Read It First at Patreon

Do you want to be the first to read new and unpublished writing? Guess what, kids — that’s a thing now. Because if you didn’t know it, I’m sharing the new goods at Patreon now.

Patreon is a subscription-based service which connects creators and their supporters. Artists, musicians, podcasters — anyone who makes things for other people to enjoy — are all using Patreon to support their work.

Patreon means even more reading for you. Photo: James Tarbotton/unsplash

Patreon means even more reading for you. Photo: James Tarbotton/unsplash

It’s especially useful for a novelist like myself. Because I usually put out one novel a year (maybe two, in a very good year), income isn’t exactly on a biweekly schedule like a full-time paycheck would be. Like most writers, I’ve always supplemented with freelance work. In my case, that has meant a lot of social media work, ghost writing, blogging and other creative work.

Freelancing is great, don’t get me wrong, and I’ve been fortunate to grow into a successful social media marketer and content writer in a very competitive field. But it takes away the one thing I need in order to put out my next novel for you to read: time to write.

That was the first thing that made me eye Patreon. But still, I wasn’t sure it would work for me. I kept putting the idea on the back-burner.

BUT, while I was busy realizing that freelancing was killing the novels it was supposed to be supporting, I also noticed that social media, specifically Facebook, is becoming more and more unpleasant. Everyone’s always picking a fight. I’m not sure what the reason is — maybe people can’t help themselves. But expressing an opinion as simple as liking a video of a cute kid on a horse, or as complicated as disappointment in a top-level eventer’s bitting choices, can set a person up for a lot of ugly argument and name-calling. I was frustrated by this, because I want to have conversations about the business of horses with my readers — after all, that’s what my books are all about.

(Actual footage of a Facebook fight)

Back in January, I made the decision to start a Patreon program that tackles both of these problems. One, with subscribers who support my fiction writing, I can stop thinking about ghost writing another blog post about equine nutrition and get back to working on my next novel — letting subscribers read the work they’re subsidizing along the way.

Two, when there’s a discussion worth having about the business of horses, we can have it in a safe space, free of Facebook’s inevitable bad mojo and fighting.

July marks the six-month b-day of my Patreon program, and I am excited to say… this experiment is working! When I decided to launch a subscription service at Patreon, I was working against all of my instincts, and I knew it. Share my new novels chapter-by-chapter as I write them? Are you kidding? I don’t publish before at least two massive revisions and usually one rewrite.

(Actual footage of a first draft being written)

But it’s such a pleasure to share stories as they’re written (and working just a bit harder on getting the first draft right will surely save me time on the second one, right?).

Plus, I love having a conversation about the story’s direction, how readers are connecting with the settings and situations, and what we should do next. I’m also going back through my old notebooks, sharing unpublished sketches, stories and scenes — even visiting the early, abandoned versions of The Head and Not The Heart and Ambition. 

All of this is a long blog post to say, I’d love to have you take a look at my Patreon and see if I’m offering something you’re looking for. Starting at a dollar a month, you can read unpublished work I share at least once a month. There are more tiers as well, which include rewards like reading a new chapter of my novels in progress once a month (with an ebook of the finished product coming your way at publication, so you don’t have to buy it!) and critiques of your own writing projects so we can get you to publication yourself.

If you’re looking for more horse stories to read, and great horse people to talk to, come join us!

Just visit patreon.com/nataliekreinert — see you there!

Scenes From the First Draft of Ambition

A few weeks ago I uncovered the first chapter of the first draft of what would become Ambition. I was struck by a few things: one, that Jules was so self-centered it literally slowed the narrative down while Jules breathlessly described herself and her experience as a trainer. And two, that same breathless look, I can do this trainer thing! remained the core value of early Jules in the Eventing Series.

Photo: pixabay/markusspiske

Now, as I poke around the edges of a fifth book in the Eventing Series, it’s interesting to look back at the way Jules was desperate to hide her lack of actual experience beneath a veil of completely unwarranted confidence. Things have changed for Jules–if you’ve read the four books currently out there in the world, you can see she’s been growing as a human as well as a trainer. And yet what lurks in the background of a trainer not yet twenty-five, especially now when she’s faced with so many clients and owners who have every right to question her every move with their horses and their children?

So yes, I was pretty delighted to find what I think is the complete first draft. It’s called Such a Clever Trainer. The last edit was April 26, 2011. This is as close to a time capsule as anything I own. It’s only 66 pages, about 38,000 words, and a lot of it is longish scenes with asterisks dividing them. This was my attempt to write pivotal scenes first. I didn’t love the process.

I’m not sure how much of this actually made it into the finished version of Ambition. Quite a lot, I think, and yet I think in very different context.  In this version, Jules meets Pete at the first hunter pace she takes Mickey to, at Lochloosa–yes, halfway through the book!

I brought Pete back to the introduction of Ambition after doing some reading on romance construction and realizing that you simply couldn’t have a romantic interest show up 150 pages into a book. I am not big on “the craft of writing” as a form of study, preferring to tell a story the way it feels right to me, but this seemed like a pretty sensible rule. Pete becomes a goal and an antagonist to goad Jules along throughout the book–and of course, there’s the hurricane scene, which is still probably my favorite thing I’ve ever written.

Amazingly, that scene is in this version, missing a few key players–like Marcus, Jules’ beagle, who doesn’t exist at all yet.

Read more about this draft and its inspiration, plus the Lochloosa Hunter Pace chapter, at my Patreon page. Please comment with your thoughts and let me know what you’d like to read next!