The Emotional Life of Cherry Shrimp

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So, the shrimp for my work aquarium finally arrived. When this posts, they’ll have been in the tank for a little over a week. Picked up on the way in for a late shift, the car was already nice and warm and they didn’t suffer any ill effects even though I had to stop for gas. A little extra water testing to make sure things are all good, a little bit of water spillage, and the Jacques Pack was released, not into the wild exactly, but into their new home. Hopefully they’ll be happy, although I really don’t know what shrimp psychology is actually like.

Are they capable of being happy? I’ve recently gotten a little involved in the idea of animal psychology from a completely different direction, but are shrimp more or less evolved than, say, reptiles? They response to stimulus, but what responses can I expect from them, and what is the, for lack of a better phrase, emotional content of the shrimp? Can they be happy? Can they be miserable? How do you tell the difference?

Apparently, you can do 5 to 10 shrimp per gallon. I’m not 100% sure how many I got, but I think there are 15 altogether for my 9-gallon tank. The store only charged me for 12, apparently because I’ve been so patient during the extra month it took for them to come in. I don’t know that I got a completely accurate count because there was some floating weed in the bag to help them final someplace to hide and have something to hold onto while I drove them to work.

So, I have a very good idea of what they need to survive, what they need eat, the water conditions they prefer, temperature and so on, and I’ve taken steps to ensure that the population density is relatively low, although the long-term population density is up to them, really. While they are tiny and delicate creatures, I do not expect the mortality rate be very high. I do expect to lose them, because they aren’t particularly long lived creatures and there’s no way to know how old any particular shrimp is when you get it. And they do tend to breed when kept together. So, I know enough, I think, to give them an adequate environment.

Does that mean I will be meeting all of their needs?

Most mammals are relatively easy to read in terms of general emotional content, and that’s because they, generally speaking, have emotions like we do. Not as complex, necessarily, but recognizable emotions. Cats and dogs, in particular, given a history of domestication on the order of 10 to 15,000 years, are fairly easy for most of us to figure out. But, really, most mammals we can figure out at least a little something about their emotional states, even if it does get harder farther down the ladder we go. Romans, for example, we can tell general states by watching them, but not nearly to the same detail, unless we make a serious study of it. And it’s also worth noting two things: first, that every species is different, and second, that the individuals of making up those species are individuals. While you can make certain sweeping generalizations about guinea pigs, for example, that doesn’t necessarily mean the guinea pig in front of you is going to fit all of those expectations.

Reptiles and amphibians are something else again. I have a little more experience with reptiles than amphibians, but, typically, I don’t see the same set of emotional states. Not that they don’t have emotions, but those emotions tend to be much simpler, much more primitive, and in a narrower range than the mammals of my acquaintance. The range of responses can be much more limited as well. And they don’t have the same set of neurological equipment that mammals or even birds do.

But shrimps are crustaceans, and, however you want to simplify things, crustaceans are essentially water bugs. Bugs are, as far as other life forms go, essentially alien to us. They have evolved completely differently, and there really is no easy comparison when it comes to neurological structures. There may be structural similarities, but those similarities may or may not mean anything.

Which brings me right back to asking what kind of emotional and psychological life shrimp have?

Might be something I’m trying to figure out the next a while. I’m going to avoid adding fish to the tank for a few weeks, at least, to have a look at some of their undisturbed behaviour. Be well, everyone.

Several members of the Jacques Pack through the too-reflective wall of the aquarium.
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My Youngest Turns 16

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Holy crap, my youngest child is old enough to drive.

She elected not to go write the test today, already having enough on her plate, but could have. Maybe on the weekend.

But my youngest child is old enough to drive. It’s crystal in my memory holding her for the first time, her holding my finger for the first time, the sheer amount of hair (with blonde highlights) she was born with, bringing her home from the hospital, and on.

It’s not so easy for me to wrap my head around the idea that it’s been sixteen years since that day she finally came into our lives. It should be easy. I’ve watched her pass from infant to toddler to child to teenager and now making the transition into wonderful young woman.

