Cameron Chapman

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NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 6 Update and an Excerpt!

NaNoWriMo is going really, really well this year. I’m on track with my own personal goals (2k words per day, which is a bit higher than the 1,667 words per day required to make the 50k goal), and I’m almost halfway through book three of The Steam and Steel Chronicles. I’m really, really enjoying writing this one so far. I’ve had some surprising plot twists pop up without any planning, and I’ve introduced a new main character who will be in the third and fourth books. I’ve also brought back a favorite element from the first book that will play a major role in the conclusion and solution to the books and their central arc.

So as it stands right now, at 12:12pm on Sunday, November 6, I’ve written 12,487 words. I’m going to try to get another 1-2k words done today (probably this evening), because my word schedule is a little bit hectic right now and weekends are the best time to try to build a little buffer into my word count. (more…)

Transparency in Indie Publishing, Month 9

I can’t believe it’s been nine months since I started self-publishing The Steam and Steel Chronicles! Sales were good this past month, better than they’ve ever been, which is nice. I seem to sell between 145 and 165 books per month without doing much marketing (other than the occasional Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ post), so that’s encouraging. It means the word is out there at least to an extent.

I’m hard at work on books three and four as part of NaNoWriMo (over 7k words into book three already), and hope to release them in January and February. I’ll be doing a tight release schedule like I did with the first two, so you won’t need to wait too long between them. I’ll also be putting together some special editions, and will probably do a contest or two surrounding the launches of the books. I’m even thinking about giving away a Kindle! (It’ll be one of the ones with offers, because while the books are selling well, they’re not selling that well. Of course, if someone wanted to sponsor an iPad giveaway, I’d be more than happy to oblige!) (more…)

NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 2

Just ran into my first plot hitch, which sometimes happens when I just let the flow take over and don’t really pay attention to what I’m writing. The advantage is that sometimes I get really great ideas this way and things turn out better than I’d planned. The downside is that I don’t always know where to go with these plot threads. That’s what happened during this morning’s writing session. So I’m asking for ideas over on the NaNoWriMo forums. If you’ve read the first two books in The Steam and Steel Chronicles (or even if you haven’t), feel free to chime in over on the forum thread with ideas, or here in the comments if you’re not a NaNoWriMo participant. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers in the thread for the upcoming book. And if you give me a unique idea that I use, I’ll mention you in the acknowledgements of Book 3!

I’m currently sitting at just over 4,000 words in less than 36 hours. I’m aiming to get an average of 2k words per day done, and so far I’m on track. We’ll see if I can keep it up!

NaNoWriMo 2011: T-13 Hours and Counting

NaNoWriMo 2011 starts in less than 13 hours now. I’m fairly prepared. I know my characters inside and out, because they’re Stig and Isabell from Aboard the Unstoppable Aerostat Fenris and The Great Healion Race. I have no idea yet what the next two books will be called. I do know they’ll likely be the last two books in the series (though I have an idea for a short story that I may publish for free or add to one of the other books as a bonus). I was originally planning on six books, but I feel like that might end up dragging the series out for too long, and upon looking over my original outline, I can cut and combine two of the books without taking anything of substance away from the overall story.

And, to be quite honest, I’m ready to move on to other things. I love The Steam and Steel Chronicles, I love the characters, but I also have a lot of other projects that I love and want to work on.

So, I’ll leave a few tidbits about what will be happening in the next two books:

  1. A certain device from ATUAF will be making another appearance.
  2. A certain character or two from TGHR will be reappearing in a fairly major role in Book 3.
  3. Things will most definitely be resolved between Stig and Isabell.

I’ll also offer you this photo of how I always pictured Stig (sorry if you’ve always pictured him differently). If there’s ever a film version of the books (which I honestly hope there will be, and will consider producing myself at some point in the future), I’ll be lobbying hard for Grant Bowler.

Now, as for NaNoWriMo itself, I may stay up until midnight tonight to try to knock out a thousand words or so before bed. If you’re new to NaNo, you might want to check out My Guide to Surviving NaNoWriMo (which was also republished on Publetariat).

