Ugly – sorting out if your writing has reached the point that it is a business and not a hobby (for tax purposes.)
If you have a DBA or are registered as an LLC (in other words, if you are a company already) it’s easy – you are a business, and you can skip the rest of this piece.
For the rest of us, it’s a bit trickier. Here’s one writer’s starting point:
All stories have a conflict in them. Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs Himself . . . there are lots of possibilities. Some conflicts are universe-shaking, others are far quieter. The English have a sub-genre of domestic dramas nicknamed “Aga Sagas” after the Aga stoves found in many homes, which gives you a sense that the stories are not about saving the planet from invading alien hordes.
Which leads to a question about your conflict? Do you have an antagonist or a villain? The two are not mutually exclusive, but you do not have to have a villain in every story. Some don’t call for it. Read more
Before we go any farther into the stories, let’s stop and review.
We’ve looked at openings, and setting the scene. We’ve outlined some characters, and either hinted at or stated what the conflicts are going to be. We don’t have antagonists/villains yet, or motivations for the Bad Guy/Gal/Thing.
Before you go too far in your work, step back a little. One thing you need, especially for a book or a work in a series, is a Story/Series Bible. You can call it story guide, whatever, but it is a single document with all the important information about characters and settings in it. How detailed and how long depends on you and what you are using to write the story. Read more
Description is vital to world building. You need some setting, at least a quick sketch to show readers where your characters are and what’s happening. How characters describe their surroundings can also be a clue as to something unusual. Does the protagonist focus on smell over color (Rada Ni Drako?) Do they focus on the sound of places, hearing the passageway narrow?
The more descriptors you have in your toolbox, the better you can do at conveying things to your readers. Especially when you need to write short.
Eldred “Bob” Bird over at Writers in the Storm as a neat little piece about the power of description and how to do it “short.” Read more
So, on with our stories.
Story 1. “Magic in the Darkness.” When we left Imre and Csilla, we had established a broad setting (Budapest, modern day), and two characters – Imre the mage, and his Familiar and seeing-eye dog Csilla. Csilla is a Hungarian Kuvazs, weighs 45 KG (100 pounds) and will herd her charge whenever the opportunity arises. This could be good or bad, depending on how the plot develops.
The story begins with Imre working, repairing a piano. Blind piano tuners are not all that rare, so this fits his character. It is assumed in the Familiars universe that one cannot make a living from magic alone, so he has a “regular” job. More setting, and a reason for him to go places, with tools and with a seeing-eye dog.
This is a short story, so we need a story-problem or plot driver early on. Imre is not a shadow-mage, so he does not go looking for trouble. That makes things a little more difficult. Trouble has to come to him, or he has to stumble onto it (metaphorically speaking, if Csilla is doing her job). So . . . What if we have a person with an unusual instrument that needs to be tuned. A person with something odd about them? He is working on a spinet piano that has seen better days as the excerpt begins. (Maria is his wife). Read more
One of the requests was for a “class” on writing a story from the idea phase to publishing. I’m going to try, with two sides, so to speak. One a story in a known world, one a brand new world. I have no idea how long this will take.
1. Known World. I needed some stories for a Familiars* story set, to be called G——- Familiar. I already had three based on previous characters, maybe four, so I needed someone and something new. Hmm, what to do, what to do? Ah, a reader asked if I ever did Familiars that are domestic cats or dogs. Sure, why not. So I decided on a dog, because cat Familiars are just strange. Read more
So . . .
I’m writing a new character in the Familiars world, one who appears in a previous book but who gets fleshed out in a sequel. He’s, well, not to have any spoilers, but by the time he appears on his own, his issues have subscriptions. He’s not a happy camper. And then he’s tossed into trouble.
What does he do?
Ah. Flee, fight, freeze, or yes? Read more