Time For Cheer!
Reader Update | 5 Months
The Storyletter has reached its 5 month anniversary today and we have 57 dedicated readers! I hope this letter reaches each and every one of you with happy holiday cheer and is as uplifting as your likes and comments have been for us over the past 5 months.
This time of year is always an interesting one. Here in Utah we just got a lot of snow and my dog loves it. He hops through it like a deer, gets frozen legs and then I have to defrost him. Luckily, he likes the blow-dryer, so it’s a win-win for him. My workplace gives days off for inclement weather, or when schools are closed due to snow. Needless to say, I’m enjoying the snow, too.
If you ever feel the need to reach out and talk during the holidays, feel free to comment below or send an email directly to email@example.com and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!
Moving onto Substack
I realize that I never quite explained why I chose Substack over other platforms to publish content. I started putting out short fiction on the internet around 2010 (back when I had Facebook) while I was in school. I ended up taking those pieces down (some of which are still under revision today), but it was a neat exercise. I think that’s why it made the move over to Wattpad so easy—the instant gratification of posting something you created for others to see had become a foundational element to my writing at the time.
Wattpad was fun. I wrote my first novel on there, publishing one chapter a week for a whole year garnering over 8,000 views, which was a lot for my magical, non-human-based space opera called Stormfallen. I’ve since removed it, however, it’s in the back of my mind all the time. It still exists in a file somewhere, but the “real version” is still forming in my mind as I improve my writing with each new story I publish.
I had a few dedicated readers on Wattpad and made some good writing friends along the way, and so I’m not disparaging the site, or its users in any way, when I say that I lost interest in using it as a main platform. I think what it came down to was that my work was likely being judged via the lens of the site itself and, more importantly, at the whims of the organization’s algorithm.
After not writing during a brief period of self-reflection, I sought out to learn more about the writing process. I learned about flash fiction, short stories and the art of storytelling from many different sources, one being ‘The Art of Fiction’ by John Gardner, given to me by my friend Daniel (a guest writer on The Storyletter). I even made it a point to start reading older novels—'the classics' as they are called—and tried to pinpoint what made them work. My interest was piqued when I learned that a lot of those older novels/stories were published via installments in newspapers and magazines.
So naturally you might be guessing that that’s why I started writing on Substack, to emulate the greats by releasing periodical stories in serial format, and I’d say, “No, not really.” It’s a cool concept and a good reason to do it, however, my reasoning is far more morbid and likely more relatable.
To get right to it, I’m afraid of dying suddenly. Not of death itself, per se, but of dying without being ready. It’s quite an unhealthy paranoia and it assaults me daily, at the strangest of times. I worry that when I go, I’ll be taking these stories with me and leaving nothing behind. Yes, it has egotistical elements to it, as do all things. The ego is the reason why we do most of what we do and it’s not always a bad thing as long as it’s in check. I often think about the line from Hamilton, the musical: “Why do you write like you’re running out of time? Write day and night like you’re running out of time?” And that’s just it: time.
We don’t know how much time we have left with the people we know and love, to master the things we want to accomplish, to achieve the dreams we might have, to visit the places we want to see, and to enjoy and connect with the living, breathing world around us. So I figured, why not start a Substack and write the things I want to write, and share it with the people who desire to read it?
Now, this doesn’t mean that I want to just throw out whatever fiction that comes to mind and expect readers to like it. Not at all. I want to make it known that I think quality will be a better use of your time than quantity. So I’ll admit that my rushed release of Crocodilian was a mistake, and that future stories will not have as many delays between chapters. I’d like to make sure that the stories are completed and revised before publication, as I’m sure the readers would appreciate that as well.
This all ties back with the instant gratification concept I mentioned earlier. Having my own platform, provided by Substack, allows me to be in control of when and how I release my work, so there’s still that instant feeling that comes when I publish something. It’s really exciting. However, I know that it will be a detriment in the long run if I don’t practice learning how to cope with delayed gratification, to know that taking that precious time—which falls like sand in an hour glass—to perfect the craft in order to bring heightened levels of gratification later when I can look back and be proud of the work I’ve left behind.
If you’ve read this far, I appreciate your time very much, and I hope to continue this journey with you for as long as we have that time to spend together. ~ WM
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Speaking of Crocodilian, here’s a quick update. I’m writing chapter 13 entitled “(Un)Raveling the Past”. It’s going to bring in the climax of act 2 and basically jumpstart the final act of the novella. Also, I’d like to mention that I revised chapter 1 and re-posted it. It sets up the novella more accurately, but it’s not necessary to read in order to understand future chapters. Here is that link.
I attended the Dragonsteel Mini-Con last month that was held in Provo, Utah to highlight Brandon Sanderson’s latest release called ‘Cytonic’, the third book in his Skyward YA trilogy. I had a blast and hope to attend next year as well, possibly as a vendor if things go as planned. Oh, and I bought a lot of stuff! Here are some photos of the fun stuff I acquired:
Infinite Worlds Magazine
There’s a science fiction magazine that I came across recently that I immediately fell in love with. The style and production has a certain sheen to it that just screams quality. I came into possession of a first edition, first print issue that was signed by the creator, Winston Ward. If you’re a science fiction fan, I highly encourage you to go check out their social media and website, it will not disappoint.
Songs by TheFatRat
I really liked these as it loosely tells a story over the 10 song album called PARALLAX by TheFatRat. Here are a few that I particularly enjoyed: