Wednesday, August 2, 2023

IWSG August 2023: Conflicted About Stories and Pseudonyms


OPTIONAL August 2 question: Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out, or rewrite it?

Oh yes! I've written several somethings I felt conflicted about, even had a few short poems with conflicted material published and suffered some negative feedback, but I survived and kept writing. 

For a while, I tried to shy away from conflict, but then I discovered something.

When I write something I feel conflicted about, I try to take a step back and let it rest before I run ahead with it, but often, I only revise it a little and then send it out into the world. Conflict, especially if I feel it, is usually a sign that I'm getting to the heart of a story. It's true I don't want to write a scene or story that's too gory, icky, or awful feeling to read because I want most of my writing to uplift, entertain, and offer hope. However, most characters in a fictional read will have to go through some hard stuff to get to the other side, or to discover where their hope resides. 

This is a perfect segue into my other topic for today: pseudonyms. Please be aware this gets lengthy, so feel free to skip if you would like to. 


I have a handful. Yep, may sound weird, but I felt like I had to try some of them out before I ran with them. I've experimented with various pseudonyms over the last ten years, with short stories, a Twitter novella, and some Kindle Vella stories. 

Two factors which make pseudonyms fun:

1. I feel freer to write to different audiences under pseudonyms, although the one I'm spending more time with today may seem much like what I write under my own name. 

2. I feel more confident with my pseudonyms, because of #1. 

There are two factors which make pseudonyms difficult:

1. Time management of projects, any associated media, and release dates.

2. Gaining an audience with a new name takes all of the above, plus it feels like a bit more. 

A few of my current pseudonyms: 

TA Thorne: Speculative, Heartrending, Hope

This is where my grittier sci-fi and fantasy stories are going. I struggled with the darker, more conflicted aspects of writing the Captain Wrath novel, so it went on my shelf and collected dust. This year, I pulled it out, broke it apart, and started uploading it onto Kindle Vella as Captain's Dilemma. More news about this title will come eventually, when it's ready to go into a full book publication. Even though the stories for Captain Wrath came out under my name, I feel it is a starker, older book than most of my fare. 

Rene Hawthorne: Author of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Non-fiction, Seeking Hope on the Horizon

This is the name I have decided to use for sweet romantic fantasy and science fiction with faith themes, and for a bit of non-fiction writing. All of these titles are currently Kindle Vella titles, but my first will be coming out as an ebook and paperback in February 2024. 

The Dragon and The Ranger is a clean/sweet romantic fantasy adventure story told in a unique point of view with second-person point of view narration and first-person point of view narration. This is a completed Kindle Vella novella, has been edited by three outside editors, read in pieces by members of my critique group, and as of 7/27 has 763 thumbs up on Kindle Vella. 

While the point of view style makes this book slightly experimental in nature, I think it is a solid fantasy romance (yes, I'm biased) with plenty of adventure, shapeshifting dragons, a few assassination attempts, and some infighting for the right to rule the Realm of Claw and Might. 

I've had some fun writing it and gained a bit of an audience. I am looking to expand that audience. If this is something you would be interested in reading, please let me know via email or go check it out via the links for my pen name and the book's Kindle Vella page below. I am seeking a street team to help with my launch in February 2024.

Please note, this cover may be revised, but it is one I made fairly quickly in Canva, so it is the one I've used fairly successfully for Kindle Vella. 

The Dragon and The Ranger on Kindle Vella (first three episodes are free)

Princess Erissa, half-dragon and half-human, can hear the harmony of truth and the disharmony of lies in others, but the hardest lie she may have to face is her own. Daniel, sent to assassinate the "curse" of the kingdom, falls in love when he gazes into her eyes. Instead of being the downfall of the realm, she might be the only one who can save it. The Dragon and The Ranger is uniquely shared in second and first person dual POV. This is a complete novel with 74 short episodes.

Rene Hawthorne Website

Rene Hawthorne on Twitter

Rene Hawthorne on Instagram

 So, what happened to my sci-fi novella series, The Rayatana?

It's coming. I wrote it four times in the last two years, but I think the version I have now is solid. I am testing it out on Kindle Vella because I'm actually earning some $ there, which is going into editing and more solid cover art (forthcoming). The first episode is here. The first three episodes of any Kindle Vella are free. 

When I started The Rayatana, I was answering a question I had all along about another story I had previously written in 2016, based on a flash fiction story I had published in 2011. The roots of these intertwined stories run deep, and so while it may seem like I'm coming up with things quickly, the stories have been there, sitting on my dusty shelves and waiting for their time. Anomalies: The Gathering and Anomalies: Sanctuary were first written in 2016 as full-length novels for a MG or YA audience. I have started airing revised episodes for Anomalies: The Gathering on Kindle Vella, now that the links between those books and The Rayatana Series make more sense. 

And if you're wondering how I keep track of all of my projects, I have three methods:

1. Calendaring in print and on my phone.

2. Prioritizing three items each day. 

3. Running goal sheets in my journal and on an excel spreadsheet.

Bonus: grace for projects which need to be pushed back or reconsidered after time on the shelf. This is where The Rayatana has been because I couldn't seem to finish it properly until I fixed Anomalies.

Projected release dates for my projects (beyond Kindle Vella):

Paperback and eBook of The Dragon and The Ranger: February 2024. 

Paperback and eBook of Once Upon a Garden, a poetry book under my name: March 2024. 

Paperback and eBook of Resonance and Rift of The Rayatana series, coming out back-to-back in late spring/early summer 2024.

Paperback and eBook of Dark Blade: Forged, Dark Blade: Tempered, and Dark Blade: Guarded in the fall/winter of 2024, or I will push it all back to late 2024/early 2025 because I plan to release these one month apart. 

Paperback and eBook of Anomalies and book 5 of The Rayatana in 2025. Anomalies is linked to The Rayatana Series and is about super-powered teens on the same alternate, fictional Earth where The Rayatana series started. 

I have more plans than this. I have a shelf of books in binders that need to be either revised or formatted. I am working through those currently. I am considering taking a few of my newer ideas and writing them as screenplays to get the ideas out on paper without spending 300-500 pages on them. 

If anything in the 2024 range of publication sparks your interest, let me know! :)