Meanwhile, not far away....


So. I've been trying to work out... well, things. As folks know. And the writing is a part of what I've been trying to work out, because....

...well, because. I'm a happier person when I'm writing lots of stuff, and being a happier person is pretty much a good goal in and of itself.

And that brings me to trying to find the best way to actually do more of it, and to fire the writing spirit, and all that. Because... well, because I want to, and because I want momentum, and because that's all a cool thing.

Let me begin by saying that Websnark isn't ending. Not now, not for the foreseeable future. I like this place. I like all of you. I like the outlet. I like the chance to write on any topic or any subject, at any time. It's amazingly cool, and you guys make me happy.

However, it's worth noting that Websnark, in the end, is an outlet for nonfiction. There have been exceptions, here and there, but this is primarily a blog for commentaries and essays. Critiques, or just me talking 'bout stuff. And that's been amazingly cool, but it's also been limiting. In the nearly three years this thing's been a part of my life there's been a couple million words between Wednesday and I, but my fiction output has crashed through the floor. And that has created an imbalance in my humors, increasing bile and phlegm and requiring an infusion of foods higher in fire and air.

Now, I could change Websnark if I wanted. I could add in fiction, poetry, a wet bar -- whatever I felt like, at least as far as Weds would be comfortable -- and Weds is, at heart, desirous of my being content. But that doesn't seem like the right reaction to me. Folks who come here and who have been coming here have been doing so for very specific reasons. They'll indulge the odd Sestina or the occasional bedtime story, but for the most part they'd rather there not be a monumental shift in tone.

And honestly, I don't want to change what Websnark is. I like what Websnark is.

The solution, in the end, is to expand.

Which brings me to Banter Latte.

Banter Latte is a new blog, chock full of that new blog smell. It was born in the weekend following my existential writing crisis. It is dedicated to fiction, to poetry, to whimsy -- to all the stuff that Websnark isn't. It has a bunch of new bits of writing, some old writing that's been sitting on my hard drive -- sometimes for years -- and locked posts designed to let me put up chapters of novels I'm working on.

That this will hopefully also force me to, you know, finish and refine those novels is a side benefit.

The protected posts, mind, are still meant to be accessible. See, part of the problem of the publishing world adapting to new electronic distribution is the question of what "previous publication" means. By locking the posts, I can skirt the edge between publishing my novel on the web and providing a place for fans of my work and interested parties to read drafts of the posts without actually releasing it. And keeping it out of search engines at the same time.

So. What is Banter Latte?

Banter Latte is a place for me to write. Just like Websnark. They're meant to compliment each other. Folks who like reading what I write will want to head on over there and see what there is to see. Folks who like my essays but can't imagine enduring my fiction can avoid it. (Though I'll post regular links over here to the stuff going on over there -- mostly because I don't want this place going quiet again.)

Though quiet isn't as likely. As I've said before, when I'm writing regularly, I'm usually writing prolifically. You'll notice I've written more on Websnark in the time since I started beta testing Banter Latte than in the three months before. That's likely to continue.

Why "Banter Latte?" Because as has been mentioned, I have a love of dialogues taking place while my characters are drinking beverages. Nothing more or less. Also, I tend to drink a lot of coffee or tea while writing.

There is a schedule to Banter Latte, in hopes of building an audience and (paradoxically) making things easier on me. Mondays are "The Mythology of the modern world," when I tell whimsical stories about the myths behind everyday life. Post beta period, we have two entries up right now: Introductions and Coffee, and Why Does Starbucks Drip Coffee Taste Like Crotch? These are generally going to be written new for the site, which should keep me doing a few hundred or thousand words in a week, all to keep the pump primed. Wednesdays are "Storytelling" days -- vignettes, scenes, stories, past stuff and new stuff all blended. Some of the more serious stuff will go here, though I don't promise that. Right now, we have a short story set in the greater Gossamer Commons universe -- the first entry of Gossamer Reflections, called Whisperdance.

Fridays are when the protected chapters of novels in progress go up. One of the state goals -- born of a conversation I had with my father -- is that I'm going to write one chapter of a novel each and every week, thus making the completion of said novels far more likely. Right now we are in the semi-hard science fiction novel Theftworld, which is password protected (though right up in the nav bar or also on the sidebar you'll see a link to a form for requesting it -- it's not exactly hard to get access to the password if you want it.) We have two chapters plus a prologue and a bit of preface material up.

Thtree days a week with three types of content. Tuesdays and Thursdays are Random days. Any day I feel like doing something that doesn't fit one of those categories, I'll throw something into a Tuesday or a Thursday. That's where poetry will go, fan-fiction if I've a yen to write it, bits of other stories, or whatever. Or nothing at all. Those aren't officially scheduled days, but right now it looks like there's plenty of stuff for them. We have a couple of related stories in them right now: the first part of Interviewing Leather -- meant to be a Rolling Stoneesque interview of a minor supervillain, and we have On Call, a slice of life story about a doctor who specializes in superhumans, played more for laughs.

