Tag: Writing

The Stages of Writing a Novel… For Me

The Stages of Writing a Novel… For Me

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No jokes, no bad puns or exaggerations. This is the basic process of writing a novel for me.

  1. Basic Concept. I’ve got too many of these. Really. There are around three dozen novels I want to write at the moment. Actually, probably closer to twice that, but three-ish dozen where I’ve got a basic, solid concept in mind, and probably a couple of hundred words in a file somewhere describing what I want, including probably a sentence to describe each POV character.
  2. Rough Plot. Start with the beginning and the end and figure out a rough sequence of events, possibly even at the chapter level.
  3. An expansion of the Rough Plot to the scene level, more or less, with a hundred or so words of description of each significant scene and a couple of sentences to summarize shorter bursts of action or activity.
  4. 1st The brain dump, getting the story out of my skull. This is raw, filled with issues and problems and inconsistences. I’ll come back for those later. My 1st draft is often very bare bones, not a lot of description beyond the immediate action. That comes later.
  5. Put the first draft away for long enough that the story isn’t fresh in my mind. Write something else, or more than one something, to help that process along. Could be months.
  6. Revision Notes. With fresh eyes, read the story, making a note of every single problem, issue, continuity error, or anything else that bugs me.
  7. 2nd The fix what’s broken draft. All of those notes from the last step get addressed here. Every single one of them. Plus whatever else jumps out. This usually adds length to the story, on average about 8% on the novels I’ve gotten to this stage, even though there’s often stuff that gets cut out, too. This is also where I clean up a lot of dictation errors if it’s something I wrote while commuting.
  8. 3rd The make it pretty draft. This is all about word choices and making sure every scene, paragraph, and sentence says what I want it to. The story usually gets longer here, too. More dictation cleaning, probably, but this is also where a lot of the description I didn’t put in when doing the initial draft appears.
  9. Final Draft. I usually call this the “read it aloud” draft, because that’s the primary focus here, reading it aloud to see if I’ve missed anything. Hearing the words sometimes catches things my eyes just gloss over. If my tongue trips, it probably doesn’t work and I need to fix something, even if it’s just a single word.

And remember how I said my initial draft is usually pretty bare bones? The distance between the last sentence of the first draft and allowing other human eyes to see the story is, based on a sample of 4, roughly 20-25% of the original length. Sixty thousand words probably becomes 72-75. 80 might break 100. That said, a novel I’m going to take from 3rd to final sometimes soon may be a whole lot less than that; Scattered on the Wind has had less than 10% growth between 1st and 3rd drafts, and I don’t think it’s going to add much in the final.

Going through all this for this post, I discovered I’m even farther behind where I wanted to be at this point in the year than I thought. I have eight different novels somewhere between the rough plot and third draft, never mind the dozens of others I’d like to write.

Probably, I should get to work.

Be well, everyone.

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Error Code: -72

Error Code: -72

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I’ve started making story submissions again. Rejections are a part of that. A big part. And sometimes, they’re because you screw something up that isn’t even related to the story itself.

I made a rookie mistake yesterday on one submission, spending the time to adjust the manuscript formatting to match the requirements of the market in question (“Industry standard”, but with a different font, a specific type of quotation mark, italics instead of underlines) and making sure it was exactly as requested. But my eyes skipped over the line that said they like things anonymous inside the story and to take your name out of things. Oops.

Here’s what I got back only a few hours later:


“Dear Lance,

Submission guidelines tell you what a magazine is looking for. If you don’t read them carefully, you won’t know what’s wanted, and you’re saying to the venue that you can’t be bothered to find out.

In our case, we only accept anonymized stories. Your submission contained your name or other personally identifying information (e-mail, address, etc.), and is therefore declined. You may resubmit an anonymized version no sooner than seven calendar days from now.


Editor Of A Publication I’m Unlikely To Submit To Again”


Yes, I made a mistake: I didn’t read things thoroughly enough. Reject the story and tell me to try again. The response I got does that, but it does so with a very passive-aggressive tone designed to make me feel bad and punish me more than just rejecting my story would.

What if I’d been a 16-year-old kid submitting my first story ever and excited about it?

What if I were overcoming an anxiety disorder to submit a story to a magazine I love?

Neither of those things apply, but what if I were a human being? You know, one of the ones who exists and has feelings?

I have to wonder if I’ve just been lucky or if this kind of thing is common. There are old (ancient) rumours that publications and publication groups have blacklists, a file somewhere containing the names of authors they won’t work with for a variety of reasons. This is not my first negative experience in publishing, and I’m far, far from doing this for a living, so my experience isn’t all that broad, but I’m starting to wonder if I need a blacklist of publications. Or at least a grey one for markets I should think long and hard before sending something to.

It’s fortunate for me that the positive experiences tremendously outnumber the negative ones, but that just makes the negative ones annoy me more. For a little passive-aggression of my own, I’ll suggest maybe I should have submitted this story on July 29th instead of July 18th.

Writer folks out there: have you ever received a rejection that seemed designed to make you angry or punish you? I’m suddenly very curious about how widespread this might be.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for the Week Ending 12 February 2017

Writing Report for the Week Ending 12 February 2017

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Time for the weekly recap. First, the goals:

  1. 2,500 words of new fiction.
  2. 2,500 words of new non-fiction.
  3. The last 5 chapters on the final draft pass on Universal Destiny.
  4. 3,500 words progress on the 2nd draft of Draugr Rising.
  5. ISIRTA*. Finish listening to series 2.
  6. Storyline three post for the original BSG** pilot.
  7. Short Story Submissions: 1.
  8. Stretch Goal 1: add two chapters to the rough plot for Fallen Heroes.
  9. Stretch Goal 2: continue with the third draft on Scattered on the Wind.
  10. Stretch Goal 3: continue the final draft of the Uhura novelette.


The Results:

  1. 1,801 words of new fiction. A little weak, but not too bad.
  2. 4,029 words of new non-fiction. Mostly several blog posts and the lion’s share of that on the Battlestar Galactica pilot finale.
  3. Finished the final draft pass on Universal Destiny. Actually, I finished it all in one sitting last Monday.
  4. A little over 9,000 words progress on the 2nd draft of Draugr Rising. This is going to be my primary editing focus for the next few weeks, and I made a pretty solid inroad here.
  5. ISIRTA*. Finished listening to series 2.
  6. Storyline three posted for the original BSG** pilot. The longest of the three posts yet. Probably, the next one will be shorter. Probably.
  7. Short Story Submissions: 0. Moving right along.
  8. Stretch Goal 1: added two chapters to the rough plot for Fallen Heroes.
  9. Stretch Goal 2: about 4,800 words of progress on the third draft on Scattered on the Wind. Because I finished the last pass on Universal Destiny so early in the week, I focused a little more on this.
  10. Stretch Goal 3: a little over 4,400 words on the final draft of the Uhura novelette.

Really, a pretty good week. Mostly editing work, but there’s a good reason for that. There are four novels and seventy-eight shorter works (of various lengths from flash to novella) on my hard drive that are somewhere between first draft completed and final draft not completed. Not that I don’t want to produce new stories, but the old ones need some attention. They may not all be great stories, but I’d like to try making them all at least readable.

Goals for the coming week:

  1. 2,500 words of new fiction.
  2. 2,500 words of new non-fiction.
  3. 7,000 words progress on the 2nd draft of Draugr Rising. My primary editing project for the next little bit. Probably 4-5 weeks of daily work correcting the problems with the story and tidying up the transcription errors (the story was originally dictated during commutes).
  4. 5,000 words progress on the third draft on Scattered on the Wind. This is going to be my secondary editing project
  5. ISIRTA*. Listen to the first four episodes of series 3.
  6. Storyline three post for the original BSG** pilot.
  7. Short Story Submissions: 1.
  8. Stretch Goal 1: add two chapters to the rough plot for Fallen Heroes, which will get me to 75% on the basic plot. Ish. A couple of things I’ve decided I want to include will lengthen things a bit.
  9. Stretch Goal 2: 3,869 words progress on the final draft of the Uhura novelette, because that’s what left. This now has a title, by the way, tentatively, at least: “Sub-Solar Whispers”.
  10. Stretch Goal 3: story selection for inclusion in The Undead.


