Happy New Year readers!
As has so far been tradition . . . January is officially the month where I write a blog post on my writing and project plans for 2023. Consider this the literary version of the State of the Union or… the State of the Ninja, lol. I talk about my plans for the future, goals, and what projects I’m working on.
Let’s get started.
What am I working on?
For those of you who are not newsletter subscribers.
And why not? It’s free, has more behind the scenes goodies, and I try to only bug you once a month. C’mon, sign up. Link here: https://www.thesilverninja.com/newsletter/
I announced in my newsletter that I am on a hiatus from writing any new Silver Ninja stories.
Although I am happy with the end result of Narco Hotel, the work I invested left me feeling like a crispy match. A nub of ash and burnt phosphorous.
So, I’m taking a break and switching genres to . . .
I completed 4,712 words on my as-of-yet untitled short-story and 4,267 words on my horror universe reference book.
What is your horror book about?
There are two horror projects which have captured my imagination:
My first project follows a paranormal investigator who visits locations reported to be haunted. During these investigations, the detective will experience events of the supernatural and will have to overcome his fears in order to solve the mystery and cleanse the location of evil spirits.
To make this series episodic, I plan on taking some inspiration from The Sandman comics. In The Sandman, the character “Dream” appears after another character has had their story told. Sometimes there’s a story that follows Dream around but for the most part, it’s about someone else experiencing the dream.
I’d like to take lessons from this and incorporate some elements into my story.
The second horror project is an Epic Dark Fantasy.
Vampires get a bad rap. Before Twilight and Interview with a Vampire, vampires were terrifying. If you’ve ever seen the intro to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the opening scene is the stuff of nightmares.
I want to take vampires back to their scary roots, but I also want to explore and dive into the mythology of the vampire. I never understood why people feared vampires if they didn’t need to kill anyone to feed. If a vampire has the ability to hypnotize and seduce, why do they feel the need to enslave humanity? I understand treating humans as cattle, but it seems there’s opportunity for a symbiotic relationship. There’s plenty of weirdos out there who would happily offer themselves as a snack.
I’ve also had an issue with the motivation behind why vampires are always “evil.” In the Super Nintendo game Super Castlevania IV, Dracula is just the last boss of the video game and nothing more. For some reason he makes monsters appear and the Belmont family has to destroy him.
Later adaptations describe Dracula as a supernatural wizard who fell in love with a human woman. After accusing Dracula of being the devil incarnate, the villagers murder his wife. This event causes Dracula to swear revenge against humanity for all eternity. Cool story bro.
I hate this type of character motivation because it uses a woman’s death to spur on the man. Also known as the woman in the fridge trope. https://geekfeminism.fandom.com/wiki/Women_in_refrigerators
I wanted a motivation that was deeper and more sinister.
I wanted to explore what would make a vampire evil.
My studies into the definition of evil led me to a startling conclusion. If I wanted to a truly authentic idea for evil, I would need to create an entirely new religion.
Therefore, I created a sprawling fantasy involving Immaculate Heroes and Tormented Souls. No need to use the tired, cliché, and ableist insanity motivations.
In fantasy, have you ever wondered who wrote the grimoires containing spells to summon and control demons?
Who built the demonic twisted castles and why do cultists suddenly decide they want to summon the devil?
I had all these questions and didn’t find answers which suited my taste. So, I created my own.
Is the website going to change in order to advertise the Horror Books?
As you may have noticed, The Silver Ninja is not a horror themed character. The website is therefore based on a sci-fi aesthetic.
I do own another domain and it hasn’t been touched since I bought it. I am debating whether I should finally build out this domain and make it the primary landing page for my books.
HOWEVER, there are a few problems with this idea.
- I would have to invest money in the website which includes hosting and plugins. The price of my website without investing heavily in ads and just performing maintenance is a little under $1,400 a year. Adding another domain + plugins could easily put the expenses to over $2,000.
- The Silver Ninja dot com is the website everyone knows me by. It is my brand. I would have to rebuild my website ranking and top of mind awareness from scratch.
- I would have to maintain two websites and I can barely handle writing a newsletter and blog every month. I don’t have the time.
If the books were generating thousands of dollars in revenue and profit, of course I would do it. But the books are operating at a loss. Therefore, investing in another website without any revenue to back it up would be foolish. Until these books can cover yearly expenses, I don’t think it would be wise to build another website.
But don’t you have to spend money to make money?
Yes and no.
Whenever you hear stories about successful entrepreneurs dropping out of college to work on their company, it’s not because they were following “the dream.” It’s because their business was generating so much profit, they didn’t have time to go to school and build a company.
Years ago, I made the mistake of quitting my job to “focus on writing” before the books were generating any revenue or profit. I should have built the writing career first, then quit once the books were turning a consistent profit.
(Pay attention wannabe authors. Don’t quit your day job until you’re making money.)
Developing the Silver Pencil Books domain isn’t a necessity right now. All of you can find me on the silver ninja dot com. The main thing I need to consider is what happens when a horror fan discovers my books and heads over to the website.
Like the old saying goes, don’t put the cart before the horse.
Or, maybe I should put it up to a survey?
What do YOU think?
What have I learned from writing Narco Hotel?
When I was in middle school, I was somehow able to write dozens of novellas within a span of a couple of weeks. My love of writing never died but I feel like my adult brain has limited my imagination. When I was a child, there was no risk of copyright infringement or necessity to represent a brand. So, I took more risks and wasn’t afraid to write blatant knock offs.
Now as a professional author and an adult with bills to pay, a family to feed, and a job to maintain, I feel like my imagination became pickier with age.
When I decided I wanted to write more Silver Ninja stories, I realized my idea well was dry. Ironic considering, I have a document of random ideas I’ve collected throughout the years. The truth is, I only intended to write two books for The Silver Ninja. I expanded this idea to more books because when I wrote the second book, I felt unsatisfied with how it ended. There were more stories to tell.
I just didn’t know what those stories were.
Inspiration is for amateurs, so why do I feel like I need it?
I have an enormous amount of respect and an insane amount of jealousy for writers who can sit down and write new stories all day every day. I don’t remember the name of this writer, but they said they could write a new book every one to two months and listening to this podcast made me feel so hopelessly inferior.
I’m lucky if I can finish a short story in less than a year.
I cannot sustain a career in writing if I can’t write faster.
But when I try to write a story without a solid idea, I feel like I end up crashing into a brick wall and struggle my way to the end.
If it’s so hard, why not quit?
I would have shut down my website a long time ago if it wasn’t for the kind letters I’ve received from fans over the years. On a day when I’m feeling down, I’ll randomly receive an email from a reader telling me how much they loved the newest book, and it cheers me up. Knowing that people are reading and enjoying the books makes me feel like the struggle is worth it.
This is why I’m always trying to encourage readers to leave reviews. Not only does it help me build social proof, but it also lets me know areas I need to improve and areas where I’m doing well.
So, I keep trucking along.
I am super excited about this horror series, and I hope those of you who like horror will find the courage to join me.
If you want to get in on The Silver Ninja fun, click on the link below.