When I started writing fiction, I didn’t give much thought into linking my short stories together or having them take place in a shared universe. As time went on, I did find myself putting some of them into a few distinct worlds:
“Earth Prime” is our home-sweet-dimension, and given that the majority of my stories involve some combination of furries, super-science, and fantasy, I don’t know that many of them actually take place here. I do have a few sci-fi stories that take place ‘twenty minutes into the future,’ that is, near enough for us to relate to them (I hope!).
“Earth-F” is a parallel version of our world inhabited by furries. These stories tend to be humorous and I like to ‘Hanna-Barbera’ the names in those stories. For example, in a story that took place in a television studio, an older character referred to old-time TV stars such as “Mewcille Ball” and “Droopy Sales.” I know, I know!
On “Earth H-minus” mankind has destroyed itself in what becomes known as the “Final War” and after their intelligence has been increased due to increased mutations, the furries eventually inherit the Earth. One as-yet unpublished story takes places in a period where humans and furries coexist, though not harmoniously. Society is eventually rebuilt by the furries but I haven’t quite hammered out the predator/prey relationship rules yet or if the humans were completely eradicated. Yeah, its not exactly a happy place.
The ‘Enchanted Forest’ stories obviously happen in a fantasy world, but I haven’t done much there (like come up with a clever name) though it has been established that magic does have limits. For now, anyway.
I should probably sit down and figure out just where all my stories fit, because inevitably some reader out there is going to try to ‘connect the dots’ and completely screw it up. Well, assuming I haven’t already! 😀
My last e-book “Con Fluff 1: 2012 Furry Convention Short Story Collection” was released seven months ago, and as the 2013 edition won’t be ready for a few months at the minimum, I feel the need to get another e-book out into the wild. My (virtual) stack of unpublished short stories has been growing and I’m pretty sure that I have enough of them to assemble another e-book.
Since my stories are very short, I have to round up a few in order to assemble a collection of decent length. One early lesson I learned in my Adventures in Self-Publishing is that five stories was not enough content for 99 cents, as evidenced by the thud that ‘One Sheet Stories’ and ‘FlipSide Stories’ made in their respective marketplaces. Luckily, people are buying the longer collections I’ve produced since so I think I’ve figured out how much stuff is enough.
The stories themselves are another matter, though. The longest anything I’ve ever written was about 12 pages. It also took me a little while to get over my habit of keeping stories about a page long due to printing constraints back in the First Storm Manga days. Even when I have a hard limit to work with, I try not to think about length, but even then I’m pretty sure that the thought of ‘is it long enough’ rattles around somewhere in my subconscious.
I don’t know that I have a Great American Novel in me but I’d like to write one eventually. Time will tell!
A spectacular failure can have the effect of dropping a big heaping scoop of self-doubt on one’s head. After failing to sell even a single paper copy of my first furry book, “Con Fluff 1,” in the Artist Alley of Furry Fiesta a few weekends ago, I found myself questioning everything I did there: my sales pitch, my table layout, pricing, and so on. The bigger question of “Am I Doing It Wrong?” has also been hanging over my head since then.
A friend recently made the observation that I was incorrectly trying to sell clean stories to an audience that was not interested in them. Given how I joke with friends about how some furry art sites don’t update until you turn off their “not safe for work” filter, I’m hardly in a position to disagree. A little part of me is wondering if I should cross that line and start writing erotica/smut/porn/what have you.
I’ve never written anything overtly sexual, and I don’t have much desire to…it’s just not my thing. Despite that, I now have a little nagging voice in my head telling me that if I just cross that line, I will gain a bigger audience. Oddly enough, the internal debate I am having is reminiscent of when I’ve see artist friends struggle with the question of whether to do fan art for conventions.
While doing your own thing as a creative person is very personally satisfying, it also carries some risk, especially where anime and comic book fans are concerned. Those fans have popular characters that they like and don’t often take chances on things that are different or new, especially coming from a little-known or new artist. However awesome an artist’s original creation may be, most folks are going to gravitate to the table with the cool looking Iron Man or Hetalia fanart. In the same way, I find myself wondering if folks are bypassing my works just because it is clean.