I’m going to try to have two major editing projects going for the next little while. Leaving the short stories aside, Scattered on the Wind, Draugr Rising, Arena, and Hero’s Life are all past first draft status and not yet final draft complete. By the time I get those done next year, I hope that Shrine, Bad Teenage Poetry, Fallen Heroes, and maybe even the sequel to Universal Destiny will have entered the editing mix. Not to mention all of the stories for The Undead that need polishing before that’s ready.

Be well, everyone.

* ISIRTA = I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again

** BSG = Battlestar Galactica

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Writing Report for the Week Ending 05 February 2017

Writing Report for the Week Ending 05 February 2017

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Time for the weekly recap.

First, the goals:

  1. 2,500 words of new fiction.
  2. 5 chapters on the final draft pass on Universal Destiny.
  3. 3,500 words progress on the 2nd draft of Draugr Rising.
  4. ISIRTA*. Listen to 4 more episodes. 5, for a stretch.
  5. Storyline two post for the original BSG** pilot.
  6. Short Story Submissions: 1.
  7. Stretch Goal 1: add two chapters to the rough plot for Fallen Heroes.
  8. Stretch Goal 2: continue with the third draft on Scattered on the Wind.
  9. Stretch Goal 3: start on the final draft of the Uhura novelette.


The Results:

  1. 2,504 words of new fiction. Wrote what turned out to be the last flash piece for the undead project, coming in at 1062 words. The rest of the words were on Chapter 10 of Shrine. I’d like to make a little more progress there in the coming week.
  2. 9 chapters on the final draft pass on Universal Destiny.
  3. 7,000 words progress on the 2nd draft of Draugr Rising. I actually revised the goal here mid-stream. I decided I wanted to get the second draft done by the end of March, so that made a daily need of a little less than 750 words of first draft to fix/revise per day. That meant 5,250 words in a week, on average, to get me to that March 31st
  4. ISIRTA*. Squeezed 5 episodes in between podcasts during my commutes.
  5. BSG** pilot, storyline 2 written, but I haven’t quite posted it yet. It’s on today’s list. These have both been longer than I originally thought they were going to be. Wonder if that’s going to be a trend.
  6. Short Story Submissions: 0. Kinda struggling on this one. The only goal I didn’t make this week.
  7. Stretch Goal 1: added four and things are about to get really bad for the hero who thought he’d retired to a more or less office job. And his friends.
  8. Stretch Goal 2: I’m now about ¾ of the way through the make it pretty draft of Chapter 5. Puts me almost 20% of the way through the story
  9. Stretch Goal 3: I did manage to find a little time for the final read through and polish of five scenes in Uhura’s story, about 40% through the narrative. Which really needs a title.

All in all, a pretty great week. Only one goal I missed this week, and most of them I overachieved, a couple of those in a big way.

Why I’m struggling with the story submissions is a bit of a mystery. Or maybe it isn’t. There are only so many minutes of free time in each day and I feel like it takes quite a few of them to manage even one submission. What would probably be smart for the way my brain works is to build up a bunch of possibles at once and set up the packages together, emailing a whole bunch at a time. And yet the goal of just getting one out in a week seems so reasonable.

Goals for the coming week:

  1. 2,500 words of new fiction.
  2. 2,500 words of new non-fiction. I have to admit that this goal has been there all the way along, too. This includes things like blog posts and journal entries, but the word counts for the BSG** and ISIRTA* projects go in here too.
  3. The last 5 chapters on the final draft pass on Universal Destiny.
  4. 3,500 words progress on the 2nd draft of Draugr Rising.
  5. ISIRTA*. Finish listening to series 2.
  6. Storyline three post for the original BSG** pilot.
  7. Short Story Submissions: 1.
  8. Stretch Goal 1: add two chapters to the rough plot for Fallen Heroes.
  9. Stretch Goal 2: continue with the third draft on Scattered on the Wind.
  10. Stretch Goal 3: start on the final draft of the Uhura novelette.

The more I break things out, the more ridiculous this list gets, visually.

Be well, everyone.


* ISIRTA = I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again

** BSG = Battlestar Galactica

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A Change In Writing Strategy

A Change In Writing Strategy

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dreamstimefree_206298Writing in September has been a little bit different than August. August, in spite of the fact that I was doing some editing, seemed to consist almost completely of first drafts and I wound up with a record number of words for a single month.

