Price Nothing Given, Final Thoughts

I know, it seems a little early for “final thoughts” mode, which is why I’ll be making this announcement first: I am going to rush the ending. I know, I’m a sack of shit, and I’m sorry.

The fact of the matter is that this story has become an increasing drain on my emotional resources with each new chapter. Writing Beth’s perspective has been hell, and I swear I’ll never do another character who is depressed again in my life. But, well, I’ll go into why further down the announcement. For now, I’ll focus on the what.

The next two or three chapters were intended to be a way to get to know the regulars at The Playhouse, just as the last two chapters have been, as well as a couple of the early chapters were. I was going to do this whilst creating parallels and/or contradictions between the characters of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and my own characters.

… If you’ve been with me this long, you’ve already seen me do this. I have a certain love of touching on other works of fiction when writing my own. I’ve done everything from Glass Menagerie to Tristan and Isolde to Starcraft at this point. I even referenced Midara (the first setting I ever created, actually) a couple times.

I also have a love of what is essentially running parallel stories- where the characters straddle the line between one life and another, and I wanted to show more of Beth’s.

But, as I’ve said a hundred times by now… writing Beth is exhausting, and at this point I don’t have the energy to do the five more chapters required. I will be skipping the next two chapters, which would have shown more of Ben, Tina, Clyde, and Eric. I think we’ve seen enough of April and Mrs. Battle to know who they are, but they’d obviously be involved as well.

Then there’s one or two chapters I will show. Then two or three more that I’ll skip as well (no, I’m not sharing details- because spoilers- but I’ll do my best to make sure the event scenes remain- it’s the ‘building’ scenes that are going to be removed), and then it’s on to the climactic scenes of the story and aftermath of said scenes.

And then, I’ll probably be taking a break from Price, entirely. Well… after adding Chapter 3 to the Triad and doing a short (re: 4,000 ish words) story to flesh out a certain other part of the setting I want people to see. Specifically: Echo Chamber, the most powerful Precog of the setting.

If, after all of that, I feel my motivation coming back, maybe I’ll shelve Midara a little longer, but I sincerely doubt it.

Now that ‘What’ is covered, on to the “Why”.

As I said, this book has been exhausting. I like dark, but Anima’s mentality just drains the ‘color’ out of every scenario. My other main perspective characters, whatever else may be wrong with them, had ambition, drive, and the will to do things. Anima… just… exists, and getting into her head makes me tired, makes me not want to write.

I’ll never write another main character like her again, that’s for damn sure. Which means Unspoken and Paid in Blood will probably never be written.

In addition, not long ago I got a surprising surge of fan posts from a few people- mostly via Reddit- I’d give a shoutout, but I don’t know if they’d be comfortable with me listing their names. Talking about my story, one guy asked me for a PDF so he could read on a plane. I don’t have PDFs, but he was willing to accept the first draft text documents I use for my stories.

It felt good, restored quite a bit of that flagging motivation.

It also made me question why I write.

I always thought I was a writer because I love writing. I always believed I’d write stories even if there was nobody to read them.

Now? I’m not so sure. Every one of my novels has been losing readers, and more than that there’s been less speculation than ever before. I’ve still got a small handful of regular posters, but the longest conversation threads are only three or four deep and… well, I guess the best way to describe this feeling is “lonely”.

I’d be lying to myself to say it doesn’t bother me. I’d probably ignore it normally, but writing Beth makes it very hard to keep a positive attitude. I’d also be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me that it does bother me. Feels like, well, like I said, I always thought I was one of the ones who did it for fun alone, and I don’t like learning I was wrong this part of myself.

… Well, enough of me acting like a whiny douche, I’m starting to piss me off. And if anyone says I’m being too hard on myself? Well, too bad, this is how I get motivated when the nicer methods don’t work. Anger, properly harnessed, is a powerful tool.

Besides, the most difficult times are the ones that teach us the most, and if I’ve gotta deal with the shit either way, may as well get that vaunted character growth, right?

I can safely say that this book has taught me more than any others I’ve written, and for that I’m grateful, but if I don’t get it done soon, it might never actually get done. Some day in the future I’ll come back and add the five or so missing chapters, but for now… I just want it to be over…

For those still reading this rambling mess: Thank you. It really is nice to have fans that stick by you.

24 thoughts on “Price Nothing Given, Final Thoughts

  1. I’ll be sad to see Beth go – she’s probably my spirit animal – but health and motivation are more important.

    That said, I see what you mean about her perspective draining the color out. Zach’s story was my favorite of the bunch, for its sass and energy and humor in the face of all the dark crap and for its insanely high ratio of favorite characters. Beth’s has the same setting and characters, but feels entirely different. Still a good read, but not as viscerally fun.


    I’m looking forward to see where this goes, and how the confrontation with Alex finally plays out.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve been your reader for some time, now. I have posted on occasion, but lurking is my natural mode and lately I haven’t found the time to compose meaningful commentary.
    About Beth: I’m sorry to hear writing her has such an effect on you. I guess it’s the consequence of writing such lifelike characters. I feel your characterization does speak to me on a deeper level than most fiction around, even counting published stuff.
    As I have said in the past, the Trio have been my favorite, but I’ve also liked Anima’s story. Depression is hard to capture in text, but I think she resonates with that something dark even those of us who are healthy have deep inside us.
    To sum it all up, I’ll try to look alive in the comments. I wasn’t aware it meant this much to you, and I’ve always been glad to share my opinion of things XP.
    Thank you for all your work, and I wish you luck in all your endeavors!
    P.S.: What is this Midara, and is there somewhere I can read it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be fair, *I* wasn’t aware it meant this much to me. Perhaps it’s just coming out now, because the other thrills of writing aren’t there due to the mindset I need to get into Beth’s character. Or something to that effect, I’m not certain myself.

