Tag: Writing

Back On Track?

Back On Track?

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So I’m starting to feel like I’m back on track with the writing.

While I’m not back up to the daily output of August to October yet, there’s at least some word count. Some days are pretty solid. Others are lighter. This past weekend, I actually had no words on Saturday, but that was due to a set of all-day seminars in the karate part of my life. Whenever I take all day for something like that, there are other things are left done, so I when come home, there are a whole bunch of chores to do. By the time I was caught up to where I wanted to be, I really had very little energy left, and let myself sink into the couch to watch a movie with my wife and my oldest daughter.

But otherwise, the word count is on the upslope again. Yes, there are some days where I’m under a thousand, where I choose to listen to something on the way home from work rather than dictate, and the novel progress is suffering a bit that way, but that’s okay, if I think about it a little. I have lots of stuff that needs a lot more editing, and the more time I spend drafting, but further behind I’ll get on the editing side. To stay even, or get ahead, I need a whole more editing time than I’ve been getting, and that’s a lot harder to come by.

I’m sure I’ve talked about it before, but I do four drafts of most things: story dump, fix what’s broken, make it pretty, read it out loud. Actually, technically there is a partial draft in between story dump and fix what’s broken, where I read through the story and make notes so that I can figure out what needs to be fixed. All told, on average, every hour of drafting probably needs about 2 1/2 hours to get through the various editing passes.

I’m thinking that means I’ll never catch up so long as I am working a regular job five days a week with a commute that lets me dictate. Ah, well. I have a lot of stories I want to tell. Maybe I’ll get most of them out of my head before I die.

My current process makes more specific use of my commute, as well. The morning commute, or the commute to work, whichever phrasing seems make more sense that day, is about evenly split between a blog or journal entry, and a piece of short fiction. Although, based on where my mind is going with it, the piece of short fiction I’m working on right now is probably a fairly long novella. Evening is dedicated to the current novel project, which is still Palace for another 22,000 words or so.

In practice, if I’m on the ball for all of both commutes, that’s around 2500 words once it’s been run through the transcriber. Twelve to thirteen hundred in each direction. And that’s a good total for me, even if it is divided among three things. At an average of 22 working days per month, that should usually wind up in excess of 50,000 words each month. And that’s not a bad monthly total. If I can find some evening time and get a couple of hours of work in each day on the weekends, the numbers should only go up from there, right?

But I really, really need to find some editing time. Lots of it.

If I could just afford to take a year or two off work…

Be well, everyone

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Writing Report for September 2018

Writing Report for September 2018

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Time for the monthly writing update. This one is likely to be a bit longer as I have a bit more to talk about than just raw word count on things. There’s still a lot of that, though.


  1. Short Fiction is a bit more limited this month than last. Only one piece got all of my short fiction attention, and also all of the words for it. I spent more time focused on the novel-length drafting, but I hit the 10k target here even if I didn’t finish Lake of Stars, which may wind up squeaking into novella length when I’m finished the editing process. Right now, it’s coming in at a total of 12,291 words (it started the month at 1254 and I still have four scenes left to write) and making my short fiction drafting total for the month 11,037.
  2. I finished Shrine on September 8th and it came it at 94,124 words. Unless I excise significant parts of the book, the editing process is likely to take it well over 100k. A good split point might be better as these are intended to be YA books and quick, fun reads. Two books at 50-55 k would be better. Tentatively, the piece I split off will be called Forest, sticking with the one-word title theme.
  3. And I got 27,548 words into Palace, which was the third (probably now fourth) book in the Troll World Quartet (Quintet).
  4. The final book in the set, Battlefield, is outlined at the summary level and I’m working on the scene level detail at this point, at chapter 12 and adding a couple of chapters per day. The initial projection is for 45 chapters, but that’s the initial outline for Palace called for only 40. I’m not even halfway through the plot and have adjusted that to 43 already, and that’s without a couple of things that might be better split into a couple of chapters. I’ll mostly worry about those when I get to the Revision Notes phase.
  5. Switching over to editing, I’m 24 out of 40 chapters through the 3rd draft pass of Hero’s Life, the sequel to Heroes Inc, with a bit less than 22k words to reach the end. Surprisingly, I wasn’t making a lot of big adjustments here until I hit Chapter 20 where I discovered that I’d left off fixing all of the transcription errors while working on the second draft. That second draft appears to have fixed all of the major problems story issues, at least, but the transcriptions aren’t horribly and I’m probably only expecting to gain about 3k or so words between the 2nd and 3rd drafts, not much more than a 4% expansion. I’m actually really pleased with this story.
  6. Fractured Unity conversion continues, mostly as a secondary project, but with a little extra time devoted on weekends. I’ve just finished the last scene of Chapter 17 (of 20), which is two-thirds through what would have been the 7th (of 8) audio drama episode. Conversion is a bit of a messy business and involves a lot of bare bones action to hang the dialogue on and make the story make more sense in a written form. The second draft will probably see some big expansions in word count. I know the plan was to do this completely and then move onto Palace, but I’m feeling the Troll World And I am only 7 scenes from the end of the first draft.
  7. 11 blog posts, and that’s with a couple of big blank spots, particularly in the first week of the month. Not all of these have dropped yet.
  8. 13 book reviews. Still catching up here. Honestly, I’ve just hit the end of my rough notes for reviewing books I read in 2017, and I just need some commentary in some spots of the overall document. My reading speed was pretty blinding for the first half of this year, too, until I got back into my writing in a big way, and I’ll still have all of those to take care of eventually.
  9. 7 journal entries
  10. 1 essay. This was martial arts related and a requirement for an event I’m participating in on October 12th.