But is that the way I really want to do things?

A week or so into September, getting a little bored, and struggling, with Hero’s Life, I started to build my forecast for 2017.

I have this awesome spreadsheet that I put together in late July, and updated in August, that tells me what I’m supposed to accomplish each day on each project. When setting out September, I had already decided that I wanted to do less drafting on weekends in favor of more editing. On the face of things, this sounds like it’s going to make a huge impact in my overall word count, and it has when I compare September to August on an average daily basis, but not as huge as you might think.

Weekends are busy and writing time is at a premium. A lot of my drafting is done by dictation, and I frequently produce 2000 words or more in a day. Dictating during my commute, I let the computer, through Dragon Naturally Speaking, figure the words out. There’s more road noise than I’d like since I drive a tiny car, but I still get upwards of 90% accuracy, so long as I’m careful about where the microphone is. And that’s just a matter of training myself. So, just dictating, I should end about at about 10,000 words per week. Depending on the number of commuting days, that’s anywhere between 40 and 45,000 words for the month. For most of the projects I have planned, if I were focus exclusively on one thing at a time (Ha!), that means a first draft in two months or less.

But it is a numbers game.

I do a set of revision notes before the second draft. Revision notes are finding things that don’t work in the story. In the same pass, I’ll tidy up the worst of the dictation errors. Second draft is fixing all the problems I found in the revision notes pass and cleaning up the rest of the dictation. Which means the prose is already pretty good by the time I get to the third draft, i.e. the “make it pretty” draft. Here is where I make sure each sentence, paragraph, and scene what I want to do. The fourth, and in most cases final, is the read aloud draft. Reading things out loud makes me find things I missed. This is also where I go through and find certain little writing ticks.

So let’s say that I focus entirely on one thing and it’s a 60,000 word novel. Short, but makes for easy math. At 2000 words a day drafting, 60,000 words takes me 30 drafting days. We’ll call that six weeks, once we take out weekends. Revision notes are probably worth two weeks, a couple of chapters per day. Second draft, fixing things as I go, is worth about 1 day per 2,000 words of original story, but experience tells me that will probably be 2,200 words or a little more by the time I’m done. The third draft is slower, a lot slower, making things pretty, moving through maybe 1,000 words of story each day and turning it into 1,050-ish. Reading something aloud at a reasonable pace is about 10,000 words per hour, although much more than a half-hour is real work. But let’s get 6000 words in on that draft. Then, and only then is ready for somebody else to have a look at it. But we need to math now, and I’ll do it without worrying about story length changes due to edits.

First draft equals 30 drafting days. Six weeks.

Editing process: Pre-second draft equals 15 days. Second draft equals 30 days. Third draft equals 60 days. Final draft equals 10, or possibly as long as 15 days depending on how much else is going on and what I find to fix while reading.

So time for the story to exit my skull = 30 days.

Time to get from there to a final draft 15 + 30 + 60 + 15 = 120 days.

Four times as long.

That tiny equation convinced me to run the projection out to the end of 2018, just for fun, just to see what it looked like. And what it looked like is that Hero’s Life, which I’m within a chapter of finishing right now, probably won’t get to the top of the editing list until almost two years from now and will take four months to edit when it gets there.

Every new story I write will put the editing further behind.


Now, if my kids had all left home and I had no other real responsibilities and my job was stable and secure and didn’t require anything extra other than I show up to a little bit of work and go home, I could ramp up the amount of editing I’m doing without worrying about slowing down the drafting. I don’t really have that option.

So, less drafting, more editing.

And I’d like to catch up a little bit. Wherever I can squeeze the time, when I sit down at a computer at home, I’ll look to shave a day or two off of whatever editing pass is closest to being finished. I’m also going to be working on two different sets of edits at any given time. Sorry, I need variety. The new weekend objective is to get the target amount of editing done on everything I want to be anything and then spend an hour a day more on whatever draft of whatever story is closest to completion.

I still want to get 1000 words a day into whatever novel I’m working on, but only on weekdays. That goes for the short stories as well.

This changes how long it’s going to take me to tell all the stories currently on my list, never mind having new ideas, at least in terms of a first draft. But it will get each one to final draft a little quicker, I think.

