Category: WIP

Writing Report for 08 August 2017

Writing Report for 08 August 2017

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There should have been one of these last week, but I guess that will just make this one a little longer. Projects completed:

  • Last week, I finished off the Star Trek Marathon logs, at least the written versions of them. All 53 drafted. A little polishing at a later date and then recording sometime after that.
  • Late this afternoon, I finished the read through on the “final” draft of Scattered on the Wind. Time to find some beta readers for this one, and a couple of other things.

Which makes the “next 10”, in currently anticipated completion order:

  1. Star Trek Comic Strips
  2. Haiku Selection
  3. Novella/Novelette Review Catch Up
  4. Shrine 1st Draft
  5. LoC 2 Plot
  6. Star Trek Book/Comic/Merch
  7. Fallen Heroes Outline
  8. Palace Plot
  9. Fractured Unity 1st Draft
  10. LoC 2 Outline

There are a couple of short forms at work here.

“Star Trek Comic Strips” is actually tentatively titled “Star Trek: The Badly-Drawn Stick-Figure Comic”. I have the rough plots for all of them and have some truly horrible first sketches done for seven or eight strips out of a planned twenty.

LoC = Lords of Creation, which is the name an adversarial alien species gives to itself in Universal Destiny, something else I need beta readers for.

Be well, everyone.

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What I’m Writing: Scattered On the Wind

What I’m Writing: Scattered On the Wind

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A quick snapshot of works in progress.

Novel: The Godhead, Book 2

Short: “Hitching Home, A Ghost Story”

Year of Trek: “Scotty’s Enterprise”

Editing: “Babysitting the Taran-Saurus”

Plotting: Scattered on the Wind

Too much? Well, it’s not technically everything I have in progress at the moment, but these are the main things and I am trying to limit myself a bit.

I’ll draw your attention to Scattered on the Wind today. I have, for reasons I don’t understand, decided to attempt NaNoWriMo this year. It’s been a while, and I feel like I need the boost that will come from writing a 50,000 word story in a month.

Except that I think I’ve rough plotted Scattered to 60,000-ish words. So that means I need to do 2,000 words per day instead of 1,667. Assuming my rough plot is roughly accurate.

Oh, and I mostly don’t write on weekends these days, so that leaves only 20 days for me to write during Nano, which means I have to average 3,000 words per day.

Only one conclusion can be drawn from this data: I’m crazy.

But it’s a good crazy, and I’ll tell you why: it’s important to have a variety of goals, both realistic and unrealistic. Sometimes, you’ll actually hit one of the unrealistic ones and you’ll get to revise what realistic means. That’s what I’m hoping to do.

For a little story detail, Scattered on the Wind takes place in the nebulous semi-near future where colonies are placed on other worlds with a Gateway. One such seed colony is placed on an apparently quiet, gentle world without a lot of high end predators or things that want to kill people. But strange signs of mental illness start to manifest among some of the colonists, and at the same time they start to find hints that maybe they’re not on the first colonial expedition to the world.

The primary POV is Jules, a 15-ish year old girl, victim of the colonial program her parents enrolled in when she was a toddler, but having grown up knowing it might happen some day. I’m using bits of behaviour modeled from teenage girls I know to build her character a bit, but not too in depth.

Because this is a NaNo project, you’re not supposed to do any writing ahead of time (plotting and character sketches and that sort of thing are fine), but there’s a line that keeps sticking in my head, not that I promise it will make it into the final draft unscathed, or at all.

“Strange that so gentle a world could kill us so quietly and easily.”

Be well, everyone.

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Note on the Godhead Trilogy

Note on the Godhead Trilogy

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So the Godhead trilogy that I keep talking about is my primary new fiction project for the year. It’s a fantasy trilogy that I originally plotted out to about 100,000 words per book based on the scenes I originally wanted to include.

