Category: Writing

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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Writing Report for 24 July 2017

Writing Report for 24 July 2017

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So I’m going to stop calling this weekly reports and just put one up when I’ve got something significant to report.

I have made progress since the last one, and since it’s been four weeks since the last update, I’ll put more detail here, but I think, going forward, I’ll only put up updates when I’ve marked a project as complete or when I’ve hit a major milestone.

Recent accomplishments:

  1. Shrine – I’ve gotten back into the dictation thing, and I’m making a thousand-ish words progress per work day on this, less on days off. Fourteen chapters of 40 are drafted, and I’m into the fifteenth. Also, I haven’t diverged from the original outline too much. That 40 will probably end up being 42, though, as there are a couple of chapters I think will wind up getting split.
  2. Star Trek Marathon logs are now going very well. I found an old draft of many of the original version on my Google Drive. Instead of having to write the next couple of dozen fresh, I can take the previous versions and modify them to match up with the overarching story as it’s currently built. I expect the speed of progress to increase here.
  3. Scattered on the Wind final draft progresses, and I’ve finished the read through, with a few changes in word choices here and there and only one substantial change in one chapter, to the end of Chapter 12. There are 30.

The current “next 10” projects remain the same, but the completion order is probably not what you see below. Some things are bigger than others and some just take longer. Example, while the first draft of Shrine is number one on the list, there are three things (maybe even four) I actually expect to be done before it. First draft of a novel is always one of the biggest projects I can have going.

  1. Shrine 1st Draft
  2. Star Trek Marathon Logs Redux
  3. Scattered on the Wind Final Draft
  4. Star Trek Comic Strips
  5. Novella/Novelette Review Catch Up
  6. Haiku Selection
  7. Fractured Unity 1st Draft
  8. LoC 2 Plot
  9. Fallen Heroes Outline
  10. Star Trek Book/Comic/Merch

Be well, everyone.

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Error Code: -72

Error Code: -72

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I’ve started making story submissions again. Rejections are a part of that. A big part. And sometimes, they’re because you screw something up that isn’t even related to the story itself.

I made a rookie mistake yesterday on one submission, spending the time to adjust the manuscript formatting to match the requirements of the market in question (“Industry standard”, but with a different font, a specific type of quotation mark, italics instead of underlines) and making sure it was exactly as requested. But my eyes skipped over the line that said they like things anonymous inside the story and to take your name out of things. Oops.

Here’s what I got back only a few hours later:

 

“Dear Lance,

Submission guidelines tell you what a magazine is looking for. If you don’t read them carefully, you won’t know what’s wanted, and you’re saying to the venue that you can’t be bothered to find out.

In our case, we only accept anonymized stories. Your submission contained your name or other personally identifying information (e-mail, address, etc.), and is therefore declined. You may resubmit an anonymized version no sooner than seven calendar days from now.

Sincerely,

Editor Of A Publication I’m Unlikely To Submit To Again”

 

Yes, I made a mistake: I didn’t read things thoroughly enough. Reject the story and tell me to try again. The response I got does that, but it does so with a very passive-aggressive tone designed to make me feel bad and punish me more than just rejecting my story would.

What if I’d been a 16-year-old kid submitting my first story ever and excited about it?

What if I were overcoming an anxiety disorder to submit a story to a magazine I love?

Neither of those things apply, but what if I were a human being? You know, one of the ones who exists and has feelings?

I have to wonder if I’ve just been lucky or if this kind of thing is common. There are old (ancient) rumours that publications and publication groups have blacklists, a file somewhere containing the names of authors they won’t work with for a variety of reasons. This is not my first negative experience in publishing, and I’m far, far from doing this for a living, so my experience isn’t all that broad, but I’m starting to wonder if I need a blacklist of publications. Or at least a grey one for markets I should think long and hard before sending something to.

It’s fortunate for me that the positive experiences tremendously outnumber the negative ones, but that just makes the negative ones annoy me more. For a little passive-aggression of my own, I’ll suggest maybe I should have submitted this story on July 29th instead of July 18th.

Writer folks out there: have you ever received a rejection that seemed designed to make you angry or punish you? I’m suddenly very curious about how widespread this might be.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Update for the Week Ending 25 June 2017

Writing Update for the Week Ending 25 June 2017

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Not a lot of writing in the past seven days. A little progress on the same top three of the next 10, but not really enough to make big notes on. Still, to keep myself honest, and keep things up to date, my accomplishments last week:

  1. Shrine – Still on 250-300 words per day pace, which needs to pick up, but I’m struggling with this piece of the story even as I can clearly see the things I really want to get to later on.
  2. Star Trek Marathon logs – squeezed four of these in this week. Should have been seven.
  3. Scattered on the Wind I pushed another chapter and a bit in, but not nearly what I’d hoped for.

The current “next 10” projects remain:

  1. Shrine 1st Draft
  2. Star Trek Marathon Logs Redux
  3. Scattered on the Wind Final Draft
  4. Star Trek Comic Strips
  5. Novella/Novelette Review Catch Up
  6. Haiku Selection
  7. Fractured Unity 1st Draft
  8. LoC 2 Plot
  9. Fallen Heroes Outline
  10. Star Trek Book/Comic/Merch

Every day is a new one. So is every week. Maybe I’ll get a little farther forward this week.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Update for the Week Ending 18 June 2017

Writing Update for the Week Ending 18 June 2017

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Which, yes, I should normally have posted yesterday.

Lots going on this week in life, and I got some work done, but I didn’t get far enough on any of the primary projects to actually take one off the list. I probably won’t the next couple of weeks, either, because they’re all in the first 33%.

That said, I made good (or at least some) progress, on the top three.

Accomplishments this week:

  1. Shrine – I’m finding it hard to get back into this story, gaining 250-300 words per day right now.
  2. Star Trek Marathon logs – the first seven are redrafted, which still leaves me a long way to go, and I wish I knew what happened to the original file and when. It’s not in any of my backups and was basically a complete first draft.
  3. Scattered on the Wind final – since this is the third-tier project at the moment, I haven’t made it there every day, but I’m still three chapters through that final read out loud draft. A few small adjustments here and there, but I’m liking how the story works so far.

The current “next 10” projects remain:

  1. Shrine 1st Draft
  2. Star Trek Marathon Logs Redux
  3. Scattered on the Wind Final Draft
  4. Star Trek Comic Strips
  5. Novella/Novelette Review Catch Up
  6. Haiku Selection
  7. Fractured Unity 1st Draft
  8. LoC 2 Plot
  9. Fallen Heroes Outline
  10. Star Trek Book/Comic/Merch

Lots of creative stuff to do.

Be well, everyone.

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Weekly Writing Report for 05 June 2017

Weekly Writing Report for 05 June 2017

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Although, I don’t think weekly is accurate lately, but let’s go with it.

New strategy.

What, again?

Yup.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m happier when I have multiple projects on the go. That’s still true, but I’m trying to find some additional focus.

To that end, I’m going to have a primary project with the backup plan to switch to other things here and there when I’m starting to feel burnt on the primary or when I only have a few minutes at a time to work. To that end, here’s the list of the next ten primaries (though it’s worth noting that I have a plan far beyond that):

  1. Draugr Rising 3rd Draft
  2. Book Review Catch Up
  3. Undead Story Selection (100k)
  4. Shrine 1st Draft
  5. Star Trek Marathon Logs Redux
  6. Scattered on the Wind Final Draft
  7. Star Trek Comic Strips
  8. Novella/Novelette Review Catch Up
  9. Haiku Selection
  10. Fractured Unity 1st Draft

Some of these need a little talking about.

Draugr Rising: first draft finished in early 2015 at 50,650 words. Pulled it out very early this year, made some revision notes, made some major revisions, changes, and additions, and I’m currently about a chapter and a half from being finished the third draft. It will probably come in at a touch above 63,000 words when that’s done.

Book Review Catch Up: I like doing quick book reviews, but I’ve fallen behind. Actually, way behind, but I’ve been slowly catching up over the last few weeks. Right now I’m only seven behind. So, it shouldn’t take me long after this draft of Draugr Rising is complete. I’m rather farther behind on the Novella/Novelette Review front, but these tend to be shorter than my novel reviews.

