Category Archives: TristanBerry.com – Update

A new page has been added! It’s Kingdom Feudalism 101!

Hello all!

That’s right! I’ve added a new page to the Chalandris section of the website: Feudalism in the Kingdom. I go into great detail about the unique feudal society of the Kingdom of Arvedia (a name subject to change, thank goodness!), providing a rich background for the society that will form the setting for most of the stories I write about Chalandris. Take a look and sink your teeth into the meaty goodness of ‘Arvedian’ Feudalism!

Hope you all enjoy it!

Tristan

It’s daring! It’s exciting!! It’s… a MAKEOVER!!!

LOOK!!! Isn’t it something?

You know, I’ve had people ask me for a while now to switch to dark type on a light background citing the scheme as easier to read than light type on a dark background. While I never disputed the assertion that my chosen color scheme was more difficult to read, I did stubbornly persist in using it simply because I liked it better. I still do.

What prompted the change was a dear friend from high school made a comment on my Facebook page making the suggestion once more.

I suddenly realized that, while yes, this is in fact MY website – and yes, I certainly can make my website however I jolly-well please – if a significant number of people are making the same suggestion, it’s probably either stupid, arrogant, or both, to simply ignore that. At the end of the day, I want you all to want to come to my website and I want you to read what I post here. If a simple change like color scheme will make visiting my site more pleasant, then I’m being an utter fool to hang onto a contrary convention simply because I like it.

So, that’s what led to the change and I do hope that you all see it as an improvement. I have the most loyal supporters a writer could ask for and I can’t thank you enough for your limitless patience.

New ‘Letter from Chalandris’: Landa

I’m a little late. Sorry.

Got in late last night, was too tired to write. Got up as early as I could and got right to work. I went ahead and wrote a little about Landa.

Now I need to get ready to go out of town a ways. I’m not likely to have internet where I’m going, so if I’m not posting that’ll be why. But I’ll still be writing, and I’ll have four more to post by noon Monday if I can’t post beforehand.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

New: Letters from Chalandris – and a plea for help

In my last post where I was questioning how to go about building my world, Sheryl Winters posted a great idea and I’m going to use it:

So, I will be introducing:

Letters from Chalandris

I’m not sure how to structure it yet, but I’m just going to write about Chalandris from the perspective of various characters, starting with minor characters first. I will create a new section on the website for these and post them for folks to read if they wish. They will be inconsistent for a couple of reasons. Some of the characters will be ‘unreliable narrators’, meaning that, for them, it will be more important to relate information in a way that benefits them personally than to tell the unvarnished truth. Think of how politicians act when they are fearful of being caught in a scandal and you’ll have a good idea of what that’s about. Another reason is that different characters will view the same people, places, and events differently, based upon their personal relationships, histories, prejudices, and other biases. Another thing that will create inconsistency will be that, as I continue this exercise, Chalandris itself will acquire greater breadth and depth as increasing levels of detail are fabricated, sometimes rendering previous installments obsolete. As this is a world-building exercise, it will rarely be productive to go back and edit previous installments to make them consistent on that basis. I will simply note the differences in my project notes and continue on.

To speed the process along, I’m going to do my best to write something every day and post the results on the following day. I’m going to treat each day as a firm deadline to try to develop some discipline that I have been lacking thus far. All writers go through periods when the words just don’t come. My reaction so far has been to whine to myself about it and focus on other things until the muse returns. This simply will not do. If I’m to make this a career I need to develop the discipline that will allow me to meet deadlines because, let’s face it: if some major publisher were to send me a contract today for a five-book deal providing say, five books in five to seven years, I’d be a fool to sign it. I just haven’t acquired the writing skills required to meet any reasonable deadlines and it’s just not fair to treat a publisher (or an agent, editor, etc.) in that fashion; very unprofessional. If I want this to be a career, then I must develop a professional-level skill set.

So, I’m going to ask you to hold me accountable. Keep my feet held hard against the fire. Pester the bejeezus out of me if I’m not posting on time every day (12:00 noon, US Eastern Daylight time {GMT -4}, weekends excluded). I absolutely need this. I know it, every one of you knows it, and I’m asking for help.

Thank you.

A shift in blog content coming – a sign of progress and growth

Hey all,

A few days ago I posted here on the blog the final scene of Chapter 3 in the draft manuscript of No Redemption for the Wicked. This is as much as I dare post for fear that a prospective publisher might consider its appearance on the internet as ‘publication’ and turn it down on that basis. But as many authors (and publishers) routinely disclose the first three chapters of a novel for promotional purposes, I’m willing to risk that my doing the same will not preclude them from picking up the novel for publication, particularly since what appears here is a working draft version and nowhere near a state of revision I would consider minimally necessary for submission to an agent or a publisher.

