Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

Archive for April, 2015

My Patreon: A Story a Month for $1 a Month

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

The short version is: I’ve set up a Patreon at www.patreon.com/timpratt. For as little as $1 a month, you can read a previously unpublished story from me a dozen times a year. (Give more if you’re feeling rich and generous or want goodies.) For those who don’t know, Patreon is a crowdfunding site, but rather than raising a bunch of money for a big project all at once (a la Kickstarter), it’s for people who want to give regular donations for open-ended or ongoing projects on a recurring basis. You become patrons, basically. I expect to make the first story available to supporters in the next couple of weeks.

The slightly longer version is: I’ve been thinking about doing this for years. I tweeted back in late 2013 that I was thinking of doing a story-a-month subscription service via Patreon, but my interest goes back much further. I’ve watched with interest things like Bruce Holland Rogers’s ShortShortShort story subscription service and Caitlin R. Kiernan’s Sirenia Digest “monthly erotic vignette subscription service,” and her subsequent collections. I’ve been thinking for ages: “Wow, I should do something like that.”

I love writing novels, but writing short stories is the closest thing I have to a calling. It’s my favorite art form to read and my favorite to write. I’m also pretty good at it. I made my name as a story writer.

The problem is, as I’ve become more successful as a writer, my time has been given more and more to novels. I’ve gone from writing twenty stories a year to maybe two or three, and then mostly only when commissioned. It’s a loss I’ve felt keenly, but, well, it just makes more financial sense to write novels.

Wanting things to make financial sense is important since I have a family to feed and all that, but it doesn’t always make for the best artistic decisions.

So I’ve been contemplating story subscriptions as a way to justify writing more short stories, but I hesitated for various reasons. The main ones are, I already crowdfund a project at least once a year, and didn’t want to be constantly going “Pay me pay me pay me” on twitter and facebook. The organizational aspect was also daunting. But with Patreon I can set a really low threshold to entry for backers — a buck a month gets you access to new stories — and a lot of the organizational stuff is handled through the site itself. It’s also an ongoing thing, so I won’t feel the need to beat the drum constantly to get interest. I’ll send out this initial announcement, and will probably mention on social media when I post a new story, but it won’t be an annoying bombardment.

Another reason I hesitated is, since I can reliably sell stories I write on spec,why don’t I just do that? Write more stories, and send them out to magazines, instead of only writing stories when they’re commissioned? The simple answer is… I can do that, but I haven’t been. Without a deadline, writing stories on spec simply goes to the back of the queue of things to do, and so, I never do it. With a monthly deadline, and people waiting for stories from me, I’ll actually prioritize doing this thing I love.

So, if you support my Patreon: Thank you for helping me psychologically trick myself into writing more stories.

Here are links to some free stories, if you want to see what you’re getting into: http://www.timpratt.org/?page_id=10

WhiskeyHorror: As Above, So Below

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

We drank Black Saddle 12-year-old bourbon, which is ridiculously good and the bottle is empty now and now I am sad.

We watched As Above, So Below, that “attractive archaeologist obsessed with the alchemist Nicolas Flamel goes into the Paris catacombs with some local urban explorers in search of the philosopher’s stone” movie.

The good: the Paris catacombs are cool. Urban explorers as horror movie protagonists? I like that. Spatial horror is always welcome, and that’s pretty much all this movie is: passages that don’t lead where they should, weird loops and doubling-back, being frightened and lost in the dark. The bit with the burning car. The shot of their emergence from the manhole cover.

The bad: the whole last third of it, basically (apart from the burning car and the manhole cover). The nonsensical and also cheesy answer to “What is the philosopher’s stone really?”) The fact that the surviving characters did not emerge into an Evil Mirror Version of Paris full of demonic mimes and baguettes that eat you. (That would have redeemed everything else for me, honestly.)

Mostly it made me want to rewatch The Descent, so we’re doing that next time.