Stressful Ruminations or ignoring the un-ignorable

Too many decisions to make while the rest of the world is rushing up pounding down my door demanding that other responsibilities be attended to. I did just vacuum and feed the fish (for the first time in three days), the bird feeder is full and the laundry is started. So, all those chores are out of the way. But those are the little responsibilities. The much bigger ones are the ones that pop into my head while trying to write. I can be going along just fine and wham! Questions as to the advisability of my leaving a paying job 18 months ago was such a brilliant idea. Very seriously considering finding a way to more reliably help build our nest egg – or assist in a child’s finances. These concrete concerns are almost overwhelming my nebulous creativity outside of the stuff that needs to get done on book one.

So much to learn about getting a book printed or converted to electronic form. So many questions that I don’t know I even should be asking. For example: Am I required to obtain a sales tax license because I want to sell printed copies of my book at signings or at family gatherings? Do you know what the sales tax laws are in Colorado? After twelve years in a CPA office I do and it’s not easy by any means. Should I bow to technology and get a basic iPhone so I can use a ‘square’ device for credit card purchases? How do I get a shopping cart set up on my website? To which account should it go? Should I use Paypal? Oh, that reminds me, the website needs to be updated. Gad, what next?

Oh, yes, now I remember. Choose a printer, get proofs done and manuscript converted for e-book. Decide how many printed copies I need to get the ball rolling. Set up signings (no, that can wait another month). Decide which categories to enter in the upcoming awards contest. Let’s see there’s cover design and editing (those are for sure); then there are two categories in the fiction list: fantasy and science fiction. Can I enter The Blood in both? What about romance?

All this and I should be working on book two, The Balance. A bit stuck there too. Though I did hit on the action needed between scenes. That has been fun to write (still writing) and it would go much smoother if I wasn’t constantly being bothered by everything else. Just want to hide and write and hope that my world does not implode while I try to ignore the un-ignorable.

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Glossaries and Lists Needed or not?

A recent conversation amongst some science fiction writers involved the pros and cons of having and/or publishing glossaries and character lists.

My sci-fi/fantasy series requires, for my own reference at a minimum, a list of characters (names, ages, personalities, familial relationships for all and occupations, quirks & secrets/fears if a major player), places, items of social significance, religions, swear words, wildlife, foods, all with a pronunciation guide if needed, etc. I have a separate file on my laptop so I can add to it as new characters or terms are needed or appear in the stories. The decision to include such when the first book is released later this spring has not yet been made. I have found that reviewing this list occasionally to be enlightening as it reminds me of characters, usually, who have been cut out of a scene and I may find a use for them in later scenes or books.

I also have a running list of character names as a pool to choose from, especially if I am struggling with a new character or I need to change a name because the name does not fit anymore. That list resides in a small notebook which travels with me (whereas my laptop may not) so I can add to it as sounds present themselves. Realize the sound of a word has a subconscious impact and as characters are developed the name they start out with are not necessarily the best one and you should not feel bad about changing a name. If you liked the first name you came up with perhaps it will fit a different character, so don’t just delete it. It may be the inspiration you need for the next project.

Whether or not you include this extra material may depend on the sheer number of characters or the amount of science/magic in your story. It may also depend on space or page count or even technology available. I liked the idea of having access to a list by highlighting a word on the Kindle, Nook, or other electronic reader. If words can be connected with a dictionary I see no reason why they can’t also be connected to glossary or pronunciation guide related to the story being read. Perhaps that is already available and I don’t know about it yet.

Having such lists is invaluable to writers as worlds are being built whether it involves science fiction, fantasy, or your current neighborhood or nonfiction work. I suggest you get started on your list now.