Demands Beyond writing – Promotion and Its Complexity

It’s More than Creative Writing

Did you know writing would be this complicated?

In olden days a writer found an agent and the agent found a publisher. Sure that’s a little simplistic, but it was broad stroke for how it was before self publication. When my wife and I wrote our workbook to help stepchildren adjust to their new family a good friend took it into Doubleday and they published it. They sent us on a national tour including an appearance on the Phil Donahue Show. Those days are gone.

How It Is Now

It seems publishers only talk to agents and agents only talk to—I don’t know who. In short there is no easy way forward to get a book published, publicized and marketed. It seems it is mostly up to the author. Of course there are predators out there who engage authors and charge incredible fees for doing things which are of little use. I won’t go into that mess.

And Then There is the Promotion and Author Help Industry

There are books to help us write books, there are books to help us edit books and on and on. Advice pours forth from multiple sources and it is up to us to sort it and make sense of it. I’ve spent some years now reading sorting and in the end came down to trying it out. Some of the advice turns out to be dated, some spot on. 

The Best Advice

One of the best pieces of advice I read was to be patient. I’ve become quite clear that nothing works right away. It is said that there are 3500 “books” “published” each day. That comes down to a huge crowd and a lot of noise. It takes time to be noticed. The other things I got clear about was that things have to be tried and then we have to adapt.

Having a Thick Skin

Some things we have to listen to are writing related and some general publicity and advertising issues. But there is also reality. When the first of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy was published, the very first review on Amazon gave it one star. It was not to the reader’s taste, she thought the vocabulary was “too big” and she couldn’t write an effective sentence. Got that. And there it sat on the Amazon page all alone as I worked to attract other reviews. Who is going to buy a book with one star? It took some time, then the five star ratings showed up and the total climbed. Phew! The world is not an even, supportive place.

Being Fair With Each Other

One of the things I concluded immediately is that we need to be fair with each other. When I pick up a book and don’t resonate, I have to be honest that the issue may be me and not the book. We don’t all like the same things. I’m not much of a fan of word heavy literature or that’s what I term it. I want that book in my hand to be stirring and along with it my imagination and that essential thing in my life “possibilities” must call out to me. I’ll rate books but won’t rate books that are not to my taste. It wouldn’t be fair or reasonable.

Endurance

I guess in the end what I would say is that we have to endure and stay with our projects. Let’s face it, we like the creative writing process and some people accept it as a hobby and don’t expect to sell much and may not even try to promote it. It seems best if we weigh our goals and accept the complex noisy world in which we live. We learn to improve our writing skills and we have to learn what to expect and to accept endurance is essential.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

The Origins and Sources of the Majesty Trilogy – Pt. 5

 

Being Moved Beyond Simple Exposition – From Within

Many of us who write fiction do not anticipate where the effort will lead us or what might begin to stir within ourselves. When I began the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I had a story line and then used Dara Marks’ Transformational Arc to organize it and structure it. One perception is that it may then be a matter of filling in the blanks. No such thing.

The story took on enhancements and a life of its own in ways not anticipated. And then there was the matter of insistent characters who showed up for inclusion. In the end I had to concede that the story and the writing process was stirring things inside of me.

Essential Elements

At the beginning, the intention was to write a story about the salvation of our future. Without a doubt we live in a very dangerous time. Perhaps the least of our dangers is how we may ruin our economic future. And then there is our capacity to use nuclear weapons to bring untold destruction. At the same time we are seeing clear evidence of climate change wrought by our presence. Deniers can deny all they want but we have the capacity to damage so much of this planet in ways never before seen. 

Other Discoveries

Even though we have been around our habitat for millions of years, we know so little about it in many ways. We must accept that life is insistent. We have learned about change and now know how adaptable life forms are. Deep in the ocean around warm vents we discovered life forms we assumed could not exist. We now know that asteroids contain water and amino acids which suggests life seeds itself well beyond this planet. How naive we have been!

Being Discoverers

We like to explore and discover more and more about our world. And now we are looking to go to Mars. That planet has been virtually striped of its atmosphere because it has no magnetic field but we seem interested in terraforming. It is likely that we may discover something we had not thought about.

