Another late post–with apologies

Learning how to find the hours in the day to do everything that has to be done when the other member of the household is non-mobile is proving a bit more challenging than expected. I’m not complaining. Mom’s always been there for me and I am happy to return the favor. But I didn’t add in the time necessary to get both of us ready for her post-op appointment with her surgeon this morning into the grand scheme of things. I’m already running later than I wanted to be. So, regretfully, I will be posting late morning to early afternoon. Again, my apologies.

But, for the good news. Mom is doing much better than either of us had any right to expect. She is a little more than a week shy of turning 91 and each day finds her stronger and able to do more than the day before. I’ll admit, she overdid it yesterday, mainly out of boredom. The contractor was here to raise the floor in the den and that took all day. That meant she was confined to her room–with the animals–for close to 10 hours. So she decided that was a good time to try walking more. She’s paying for it some this morning. Which is why I need to wrap this up because pain means she moves more slowly.

Do me a favor. You guys came up with some great suggestions last week. Let’s keep it up. Give me an idea or two about what you’d like me to blog about. Ask questions (writing related, please). I’ll do my best to answer as many as possible and then get to the others later.

Until then. Thanks for your patience.

Featured image created using Midjourney AI and is a representation of the Dallas skyline during a storm.

15 comments

  1. I’m glad your mom is doing better.

    I would love one hint on using Scrivener, especially when you want to get a manuscript out of it. Or possibly when you are trying to title chapters. And if the answer is buy Vellum … well I’m listening. Scrivener kept me organized but when I actually wanted to edit the document as a whole I … couldn’t.

    1. Most of the ebook vendors will accept a word document with a linked table of contents as something to upload. I generally exported Scrivener to the most basic word doc I could manage, and then did formatting, including linked table of contents, there.

      Last time I uploaded a book to Amazon (in late 2020), they had a free downloadable tool for doc to ebook conversion that seemed to work pretty well.

  2. Is there a way to sort the wheat from the chaff on publication data from larger presses? Dorothy posted the rebuttal of the “only sell 12 or fewer books” last week, but is gauging probably realistic vs. out past left field something that only comes with experience? (Granted, with indie it should be less of a problem, but . . .)

  3. Glad to hear your mother is doing better.

    As far as a topic, I know I’ve asked on this one before, but “Marketing for the rank beginner” (yes, 2.5 years after the first book came out, I’m still a rank beginner). As in, don’t bother to tell me to get things out to my newsletter subscribers, because I don’t have any of those and don’t know how to get ones who aren’t related to me.

  4. Good luck with your mother, and don’t sweat being late. The best advice I got was to spend the time, because regardless of what happens, you won’t regret it.

    On questions, how does one know when the serial numbers are sufficiently filed off?

    Some of the characters showing up are, in my head, continuations of characters from other stories. Basically, Character B is what you get when Character A goes through X. Is there a point where that is sufficiently separate from the original, or do I need to pull it out at the roots and create new characters from first principles?

    1. This is more of a “know it when you see it” thing. Assuming you’re not writing about public domain characters with public domain names*, you need the character and setting names and terminology changed, at a bare minimum. People might snark about it in the reviews, but you’re get sued for it. Extrapolations of what your favorite characters created by other people would be like in changed circumstances, in a setting of your own devising, with names that fit that setting and are not the names they were originally given by other people, is probably enough defacing of serial numbers.

      The simple fact is that unless you’re an amazing mimic of the source material, and are using its setting and the majority of its core characters and their dayjobs all at once, anything you do to a borrowed or extrapolated character is going to cause it to drift significantly from the source material. A Harry Potter who hit it off with Draco right off the bat and never had much to do with Hermione or the Weasleys would make for a pretty radically different set of books, for instance

      *Hans Christian Anderson did not name the Little Mermaid “Ariel” and the entity which did name her “Ariel” has many, many lawyers.

      1. Yeah, I think that’s what I’m leaning towards.

        I sometimes have ideas for OVAs for various music I hear, and had one for one of these characters this morning. I realized, even if I had the animation skill, I couldn’t actually do it for the original character, because it would probably take at least a novel-worth to explain how they got there in the first place.

        1. In a situation like that, the question becomes “what part of the source character and situation do I need to hold onto in order to tell this story.”

          A long time ago, I remember a tradpub midlist type author blogging about this, and the example she used was Due South. If you liked the main characters as archetypes, they didn’t *have* to be a Dudley Do-Right Mountie and a brassy Chicago cop. They just needed to be the cleancut idealistic one and the scruffy cynical one, in whatever setting you liked, with whatever backstories would account for their personalities in that setting.

    2. The fanfiction writer Vathara/normal book writer C. Chancy uses characters from other media as starts for secondary characters– for example, she has a Fire Nation Marine squad that’s the NCIS guys. If I hadn’t been aware she does that, I woudn’t have noticed, just been really fond of the Ducky espie!

      1. It’s kind of funny. I seem to be starting with secondary characters and poking around what makes them tick, and under what conditions they could be heroic.

        Lethal joke character whose primary attribute seems to be a lazy monster? How did they get that way? And what do they do if they end up on a world where they aren’t under restraints? And if it’s reasonable for them to go fill in Aztec murder god, why didn’t they every try very hard to get free originally?

        Former antagonist whose primary characteristics are absolute ambition and a fully mercenary view of life. Would she marry a mad god for power? Yes, absolutely. How does that work out? Probably not the way she was expecting.

        Which is also more or less how I ended up with a deposed aztecy god and a computer cordially sniping at each other of tea…

    3. Change the name.

      After that, you just need practice changing the non-essential details. (And you find out the non-essential details by practice. You may discover you can change your princess wizard into a seamstress who can’t cast a spell in a world where everyone can, but that she HAS to still have red hair.)

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