From this point forward, all work I do on the initial draft will be done in private. It’s not that I’m at all secretive about the draft quality of the manuscript or my creative process (such as it is) – quite the contrary, in fact. It’s just that I had always thought that other writers (but particularly moreso, readers) would enjoy a ‘look behind the curtain’ of the process of a first-time novelist, struggling to complete their first finished work. As it turns out, I think I may have been wrong about that. :$

In the meantime, I’ll try to do more of the things that other writers do on their blogs. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to expand my outreach like many of you have. In particular, I seem to remember Jen Ford and Jennifer M Eaton just getting started with their blogs. Now each of their blogs has tons of followers and well over 10,000 page views in half the time it took me to reach 5,000!

Don’t get me wrong… they’re both dear friends and I’m thrilled for their successes, both with their blogs and their writing careers. I’m a big fan of them both, professionally and personally. I’m simply using them as an example of what apparently works and contrasting that with what I’ve done so far with my blog as an example of what may not work quite as well. So, we try different things, we observe the results, compare our results to others, and then we adapt, trying to achieve something closer to the results we want. Or, if you want a certain result, look at the people achieving that result and do what they do.

Mostly, I’ve blogged about the novel – and why not? I’ve lived and breathed; ate, drank, slept, and dreamed this thing for more than five years now. In some ways I’m tired of it. In some ways, I want to throw my hands in the air and walk away from it because trying to capture the essence of this story in my head in literary fashion is driving me crazy and I want my life back. Then I look at my life and reconsider. I hate my life, to be honest. Continuing with the raw honesty, I really am hoping to make a living at writing because, as some other writers have somewhat famously said, I can’t manage to do anything else worth a damn.

So, I’ve blogged about the novel, about my creative process, about the background, the thinking I’ve done about it, the planning I’ve done, the characters, the setting, the plot, you name it, every aspect of this project that has been on my mind from the beginning. And yes, I suppose some of it, in retrospect may have been somewhat self-aggrandizing, but if I really think about it, it may have been because I was subconsciously looking for encouragement and that’s just how it came out. I probably didn’t present myself in the best possible light by doing that, but we all learn and grow. Wait, I have to take that back. A lot of people never learn a thing and don’t grow a whit. Most people, probably. So, I don’t want to be one of them. And I don’t want to be one of the many millions of potential writers whose dreams and aspirations never bore fruit. Not many people have ever heard of Branwell Brontë, have they? In his youth and young adulthood, he was highly-regarded as a promising young writer. In fact, it was because of the magnitude of his raw and potential talent that his sisters, Charlotte, Ann, and Emily, tried to emulate him. But Branwell never managed to develop his talent and died a broken man while his sisters, thinking they were far inferior in talent, worked hard to overcome their perceived shortcomings and achieved great success. I don’t want to be a Branwell Brontë. I’ve already lived enough of that life.

So, this is a very personal post for me, rather more open than my previous posts have been, and I think that’s what I’ll do more of. The novel will come, but after spending as much time as I do writing the novel, I don’t need to come here and write about writing the novel. Instead, I’m going to be more real with you. I’m going to reveal more of myself: who I am, what I believe, and why I write.

Thanks to all of you who read the things I write. You make me feel human.

Background added: The Order of the Golden Sovereign

Hey everyone,

I know I already posted this as a blog post, but I decided to go ahead and make a proper page for it so it could be looked up easily. Here’s a link: The Order of the Golden Sovereign

Not able to get much writing done lately, not sure if that’s due to finals or other distractions, but whatever the reason, words just aren’t coming at the moment.

Rebranding: “Alpheus” is out – “TristanBerry.com” is in!

Here’s why…

As much as I like the “Alpheus” theme (and I sincerely do), as an aspiring novelist seeking publication (once I have my first completed manuscript), it just doesn’t make any sense from a marketing standpoint to “brand” my work under anything other than my name.  So, I’ve removed the old header art that I associated with Alpheus (the underwater cavern) and replaced it with a bit of art that I hope will more accurately reflect my work and be more evocative to readers of the sort of mood and feel I want my novels to have. I then changed the text color to match the new artwork, giving the whole site an updated look complete with a new color scheme. Black will still be the background color, but the orange is out, and blue is in.

To complete the transition, I removed all references to “Alpheus” and replaced them with “TristanBerry.com”. I also changed the artwork that framed every web page to make it more relevant. It may seem as if this was a lot of work, but it really didn’t take me much longer than a half hour to do (thank you, WordPress) and now it’s off my mind and I can go back to focusing on the writing. I’ll soon be scheduling a sit-down with BonSue (from the Clearwater Writers Meetup) for help finalizing a path forward. Whatever I decide following that meeting, I’m going to commit to following that path to fruition. More than anything else right now, I need a complete manuscript to flog if I’m going to make this a career instead of a pipe dream.

