Author: Lance

Lance Schonberg is an eclectic genre fiction author with more than 20 stories published or on the way, and two e-books coming soon: "Thorvald's Wyrd", and "Turn the World Around". And he needs a more exciting short bio.
Middle Age Is Not for the Weak

Middle Age Is Not for the Weak

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To be middle aged is to be caught between worlds sometimes. You still remember your youth very well, and frequently the dreams and aspirations you had. But you’re caught up in the day-to-day, the survival, making the right decisions, the best ones for your family, younger and older. Not easy place to be.

But you can also look ahead and see larger digits, recognize that at this point in your life, there are fewer days ahead than there are behind. And still, you’re caught in the day-to-day, a survival in life and getting by in providing support you need to for your family, younger and older.

The thing is, you often have no idea what that support needs to be.

You look at your children, if you have them, and other younger relatives, and understand they’ve grown up in a vastly different world than you did. But when you look at those younger family members, you can see in them the dreams and aspirations little different than yours in a fundamental level, you can see that they want to learn and grow and change the world. You see all the energy and vitality of youth that you are, probably, fighting to hold onto.

You look your parents and the rest of their generation, and you are always shocked at how old they are, because when they’re out of your sight, you remember them as the much younger, much stronger people who raised you. And you know that they grew up in a different world than you did, and because they’ve seen all of the change that the world has brought for you and your children, they have an easier time understanding your kids than maybe you do, even if the attitudes and issues they have don’t match up. And you really have no idea what they need, because they’re not living the same world that you are. They have that implicit understanding of aging that’s going to take you a couple more decades of direct experience to gain.

And so you realize that you are in your middle years, caught between youth and old age, and maybe, just maybe, you have enough wisdom and experience to figure out what you’re doing if not necessarily where you’re going.

You wonder what happened to all the years between youth and now, and you’re just a little bit afraid to look ahead to what’s coming in the years between now and the end.

It’s become a tagline here and there that old age is not for the weak. You’re starting to recognize that and when you look at your parents and you think about how strong they must be.

And then you look at your children you think about how strong they must be to live with the society we have in the world they’re inheriting. Youth isn’t for the weak, either.

I’ve seen it suggested, and maybe even backed up by some actual research and behavioral science here and, that midlife crisis, or whatever terminology is currently in fashion, is often a product of fear that we don’t want to admit. Fear of what we’ve lost, and fear of having to recognize what we still have to lose. We’re not thinking about the gains, of course, because somehow they don’t seem significant next to the stunning realization of our own mortality.

I think I might suggest that middle age is also not for the weak.

And I think that leaves us with the realization that the human experience is a tough one, that we are all stronger than we realize. We learn, grow, we strive, we go on.

But only until we don’t.

The human experience, whatever your version of it is, requires strength, so we all have it, manifesting differently for each of us.

A difficult thought.

Recognized or not, you are strong. We all are, and that’s not easy thing to know or believe or understand.

Be well, everyone.

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Eternally Star Trek

Eternally Star Trek

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So I’ll be 48 years old soon, which makes Star Trek 52 now. Read here and there on this blog, and you figure out very quickly that that’s important to me.

You’ll probably find somewhere, and more than once, the shared fact that I believe one of my earliest memories to be sitting in my father’s lap watching “The Immunity Syndrome”, you know, the episode with the giant space amoeba. It’s hazy memory: the small TV screen, the spaceships, the splash of color and giant single-celled organism, the old green chair (which I might be filling in without actually remembering).

You probably know that I’m a diehard original series fan. As a kid, as a teen, as an adult. I watched it with dad when I was small. I spent most of high school with it coming on just a few minutes after I got off the bus. I’ve seen every movie first run in the theater beginning with The Search for Spock. The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan came later in theatres for me, long after first run, but still wanting that theatrical experience.

I love The Next Generation, the Star Trek of my teen years.

I tried to love Deep Space Nine, which was hard for some reason at that point in my life, but I came back to it in later seasons and enjoyed it. I’ve rediscovered it recently, watching from the beginning and it’s a lot better than I remember.

Voyager was fun, cranking up the technobabble, but giving me a new cast of characters to watch come together.

I hated the theme song for Enterprise, but the show wasn’t bad, and had moved into some great storytelling just as it got cancelled.