What will happen if we break out of our planet? Are we ready? Are we mature enough as a species to bear the burden which discovery reveals? And who might we meet out there? In Star Trek they insisted that they not interfere in civilizations in other worlds they discovered. Part of that seems to come out of the perception that we may not be that wise. There are stories of invasion and attacks by extraterrestrial beings and we hope they do not come here. That, in some ways, is a projection of our understanding about our frequent lack of maturity.

What Fiction Brings

As I wrote the story, its characters developed. And now as I look at the trilogy I find that a book 4 seems to be demanding my attention. But it remains in the shadows and I will see if it will manifest itself. But one thing became apparent, that the story was leading me toward the theme of transformation. In human history we have seen sudden delineations and development as with language and culture. And then there are things such as the Enlightenment. Is there a transformation in our future?

If we survive this dangerous period, how might we advance. Suddenly we see stunning revelations about widespread molestation and mistreatment of women. The cascade of revelations is such that we cannot turn back from it now. And the uprising of women to overthrow their subjugation is stunning but just beginning. And in writing these books I found that the empowerment of women was essential. I really have to wonder if the empowerment of women is going to lead us to a significant transformation beyond anything we might suspect. We will see won’t we?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

An Innocent Discoverer – Adelais Dubois

 

Who Shows Up

Unlike many other characters in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy Adelais did not seem to be in the plans of the author. Most of the other Andromeda warrior women had a clear place and presence although who they were had to be clarified and developed. In Adelais’s case she suddenly appeared to this author.

Not All These Women Had Dramatic Histories

Yes, Adelais was from a Primal family, but not every member of such a family was ordained for a purpose or would even become deeply involved either in the Andromeda or other aspects of the mission of the Tethyans. In Adelais’s case she had spent a peaceful childhood in a bucolic setting in Provence, France. She is properly characterized as an innocent and like so many innocents it came to a painful end.

What Propelled Her

She was on her way to university at the Sorbonne in Paris when fate intervened. But, of course, in this trilogy, whether it is fate always has to be questioned. In Paris she stopped to visit her grandmother who was prominent in the environmental/sustainability movement. When her grandmother was brutally murdered in front of her everything changed. She was taken to the Thonis Tethys in the sea off of Alexandria, Egypt to attempt to heal her emotional wounds.

But Then There Is Who We are

The experience led to her coming to terms with her inner spirituality and the need to take action led her to join Andromeda. Of course she got to know the other women and one of them was Nicole with her clear links to the spirit world. This experience was to thrust Adelais into a depth of understanding and involvement she had not anticipated or sought.

Who We Are

Most of us are not truly in touch with who we are deep down. Sometimes we find a side to ourselves which is wholly unexpected. In Adelais’s case she was drawn deeply to an alternative reality and spirituality. Of course, in such a context we have to question how much was simply a cascade of events and how much in some way showed the hand of Gaia. Each of us develops something of a life plan but often it takes turns which are unexpected.

Adelais as an Explorer

Adelais illustrates the fact that we are all explorers in one way or another. Some people seem to go through life on an even course which is an exploration nonetheless but for others there are dramatic turns. Adelais shows how we can rise to the occasion and grasp a wholly new course. It was necessary for her to attend to the need for healing, but, in the end, she healed, found she had not truly lost her grandmother and learned that there may be much more to our world and the future of humankind than we ordinarily believe. There is so much to be explored and Adelais takes one trail of possibility for us to observe and to engage us.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health? by Roger B. Burt

The Origins and Sources of the Majesty Trilogy – Pt. 4

The Human Potential

Emerging Themes

In writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I found, even though I had a chart of its arc, that components of it were emergent. Just as the characters emerged as well. To me it was not a story of whatever form. It had to have a future reflective of us and possibilities. 

In the scope of things it may be that we are merely a life form that emerged on this beautiful and unusual planet. And in time we may well vanish into the history of the universe leaving no trace whatsoever.

But what I saw was that there is the matter of potential that may lead to our transformation or even possibly some forms beyond who we are just now.

