Category: Writing

Writing Report for January 2019

Writing Report for January 2019

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A good beginning to the writing year: 31 writing days out of a possible 31.

Accomplishments in January:

  1. Welkiri Corps: now coming in at 39,443 words, and I think it’s going to just tick 50k by the time I’m done, although it might be a little lower. I seem to be careening towards the end point right now.
  2. Battlefield: just broke the 43k mark today (43,352). Currently forecasting a 77k first draft, which is tighter than usual for a first draft plot for me, drifting only 5k from the original 72k estimate with the 25th (of 46) chapter almost complete.
  3. Editing: finished the final draft of Hero’s Life. Hopefully drafting the third book in the trilogy, Fallen Heroes, this year.
  4. Also editing: all but one short and two novelettes of the chosen Undead stories are at least at third draft status, with 8 out of 40 at final. The short (currently 5400 words) will probably finish 3rd draft tomorrow.
  5. Still editing: working my way through the “make it pretty” draft of Fractured Unity, just over half way through chapter 9 (of 20).
  6. 17 blog posts.
  7. 12 journal entries.

Total word count for the month of 81,661, averaging over 2.6k words per day. I think this was an above average month for what I’m expecting for the rest of the year, even with missing a commuting day due to have to replace a car battery. I worked from home that day and lost the dictation word count, doing some editing in the evening. However, I did also do two solo trips to Ottawa, once using about half the trip for dictation for 6k words and once using all of it to hit 12.7k, so there’s pair of significant boosts there. I don’t expect those trips to be normal, at least not going on my own.

On the publishing side, things were a bit lighter than I originally intended.

  1. I did get all of “Between a Rock and a Klingon” posted on Wattpad.
  2. I also mostly did the cover design for “Thorvald’s Wyrd” but haven’t managed the internal layout yet.

Next up:  February Goals. The open ones, at least. These are heavily reduced due to the vacation my wife and I are taking. Not bringing a computer along.

Goals for February:

  1. Short Fiction: it’s just possible that I’ll get Welkiri Corps done by the end of Feb, but with the vacation it’s more likely that it will take a week or so into March. Looking for at least 6k here.
  2. Battlefield: 12,000 words. There are only 19 commuting days in February for me, with no vacation involved. Looking at the time I’m taking off for flights and recovery, I’m down to only 12.
  3. Short fiction editing: the last Undead stories to 3rd draft, and start into the final drafts of the 32 that aren’t there already.
  4. Third draft of Fractured Unity to be completed.
  5. Non-fiction word count goal for the month is a mere 5000 words.

Switching over to publishing:

  1. I do still want to try to get 10 short story submissions in.
  2. The first batch of query letters will go out for Ancient Runes. Yeah, that was supposed to happen in January.
  3. “Thorvald’s Wyrd” layout to be finished so that it can actually become an ebook and start posting on Wattpad.
  4. Cover design and layout for Skip To My Luu. I’d like to get this up and rolling as well.

The total word goal for the month is only 23k. Very low, but in line with time off and other plans for the month. A vacation that costs only a week of commutes will drop the monthly goals by 9250 words. I’ll adjust accordingly. I’m taking 7 working days and there’s a stat holiday in February, too. March is back to normal and I’ll likely be looking for a similar set of word count goals as I’d originally set for January, something around 40k.

Be well, everyone.

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Star Trek – A Chekov Story

Star Trek – A Chekov Story

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

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

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

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

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

Be well, everyone.

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What I’m Working On Right Now

What I’m Working On Right Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be well, everyone.

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Driving and Dictating

Driving and Dictating

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My favourite dictation app. Care of tascam.eu.

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

That’s okay. I can drive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wish me luck.

Be well, everyone.

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

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2019: The Writing Goals

2019: The Writing Goals

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

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

I’m building my writing

Writing Goals

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

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

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

Publishing Goals

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

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

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

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

Be well, everyone.

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2018: The Year in Writing

2018: The Year in Writing

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

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

The Basic Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short story goals: 24 short stories drafted.

Result: two long shorts and a long novelette.

Short story editing: get some done, dagnabit.

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be well, everyone.