Total word count for the month of 81,012, averaging 2.7k per day, which is awesome. I’m very happy with word production this month. While I don’t intend for every month to be this productive as I push into the publishing side of things more, knowing I can hit totals like this is a good reminder that maybe I can do this thing.

And speaking of the publishing side of things:

  1. 0 short story submissions. I never quite found the research time to start picking markets, so i’ll try again next month.
  2. I’ve started, but only just, really, making a list of Small Press houses and potential agents I’d like to send Ancient Runes Of the “completed” novels I want to do something with, it’s one of only two I don’t plan to work actively in the same universe in the next 18 months. I know that shouldn’t be a consideration on its own, but I want to have things worked out in my head. There is one other I’d consider, Skip to My Luu, which is an older book and, though I think it reads well, the prose isn’t as mature. Everything else I’m either working in the world currently, or have a sequel plotted and on the list for drafting next year.
  3. I’ve started brief experiments with cover design, mucking about with the fan fiction work first. I consider it more likely that I’ll wind up going with an independent professional for novel covers, but intend to slowly hone my own layout and design skills on short fiction and fan fiction projects. I’d like to do a number of these next year.

Which brings us to the revised plan for October. Based on small adjustments I made this month to the order of things in progress, the October targets are pretty clear. I’ll use the same zero-to-completion order for long fiction, followed by other work, and finally publishing as I did last month.

  1. Finishing the scene level plotting for Battlefield, the final book in the Troll World set, however long it ends up being. This is the last thing I intend to plot this year (no promises), and it should be done well before the end of the month.
  2. I think the plot for Palace is just a little too long for me to get through in October, but I don’t see it stretching that far into November, at which point I’ll get Battlefield
  3. Star Trek: Fractured Unity. With my revised schedule, I’m looking to complete the transition from script to first draft prose by the end of October. With a little luck and the appropriate amount of spare time, I may make it by the middle of the month.
  4. I may just squeak in finishing the third draft of Hero’s Life before Halloween. Not too much before, though.
  5. Short Fiction: in spite of my sporadic production here in September, I think the 10k goal here is a good one and I’m going to leave it at that level for the time being.
  6. I’ll reiterate that I still want to work in a little short fiction editing, recognizing that I didn’t get there last month.
  7. Similarly, I’m going to leave the non-fiction at 10k for the month again. Killed it this month, but let’s not get overconfident. Some of this effort might be better spent on fiction, but it’s mostly dictation time, and the amount of that isn’t going to change.
  8. 5 short story submissions.
  9. Small Press/Agent hunt continues, broadening the list of possibilities.

And I think it’s becoming a mantra, but I need to type faster. Not that I’m in any way displeased with how the last couple of months have gone, but there are a lot of things I want to craft, and, like most of us, I’m not getting any younger.

Be well, everyone.

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Submission Log and More Commentary On Society

Submission Log and More Commentary On Society

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I have decided that I’m going to reboot the Submission Log, mostly because it’s been a long time since I’ve done any serious story submitting. I have a lot of short fiction I would like to get in front of readers and there’s no reason I shouldn’t get paid by someone for some of it, right? Even if it’s only a token payment here and there.

