It’s been a productive week. Yesterday the third book in my children’s Kingdom of Patria series, a Christmas novella entitled The Chronicles of Oliver Stoop, Squire Second Class: The Quest for Clodnus’s Collectibles, went on sale at Amazon. I had to take the book off-sale today, however, after discovering a small glitch that needed correction (Amazon/CreateSpace takes books off the shelves if they need to be reviewed again). But the glitch has been corrected and the book should be back on sale by tomorrow at the latest, and I’m very happy about that. (If you’d like a signed copy of the book, just drop me a line and I’ll mail you a signed nameplate sticker that you can post inside the book.)
Meanwhile, I’ve been using Scrivener to put together the digital version of the book. I hope to upload that to Amazon sometime tomorrow.
Back in November, some of you may have been following my series of posts on storytelling structure, The Happiness Plot. My original intent was to write 40-some short posts (approximately 300 words each) during November and, after some revision/addition, publish the ebook in early December priced at 99 cents. The press of business prevented me from achieving that goal, though I have far from abandoned the idea for the book. In fact, I’m back at the manuscript, and I believe, in the end, I will be publishing a better product than it otherwise might have been.
The point of The Happiness Plot is to help working writers, and just plain lovers of fiction, think more deeply about the meaning of stories. It’s odd. We live in a world that has turned quite skeptical about truth and meaning, yet every day countless writers around the globe (just notice how often #amwriting trends on Twitter) shackle themselves to their writing desks in an attempt to communicate something meaningful to their readers. Is all of this effort just a waste of time if there is no objective truth “out there”? Or does the telling stories hint at a deeper reality to human existence than many are willing to admit? In the book I argue that there is an intriguing relationship between story structure and the happiness that provides meaning for human life.
Among the ingredients I’ve been throwing into the stew of my thinking on this topic are the following books:
- Robert McKee’s Story
- Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos
- James Woods’ How Fiction Works
- Wayne C. Booth’s The Rhetoric of Fiction
- Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue and Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry
- Charles Taylor’s The Ethics of Authenticity
- Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception
- Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
I’m now aiming for a Christmas Day (or thereabouts) release for The Happiness Plot. My hope is that this little book, while getting into some meaty theoretical subjects, will also prove to be of great practical value for writers.