• Writing

    Writing Report for October 2018

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    Here is the overview writing report for October, noting that there were only 23 writing days in the month. I took several days off the middle the month for a martial arts weekend, and because of the mental headspace I’ve been in and various real-world events, I’ve essentially taken the last two weeks of writing. Other than a couple of journal entries and a blog post or two that I never managed to put up, there’s been zero new fiction, and really, zero editing. I’ll leave reasons aside, though I reserve the right to cover some of them in future blog posts, and I’ve certainly covered them in those journal entries. Instead, we’ll just say that if it’s not quite over, it’s getting close. A vacation once while is okay, anyway, although I didn’t intend for it to be this long, recharging the batteries occasionally is a good thing. After all, for almost 3 solid months before the past couple of weeks, I’ve hit some pretty good word totals.

    Time to get back to that, but first, I need to catch up a little.

    noting also that

    Accomplishments in October:

    1. Short Fiction:
    2. Battlefield plotting is complete.
    3. Palace now stands at 57,213 words with 18 of 43 chapters left to go in the plot.
    4. On the editing side of things, I’m done the third draft of Hero’s Life.
    5. I’ve also done the 3rd pass on the prose portions of my first Haiku collection.
    6. Fractured Unity conversion is complete. First draft comes in at 40,243 words. From here, it will only get longer as I add more sensory data, description, and character actions. There’s still a lot of bare conversation.
    7. 9 blog posts, not all of which actually got posted. Still thinking about a couple of them.
    8. 3 book reviews. I’m about to start the 2018 reviews now; still some catch up to go. The pdf collection of the 2017 reviews is nearly done. More on that another time.
    9. 6 journal entries.

    Total word count for the month of 51,462, averaging 2.2k per writing day (granting that there were only 23 of those altogether), which is awesome. Lighter on the overall count than last month, but it’s still a very respectable total in my eyes.

    On the publishing side of things:

    1. 0 short story submissions. I’d been holding these for the last weekend of the month, but stuff happened. Things said about that elsewhere, maybe.
    2. The Small Press houses and potential agent list is still in progress. Research has begun in earnest. I intend to have a short list of potentials by the end of the year.
    3. Still playing with some basic cover design, looking at the Star Trek work for myself but thinking ahead to a real image for Thorvald’s Wyrd, which is the first of my own work I plan to indy-publish, and hopefully in January. Seriously considering Skip To My Luu for February.

    Which brings us to the revised plan for November. Which is what I said last month, but the plan gets revised all the time. It could be different tomorrow. Here’s what I’m planning for November at the moment.

    1. Short Fiction: 7k for the shortened month. 10k has been a struggle the last couple of months, but that’s probably because I’m setting the daily novel targets too high and not leaving myself much time to go beyond those, but I want to keep the levels the same.
    2. As much progress as I can make on Palace, but I fully expect to still have 10-15k of plot left for December.
    3. It would be really nice to get the final read through of Hero’s Life done by the end of the month, but that seems unlikely with the amount of free time I’m going to have available.
    4. Reminding myself that there should be some short fiction editing, too.
    5. I’m also going to set the non-fiction goal at 7k for the month.
    6. 5 short story submissions. Again
    7. Small Press/Agent hunt continues, getting ready to pick who I want to send Ancient Runes to first.

    So if the total word count is lower for October than it has been in the last couple of months, that’s okay. There are reasons. One of those that I haven’t mentioned is that, on days off, I’m more likely to spend extra time on editing-level projects than I am on drafting. I feel like I’ve got a lot of ground to cover there and the more drafting I do, the farther I’ll be behind.

    I am sort of thankful that I’m still at a point in my writing career that I have the luxury to work on whatever I please without any deadlines involved. I think I’d like that to continue for a while, but it also might be interesting to have some deadlines enforced from outside because someone wants to pay me to write.

    Which reminds me that writing is not my primary career, so important things need to be given priority. I need to write, I want to write, and I really want to get some more stuff out into the wild, which I haven’t done much of for a while there it but life happens, and it will continue to happen, and things have to be dealt with, so I just need to work around life.

    Every month is a new one, every day is. October was not September and November will not be October. Neither will December.

    But I still need to type faster.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Philosophy

    Year of Celebration: October 2017

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    I realized, putting this one together, that I didn’t actually write a post in this vein for September. I’ll put the days celebrated at the bottom of this post, with less commentary (probably none).


