• Writing

    Writing Report for October 2016

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    Skeletal handsSo, on the surface of things, October was not a very good writing month. Actually, if you look below the surface, that’s still the case.

    There are reasons that boil down to “life is busy and unpredictable”.

    I had my first real cold in almost three years. It took a week and a half to kick, or so I thought. It came back a week later. I don’t write a lot when I’m sick and I don’t feel like editing – just keeping up with family and work usually drains all of the energy I’ve got.

    Family is always busy with three teenagers, and work has entered an extremely busy period for me. There’s also some possibility of me changing jobs (and locations), which will make the rest of the year crazy. I should say crazier. If I don’t move, there’s still a whole lot of work for me to do where I am. More on that as it develops.

    What it basically amounts to is that I wrote no fiction at all in the back half of the month and only a few thousand words of non-fiction in the form of book reviews and blog posts. So this report will be a bit shorter than usual. Okay, a lot shorter, but that’s okay, and I’m going to change up how I do these starting with the next report as well.

    More on that after the numbers.


    Novel-Length Fiction

    Drafting: Shrine: 12,187 words

    Bringing me up to a total of 22,036 and about a third of the way through the planned narrative. Well, actually more like a quarter, which worries me a bit. There were a couple of things I wanted to let the characters explore, so I did, and if that happens again, my planned 60-65k novel could wind up over 90. As it is, I think it might break 80. Might be time to look at the plot a bit or maybe just not let them explore so much.

    Revision Notes: Draugr Rising

    I’ve made it through the first seven chapters for revision notes. What I did went fairly slowly as most of the story was dictated and I didn’t do a lot of cleaning at the time. I start out each chapter doing some cleaning as I go, but don’t usually make it all the way through. Trying to save that for the second draft.

    Second Draft: Scattered on the Wind

    Finished the revision notes and got into the actual second draft, and actually quite a good distance through the second draft. There are fewer things wrong with the story than I remember, and fewer continuity problems. The fixes are going quite nicely. Third draft might stretch out a bit, though, as I refine the main character’s voice a bit.

    Third Draft: Universal Destiny

    Finished the third draft and I’d planned to set it aside for a couple of weeks to rest before the final read through. I’m going to try to clean up a couple of other drafts before I go back to it. Still before the end of the year.


    Short Fiction

    6,650 words, finishing 2 undead stories (Spectre and a Wight) and taking care of most of the remaining first draft of a superhero story that’s going to nudge over into novelette territory when done.


    Year of Trek Fiction

    This mostly got set aside for the month. No real progress to report here beyond being about 2/3 done the second draft of the Uhura novelette. It seems likely I should have started putting a lot of time into this project a couple of years ago. A little late now.


    Other Writing

    16,560 words on blog entries, journal entries, and book reviews. And there weren’t all that many blog entries, even counting this one. I’m also behind on book reviews. While I don’t write much when I’m sick, I read a lot, and I’ll switch to audiobooks in the car, especially when I run low on podcasts. I finished reading eight novels, a book of poetry, a biography, and two other non-fiction books during October. Half of those don’t have a full review yet, only notes.


    Total for the Month

    Counting word count changes due to editing and adding absolutely everything together, the total for the month comes in at 38,685. I’m still happy with that, even though most of it happened before the 15th and even though it’s not what I originally wanted. I’ve got my health back and I feel well rested for a change, so I’m going to start pushing forward into November.


    Another Shift in Strategy

    And this is where the reports change. From here I’m setting weekly goals instead. I want to try myself out on the idea of hitting smaller goals regularly and focusing just a little bit.

    That first piece also means the reports will be more frequent and shorter, along the lines of “here’s what I did this week and here are the goals for next week”, presented Monday-ish.

    The second piece means I’m going to rein in the number of concurrent projects just a little. For novels: maximum of three things at any given time, between drafting and editing. Word goals will fluctuate significantly, especially if I want to spend extra time editing (long weekends or vacations are the most likely times for this to happen). Short fiction, no more than two things concurrently: one drafting and one editing.