Undead Story Selection: all of the stories I wrote towards this collection total just shy of 140,000 words. Historically, my first drafts are very bare bones just to get the story out of my skull. I expect to add 15-20% of the word count to most things by the time they reach final draft. Taking the upper number, I think that 168,000 words might be a bit long for a collection of short fiction, so I’m going to try to pick 85-90k worth of stories I like the best, which will almost certainly take me over 100k for a final count. Once selected, the editing of those will be a separate project.

Shrine 1st Draft: second book of the Troll Wars Quartet, and it’s been on hold for a little while. I’ve completed the first quarter of my outline, planned at about 60k altogether. However, a couple of minor things exploded, and I’m 9,000 words ahead of what I estimated. I’m a little worried about that happening in the rest of the book, too. That may mean I have some hard decisions later, but in the meantime, I actually need to get the first draft done.

Scattered on the Wind Final Draft: this is the read it out loud and make sure I haven’t missed anything draft. Usually, I have. Sometimes, I find a writing tic or two and fix them while I’m at it. There isn’t usually a large difference in overall word count by the time this is done.

Star Trek: Marathon Logs, Comic Strips, Fractured Unity. I’ve been a Trekkie for as long as I can remember. Sometime in 2014, I had the idea for my own celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and it involved me producing a whole lot of content. Life intervenes. I’ve been poking away at it here and there, and the 50th anniversary was last fall, but I’d still like to do this, so I’m trying to step up my Trek game over the next little while to get things moving properly again. Short Fiction and Blog posts are complete, but I’ve got a lot of things left to do yet.

Haiku selection: over the last couple of years, I’ve written hundreds of haiku. For quite a while, I was penning several per day, though that’s dropped back quite a bit in the last few months with a heavier schedule. But I’ve been thinking I’d like to put a hundred or so of them into a digital chapbook. So I’ve got to pick good ones.

Writing Reports for the next little while will focus on project completion rates. I’ll still leave the reports on Mondays, but hopefully will have good news here and there about getting stuff done, or at least how much of that stuff I’m getting done, and I’ll conclude each post with the current list of the next ten focus projects. Things may move around. Individual drafts of novels will count as projects on their own because I like to let things rest in between to come back to them fresher. Overall, I have a flexible five year plan, although only this year and next are plotted out in detail.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for the Week Ending 23 April 2017

Writing Report for the Week Ending 23 April 2017

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I think I’m finally adjusting to my crappy schedule (don’t feel sorry for me – I knew what was going to happen when I took the job). Of course, just as that’s happening, I’m adding to things. Well, not just me, but still.

On the good news side of things, I was offered and excepted the PT job of Publishing Assistant for Bards and Sages Publishing. There was a post here, if you want a couple of details. A couple of hours per week exploring a different piece of the publishing industry and hopefully contributing in a positive way to a great little publisher.

And my oldest child is moving out a week from today. That sucks. I was supposed to have him until Labour Day before he went away to school, but he and four friends have rented a house together, taking possession late in the day on the first of May and they’re all moving in on the 2nd. Came up on us fast, and not just faster than it was supposed to. You always think you have more time. You’re usually wrong.

Anyway, last week’s goals:

  1. Hero’s Life 5 chapters of revision notes.
  2. 5,000 words of progress on the third draft of Draugr Rising.
  3. Second draft on my Kyle short story.
  4. Five chapters of scene description step on Bad Teenage Poetry.
  5. ISIRTA*. Finish listening to Series Three.
  6. BSG**. Watch and take notes for The Lost Warrior.
  7. Short Story Submissions: 3.
  8. Stretch Goal: Story selection for inclusion in The Undead.

Actually accomplished.

  1. Hero’s Life revision notes: 6 chapters.
  2. Draugr Rising 3rd draft: 5,400 words.
  3. Second draft on my Kyle short story completed.
  4. Five chapters of scene description step on Bad Teenage Poetry.
  5. Fail.
  6. Fail.
  7. Fail.
  8. Never got there.

So, four out of seven hit, three completely missed, and the bonus goal never really in sight. I did, however, write several blog posts, get set up for my new part time job, and review the first group of stories for that job. All in all, I’m satisfied with the week.

