Marketing, New Stuff, and Overdoing It

So, I have turned in the updated version of my short story. It was a herculean effort to add anything to it, as I was so detached from the project, but when I finally sat down and did it, I got all wrapped up in it again. Let that be a message to myself: just suck it up and do it. It will be enjoyable once you get a little way into it.

Now I have to move on to my least favorite part of the publishing process — the dreaded marketing form. Thankfully, it’s an anthology, so I won’t have to do the whole back of the book blurb, which can be daunting. However, I do have to do the smaller one, which is to discuss my story with a hook in two lines. I have to write a synopsis, which I already do when I send the story in, and that is taken from the prep materials I write before starting the story. There are other parts to fill out, and it’s cumbersome. But, I’ve been down this road before, so it shouldn’t be too terrible. Just irritating.

I’ve been working on the new stuff, but I realized that if I wanted part of the plot to really be relevant, I needed to attach it to something. Without going too into depth, it involves making up a few noble families to flesh out this kingdom, and giving one of them a reason to start some shit.

Have I mentioned that I tend to overdo some stuff like this?

I might mention that I am interested in history, specifically the Tudor dynasty and some outliers around that time frame. So, I know how overly convoluted these family trees can get, and I also get that very few people care. I’m geeking out as I make these charts for my own stuff, realizing that this person was a crazy, powerful bitch and so was murdered in a battle she brought on herself. I’m having fun tracing the villain’s seedy, horrific family background which makes him both disdain and strive for the nobility. It has been an exercise in world building and character development like I have rarely experienced. All I have to do is write a relationship on the chart, and I know the main, overriding part of that person’s history. It’s kinda scary. I usually don’t create that fast.

But all this doesn’t matter to the story. In some cases, it only bogs it down. While it will be important to know that the prince’s grandfather (or grandmother) killed the Mad Queen and took her power, it won’t matter to the story that the usurper’s daughter got pregnant out of wedlock with a commoner and both the baby and the father were discreetly killed, burned, and scattered at sea. Yet, that is in my head, and I’m writing it all out. In case.

So, I think I’m overdoing it. I said to myself, “Calm down, dude! You’re not writing Game of Thrones.” Assuming I have that much talent (ha!), the evil part of my brain said, “Well…why not?”

I don’t know the answer to that. I really don’t. A convoluted and messy family tree and the history to go with it do not make a story. The story makes the story. Family trees and history can be a draping behind the plot. It can illuminate character interactions and motivations. Stephen King said that the story is the driving force, that story should be (if you’ll pardon me) the king. But what if it grows? Am I curtailing my own ambition and talent? Or am I being practical?

So, since it’s so much fun (and for me, it really, really is), I will continue to write it. (That Mad Queen wants my attention, let me tell you.) What makes it into the story remains to be seen. If it serves a purpose and the story supports it, it goes in. If not…well, at least it got me in the mood to write. And it might make something cool to eventually put on my (woefully out of date) web site.

I have to remember that writer’s bane — just because you like it doesn’t mean it belongs in the story.

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~ by Darren Endymion on April 20, 2015.

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