    01 October 2017: World Vegetarian Day

    And the first day of Vegetarian Awareness Month, bringing awareness to the ethical, environmental, health, and humanitarian benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. Done preaching.

    It’s also Change a Light Day. Got a burnt bulb you’ve been ignoring? Maybe one you’d like to upgrade from incandescent (who still has those) to fluorescent or even LED?

    02 October 2017: Name Your Car Day

    In my case, the Personal Shuttlecraft, NCC 1701-5.

    03 October 2017: Virus Appreciation Day

    And if you’re not interested in that, remember that a virus was the first vaccine and helped rid us of Small Pox.

    04 October 2017: World Animal Day

    A day to think about the important roles animals play in our lives and to act to decrease some of the suffering some of them experience as a result.

    05 October 2017: World Teachers Day

    Have a teacher in your life? Maybe one in your past that was a huge influence on you? If not, you’re probably not looking hard enough. Or didn’t listen in school.

    06 October 2017: Mad Hatter Day

    “I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.”

    Also, it’s Noodle Day. Celebrate the humble noodle in all its forms.

    07 October 2017: Random Acts of Poetry Day

    Have you ever written any poetry? Today is a good day to give it a try. And don’t be afraid to post or share.

    08 October 2017: World Octopus Day

    These are neat creatures, for a lot of reasons, but I’m going to pick out that they’re neat because they’re likely one of the smartest animals on the planet, with the ability to learn new skills and solve problems. I don’t think we should be worried about competition, but maybe we should encourage them just a little.

    09 October 2017: Moldy Cheese Day

    Danish Blue, Roquefort, Stilton… mmm, moldy cheese.

    On my side of the border, it’s also Thanksgiving. Hope everyone has a good one with friends and family, as they choose.

    10 October 2017: Metric Day

    Celebrate a system of measurements that actually makes sense.

    And it’s World Mental Health Day. Believe it or not, most of us have some kind of mental issue, and they’re just as important to take care of as physical ones. Some of us have a harder time and may need a little extra support, so remember to be understanding.

    11 October 2017: Coming Out Day

    Whatever some folks might think, gender and sexuality are both on a spectrum (most things are) and not necessarily on the same one. Whatever some folks might tell you, it’s okay not to fit their definition of normal. Whatever some folks might shout, diversity is a strength. A good day to remember that and just be inclusive.

    It’s also Pet Obesity Awareness Day. We have two we’re working on right now, both cats. One came to us that way and one who ballooned after moving in with us having been a stray for most of his life and experiencing a lot of food scarcity. Both of them are happy, but rounder than they need to be. It’s a slow process.

    12 October 2017: International Moment Of Frustration Scream Day

    How publicly you want to exercise this is up to you. It’s more about catharsis than shocking people, though.

    13 October 2017: International Skeptics Day

    Having an attitude of doubt is a good thing. Somewhere out there, someone wants you to believe something ridiculous to generate fear, amuse themselves, or sucker money out of you. Demand evidence and be open to it. Question statements of fact that don’t have any attached. Be understanding of your friends who believe weird stuff, but don’t be afraid to talk to them about that weirdness, or of trying to talk them out of it.

    14 October 2017: Bald and Free Day

    Grass doesn’t grow on a busy street. It’s a solar panel for a sex machine. Insert your favourite line here. Really, though, I don’t know how you people with hair do it; I’m uncomfortably warm about half a second after I put on a hat unless it’s below freezing.

    15 October 2017: National Grouch Day

    Whether we’re talking about Oscar or that guy down the street who wants to make sure you stay off his lawn, don’t stress too hard about the grouches in your life. Smile and wish them a grouchy day.

    16 October 2017: Dictionary Day

    You’ve been on social media. You know how many people need a dictionary and a spell checker. ‘Nuff said.

    It’s also Feral Cat Day. Every stray may be looking for a home, but ferals are a little different, and if they don’t necessarily have the instincts to become a house cat (some do, some don’t), they do have a role in our society, whether most of us realize it or not. They keep the rodent population down to levels we poor humans can tolerate or even fail to notice. The problem is more about unrestricted breeding, and that’s something that can be worked on with some aware humans.

    17 October 2017: Spreadsheet Day

    Is there anything more beautiful than a well-designed spreadsheet?

    18 October 2017: Chocolate Cupcake Day

    Mmm. Chocolate cupcakes. I can probably stop at one…

    Also, it’s No Beard Day. The days of the lumber-sexual are, thankfully, in the past. Even hipsters are trimming back. Believe it or not, you’ll look younger if you get rid of it, and people you kiss will be less likely to complain about how scratchy and itchy you are.