Exploring Us and Our history

In mythology we see themes in human existence as well as our development. In gods and goddesses we view ourselves but our future as well. It seems we take the hopes of our youth into thoughts about what might be to come. We are restless and often not willing to accept how it is right now for ourselves personally or collectively. In our recent past we see the acquisition of culture and language and now so many more things.  I say “recent past” because it is apparent that we have been developing for millions of years, but it is in the last thousands of years we see a sudden “maturation” and acquisitions of new skills. And now technology is thrusting us forward in a whole new way.

We regard history, but also regard our future. Parts of who we are seem little changed. But other parts are intriguing.

Carrying Forward and Progressing

When we look at human history we see some things which change little although on the surface there is difference. For much of our history we had ruling families and still do. We had kings and now we have people we are calling oligarchs. They simply direct and rule our lives in different ways. But developmentally there has been a change at the same time as we have struggled to acquire and maintain democracies where the mass of people actually have a say in government. It is a struggle to maintain it nonetheless. 

Without warning come new themes such as the liberation of women. I know I say this over and over but I’m intrigued about what this movement may mean. Suddenly we have women participating in a way which goes beyond what has gone before.

Our lives are woven together. There is chaos and cruel brutality even as there is caring for those amongst us. While some may care not at all about the welfare of others, there are some who set up beneficial foundations.

The Call of a Future

One purpose fiction can serve is to stir us to examine not just ourselves personally but as creatures on this earth. We see some marked changes over time and emergent themes born of dreams and hopes. But what is intriguing is the possibility not just for fundamental change but what may mean transformation. It may come upon us or we may grasp and trigger it. It is up to use individually and collectively. The two themes of Mysterium and Malestrom in this trilogy relate to interplay of fundamental force. We may give them names as we search and explore. It all grows out of asking “What if?” as a means to draw us forward to an intriguing future.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Women in Power

 

The Depth of Nicole

In my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy Nicole Cloutier brought a whole different set of values and weapons to the Andromeda. Once again her origins for this series was not at all clear. She came and offered an irresistible set of talents and powers. Of course such women are found in various forms throughout history across our world. But she had a special heritage.

The Pain and Wonder of Haiti

The history of Haiti is intriguing. It was a colony of France and gave France considerable wealth until a bloody rebellion freed the people of this Caribbean island. Unfortunately the freedom did not lead to a glorious future. To this day we see an island of poverty beset by hurricanes and earthquakes.

A Rich History

Haiti has continued to nurture rich African traditions. Perhaps to many of us it is the mystery of their religion which intrigues us most. It was displayed in motion pictures from long ago and we know a central component as Voodoo. They call it Vodun. There are books which relate to the setting of their struggles and from time to time we see the heritage in America.

What Nicole Brought

To Andromeda Nicole brought depth of  richness fromHaitian traditions. She was a mulatto woman born into a privileged family in the ruling class. What she brought to the trilogy  began as innocence but with an in depth understanding and regard for the culture of Vodun. While she had privilege she also seemed to have regard for the power inherent in the mysterious traditions of Africa. 

From an early age she was drawn to the occult and it was as if it was ordained that she become conversant with the spirit world. It was that world that brought power and understanding. At the same time she had at her command the power of substances which could be lethal or heal.

Adapting to a New World

Coming to Europe she showed that she was able to relate skillfully to new cultures while harboring skills and knowledge useful for her position in Andromeda. It meant, in her interface with the Overlords that she was truly dangerous, even lethal, in a way they could not comprehend. Her facility with the nether world meant she could relate to and adapt to the spirit world in all its manifestations. And, in the end it would seem that she had been ordained and she could relate to what would almost surely become something essential for the eventual development of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health? by Roger B. Burt

Author Issues

Do you believe writing fiction is a straightforward endeavor?

A Complex Endeavor

I opened this new series with a post about choosing categories. Writing actually has become an increasingly complex endeavor. I thought I might share some thoughts for my fellow authors. But the rest of you are invited to listen in. You might find it amusing or even interesting.

What Happened?

Many (very many) years ago I had the inspiration to write fiction. I found it engaging and interesting. It was fun to be creative. Looking back I think the impulse to write happened when I reached a life change point.

Anyway, I started writing. Then came a deeply moving job which took all my energy. Then came a divorce, a new marriage, two more children from her first marriage, a new career and on and on. Life takes energy and commitment and each time I started something new, other demands got in the way.