      As far as Midara is concerned… well, it’s actually the oldest of the settings I wouldn’t be humiliated to tell the world. I have lots of story ideas for, but at the core it’s a fantasy setting I originally started creating when I was… in middle school, I think? The earliest spark I remember that birthed the concept was an offhand setting concept in one of the early Final Fantasy games about “Dark Warriors” who once rose up to save the world from being overrun by Light. My younger self set about imagining what would need to happen to make that make sense. Next came the name (Midara are a genus of moths… obviously, the same rebirth concept as butterflies, but with additional nocturnal undertones that fit Midara’s themes). Then… something like 20 years of refinement through all the fantasy games and novels I’ve loved through the years…

      That’s Midara in a nutshell.

      It also stands as the first place that birthed Pairbonds as a concept, as a sort of magical marriage ceremony.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, I’m a lurking reader. I rarely post anywhere because I’m lazy. But I just wanted to say your writing is some of the best there is out there. I really like all of the books you have written. I honestly think you should be in the top 10 on topwebfiction. So just wanted to give some encouragement and let you know that I’m here enjoying your work even if I don’t say much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t refer to myself as a lurker. I prefer “creepy stalker”. As may be, I’m really liking this story, especially now that things are looking up for Our Protagonist Beth.

    For the chapters you’ll be skipping, you might want to flip the usual writers’ advice and tell don’t show. Cover the material that would have gone into a chapter in a couple paragraphs or a few lines of dialog. (Assuming you weren’t going to do that anyway, in which case you can disregard this advice. Except that you can’t, because you’ve already done it. I’m just that good.)

    More broadly, my offers stands to edit /Death of a Hero/ if you want to bundle it up for ebook or print sale. Or any of the other novels in this universe, but I think DoaH is the best starting point.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As you proably know, this book is one of my favourite books of your so far, i feel its just really well written, it just hits the spot.

    Despite saying that, i am glad that you have decided to rush the ending of this book. Its not much fun “watching” one of you favourite writes burden him/herself to trying to write a book. I get of course that you seemed to find it necessary of course to try to soldier on, but i guess we have to agree to disagree on that one.

    On the thing with losing readers, of course you always also are writing partly for yourself, but who does not enjoy going validated by other people. spoiler alert, nobody!

    On that note i like to thank you for writing so far and am looking forward to what you are writing next, if you decide to do so. (after price is finished of course)

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah. So a new terminology for a very old concept. It’s been tried. It’s failed miserably. Every time.

          Although this particular writer seems to be adding “echo chambers are a good thing, people!” to the mix. History also shows how dangerous that mentality has proven itself to be.


          1. Thanks for the interesting feedback :)
            I got to Avalon’s constitution in Amelia and was reminded of this. Thought there might be some inspiration there.

            Out of curiosity, you got any links about attempts and failures? Or even a name to Google them myself? Sounds like an interesting read.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Off the top of my head? The supposed (and probable) founding of Rome. It was essentially the “philosopher king” concept spoken of by several Greek philosophers including Aristotle.

              The founding of the United States- in fact, the USA is rife with examples of attempts including the colonists coming to the country, and how the states were originally envisioned to be. And many of the Western Homesteaders. And the Mormons. And dozens of other groups ranging from the Amish to the Heaven’s-Gate Cult. Even today, there are Isolationists who want to close of America’s borders and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

              It always fails, because “reality ensues”. The truth is, this kind of ideological echo chamber is unsustainable. It has only two directions to go- either it accepts the reality of daily living, and the fact that it’s impossible to control the thoughts of a population completely because each generation changes. Or it fights against reality until it breaks and more or less literally goes insane.

              The only time in history where it *almost* worked was the Mongol Empire. Their attitude toward conquered people was “we don’t care what you believe or how you live your lives, as long as you’re obedient to us. And if you step one foot out of line, we will rape and/or murder every living person in your town. Plus about half the livestock.”

              And if the only way you can enforce such a system is through some of the worst violence in human history… it doesn’t seem worth it to me.


  6. Well I haven’t commented in quite some time but I haven’t really abandonned the story it is just that I have a lot less time than I used to have and I am quite behind on the story(as in still reading up Blue steel, hell I might have to reread death of a hero and in tripilicate once I am done since the other books that popped up are the following to those)and others I used to follow and I usually don’t comment or speculate when I am not up to date with everything.

    Still if you want some speculation here is some: in this world powers have been around for quite some time and we saw the impact it had on technology and other things so I was wondering about another field: Martial arts, surely with the amount of people possessing certain powers some techniques and styles must have been created for those all around the world some incorporating weapons(perhaps even brand new ones)some not and that’s not counting powers that may have sprung from martial arts themes which themselves may have somehow advanced that particular field.

    Not just that but also techniques developped by normals to fight the powereds surely before the time honored “empty your gun on the guy and if it does not work try to die with some modicum of dignity”some arts must have been created for that, hell some of the powered might even have taught some normals how to defend against some abilities.

    Anyway, I am still there but a quite behind on the story and thus a lot more silent as for when I’ll be up to date…well I can’t truly say depends of the time I get.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for writing these! I know I was away for a while; other browser tabs called, I swear. I’ll keep reading while you write them!

    (Thought: Is it just writing from Beth’s _perspective_ that’s so draining-through-empathy? Would either of thr next two books work if a) she were the protagonist but b) she never actually had a viewpoint chapter, or very few? {And if ‘none’, see if any reader picks up on it?})


    Liked by 1 person

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