    So, for the week of 31 Oct – 06 Nov 2016, here are the targets.

    1. 10,000 words of fiction, any way to the number.
    2. There are 10 chapters worth of second draft left in Scattered on the Wind. Going for it.
    3. I’d also like to get 8 chapters worth of revision notes done on Draugr Rising.
    4. Short Story Submissions: 1, because I need to get back into the game.
    5. Stretch Goal: finish the outline for Fallen Heroes.

    Seems like enough for a week that’s starting at only 6 days.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Writing

    Writing Report, September 2016

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    Welcome to the monthly writing report. As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve made a change in my overall writing strategy to incorporate more editing in general and little or no drafting on weekends. That decision, made in order to potentially keep a little balance and not get years ahead in drafting stories, colours everything that follows in this report.


    Novel-Length Fiction

    Drafting: Hero’s Life, 16,699 words

    Finished on 28 September at 58,982 words. That said, there is a lot of cleanup necessary in the dictation this time. Not sure if it’s the new installation of Dragon, a crappier headset microphone, or excessive road noise in my tiny car. Probably some of each. I’ll tidy a little when I get to revision notes and the rest during the second draft. That level of tidying will probably make the third draft a lot smoother and easier.

    Drafting: Shrine, 9,849 words

    After struggling with parts of Hero’s Life, I’ve made a start on Shrine, with several thousand words of transcription and a couple of days of dictation totalling 9,849 words. Not quite where I originally expected to be before shifting gears, but not a bad start.

    Revision Notes: Scattered on the Wind

    Scattered was my 2014 NaNoWriMo project, with a teenager as the protagonist after her family emigrates to a new planet. I’m just over two-thirds (by word count – eleven chapters to go) through story making revision notes, and things are hanging together better than I expected. A lot better. Like, I like the story better.

    Second: Arena

    Completed on 12 September. See previously mention note on strategy changes.

    Third Draft: Universal Destiny

    As of September 30th, stood at 78% completion. A little cleaning, a little presentation, a little polishing. The word count doesn’t change much day to day, but the third draft should be just on the high side of 75k words when finished. With the strategy change (okay, I won’t mention it again), I’m actually expecting to be finished this draft in mid-October instead of by the end of the year.


    Short Fiction

    I finished only 2 started-from-nothing short stories this month, both for the Undead Project, one at 2,510 and one at 2,727 for the first draft. I’ve also put in about 3,000 words into something I think is going to finish at around 4,500. The end of this project, at least for first drafts, is in sight. Even with a weak September, I expect to have the last first draft story finished sometime in mid-October

    Also finished two stories picking up previous ideas, a mixed SF/F story at 6,131 words (about 2,500 when I picked it back up) and a short I took from about 500 words to 3,729 at first draft completion. Working on something now that I thought was going to be a Superhero prison break short story, but inspiration gave me a twist turning it into something far different that I’m pretty sure is going to wind up being a heave novelette.

    Total short fiction wordage for the month: 17,234. Lighter than last month, but still not bad.


    Year of Trek Fiction

    The Chekov novella is at final draft and I’m mid-way through the second draft of the novelette starring Uhura. This one is a little slower going as I changed something fundamental about the story, noting it inside brackets, not once, but twice. By the time I’m finished the second draft, no one will ever know, but aside from tidying up the dictation and fixing things wrong with the plot, it needs more rewriting than is normal for a second draft. With luck, both it and the Sulu novelette will hit final draft by the end of October.


    Other Writing

    A handful of reviews, a few blog posts, and a little bit of poetry transcription makes for another 11,104 words. On the subject of poetry transcription, having misplaced my primary haiku notebook, I found it again only to lose the replacement. I’m sure it will turn up eventually, but in the meantime, there’s a gap almost a month long in my haiku work.


    Total for the Month

    Counting word count changes due to editing and adding absolutely everything together, the total for the month comes to a fairly impressive 62,524. Perhaps not as impressive as the almost 105,000 words I racked up in August, but I’m quite happy with things overall. If I’d struggled a little less early in the month with Hero’s Life, I suspect that would have been 10k or so higher, but life has a way of changing things.


    Goals for October and Beyond

    1. Universal Destiny: finishing up the Make It Pretty draft.
    2. Arena: if I can maintain the current editing pace of, I should be about ¾ of the way through the story, maybe even a little more.
    3. Shrine: the sequel to Arena. Peeling back to no drafting on weekends, I hope to be something close to half way through the story, in excess of 25k words.
    4. Fallen Heroes: third book in what I’ve come to think of as the Heroes Inc With the first draft of Hero’s Life complete, I feel comfortable in outlining the third book.
    5. Scattered on the Wind: no idea how far I’ll get, but revision notes to be completed in October and jumping into the second draft.
    6. At least 15,000 words of short fiction, finishing the first draft of the last Undead stories and continuing work on some of the incomplete stories I’d like to turn into complete ones—there are still seven of these after the I’m working on, two more of which I’m sure are novelettes, one of which may jump over the line to novella.

    I’m trying to limit my basic reforecasting to only once per week and a major one for the end of each month, but the spreadsheet I’ve built to assist in that is a thing of beauty. If you like spreadsheets.

    For the rest of the year, October-December, working through completion levels from Final Read Through down to basic outline:

    Read through complete for Heroes Inc, Skip to My Luu, and Graceland.

    Final Draft: Universal Destiny.

    Third draft: complete for: Arena as stretch goal. The current forecast says no earlier than mid-January, but it could happen.

    Second draft: complete for: Scattered on the Wind and starting on Draugr Rising. So far, Scattered is far less broken than I remember, but I’m only at the midpoint for revision notes and there’s still plenty of time for things to go wrong. Draugr, I remember as being stiff and strange at times, so we’ll see what that looks like when I crack it open.

    Revision notes: complete for Draugr Rising.

    First draft: complete for Shrine and all stories for The Undead.

    Plotting: Fallen Heroes, the third, and planned final, in the Heroes Inc. trilogy.

    Basic Outline: a list of story ideas for Speculative Emotion.

    Note that anything falling into one category isn’t listed in another. If I’m hoping to be done the second draft for Scattered On the Wind, that means I need to have finished the revision notes, too.

    Again, how much I actually accomplish each month will depend on a lot of things. I’m maintaining an aggressive plan, considering work, family, and life, even if the overall shape of that plan changes sometimes. And I reserve the right to change my mind about any particular project and the order I want to pursue things in. Just considering the novel-length stories I want to tell right now, if I maintain the general drafting pace I’m making at the moment, it will take until near the end of 2027 to finish the last first draft.

    And I have several ideas I’m putting a tiny bit of flesh on.

    And I have a couple of non-fiction projects I want to do.

    And I’m a poet.

    The project list will go on forever, I hope.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Writing

    Writing Report, August 2016

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    Focus was pretty good this month, at least going by the overall totals, but early in the month I took a few days off work to assist with a family issue. My assistance consisted of a few chores, some animal care, some driving, and a lot of waiting for information with a family member. So, really, I was there to lower stress levels and pretend my own wasn’t high. During those days, I kept my computer close and got a lot of words down.


    Novel-Length Fiction

    Drafting: Heros Life, 29,246 words

    Admittedly, about three thousand of those were transcribed from paper and didn’t get counted in previous months. I’ve revived the habit of working just a little bit on one thing by hand to scratch the “next project” itch. Words added this month takes me to 42,283 and I’m probably not much more than 15k words from the end of the story.

    Drafting: Shrine

    Sort of started the sequel to Arena, with a couple of thousand words on paper, even though I only just finished plotting it about a week ago. See the note about scratching the itch above. This draft will start in earnest in September, probably even the day after I finish the first draft of Heros Life.

    Revision Notes: Arena

    Completed, and I’m actually almost a third of the way through the second draft on this story. It’s always a pleasant surprise to pick up a story and have it be a lot better than you remember. That was the case with this one, though there are a few things that need to be reworked and quite a few minor adjustments. It wasn’t broken, just a little rough.

    Second Draft: Universal Destiny

    Also completed. The second draft finished at 71,660 words and I think I nailed all the bogeys I found during revision notes plus a handful I picked up in the process of fixing those. There may still be a few small ones, and I hope I’ll find them now that I’ve slipped into the third draft phase of this book. This is the “make it pretty” draft, and typically takes longer in terms of raw time than the original skull dump. Not to be rushed, I hope to be finished the third draft by the end of the year, but I won’t stress too much if I’m still working it in early January.


    Short Fiction

    I wrote twelve short stories from scratch this month, eight for the Undead Project and four Star Trek fanfics. These range in length from an 868-word yet-to-be-transcribed flash piece to a 5,483-word short, with the average story length being 2,980 words.

    Also finished two stories picking up previous ideas, both of them finishing in the high end of short story range at 6,677 words (just under 2k when I picked it back up, and 7,019 words (just under 3k when I picked it back up. It’s possible successive drafts might put them both over the edge into novelette range.

    Total short fiction wordage for the month: 44,089.


    Year of Trek Fiction

    Finished off the Scotty short at 3,953 words, and drafted one staring Chapel just after she got her MD and serving on the Yorktown at 5,483 words, one featuring the recurring minor character Lt. Leslie at 4,359 words, and a short piece at 3,163 words for poor, overlooked Chief Kyle that I finished just before the end of the month. Drafting-wise, that means it’s time to switch gears and get back to the conversion of Fractured Unity into a short novel. But revision notes have been made for all my Trek fanfic so far except for the recently completely story for Mr. Kyle.


    Other Writing

    A handful of reviews, a few blog posts, and a little bit of poetry transcription makes for another 17,892 words.


    Total for the Month

    Counting word count changes due to editing and adding absolutely everything together, the total for the month comes to a staggering 104,710. That’s a clear personal best. And I find myself thinking, what if I’d put all of those words in on one project?

    The answer is that I would have burned out like I usually do when I try too hard to focus on one thing. I’m far better off with multiple creative irons in the fire. That allows me to switch when I’m struggling with something, coming back to it with fresh eyes tomorrow or next week or whenever. Took me a while to figure that out, but I need to have more than one thing in the drafting stage. It’s probably good if there’s only one long thing, but there needs to be more than one story at a time.


    Goals for September and Beyond

    1. Heros Life: looking to finish this. Like I suggested above, I think I’m within about 15,000 words of being finished, though it could be a little more. I’ve already written the denouement, though not the climax.
    2. Universal Destiny: I hope to be as much as a third of the way into the Make It Pretty draft, but if I’m less, that’s okay.
    3. Arena: if I can maintain the current editing pace of, I should be about ¾ of the way through the story, maybe even a little more.
    4. Shrine: this is the sequel to Arena. Maintaining the primary drafting pace of 1000 words per day (on average, and I just missed that in August by being way too into a book I was reading during the last week of the month), plus the 2-3k I’m likely to have handwritten by the time Shrine switches to be the primary story, I could be as much as 1/3 complete on the first draft.
    5. At least 25,000 words or so of short fiction, mostly on the Undead (and getting close to being finished the first drafts of all potential stories here), but there are still some incomplete stories I’d like to turn into complete ones, and I don’t think I’m quite done with the Star Trek fanfic.

    I’m continually reforecasting when I think I’m going to finish each stage of each current project, and sometimes I adjust the next one out in each column. The plan for the rest of the year remains intense and hasn’t shifted much overall since the last report. Working through completion levels from Final Read Through down to basic outline:

    1. Read through complete for Heroes Inc, Skip to My Luu, and Graceland.
    2. Final Draft: none expected.
    3. Third draft complete for: Universal Destiny. This is a bit of stretch goal. I’m currently expecting to be done this in mid-January, but I’m hopeful.
    4. Second drafts complete for: Arena and Scattered on the Wind. The latter was my NaNoWriMo project in 2014, and I think it’s got a lot of potential, if I can fix all of the broken things in it. But maybe I’ll be lucky and it will be less broken than I remember. It’s happened recently with other stories.
    5. Revision notes complete for Heros Life and Draugr Rising.
    6. First draft complete for Shrine and all stories for The Undead.
    7. Plotting: Fallen Heroes. This is the third, and planned final, book in the trilogy that started with Heroes Inc. I already have the ending in mind.
    8. Basic Outline: a list of story ideas for Speculative Emotion.

    Note that anything falling into one category isn’t listed in another. If I’m hoping to be done the Revision Notes phase for Heros Life, that means I need to have finished the first draft, too.

    Like I said last month, how much I actually accomplish each month will depend on a lot of things. It’s an aggressive plan, considering work, family, and life, but if you shoot for the stars and miss, you’ll probably still wind up in orbit. Or something cliché like that.

    All that aside, September’s word count will be lighter than August’s. Back to School, three teenagers re-establishing normal life, ongoing other stuff. You get the idea.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Writing

    Writing Report, July 2016

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    photo_2164_20070217It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these (or a blog post at all, actually – I should fix that), but now that I’ve moved back into a writing groove, I remember these were a good way to keep me updated and honest. If no one else reads these posts, it doesn’t change anything, and it really doesn’t matter.

    My efforts are still a bit scattered, though I have definite targets, just a lot of them. The idea right now is that I’m mostly picking up stories and threads I’ve already started and finishing or polishing them. There are some new things intruding, especially in the short fiction area, and that’s okay, too.


    Novel-Length Fiction

    Drafting: Heros Life, 16,069 words

    This is a sequel to a story I first drafted way back in late 2008, Heroes Inc.. It’s outlined to the chapter level and I started working on it longhand even before I finished the outline. Picking up the narrative a year after the first one ends, and the hero in question is way too secure in his abilities.

    Revision Notes: Arena

    This was my NaNoWriMo project in 2010, and when I opened it up this month to have a look it, the prose didn’t read nearly as badly as it should have, and the story isn’t nearly as broken as I remember. It’s also not nearly as exciting. Fixing the broken is second draft, though. Exciting and pretty is for third. I finished the revision notes for this on the last day of the month, and I’ve decided I’m going to try making it work.

    Second Draft: Universal Destiny

    A novel length story I drafted in 2013 and promptly set aside as too horrible for human eyes. The story itself, while having some internal consistency and timing issues, actually seems to work okay. Lots of revision notes, but most of them easy fixes. I started the second draft a few days before the end of June and hope to finish it by the middle of August. The second draft has added 6,000 words so far, most of them in July.


    Short Fiction

    I wrote six stories from scratch this month, all for the Undead Project, and using five different species of corporeal undead. They range in length from an 855-word flash piece to a 2644-word short. Simple ideas, mostly. Slightly (or very) different treatments of traditional undead.

    Also one story picking up a previous idea. Two-thirds finished when I picked it up, with just the in between scenes to write (which makes more sense if you read the story), the first draft of “Life’s Advocate” finished at 3820 words.

    No submissions this month, but they’re on the list.


    Year of Trek Fiction

    Yes, I’m trying to revive this, though in slightly altered form. Picked up my outline for the novelette featuring Scotty, and while I still like the concept, there’s not enough there to break 7,500 words, so I’m trimming it back a bit. Edited, it’s probably going to break 4k, but not get too much over than that.


