State of the Mind: January, 2014.

Take a breath, would you? Breathe in that new 2014 air, let it sink in that we’ve already pissed away another year. Done? Good, because it’s time for the new State of the Mind address.

1: Work is progressing on The Veil and we’re actually nearing completion. There’s only a few more chapters left at the most, which I am actually quite grateful for. I’m desperately wanting to get my hands into something new, something not as flawed and broken as The Veil.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not that I hate the story, but that I know its pacing, characters, and overall condition is not good. After a few chapters, I knew it was flawed but was already too invested into it to go back and fix it. There might be hope for a good story buried in there, but it’s just a mess in its current form.

With that all said, I’ve become confident that I will likely host the story for a few months after the last piece goes up, but will then take it down. As I’m sure anyone who’s read Blood in the Machine and The Veil can attest to, there’s an almost night-and-day difference in terms of quality. So, if it’s not a proper demonstration of my quality or even a well put together story, why leave it up for people to read and pass judgment on?

So yes, once The Veil is done, I’ll set up a tear-down date on the top of that page so people know when they need to finish reading it by before I mothball it. I’ll not delete it in entirety, but more shove it in a proverbial shoebox. There may come a day I decide to return to it and tell that story right, but it isn’t now.

2: What happens after The Veil is done? I’m thinking that the first priority will be to go back and rewrite Salvaging Life, as I mentioned before. There are a couple loose ends I need to tie up before I consider the premise solid and golden, but I think it is something that might produce something worth investing time and effort into.

Its characters will also be something a bit darker than my normal form, so I want to give them a shot as well. Right now, however, I need to explore options as to what “the threat” is and why it makes the main protagonist respond like she does (yes, I said “she”).

3: I managed to get myself sick again! Yay! Not really. It seems to be a minor cold that has gotten hold over me, laying me out from work for a couple days so far. It seems to be only a minor one however, more sapping any energy I have instead of the normal nasal and respiratory hell that a normal cold represents. Not how I wanted to spend my time, to be sure, but such is the way of things.

4: This last Sunday, I had my 24th birthday. Spent most of the day disconnected from the computer, or at least the online portion of it, but something struck me when I came back to it. Birthday notifications filled my bar, mostly all from Google+. This isn’t an unknown thing for me, having got notifs like this before (not nearly as many, mind you).

When I examined the notifs in detail, I was struck by a variable from each and every person that sent them. That detail? The countries they all came from. The USA (obviously), but also the UK, Germany (had to Google the translation and how to say “thank you” in German), Canada, South America, and more.

I think it struck me right then and there about how massive this thing is. Sure, this readership is quite small in comparison, but it’s built from people that aren’t even bound by a single country.

For the record, the single largest reason I write is because I love the ability to form and create a story, then pour it out and onto a page. To hell with money, this is the second biggest reason I had ever written stories. Maybe not even the idea of having a large readership, but having a diverse one.

Even this website’s statistics show where its views come from, and let me tell you, it’s from everywhere. France, Australia, Japan, Russia, Iceland, etc. To see that, to know that people from around the world are even offering a split-second glance, is an astounding thing that I am extremely grateful for.

5: So, what is the current battle-plan as far as commercial releases go? Well, novels are on a bit of a back-burner right now. The number one piece of praise I have gotten when it comes to Blood in the Machine was how the pacing seems to have felt solid and that it didn’t drag. Hearing that, and seeing that a novelette is capable of actually catching people’s attention, has lessened my desire to produce an overly long work.

Instead, I aim to focus more on some smaller works and have them as polished as I can. How I see this playing out is actually rather simplistic, start small and gradually grow bigger from there. I started this whole thing off with short stories, then I solo published a novelette. I know Salvaging Life is a bigger project, though I’m not sure if it is a full novel. After I spend some time with full novels, however, then I will break out the Dark Stars universe.

It’s a simple plan, but one that – I believe – should help pay out as far as experience and skills are concerned. After all, length of content isn’t something I am terribly concerned with, but more the quality of the work. I’d rather be known for producing higher-tier works, rather than just having a shelf full of half-baked projects.

That’s where we’re at, and I gotta say, it’s pretty exciting. We’re on the cusp of ending something old and poisoned, replacing it with something new and exciting. Always a good time to be had there, though it will definitely require a bit more planning before I sit down and start penning it. After all, with how I work, I need to know how it ends before I can even begin.

~ James.

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