Tag Archives: Wordpress

Happy Anniversary!!! Three years!!!

WordPress sent me a very congratulatory notice to inform me that today is the third anniversary of the launch of this website. When I received it I thought to myself, ‘Wow, has it really been three years?’

It was a good feeling that lasted for only a second or two because right on the heels of that pleasant feeling came the sober ache that has come to accompany my frustration with my first manuscript. I’ve completely reimagined it more than twice and I’ve lost count of the major changes I’ve made just in my approach to writing it. Certainly I’ve written enough words for a novel at this point if you add them all together, so I know that being a novelist is something within my ability to accomplish. But as I feel the admonishment (and rightfully so) regarding the fact that I have spent so much time on this with so little to show for it in the way of a complete draft, there are some distinctly positive developments which are worth taking some pride in.

This date three years ago was the day that I devoted myself to writing as a career and showed it by creating something tangible and real: this website. Last fall I made it even more my own by buying the domain name tristanberry.com. Over the years, this website has mirrored my growth as a writer, starting out exuberant and fanciful and gradually becoming more aware and credible. It has portrayed my personal growth in an allegorical sense that I only see now in hindsight. But every leap forward I made with my vision of what stories I should tell and how I should present them came as a result of a deeper understanding of myself as a man and as a writer. Reflecting upon that on this anniversary day I have come to an important conclusion: that to write well about anything, one must first have a solid understanding of oneself.

This learning never stops. Just a matter of days ago I made yet another important breakthrough, and this could well be my biggest yet. Thinking on what I’ve learned from writers and editors I’ve come to understand that my first book needs to be truly unique in some fashion. This first manuscript that I shop around to prospective agents and publishers needs to not just be good enough to publish, but something much more than that; it needs to be a manuscript that will make their eyes bulge in surprise and their hearts race with excitement.

But at the moment I grasped this, I realized also that I had a problem. The fantasy genre is full to overflowing with aspiring writers, very talented aspiring writers, who all are hard at work submitting draft manuscripts depicting this magical kingdom or that wondrous realm, this heart-warming protagonist and that contemptible villain, and all of them telling the most amazing stories.

I’m a good writer. I know I am. But looking at the reality with all the sober objectivity I can muster, I must admit that while we all see one hack writer after another somehow getting their literary drivel published there are many thousands of excellent writers whose phenomenal submissions sit gathering dust in the inboxes of agents and publishers across the country. Mediocre books are really an expression of an anomaly that occurs in every industry, particularly the arts where quality is inherently subjective.

So, it’s important to just shake one’s head and chuckle when one sees a novel on a bookshelf that’s chock-full of predictable plots, cardboard characterizations, and purple prose. It’s going to happen because the world isn’t fair. But I would much rather be published because I’ve written something amazing that people pick up and think to themselves, ‘Wow! I can’t wait to read this!’ And I’ll only get there by making prospective agents and publishers just as excited about the chance to represent me and publish me – and I’ve discovered a path that just might lead me there.

This path is going to change my writing style somewhat. I already draw a great deal from J.R.R. Tolkien, Raymond E. Feist, and other giants in the fantasy genre, but I have other literary influences, too – and I’ve been neglecting them. I’ve also been influenced to varying degrees by Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Anne Rice. It’s time I gave them their due and allowed that influence to come through.

This is a subtle shift that will make a tremendous difference in the final product, and hopefully it will be a tremendous difference that will make a prospective agent or publisher read my manuscript, sit up and say, “Wow!” If so, the three years it took to get here will have well been worth it.

So, whether you’ve been with me from the beginning or started following me more recently, Happy Anniversary to US, because it is not at all an exaggeration to say that without you I wouldn’t be here and this anniversary would never have happened.

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!!!!

Poll results and Changes coming soon

POLL RESULTS:
The Poll only received four votes, so I’m going to go with what I got. If it turns out that the majority actually feel differently, then I guess the majority should have submitted a vote. I did leave the voting open for a full week and an extra full day, so why I only received four votes I don’t know. But three of you voted to keep the same theme and one of you voted to change it. I have no way of knowing how any particular person voted and that’s the way I like it. So I’m going to go with the majority of those who voted and keep the same theme, though I will continue to look at ways I might be able to address the readability issue.

CHANGES COMING SOON!
But there are still going to be some changes, and as they are related to security, the sooner I can implement them, the better. Although it can’t be proven, there is very persuasive circumstantial evidence that suggests that television writers are data mining writing sites and blogs (just like this one) for story ideas. One person in one of my local workshops feels certain that her site has been mined several times as she has seen one particular show use several of her ideas including introducing a new storyline concept based largely on one of her ideas in particular which she posted only on her site. So, when she heard other writers were experiencing similar issues she stopped chalking it up to mere coincidence and has locked down her story content, removing it all from her blog.

I really don’t want to have to do that. I love the feedback, advice, and encouragement I get from everyone here, so after a great deal of thought I’ve figured out a compromise. Those of you who have posted comments on this site will by now have received a WordPress invitation in your email inboxes. Please accept the invitation and create a WordPress account. You don’t have to create a blog here if you don’t want to, but it will allow me to add you as a Contributor to this site as I can only add people who have WordPress accounts. Once I have you all added, I’ll lock down the site. From that point on it will only be accessible by the WordPress users I will have specifically granted access to. Anyone else who wants to access the site in the future will need to go through the same process (up to a maximum of 35 people). I apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, but it’s the only way I can think of to keep this going without risking some thief out there stealing my ideas and writing their own book based on my stuff.