The Very Latest and Hottest from Vega...
It's pretty rare that I find myself using that term. But in the case of contemporary author, Estevan Vega, it is entirely appropriate and deserving. This young man has pretty much accomplished the impossible. He's not only managed to write a full-length novel, The Forsaken, he's managed to get it published by one of today's hottest indie presses and on top of that, have it fall squarely onto the Amazon bestseller list where it remained for a few weeks. In a word, the kid (who I believe isn't much more than 20, if that) has got the gift. He's also a very mature and likeable guy. I had the good fortune of sharing space with him at this past Fall's IBE in Boise, Idaho. He's one of those writers who takes his writing dead serious but doesn't take himself serious at all, and that makes for good and fun conversation. I can't help but be proud of him and, at the same time, hopeful for my own son, Bear, who at 18, has also completed his first novel. Surprise, surprise, the youth of the world is reading and writing, just like they always have. One generation passeth and another takes its place. Always there will be those who not only write but who truly feel compelled to share their unique gift to the world. Estevan Vega is one of those blessed individuals. If there is anything to be saddened about, it is that I won't be here to enjoy his work when he reaches his golden years, for my generation will have indeed passed. But the good news is that many of you will still be here, devouring your Vega on the Kindle of the future.
The Art of Cheating on Your Novel by Estevan Vega
I love writing novels. Well, let me rephrase that. I mostly love writing novels, except for that part about writer’s block, plot challenges, writing oneself into a corner, etc. Writing is insanely fun, and even when you don’t always have direction, it’s still a blast figuring out how to get from point A to point B. When writing a novel, or a series, however, it can sometimes become a challenge to maintain a sense of originality, authenticity or general creativeness. That spark of genius seems like a miracle at the beginning of the process, when the words are flowing and the mood is right. But what happens when you find yourself boxed in? What do you do to get out of a creative rut?
Well, the same thing you do when your marriage is in a rut. You cheat on your spouse with a mistress. Ha. Totally kidding. Do not go out and cheat on your spouse, or I will unloose a giant anaconda, and he will totally eat you. But when you’re writing, it’s okay to cheat on your Work-in-Progress or your Series-in-Progress with another creative piece. For me, I cheat on my novels by writing short stories. When I was writing Arson, I wrote the stories that would eventually make up the When Colors Bleed Collection (Baby Blue, Vanilla Red, The Man in the Colored Room). When I finished Ashes, book two, I wrote Music Box, another short story. Also, last year, I wrote The Forsaken and a very special novella to be released later this year called Winter Sparrow. Now, why the heck would I do this when I knew I would have people anxious to get their hands on book three in the Arson trilogy? Because I needed a break from it. I needed to clear my head, write about something else, so that when I came back, I’d be rejuvenated and revived with new fervor and anticipation.
Of course, there the inevitable danger of waiting too long between books, which may result in the pissing off of fans. This can be seen time and time again with bands who release new music only every four or five years. But that’s not what I did. I released new, fresh content last year, and this year has been my biggest yet, and there’s still more stuff coming. The beauty of the short story (a story that is between 1-50 or so pages; a novella up to 49,000 words or so) is that it’s short and sweet. You don’t get as long to develop the characters, and you usually stick to one or two scenes that really are supposed to jump out at the reader. In some ways, it’s simpler to do, because it’s less writing. But it’s also trickier to pull off because it’s less writing. You have to write your characters so well and believably that people don’t care it’s only gonna take them twenty minutes to read it. They need to feel like they’re still getting substance from one of their favorite writers, and they don’t, really don’t, wanna get ripped off.
So, in the art of cheating on your novel, forget about taking a walk to clear your mind or watching more TV. Instead, try writing a cool short story. It gives you more product to sell, and it also helps you hone your craft by keeping things concise. Plus, they’re fun, and if all goes well, you’ll be back at that novel in no time, revived, and ready to kick its butt!
Spread the fire!
Evega (author of Arson, Ashes, The Forsaken, Music Box, When Colors Bleed)
p.s. Thanks so much to Vincent Zandri for letting me ramble on his blog. Much love.
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