There was a long wait until the reboot movies, which most folks will know I’m not really a fan of. Action movies with a Star Trek overlay and an essential Star Trek-ness removed. The third one was better, but I’d put it no higher in rating than The Final Frontier.

I want to love Discovery. It’s trying to be Star Trek but isn’t satisfying in the same way. It’s a different kind of storytelling, necessarily considering the story it’s trying to tell, and maybe showing one of those bumps along the way to the future we actually want. To my viewing, it’s also not giving sufficient respect to the original concept of Star Trek. I have said that I’ve decided it’s good science fiction, but I haven’t decided it’s good Star Trek. I also haven’t actually finished watching the first season because I’ve been disappointed in a variety of ways during the first ten episodes. There’s still hope.

But I’ve been a fan of Star Trek as long as I can remember and I don’t see that changing until I’m no longer able to remember. Sometime after I stop breathing, sometime after my heart stops, from a certain strictly physical point of view, brain activity ends and I’ll technically stop being a fan. But that won’t change the decades when I was.

I credited Star Trek for helping me with social attitudes being more progressive in my mind than they may have been in society at the time. I credit it for helping me to learn to use my brain when some many people around me were trying hard to abandon theirs. I credit it in no small part for the person I’ve become.

Star Trek has been summarized by many people over the decades, and I’m no exception. In my eyes Star Trek is about what it means to be human and the path towards a positive, inclusive future where we all strive to be better than we are. It’s a storytelling collective to give us hope that there are better days ahead, that we will mature and get better as a species. There will be, and are, bumps along the road, and we will work together to overcome them.

Star Trek is about hope for a brighter future, inclusion in the diversity of human experience, recognition that we all have a place in that experience, and the drive make that experience better than it is.

Star Trek. Always Star Trek. Gloriously, eternally, through every incarnation and fresh aesthetic, back to the core, Star Trek.

I have been, and always shall be, a fan.

Live long and prosper.

 

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Submission Log and More Commentary On Society

Submission Log and More Commentary On Society

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I have decided that I’m going to reboot the Submission Log, mostly because it’s been a long time since I’ve done any serious story submitting. I have a lot of short fiction I would like to get in front of readers and there’s no reason I shouldn’t get paid by someone for some of it, right? Even if it’s only a token payment here and there.

I’ve never written or submitted to “exposure” markets, because I disagree with the concept. If the publisher is expecting to make any money whatsoever, some of that money should go to the author. If you’re not interested in paying your authors, I’m not interested in doing business with you.

I have a couple of times written for royalties. One time, that was okay. The other, the editorial process was so long and involved that the royalties would have needed to total several hundred dollars to bring me up to minimum wage (at the time) for all of time and energy I put into the process. They were not.

Now some out there may be thinking that writers and artists shouldn’t expect to get paid a lot of money. To which, politely, I suggest that you’re misguided. No artist expects to get rich on their work, but if money is changing hands for a product then the people involved in producing that product should be making a living wage from it, and that includes the artist. I think that’s entirely reasonable, without going into Ellison style rant (but it’s well worth watching – here).

If, on the other hand, it’s your thought that artists should be happy getting their work out there and not be concerned about money at all, my slightly less polite response is, fuck you. You don’t expect your favourite movie and TV stars to work for free, your favourite sports players to work for free, or your favourite musicians to work for free, why would you expect artist to?

See how easy it is to go into a commentary on society?

But it is frequently worth commenting on society, and maybe that’s why I do it a lot. Sidesteps in blog posts here and there, entire blog posts sometimes, frequently in conversations by off and online, and, well, pretty much all the time time. Like or not I live in a society with a lot of problems that need talking about and dealing with. Expectation of writers and artists working for starvation or no wages is one of many.

Back to the point.

The submission log is still on file and looks back to even the first couple of stories I submitted way back when. Since I’m trying to make both submissions and short story publishing part of my overall plan, I really do need to track them. Independently published collections are part of the publishing plan in 2019, as is some novel-length work, fanfiction, and poetry. I’m doing a bunch of Star Trek fanfiction individual stories and a collection, although those will only be available for free. Fanfiction by definition has to be free unless sanctioned by the owners of the property. I’d love to, but never expect to, write Star Trek for money. But, if people like my Star Trek work, maybe it’ll lead some of them into my non-Trek work. If not, oh well.