Part of the reason I don’t write smut is that I don’t think I’d be good at it, but that isn’t stopping me from considering crossing that line. The little cloud of self-doubt that’s been following me around since Furry Fiesta isn’t helping either.
I don’t know. I guess it wouldn’t hurt if things got just a little more naughty. We’ll see.
I own a 24-inch iMac. I bought it when I had some extra money on my hands and I wanted to see how ‘the other half’ lived. I’d also had a Gateway crap out on me after just three years. The iMac came with Leopard, which I obediently upgraded to Snow Leopard, and I haven’t upgraded OS X since. Yeah, I know, I’m a terrible iPerson for not shelling out the cash for Lion or Mountain Lion or Griffin or Hydra or whatever their next update is going to be called, but I have no desire to. I appreciate that OS X is probably wonderful for people that ‘aren’t into computers,’ but I am not one of those people.
In addition to Snow Leopard, my iMac boots into Windows 7. To further add insult to injury, I keep a Windows XP virtual machine handy in OS X for when I need to do ‘real’ computer work, because OS X just doesn’t do it for me.
I cut my teeth on MS-DOS 3.1 and remember futzing around with AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS in order to play Wing Commander. I remember making a 3.5” bootable floppy with a batch file I wrote called Kenny on it for those inevitable times when I would have to reformat my PC after poking at Windows 98 too many times with a sharp stick. Plug n’ Play started out as Plug and Pray and we all wondered why we had to reboot our machines after changing the lousy screen resolution. The Unix lab at the University was for Computer Science majors only and the servers had monitors that were as big as my TV set back home. I remember the sysadmin telling us to clean out our core dumps when the drives filled up, and one guy being labeled “The JPEG King” because his directory was full of megabytes (yes, MEGABYTES) of porn, which was promptly deleted by the sysadmin.
Good times, and yes, I mean that seriously. For folks like me, part of the fun of owning a computer is goofing around with it and watching what happens. I don’t do that much anymore, partially because Windows 7 is pretty darn good, and partially because I’d rather be putting words together instead of spending hours under the virtual hood of my PC.
I completed the final text draft of my next e-book “Seven Super-Short Sci-Fi Stories” a few days ago, and all that remained for me to do was take those words, squash them into an e-book, and upload it to the iBookstore for all to see and buy. Of course, uploading it into the iBookstore would mean I would have to boot into OS X and send the .epub file to them using Apples super-special uploader program (iTunes Producer) because it, of course, its OS X only.
The first time I had tried to do so for “The Rules of Tech Support,” I encountered a problem with the .epub file I was trying to send. The file worked just fine in Kindle, worked just fine on Nook and even passed ePub validation, but it just wasn’t goodenough for Apple.
Luckily, Apple technical support helped me make my file Apple-friendly and all was well. I was a little miffed to find out that the problem was that one line was missing from a specific file. This time, I knew that I had to add that one line before trying to send the file to Apple. I added the line, recreated the file, and waited for the upload to complete so I could start waiting for someone at Apple to bless it and put it up for sale.
The second time, for “One Sheet Stories” the process went without a hitch, so I was baffled, because this time I got a different error. Crap.
I sent an error report to Apple, but I knew from previous experience that I was going to have to wait until at least until the next day to get a response. To Apple’s credit, I always get a response within 24 hours whenever I send error reports, but I wanted my book uploaded now. On a hunch, I fired up the aforementioned Windows XP virtual machine, did the exact same thing I did in OS X. I resent the file and was rewarded with success.
While I was happy to have accomplished my goal, I was irked that OS X had failed me where Windows had handled the task with aplomb. Sadly, if I wish to continue publishing e-books onto the iBookstore, I will need to keep the iMac, but like any good geek, I will always have a backup Windows machine handy.