Life Settled Down – Well Not Quite

Later, much later, my life settled down and a new idea for fiction emerged. I thought it interesting to pursue it. My wife had been working on screen plays and gave me Dara Marks Transformational Arc. What a neat way to scope out the progress and development of a book!
So I settled in with the reassurance that I had a structure to guide me.

And then demanding characters began to show up. I had an idea and these demanding people insisted on their inclusion and of course, they brought with them their personality, conflicts and foibles among other things. And then the psychologist had to look out because he began to pick up on their inner conflicts. That doesn’t sound so bad except it leads to conflicts of all sorts that can get in the way of the story and its development.

I’m blogging about some of these people including Avery, Brigid and Luisa among others.

Enhancement and Complications

It may sound nice to have characters showing up because they bring enhancement of the story. Well, not quite. They bring more than enhancement. They complicate the story and so the book became a trilogy – I think. It seems there may be a fourth book stirring.

And through it all I began to see that the story was filled with themes. I could see mythology which had always intrigued me and the prospect of the impact of waves of humanity possibly leading to transformation. But above all, what was striking was the fact of these women’s lives. Back in the 1960s I became intrigued by the process of women’s liberation that has now become the work to end the subjugation of women. Steadily I could see that my commitment to feminism was having an impact on the story and the development of characters.

Never-ending

I’m going to leave this there for now. There are so many other matters that come into the authors life. I’ll be addressing some of them. Have a nice day. I’ve got work to do and it isn’t fiction writing. So much else has cropped up.

Did you believe writing fiction might actually involve crowd sourcing?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Women In Power

 

Above is the true inner Luisa

Luisa the Kitten

Luisa Penza is one of the most prominent warrior women in Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power. Of all the women she is closest to Brigid Lynch, their leader.

Of course each of the characters in this series had a role to play and Luisa was on the list of prominent Andromeda women but her character developed considerably as the writing progressed.

Who She Came To Be

Luisa is from a prominent and wealthy Primal family in Italy. She could have simply accepted that position and reveled in the wealth and comfort. At one point she was sent to boarding school in Virginia. It featured a wonderful stable of horses but Luisa found other outlets. By the end of her second year the school considered her too “naughty” and sent her home. But sometimes people just have to be who they are and she wanted challenge. And so she came back to Italy to build a life she chose. In the Andromeda and the company of Brigid she found a true companion. In fact, she kept on surprising Brigid. Initially she was seen as a “sex kitten”. She was darling and irresistibly engaging to men. But, of course, her position demanded much more of her and she fulfilled her missions admirably. Her choice was to use her qualities of being sensitive, lush and smart to serve her people well.

Out of History

At the beginning of the series the Andromeda women took positions so common for such women in history. They became consorts for wealthy and powerful men. In doing so they made themselves vulnerable in a number of ways. Such women are often seen as compromised and despoiled. In history sex outside of marriage caused women to be shamelessly critiqued. Luisa knew better and one of her strengths was that she found ways to enjoy what she was doing, but at a personal price. There was an independence of thought and assessment which told her she was doing what needed to be done.

Sustaining Herself

Luisa’s inner self was powerful and surprising to people who truly got to know her. Yes, she was kitten-like and loved the passion with the men she was engaging and from whom she was extracting intelligence. Her belief in herself always sustained her. And in the end she could be dangerous and strike with brutality if necessary.

Where She Came From

Given the general form of the story, the women of the Andromeda were chosen to ensnare powerful, greedy men. And such men often are fools enough not to know how powerful women can be in their own right. Each of the women had their own characteristics and diversity was chosen. Luisa, as the sensuous gamine, was a logical choice. But after “hiring” her she proved to be surprising and took over her role in ways not designed initially. This was a process that often surprised this author. But I had to own it and develop it. After all I strongly support the empowerment of women and these women were perfect vehicles for demonstrating the independence of women and that they can make their own choices. Society may try to see them as despoiled. But if they choose not to be, then that is how it is whether others like it or not. They confront our errant prejudices and how our future must be to develop the potential of humankind. Diversity, strength and independence of choice must be available pathways for all of us. What I had chosen in these women was part of our essential future.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt