• Writing

    July Writing Accomplishments

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    I will try to keep it brief this month, though we all know that’s hard for me. As far as writing goes, it’s a shorter list of accomplishments than last month, but I’m okay with that. I’ve been spending a little more time on the to do list and a little less writing, and the stuff I got done made me happy.

    Writing accomplishments:

    1. Smog Alert 1st Draft. Star Trek fanfic. Kirk and Spock are at a tactical conference while Sulu, in command, ferries some scientists to New Aberdeen.
    2. Tholian Rescue 1st Draft. The Enterprise picks up a distress call from a Tholian ship.
    3. Time Travel Sucks 1st Draft. Why even 1986 might get tiring after a while.
    4. An Ethical Debate 1st Draft in progress. A short-ish science fiction tale about an alien species wanting to strike a deal with a woman who lives alone. I thought I’d actually be done this but keep leaving it in favour of other items. That should tell me something about the story.
    5. Fallen Heroes Final Draft. Which means I can get ready to slot the third volume in the Citizen Trilogy into the queue for publication.
    6. Warforge 1 – Harold’s Story 3rd Draft, bringing all three Caledonia novels to a third draft status.
    7. A total of 22 blog posts published, giving me a weekly average of 5 for July.

    After not doing a very good job on the publishing side last month, I managed a few things in July.

    1. The Undead: More Than Just Brains and Hauntings – talked about this one a lot last month, I think, so I don’t feel the need for more at the moment, but it’s finally out.
    2. Haiku – the collection. Still needs a tpb formatted, but available as an ebook.
    3. “Common Ground” – in the void between the stars, there are lenty of things that have been lost over the millennia. Sometimes finding them is profitable, and sometimes it’s dangerous.
    4. “Career Aspirations” – while on vacation, Lieutenant Commander Sulu has some doubts about his career path.
    5. “Footprints in the Dust” – scheduled to drop on August 8th, it’s done, uploaded, and ready to go.

    Overall, a good month. While the total word count didn’t quite reach 26k, I’m happy with the progress I made and look forward to August being at least as productive. I won’t share specific word count goals, but I will say that there should be a novel and two shorts hitting the ebook list during the month. Looking ahead to the fall, well, as a wise Muppet once said, always in motion is the future. I have plans, but I’ll reforecast every month based on reality at the time.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Life

    Summer Solstice

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    According to a quick Google search, the Summer Solstice happens today at 5:43 pm EDT.

    In ancient days in northern Europe (where, spread across a couple of locales, most of my ancestors are from), the Solstice was an important day of the year. The longest day, the most daylight. The high point of the year and worthy of celebration. Midsummer.

    Wait, isn’t the solstice the first day of Summer?

    Which I’ve always found weird, and the same with the winter solstice being the first day of Winter. It makes more sense to me that the longest and shortest day-periods of the year are also the high and low points of the year, the centres of the more extreme seasons.

    I’ve never run across an explanation as to why or when that changed, but I’ll admit to not having done a whole lot of research in the area. There’s been a lot of mucking about with what we call the standard calendar over the last few hundred years, more as you go farther back. I’m sure it made sense to someone. It just doesn’t to me.

    However our current calendar manages to mangle things, we all think of things just a little bit differently. On this, the day of the Summer Solstice 2020, I’d like to wish everyone a happy Midsummer. Or whatever your own cultural traditions or backgrounds, or you personally would like to call it.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Publishing,  Writing

    The Various Writing and Publishing Goals for 2020

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    I’ve realized I haven’t put all of these in one place, even though I’ve worked them out in some detail. Okay, a lot of detail. A lot of thought has gone into these, so it could be a long post. Could be, right.

    I put out some basic writing goals in January, noting that it was my intention to not do a lot of drafting until at least the second half of the year, but I’m not sure why I didn’t put a lot of detail into that post. Last year, there were several posts planned. Multiple posts, really, hitting the stretch and super-stretch goals as they became relevant. But last year turned out to be weird in a variety of ways, and I only ever did one of those, merging a bunch of smaller ones together. What I’m planning this time is to lay everything out at once and then do an update at the end of each quarter.