I’ve never written or submitted to “exposure” markets, because I disagree with the concept. If the publisher is expecting to make any money whatsoever, some of that money should go to the author. If you’re not interested in paying your authors, I’m not interested in doing business with you.

I have a couple of times written for royalties. One time, that was okay. The other, the editorial process was so long and involved that the royalties would have needed to total several hundred dollars to bring me up to minimum wage (at the time) for all of time and energy I put into the process. They were not.

Now some out there may be thinking that writers and artists shouldn’t expect to get paid a lot of money. To which, politely, I suggest that you’re misguided. No artist expects to get rich on their work, but if money is changing hands for a product then the people involved in producing that product should be making a living wage from it, and that includes the artist. I think that’s entirely reasonable, without going into Ellison style rant (but it’s well worth watching – here).

If, on the other hand, it’s your thought that artists should be happy getting their work out there and not be concerned about money at all, my slightly less polite response is, fuck you. You don’t expect your favourite movie and TV stars to work for free, your favourite sports players to work for free, or your favourite musicians to work for free, why would you expect artist to?

See how easy it is to go into a commentary on society?

But it is frequently worth commenting on society, and maybe that’s why I do it a lot. Sidesteps in blog posts here and there, entire blog posts sometimes, frequently in conversations by off and online, and, well, pretty much all the time time. Like or not I live in a society with a lot of problems that need talking about and dealing with. Expectation of writers and artists working for starvation or no wages is one of many.

Back to the point.

The submission log is still on file and looks back to even the first couple of stories I submitted way back when. Since I’m trying to make both submissions and short story publishing part of my overall plan, I really do need to track them. Independently published collections are part of the publishing plan in 2019, as is some novel-length work, fanfiction, and poetry. I’m doing a bunch of Star Trek fanfiction individual stories and a collection, although those will only be available for free. Fanfiction by definition has to be free unless sanctioned by the owners of the property. I’d love to, but never expect to, write Star Trek for money. But, if people like my Star Trek work, maybe it’ll lead some of them into my non-Trek work. If not, oh well.

Releasing something for exposure or giving it away for a little while is far different than someone only willing to pay exposure in order to make money themselves, btw. It’s a valid marketing tactic for indie traditional publisher, but the traditional publisher, no matter how small, needs to be aware that their authors deserve to be paid.

I’ve also got plans to do one themed collection a year for about the next five years, and that doesn’t stop me from just pulling together some of what I feel is my best work to do a non-themed collection. And I will be doing novels, and a poetry collection so self-publishing will be strong, but it’s not the only path. As I’ve mentioned, I will be looking for an agent or small press for some work.

I track word count and goals and I’m certainly going to track who I investigate for agents or publishers, so if I’m targeting five short story submissions per month for the rest of the year, including September (and 8-10 per month in 2019), I need that submission log. I need to know where I send things, who liked my work and should get more of it, who doesn’t bother to respond on rejections, who gives feedback.

Tracking is important. So, beginning any moment now with the first submission of 2018.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for August 2018

Writing Report for August 2018

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Switching these to monthly. As we move along, and I have things to talk about other than raw word count, they’ll probably get a bit longer, but for this month, it’s all about getting the words out and moving some of them around.


  1. Short Fiction totals two complete stories and one more in progress, plus a flash piece, gaining a total of 11,153 words for the month.
  2. Shrine increased by a total of 35,050 words, bringing it to 83,432 and still not done when it was supposed to come in at 60k. There are about 9k words left in the projection based on the plotting I’ve done, so I’m probably looking at finding a split point for this book. It’s too long for the way the rest of the series works.
  3. Plotting completed for Seven Days a King. Although I don’t expect to actually draft this until sometime next year.
  4. Editing, I’ve finished the 3rd draft pass on Arena to the end of Chapter 21, leaving me 4 chapters and a little less than 8k words to go on this stage. Current word count is 66,105 Expected completion of the 5th of September.
  5. Fractured Unity scene expansions as a secondary project added 3,274 to the total word count.
  6. 12 blog posts
  7. 7 book reviews
  8. 4 journal entries
  9. 1 essay.

Total word count for the month of 69,470, averaging more than 2k per day, which makes me very happy, even though the spread of outliers is pretty wide, from a couple of editing only days where I added a few dozen to several hundred words, to several days well over 3k and one when I actually broke 4k. I’ve also started scribbling 50-150 words at a time of the first scene of Bad Teenage Poetry to scratch the itch it’s making in my brain, and I think I have around 1000 words on paper so far, though I’m not actually counting. I’ll save that for when I transfer it into the keyboard and add it to the total then. With the revised plan, that’s likely to be a while.