Thanks everyone. I’ve had the best support anyone could ever ask for and I am determined to make the most of it and make you all proud.  …and I hope you like the website changes.

I’m a DOT COM!!!

Shit just got REAL, folks!

If you look up at the address bar of your browser, you should see my domain that I just bought: tristanberry.com!

I know it may seem like a small thing to those of you who’ve had your own domains for a while, but it’s a first for me and as a technophile, I’m pretty geeked-up about it. Now, if you’re not up on all the nuts and bolts of web servers, domain names, URL this and DNS that, don’t worry. The old web address is still valid and is permanent. You will ALWAYS be able to reach my blog with the old address for as long as I host it on WordPress, and due to super-geeky webby wizarding miracleness, my site is still being hosted by WordPress. Nothing about the site has changed, and the old web address still works just as it always has.

What’s new is that I bought an internet domain “tristanberry.com”, and because I managed to get it set up correctly, you can now get to this site with either one of two web addresses: “sanguinestream.wordpress.com” OR “tristanberry.com”. They both go to the exact same place on the web. (And guess which one is going to go on my business cards… You can bet it won’t be the long one.)

This is an important step in being taken seriously as a writer. Another one is finishing a damned manuscript, so that is my next priority. I’m sticking to the world-building I’ve been doing for the fantasy novel because it needs to be done regardless, but as I do that I’m going to really consider some advice I received at the Clearwater Writers Meet-Up group last night. At this point, I need to balance my OCD/perfectonist compulsion to write the perfect novel with my actual need to just write a novel. But is the proper balance moving forward in my new direction, or is it backing up and returning to the manuscript I made progress on, but eventually rejected? That’s what I really have to think about.

In my heart, I’m so committed to getting the story right and I’m loathe to let that go. But at the same time, I also need to stop hitting the reset button and just get something finished. I know that those of you who have stuck with me (and at this point, I think that’s about three of you) must be frustrated with my resets (and believe me – I am, too). I’ve never done it lightly, always with the conviction that I was making the story better, but I have to consider the cost.

But, as I ponder this weighty issue (and feel free to chime in, please) I also need to think about another thing: I own tristanberry.com!!!!

Wow, what a lot of work!

Having a website is a lot like living in your own home. You grow comfortable with it, and it seems to grow in ways, organic ways you are only dimly aware of, usually. And so it is with my beloved ‘Alpheus’ here. Over the years I have been using this site it has grown with me, adding pages and posts, images and comments. What success I have enjoyed so far as an ‘as-of-yet-unpublished’ writer, I owe to all of you for hanging with me, as to a lage degre, we have shared this webspace together. So, if I want to be a good ‘roommate’ to you all, it falls on me to keep it tidy. This means keeping it lean, relevant, and up-to-date.

As I’ve mentioned, I recently had a breakthrough on how to approach my works in progress better. These should be great improvements, and indicative of my growth as a writer, a sign that my writing is maturing, but it’s a drastic change. This has to be reflected on the website and I spent much of this past weekend working furiously to update the website to reflect those changes.

You’ll find that Mortality, Interrupted has been altered to reflect its new working title, The Immortal Countess Bathory (hat tip to Cynthia A. Sandor of the new writing group I just joined for making the suggestion. I didn’t like it at first, but the more I let your idea simmer, the more I liked it, so thank you!). I also implemented the new working title for the fantasy trilogy. Royal Redemption is now No Redemption for the Wicked throughout the website. I’ve also taken the time to update a LOT of the website content to reflect the new concepts. Some storylines changed, some did not, and some storylines actually moved from one project to the other, believe it or not.

Please feel free to poke around and see if you can find any places that I missed. I have so much on my plate these days that any help I can get is appreciated more than you can know. Thanks so much, everyone! This is going to be great!

POLL: After the website update, what would YOU like to see?

Hello, everyone! Another update!

I know that most of you are wondering what’s gotten into me lately. Two posts in two days?! I know, but I felt like I needed to make some changes to the website to reflect the recent decicions I’ve made. I’ve removed the links to my WiPs (works in progress) from the page template. They’re still on the site and can be navigated to if you have the links, but I’ve decided not to provide links to them since I’m making such sweeping changes as I just don’t think it would be fair.

On the Royal Redemption story, I’ve decided to also get the pantheon of dieties involved in the story. That will also enrich things, I think. That WiP will also need a new title.

A question for you all…

I have a lot of work to do as far as working on the plot. My question to you all is, would you like for me to blog about that process and solicit input and feedback from you about it, or would you rather wait as I do all the plotting and just read through the initial draft as I write it? Just so you know, with school and such, it could be a long wait before I am able to start working on the draft.

What would you like to see on the site?