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December Writing Report

December Writing Report

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

Accomplishments in December:

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

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

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

Goals for January:

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

Switching over to publishing:

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

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

Be well, everyone.

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The Writing Life

The Writing Life

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby featherSometimes, the writer’s life is easy. Sometimes it’s not.

Sometimes the words don’t come or the story doesn’t work or you suddenly hate your main character.

Sometimes, you forget the rules of grammar so that the ones you break aren’t intentional and what you’ve just written reads like you wrote it while drunk and having bed spins.

Sometimes you can fly by the seat of your pants and sometimes you can’t.

Sometimes your carefully plotted out story bores the crap out of you because you plotted it out too much.

Sometimes, a sentence falls out of one of your characters’ mouths so perfectly and so naturally that it sends you reeling away from the straight-line path of your outline, so far out of the way that’s going to cost you thousands of words and be perfect for the story even though you have no idea how you’re going to get back.

Sometimes, when you’re going back to edit something you’ve written, the thing that has just passed before your eyes makes no sense whatsoever and you have no idea what you originally intended for that sentence, paragraph, chapter.

Sometimes, when you are experimenting with dictation, and you’re not in a perfect sound environment, the transcription software twists your words and the background noise into something nonsensical, hilarious, offensive, or pornographic.

Sometimes, when you’re thinking about that transcription software to closely, you start to lose hope over the fact that you can probably, most of the time, never expect more than about a 90% accuracy, regardless of the claims the software makes, and you’re crushed into realizing that that means 10,000 of the hundred thousand words in your novel are the wrong words.

Sometimes, not counting the words it gets wrong, your transcription software drops words or adds some that aren’t there.

Sometimes, you could get so wrapped up in getting today’s words in that you neglect housework, other projects, plants, pets, children, spouse.

Sometimes, you forget meals, miss appointments, leave for work far later that you should have and risk a significant speeding ticket to show up on time.

Sometimes you wake up with a spectacular idea or have one in the shower or while you’re driving or running or doing something that doesn’t involve writing and by the time you can reach for a pencil or a voice recorder or a phone or laptop, it’s far too late.

Sometimes things work too well and sometimes they don’t work at all, and

Sometimes that’s in the same writing session.

Sometimes it’s in the same paragraph.

So why would anyone choose to be a writer?

Especially since I haven’t mentioned any of the massive frustrations of trying to get someone else to publish your work. Or review it. Or read it. Or even look at it.

I should look up who said it first, someone very famous in the writing world, I expect, but it’s fairly common advice that if you can do anything other than write then you should. It’s a miserable life.

Sometimes ecstatic and others soul-crushing, it’s filled with extremes, and you have to have a life while you do it and a real job and maybe even a family; at the very least there are probably people you care about. So yes, if you can do something other than write, you probably should.

If you can’t, then some part of your energy is almost always going in that direction.

I definitely go through phases where I can’t write, where life intervenes, where stuff is going on that has to be dealt with, but I’m still desperate to, and I’m always, always happier when I’m writing. I can’t speak for every writer, just for myself, but I’m always happiest when I’m learning or creating something, and writing is one of a very few things that can give me both.

Someday, I may even be good at it, but there’s only one way to find that out.

Be well, everyone.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Writing Report for November 2018

Writing Report for November 2018

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby featherSo I wound up taking most of the first half of November off from writing, too, then easing back in slowly. The words counts were decent, if not as frantic as they’ve been in recent months, and there were only a total of 16 writing days out of a possible 30. Not as many as I’d like.

Accomplishments in November:

  1. Short Fiction: I put a whole 5,185 words into short fiction this month, all of them into a story with the working title of “Iambic Tetrameter”, that I think is probably going to wind up being a fairly long novella. At a guess, something over 20k words. Possibly 25k.
  2. Palace now stands at 66,097 words with 13 of 43 planned chapters left to go in the plot.
  3. On the editing side of things, nothing. Next month.
  4. 8 blog posts.
  5. 11 journal entries.

Total word count for the month of 24,676, averaging 1452 words per writing day, which is still a respectable number overall. This might have been just a touch higher if the cold I’ve been trying to fight off for the last several days hadn’t mostly cost my voice for the homeward commute last night. Still not a bat number. If it’s lighter than October, which was already a lighter month than normal, that’s okay. I wrote what I wrote.