Right, revised plan. I made some 2018 and 2019 plan adjustments last week, but the short term remains essentially the same, and that’s what I’m going to look at here in terms of goals for September. Taking those in sort of a zero-to-completion order for long fiction, followed by other work, and finally the publishing side:

  1. Next up on pre-first draft work is plotting for Battlefield, the final book in the Troll World Quartet (Quintet?). I had some good success trying the Snowflake method for Palace, so I think I’m going to work that way again for Battlefield and see how it goes.
  2. With the expansion of Shrine, and possible splitting of the book if I can find the right point to do it and justify it as two distinct stories, I don’t expect to finish the first draft until somewhere around the 10th of September.
  3. Star Trek: Fractured Unity. Looking to complete this transition from script to first draft prose by the end of September, which will actually be a challenge. It’s easier to draft out of whole cloth than it is to start with existing dialogue and build around it. That’s more like editing on steroids.
  4. But if I get there, we’ll start on Palace, the third book in the Troll World Quartet/Quintet, which is fully plotted and I think more tightly than Shrine.
  5. Editing: once Arena has gone through the third draft, which looks like will be by the end of the first week of September, I’m going to spend a few days editing the non-poetry bits of the haiku collection I’m planning.
  6. Once that’s done, I’m moving to the third draft of Hero’s Life, the sequel to Heroes Inc.
  7. Short Fiction: the goal here is to hit 10k per month in short stories. August went well enough in this length that I took 8 days off near the end of the month to get more words into Shrine, so with the number of things I want to finish, I have reasonable confidence here.
  8. Hoping to add a little steam on the short fiction editing side, too, but I’m already feeling like I might be spread a bit too thin in number of things in progress.
  9. Non-fiction, target of 10k for the month here, too. This is a broad-catch bucket taking in blog posts, book reviews, the odd journal entry, and other work that isn’t strictly fiction.
  10. 5 short story submissions.
  11. Small Press/Agent hunt begins by making a list of possibilities.

And while there are other creative pursuits I have on my life list, like I said last week about my writing goals: I need to type faster.

Be well, everyone.

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Change of Plans

Change of Plans

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I’m trying hard to make a go of the writing thing right now, and while that’s only been going on for a few weeks so far, I have hopes. Granted, I’ve recently taken a new job at work that demands more of my time and ratchets up the level of responsibility dramatically, home life I think is working very well. My oldest is living on his own now, and in another city, and my daughters are both of an age where they like to know I’m around, but don’t necessarily need to be in the same room I’m in. So, in among regular chores and that the house list and other responsibilities, I do have a little time here and there. Which I’m completely taking advantage of.

In the last week or so, I have posted about both the overall plan, and the project list. Both of those should be considered fluid, and I have the right to exercise any time changes to the plan we forecasting what I intend or expect. During a morning commute last week, just after finishing the middle section of the second last scene of the short story I’m dictating, I made the decision to exercise that right and adjust the plan.

I have been working on both the third draft of Arena and the first draft of Shrine in the past several weeks, the first two books in the Troll War, I mean Troll World quartet. Notice the “slip” there. I recently decided on World over War because the War things slowly lead up to doesn’t actually happen until the last book. I don’t want to give the impression that the other three books are just build up towards that, because they are each an adventure in their own right. Well, the first one certainly is, I’m working for the second one to be, and the third is plotted that way as well. While the stakes are necessarily different in each story, they’re not necessarily any more life threatening from the view of the principal characters, although I feel like I’m ratcheting things up in every single book for my primary protagonist, and they get wider ranging.

Completely beside the point.

The decision I’ve made is that I’m not going to do the final editing pass on Arena shortly after I finish the third draft. Added to that, I’m not going to do any editing of Shrine until both Palace and Battlefield are both drafted. And Battlefield isn’t even plotted yet, much less outlined. These books are short enough, probably all falling into the 65 to 85,000 word range things once done, that I think things might work better story as if I do most of the editing as a group. While they represent four separate stories, those stories do form a larger arc for the protagonist.