Releasing something for exposure or giving it away for a little while is far different than someone only willing to pay exposure in order to make money themselves, btw. It’s a valid marketing tactic for indie traditional publisher, but the traditional publisher, no matter how small, needs to be aware that their authors deserve to be paid.

I’ve also got plans to do one themed collection a year for about the next five years, and that doesn’t stop me from just pulling together some of what I feel is my best work to do a non-themed collection. And I will be doing novels, and a poetry collection so self-publishing will be strong, but it’s not the only path. As I’ve mentioned, I will be looking for an agent or small press for some work.

I track word count and goals and I’m certainly going to track who I investigate for agents or publishers, so if I’m targeting five short story submissions per month for the rest of the year, including September (and 8-10 per month in 2019), I need that submission log. I need to know where I send things, who liked my work and should get more of it, who doesn’t bother to respond on rejections, who gives feedback.

Tracking is important. So, beginning any moment now with the first submission of 2018.

Be well, everyone.

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Apparently, I’m Too Political

Apparently, I’m Too Political

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So, online and offline, and more than once each, I’ve been told that I’m getting too political. I also, apparently, though no specific examples have been given to me, occasionally offend someone.

I find the statement more interesting, but they both should be addressed in some way.

As to the ‘too political’, With the government we currently have in the province I live in, the attempted rising of the alt-right in my country, the cover ups, the social issues facing our society and the steadfast refusal of some people to accept some other people as human beings in their own right, I am probably only going to get worse from that of point you, and louder at the same time.

For the second point. if something I post or say offends you, I am, honestly, unlikely to be terribly concerned about that. The act of being offended on its own has very little weight in my eyes and it shouldn’t in yours, either. If you’re offended by something I say or post and want to have a discussion about it, that’s awesome. At least, it’s awesome so long as your intent is to actually have a discussion. I’m happy to engage with opinions backed up by logic and real information. If the extent of your argument is personal attacks and whining, I’m unlikely to take you seriously.

If you’re not interested in discussion, and the extent of the engagement you want to have is you offended me and demand apology, you should probably not bother because you’re not going to get one. You may get a response clarifying the intent of what I said earlier, but you are very, very unlikely to get that apology. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say you won’t.

If your interest in social media is primarily funny memes, cat pictures, and so on, then enjoy it. I like those things to, and I share a few here and there, particularly Star Trek related ones, but, believe it or not, there is more to life than pictures and funny memes, even if they are Star Trek related. Enjoy your distractions. I like them too. But recognize they’re a distraction and that our society has pretty serious issues, and those issues are worth discussing or standing against.

“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” (Juvenal, approx. 100 CE)

It probably sounds much better in the original Latin poetic form, but it still strikes true and 1900 years later.

Bread and circuses. Keep the people fed and entertained and you can do whatever you want. We even have leaders who don’t think the bread is necessary and who are circuses, who think that because they’ve gathered to themselves some small amount of support or power that they can do what they want and force us to follow along.

There are people who agree with them, or who let themselves be convinced by the bread and circuses, but sadly for them, fortunately for the rest of us, we still live in a free and open society. As individuals, as people, we have the ability, and even the obligation, to speak out against those distractions and against what we see as wrong.

I have plenty of strong opinions:

People matter more than money.

Might dos not make right.

Fact and opinion are not equal.

Your preconceived biases don’t count as facts.

The science matters.

The world would be a better place without most of the religions currently in it.

Feel free to argue any or all of those, but you’ll need to back up with something more than just, “I don’t like what you said; it offends me.” You are free to not like anything I say or do, and I’m free to not worry over much about it. If I’m getting too political for you, you should probably snooze me, unfollow me, or even so far as to unfriend me.

I don’t post things with the intent to offend, I post with the intent to have share awareness and conversations. That I get surprisingly little conversation is unfortunate, but another symptom of our society, which is is flawed and broken in many ways.

But I firmly believe the overall trend is upward and that things will get better, but only if we are willing to talk to each other rather than yell at each other, and actually work to make things better. There are a lot of things I’m angry at in our society, and I don’t believe I’m the only one. Stay angry, but channel it into something productive. Talk to people.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for August 2018

Writing Report for August 2018

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Switching these to monthly. As we move along, and I have things to talk about other than raw word count, they’ll probably get a bit longer, but for this month, it’s all about getting the words out and moving some of them around.