    The overall build of things comes out to four levels in three categories.

    Levels:

    1. Basic Goals
    2. Stretch Goals
    3. Super-Stretch Goals
    4. Secret Goals

    Categories:

    1. Writing – I’ve previously suggested that most of these are going to be editing-based for the year. Originally the first half of the year, but I’ve got a huge backlog of things that I really need to either polish or trunk.
    2. Publishing – having dipped a toe into the indie thing last year, the idea was to ramp this up in 2020 and also to expand efforts in the traditional publishing area this, something I’ve neglected in favour of production for the past couple of years.
    3. Marketing – I’m actually not going to include these here. I may talk about them separately at some point, but these are mostly background things until I hit certain production benchmarks.

    On to the goals themselves.

    From the Writing Side of things

    The Basic Goals:

    1. Plot Novel: 3. I have a lot of novel-length stories I still want to write. I’d like at least three of these to get to the stage where I could start drafting them if I were ready. The basic plan is for these to be: Strewn Across the Stars (the sequel to something I’m intending to shop to publishers and agents), My Cousin Hans (an historical novel, mostly set in World War II), and Kami Falling (also a sequel)
    2. Short Stories: 12. Draft an average of one short story per month. Mostly, I want these to fall into the 3-5k word range, but there’s nothing saying these can’t slide into Novelette territory. A Novella might have to get counted differently if one of those happens.
    3. Flash Stories: 12. Flash definition in my mind is a story told in 1000 words or less, again averaging one of these per month.
    4. Blog Posts: 100. This brings me to an average of 2 posts per week for the year. Right now, 2020 is running at an average of 2.4 posts per week for me. A lot of that average is attributable to the last two months.
    5. ST Audio Scripts Editing: 8. Once upon a time, actually more than once, I had dreams of doing a Star Trek fan audio production. Life events have conspired repeatedly to push me away from that, and Paramount isn’t too keen on fan productions these days. The first two 8-episode “seasons” have already undergone conversion into novels, but the third season has eight episodes that are the equivalent of a first draft. These will probably also get turned into stories, but need some work to smooth out first.
    6. Edit Novel: 2. The original idea here was to take something that’s been finished drafting and get it to final draft status, but I’m actually trying to rotate drafts through several projects, moving from one to another after each draft. I’m not sure how I’ll count this at the end of the year. My instinct is that once something is drafted, it needs four passes to reach “final” product for me (Revision Notes, Fix What’s Broken, Make It Pretty, Read It Aloud), so 8 non-first drafts of whatever kind would meet the numbers here. Still debating if that’s reasonable.
    7. Edit Stories: 12. Taking some of the stories I have drafted and polishing them to the point where they’re fit for human consumption.
    8. Edit FanFic Novel: 1. A Matter of Honour, of course. It’s the only one that really fits this category at the moment.

    The Stretch Goals

    1. Plot Novel: 2 more. Which should maybe be 3 since the next thing I want to work out the plotting and outlining for is actually the second Warforge trilogy, but I set the numbers on these long before I started projecting what projects I might like to take on in what order.
    2. Draft Novel: 1. This is something that will only start once I’ve got all the Basic goals taken care of. I have several things to pick from, but my best bet will probably be something that I’ve already made a small start on, and I’ve got three choices even there.
    3. Short Stories: 3 more.
    4. Flash Stories: 3 more.
    5. Draft Non-Fiction Book: 1. I’ve had in mind something talking about the classic BBC Radio Comedy sketch show, I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again for a couple of year now. I feel like I want to move this a lot closer to the top of the list.
    6. Blog Posts: 25 more.
    7. Edit Novel: 1 more. See my note above on the numbers.
    8. Edit Stories: 3 more.

