Monday, May 25, 2015

Nothing Certain

Been pretty quiet around here lately, hm?  At least for this blog.

I finished my dividing up of markets that I wrote about a week ago.  Took me eight months - or more precisely, I'd estimate about 175-200 hours.  Not kidding.  I worked on it for the last three weeks at least six hours a day, seven days a week, in this grinding way I have of just focusing.  During that time, incidentally, I also ran through the first six seasons of Voyager - a show I never watched, but which I always felt - being a trekkie from the 70s - I ought to see.  What a wretched show.

I often find that after very large tasks I experience a bit of elation at the chance to start a new project. This is usually followed, after a few days, with ennui.  For a little while, I don't feel like doing anything.

If I don't post, I know it gives the reader the opportunity to look at my backlog - and a lot of backlog there is.  A big surprise is the recent popularity of this post from 2010, talking about the way I started mapping my world.  At present, it is the most popular post on my blog for this past month - which is funny, as it was not a very popular post at the time I wrote it.

I take note of some silly comments made by one S'mon, who felt for reasons passing all understanding to use Scotland and France as examples for occupation of land, on a post largely describing the eastern side of European Russia.  Cognitive dissonance.  Must be the reason I did not feel the need to answer.

I am suspicious of the post's sudden popularity, however.  For months now I have been wavering back and forth on a possible book project, one that has gone up on the shelf and come back down again on three different occasions.  I've suspended talking about it directly on the blog, though I've mentioned it a few times obtusely.

For those readers who have purchased and seen my book, How to Run, I landed on the very rational project of writing a book that would do what the worldbuilding section suggests.  Progressively, I began to take notes and produce a design for a book that would describe the kingdom of Fallow, from end to end, side to side, pausing continuously through the description to explain why something was being included or designed in a particular way.  Specifically, I envisioned the entire book along the lines of a series of posts I began last September.  In fact, that post and the response to those that followed were so popular that I was inspired to write 'Fallow.'

As I dug into the project, however, I began to doubt.  It felt dry.  It felt deliberate and pedantic.  It felt like a book that was going to hit the ground with a dull thud.  So I shelved it.

Then I reasoned, why not try a test?  Write something else along the same lines, see what the response is and go with it.  So in March I began this series of posts.  Posts that seemed to land with a dull thud until I learned weeks later that people actually liked them.  There was certainly very little indication at the time.  I got a few comments on the first two posts, but the more I wrote, the less comments I received.  Prediction?  It was fine for a few paragraphs, but a book would have been deadly dry.

So . . . I shelved Fallow again.

Still, it gnawed at me.  I had this kingdom organized in my head now; it has an existence that doesn't fit into the world I run.  So I thought, give it more research, see how it goes.  So I wrote three posts beginning on this theme.

The response?  Little to practically none.  My online party thought it was interesting, it applied directly to them.  With everyone else, however (in numbers and response) . . . thud.

I was going to write a fourth post but I lost interest.  No point in talking to the walls.

Then I find after two weeks of paying very little attention to the blog, what is popular?  Another post about starting a setting and ways to go about fixing it up.

I don't know.  I just don't know.  Write this book?  Don't write this book?  Market research is failing me.

Just now I'm taking notes on setting an adventure tale (with a small amount of magic) in the Fallow setting I've created.  Maybe that is a better way to go.  I've got the tale mapped out and I'm 40 pages into the writing.  But these first weeks are always the most uncertain.  It is very easy to give up a project when so little is invested.

Remember, I spend 175 hours in hammering excel numbers apart.  10-15 hours starting a book is nothing.