This week authors J. Thorn and Crys Cain make a big announcement about the podcast.
Crys: Welcome to the Author Life Podcast. I am your host, Crys Cain, with my co-host, J Thorn. J, how’s it going?
J: It’s going great, Crys, how are you?
Crys: I’m pretty good. It is Costa Independence Day today as we’re recording this. So I got to participate in my first like real festivities. When we lived at the beach, there was fireworks, but other than that, because I didn’t have a school-aged kid, I didn’t really know any of what happened for festivities. But now that I have a school-aged kid, there was a parade, like we went to the school, we had a parade, there was food.
And one of the traditions in Costa Rica for their independence days, all of the kids make faroles, lanterns. They make paper, cardboard lanterns. Some of them are super simple, some of them are super fancy, and then they parade them around in a parade of lanterns. And I had no idea how to do this. And I was like, what entails a lantern? What is the standard?
And so I’m like in communication with the art teacher and Alex’s teacher, and they’re like, here’s an example, here’s an example. I’m looking on the internet, and like you see some super fancy ones and you see some super simple ones. And so I showed Smalls some, and he wanted to do a top hat. So we did a top hat in Costa Rican colors with some windows, and we had our first true celebration of Costa Rican Independence Day.
J: Very nice. Yeah.
Crys: How’s your writing week been?
J: It’s good. It’s good. I’m working on a new fiction project. And there’s nothing novel here, I’m writing a sort of a dialogue only first draft. But I’m doing it almost like a screenplay. So like in between lines of dialogue, I’m putting like, “Joe felt angry here. He was thinking about the last time this happened, colon.” And then just continuing in the dialogue. So there’s some context because what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna go through dialogue only, and then I’m gonna go back through and fill it in. And this is, it’s amazing.
The thing is that it’s momentum, right? So like I’m focusing on 1000 word scenes. And so for the dialogue only pass, my goal is 500 words. I’m doing one scene per chapter. I’m gonna write 75 chapters. So I’m looking to get 500 words per chapter in this first pass. And I’m writing five of them in one session. And because the dialogue is going so fast, I’m knocking it out like an hour. So I’m getting like 2,500 words done in an hour.
Most importantly, the pace is what’s the difference for me. I’ve tried like the really slow writing, like write, go back, edit it, perfect it, move on to the next one. But what I found is it felt like it took forever to get through the story. Here, I’m like banging out five chapters a day and I’m doing that five days a week. And I feel like I’m flying through the story. And I, for me, that’s the biggest motivators. I see that finish line coming so much faster. So it’s been really cool.
Crys: Now, I think you’ve done this before when JD challenged you to do the dialogue only. When you go back, do you find it’s just as fast when you’re doing the filling in phase for the exposition, for the narrative?
J: I don’t know. I don’t quite remember. And I think the manuscript I did with JD, it was a third person POV, there were multiple POVs, there was like an eight person cast. It was a little more complex. This one I’m writing now is first person POV, just one POV. So my hunch is it’s gonna be pretty quick going back through it the second time too.
Crys: Nice. Yeah. I have put myself on deadline to finish the first romance post co-writer death by tomorrow. Which is rather intimidating because the story kept getting longer and longer, which does not normally happen to me. But I’d mentioned before, maybe in the community, I dunno if I’ve mentioned on the podcast, that I’m writing a character who’s OCD, and so the story ended up taking longer to tell both in time and in number of words than I expected. Because between the trauma background and the OCD, it just took more time to tell, to get the characters through the steps that they logically needed to be that I couldn’t see when I did the outline, but as I got into the story they needed to be.
I am debating on whether I cut some scenes that are generally considered genre important, like sub-genre important. So the romance would stay the same, but some sub-genre important scenes, I might pull out just to finish it on time, and then write them afterward and offer them at the end of the book as a reader magnet. So simply to give myself more time to write those, and then ninja them in the book as a later edition.
J: Break out the kombucha as the secret weapon if you get into time crunch.