Accomplishments:

  1. Short Fiction totals two complete stories and one more in progress, plus a flash piece, gaining a total of 11,153 words for the month.
  2. Shrine increased by a total of 35,050 words, bringing it to 83,432 and still not done when it was supposed to come in at 60k. There are about 9k words left in the projection based on the plotting I’ve done, so I’m probably looking at finding a split point for this book. It’s too long for the way the rest of the series works.
  3. Plotting completed for Seven Days a King. Although I don’t expect to actually draft this until sometime next year.
  4. Editing, I’ve finished the 3rd draft pass on Arena to the end of Chapter 21, leaving me 4 chapters and a little less than 8k words to go on this stage. Current word count is 66,105 Expected completion of the 5th of September.
  5. Fractured Unity scene expansions as a secondary project added 3,274 to the total word count.
  6. 12 blog posts
  7. 7 book reviews
  8. 4 journal entries
  9. 1 essay.

Total word count for the month of 69,470, averaging more than 2k per day, which makes me very happy, even though the spread of outliers is pretty wide, from a couple of editing only days where I added a few dozen to several hundred words, to several days well over 3k and one when I actually broke 4k. I’ve also started scribbling 50-150 words at a time of the first scene of Bad Teenage Poetry to scratch the itch it’s making in my brain, and I think I have around 1000 words on paper so far, though I’m not actually counting. I’ll save that for when I transfer it into the keyboard and add it to the total then. With the revised plan, that’s likely to be a while.

Right, revised plan. I made some 2018 and 2019 plan adjustments last week, but the short term remains essentially the same, and that’s what I’m going to look at here in terms of goals for September. Taking those in sort of a zero-to-completion order for long fiction, followed by other work, and finally the publishing side:

  1. Next up on pre-first draft work is plotting for Battlefield, the final book in the Troll World Quartet (Quintet?). I had some good success trying the Snowflake method for Palace, so I think I’m going to work that way again for Battlefield and see how it goes.
  2. With the expansion of Shrine, and possible splitting of the book if I can find the right point to do it and justify it as two distinct stories, I don’t expect to finish the first draft until somewhere around the 10th of September.
  3. Star Trek: Fractured Unity. Looking to complete this transition from script to first draft prose by the end of September, which will actually be a challenge. It’s easier to draft out of whole cloth than it is to start with existing dialogue and build around it. That’s more like editing on steroids.
  4. But if I get there, we’ll start on Palace, the third book in the Troll World Quartet/Quintet, which is fully plotted and I think more tightly than Shrine.
  5. Editing: once Arena has gone through the third draft, which looks like will be by the end of the first week of September, I’m going to spend a few days editing the non-poetry bits of the haiku collection I’m planning.
  6. Once that’s done, I’m moving to the third draft of Hero’s Life, the sequel to Heroes Inc.
  7. Short Fiction: the goal here is to hit 10k per month in short stories. August went well enough in this length that I took 8 days off near the end of the month to get more words into Shrine, so with the number of things I want to finish, I have reasonable confidence here.
  8. Hoping to add a little steam on the short fiction editing side, too, but I’m already feeling like I might be spread a bit too thin in number of things in progress.
  9. Non-fiction, target of 10k for the month here, too. This is a broad-catch bucket taking in blog posts, book reviews, the odd journal entry, and other work that isn’t strictly fiction.
  10. 5 short story submissions.
  11. Small Press/Agent hunt begins by making a list of possibilities.

And while there are other creative pursuits I have on my life list, like I said last week about my writing goals: I need to type faster.

Be well, everyone.

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Lost Hobbies

Lost Hobbies

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Image result for penny blackWhen I was a kid, for a bunch of years, I collected stamps. Lately, I think it’s called. I still have most of the box, having tried twice in adulthood to go back to it, but not since my oldest child was very, very small, and he’s almost 20 now. I used to love it, the detail put into many of them, the old printing processes, the tiny variations that could happen just from some little flick of the machine, things being printed backwards or upside down, stamps from all over the world. I have a couple of boxes full of albums and envelopes. Thousands of stamps. Tens of thousands.

I have a stamp collection, but I don’t collect stamps anymore. I don’t know why, it still seems like it should be interesting to me, but there’s only so much time.

