Category: Writing

Writing Report for 11 December 2017

Writing Report for 11 December 2017

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The busy-ness seems to continue. I didn’t get a lot done on the writing front this week and, now that I look back, that seems completely normal when I’m on day shift in the past year. Working nights, I seem to have more quiet time available.

Accomplishments rank above zero, but count mainly as blog posts. I have started plotting/outlining Palace, the third book in the Troll World quartet. Other than that, there really hasn’t been much. I hope the next couple of weeks will be better, in spite of the Holiday season, as I have a couple of extra days off here and there (although not the standard holidays themselves).

Targets for effort:

  1. The “properly” drawn and then ink versions of the strips for Star Trek: The Badly Drawn Stick Figure Comic.
  2. Trying to finish the final draft of Draugr Rising.
  3. Completing the first draft of Shrine the second of the Troll World books. Hopefully, I’ll squeeze enough words into this during December that I can get polish the draft off in January.
  4. Detailed outline of the third Troll World book, Palace.
  5. Once the comic strips are done, I’ll move onto the next piece of the Year of Trek posts, nostalgia generating Books, Comics, Merchandise.
  6. The second draft of Hero’s Life.

Let’s see how this goes.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for 04 December 2017

Writing Report for 04 December 2017

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So not much to report, really. I’ve had a busy, stressful week. Probably, that means I should be writing more. Or, you know, at all.

Actually, I got a little bit done in the way of blog posts in the past week, but not much more. I’m not stalled on anything, exactly. I just don’t have the energy at the moment. Too much taking up the energy I do have, so when I sit down to the keyboard, I’m more likely to be skimming through news or other information on the internet.

Lots of reading. Not much writing.

This too shall pass.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for 27 November 2017

Writing Report for 27 November 2017

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Okay, it’s been a while, and life has been super hectic with lots of stuff going on. I haven’t been writing an awful lot, so this will be a quick rundown on what little I have accomplished in the last month and where I stand on various projects.

First, completions:

  1. The first draft of the Haiku book is complete. A little revision due here and then some layout and cover art.
  2. Reading Journey PDF files for 2015 and 2016 are done. 2017 is left for a January finish. After all, it’s still 2017 and I’m still expecting to read more this year.
  3. Second draft finished on all of the selected stories for The Undead.
  4. Outline complete for Converging Destiny, sequel to Universal Destiny. I hope to write the first draft next year.

Where I’m making (or not) progress:

  1. Still haven’t done the “good” versions of the strips for Star Trek: The Badly Drawn Stick Figure Comic. After that, inking and scanning.
  2. Almost exactly 50% through the final draft of Draugr Rising.
  3. I’m just half a scene shy of the halfway mark in Shrine. A long way to go. Seems unlikely I’ll finish the first draft by the end of the year, but it won’t be too far into January.

Where I’d like to go next:

  1. Detailed outline of the third Troll World book, Palace.
  2. The next piece of the Year of Trek posts, nostalgia generating Books, Comics, Merchandise.
  3. The second draft of Hero’s Life.

So, I need the rest of my life to be less busy so I can get back to work.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for 26 October 2017

Writing Report for 26 October 2017

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Update for the week and a half that ended yesterday. I’m late, so sue me.

No trips out of town, and a few more days off work from the primary job have helped me make a little more progress on a lot of things.

  1. The first draft of the Haiku book is almost done. All that’s left is cover art and a final set of 4 haiku that weren’t to be written until everything else was done. After that, we begin learning about layout.
  2. All strips for Star Trek: The Badly Drawn Stick Figure Comic have been drafted. Next, “good” versions and inking. Finally, scanning.
  3. I’m now about 44% through the final draft of Draugr Rising. Total length change of a whole 325 words. I’ve certainly manipulated more than that, but this story keeps surprising me.
  4. I’m into the second draft round on stories for The Undead. Most of them so far have some fairly easy changes to make so things are working well overall. Some of them were originally dictated and need some significant cleaning. But I feel like I’m putting this one back on track.
  5. I’ve only put a little more than 1200 words into Shrine in the past week or so. Mostly, I’m dictating this first draft during commutes. No commute means no new words. I tend to spend my sit-down writing time on later drafts at the moment. I’m back at work again, so this should pick up.
  6. I also pulled out the 2015 book review file and gave it a quick once over, adding a few words to section starts. Sixty or seventy images and I’ll be ready to turn this into a PDF file. Then the same for the 2016 file. I might even be ready to take care of 2017 in January. Although, I’m several reviews behind at the moment.

Back into the editing groove I go.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for 16 October 2017

Writing Report for 16 October 2017

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Quick update for the previous week. I’m not as far along on anything listed below as I might have been if I hadn’t gone to Ottawa to attend CanCon (about which more tomorrow) and visit my parents this past weekend, but I’m still happy with the progress I made where I made it.

I have two stories left at the revision notes level for The Undead. Both of these are edging up against novelette length, and the editing process will probably push them over that edge.

I’m about 20% through the final draft of Draugr Rising. Mostly tiny wording changes although there was a scene where I chopped a couple of paragraphs and another where I twisted things a little for better emotional result.

Closing in on the halfway mark of Shrine, (18.5 chapters drafted out of 40) at least according to the original outline. But I’m at 41000 words into an outline that estimated 60,000 total. Oops.

Haiku selection is done and I’m drafting the opening and closing text for the book.

Fourteen of twenty strips drafted for Star Trek: The Badly Drawn Stick Figure Comic. This is actually only two more than I had, but is still progress.