Next Week’s goals:

  1. Hero’s Life revision notes continued. Hoping to get at least five of the nine chapters between me and the end of the book.
  2. 5,000 words of progress on the third draft of Draugr Rising. Just under 41k to get to the end of the story.
  3. Starting the third draft of my Sulu novelette. This is really more of a hybrid 3rd/final draft. The Trek stories I’ve written were all dictated and I did a lot of cleanup during the revision notes and second drafts on them. I don’t expect a lot of changes at this point. Hope to get to the 5k mark here, with the story currently standing at 10.6k.
  4. Five chapters of scene description step on Bad Teenage Poetry. This would take me to the end of the planned narrative. I expect changes during the first draft when I get there.
  5. ISIRTA*. Finish listening to Series Three. Really.
  6. BSG**. Watch and take notes for The Lost Warrior.
  7. Short Story Submissions: 3.
  8. Stretch Goal: Story selection for inclusion in The Undead.

Again, with current life events, that’s probably much more than I really can hope to get done, especially with a new second job and getting ready for my son to move. Have to see how it works out.

Be well, everyone.

* ISIRTA = I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again

** BSG = Battlestar Galactica

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Writing Report for the Week Ending 16 April 2017

Writing Report for the Week Ending 16 April 2017

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It’s fair to say that life has been kicking my ass for the past few weeks.

And by life, I mean one or two specific events plus the unpleasant work schedule that temporarily goes along with the promotion I accepted at work. The schedule leaves me drained and not interested in trying to accomplish much during my off hours. I have started watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series for the first time ever, but that’s about the extent of my energy level most of the time. There’s been little editing, less writing, and not much creative work at all.

That’s making me unhappy. Unhappier, maybe.

I’m not going to review the bits and pieces I have or haven’t accomplished since taking the new job, but I think I do need to dive back in and start setting some goals again. I don’t know if I’ll get that far with them for the next week or two, at least, but I need to start trying. I’m going to be a little less aggressive than I have been, but not too much. Still worthwhile to push a bit. So…

  1. Hero’s Life revision notes continued. Going to shoot for five chapters this week, with fifteen left to go in this draft.
  2. 5,000 words of progress on the third draft of Draugr Rising. A little more than 46k from the end of the story at the moment.
  3. Second draft on my Kyle short story. The first draft (with notes) stands at 3,226 words.
  4. Five chapters of scene description step on Bad Teenage Poetry. I’ve got ten to go in the planned narrative. Of course, that may change when I start writing the first draft. It often does.
  5. ISIRTA*. Finish listening to Series Three. Really.
  6. BSG**. Watch and take notes for The Lost Warrior.
  7. Short Story Submissions: 3.
  8. Stretch Goal: Story selection for inclusion in The Undead.

That’s probably more than I can hope to get done, but I always like to aim high.

Be well, everyone.

* ISIRTA = I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again

** BSG = Battlestar Galactica

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Writing Report for the Week Ending 19 March 2017

Writing Report for the Week Ending 19 March 2017

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Weekly recap of writing-related activities. Last week’s goals:

1.   10,000 words of progress on the third draft on Scattered on the Wind.

2.   Second draft on my Scotty short story. First draft stands at 3,953 words.

3.   Hero’s Life revision notes continued. Five chapters would be good.

4.   Five chapters of scene description step on Bad Teenage Poetry.

5.   ISIRTA*. Finish listening to Series Three.

6.   BSG**. Write the post for Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 2.

7.   Short Story Submissions: 3. Theoretically, I’m on vacation this week, but there’s a lot going on. I don’t think this should be hard for a change.

8.   Stretch Goal 1: Story selection for inclusion in The Undead.

The Results:

1.   Not just not a bump, but a dramatic underestimate. I finished this draft and still teared up at the last scene. Setting this aside to rest for a bit and I’ll come back to the “read it aloud” draft in a month or so.

2.   Done.

3.   Hero’s Life revision notes: 7 chapters accomplished.

4.   Bad Teenage Poetry scene descriptions: 6 chapters accomplished. Missed one day or it would have been 7.

5.   Nope. Managed to not get to these. Catching up on several podcasts.

6.   Well, I got the notes done for episode 5. I wasn’t at home for more than half the week, but I did have it on the computer I had with me. Time usage noted below.

7.   Zero. Moving right along.

8.   Nope.

I said something last week about an event having some waiting involved? I seam to have used that waiting to accomplish rather a lot of editing beyond the original targets while ignoring a few other goals. Under the general heading of “all writing is good writing” from a polishing your craft perspective, that’s okay, especially because I’m rather happy with what I accomplished.

So now we should set some goals for this week, right?

1.   Hero’s Life revision notes continued. I managed seven chapters last week, so let’s try the same again. Marking this one as the primary project this week, so if I find extra editing time, this is top of the list.

2.   7,000 words of progress on the third draft of Draugr Rising. I actually started this last night, polishing the first chapter.

3.   Second draft on my Chapel short story. With the first draft (with notes) standing at 5,637 words, this is a loftier goal than the same draft on the Scotty short last week.

4.   Five chapters of scene description step on Bad Teenage Poetry. Since I made six last week, this seems reasonable.

5.   ISIRTA*. Finish listening to Series Three.

6.   BSG**. Write the post for “Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 2.”

7.   Short Story Submissions: 3.

8.   Stretch Goal 3: Story selection for inclusion in The Undead.

I wrote as the second last line of a story once, Every day is a new one. That’s true for everything, but I’ve got it in my head for writing right now. Every day is a new one. So is every week, bringing new targets and goals, new distractions, and new directions. Wonder what I’ll accomplish and find this week.

Be well, everyone.

* ISIRTA = I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again

** BSG = Battlestar Galactica

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Writing Report for the Week Ending 12 March 2017

Writing Report for the Week Ending 12 March 2017

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It’s that time again, time for what I’m trying to make the traditional weekly recap. Last week’s goals:

  1. 4,891 words progress on the 2nd draft of Draugr Rising, all that remained.
  2. 5,000 words of progress on the third draft on Scattered on the Wind.
  3. Five chapters of scene description step on Bad Teenage Poetry. The outline actually has 30 chapters, not 40. I was remembering a different plot, I think.
  4. ISIRTA*. Listen to 4 episodes in Series Three.
  5. BSG**. Finish the post for Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 1 and make notes for Part 2.
  6. Short Story Submissions: 3.
  7. Stretch Goal 1: 2,935 words of editing on the 2nd draft of the Sulu novelette, all that remained.
  8. Stretch Goal 3: Story selection for inclusion in The Undead.

The Results:

  1. Complete.
  2. 12,765 words of progress on the “make it pretty” draft. This takes me to almost 2/3 of the way through the narrative, and I have to say I’m a lot happier with the story than I thought I would be at this point.
  3. I actually managed 8 here. Not bad progress. The actual first draft isn’t on the list to start for a little while, but since I seem to be struggling so hard with Shrine, I might rearrange the projection a bit.
  4. Somehow, these never made it to the front of the play list. I’ve fallen behind on a lot of podcasts lately, and wanted to catch up on a couple.
  5. Well, I watched the Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 2, but I need to go through it again to make notes.
  6. 0 submissions this week. Moving right along.
  7. Finished the 2nd draft of the Sulu novelette. I think this works fairly well, too.
  8. Someday.

I got a little sidetracked this week, or maybe a little focused, or both. Aside from the extra progress on two of the primary goals, I also started the Revision Notes draft of Hero’s Life, the second book in the Heroes Inc trilogy. Enjoying this so far, and I think it can go on the regular tasks list for the next couple of weeks.

  1. 10,000 words of progress on the third draft on Scattered on the Wind. I don’t think this is too much of a bump considering this week’s progress.
  2. Second draft on my Scotty short story. First draft stands at 3,953 words.
  3. Hero’s Life revision notes continued. Five chapters would be good.
  4. Five chapters of scene description step on Bad Teenage Poetry.
  5. ISIRTA*. Finish listening to Series Three.
  6. BSG**. Write the post for Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 2.
  7. Short Story Submissions: 3. Theoretically, I’m on vacation this week, but there’s a lot going on. I don’t think this should be hard for a change.
  8. Stretch Goal 1: Story selection for inclusion in The Undead.

Like I wrote above, I’m on vacation for the week, but there are a couple of significant events going on that are going to need a lot of my time. Things that are, gasp, more important than writing. For one of these, there may be an appreciable amount of waiting involved, so things may balance. We’ll see

Be well, everyone.

* ISIRTA = I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again

** BSG = Battlestar Galactica

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