Starting a Free Read Program with Ko-Fi

This is a notice that I’ll post a space fantasy project called “Devoted to the Dark One” to this blog. I’ll also include the Ko-fi button to posts and a Ko-fi widget on my sidebar to ask for donations for the blog.

If this works, I’ll regularly post new projects to the Khiatons blog.

My full-time job limits the time, energy, and money I can spend on content creation and production value. I can only do so much if I must underwrite my writing myself.

My goal is to up my game and turn my writing into a viable sideline.

I plug away at my writing and produce new work regularly. However, I don’t have the time or stamina for a rapid release schedule. It gets demotivating to release into the cold all the time. I want to use this new blog posting schedule to motivate myself to write long works again.

I will post Devoted to the Dark One next Monday and put up a new chapter once a week.

A handmaid is convinced her princess has lost her mind when she loses her heart to the Dark One. This tale of forbidden romance reverberates throughout the ages.


Recycling Writing

I’m submitting to flash fiction contests/open calls. My false starts and cut scenes give me material to submit to them. It’s best not to just copy and paste. They still need editing to become a self-contained story. Yet it’s still simpler than having to write from scratch. If you have a complete scene, it’ll have its own cutoff point but you may need to add more detail to set the scene.

I just started doing this, so I must report back on the results at a later date. So far I like the thought of salvaging my past efforts even if they didn’t pan out into a full story or novel.

Indigenous Khiatons Short Reads Campaign

I want to write more indigenous SFF short stories, so I started an experiment to post what I write to Kindle Unlimited (KU).

Eventually I will collect them into another short story collection but in the meantime I plan to make one short story available every 1-2 months. There may be times I submit the month’s short story to an anthology open call instead of sending it to KU. I will send them out instead of posting them to KU when that happens. Since the open calls don’t happen often enough for me to produce the stories regularly I am using the KU program to get myself to produce more indigenous stories.

Unsavory is my first KU short story upload.

Doreen is in danger of becoming one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Can her loyal guard dog, Gertrude, protect her from a creepy neighbor who only comes out at night?

June 2019-Pantsing as a Brainstorming Technique

I’ve been interested in Dean Wesley Smith’s “writing in the dark” technique but was reluctant to try it.

I need structure in my writing though I can’t stand for it to be too rigid. Or rather my best plans have to adapt to reality in life and writing. However, having no plan at all gives me an unorganized mess that wastes my time and energy. Which is why I was surprised that pantsing worked as a good brainstorming technique for a story idea I have.

I’ve been wanting to work on a story about a scifi maintenance man. He balances out his demanding and quirky coworkers. However, I didn’t know where to begin. I’d tried researching anything that could apply to it to see if it’d give me an angle. I looked up other scifi works to see if any tropes would give me ideas.

All I had was a vague idea of the office politics and the reactions people had to my scifi maintenance man. They are spoiled and demanding. He has to smooth things over for them or nothing would get done.

I figured I should have enough to start with, so I wrote 4000 words out. It wasn’t as lively as I liked but things came together as I got further in. I now know what their installation is and the department they work for. The workplace has a worthwhile goal I want to explore. I now have an idea how to proceed for the rest of the story which I believe could fill out a novel.

I may need to do further research but at least I’ll know what subjects to look up.

I tried other brainstorming techniques. Nothing worked until I actually tried to write it out.

Dean Wesley Smith is a big believer in “writing in the dark.” I’m not sure if I’ll be as dedicated as he is to the process. I wouldn’t want to write an entire novel that is an incoherent mess. Now I must use Dean’s technique of cycling back to set up the focus of my book early in the text.

May 2019-I Discovered a Trick for Manually Updating Windows 10

My discovery of a workaround to make Windows 10 update manually is important to my writing. Eventually all my laptops will be W10, so I’ll need to use it then if I want to keep my main writing tools functional.

The trick is to set your computer’s Windows Update to set your computer’s active hours. It will download the updates but wait until the end of your active period to install the updates.

The Windows Update box also has a “Check for Updates” feature. You click it to search for updates. It will download any update it finds but not restart your computer until the end of the active period.

When all the updates are downloaded a “Restart Computer” button appears on the list of updates. You can keep the computer on and wait for the active hours’ period to end. It will update automatically then. However, you can press the button and do your update then and there.

You may have active periods but I assume you still have a time when it’s convenient to run a manual Windows Update. A moment when you’re not in the middle of a project and can turn the update into your priority.

Otherwise, the automated update will happen outside of your control. I once turned a W10 computer off before it downloaded the latest update and had to get my computer repaired. I don’t want my laptop on all the time. This can mess up the update process if it’s turned off before it’s done downloading the updates. Even if you leave your laptop on you still won’t want to be interrupted when you’re in the middle of an important project.

This workaround gives you control over the timing of updates. Windows Updates happen on the 2nd Tuesday of the month. This will become your manual Windows Update day by default. Otherwise, the automation kicks in. It’s also good to check on the 2nd Wednesday of the month to see if anything else was released later in the day. I consider this trick important to my writing since my writing tools need to be kept functional.

In other news: I plug away at my projects but there’s nothing to report until something’s out. It takes so long to finish stuff that I don’t want to promise anything until it’s actually done.

I will post The Shifty Captive on Wattpad in its entirety and am working through it chapter by chapter. We’ll see how long it stays up.

April 2019-Writer’s Life: A Fresh Start this Spring

This is my first writer’s life entry.

I want to keep this blog active but I feel Wattpad will be a better venue for the free samples of my work. People come there for reads and my stories may get more traffic there.

I plan to take part in Wattpad contests. I will post “The Shifty Captive” there starting in April.

There may be more activity on Wattpad based on the response I get. I’m also working on a Norse LitRPG novel I want to put on Wattpad too but I want to complete the first draft first.

You’ll find updates on my projects and writer’s life here for the time being.

I’m not giving up on writing or indie publishing but I hope this is something I can build into a good readership base. I’ve tried other methods before and have had a tepid response. It’s hard to tell what I’ll define as “success” for the Wattpad experiment. It’ll take work and effort to build my brand there. I need enough time to give it an honest effort but still need to decide what a proper return on my investment is.

I have faith in my writing but older book buyers are reluctant to try me out. Perhaps younger readers will be willing to take a chance on a newcomer?

At the very least keeping a record of my experiments may be interesting to people. Even if I end up quitting the writer’s game I’ll be sure it’s only after I’ve exhausted every possible avenue.

You can see it at @CathySmith527 at Wattpad.