Note the word originally. This story seems to grow in the telling almost every time I start a new scene. The first book had the shortest outline by several thousand words, with an original projected length of 94,500. This was based on previous work, knowing my own writing style well enough to estimates how long I would take to tell each little piece of the story. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Oh, nearly every scene I plotted has fallen within about 500 words of my estimated length either way, but I keep finding things to add. There needs to be a scene here. And there. And in between these two.

And there are several of those I haven’t written yet, with little notes in the text to myself. Things like, “Somewhere before this scene, we need to see the young prince interacting with the members of the Duke’s court, particularly his twin daughters.” Scenes to be written later.

As of right now, and writing this I haven’t touched the novel yet today, I’m a little over 85,000 words in. The outline suggests I should be at the 67,000 word mark. Making me 17,000 words heavy, and that’s with probably 8-10,000 words that I specifically haven’t written yet.

My projection currently suggests the novel will end up in the area of 118-120,000 words, and that’s without those three extra scenes so it could go as high as 130,000, making it the largest single story I’ve ever written by more than 20,000 words.

It’s worth noting that I have deviated from my outline for book 1, although those deviations mesh back in with the overall story fairly well. The overall narrative is still moving in the direction I want, just not quite on the same line. But that’s okay. Surprises are nice.

But all of this is a long winded explanation of why I’m probably not going to jump into book 2 right away. I need to think about the ways I’ve expanded book 1 and see if that requires any plot adjustments in books 2 and 3. I haven’t yet decided if that’s going to be a pile of extra short fiction towards The Undead, or if I might plot and write the first book of the Becoming Human trilogy.

But since I still have 30-40,000 words to write in the first Godhead book, it’s not a decision I have to make right now.

Be well, everyone.

 

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The Novelette Project Update

The Novelette Project Update

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So when I first conceived of the Novelette Project, sometime late last year, the idea was to write three 10-15,000 word novelettes, all falling into the general bucket of the Fantasy genre, but all of different sub-genres. These would go along with Thorvald’s Wyrd, possibly to build a small collection.

I had thoughts for three more novelettes when I began, with a fourth idea coming in later, and five is a nice number, so I let myself have that leeway, and I gave myself December to get the bulk of them done. Three times 10,000 words is 30,000 words, which seemed like something I could accomplish in light of the totals I’d smashed out in October and November.

But something funny happened on the way to the coliseum: I only wrote one novelette. The next two became novellas. The final one is almost certainly going to get there too. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s often a problem I often have when I plot ahead of time instead of as I go along: as I’m writing the story, I fill in gaps that I didn’t realize were there when I made the point form plot or I think of other things that logically follow from things that I did plot. Sometimes these later get removed, but I feel like when I finish the first draft I come in fairly tight to what the story needs. Unlike the “old days” when a second draft might fill in a lot more holes than it does now.

My real problem is that I feel like I’ve deliberately kept the writing very bare bones for all of them so far. To make the worlds and the action more real might need a fairly significant word bump in a couple of cases. We’ll see what happens when I get to the editing phase. I haven’t actually finished the last one yet and I’m actually supposed to be getting ready to do the second pass edit on Universal Destiny, but that’s another story.

But, for those curious, here’s a tiny bit of detail on the novelettes that make up the project.

Thorvald’s Wyrd – Heroic fantasy borrowing heavily from Norse mythology, an Ice Giant sorcerer kidnaps the goddess of the sun. Originally projected as 100 scenes each 100 words long, the final version came to 129 scenes with nothing else I could comfortably remove. (This is the novelette that started me down this path. I actually wrote and edited it between late 2010 and very early 2011, serialized it on my blog, and got some great feedback on the story. After a recent reread with an eye towards publication, I thought it needed company.)

Trollsign – A little of my own riffing in the urban fantasy subgenre, following a trail that begins with a bizarre murder in a casino. There is a hint in the title. Estimated at 10,000 words originally, the first draft comes in at 12,536 and will probably grow by less than 1k on subsequent drafts as I flesh things out.