All in all, not bad.

The NaNoWriMo debate is over. Not doing it. Nothing I’ve plotted or could have ready two weeks from now will come in around 50,000 words when drafted. I have too much going on at the moment and I want to continue to make progress on existing projects without starting some random new one. I do plan to push the word count back into NaNo levels for Shrine if I can, and I certainly have other things to pick up right after it’s done.

Gotta go. More words to smith.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for 09 October 2017

Writing Report for 09 October 2017

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Doing one of these two weeks in a row doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m back to doing one every week, but it does mean I have something to report this week.

I have a lot of in progress projects. Not all of them are fiction (although most are), and one of the ones that isn’t hit a major milestone this week. I finished the selection of 120 haiku (from among something like a thousand) for a slim volume of them I’m planning. That was more work than you might think and probably is the lion’s share of the “standard” creative part of the book. Next, a little bit of introductory text before I teach myself the basics of layout and design. Still not a published book yet, but a step closer.

From a novel standpoint, I generally give myself a breakdown so that each phase is a separate item. I discussed those phases in a blog post last week, but I’ve just completed the first phase, the chapter level rough plot, for the third Troll World book: Palace. Book 1, Arena, is on the slate for 3rd draft shortly, and book two, Shrine, is my current 1st draft project. The final (?) book, Battlefield, isn’t even going to get an outline until late next year.

Feeling productive for a change, I’ve also made some revision notes progress on a number of the short pieces for The Undead and I’ve started the read aloud draft on Draugr Rising.

Oh, and I’m debating NaNoWriMo as I’ve been pleased with the results the last couple of times I’ve tried it and it’s been a couple of years. Trying to decide if it should be something completely fresh or one of the couple of things I could have outlined by November 1st. Thing is, none of those are likely to be merely 50,000 words in the first draft. Something to think about.

Yeah, I’m diving in as deep as I can.

Be well, everyone.

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The Stages of Writing a Novel… For Me

The Stages of Writing a Novel… For Me

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No jokes, no bad puns or exaggerations. This is the basic process of writing a novel for me.

  1. Basic Concept. I’ve got too many of these. Really. There are around three dozen novels I want to write at the moment. Actually, probably closer to twice that, but three-ish dozen where I’ve got a basic, solid concept in mind, and probably a couple of hundred words in a file somewhere describing what I want, including probably a sentence to describe each POV character.
  2. Rough Plot. Start with the beginning and the end and figure out a rough sequence of events, possibly even at the chapter level.
  3. An expansion of the Rough Plot to the scene level, more or less, with a hundred or so words of description of each significant scene and a couple of sentences to summarize shorter bursts of action or activity.
  4. 1st The brain dump, getting the story out of my skull. This is raw, filled with issues and problems and inconsistences. I’ll come back for those later. My 1st draft is often very bare bones, not a lot of description beyond the immediate action. That comes later.
  5. Put the first draft away for long enough that the story isn’t fresh in my mind. Write something else, or more than one something, to help that process along. Could be months.
  6. Revision Notes. With fresh eyes, read the story, making a note of every single problem, issue, continuity error, or anything else that bugs me.
  7. 2nd The fix what’s broken draft. All of those notes from the last step get addressed here. Every single one of them. Plus whatever else jumps out. This usually adds length to the story, on average about 8% on the novels I’ve gotten to this stage, even though there’s often stuff that gets cut out, too. This is also where I clean up a lot of dictation errors if it’s something I wrote while commuting.
  8. 3rd The make it pretty draft. This is all about word choices and making sure every scene, paragraph, and sentence says what I want it to. The story usually gets longer here, too. More dictation cleaning, probably, but this is also where a lot of the description I didn’t put in when doing the initial draft appears.
  9. Final Draft. I usually call this the “read it aloud” draft, because that’s the primary focus here, reading it aloud to see if I’ve missed anything. Hearing the words sometimes catches things my eyes just gloss over. If my tongue trips, it probably doesn’t work and I need to fix something, even if it’s just a single word.

And remember how I said my initial draft is usually pretty bare bones? The distance between the last sentence of the first draft and allowing other human eyes to see the story is, based on a sample of 4, roughly 20-25% of the original length. Sixty thousand words probably becomes 72-75. 80 might break 100. That said, a novel I’m going to take from 3rd to final sometimes soon may be a whole lot less than that; Scattered on the Wind has had less than 10% growth between 1st and 3rd drafts, and I don’t think it’s going to add much in the final.

Going through all this for this post, I discovered I’m even farther behind where I wanted to be at this point in the year than I thought. I have eight different novels somewhere between the rough plot and third draft, never mind the dozens of others I’d like to write.

Probably, I should get to work.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for 02 October 2017

Writing Report for 02 October 2017

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So it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but since most of what I’ve written lately has been in the form of book reviews, that’s probably okay.

I have made some progress on some creative things, having drafted the majority of my Star Trek stick figure comic strips, picked out about 80% of the haiku for a planned book of them, started (but not finished) two short stories, and, of course, written a whole bunch of book reviews as well as a few blog posts.

I did finish the rough plot of the sequel to Universal Destiny, but that book is still in the group of novels I actually need to do something with, a count which stands at four. Well, sort of. There are four novels I consider to be “final” draft complete. There are six more running somewhere between first and third draft complete. Plus two first drafts in progress, one fully outlined, and two rough plotted.

Sheesh. I better get to work.

Be well, everyone.

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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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