Finally, on the weekends we'll have very basic open topic posts, for people to shout out comments or make dook dook noises or do whatever it is you kids do.

And, of course, there's a chance to buy ad space if you want. Right now, it's going for like two cents, so it's a bargain!

In the end, all of this is meant to stimulate my doing what I like to do most outside of spending time with Weds or sleeping: writing. And I'm really excited about it. I hope you guys enjoy it. And I hope this helps keep the writing stream -- in Websnark and out of Websnark -- more regular than it's been.

Thanks all. And enjoy.

Oh -- bear in mind the site is still new. There may be functionality changes, and there almost certainly will be look and feel changes. So, you know. Be warned.



Whatever ups your productivity is a GoodThing™. Even if it decreases mine... :-)

I'm really interested to see how many (daily) visitors you had even in your down period.
We're rabid, us Websnark fans.

A chapter a week is ambitious. I know whereof I speak.

Remember NaNo2k4? I did a frothy little Firefly-meets-Peter Pan thing called The Sky Pirate. It was swashbuckling adventure on a pirate ship that floated a hundred feet in the air. Yes, it was completely fantastical, but once you get past the absence of, you now, 'science', the story wasn't too bad. There was a lot of character interaction and snappy dialogue and all that. I crossed the finish line with 55k words (some of which were actually worth keeping) and the confidence that I could write long if I had to.

That led to NaNo2k5. Since I'd done the novel thing, I thought I'd try something else. I put up a poll and was going to write a short story a week, and let the readers decide the genre. It was an audacious challenge, but I figured a 3500 word story would be much easier to write each week than 12,500 words towards a novel.

It went down in flames. I never finished the first story, much less all four. Oh, I got some fine scenes written (including my first love scene), but it wasn't a complete short story, and it wasn't finished. Clearly, I need to work on my short fiction.

That was November / December of 2005. I wouldn't write again for six months.

In January, 2006, we decided to do the e-zine thing and we developed for six months, going live July 1st. One of the goals of the zine was to reintroduce serialized adventure stories, ala the old saturday matinee cliffhanger stories. The problem was that we didn't have anything in the can to show people how it could be done. I was asked if I had anything to contribute, so I dusted off The Sky Pirate. I went back and introduced my charismatic captain, Cooper Flynn, as a 15 year old orphan on a sleepy monastery island and wrote The Assassin of Patience Bay. It featured not one, but two assassins, one of whom was a mole and was the object of the title of the story, the first being a red herring.

I wrote a new chapter every month after that, and it seems to be working. We've published a fellow named Sean T. M. Stiennon, and he's going to hit it big, it's just a question of time.

My point is this - I personally write a new chapter every month. I frequently find myself writing and rewriting right up to the very moment of publication (something you can do with digital publishing).

Eric, I know from experience that once you start writing fiction, you're exceedingly prolific. However, I caution you not to bite off more than you can chew in your enthusiasm.

I stopped writing for six months after my failed NaNo2k5 challenge. It was an audacious idea but ill-advised at the time. I was on-staff at one magazine, managing editor at another, and on my way to founding yet a third, all in addition to my day job as a tech writer. I set a high goal that failed, as much because of overcommitment and lack of clear vision as anything.

I'd hate to see that happen here, because I happen to like your stuff. ;)

Best wishes from Wisconsin,

Johne (Phy) Cook

Phy -- believe it or not, this is designed to mitigate and control my enthusiasm, not enforce it.

The first novel I'm putting up -- Theftworld -- already has many chapters written. As a result, I have a prodigious backlog to help cover should things go south. The same, in many ways, with the Wednesday storytelling block -- while I'm doing some new things, I'm also working to make sure I have enough older material to give me a nice, long backlog moving forward.

I'll admit I'm doing a new myth each week, at least to begin with, but those aren't that onerous to write.

If it looks like this will be problematic, I'll adjust it.

Make sense? And either way, thanks for your concern.

So... does this mean you're not adding the wet bar?

As it turns out, it's harder to code in Ajax than might have been expected.

Wow! I can't believe this ever-so-restrictive internet provider is actually letting me post! I've *got* to get DSL for the house.. when they get service up the mountain that far, anyway.

Okay.. uhm.. summing up 6 months away: yay for you and Weds! Sorry about the cash crunchies. Glad to see you're getting your fiction writing mojo going again.

Man, I really dig this new site of yours, dude.

That's pretty much all I have to say.

Gosh, very kind of you to blogroll me. I'll be reading.

"Phy -- believe it or not, this is designed to mitigate and control my enthusiasm, not enforce it."

I wish I had your ambition in that area. :P I feel like if I stop writing, I'll expode.

I'm glad to get a wider taste of your fiction writing than the occasional glimpses through Snark.

A link to Banter Latte from the main page here at Websnark would be useful.

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