Wish me luck.

Be well, everyone.

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Where My Writing is At

Where My Writing is At

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So Lance, what’s up with the writing?

Well, I suppose that depends on which writing you mean. I never actually stopped, though it has been scattered, sporadic, and more on paper than into the keyboard. It’s also mostly been non-fiction for a big part of this year, covering a variety of items and projects, most of which I consider personal.

But I’ve been burnt out on fiction for a while. A few, let’s just say odd and difficult life experiences combined with trying to be too focused raised my stress level a little more than I might have liked. Yes, I said too focused. The long term dictation experiment was a wonderful thing for quite a while, but, due to the vaguely mentioned life experiences, I started to feel burnt out and struggled to get much more than 500 words in a commute when 1500-2000 had been a comfortable normal for a long time.

So I cut the fiction for a while to let that part of my brain rest. Now I feel like it’s rested long enough, and I’m ready to start telling stories again. And I’ve got a lot of stories I need to tell.

But I’m going to focus on short fiction for a while, maybe until about the middle of next year. I love writing shorts and have got quite a few unfinished stories and concepts hanging around. It’s time to fix that.

I’ve debated having hard goals for the coming year, but I think I’m the kind of person who really needs, or at least really enjoys, having things to measure. So I’ve picked a set of goals that include both fiction and non-fiction, breaking things out by estimates and word counts for each. It includes short stories, one novel length work for next year, poetry, book and game reviews, a fair amount of blogging, a few essays, and some personal stuff. The daily word count balances out to something very close to NaNoWriMo territory, but there are a lot of variables. There are also submission and editing targets as well as a couple of other creative things I want to do or try.

But every single one of those goals is fluid. I have (slowly) learned that life will provide challenges, obstacles, and rewards, all of which can take you away from your plans. I’ll be re-forecasting for myself regularly through the year.

For now, this blog post counts as writing towards the non-fiction goal for the month.

Oh, and I’ll be posting more to FB and Twitter. Feel free to follow me in either spot. I lurk a lot, but I’m around.

Be well, everyone.

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I Love Edits

I Love Edits

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BookEditingEarlier this week, I turned in revisions for a story appearing in an upcoming anthology from Robot Cowgirl Press. A little later than I wanted, but still well in advance of the deadline. There’s a sense of both relief and pleasure that goes along with that part of the process for me. It’s probably an even bigger deal with a novel (though I’ve yet to experience that), but it feels good with a short story.

But I’ve been thinking: I like getting the edits and doing the edits just as much as saying goodbye to the edits.

Actually, I love getting edits.

Yeah, I’m nuts, but I think it actually makes sense, at least for me.

Getting edits back from someone who wants to publish your story is a good thing. They already like it, and are just showing you some line edits or thoughts or observations you might consider to make it better. That’s the spirit to take things in: making a good story better.

I look forward to seeing the spots where I didn’t realize I’d used the passive voice or a continuous tense or where I’d forgotten how stating something as a positive is almost always better than as a negative (unless the negative itself is important). It’s nice to know when I’ve developed a new writing tick (“begin”), when I’ve let a character speak for too long without taking a breath, when I’ve picked a boring word, when I’ve used a word too often or too many times close together, or when I’ve overwritten something. (If the crashing plane is trailing smoke, you don’t really need to add “behind it”, right? No crashing plane in this story, just an example.)

These are all things I watch for (among others) when I’m doing my own editing and polishing, but it’s my story. I’m too close. I will miss things. I think that’s as much a reflection on human nature as on me specifically. Forest for the trees, and all that.

So when I get a set of edits back for a story, I’m eager to see what little bits of odd writing I missed so I can fix them. Sometimes, I’m surprised. Sometimes, I laugh. Always, I’m interested to see what the editor picked out.

(Once or twice in the past, I’ve had to bite my tongue. But that hasn’t been too hard, really. The comments pane of a Word document is the wrong place to argue grammar or personal philosophical viewpoints, even if the editor is wrong about the grammatical point or wants you to change part of a character’s voice so it doesn’t offend some bit of their religious views. But I digress. Surprise.)