But she is my youngest child, so it’s not easy. Why would it be?

Hold onto the time while it lasts.

Be well, everyone.

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Star Trek – A Chekov Story

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So, I keep mentioning that I’m doing the fanfiction thing a little bit. In fact, I have seven stories and the novel written in the Star Trek prime universe, all set in the time between the last episode of the original series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Six of the stories have basically gone through the “make it pretty” stage, and the seventh is not only complete and has had its final read through, but I’ve published it on Wattpad, plus made a pdf version of it available here.

Under the wonderfully horrible title of “Between a Rock and a Klingon”, that story uses recently-promoted lieutenant Chekov as the primary character, so is probably only your cup of tea if you really like my writing or if you really like Chekov. Well, and if you really like Star Trek. It’s completely published on Wattpad, all 16 scenes, or, like I said, available for download here.

I just thought It was worth an announcement, and while I did one Facebook, things on Facebook are far more transient for most folks.

And, it’s worth noting, Star Trek and all of its canon characters, places, locations, and names remain the copyright of CBS Paramount. No infringement Is Intended. It’s a work of fanfiction.

If you have a taste for Star Trek fanfiction, please check it out. And then maybe go watch your favorite Chekov-centric episode.

Be well, everyone.

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What I’m Working On Right Now

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So, looking at the list of writing goals for 2019 you might guess that I’m working on more than one thing at time. You’d be right to guess that, and I thought it might be fun to run down the list of projects that I consider currently actively in progress.

At the moment, I’m not actually working on any short fiction in the first draft stage. Instead, I am working on drafting two novel-length projects at the same time. One, Battlefield, is the final book in the Troll Wars set to get a first draft, and so far is a little less action oriented, a little more introspective, and a lot more political than previous books in the series of the. I’m not sure how I feel about right now. The main character, who was 12 in the first book, is closing in on 17 in human terms, although her 16th birthday, as measured on the planet she’s now on, is about to happen, and it’s a big deal. Also, the action is coming.

The other project here is Welkiri Corps, that I did originally envisioned as a 20-ish-thousand word novella, although I tried to convince myself for a little while it might be done and novelette length. I was completely wrong about that, but mostly because the story I want to tell got bigger. Right now, my estimate is in 50 to 55,000-word range. That’s only an estimate and a number that’s more or less pulled out of the air, because, unlike most of the longer projects I’ve worked on in the last few years, I am pantsing this one. There’s been an end goal in mind for a while, although that end goal does leave things open for potential sequel if I want to write it, but I’m running the whole book on the theory of, “what would be something really cool to happen next that could, at least in theory, logically follow from the story that’s come so far?” I’m slowly steering towards the end goal, but really don’t have any idea what’s going to happen between here and there, except for a couple of major points. Could be fun, could be royally and totally screwed up. Don’t know, don’t care, it can all be fixed in post if I need to.

I am, on the short fiction front, trying to edit at a reasonable pace to get all the stories done for the Undead collection. I’m also still trying to decided if it needs a broader name. Most of my horror, if you can call that, isn’t really horrific, it simply takes the reader to a darker place than my fantasy would, or is designed to disturb, or explore a particular idea, concept, emotion, or creature type, in this case. I think I will have to get a couple of the horror aficionados as beta readers to tell me how much of the book really fits in that genre, but I strongly suspect it’s a SF/F collection. There are 40 stories I selected for the book, out of the 55 or 60 I actually wrote. I thought, even though I much like all the stories, that 140,000 words in a first draft was maybe a bit excessive for a one-author collection. I may still change my mind, but I’m thinking it’ll take other people to do that. Right now, of those 40 stories, a dozen are left in second draft to be taken to third, twenty more just need the final read through, and the remaining eight I’m satisfied with.

From a fanfiction perspective, I have just finished the “find what’s wrong”phase of Fractured Unity, a story set in the Star Trek prime universe with the original crew just after the original series timeframe. More specifically, it’s set a little more than three years after the episode “Arena”, and while it doesn’t actually retcon anything, it does present certain events that happened in that episode in a different light, as I take some liberties with what the Metrons were really up to, and what the Gorn are really like.

And, of course, I have made a start on my first major nonfiction project, a mostly episode guide, partial memoir, focused on the BBC radio series, I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again, originally broadcast in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but which I discovered as a teenager in the mid-1980s. This will be done at a slower pace because I really want to enjoy things as I listen to them again.

So that’s, what, five major projects going on right now? It’s probably too many, but it’s the way my brain works. When Welkiri Corps is finished, I will be switching back over to short fiction, which that was supposed to be originally anyway, at least shorter than a novel. After all, I do want to write at least a dozen short stories this year, as noted in the previously mentioned 2019 goals.

In the meantime, more dictating, more typing, and more editing to do. Plus, some cover and layout design, but we’ll talk about publishing another day.

Be well, everyone.

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This is Sonic

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This is Sonic.

You might have noticed that he’s a snake. He was the second reptile to come live with us, but he has not been the last. More on all those another time.

Sonic came to live with us just after my oldest daughter’s ninth birthday – somehow, the ninth birthday has become when you get your first non-fish personal pet in our family. A teeny tiny noodle at the time, eight or nine months old, he was only managing a very small prey. He’s a little longer these days, but still not terribly big around.

The tank is 4 feet long. He’s closing in on 5 1/2.

He’s a Sunglow (or Sunkissed) corn snake, a colour morph, and he’s been very, very easy to take care of, probably spoiling us for future reptiles, in fact. If you’re not familiar with snakes, he, like most corn snakes in my experience, is fairly tolerant of handling. Interactive and well, not affectionate as reptiles aren’t really programmed that way, but he holds on and doesn’t try too hard to escape.

At this point, he’s almost 9 1/2 years old, and normal for a corn snake in captivity and good health is adding up to about 20 or so. I understand the verified record is 32. He’s also what 5 1/2 feet long, which is a little bit longer than his average. We met the world record holding corn snake a few years ago at a science fiction convention, much thicker around than sonic, and also about a foot longer than he is now.

Were not really worried about world records, though. He’s cute, fun, and interactive, and we’ve enjoyed having him around.

Say hi to Sonic.

Be well, everyone.

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Driving and Dictating

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My favourite dictation app. Care of

I seem to be getting a little more comfortable with driving longer distances. Not that I’m ready to become a transport driver, or anything, but being able to sit in the car for several hours at a time is probably not a bad skill at this point my life. I have one child in university in the city that is about two hours away, door-to-door, and, parents that live almost as far away it almost the same direction, plus two more children who will be trying to figure out where they’re headed in the next few years as well. And it will not surprise me in the least if one winds up a couple hours in the opposite direction. Not necessarily to get away from their sibling, although I’m sure that’s a consideration. One of the places she’s looking at is potentially in the same city as the, but the way she’s discussing things so far, it’s not her preferred option.

That’s okay. I can drive.

I have, in the past couple of years, proven I can drive farther, although with a break every couple of hours. I’ve done as much eight hours one day. Actually, I did that twice in a four-day stretch, once to Krikland Lake and once back and, really, it was only eight hours because of those stops every couple of hours, plus a break for lunch.

And, from a completely selfish perspective, if I’m driving by myself, I get to dictate.

The last time I drove to Ottawa on my own, the transcript of my dictations for that trip, there and back, was just over 6000 words. That may not be quite what I would’ve gotten if I’d sat down to type for those four hours, straight, but it’s not too far off.

Well, it is a little far off. Just typing, I expect to get 1500-1800 words in an hour. I’ve found that, on average, I come in at about 40 words a minutes when dictating. 40 words per minute, if I maintain the pace, is about 2400 words per hour. Maintain that whole paces for four hours, and that’s a potential of 9600 on a trip to Ottawa and back.