Image result for telescope bausch lombIn my mid-20s until my early 30s, I was seriously into backyard astronomy. I had a decent, if not particularly high-end telescope, and I still haven’t actually, and most clear nights would find me in the backyard, even living in downtown Toronto, trying to see everything I could see. There was a surprising amount in the washed out urban sky. They’re probably still is. When, at the end of 2002, we moved to the small town that we currently still live in, I was very much looking forward to darker skies, but the box that contained all of my telescope lenses somehow went missing during the move. I think it was the only thing we lost during the move, although even at the time I couldn’t remember what else it was packed with. Clearly nothing else I missed.

I wanted to replace the lenses, spent the whole first winter shoveling off the cement pad behind the house that was going to be my personal observatory, but money was tight, and I never quite found the couple of hundred bucks to do it. Somehow, it didn’t occur to me to try to scrape together enough for one good lens and go from there.

I still read things about astronomy, online and in books. I still have that telescope. A few years ago, during a super sale, I bought another telescope, this one with some tracking and a battery-operated motor, hoping to maybe interest my children and it, but I never got any of them in the backyard more than twice, and guessed that that ship had sailed. If I’d started trying with them sooner, it might’ve worked. And, at this point in my life, I can only justify so many activities that don’t involve my kids. The ones left home, that is, and those two are in their mid-teens. That’s starting change as they don’t need me right there as much as they did when they were little, but I still haven’t gotten back to the backyard astronomy in any significant way.

Unlike stamp collecting, however, I still have the desire to. That desire just needs the right focus. It needs to ramp up high enough in me to actually pull one of those telescopes out into the backyard and point it at the sky.

There have been other things over the years, but hobbies come and go, and don’t always sticking in your life. Circumstances and conditions change, and your life changes with them.

At one point I might have considered writing a hobby, even if I aspired to become a published author. I’ve long since stopped thinking that way. Even though I’ve had times in the last few years, stretching weeks or even months at a time, when my primary focus has been on other things—always family, but often career to support that family—writing is still there, and I always come back to it. It’s not a hobby, it’s part of who I am.

I could say something similar about karate. With apologies to Funakoshi-sensei, it may not be my way of life, but it’s an integrated part of my life, and does color how I see many other things, affect how I deal of the things. Having put it that way, maybe shouldn’t apologize. Maybe, in a way, it is my way of life. However I might squint at it, karate is certainly not a hobby. It may have started as one, something fun with my oldest child, for a while, and for a longer while my wife, and for a while my oldest daughter. But they’ve all moved on of the things. For them, karate was a hobby. Me, I might be less than a year away from testing for my third degree black belt. Not that I think I know nearly enough yet, but that will be true as I walk into that grading, whenever it happens to be.

But karate and writing are not hobbies anymore.

Image result for geocachingI think the only actual hobby I have left that I can call a hobby is geocaching, which is done sporadically and at varying frequencies with my youngest daughter. Her interest in it seems to be waning this year, but not all at once and she enjoys it when we go out. My wife enjoys sometimes do, and it’s still a very fun activity for me. Not something that’s going away anytime soon.

Actually, geocaching is certainly my only hobby. My only hobby in a life that has been full of hobbies and interesting pursuits, and maybe it’s the third one that will somehow integrate itself in my life, become part of who I am. Feels that way right now. I can manage to not do it for a while, but I miss it.

Somehow though, I feel like everybody should have at least one hobby, one leisure activity that lets them put aside the stresses of regular life for a little while. I don’t think our society has evolved to the level where that’s possible for everyone yet, but perhaps that’s still coming.

If you have a hobby, enjoy it as much as you can. If you don’t, I hope you find one that suits.

In the meantime, be well, everyone.

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Change of Plans

Change of Plans

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I’m trying hard to make a go of the writing thing right now, and while that’s only been going on for a few weeks so far, I have hopes. Granted, I’ve recently taken a new job at work that demands more of my time and ratchets up the level of responsibility dramatically, home life I think is working very well. My oldest is living on his own now, and in another city, and my daughters are both of an age where they like to know I’m around, but don’t necessarily need to be in the same room I’m in. So, in among regular chores and that the house list and other responsibilities, I do have a little time here and there. Which I’m completely taking advantage of.

In the last week or so, I have posted about both the overall plan, and the project list. Both of those should be considered fluid, and I have the right to exercise any time changes to the plan we forecasting what I intend or expect. During a morning commute last week, just after finishing the middle section of the second last scene of the short story I’m dictating, I made the decision to exercise that right and adjust the plan.