I am still going to pick up and finished the first draft of Fractured Unity right after I finish the first draft of Shrine, the old plan of then moving on to drafting Bad Teenage Poetry is gone now. I’m moving Palace first and Battlefield right on its heels (which means I need to plot and outline Battlefield early in the fall). Once they’ve all hit at least the end of the first draft, I’ll let the whole cycle rest for several months while I work on other things before starting revision notes and second drafts for the second third and fourth books as a group. Eventually, I’ll do the final, read it aloud draft for the whole quartet together.

One tiny little decision, which changed my whole plan for the remainder of 2018 and all of 2019.

And that’s okay, because I think I like it better this way.

Not that I can’t change my mind again if I want to.

Be well, everyone.

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Project Status Overview

Project Status Overview

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So there’s definitely something in my makeup somewhere that I need to channel better. I like to work on multiple things at a time which, once some kind of equilibrium has been achieved, makes me just as productive as someone who works at the same rate but only focuses on one thing at a time.

But I also seem to have issues sharing things when I’ve finally take them to a final draft status. That certainly needs to be fixed.

Between those two idiosyncrasies, I thought it might be interesting to list all of the book-length projects I have and in what stage of completion.

Some reading this might ask the question: what the frack is wrong with you? Others will pick a different question: why are you spending writing time on a blog post when you have a list this size? Both questions are valid. And we won’t talk about the sheer volume of short fiction I have lying around that I should do something with. We also won’t mention more than in passing that I’m still free to have other ideas.


Final Draft Complete

  • Graceland: Science Fiction, Collection, 83k words
  • Heroes Inc (The Citizen Book 1): Superhero, 73k words
  • Skip to My Luu: Science Fiction, 87k words
  • Ancient Runes: Science Fiction, 85k words
  • Universal Destiny: Science Fiction, 77k words
  • Scattered On the Wind: Science Fiction, YA, 72k words
  • Draugr Rising: Fantasy, 65k words


Third Draft Complete

  • Actually nothing here at the moment, but that should change shortly.


Second Draft Complete

  • The Undead: Fantasy/Horror, Collection, 96k words
  • Arena (Troll World 1): Fantasy, YA, 63k words
  • Hero’s Life (The Citizen Book 2): Superhero, 62k words.


First Draft Complete

  • Dragon Summer: Fantasy, 108k words. My first attempt at a novel. No one will be permitted to see this until sometime long after my death.
  • The Godhead Book 1: Fantasy, 127k words. Has a couple of significant issues I know how to fix.
  • The Godhead Book 2: Fantasy, 104k words. Needs to be torn apart and rebuilt almost from the ground up, keeping the basic plot and a few fun parts.
  • Warforge: Caledonia: Science Fiction, 128k words. Some adjustments needed for the POV arcs to come together more smoothly.


First Draft in Progress or Stalled

  • Shrine (Troll World 2): Fantasy, YA, 74k words estimated. Primary project.
  • Fractured Unity: Science Fiction, ST Fanfic, 50k words estimated. Currently 26k words. Next project in line.
  • Stoneweaver: Fantasy, 52k words and stalled with significant problem.
  • Dreams of Freedom (Alishran 1): Fantasy, 22k words and stalled.
  • Iron Jack: Fantasy, 13k words and the plot needs to be rebuilt.


Outlined (Has 5-10k words of structure and character built)

  • Bad Teenage Poetry: Historical, 75k words estimated.
  • Fallen Heroes (The Citizen Book 3): Superhero, 60k words estimated.
  • Seven Days a King: Science Fiction, 60k words estimated.
  • Converging Destiny (Universal Destiny book 2): Science Fiction, 60k words estimated.
  • Palace (Troll World 3): Fantasy, YA, 60k words estimated.


Plotted (Has 1-2k of structure built)

  • Speculative Emotions: SF/F, Collection.
  • Periodicity: SF, Collection.
  • Unified Destiny (Universal Destiny book 3): Science Fiction, 60k words estimated.
  • Battlefield (Troll World 4): Fantasy, YA, 60k words estimated.
  • Kami Falling (Draugr Rising sequel): Fantasy, 60k words estimated.
  • My Cousin Hans: Historical, 90k words estimated.
  • Strewn Across the Stars (Scattered on the Wind sequel): Science Fiction, 65k words estimated.
  • ISIRTA: 50 Plus Years Later on the Other Side of the Pond: Non-Fiction, 70k words estimated.