Last of the Sorcerer-Kings – Sword and Sorcery, two centuries after the collected armies of the south overthrew an empire ruled by sorcerers, not everyone has forgotten. I plotted this one at a generous 15,000 words and ended up writing 21,465. There’s a significant sequence I want to change in the middle that will likely lose a couple of thousand words, but the rest of the story will gain in description and descriptive action. Not sure where it will wind up.

A Gathering of Heroes – An epic fantasy story again plotted at 15,000 words, but winding up being the longest of the group at 22,031. A group of aging heroes get together to finish off the last quest of their youth, the one that never made it into the songs. This one needs the most work on subsequent drafts. There are big holes in the story where I had to move things along, and half a dozen characters that are barely used so should either find some use or be rolled into existing characters. If I pick the first option, this is going to go much deeper into novella territory and maybe wind up as a short novel.

Company of the Dead – I’m not really sure what subgenre bucket this one goes into. A necromancer raises a small army of undead super-humans in hopes of turning the tide in a war his kingdom is losing. My estimate on this one actually had a range of 12-15k depending on how certain scenes went, but I’m just above 15,000 now with the climax and denouement still to write. Probably another 3,000 words.

And here’s the thing. I don’t think I’m done after Company of the Dead. There are a lot of other subgenres and blendings I want to explore and the novelette to novella length seems to be a great range to play in for me. Trying to figure out if I want to try Steampunk, Superheroes, or Comedic Fantasy next.

Open to suggestions, and not terribly worried about how it will impact my other writing plans for the year. Everything is fluid.

Be well, everyone.

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Not As According to Plan As I’d Like

Not As According to Plan As I’d Like

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Writing is a very strange business sometimes. Actually, writing is a very strange business all of the time, but I have something specific in mind at the moment.

When I try plotting something, or even just figuring it out in my head, I usually have a decent idea of the wordage something will take, at least at the scene level. I can think about what’s supposed to happen in a scene and guess roughly how long it will take. The first draft will usually wind up somewhere in the ball park. If I estimate a scene at 2500 words, it will almost certainly break 2000 and probably won’t reach 3000. There are certainly times I’m wrong, where I run out of things to say before I get near the estimate, or go on a little long on a subject or action, but I’m usually pretty close. A couple of hundred words either way is normal, and in novels I like most of my scenes in the 2-3k range, with some variety for pacing, so I build things that way.

Except in my current novel project, I’ve had a couple of chapters run away from me and have to do a lot of typing to catch up.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it plays hell with my projections.

You see, I have the novel plotted out at the scene level, and my estimates total 95,000 words. A nice length, and the estimates are only estimates. I usually wind up running 5-7% long, so expect to break 100k, but not by too much.

Right now, if everything else in the book comes in around my target, plus that 5-7%, I’ll scrape up against 106k, which is a little longer than I wanted, but probably not enough to seriously jeapordize my plan. If I keep trending the way I am now, with one chapter in six demanding far more wordage than I’ve anticipated because more things need to happen, I’m looking at 117-120k. This isn’t a bad thing for the story, even if it requires some adjustments in later drafts, but it throws my writing year out of whack and shakes the longer term plan.

Why?

Because I planned to draft a 95,000 word novel in three months, and I’m off that pace by several thousand words. 120K is going to take me four months. If the other two books in the trilogy wind up the same way, I’m going to have a tough time getting to the fourth book I’d planned for this year.

Which is okay. The deadlines and goals I’ve set are all artificial and don’t affect anything but me, and the plan is adjustable to whatever degree I want it to be. I just really wanted to see if I could draft four books this year in the 80-95k range. That would have been awesome.

Of course, a 360,000 word trilogy in one year would be pretty awesome, too. Maybe I’m just worrying too much. The plan is just a plan, and I do love to reforecast.

Be well, everyone.

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I Should Have Killed the Shepherd

I Should Have Killed the Shepherd

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In the novelette I’m currently working on, “Last of the Sorcerer Kings”, there’s a scene where one of the two POV characters comes across the results of the killer he’s chasing entertaining himself. In the raw outline, I just listed it as “The Shepherd Scene”.

The idea was for the hero to further his resolve to catch the bastard who can do stuff like this to other people.

When I got there, I realized I’d already hardened his resolve based on hints dropped about events before the story began. I also saw it as a way for the other POV character to impress the hero and develop her as a more complete person.

So the shepherd lived, at least until the heroes arrived, and the murderer left him and his wolfhound both with wounds designed to stretch their deaths out over days or make them too weak to defend themselves against wolves. And to further increase the shepherd’ suffering, the killer did cruel things to his flock, making the sheep easy prey for the local wolves.

But here’s the thing. My original outline had the story hitting about 15,000 words, getting long for a novelette. Letting the shepherd live probably doubled the length of the discovery scene and added two more scenes to the story that weren’t in the original outline. I’m now just finished the 7th scene of 18, where I should be done the 5th of 16, and I’m worried the pacing is way off.

It works, I think, but now I’m pretty sure to break into short novella territory, and I think I’ll be able to see 20k from where I finish. Not a bad thing on its own, but disrupts the plan a little bit. Plus, even though my word count is tracking well, it’s going to throw my overall pace for this project off by a couple of days.

I should have killed the shepherd. I might still change my mind.

And yet, if it serves the story and the characters better, and doesn’t blow the pacing, why shouldn’t the shepherd live?

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November Numbers

November Numbers

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Writing Report, November 2013

Keeping myself honest, and not because I expect many people will read this, it’s time for the first of the month writing update to cover the previous month. In this case, November 2013.

I won’t go into the “productivity” experiment parameters again other than as they match up with the goals I reached or didn’t for November. Again, there are numbers involved, so if that bores you, skip ahead to the end.

First, a quick reminder of the parameters of the writing experiment:

  • Limited, but daily when possible, social networking, mostly over breakfast. (I’m semi-failing at this. FB has done well enough from me, but only on a personal level, and I’ve probably only been on Twitter about half the days this month. More on that another day.)
  • Podcast listening cut in half, so that I can use at least one leg of my commute for dictation. (This is actually how I’m doing a lot of the first draft on my current WIP. It’s messy but fairly fast. The second draft will need more cleaning than usual.)
  • More of everything on my days off and especially when I’m on night-shift rotations. (And I’m almost ¾ of the way through a 4-week round of nights right now.)

First, the hard targets, along with what I actually achieved.

Project

Target

Actual

Manifest Destiny (SF novel)

27,000

27,938

words
Short Fiction

10,000

10,689

words
Godhead, Book 2 plotting

45/45

49/45

scenes
Ancient Runes, Final Draft

30,000

60,363

words

 

Breaking things out a bit more,

  1. Manifest Destiny is complete at 61,034 words and I wrote the last 3,223 in a sprint on the 26th after finishing the final draft of Ancient Runes the day before, and not doing anything creative for two days before that because I was sick.
  2. I met the short fiction goal only because I finished Manifest Destiny so early. Two trips out of town, illness, and several unexpected events left me putting in only a little more than half the time I should have on the short fiction front.
  3. The Godhead plotting has gone really well, and I’m starting December with 5 scenes plotted and about ¾ of the rest with ideas in mind.
  4. The last ¼ of the Ancient Runes final draft happened in one afternoon lying in bed, not so much reading aloud as whispering since I had no real voice at the time.
  5. And I seem to have difficulty getting much writing done when I’m working day shift with my days off actually falling on weekends. Family time and stuff around the house. So be it. I’ll live with a lower word count when that happens.

Overall, I’m very pleased.

Overall word production:

Drafting

38,627

Editing

322

Plotting

6,320

Blog Posts

4,386

Non-fiction

8,443

 

Which comes to a grand total of 58,358 words for the month. A few thousand lighter than October, but still not too shabby. I debate all the time whether it’s fair to count editing or if there should be some kind of formula that works out actual change rather than net change. I’ve had editing sessions where I work three 4 or 5,000 words and have a net change in single digits even though I’ve made heavy modifications. An argument for another day.