I have been working on both the third draft of Arena and the first draft of Shrine in the past several weeks, the first two books in the Troll War, I mean Troll World quartet. Notice the “slip” there. I recently decided on World over War because the War things slowly lead up to doesn’t actually happen until the last book. I don’t want to give the impression that the other three books are just build up towards that, because they are each an adventure in their own right. Well, the first one certainly is, I’m working for the second one to be, and the third is plotted that way as well. While the stakes are necessarily different in each story, they’re not necessarily any more life threatening from the view of the principal characters, although I feel like I’m ratcheting things up in every single book for my primary protagonist, and they get wider ranging.

Completely beside the point.

The decision I’ve made is that I’m not going to do the final editing pass on Arena shortly after I finish the third draft. Added to that, I’m not going to do any editing of Shrine until both Palace and Battlefield are both drafted. And Battlefield isn’t even plotted yet, much less outlined. These books are short enough, probably all falling into the 65 to 85,000 word range things once done, that I think things might work better story as if I do most of the editing as a group. While they represent four separate stories, those stories do form a larger arc for the protagonist.

I am still going to pick up and finished the first draft of Fractured Unity right after I finish the first draft of Shrine, the old plan of then moving on to drafting Bad Teenage Poetry is gone now. I’m moving Palace first and Battlefield right on its heels (which means I need to plot and outline Battlefield early in the fall). Once they’ve all hit at least the end of the first draft, I’ll let the whole cycle rest for several months while I work on other things before starting revision notes and second drafts for the second third and fourth books as a group. Eventually, I’ll do the final, read it aloud draft for the whole quartet together.

One tiny little decision, which changed my whole plan for the remainder of 2018 and all of 2019.

And that’s okay, because I think I like it better this way.

Not that I can’t change my mind again if I want to.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for the week ending 19 August 2018

Writing Report for the week ending 19 August 2018

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This is the last one of these I’m going to do weekly for a while. After this one, I’m going to switch to doing one on or about the first of the month, covering what I managed to accomplish the previous month and the targets for the new month. Again, the objective is to keep me honest in my goals, but I want to get as many words into active projects as possible.

I made some mid-term plan adjustments last week, but the short term remains essentially the same, and that’s what I’m going to look at here.

Accomplishments:

  1. I’m within a few hundred words of finishing “Space Broccoli”, which relaly needs a new title. It’s currently sitting at just shy of 6,000 words, and I actually expect to finish it today.
  2. I’ve put 8,980 words into Shrine, taking it to 66,008 but closing the gap to the end of the story by only about 3,000 words, so around 15,000 to go, which will make it more than 20,000 words longer than the first draft of Arena. The sequence I’m working on now introduces an important character and a whole new culture to the protagonist. She doesn’t have time to absorb most of what she’s seeing, but I can’t completely gloss it over. Some of it needs to make it to the reader and some of it will inform actions and personality of that important character I mentioned.
  3. Editing, I’ve finished the 3rd draft pass on Arena to the end of Chapter 13, leaving me 12 chapters and a little less than 26,000 words to go on this stage.
  4. In odd moments, I’ve started a little bit of scene expansion in Fractured Unity, which began its life as an audio drama that I’m shifting into a novel for the experience of doing so. I’ve added a little more than 800 words here, taking two dialogue-only scenes into bare bones prose.
  5. 3 blog posts.
  6. 3 book reviews.

Total word count for the week of 16,201, averaging more than 2k per day, which makes me very happy. I’ve also started scribbling 50-150 words at a time of the first scene of Bad Teenage Poetry to scratch the itch it’s making in my brain.

I’ll go into details on what I’ve done to the plan for this year and next year, but it’s worth noting what I’ve got on the list for the more immediate future after each fo the current projects are complete:

  1. With the expansion of the current sequence in Shrine, I don’t think that it will be done by the end of August, but I think it will only be a few days into September before I get to the end of the first draft.
  2. Next Long Fiction: Star Trek: Fractured Unity. While I’m making a tiny bit of progress there, keeping the 1,000 word per day goal for long fiction, it’s still going to be the lion’s share of work there for September.
  3. After that: Palace, the third book in the Troll World Quartet.
  4. Editing: once Arena has gone through the third draft, I’m switching over to Hero’s Life, the sequel to Heroes Inc.
  5. Short Fiction: 10k or so per month in short stories is the target going forward. I’m already almost there for August. After “Space Broccoli”, I have four more I specifically want to finish, the longest of which is likely to be a 10k novelette, with the rest falling in the 3-6k range based on the rough plots I have in my head. Then, I’ll either dig into the archives for other thing I’ve left hanging or start on any of a variety of new ideas I’ve got.

