Category: Writing

2018 Writing Goals

2018 Writing Goals

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For 2018, I actually have two sets of writing goals: the publicly stated goals, which will be listed here, and the “Stretch” goals, which I’ll be keeping private until/unless I actually hit the public goals. The list follows, but I could really have split this into several different lists by category. You’ll notice a progression: novels drafting, novels editing, short fiction, non-Fiction, Year of Trek.

  1. Completed outlines for three novels to be drafted in 2019: 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.
  2. Finish the first draft of Shrine. Fantasy, and the second book in a set of four.
  3. First draft of Bad Teenage Poetry. Historical fiction set in the 1980s. May or may not be reflective of some experiences I actually had, plus others. Using poetry I actually wrote in the 1980s as a teenager.
  4. First draft of Fallen Heroes. SF, sort of. Third book in the Heroes Inc
  5. Arena to final draft status.
  6. Hero’s Life to final draft status.
  7. Shrine to third draft completion.
  8. Bad Teenage Poetry revision notes.
  9. 24 short stories, length and genre unspecified. These may or may not be built into a themed collection that I may or may not do. Anticipated length range 2-7k words each.
  10. Editing on all of the Undead stories and turning this into a collection.
  11. Photography and design elements for my small haiku collection.
  12. All of the remaining Year of Trek planned projects so I can actually do this. In no particular order:
    1. USS Marathon logs recording.
    2. The rest of the “Season 3” audio drama scripts.
    3. Fractured Unity novel completion.
    4. Pointers to a lot of great fan production.
    5. Nostalgia book, comic, and merchandise reviews.
    6. Finish my favourite Star Trek meme collection.
    7. A small group of media ideas I’m keeping secret.

Seems like a lot, maybe, especially considering the trials and tribulations of last couple of years, and these are the public goals. Think about how steep the stretch goals must be.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for 15 January 2018

Writing Report for 15 January 2018

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Settled down after much holiday travel, much holiday work business, and a family issue or two. I’m actually making a little progress. Blogging has been lighter, but I’ve managed to get some work done on a few projects that are easy to carry with me and don’t require a flat surface to work on. Accomplishments in the last week or so (well, let’s say since the calendar year started and give it two weeks):

  1. I actually put in a little over 3,700 words on Shrine. Setting a goal going forward of 5000 words per week, rather than a daily goal, although if I manage 715 words per day, the weekly goal takes care of itself. I have about 47% of the plot left to get done on what was originally supposed to be about a 60,000-word story and is currently sitting just a few words over 47,000.
  2. Finished the outline on Palace, the sequel to Shrine and the third book in the Troll World Quartet. Not exactly sure when I’ll get to the point of writing the actual first draft, but it’s ready when I do.
  3. I’ve also managed the outline of Seven Days a King, which will be near-future SF, if that isn’t clear from the title, to the point where it’s outlined in broad strokes and I have the scene-level detail left to go.
  4. The second draft of Hero’s Life stands at 31% complete, which sounds impressive until you understand that the second draft for me is just about addressing the notes I made of issues as I read through the story again. Third draft is the one that takes the most effort, maybe including the initial brain dump to get the story out of my head.
  5. And I did finish the final read-through draft of Draugr Rising, just before Grav-mass.
  6. Short fiction, I’ve started the basic plot brainstorming for a themed short story collection I’m labelling Speculative Emotion for the moment. The problem here is that I’m torn between writing this myself and trying to do it as a multi-author thing where it actually gets published in some fashion.
  7. On the non-fiction side of things, I’m toying with the idea of a project that looks at I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again (ISIRTA), a BBC Radio comedy show that ran from the mid-1960s into the early 70s, which I discovered on PBS in the late 80s and found online again in the last few years. Pun-filled and absurdism-riddled, this is some classic comedy history and a lot of it (but not all) still holds up fifty-plus years later. I’ve gone so far as to put together a basic outline and structure for the project.

Target projects that will get at least some effort (and remember that I’m happier working on several things at once rather than one thing at a time):

  1. The “properly” drawn and then ink versions of the strips for Star Trek: The Badly Drawn Stick Figure Comic. Yes, I still haven’t gotten to this.
  2. Finishing the outline for Seven Days a King. First draft to follow at some point.
  3. Completing the first draft of Shrine. My current projection shows that, if I can keep on track with the weekly goals, this will happen at the end of the third week of February.
  4. Finish the last few reviews from my 2017 reading and turn that into the same document I’ve done for 2015 and 2016 reading lists.
  5. The second draft of Hero’s Life.
  6. Make decisions on what I want to do with the Speculative Emotion and ISIRTA

And, you know, take care of the rest of life, too.

Be well, everyone.

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2017 Writing Summary

2017 Writing Summary

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Let’s face it, 2017 was a rather weak writing year for me.

The year came with some major life adjustments, including, in particular, a much-increased set of responsibilities at work, some family health issues, and dealing with my oldest child moving out on his own to go to school.

Less an excuse and more a set of facts, but it comes down to me only writing 42,000 words of new fiction this year. Now, there was more than 103,000 words of non-fiction, including blog posts and reviews, and I took three novels to final draft complete status, as well as detailed plots for three more, and another to a second draft complete. Short fiction was weaker on the new wordage front, but did all right under the heading of editing, as well, with every story slotted for the Undead collection at least at second draft status and some of them all the way to final.

Non-fiction fared a little better, with lots of review done, 70 or so blog posts, and the 2015 and 2016 Reading Journeys formatted and put into PDF files for easier access by people who aren’t me who have an interest.

I know that’s less of a detailed review than I usually do, but we’re into the next year now and I’m setting my sights on some pretty significant goals, which I’ll discuss another day. And, to steal a line, “I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now.”

Be well, everyone.

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What Do I Want From My Writing?

What Do I Want From My Writing?

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I’ve been trying to take my writing seriously for most of the past decade. During that time, I’ve completed, at least to the first draft level, eleven novels ranging in length from 60,000 to 126,000 words, 171 short stories from 100-word flash pieces to a 35,000-word novella.

Over the course of just slightly more than ten years, I have, by my tracking, put more than 3.4 Million words together into sentences as of this afternoon, nearly 2.5 Million of them fiction.

108,000 of those have been accepted for publication by other sources.

Life intervenes frequently, of course. I have a family, including 3 teenagers, a career, a giant dog, several feline overlords, and a lot of responsibilities. Major events have sometimes gotten in the way of things, writing-wise, and you need to deal with what the universe puts in your path.

But I can get the words in when I’m focused. At this point, I feel like I’m at least a decent storyteller, and if my first drafts still tend to be rather rough (though once in a while, I surprise myself), my editing process works well for me and produces a decent final product when the starting product is worthwhile, or so I’m told by non-familial beta readers.

So why am I not publishing? Why am I not at least submitting?

Ah, there’s the question. Why am I not submitting? I can find time to craft the words, but I can’t seem to find time to get them into other people’s hands or to put things together into well-crafted books of my own and go the indie route.

And that, no surprise, is what needs to change.

I’m setting some pretty significant word goals for 2018. Or I was. Those need to be a little lighter to make some time to get my work out there. 2018 needs to not just be filled with words, but with submissions at every level and perhaps an agent hunt, too.

Some planning needs to go into my writing career from here forward.

Be well, everyone.

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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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