    Other Writing

    A handful of reviews and a little bit of poetry transcription makes for another 6,031 words. And I’m behind on both.


    Total for the Month

    Counting word count changes due to editing, the total for the month comes to 43,561 words for July, not at all bad for my first full month back in the saddle. Are the all good words? By no means, but I think I’ve mostly put them in at least a half-decent order. And I think the order will improve over time in most cases.

    Goals for August:

    1. Heros Life: looking for about 30,000 words here, which will probably put me somewhere past the ¾ mark of the story overall.
    2. Universal Destiny: second draft complete, at which point I’ll put it away for a couple of weeks before starting on the Make it Pretty draft.
    3. Arena: if time allows, I intend to start the second draft here, though I doubt I’ll get even a quarter of the way through the story.
    4. Shrine: this is the sequel to Arena, and the second in what I envision as a quartet of stories. I have the basic plot concept, but it needs a lot of fleshing out before I can write it. August will, hopefully, see some of that fleshing out. It won’t surprise me if I start the first chapter or two long hand before I finish the actual plotting. That’s what I did with Heros Life in June.
    5. 15,000 words or so of short fiction, mostly on the Undead, but there are a few other incomplete stories I’d like to turn into complete ones, and perhaps a little Star Trek fanfic in here, too.

    Sounds like a lot, but I want to push my writing into a career, and I’m not getting younger.

    For the rest of the year, the plan is intense. Working through completion levels from Final Read Through down to basic outline:

    Read through complete for Heroes Inc, Skip to My Luu, and Graceland.

    Final Draft: none expected.

    Third drafts complete for: Arena, and Universal Destiny.

    Second draft complete for: Scattered on the Wind. This was my NaNoWriMo project in 2014, and I think it’s got a lot of potential, if I can fix all of the broken things in it.

    Revision notes complete for Heros Life and Draugr Rising.

    First draft complete for Shrine and all stories for The Undead.

    Plotting: Fallen Heroes. This is the third book in the Hero Trilogy. I already have the ending in mind.

    Basic Outline: story ideas for Speculative Emotion.

    Yes, I’m crazy. But it’s a combination of finishing old work and starting new, and the plan is what I need. How much I actually accomplish will depend on a lot of things, but it will be more in any case than if I had no plan.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Movies

    Why Can’t Hollywood Tell New Stories Anymore?

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    It’s not a new idea, and it’s not the first time I’ve said so, but I wish Hollywood could produce new movies instead of remaking things they’ve made before. Most of the big releases in recent years seem to be sequels, reboots, or retellings.

    And it’s getting worse. Somehow, we seem to be approaching an event horizon, after which it will only be possible for a movie production company to produce a story we’ve already seen and liked, maybe with a few little twists and some names changed to protect the innocent.

    The thing is, I don’t subscribe to the idea that the only way to be successful is to repackage something people have already enjoyed. I think it ignores the intelligence and capability of your audience.

    Considering I mostly only watch genre cinema, you might take this with a grain of salt or two, but I think the point is still valid.

    Last year actually had more one off films than most years in the last decade. Five of them jump to mind, most of which were better than the blockbuster sequels populating the top ten: Chappie, Ex Machina, Jupiter Ascending, The Martian, Selfless. Yes, there were a couple of duds, too, but Pixels was still at least as good as half of the top 10 money makers for the year.

    2016 may be trying hard to make up for 2015, though there might still be a little potential. It’s the one-off films I’m after, because the number of those seems to be dwindling. If we don’t go to see the single films that have that potential then in not much more than another decade, we’ll have to pick between Transformers 15 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Regurgitation.

    Stripping out the sequels, reboots, and sequels of reboots, we’re left with a much smaller list of genre films for the year, not counting imports and films in translation.

    The basic opinions that follow are based on my reading of advance reviews and trailers. Feel free to fight with me about any of them.