And while there are other creative pursuits I have on the list, like I said last week about my writing goals: I need to type faster.

Be well, everyone.

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Project Status Overview

Project Status Overview

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So there’s definitely something in my makeup somewhere that I need to channel better. I like to work on multiple things at a time which, once some kind of equilibrium has been achieved, makes me just as productive as someone who works at the same rate but only focuses on one thing at a time.

But I also seem to have issues sharing things when I’ve finally take them to a final draft status. That certainly needs to be fixed.

Between those two idiosyncrasies, I thought it might be interesting to list all of the book-length projects I have and in what stage of completion.

Some reading this might ask the question: what the frack is wrong with you? Others will pick a different question: why are you spending writing time on a blog post when you have a list this size? Both questions are valid. And we won’t talk about the sheer volume of short fiction I have lying around that I should do something with. We also won’t mention more than in passing that I’m still free to have other ideas.

 

Final Draft Complete

  • Graceland: Science Fiction, Collection, 83k words
  • Heroes Inc (The Citizen Book 1): Superhero, 73k words
  • Skip to My Luu: Science Fiction, 87k words
  • Ancient Runes: Science Fiction, 85k words
  • Universal Destiny: Science Fiction, 77k words
  • Scattered On the Wind: Science Fiction, YA, 72k words
  • Draugr Rising: Fantasy, 65k words

 

Third Draft Complete

  • Actually nothing here at the moment, but that should change shortly.

 

Second Draft Complete

  • The Undead: Fantasy/Horror, Collection, 96k words
  • Arena (Troll World 1): Fantasy, YA, 63k words
  • Hero’s Life (The Citizen Book 2): Superhero, 62k words.

 

First Draft Complete

  • Dragon Summer: Fantasy, 108k words. My first attempt at a novel. No one will be permitted to see this until sometime long after my death.
  • The Godhead Book 1: Fantasy, 127k words. Has a couple of significant issues I know how to fix.
  • The Godhead Book 2: Fantasy, 104k words. Needs to be torn apart and rebuilt almost from the ground up, keeping the basic plot and a few fun parts.
  • Warforge: Caledonia: Science Fiction, 128k words. Some adjustments needed for the POV arcs to come together more smoothly.

 

First Draft in Progress or Stalled

  • Shrine (Troll World 2): Fantasy, YA, 74k words estimated. Primary project.
  • Fractured Unity: Science Fiction, ST Fanfic, 50k words estimated. Currently 26k words. Next project in line.
  • Stoneweaver: Fantasy, 52k words and stalled with significant problem.
  • Dreams of Freedom (Alishran 1): Fantasy, 22k words and stalled.
  • Iron Jack: Fantasy, 13k words and the plot needs to be rebuilt.

 

Outlined (Has 5-10k words of structure and character built)

  • Bad Teenage Poetry: Historical, 75k words estimated.
  • Fallen Heroes (The Citizen Book 3): Superhero, 60k words estimated.
  • Seven Days a King: Science Fiction, 60k words estimated.
  • Converging Destiny (Universal Destiny book 2): Science Fiction, 60k words estimated.
  • Palace (Troll World 3): Fantasy, YA, 60k words estimated.

 

Plotted (Has 1-2k of structure built)

  • Speculative Emotions: SF/F, Collection.
  • Periodicity: SF, Collection.
  • Unified Destiny (Universal Destiny book 3): Science Fiction, 60k words estimated.
  • Battlefield (Troll World 4): Fantasy, YA, 60k words estimated.
  • Kami Falling (Draugr Rising sequel): Fantasy, 60k words estimated.
  • My Cousin Hans: Historical, 90k words estimated.
  • Strewn Across the Stars (Scattered on the Wind sequel): Science Fiction, 65k words estimated.
  • ISIRTA: 50 Plus Years Later on the Other Side of the Pond: Non-Fiction, 70k words estimated.

