I’ll post new bits every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And, once I get a few things ironed out here, I will move ‘Florida Man’ and ‘Dread Confluence’ over here as well.

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Several years ago, I published two collections called Despumation (they’re actually still available: Here No. 1 & here’s No. 2). I was hoping to take it further, but I vastly overestimated the number of competent writers who also listen to extreme metal. The submissions were…bleak, and I don’t mean that in a metal way. It was rough, so I shut it down. Though I did not contribute to these, I did write one story (with the intention of writing more, enough for a separate collection of just my own stuff), which you can find here (along with a bunch of other great metal-based stories), or you can just read my story up on Wattpad.

It’s called “Dark Foul Light” and it’s based on Carcass’s song (not the whole album), “Heartwork.”

I got a message from a reader on Wattpad who read it because it ranked well with the #Carcass hashtag, and they liked it, but they found the story wasn’t what they were expecting. And, I get it — they’re absolutely right. Though, if you’re very familiar with the song, you’ll find the lyrics throughout, which is where I started when I developed the story altogether.

Anyway, it occurred to me that perhaps I could blog about that process. A lot of the submissions I got for Despumation were attempts at a fairly literal interpretation of relatively concrete lyrics, which, with pretty limited metal tropes, tend to end up being about the same sort of things — murder, violence, satan, etc. Very little variety. I get that it seems like a pretty obvious way to approach this kind of endeavor: concrete lyrics, concrete story ideas, literal story. But I found that if you open the song pool up to more abstract, conceptual lyrics, 1) you have much more to work with, and 2) the places you can go with it expands tremendously.

And you will definitely end up with stories that your average headbanger wasn’t expecting — and may not even like, which is a shame. But, as a writer and a metal fan, it’s deeply satisfying, and frankly, it’s a better story. Start with the lyrics as a foundation, and then do a little research about the band to find your setting, character names, etc. That then directs you to peripheral information that, while having nothing to do with the song per se, captures the culture the band was operating from, among other things. Another thing you can do, if it works, is use the structure of the song to set the pace. That’s a challenge.

There’s a lot you can do with it, other than simply find a song that already tells a rather direct story (which, in metal — as with any genre, I’m sure — tends to be fairly limited). Not that there’s anything wrong with using a song that really tells a story already — one can always expand on it. But, I find it less satisfying and it keeps you boxed in, in terms of creativity.

So, next Metal Monday, I’ll tell you how I came up with the story of “Dark Foul Light,” and from there, I’ll tell you how I’m currently devising a story based on Coroner’sDivine Step” from the Mental Vortex album. Yes, I’m back on the metal-based story wagon — working on that collection again.

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So, I’ve been posting stuff over on Wattpad. It’s a rough platform, and by that, I mean, it’s not the best place for what I write. It is populated mainly by teenaged girls thirsty for, apparently, alpha-male werewolf romances. I know, I didn’t know that was even a thing, but it goes along with the fact that “toxic relationships” is also very trendy there. This makes me sad in that these poor girls have clearly internalized the “if he hurts you, it means he likes you” line adults have been feeding them their whole, short lives. And that is a bummer. I hope they grow out of it.

Florida Man Cover Placeholder

But yes, Wattpad has a massive romance (of all sorts) readership, and although Florida Man: The Battle of the Five Meth Labs: A Love Story is, well, a love story, it is a love story among many other things. I’d feel wrong tagging it with the romance genre, because it is hardly romantic (depending how you feel about electro-stimulation), and exposing these poor unsuspecting girls to Bildo and MeeMaw’s Whackin’ Dick might be a little much.

DC Cover

I do have something else up there, though: Dread Confluence. It’s a short story collection of paranormal stories set in and around Pittsburgh, Pa (two novelettes and four short stories — so far. I think it needs one or two more to really round it out.). It is chronological and spans from 1873 to 2010, so far. It is basically my 2011 MFA fiction thesis, which I haven’t really looked at since, but I think it’s good enough for folks to read. There’s an additional story, called The Obstruction (that won’t be posted until later — I update 2-3 times a week, all installments are under 300 words) that I wrote a couple years later, which was prompted by my thesis advisor, who, upon receiving a brain cancer diagnosis, said to me that it was an apt topic for one of my “scary stories.” So, I wrote one for him. It was published, actually, in a Canadian anthology a number of years ago, but since it was set in Pittsburgh, I added it to Dread Confluence.

Why am I posting on Wattpad? I dunno, really. The whole process of querying agents and publishers (at least the ones who accept unsolicited manuscripts) is a lonely, isolated experience with very little in the way of response, let alone rejection. I got knocked out of the game by a variety of ongoing personal situations in the last handful of years, and while I kept writing and doing revisions, no one was reading anything. It feels like I should just be digging a hole in the backyard and throwing the stories in there, maybe dig them up if I can manage to get an agent to bite. When you’re a writer, and you’re going through the process, it gets extremely disheartening writing into a void.

Now, I’ve got a few people reading this stuff. And they seem to be enjoying it, which is a relief.

So, that’s why. Would I rather be publishing traditionally? Absolutely. But it’s a long, hard slough, and I’m not getting any younger. I’m still querying and whatnot, and I’m considering another foray into the self-publishing jungle, but we’ll see. This is fine for now, while I work on finishing this third novel, get a few more shorts for another collection, etc. I’m still working. I’m always working on something. It’ll all come together, eventually.

 

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