On the publishing side of things:

  1. I’m just going to go ahead and admit that very little happened here. I’ll do better next month.

December is going to be a bit different. I’m targeting my writing efforts based on whether I’m working or not and setting goals accordingly. There won’t, generally, be any drafting, fiction or non-fiction, short or long, on weekends. It’s possibly I’ll break that rule, but likely not in a big way. There will also be a few extra days off due to the holiday season, which will further drive the overall count down, and so the average.

Goals for December:

  1. Short Fiction: 5,000 words. No writing on days off, remember?
  2. Palace: 20,000 words. I think this will carry me to the end of the plot, considering I’ve only got 17,500 words left in my expected plot. But I’ve gotten sidetracked before.
  3. It would be really nice to get the final read through of Hero’s Life done by the end of the month, also being the end of the year. Lots of extra editing on days off. Only editing on days off.
  4. Once again, there should be some short fiction editing, too.
  5. Non-fiction goal is also set at 5k for the month.
  6. 5 short story submissions. Keep trying.
  7. Small Press/Agent hunt continues, getting ready to pick who I want to send Ancient Runes to first, starting in January.

So, the total word goal for the month is only 30,000. That is higher than November, but a lot lower than I worked at in the late summer and early autumn (not a big deal – since I dove back into writing at the very end of July, I’ve put in 230,000 words). With holiday adjustments and because of where the weekends fall, I’m only going to have 18 drafting days in December. And I may continue that habit for at least the first quarter of the new year to balance out the editing a bit more.

But I still need to type faster.

Be well, everyone.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Back On Track?

Back On Track?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby featherSo I’m starting to feel like I’m back on track with the writing.

While I’m not back up to the daily output of August to October yet, there’s at least some word count. Some days are pretty solid. Others are lighter. This past weekend, I actually had no words on Saturday, but that was due to a set of all-day seminars in the karate part of my life. Whenever I take all day for something like that, there are other things are left done, so I when come home, there are a whole bunch of chores to do. By the time I was caught up to where I wanted to be, I really had very little energy left, and let myself sink into the couch to watch a movie with my wife and my oldest daughter.

But otherwise, the word count is on the upslope again. Yes, there are some days where I’m under a thousand, where I choose to listen to something on the way home from work rather than dictate, and the novel progress is suffering a bit that way, but that’s okay, if I think about it a little. I have lots of stuff that needs a lot more editing, and the more time I spend drafting, but further behind I’ll get on the editing side. To stay even, or get ahead, I need a whole more editing time than I’ve been getting, and that’s a lot harder to come by.

I’m sure I’ve talked about it before, but I do four drafts of most things: story dump, fix what’s broken, make it pretty, read it out loud. Actually, technically there is a partial draft in between story dump and fix what’s broken, where I read through the story and make notes so that I can figure out what needs to be fixed. All told, on average, every hour of drafting probably needs about 2 1/2 hours to get through the various editing passes.

I’m thinking that means I’ll never catch up so long as I am working a regular job five days a week with a commute that lets me dictate. Ah, well. I have a lot of stories I want to tell. Maybe I’ll get most of them out of my head before I die.

My current process makes more specific use of my commute, as well. The morning commute, or the commute to work, whichever phrasing seems make more sense that day, is about evenly split between a blog or journal entry, and a piece of short fiction. Although, based on where my mind is going with it, the piece of short fiction I’m working on right now is probably a fairly long novella. Evening is dedicated to the current novel project, which is still Palace for another 22,000 words or so.

In practice, if I’m on the ball for all of both commutes, that’s around 2500 words once it’s been run through the transcriber. Twelve to thirteen hundred in each direction. And that’s a good total for me, even if it is divided among three things. At an average of 22 working days per month, that should usually wind up in excess of 50,000 words each month. And that’s not a bad monthly total. If I can find some evening time and get a couple of hours of work in each day on the weekends, the numbers should only go up from there, right?

But I really, really need to find some editing time. Lots of it.

If I could just afford to take a year or two off work…

Be well, everyoneFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather