I've always wondered... what would life be like if certain things didn't happen? I know I've talked about this before, but I recently started mulling over the idea further.
A friend and I had been trying to decide what to roleplay over instant messenger. For several years we've been using the same family/universe of characters, and slowly expanding on them. We have three generations of this family, and were running out of possible plot ideas. A thought had struck me the other day, about what would have happened to our characters had we not chosen the storylines we did.
For example, my character Casey almost loses his wife when she's giving birth. We originally planned it that his wife would survive. But thinking back, I wonder where he and his daughter would be if his wife didn't survive. Sure, he's my character, and I can write him a happy ending if I want; but that doesn't provide any amount of growth or depth. It just ties up loose ends. I'd rather like to see the struggles he goes through as a widowed father; how he copes with this sudden loss and sole responsibility; what he does when his daughter starts inquiring about her deceased mother. And what he does when he starts wading into the mess of dating when having a child.
There were other alternate universe/plot turns we came up with that gave us very interesting roads to eventually travel down. So, we've decided to go back and play these out, just to see where we would take them.
Self-publishing seems like a scary field to jump into. Having done some reading about it, I applaud those daring to do so via e-books. It's scary to think you're putting your work out there without even a professional of any kind giving it a once-over. People can literally take files on their computer and post them online. You're very own soapbox to write stories about anything and everything, and make a profit off of.
It's a cool idea to be able to make a larger portion of the profits, and not worry about anyone receiving a portion of the royalties.
But I don't see e-books as the way I want to take my career. I want to be a writer for a publishing house, and be able to stand with some of the "greats" out there. I want people to critique me and an editor to tell me what I need to work on, or what would be a good direction for a story. Often times, my stories need someone who can rake out what is important and what's not. I like striving for improvement.
In self-publishing, you're answering to yourself. You're your own editor, publishing house and critic. Sure, people are naturally harder on themselves - but I don't see that trait in everyone. Some lack syntax, spelling, punctuation... pretty much everything that is vital to a story having flow. Spell check doesn't catch everything, and isn't always right. It's up to the writer to improve, and strive to write the story they want. But it's up to their audience to not just stand by the sidelines and keep quiet.
Pottermore is incredibly intriguing. JKs video tells a lot, and yet so little at the same time. And I'm completely hooked on The Magic Quil challenge. Contests like this are what I live for. Along with Harry Potter and writing.
So of course, I'm all over this when it comes to trying to find a time when I can join in on the challenge and get early access.
Good luck to those of you trying, and congratulations to those that have gotten in.