    Zero or not much potential: Warcraft, Deadpool, The BFG, Norm of the North, Suicide Squad. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on movies we didn’t need. For the price of most of these, the studios could have made several movies each, with actual stories and actual characters instead of mere special effects extravaganzas or expensive cartoons.

    A little potential: Gods of Egypt, The Three-Body Problem, The 5th Wave. But probably not much. Most of these fall into the same category of “why bother”. The two films under Other are based on books, one of which I found only a passable read and the other seeming like a retread of well worn ground.

    Some potential: Kubo and the Two Strings, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Moana, A Monster Calls, Zootopia, Henchmen, The Space Between Us. There’s a couple of these I might catch in the theatre, but the rest will probably be on the Netflix list. I’m flexible on this list, though. As I learn more, it’d possible some of these might move up. Or down.

    Good potential: Doctor Strange. There’s only one film in this section of the list so far, and it’s an overlooked piece of the Marvel universe. Still a superhero movie, sort of, but not in the same way as most of the rest of them.

    But it doesn’t look like I’m spending much time in theatres this year.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Announcement,  Writing

    2016 Writing Goals

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    In some respects, my writing took a huge nose dive this in 2015. While I completely destroyed my non-fiction writing goals, I didn’t do an awful lot of fiction at all.

    But 2015 is over now, and 2016 is a new year. Well, every day can be the first one of a new year, but I spent the last few weeks of 2015 planning and plotting, and I’m hitting the ground running, or at least staggering forward.

    There are daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, and annual goals for 2016 in the creative field, but I’m going to stick with the broad strokes for this post and, once again, try to get back to the monthly writing reports to keep myself honest and maybe motivated.

    Project 1: The Undead

    This is a big project that I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done on it so far, there just hasn’t been much this year. I have 23 stories left to cover the creatures I want to cover at the level I want to cover, at least the basic idea for each of them, at a broad range of lengths from flash to novelette.

    Project 2: Other Short Fiction

    Whatever number it takes to get me to 50 pieces of short fiction drafted this year. Right now that stands at 27.

    Project 3: First Draft Epic Fantasy Novel

    I’ve gone back to something I’ve wanted to write for a couple of years as the story that’s speaking to me loudest right now, torn apart the original idea, and I’ve started rough-working and re-plotting.

    Project 4: Universal Destiny

    To be edited and polished to Beta Reader stage, then get some Beta Readers to have a look at it. I’ve started on a few revision notes already.

    Project 5: Haiku

    I used to love writing poetry, but in recent years I’ve treated it as something to do when I don’t feel like writing fiction. That changes in 2016. Actually, it already has. I’m trying to write poetry for poetry’s sake. The primary poetry goal (and I’ve got several) is to write 500 haiku this year. Sounds like a lot, but it’s only three every two days.

    Project 6: Short Fiction Submissions

    100 of them for the year. This is a target I’ve missed twice before, but it’s only 8.5 submissions per month, so what’s my problem here?

    Project 7: Previously Completed Novels/Collections

    Ancient Runes, Graceland, Heroes Inc, Skip to My Luu all to get final reads and tweaks this year, and then I need to figure out what to do with each of them.

    Okay, that looks like a lot when it’s all written out, but remember it’s for an entire year. Of course, I have a couple of other creative goals for this year, too, but those will come about in their own time as other things allow, although I will schedule specific time for them.

    But this is the year I remember I’m a writer.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Announcement,  Life

    2016 Resolutions

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    I’m keeping last year’s resolutions in force, without feeling the need for new ones. I like the old ones, they still apply, and it’s hard being human sometimes, so I’ll continue to make mistakes.

    Resolution One: Get Better At The Husband And Father Thing

    This seems to get harder as the kids get older, as all of our lives get busier. We’re moving into the years where they’re slowly getting ready to leave home and lead completely independent lives. I have one in his last year of high school, one in her first, and one who turns thirteen in a short time. They’ve all got different needs and different things going on and different personalities. I have to adapt to that on a regular basis, and my wife has to adapt to those same pressures.