Notes:

  1. Even boosting the goals, I did pretty well and hit them all.
  2. I finished the first draft of a short novel in less than two months. This lends me hope that I can manage a 90k word novel in three months, and I’ll be putting that to the test beginning New Years’ Day. It can be done.
  3. I have this idea about the TWD (Theoretical Writing Day) Count, but I’ll cover that in another post because this one is already stretching out.

Again, because I derive great joy from planning things, I’ve re-forecasted the test period, counting October and November as complete. Actually, there wasn’t a lot of joy because I changed exactly one thing. Since I’m not going to be editing Ancient Runes in December (because it’s “done”), I’m going to polish some short fiction instead.

So the revised forecast to the middle of 2014 looks like this:

Month

Plotting/Other Drafting Editing

Oct-13

Godhead Trilogy, plotting Manifest Destiny Graceland

Nov-13

Godhead Trilogy, plotting Manifest Destiny Ancient Runes

Dec-13

Godhead Trilogy, plotting Novelette x 3 Short Fiction Cleanup

Jan-14

Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny

Feb-14

Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny

Mar-14

Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny

Apr-14

Becoming Alien, plotting Godhead 2 Novelettes

May-14

Becoming Human, plotting Godhead 2 Novelettes

Jun-14

Bringing Peace, plotting Godhead 2 Novelettes

 

I’ve talked about the novelettes project in a previous post (here), but I’m already worried about staying inside the word count estimates. The first one is going strong, and I feel like, 4,300 words in, it’s probably going to hover at about a 12k first draft. But I’ve started the second one, too, and 1,800 words in I’m only half way through the second of fourteen planned scenes. I’m pretty sure this one is going to break the theoretical maximum of 15,000.

I have made some revisions to the 5-Year Plan, but mainly in the short fiction category, devoting a lot of my planned new short fiction time to a series of themed projects, the first one being an exploration of the Undead beyond (but including) zombies and vampires. And the second a collection of speculative stories focused around emotions. Probably. I keep flip flopping on which of those I’m going to dive into first. Right now, the Undead are winning, but not by much. I’ll commit to one at the end of December to start in January.

Two months don’t make a trend, either, but they connect into a straight line with a good benchmark. Let’s see how December goes.

Be well, everyone.

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Title Change & Other WIP Updates

Title Change & Other WIP Updates

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So if you didn’t notice (because you wouldn’t unless you’re visiting my website every single day to see if I’ve posted anything new), I changed the working title of my current Novel in progress a couple of days ago.

It was Manifest Destiny. It’s now Universal Destiny.

Okay, not much of a change, but the new title makes a lot more sense in context of the story and the dominant belief system of the primary non-human species in the book. Yes, it’s a science fiction novel. Military Science Fiction if you want to narrow it down, although like most stories in that subgenre, there’s more to it.

At this writing, I’ve put a little over 55,000 words into the novel and, based on my original projections and how much I’ve exceeded them, it should come in at around 63,000 words. Which is pretty close to the 60,000 I estimated based on the outline. Some scenes have come out a bit longer and some a bit shorter. More of them longer, obviously.

Now, if you’d like to protest that this is a short novel, you’re right, although the SFWA definition says a novel starts at 40,000 words. Still, my first draft tends to be very bare bones. Successive drafts will add extra scenes where needed to flesh out plot points and characters and a whole lot of description that isn’t there yet. At a guess, it will expand by 12-15k, so a total of 75,000 words or so.

Which will still make it on the short side for SF, typically running 90-110k.

But that’s okay. Makes it a quick read and hopefully has the reader wanting more when it’s over.

First, I need to finish it, though, and that’s still about 7,500 words away and I’m absolutely on track to get it done by the end of the month.

The title change isn’t the only change, but it’s the most obvious one.

The other big one is that one of the POV characters was originally the first officer of the Sentinel, the ship most of the story takes place on. He’s now the Second officer so I can use the first officer as an intimidating figure in other places to other characters. This also helps a couple of things make sense.

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The First Serious Month

The First Serious Month

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Writing Report, October 2013

So it’s been a while since I’ve done the whole “writing report” thing. Because I’m conducting a kind of massive writing experiment right now, I’m going to revive the practice for the experimental period, the idea being a little objective analysis. If numbers aren’t your thing, much less the explanations behind them, I suggest you skip this post. It’s also likely to be long.

First, a quick reminder of the parameters of the writing experiment:

  • Limited, but daily when possible, social networking, mostly over breakfast. (I’m semi-failing at this. FB has done well enough from me, but only on a personal level, and I’ve probably only been on Twitter about half the days this month. More on that another day.)
  • Podcast listening cut in half, so that I can use at least one leg of my commute for dictation. (This is actually how I’m doing a lot of the first draft on my current WIP. It’s messy but fairly fast. The second draft will need more cleaning than usual.)
  • More of everything on my days off and especially when I’m on night-shift rotations. (And I’m almost ¾ of the way through a 4-week round of nights right now.)
  • No time may be stolen from my family or other obligations. Writing places third after family and career. (There’s an old post on Chocolate Scotch that, among other things, covers my thoughts on stealing time from your family to further your creative pursuits. Summary: it doesn’t make you a good time manager, it makes you a jerk.)

There were hard numerical targets for my writing October, which I’ll now share (especially since I met all of them), along with what I actually achieved.

Project

Target

Actual

Manifest Destiny (SF novel)

26,500

33,096

words
Short Fiction

10,000

10,641

words
Godhead, Book 1 plotting

20/40

46/46

scenes
Graceland read through

82,237

82,237

words

 

I also finished the Graceland read through with time enough to spare that I’m starting November a little more than 25% into the final (read it aloud) draft of Ancient Runes, started the plotting of the second Godhead book, and I’ve put about 5761 words into blogging and another 6749 into non-fiction projects, mostly of a genealogical (family history) nature.

All told, if I add in the words in the Godhead plotting document and count changes due to editing in absolute words, I pounded out 65,220 words this month, and I did it without neglecting my family, though I’m sure there were a few neglected tasks on the To Do list.

I don’t promise those were all good words, or well structured or well plotted words on the fiction side, but that’s what editing is for. It’s entirely acceptable for first drafts to suck. Later drafts should improve things, at least that’s the idea.

The one target I didn’t put into things initially is short story submissions. I haven’t done a lot of story submissions in the past couple of years, but I am still writing short fiction. I need to get at that backlog and either put together some collections (which I originally planned for this year) or get some stories out in front of editors’ eyes. Both would be better. I managed 3 submissions this month, and feel like that’s not bad, considering the rest of my life, but I’ll attempt 5 each for November and December. That’s only a bit more than 1 per week. Should be easy, right?

Now, because I’m a planner, and derive great joy from figuring things out, I get to re-forecast. Here’s what I know:

  1. I dominated my goals for October.
  2. A month worth of data shows me that one direction on my commute averages just over 1000 words (1068), so I’ll use 1k per day as a working model for novel word count on commuting days.
  3. This means that I could theoretically be finished Manifest Destiny (a short novel projected at 60k) by the end of November and have written a novel in two months.
  4. Life is full of curve balls, so I will not otherwise alter my targets at this time. (This may have a motivational side effect if I can maintain the momentum.)
  5. Having managed the rough plot for the first book of the Godhead Trilogy in one month, and have a solid idea of where the story is going for the next two volumes, at least at a very high level, I have hopes that I can do the same for books two and three.
  6. I think I want to write all three books of Godhead and then edit them as a single coherent narrative.
  7. There are many stories I want to tell.