2400 words per hour: I would actually be really, really happy with that kind of production sitting at the desk. That 1500-1800 works for me, and sometimes, when I’m really focused, it actually works it to be 2000 or touch more. But, now that I think about it, my daily commute covers just a touch more than an hour, and I frequently wind up in the 2600 to 2800 word range in the transcription files. Really, if I start dictating the incident in the car on and stop instantly turned off the other hand, I should get about an hour-four, or five. So 65 minutes times 40 words is about 2600. Right ballpark, sometimes little better. I like that.

I think the issue when typing at the desk is that I have the easy ability to check on something if I feel the need to. Did I name that character Bob or Howard? Were Janine’s eyes blue or green? Is it Mills canyon with or without an apostrophe? And is that really the exact location I wanted to be close to Las Vegas, not the one in the Nevada? Hey, is it anyone’s birthday today? Did my scheduled blog post release at the right time?

With the exception of the last couple, and there are a lot of other things I could put in as examples, if I’m dictating I will just open a bracket [ and dictate a note to check on the spelling or location or eye color or whatever later, and it magically becomes part of the editing process rather than interfering with my first draft. I think that’s probably one most of that stuff anyway. If I didn’t research in advance, frequently because I didn’t know I needed to, or can’t remember what I did with a certain character or certain number or certain anything, those just become the initial, already embedded in the text, comments for the revision notes my process.

(Side note: for reference, because I think it’s been a while since I talked about my process [insert link to the appropriate post here], my basic draft hierarchy before I consider something ready for other eyes is: story dump, find what’s wrong, fix what’s wrong, make it pretty, read it out loud. I don’t consider the “find what’s wrong” phase be a separate draft, although the word count can change, sometimes significantly, depending on the accuracy of the dictation (if any) involved in the first draft. But I’m generally just flagging things to be fixed later and tidying up the easiest transcription stupidities in that phase. I’m not doing anything substantial to the text.

But I keep running back to that 2400 words per hour. That last trip, I didn’t use the whole time on dictating. I spent a big chunk of it listening to a couple of episodes of my favorite podcasts and a couple of chapters worth of an audiobook. The fact that I listen to most things at double the recorded speed doesn’t change the fact that I took away some significant time that I could have used for dictation. It could easily have been a couple of thousand words more. I could have been a couple of thousand words further ahead right now in one project or another.

I’m at the very beginning of another solo drive to Ottawa and I’m going to attempt to use the entire time for dictation this round. I wonder if I can actually break the 10,000 word mark?

Wish me luck.

Be well, everyone.

(Update on the morning of the 12th: the dictation file came in at 12,773 words for a total of 4 hours 38 minutes 27 seconds of dictation. I made a side trip to visit my parents for a while before heading on to the primary destination of my son’s house.)

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A Little Weather

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The morning after snowfall is almost always an irritating one. I’m not really talking about the roads, because you expect that, and all the people who don’t remember how to drive with a little snow on the ground. But somehow, that extra chore of clearing off the front steps and your driveway throws off the entire morning. Little things start to annoy you about the day, things that would ordinarily be ignored or just part of the background.

There’s a snow brush in your car, probably in the backseat, but the back door is locked.

You turn your car on to warm up while you’re brushing the snow off, and when you get back in the gas light is on.

Fewer people than normal are in front of you at the convenience store buying lottery tickets, and yet, because you’re already a little bit behind due to the snow shoveling, the moments drag and it annoys you twice as much as usual that people are wasting their retirement plans on scratch tickets.

And don’t forget you have more snow shoveling to do when you get home tonight.

That little bit of extra whether colors the entire day that follows.

You’re later than you want to be for work. So are other people, but that doesn’t matter, does it?

Your email seems to load slowly. Or the cash register boots up slowly. Or the elevator takes forever. Or you have to park farther away from the front doors than usual.