    19 October 2017: Evaluate Your Life Day

    Is your life where you want it to be? Do you have dreams you’re not working towards? Think about them. Find a path. Take the first step.

    20 October 2017: Information Overload Day

    Yes, we’re constantly bombarded, drowning in a sea of information. Take today and turn a few of the streams off. Breathe deep. Smell the pizza. It will all still be there tomorrow.

    21 October 2017: Reptile Awareness Day

    Some of the coolest critters on the planet are reptiles. We’ve shared our house with a couple of them, and one, a 1.5-metre long corn snake by the name of Sonic, still lives with us, and probably will for a decade or so yet. They’re not slimy, they’re not icky, and most of them aren’t dangerous. Some of them are even affectionate with a little handling. Or maybe they just want to stay warm and you’re a good source of heat.

    22 October 2017: CAPS LOCK DAY


    23 October 2017: Mole Day

    Avogadro’s number, 6.02 x 1023. 10 to the 23. 10-23. Get it? The number of atoms of something that gives you its atomic weight in grams. But you didn’t come here for a chemistry lesson, even if everything is made of chemicals.

    24 October 2017: United Nations Day

    Anniversary of the UN charter. First steps along the path to giving all nations and peoples a voice and a place to speak. Still not very far along that path, are we?

    25 October 2017: Karate Day

    For those of you who study some flavour of an Okinawan or Japanese art that falls under the umbrella of karate, or one of its descendants, take a moment and remember. Then do a few kata.

    26 October 2017: Howl at the Moon Day

    And then maybe wonder why it’s taken us so long to get back there.

    27 October 2017: Black Cat Day

    Cats haven’t always had the best reputation in Western society. For some, black cats still have some kind of stigma attached as a witch’s familiar, the devil’s helper (and I wish I wasn’t being serious on those two) or just being bringers of bad luck when they walk in front of you. But a black cat is just a cat that happens to be black. They’re just as varied and loveable as the rest of our domesticated felines. Makes me wonder a bit what the problem is.

    28 October 2017: Animation Day

    How to celebrate? Well, watch a cartoon, whether it’s traditional animation or some of that new fangled CGI stuff. Pick a favourite and remember why love the medium.

    29 October 2017: Hermit Day

    Spend some time alone today. We all need it. Go somewhere you can enjoy the quiet without interruption.

    And directly opposite that, it’s also Internet Day, the anniversary of the very first transmission on the network that would someday grow into the internet. The world wide web came much later, and started simple. Check out the first web page ever. http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

    30 October 2017: Checklist Day

    Make a list. Check it twice. Then start checking things off it. Feels good, no?

    31 October 2017: Halloween

    Does Halloween really need any explanation? It’s all about fun and candy. Have some of each.


    So that’s what I’m thinking about in terms of celebrations in October. Have any you like better?

    Be well, everyone.


    Oh, and things Celebrated in September

    01 September 2017: Ginger Cat Appreciation Day

    02 September 2017: Calendar Adjustment Day

    03 September 2017: Pet Rock Day

    04 September 2017: Wildlife Day

    05 September 2017: Voyager 1 Day

    06 September 2017: Read a Book Day, Star Trek in Canada Day

    07 September 2017: Buy a Book Day

    08 September 2017: Star Trek Day

    09 September 2017: Wonderful Weirdos Day

    10 September 2017: World Suicide Prevention Day

    11 September 2017: Make Your Bed Day

    12 September 2017: Battle of the Planets Day

    13 September 2017: Scooby Doo Day, Defy Superstition Day

    14 September 2017: Cream Filled Donut Day

    15 September 2017: Make a Hat Day

    16 September 2017: Eat an Apple Day

    17 September 2017: Battlestar Galactica Day

    18 September 2017: Respect Day

    19 September 2017: Talk Like a Pirate Day

    20 September 2017: Magellan Day

    21 September 2017: International Day of Peace

    22 September 2017: Equinox, Bilbo’s birthday

    23 September 2017: International Rabbit Day

    24 September 2017: Punctuation Day

    25 September 2017: Princess Bride Day, Comic Book Day

    26 September 2017: Batman Day

    27 September 2017: Ancestor Appreciation Day, Crush a Can Day

    28 September 2017: Confucius Day

    29 September 2017: Ask a Stupid Question Day

    30 September 2017: Blasphemy Rights Day

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  • 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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