 

Conceived (has less than 1k of structure and concept built)

  • The Godhead Book 3: Fantasy
  • Warforge Books 2 & 3: Science Fiction
  • The Crossword Man: Contemporary
  • Big Hair Day: Historical
  • Peacebringers Trilogy: Science Fiction
  • Alishran 2 & 3: Fantasy

 

Glimmering (has a paragraph or less for concept)

  • Warforge Book 4: Science Fiction
  • Green Wars: Contemporary
  • Rain Falls Daily: Contemporary
  • Border Guards: Fantasy
  • Consigliere: Science Fiction
  • Neanderthal: Science Fiction
  • Seven Cities: Fantasy
  • Stoneweaver: Fantasy
  • Tashiik Dreams: Science Fiction
  • The Sergeant’s Legacy: Historical
  • High Guard Trilogy: Science Fiction
  • Napoleon’s Unicorns: Fantasy
  • Wellington’s Griffins: Fantasy
  • Baby’s First Year: Contemporary
  • In Living Memory 1 & 2: Science Fiction
  • The Library of Time: Science Fiction
  • The Beauty of Weapons: Science Fiction
  • Shadow Maidens: Fantasy

So what is wrong with me and why aren’t I working on something listed here? Excuse me while I change files.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for the two weeks ending 12 August 2018

Writing Report for the two weeks ending 12 August 2018

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I may do a couple more of these weekly just to help establish the habit, but I think over the longer term monthly is better. It’s a nice way for me to catch up, but I want to get as many words into active projects as possible.

During my vacation week, I built the basic set of targets, making things concrete-ish beginning August 2nd but not going beyond the end of the week at that point. Since coming home, I’ve fleshed out a real plan on multiple levels (as suggested last week), and thought I’d list what I’ve managed since starting to use the keyboard for its intended purpose (in my view) again.

Accomplishments:

  1. Finished “Replaceable”, with the first draft coming in at 6,589 words. I’m rather pleased with the result and will probably do the editing job on it sooner rather than later. It uses a difficult theme, but I think builds well to a mostly satisfying ending. ‘Mostly’ because there’s at one aspect of that ending I’d like to make a little more subtle.
  2. Also in the area of short fiction, I added 503 words just yesterday to a story I left hanging a couple of years ago with the unlikely working title of “Space Broccoli”.
  3. I’ve put 10,611 words into Shrine, taking it to 57,628 and with an estimated 18,000 to go it’s going to come in at more than 15,000 words longer than the first draft of Arena. There are some sequences early in the book that can probably be shortened. I have the idea that all four books in the set will be of similar lengths, but I’m not too married to that. The story length for each will be what’s needed.
  4. And speaking of Arena, I’ve done the 3rd draft pass up to the middle of Chapter 10 (quite a long chapter with 4 separate scenes), which puts me about 4k words short of the book’s midpoint by  word count. The third draft is where I make sure that everything says what I want it to say, which I talked about in a more detail last year. (Reference the old post on what each draft means to me).
  5. Completely finished the scene-level plot on 7 Days a King. This isn’t the next long fiction project to go, but I’m glad to have the rough plot done.
  6. 6 blog posts (counting this one)
  7. 4 book reviews
  8. My first journal entry in almost 10 months.

A total word count of 27,723 or about 5k more than the whole year before this two week period. All in all, I’m pretty happy with that.

Significant projects on the horizon:

  1. Next Long Fiction: Star Trek: Fractured Unity. I’m a little over 25k words into something that I think will wind up at about 50k.
  2. After that: Bad Teenage Poetry, which is not speculative fiction and takes place in the mid-1980s.
  3. Editing: once Arena has gone through the last two drafts, I’m going back to Hero’s Life, the sequel to Heroes Inc. Fallen Heroes, the third book in the trilogy, has scene level detail plotted and is on the draft schedule for early next year, I hope.
  4. Short Fiction: 10k or so per month in short stories is the target going forward. After “Space Broccoli”, I have four more I specifically want to finish (none of which is more than 800 words in yet) before I dig into the archives or start on any of a variety of new ideas I’ve got.

And there are other creative pursuits in the offing as well, things that are part of my overall life goals but not necessarily connected direction to my writing goals. As far as the writing goals go, I need to type faster.

Be well, everyone.

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