The phone rings and the person on the other hand is needier than they should be.

People are more demanding of your time than they are normally are on this day of the week.

You put more items on your to do list than you cross off. That’s probably not unusual, but today you resent every single thing you have to add to it.

The day is a grind, the whole day. Every task, every job, everything you have to do.

And you still have to drive home on roads that have not gotten much better and probably won’t until tomorrow. When you get there, you know you’re better off to finish the shoveling before you get too comfortable being inside, before you make dinner, before you try to get anything done of your evening chores or relaxation or to do list or whatever. And you resent that.

Almost without realizing it, you’ve had a crappy day, just because of a little snow. Or maybe a lot of snow.

Samuel Clements, Mark Twain (or maybe Charles Dudley Warner): everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

But we sure let it do stuff to us, don’t we?

And it can get a lot worse than just having a crappy day. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a thing. In countries where there’s not a lot daylight in winter, suicide rates go up. Any kind of pre-existing depression or anxiety is certainly not your friend when the weather is bad ever for a little while.

And it’s not just winter, we can find reasons to dislike every season, and the major weather that comes with it. We’ve made things worse with the last couple of centuries of industrialization. Climate change is thing, a major thing, and it’s going to cause a lot more issues. Soon. Too much, too soon, too fast.

Be well, everyone.

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2019: The Writing Goals

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I’ve spent the last five months getting my writing back on track, ramping up the editing of drafted material, and prepping for some indie, and hopefully professional, publishing in 2019.

Rather than talk about specific projects, even if I’ve got them in mind, I’m going to keep the goals listing very general. I do have a habit of reforecasting and modifying my plans on a regular basis, so I’m going to establish benchmarks here instead of specifics.

I’m building my writing

Writing Goals

  1. Plotting of the four novels I hope to write in 2020.
  2. First draft of three novels.
  3. Three novels to final draft.
  4. 12 Short Stories, which will likely mostly fall into the 3-7k range. Yes, scaling back to one completed story per month. There are reasons, which will be revealed in the fullness of time.
  5. Editing on all of the Undead stories. I’m starting the year with about a quarter of them at a finished third draft.
  6. ST:FU Final Draft. This may be harder than it sounds. The first draft was just a conversion from an audio drama script. The second will likely involve some heavy expansion.
  7. Finish the Haiku book. I just need the lilacs to bloom to get the image I want.
  8. Book-length non-fiction project. Hint: ISIRTA.
  9. 100 Blog Posts. 2 per week, which I managed in 2018, from the first of August onward.
  10. 50 Journal entries. 1 per week. There was a time when I kept a daily journal with entries 100-200 words long. I somehow doubt I’ll ever get back to that level.

Making the writing piece of things only requires an average word count of 1100 per day. Counting all of my writing days in 2018, I averaged just a touch over 2000. That said, I’ve built a lot more editing into the plan than previously. Aside from all of the books I want to write, I have six novels somewhere past first draft complete but not having made it to or through final draft yet and at least 50 short stories that fall into the same category. Those numbers are only going to grow if I don’t start catching up.

But 1100 words per day on average means that if all of my drafting is via dictation during commutes (which I hope it won’t be), I need to manage 1750 words per commuting day in 2019. As in every commuting day. I average about 40 words per minute composing and dictating while I drive. Not exactly fast, but that does add up to 2400 words per hour, which is roughly my daily total commute. 1750 seems achievable.

Publishing Goals

To preface these goals, I’ll note that I have seven novels and one collection sitting, waiting. Final draft complete, but I haven’t taken that next step. This year, I’m going to take a whole bunch of next steps.

  1. I’m going to shop 2 of those 7, at minimum, looking for either an agent or a small press for each.
  2. I’m going to independently publish 3 of the other 5.
  3. I’m also going the indie route on that collection.
  4. And on four shorter pieces, though nothing smaller than a long novelette.
  5. 100 short story submissions to magazines, websites, and anthologies.
  6. All 7 of my Star Trek shorts will appear on Wattpad and maybe wind up being downloadable PDF files as well.