    The Super-Stretch Goals

    1. Plot Novel: 2 more.
    2. Draft Novel: 1 more. Should probably also be picked from the short list of things I’ve suspended to get a lot of editing done.
    3. Short Stories 3 more.
    4. Flash Stories: 3 more.
    5. Blog Posts: 25 more, which would bring me to my current goal of 3 per week, a goal I’ve been meeting or exceeding for nearly two months now.
    6. Edit Novel: 1 more
    7. Edit Stories: 3 more.

    There are a couple of Secret Goals as well, but if I told you what they were, they wouldn’t be secret. I’ll shout loud when they happen, though.

    On the Publishing Side

    Here’s where things get a little more complicated.

    The Basic Goals:

    1. Agent/Publisher Hunt: 1. I’ve gone back to this as a real goal, and have chosen Ancient Runes (a Science Fiction story, in spite of the title) as the target book, though I have two others I think might fit into this category too, depending on results.
    2. Story Submissions: 50. I’ve been slack here the last several years, heavily focused on novel-length stuff. But I still love short fiction, and I’m not the only one. Time to step it up.
    3. Poetry Collection: 1. I’ve been promising myself this one for a couple of years, but at last have it put together. It’s a small collection of many of my favourites of the haiku I’ve written over the last number of years. It’s actually more or less ready, I’m just not happy with the cover image I’ve taken and that needs to be right before I put together the publishing file.
    4. Indie Novel: 2. The target here was to get the second and third books of my Superhero trilogy up and out. Book Two (Hero’s Life) has already made it into the wild. Book Three (Fallen Heroes) still needs significant editing, but I’m confident it will happen in the fall.
    5. Indie Collection: 1. In progress. The Undead stories are fully edited, but I want something very specific for cover art here and haven’t figured out how to get it yet.
    6. Indie Short: 6. This was originally meant to be one every other month for the year. With the spare time I’ve got now, and picking the stories carefully, I’m at 4, about to be 5, and likely 6 by the first week of June. I could go faster here, but I need to work things out correctly. These will be longer stories, from barely Short Story (6 or 7,000 words) through novella (less than 40,000 words, often called a short novel these days). Meaty stuff that, according to my understanding, people love to read but markets have a hard time wanting to buy. How much great longer fiction have we missed out on over the decades before the indie route was viable?
    7. Fan Fiction Stories release: 4. The number was chosen because there were 4 stories left in my TOS set. I have more planned, but need to catch up first.
    8. Fan Fiction novel release: 1. Again, A Matter of Honour. Likely fairly late in the year.
    9. Indie Collection – FanFic: 1. And this is going to collect my TOS shorter stories to date, of which there are seven totally a little over 65,000 words, so a good size for an entry collection. Not saying there won’t be more in the future, because there likely will.

    The Stretch Goals

    1. Story Submissions: 10 more. If it’s going well, my intent is to push the envelope.
    2. Indie Novel: 1 more. And with the current availability for editing time, this is looking possible.
    3. Indie Short: 3 more. I set this number in the first week of January, long before I had any idea that the shutdown was coming, so I’m not changing the goals, but I think this one is going to be fairly easy to hit.

    The Super-Stretch Goals

    1. Story Submissions: 15 more. Which would bring the total to 75 for the year.
    2. Poetry Collection: 1 more. This one of non-haiku work, of which I have quite a bit.
    3. Indie Novel: 1 more. Can it be done? A fourth novel released by me this year? Only time will tell.
    4. Indie Short: 3 more, making the total for the year 12. Which is also seeming reasonable.

    Again, there are secret goals here, too, but I’ll keep them secret for now. There are also a couple of secret goals that are neither writing nor publishing, but still related. I’m no more than two months from one of those.

    A Final Word

    Looking back at 1700 words of goals, I wonder if I should have broken things up over multiple posts. I also wonder if I overthink things a bit, but I’m also very much a planner and get a lot of joy from working things out in advance when I can.

    And, of course, since I’m not responsible to anyone other than me for these goals at this point, I can make them fairly fluid and modify them as make sense. Or add to them. Or subtract from them.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone. I’ve got to get back to editing.

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