The original forecast (extended for half of 2014) looked like this:

Month

Plotting/Other Drafting Editing

Oct-13

Godhead Trilogy Manifest Destiny Ancient Runes

Nov-13

Godhead Trilogy Manifest Destiny Ancient Runes

Dec-13

Godhead Trilogy Manifest Destiny Graceland

Jan-14

Godhead Trilogy Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny

Feb-14

Godhead Trilogy Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny

Mar-14

Godhead Trilogy Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny

Apr-14

Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 2 Godhead 1

May-14

Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 2 Godhead 1

Jun-14

Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 2 Godhead 1

 

Revised for 6 of the 7 points above, with October already clearly accomplished, produces this:

Month

Plotting/Other Drafting Editing

Oct-13

Godhead Trilogy, plotting Manifest Destiny Graceland

Nov-13

Godhead Trilogy, plotting Manifest Destiny Ancient Runes

Dec-13

Godhead Trilogy, plotting Novelette x 3 Ancient Runes

Jan-14

Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny

Feb-14

Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny

Mar-14

Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny

Apr-14

Becoming Alien, plotting Godhead 2 Novelettes

May-14

Becoming Human, plotting Godhead 2 Novelettes

Jun-14

Bringing Peace, plotting Godhead 2 Novelettes

 

Becoming Alien, Becoming Human, and Bringing Peace are the three books making up my next major project, a trilogy exploring first contact, interspecies relations, and what it means to be human. With a solid idea of the basic story, I’m forecasting being able to plot each of those in one month as well.

The novelettes are three, 10,000-ish word stories (all loosely gathered under the genre of Fantasy) I already have rough plotted. Added to “Thorvald’s Wyrd”, they may make a collection together.

January through March, you’ll see the Short Fiction Cleanup. This will be an effort to get a lot more stories looking for homes and a lot more first drafts to the final draft stage so they can look for homes. I’m debating setting specific goals here rather than just trying to get something extra done every day.

Now, because I can’t stop myself, I actually have a five-year plan (to the end of 2018) forecasted out at the same level of detail, plus a couple of extra columns for publishing and podcasting. At the end of that period, keeping this pace, there are still three individual novels, a YA trilogy, and a 6-book Fantasy series I won’t have written yet. I’m sure more ideas will occur to me in between.

Yes, I have reached a new level of insanity, but the plan is very fluid, even just looking at the 2014 plan, and I’ll adjust my forecast as required by major events and progress or lack of it.

One month doesn’t make a long term trend, but I’m hopeful for at least the next couple of months to work well. For now, I should get back to work.

Be well, everyone.

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Warning! I Finally Finished This Story

Warning! I Finally Finished This Story

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And this post consists (almost) purely of me be happy about it. Don’t say you didn’t know that before you read it.

After I got home from work this morning, I sat, bleary eyed in front of the computer for forty-five minutes and imported the final three scenes of a story from the dictated files and cleaned them up so the sentences at least made sense. Making it pretty is for a later draft.

With all of the cleaning and tidying done, “Klaatu Barada Nikto, Baby!” is a 5,000 7,500 12,000 16,000 17,500 19,704 word short story novelette novella that’s part adventure, part parody, and a lot of fun (if I do say so myself), setting things off with a character who can only speak in well known Science Fiction TV and movie quotes.

But how did this story get so damned big? It started out so simple. Weird character shows up, convinces POV character that something big and bad is about to happen, and they go fix it. Simple. Too simple. Things need to make sense. For things to make sense, other things need to happen. Sometimes more things had to happen for those to make sense. And I still feel like there are a lot of very bare spots in the story, a lot of things to fill in.

I am glad I finally finished the first draft. The original story idea is about six years old and at one point I even had the first several thousand words written without a clear idea of where it was going after that. Dusted it off late last year and poked it with a stick for a while before deciding I could figure it out. Now it works, more or less, but needs a lot of duct tape and polish before another human being will get to see it and I’ve got a number of little things, and a couple of big ones, to finish off before I’ll get back to it.

This hyper-expansion of a story has happened to me before (discussed here) and while I still struggle with novel-length, I am starting to wonder if I’ve lost the art of short fiction in favour of medium length. So I’m attempting some shorter stuff right now, working on a pair of short stories. “The King’s Blessing” and “Listening Station” should both come in at 3-4k, in theory. We’ll see.

But it’s always a good day to finish a story, right! So today was definitely a good day.

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