Most are quick and easy changes. Some editors will even do part of the work for you, cutting or moving a few words here and there, changing a little punctuation. But the fun comes in figuring out how to fix the ones left over after you’ve gotten the easy stuff out of the way. The places where the editor has put meaty comments or suggestions in rather than things like “find a more interesting word here” or “you said this already so the second half of this sentence can be cut”. Things like, “I think this sentence undercuts your character/the point of your story.” Or, “This is kind of dull. How can you make it more active or interesting?”

Those are the best things about editing, the little moments where you’re working with the editor.

And the “with” is important. If you start to look at this as a conflict in any way, you’re putting yourself in a difficult to work with box and you’d be surprised how much stress there can be in editing. Start working against them, and they may remember your name the next time you submit. Even when you think they’re wrong (and you will at some point), keep it to yourself and find a way to make the suggestion work for you.

You’ll be happier for it in the long run. I know I have been.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Fiction Again

Writing Fiction Again

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Yesterday, I wrote my first words of new fiction in about three and a half months. 261 of them. It felt so good, I wrote 270 more today.

Now, I have been doing some fiction work, but it’s all been editing, and mostly short stories. I’ve also been writing quite a bit of non-fiction, philosophy, family history, a few book reviews, and the occasional blog post like this one. But nothing like the pace I set for most of last year. In fact, last year, if I total things up, had almost 700,000 words in it and 450,000 of those were fiction.

This year has 117,000 so far, which puts me on pace to brush up against 300,000. Not exactly a good follow up, but probably still a pretty good year, overall.

I’ve got lots of reasons, and some excuses. Family, career, karate, volunteer work at the shelter, busy life. Too many ideas and the inability to settle on one of them. I’ve been trying to figure some things out about the mental and philosophical space I’ve moved into. I’ve been tired, burnt out, need to rest. I get bored easily. I joke about having adult onset ADD (which might be less of a joke than I think, but only in certain neural pathways).

The truth of the matter is, for whatever reason, I haven’t felt like it.

And I have that luxury at the moment, the luxury of letting the stories and characters bounce around my brain and flesh themselves out as long as my subconscious, and conscious, feels like working with them. I don’t have to put them down on paper, tablet, or computer.

After all, I still have all of those other stories I have written that need to find homes (note to self: get on that, will you?) and a couple of novels that might actually be worth reading to someone else (three out of eleven drafted, of course, only those three have been edited and polished).

Except I’ve been getting itchy again.

So I started a new story yesterday, one that’s almost certainly a novel-length story. And it’s scratching that itch, so I’m going to keep doing it.

Secondary world heroic fantasy with tastes of late 17th or early 18th century technology at the end of an ice age.

I’m not sure what kind of pace I’m going to work towards on this, but it doesn’t matter as long as I’m enjoying the story. Wish me luck.

Be well, everyone.

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The Writing Plan: 2015 Edition

The Writing Plan: 2015 Edition

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dreamstimefree_206298Time to share what I’ve got in mind for writing and publishing goals for 2015.

I believe, with the experience I’ve had dictating in the last little while, with some focus, I can could actually maintain the NaNoWriMo pace I set during November. Even allowing for a little Christmas and Summer vacation, I believe it’s possible for me to draft a 60 to 80,000 word novel every single month. I’m actually not going to try to do that for 2015.

(Although that would be a really cool experiment. Maybe in 2016. Probably not.)

For 2015, there are other things I want to do too, so I am tailoring things and coming up with a more well-rounded plan.

Still, that plan is looking for me to attempt six novels, and I’ve made a first pass at selecting which six of the crazy number of stories I want to tell. It’s a possible, but unrealistic goal, but here it is:

  1.  Draugr Rising (urban fantasy)
  2. Becoming Alien (near future SF)
  3. Tashiik Dreams (a couple of centuries post being conquered by aliens YA SF)
  4. Neanderthal (alternate history)
  5. Border Guards (adventure fantasy)
  6. My Cousin Hans (historical fiction set during the Nazi occupation of Denmark)

Draugr Rising should be the easy one—I started the year within 25,000 words of the end, that is, if I manage to find four or five chapters written long hand and never yet committed to the keyboard. Two of the others depend heavily on research. I reserve the right to swap one project for another at any time.

