Untangling a knotty mess
The future of one newsletter and the creation of another
In this week’s Story Cauldron, I’m untangling metaphors and leveling up. Or at least that’s what I tell myself as I lie awake at night pondering life’s foibles and missteps.
How did we get here?
As writers, we usually work in a bit of a bubble. While there are some folks who are lucky enough to have a writing partner, most of us put words together without much input from others, at least until we’re done.
That can make the writing process, and the results of our writing, somewhat of a guessing game. Are the things we’re writing any good? Will they resonate with an audience? Is there any point to doing the thing, or are we just stringing together words like strands of popcorn, with our projects seeming like a good idea at the time only to become stale and fall apart? And most of all, if things aren’t working, will we ever be able to recognize it?
Enter Story Cauldron.
Initially, I think I had a pretty good concept for a newsletter, but it evolved into something a bit different, and lately, I’ve struggled to define what I’m doing. Things just felt off. In my brain, everything’s connected, but my gut told me that my lack of a clear focus has been holding me back.
After talking things through with a couple of fellow writers, I’ve decided to make a couple of changes around here. Here’s the plan:
On Story Cauldron, I’m going to focus on fiction and my writing journey (and occasionally related topics). And paid members will still receive the latest chapter of my Favor Faeries novel on Fridays. Honestly, it’s not a huge change other than I intend to reduce the frequency of public posts to twice a month (give or take).
I’m going to start sharing my local history on a new “sister” Substack called Unseen St. Louis. This will be where I’ll explore my passion for my hometown and dig into its history. I’ll be able to write about all the cool stuff I’m discovering without having to worry about getting too off-topic over here.
So it’s not that I’m putting the brakes on Story Cauldron. I’m really just splitting one newsletter into two in order to keep things tidy and make it easier for people to choose what they find most interesting to read. It’s all connected, but different.
Another way to think of it is to imagine Unseen St. Louis as a spinoff—but it’s not so much Joanie Loves Chachie as it is Better Call Saul. (And if you’re too young for the reference, just recognize the genius of Bob Odenkirk and leave it at that.)
Anyway, regardless of where you live, I hope you’ll join me over on Unseen St. Louis, because I have plans, baby!
What else is happening?
An article I wrote entitled “Substack for Authors” was just published in the January issue of Indie Author Magazine. If you’ve been considering joining the Substack bandwagon, I encourage you to check it out for lots of reasons why a bunch of us have made this platform our home. (And check out IAM, the brainchild of my friend Chelle Honiker and a great print and digital publication.)
Fellow writer Geoffrey Golden (who writes Adventure Snack, a choose-your-own-adventure Substack) and I have also started a new group for Substack fiction writers called Fictionistas. And we have our own Fictionistas Substack (because of course we do). If you’re interested in finding some great new things to read, I’d encourage you to visit our listing of other fiction Substacks.
I was recently featured on Shepherd, a site that allows authors to curate their favorite books, with my listing of The Best YA Faerie Novels.
As always, thank you for being part of Story Cauldron. I love each and every one of you that takes the time to read this newsletter, and I hope that between this and Unseen St. Louis, I’ll be able to continue to deliver interesting and valuable content. Please share both with your friends and always feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email if you have any feedback or ideas.