The NaNoWriMo Caper

I make no apologies for the title. It’s not even October yet and it already feels like I’m gearing up for some epic heist, possibly involving a casino or a bank, and is starting to get me excited. I know that it’s been quite a while since I last blogged but I finally have the time to get back into it, so I figured I would kick off by committing to do a series of NaNoWriMo blog posts, as well as publicly posting how my writing is going, to keep me accountable.

So here’s the plan: I’ll be doing four posts in October to guide people through the NaNo Prep season, and then I will be doing daily posts all throughout November. I’m open to suggestions as to what exactly be writing about, but I will get them up. Promise.

I look forward to seeing everyone back here in October.

Their Way, Or Not At All: Professionalism, Indie Writers And Differing Career Goals

Warning: some swearing.

Disclaimer: Also, this is a rant as disclaimed here. If I put this disclaimer and you get offended by what I say, that’s totally your fault for reading and being offended. It can’t possibly be my fault and I am then justified for mocking you and essentially calling you a crybaby in the article. Moreover, this behaviour of mine is extremely professional, as I claim I aspire to be.

If writing is your profession, act professional.

Here’s What I Know by Joe Konrath

I’ve been reading blogs about self-publishing and the rise of ebooks for years now, since back before it was cool. In that time, I’ve witnessed a huge shift in the way self-publishing is talked about by those who practice it and one of those changes really gets my goat.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some authors are tasteful about it, the above quoted Joe being one of them, while he advocates acting professionally and publishing to a professional standard, he does so within the context of those who are – or are aspiring to be – professional full-time writers.

Others are less restrained and start frothing at the mouth and blaming other self-published authors for the perception that self-published books are the dregs of the industry and have the according quality. These authors argue that customers aren’t buying indie books because they think that their books are being buried under what they call ‘the crap’. They argue that their wonderful books aren’t being noticed because they’re drowned out by the books that aren’t up to their standard.

And, you know what? They’re probably right.

The problem is that they then don’t go and ask the next question: So. Freaking. What?

I am an indie author. I am a self-published author.

I am not a professional author, nor have I ever claimed to be.

Chuck Wendig says that indie publishing isn’t a hobby. Well, actually Chuck, for me it is. I have a job which I enjoy and which pays me very well. As much as I enjoy getting these stories out of my head, I wouldn’t want to give up that job at this time. When I publish, it’s for those people who might be interested in reading it. Another article took it even further, blaming other indie authors for such things as “poisoning entire price points” and sabotaging other indie authors.

This vitriol is inevitably accompanied by claims that we’re not being professional. The underlying assumption to everyone telling us that writing is a business is that we better fucking want to make a career out of it. Because writing quality is important, other indies have the right to do the blogging equivalent of ranting at us on the street. They all seem unable to comprehend the idea that other writers might not have the same career goals as them or, if they do acknowledge this, they see this as a legitimate reason to decide that we’re not allowed to self-publish, that we have less of a right to put our work in front of readers and let the readers decide than they do.

I actually think that this goes back to the traditional publishing culture, where you better love writing a whole damn lot because you would be slaving away for a pitance (and hold a day job) for years if not decades before you made it, if you ever did. In that context, there was no hobby publishing, which largely excluded those of us who just wanted to write and maybe recoup some of the time and effort we put in, rather than make a living at it. Publishers wanted writers who were going to make a career out of it and write book after book. In other words, they didn’t want to waste time branding one-book authors.

This concept of ‘career authors only’ has spread to indie publishing and if, like me, you don’t buy into it, well, haven’t you heard?

I’m selfish.

I’m selfish because I didn’t pay for my covers. I’m selfish because I did minimal editing, and did it all myself. I’m selfish because I don’t want to be a professional author and never have.

Me? I’m just hanging out in my corner of Amazon. If anyone wants to give my work a try, that’s cool. If not, no drama. I wrote it for myself and I put it up on Amazon to maybe re-coup part of the cost of electricity to run my laptop and the cost of hot chocolates to have a seat at a cafe. Still, if no one buys them, I don’t mind.

But there are indie authors out there who tell me that I’m selfish.

These authors demand that I pay for a cover. They demand that I spend my hard-earned money to pay for editing. They demand that I spend what little free time I have being ‘a professional author’.

They demand that I have the same career goals as them.

And, if I don’t, they I shouldn’t publish.

I shouldn’t publish because I’m making it look like indies publish crap just for the money, even though I’m not doing it for the money. I’m presenting indie authors as being unprofessional when I have no aspirations to being a professional author. I’m making indie books look cheap because I won’t spend large amounts of money on my hobby.

And mostly, I shopuldn’t publish because, by hanging out in that tiny corner of my own on Amazon with my self-edited writing, I’m cutting into their bottom line.

Oh yeah, and I’m the selfish one.


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Wriye Blogging Circle: Character Relationships

This post was written for the February topic of the Wriye blogging circle.


I’m not a huge fan of romantic relationships between characters. I mean, I know that they happen and even have my favorite ships for all the fandoms I enjoy but I’ve always thought that there is far too much importance attached to them. That said, if you’re going to do something, then you better do it right, so I have developed a process for creating relationships between characters.

NOTE: this whole process only matters if the relationship isn’t natural chemistry. If the characters are muddling alone fine all on their own, this isn’t needed. It can also be used to codify a relationship, make it evolve to what I want it to be.



Pick at least one character that will be in the relationship. If you decide to pick just the one, then you can cast about in the next steps for the other person in the relationship, the one that fits the best. Alternatively, you can pick two people you want to share a relationship. Remember, despite what the romance genre tells you, not all relationships are good ones, or even sensible. The two people you pick don’t have to go well together.


Find a song that exemplifies the type of relationship you want to write. You can do this either by searching for something specific or by browsing, trusting that you will know what you want when you hear it.


Put the song on repeat every time you write a scene where the relationship is a major element. After a bit, it might be worth looking for other songs to add a little bit of nuance, but that’s optional.


Re-edit those scenes with the same song playing to unify the tone.


These steps may seem easy – and they are – but I’ve also found that they make a huge difference in how smoothly a relationship flows from my mind onto the page. Certainly, I do sometimes have relationships that are created simply in the course of writing rather than being planned but, as I find that there is an overemphasis in literature on romantic relationships, they are few and far between. I’m far more comfortable writing a close friendship than a relationship.

My favorite relationship that I’ve written so far actually hasn’t been published yet because its part of a series that I’m working on out of order for plot reasons, though the female character is in my currently published The Last Empire series. In order not to spoil the book (which is a prequel) I won’t say the name of the female character but the male character is called Mark. The song that I chose for them was The Devil Within by the Digital Daggers because…

Seriously, I can’t explain any of my reasoning without spoiling not only what’s been published in the series but also what hasn’t been yet. Basically, they get together because of a school project that exposes the vulnerability that they hide from the world and they discover that they compliment each other.  What makes their relationship so beautiful is the fact that it could never work because their loyalty is conflicting in ways that can’t be reconciled, no matter how much they might wish to.

Urgh, I give up. I’d rather not give as much information as I could than spoil that far in advance. Suffice to say, that was the time where the music I chose not only pushed me through the relationship with it stay consistent, that was actually the fastest I ever wrote.

Well worth the time it took to find exactly the right song.


Liked what you read? Emilie’s The Last Empire series is a politically-focused dystopia featuring a cast of tough but morally dubious characters you will love and love to hate. If you want to read a dystopia where the characters are real enough to be forever scarred by what they have seen and done, try  Episode 1×01: Subjugation from The Last Empire for only $0.99 (non Amazon US links can be found here).

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