    Resolution Number Two: Be Kind.

    Easy to let slide even a little when your stress level is high. Be kind to myself, be kind to others, be kind to the planet, and if I’m accidentally unkind to one of my fellow creatures, rule number 2 applies: When you screw up, admit it, fix it, learn from it, and move on.

    Think bigger, think broader, and think kinder. Think about where the other being is coming from and what their situation might be and how they may see things. Disagreement is okay, being a jerk isn’t. Take on ideas, not people.

    Resolution Three: Be Polite.

    Politeness costs nothing, and it can gain you so much. Something else higher stress will allow you to forget sometimes, so I suppose the trick is to address the stress without forgetting the rest.

    Resolution Four: Be More Well Read.

    This isn’t quite the same thing as reading more, although to get to be more well read, you have to read more. Being more well read takes time, so while it may be an infinitely renewable new year’s resolution, it’s probably one I’ll never be satisfied with, and that’s okay. There’s another post coming in a few days regarding the reading goals I’ve set for myself this year, at least in broad strokes. Individual titles may be more fluid than the list I’ve set myself, but I’ve set a 2016 Reading List shelf on Good Reads if anyone is curious to what’s currently on it. The list starts the year with 62 titles, 20 of which are non-fiction. Although, at the moment, there are only 59 on the Good Reads list as three titles are for 2015 speculative fiction awards that haven’t been announced yet.

    Resolution Five: Think More Intelligently

    I almost just copied and pasted a big piece of last year’s note here. Because it’s still true: I’m prone to introspection, and to nostalgia, and to overthinking things. It’s going to be another long term goal to train myself to think more carefully and quicker. My first instinct isn’t always the best response, but recognizing when it isn’t takes practice, and getting to that best doesn’t have to take all day.

    So there are my resolutions for 2016. Feel free to borrow what you like from this little bit of rambling or let me know if there’s something you like better.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Announcement

    2016: The Year of Star Trek

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    The 8th of September, 2016 will be the fiftieth anniversary of the first time Star Trek was broadcast on television.

    This makes 2016 a special year. Fifty years of Star Trek.

    Unfortunately, the only thing Paramount has announced so far is the third in the mediocre reboot movies. (Yes, mediocre. At best. Discussion for another day.) I hope for more, and I’m sure there will be a flurry of books, mostly with subjects we’ve seen before, but some new stuff mixed in. A little original fiction would be nice, too.

    But I feel like it’s unlikely to be enough to pay tribute to the show that started a revolution in science fiction, that pushed boundaries, and that presented big ideas, and that has inspired several generations of scientists, engineers, and fans.

    Fortunately, I’m willing to bet that the fan community will step up and provide more content in the Star Trek universe than ever before.

    There is far more Star Trek fan fiction than any other kind, and a surprising amount of it is good. Video, audio, animation, graphic storytelling, it’s all out there. And I think there’s a lot more coming, and a lot of it to celebrate.

    I’m intending to produce some myself. Actually, not intending. I’ve already started. Yes, 2016 is still a year and a half away, but I’ve got a lot on the go (most of us do) so I’m starting early. I’m not going to spoil anything at this point, but I’ve got a lot planned. If I can manage even half of it, I’ll be thrilled to add my own tiny bit to the universe.

    The original series holds a special place in my geeky little heart, and since it’s really the fiftieth anniversary of that we’ll be celebrating, that’s the era I intend to work in exclusively. Yes, it’s been mined extensively, but there’s always room for another story and there are characters who haven’t had the attention they deserve. There will probably be a separate blog to avoid confusion on anyone’s part and to be clear that I’m not interested in making any money from whatever Trek endeavors I launch.

    To be clear, it’s going to be fun. If you’re a Star Trek fan, I hope you tune in.

    More as it becomes needed.

    Be well, everyone.


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