If it seems like a lot, it probably is, and there are certainly no guarantees. But I’m a firm believer in dreaming big. All of the writing goals are more than achievable if I stay more or less on the track I’ve been building for the last half year. The publishing ones are a new piece of the puzzle, except for short story submissions, so they don’t have any data to back them up, but we’ll see how things work out.

There are also a handful of secret goals and stretch goals which I have detailed, but will probably only get shared on a one-by-one basis as conditions are met.

Be well, everyone.

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2018: The Year in Writing

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So while 2018 didn’t work out even remotely how I planned in terms of the writing goals I set in January (for mostly, but not completely, good reasons), it did work out reasonably well in the end.

I didn’t achieve all of the original goals, much less the Stretch and Super Stretch Goals I never told anyone about, but I did get a lot of work done, and at least some of it is good work, if I do say so myself.

The Basic Goals

Outline Goals: Completed outlines for the third book in the Destiny trilogy, the final book in the Troll World Quartet, and a sequel to Draugr Rising that may involve some transplanted Japanese mythology.

Result: Completed outlines for the third and fourth Troll World novels as well as for Seven Days a King. Three, if not the same three I originally planned. Counting this one as met.

First Draft Goals: Shrine, Bad Teenage Poetry, and Fallen Heroes.

Result: Completed first drafts on Shrine, which is going to split into two separate novel-length stories, and Palace. Due to a realigning of the order of goals, I’m currently working towards the full Troll World series being completed. Counting this one as met.

Editing Goals: Arena to final draft. Hero’s Life to final draft status. Shrine to third draft. Bad Teenage Poetry revision notes. Translated: 3 final draft, 1 third draft, 1 set of revision notes.

Result: I left Arena at 3rd, under the understanding that I want to do the whole set as a single, gargantuan editing project. I did manage the 2nd, 3rd, and most of the final Draft on Hero’s Life, but that’s it. This is what happens when you essentially take 6.5 months off from serious writing.

Short story goals: 24 short stories drafted.

Result: two long shorts and a long novelette.

Short story editing: get some done, dagnabit.

Result: There are 40 stories I’ve selected for the Undead collection. As of this writing, 8 are at final draft, 8 are 3rd draft complete, and the rest have all reached second draft. So, not bad, all things considered.

Publishing: Photography and design elements for my small haiku collection.

Result: I just need the photography and can’t get that until the lilacs bloom.

Fan Fiction Goals: USS Marathon logs recording, the rest of the “Season 3” audio drama scripts, Fractured Unity novel completion, fan production list, book, comic, and merchandise reviews, meme collection.

Result: Fractured Unity converted to a novel. First draft only.


There were also Stretch and Super Stretch Goals, which I didn’t tell anyone about and would have put in the open when/if it became apparent that I was hitting all of the public goals. I didn’t manage most of that for previously mentioned reasons, so we’ll just leave that there other than saying I’ve set similar not-public goals for this year.

It may be worth summarizing what I actually did accomplish in 2018.

  1. 3 short stories drafted. Two longer shorts and a long novelette.
  2. Outlining and Plotting for three novels.
  3. First draft of three Troll World novels, plus the last one started, and 19k into another one entirely.
  4. Taking Arena to 3rd draft status and holding it there for the other Troll World books to catch up.
  5. A novel’s final draft towithin visual finishing distance.
  6. I’m ¾ of the way to releasing a collection of haiku into the wild.
  7. Lots of journal entries and blog posts.
  8. A few dozen book reviews.
  9. Just over 313k words, all told, counting up all the buckets, against 250k of actual monthly targets set for the months I actually managed real writing time in.

So while the year wasn’t what I’d originally planned, exactly, it worked out just fine overall. And think of what I could have managed if I’d pulled the 57k per month post August 1st average from January 1st on. I still wouldn’t be ahead of my long term goals, but I’d be a lot less far behind. Well, 375k words less, anyway.  I will try to do better this year.

It is worth noting that the amount of reading I did took a serious nose dive when I started getting the serious word counts again. There is only so much time available in any given day. Much as I might wish it otherwise sometimes, sleep is still a requirement.

Next up: the goals for 2019. They’re big and depend on me maintaining the pace I’ve developed since coming back to writing in at the end of July.

Be well, everyone.

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December Writing Report

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December saw me turn in a solid performance, writing-wise, with a respectable average daily word count of 2041. Started to branch things out a little bit into the publishing side of things, too. 30 writing days out of a possible 31.

Accomplishments in December:

  1. Short Fiction: I put 12,586 words into what I’d originally classed as short fiction this month. However, I actually think that the storyline I’ve currently got forecast in my head for “Iambic Tetrameter”, now called “Welkiri Corps”, is probably going to reach over that 40k mark that makes it a novel. So, technically, I’m not working on any short fiction at the moment, but I’m drafting two novels simultaneously, one pre-outlined and one not. Not normal, but it’s my current reality.
  2. The first draft of Palace is complete at 84,705.
  3. I’m also 10,713 words into Battlefield. The rough plot had me at 72,500 initially, and I’m currently forecasting at 73,600. That will only go up, I think, since that’s how things usually work.
  4. Editing: I didn’t quite get to the end of the final draft of Hero’s Life by the end of the month, but I’ve only got five scenes left, with about 8.5k words to go.
  5. 14 blog posts.
  6. 15 journal entries.
  7. My first (well, second, really) foray into independent publishing. Reaching back into Wattpad, I’ve started posting a piece of Star Trek TOS fanfic, a Lieutenant Chekov adventure that runs just shy of 21k words. You can find it here, if you’re interested. There’s lots more to come in this area.

Total word count for the month of 61,243, averaging just over 2k words per day (which I mentioned above). I’m hoping this is going to be in the ballpark of the average month. Going up when there are more commuting days and going down when there are major events or vacations.

January is the first month of the new year, and the first full month of my 49th year. It’s also got a lot of targets set: the ones I’m being open with (posting tomorrow), the secret ones, and the stretchy ones that we’ll only talk about if I start hitting the standards. I’m going to continue pushing harder on the editing side of writing, drafting very little on days off and focus my efforts on making the drafted words better.

Goals for January:

  1. Short Fiction: 10,500 words. No writing on days off, but I’ve been doing well with the dictation divisions I’ve been using (morning = short + non, evening = novel). That said, the short fiction words will be going into Welkiri Corps until the first draft is complete.
  2. Battlefield: 21,000 words. This is based on their being 21 commuting days for me in January. My average evening commute in December actually gave me 1226 words on the novel, so I hope to get a little more here.
  3. I expect to get through the final read through of Hero’s Life within about the first week of January. From there, I’ll be switching over to Fractured Unity for a month or so to bang that into shape for release.
  4. Short fiction editing: the rest of the Undead stories to 3rd draft. Maybe even a few more to final.
  5. Non-fiction word count goal is set at 7750 for the month. This will be mostly blog posts and journal entries, but there’s a larger project I’m going to start on, too.

Switching over to publishing:

  1. 10 short story submissions.
  2. The first batch of query letters will go out for Ancient Runes.
  3. “Between a Rock and a Klingon: A Lieutenant Chekov Adventure” will be completely posted by mid-January, probably sooner as I’m trying to put up a scene each day – current forecast is for it to be complete on the 9th. A PDF download will magically become available as well.
  4. “Thorvald’s Wyrd” is becoming an ebook and will begin posting on Wattpad as well, weekly groups of 10-14 scenes (as appropriate to the plot). Cover is nearly ready as this posts.

The total word goal for the month is a little over 40k, which I think is doable, but reserve the right to reforecast at any time. Larger, but less detailed, goals for the year of 2019 will post tomorrow.

Be well, everyone.

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