I’m going to aim for 2,000 words a day so that I can take days off around Thanksgiving if I need to. And for those days when I’m just not feeling it and only manage a few hundred words. It’s always a challenge to manage a full-time writing/editing/copywriting job, plus a college-level class, plus writing at that rate, but I’ve done it before and I’m 99% sure I can do it again (you just might see me a lot less on Twitter/Google+/Facebook until December).

Also, if you want to “Buddy” me on the NaNoWriMo site, feel free to do so here.

My Guide to Surviving NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo officially starts in less than three weeks! I’ll be participating again, this time hopefully finishing up the third and fourth books of The Steam and Steel Chronicles. I feel like I’ve finally got some plot issues tied up in my head, so I can move forward with it. The thing is, when I wrote the first two books last year (for NaNoWriMo), I didn’t really have an overall story arc in mind. I just sort of threw everything in there and waited to see what stuck.

So now I’ve got all these potential plot threads that need to be tied up in the third and fourth books (I’m thinking those will finish the story, though I’m also planning a short story or two that will take place between books one and two). I’m not one to just let things go unanswered, and I want to make sure that things people liked in the first two books are featured again in the third and fourth books, without being shoehorned in. I’ve got them all figured out now, though, so I’m eager to get writing again!

But I wanted to put together a guide for surviving (and even winning) NaNoWriMo. I’m hoping it will be useful whether you’re a NaNo veteran or a first-timer. (more…)

Transparency in Indie Publishing, Month 8

So this is a few days late because I’ve been dealing with some family stuff for the past 10 days or so (father in law ended up in the hospital and had to have emergency surgery last week, but he’s coming home today). I’ve also decided that I’m only going to do these posts through the 12-month mark, though I may do occasional sales updates after that. This is partially because I see next year being very, very busy for me, and also because I’m trying to be less obsessed with my sales numbers. (more…)

There is No They

I currently have a lot of projects going on, and I sometimes get discouraged with the bigger ones (especially the feature film I’m planning to shoot next fall). Mostly this is due to outside pressure, real or imagined, about what I should realistically be spending my time on.

But here’s the thing, I WANT to make a movie. For as long as I’ve wanted to be a writer, I’ve also wanted to make movies. I’m a storyteller, and that transcends medium. I have some stories that work well as novels (or novellas), and I have some that would work better as films. That’s just the nature of my imagination. (more…)

Falling Literacy Levels are Alarming

I was reading an article over on Yahoo! News this morning (linked from The Millions) that was discussing the fact that SAT scores for reading have fallen to their lowest levels ever—489 points. Part of this they’re attributing to the fact that more students are taking the test who may not have grown up in homes where English was the primary language, but part of it is likely due to the fact that we’re now emphasizing math and science over reading and writing in schools.

This is really alarming to me. Literacy, according to some studies, is the best indicator of future success we have. And literacy does not just mean knowing basic reading and writing skills. There’s this thing called “functional literacy” that varies based on the current conditions. Basically, it means that you have the necessary reading comprehension and writing skills to understand what you need to in a given situation. For some people, the level of functional literacy they require is quite low, and for others it’s quite high. Writers fall toward the high end of the scale, because obviously we need to be able to use language in a way that people who don’t write for anything other than necessity don’t need. (Unfortunately, I’ve known way too many writers whose functional literary skills are lacking, to say the least, but I’m not going to get into that here.) (more…)

Transparency in Indie Publishing, Month 7

So, here we are at the end of month seven! Not much in the way of promotion this month, other than discounting the second novella in The Steam and Steel Chronicles to $.99 through Labor Day. I’m honestly considering leaving it at that price, though I haven’t made up my mind for sure yet. (more…)

Some Upcoming Changes

I’ve decided to do a bit of refocusing on this blog. It’s been “Cameron Chapman On Writing” for a few years now, and I feel like it’s too restrictive. So I’m going to change it to “Cameron Chapman On Creativity”. This will give me more freedom to post about topics other than writing, including design and filmmaking. I’m also planning on running regular interviews with creative professionals across a number of industries.

I still plan on posting about writing quite a bit, but expect posts on other topics, too. I’m hoping to get onto a more regular posting schedule in September, after Labor Day. I might even shoot for posting twice a week!

Also, The Smashing Idea Book is now available on Amazon. It should be out elsewhere soon.