Crys: Yeah, I leave on Saturday to take the kid on vacation. And then the book needs to be uploaded the 27th, I believe. I think I get home on the 25th. It’s basically I wrap it up to tomorrow no matter what it takes, no matter how much coffee it takes, no matter how screwed up I make myself. And then send it off to the editors, forget about it for a week, and then hurry back, go through the edits, and format it. So that’s where I’m at. Which with having holidays has made it super easy to get that time in.
But we have an announcement that we did not plan on announcing until about 10 minutes ago. We didn’t even know it was gonna be a thing. And that is that we are going to take the podcast on hiatus for a while.
J: Yes. Yes. What’s that mean? I’ll ask you.
Crys: Yeah. So for you, dear listeners, it’s simply going to mean that we’re not gonna show up every week. But it may mean that we show up occasionally, whether it will be a big announcement or we just have a topic that we really wanna talk about. Those are things we talked about before we decided to make this decision that might be things that we come back on here for. It might mean that we come back and change how the podcast is done a little bit. We’re not quite sure, that’s why it’s a hiatus.
And the reasoning behind this, J came to me earlier this week, or maybe even last week, and was like, hey, I have some ideas because I am kind of getting burned out after doing author podcasts for, I don’t even know how many years now, eight plus, and at least five writer podcasts as there was the horror writers one too.
J: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.
Crys: I was forgetting. And talking about the same things for over eight years, little burned out.
So you actually, you didn’t come at me with the suggestion to take a hiatus. You came at a suggestion to change how we recorded, what topics we covered. And then I sat down this morning and I pulled some data, and I pulled information, and I said, hey, here’s the deal, like the podcast hasn’t grown. Which is okay. We were speaking to our core audience and we suspect mostly it’s people who are already in our community, which is wonderful. but we already have a way to access them, which is in our group. And one of the reasons we started this podcast was to draw people to the group. And the people are still coming to the group, but from different avenues, not this avenue.
So between the burnout, the time crunch that we’re both in with all of the projects we have, and the fact that the podcast isn’t growing, we’re like, well, why don’t we take this time and put it into the community rather than do a podcast that isn’t contributing to the community itself. So that’s why a hiatus for now. That doesn’t mean we’re gone forever, but it does mean we don’t know when we’re coming back.
J: Yeah. And you’re very good at bringing data into your decision making process. And I hadn’t checked the intake form on the membership application, but going off memory, you asked me about how many people are finding the community through the podcast? And it’s very few, if any.
So I think that was another indicator that our goal isn’t to do a podcast, our goal is to serve the community. And we feel like if it’s only our community listening to the podcast, it’s better to reinvest that time directly into the community. For you, that means organizing presentations, coordinating events between members or from editors.
And for me, that means continuing to have a daily presence in the slack group. And I’ve said a number of times that I always feel short changed when I join a community based on the leadership and then the leadership doesn’t have a presence there. I’m really sensitive to that.
So I think you’re right. Instead of spending the time on the podcast, just reinvest it into the community, and allow us both to stay in there and engage more on a personal level, as opposed to the broader sense of the podcast. And like you said, it’s only the community listening anyway. Why not just deal with those folks directly?
Crys: And these conversations that you and I are having one on one, they’re conversations that we can just easily have in group video rooms on the podcast. So we’re really excited about that. So that’s it for right now from us folks.
And if you happen to be one of the five people who is listening to the podcast, but not in the community, please just go to the website, theauthorlife.com and put in your application. It’s super simple and the community is free. And then we have so many events, we have so many conversations over there, and we don’t want to lose that for you, but you’re gonna get a lot more if you come over to the community.
J: Yeah. And on the application, one of the questions is, how did you hear about us? And if you say the podcast, I’m rubber stamping, you’re just immediately in cause we know who you are if you’ve been listening. So definitely would encourage you, if you’ve been thinking about it and haven’t done it, like now is the time. And we’ll get you in there and you’ll see, and you’ll understand better what we’re talking about.
Crys: Thank you so much for being with us for a year and a half. I did the math. It has been exactly a year and a half. I don’t know from date, but from like number of episodes, which have been basically every week. And we really hope to see you in the community.