Short fiction, I’m going to get back to The Undead. In fact, by the time this posts, I should already have a ghost story finished. The primary target here is to get the rest of the stories done for this collection. But I hope to write some other short fiction, too.


The Weekly Schedule

I get five drafting days per week. These are my commute, so whatever words I can spit into the microphone, and I’m looking for this to run 2,500 to 3,000 words per day, hopefully the latter most of the time.

Monday to Wednesday is for novel work, Thursday is for short fiction, and Friday is classed as “Other”, meaning blog posts and some other non-fiction, and occasionally stuff that isn’t technically writing at all.

No drafting while on vacation or taking special days off for conventions and the like.

But this works out to 12,500 words per week, nowhere near the NaNoWriMo pace of 17,000, but that’s okay. Sometimes I’ll hit that and keep going, making up for the lighter weeks. I hope.


Publishing Goals

I’m putting most of last year’s publishing goals back on the table, generalizing them, adding one, and will take whatever time I can get.

  • Three indie-publishing projects selected from:
    • A Novelette/Novella
    • A Novel
    • A Short Story Collection
    • A Children’s story
  • Shop Ancient Runes, Graceland, and Heroes Inc.
  • 100 short story submissions.

I’d better get started, hmm?

Be well, everyone.

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How My 2014 Writing Goals Worked Out

How My 2014 Writing Goals Worked Out

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dreamstimefree_206298Okay, so my writing goals for 2014 and my actual accomplishments are two very different things. Life is still hard to project, and a few months into the year I took a different position in the organization that actually left me with a lot less potential free time. I’ve made major adjustments to what I hope to accomplish in 2015 as a result, but that’s for another day.


2014 Writing Goals

Project: The Godhead Trilogy

The Plan: first draft of all three books, finishing by the end of September.

The Reality: two drafted and the second was painful. Leaving the third for 2015, maybe. Replaced it with a NaNoWriMo project that went very well.

Project: Becoming Alien

The Plan: The stretch goal. A fourth novel for the year.

The Reality: I never actually finished plotting it. Or rather, I did but then threw most of that away because I hated it. The revised plot, a Snowflake method experiment, is about 2/3 done. I did go back to a previous novel length project, Draugr Rising, and I’m nearly finished that now.

Project: Skip To My Luu

The Plan: a final re-read to see if it needs any tweaks or smoothing out.

The Reality: Zip.

Project: Manifest Destiny

The Plan: – Editing to beta reader stage. This is the biggest editing project for 2014.

The Reality: with the new job altering my life’s timetables, editing time became really hard to come by. I never actually got to this.

Project: The Novelette Project

The Plan: Finish off the last two novelettes in my planned series and then edit them. Quoting from last year’s goals “One is close. One has at least 10,000 words to go.”

The Reality: One had 9,000 words to go and the other had 16,000. No editing done for previously mentioned reasons.

Project: The Undead

The Plan: Finish drafting all of the planned stories, about 70k words’ worth.

The Reality: Still about 55,000 words to write.

Project: Speculative Emotion

The Plan: Staring a another themed collection of stories.

The Reality: Since I didn’t finish all of the stories for The Undead, I never actually started this.

Project: Short fiction clean up

The Plan: Taking a variety of first drafts and making them read well.

The Reality: I did some of this, but I still have about 50 stories from flash to novella sitting somewhere between a complete first draft and a draft I’ll allow other eyes to see.


2014 Publishing Goals

There’s really very little point in recapping the Indie goals. Didn’t touch them, which makes me sad, but that means I might still try them, right?

In fairness, I didn’t hit any of my traditional publishing goals last year, either. We should just let this go and move on.



Counting everything, I had a fiction target of 510,000 words last year. I actually managed just shy of 448,000 and all of the shortfall can be accounted for by The Undead.

However, my overall projection was 610,000 words once I counted in plotting and blog posts.


697,123 new words.


I can’t call 2014 anything less than a success in terms of raw wordage.

But raw wordage isn’t what counts. Published wordage is what really matters, and not even wordage, but stories and books. I didn’t do a lot of submissions in 2014, not compared to my initial intentions, but I still managed five story acceptances, three of which have already published and the other two should be happening shortly.

I’ll share my plans for 2015 in a couple of days.

Be well, everyone.

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