Conceived (has less than 1k of structure and concept built)

  • The Godhead Book 3: Fantasy
  • Warforge Books 2 & 3: Science Fiction
  • The Crossword Man: Contemporary
  • Big Hair Day: Historical
  • Peacebringers Trilogy: Science Fiction
  • Alishran 2 & 3: Fantasy


Glimmering (has a paragraph or less for concept)

  • Warforge Book 4: Science Fiction
  • Green Wars: Contemporary
  • Rain Falls Daily: Contemporary
  • Border Guards: Fantasy
  • Consigliere: Science Fiction
  • Neanderthal: Science Fiction
  • Seven Cities: Fantasy
  • Stoneweaver: Fantasy
  • Tashiik Dreams: Science Fiction
  • The Sergeant’s Legacy: Historical
  • High Guard Trilogy: Science Fiction
  • Napoleon’s Unicorns: Fantasy
  • Wellington’s Griffins: Fantasy
  • Baby’s First Year: Contemporary
  • In Living Memory 1 & 2: Science Fiction
  • The Library of Time: Science Fiction
  • The Beauty of Weapons: Science Fiction
  • Shadow Maidens: Fantasy

So what is wrong with me and why aren’t I working on something listed here? Excuse me while I change files.

Be well, everyone.

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Writing Report for the two weeks ending 12 August 2018

Writing Report for the two weeks ending 12 August 2018

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I may do a couple more of these weekly just to help establish the habit, but I think over the longer term monthly is better. It’s a nice way for me to catch up, but I want to get as many words into active projects as possible.

During my vacation week, I built the basic set of targets, making things concrete-ish beginning August 2nd but not going beyond the end of the week at that point. Since coming home, I’ve fleshed out a real plan on multiple levels (as suggested last week), and thought I’d list what I’ve managed since starting to use the keyboard for its intended purpose (in my view) again.


  1. Finished “Replaceable”, with the first draft coming in at 6,589 words. I’m rather pleased with the result and will probably do the editing job on it sooner rather than later. It uses a difficult theme, but I think builds well to a mostly satisfying ending. ‘Mostly’ because there’s at one aspect of that ending I’d like to make a little more subtle.
  2. Also in the area of short fiction, I added 503 words just yesterday to a story I left hanging a couple of years ago with the unlikely working title of “Space Broccoli”.
  3. I’ve put 10,611 words into Shrine, taking it to 57,628 and with an estimated 18,000 to go it’s going to come in at more than 15,000 words longer than the first draft of Arena. There are some sequences early in the book that can probably be shortened. I have the idea that all four books in the set will be of similar lengths, but I’m not too married to that. The story length for each will be what’s needed.
  4. And speaking of Arena, I’ve done the 3rd draft pass up to the middle of Chapter 10 (quite a long chapter with 4 separate scenes), which puts me about 4k words short of the book’s midpoint by  word count. The third draft is where I make sure that everything says what I want it to say, which I talked about in a more detail last year. (Reference the old post on what each draft means to me).
  5. Completely finished the scene-level plot on 7 Days a King. This isn’t the next long fiction project to go, but I’m glad to have the rough plot done.
  6. 6 blog posts (counting this one)
  7. 4 book reviews
  8. My first journal entry in almost 10 months.

A total word count of 27,723 or about 5k more than the whole year before this two week period. All in all, I’m pretty happy with that.

Significant projects on the horizon:

  1. Next Long Fiction: Star Trek: Fractured Unity. I’m a little over 25k words into something that I think will wind up at about 50k.
  2. After that: Bad Teenage Poetry, which is not speculative fiction and takes place in the mid-1980s.
  3. Editing: once Arena has gone through the last two drafts, I’m going back to Hero’s Life, the sequel to Heroes Inc. Fallen Heroes, the third book in the trilogy, has scene level detail plotted and is on the draft schedule for early next year, I hope.
  4. Short Fiction: 10k or so per month in short stories is the target going forward. After “Space Broccoli”, I have four more I specifically want to finish (none of which is more than 800 words in yet) before I dig into the archives or start on any of a variety of new ideas I’ve got.

And there are other creative pursuits in the offing as well, things that are part of my overall life goals but not necessarily connected direction to my writing goals. As far as the writing goals go, I need to type faster.

Be well, everyone.

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The New Plan

The New Plan

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So I used a vacation week to try to kick start my writing again. That was after a little bit of reading things I left in progress to focus on the primary career for almost 6 months.

Okay, twelve months.

Fine, it’s been almost 2 years since I got any major writing done.

There have been brief periods of productivity, but they never seem to last very long. A couple of weeks, maybe a month or so at a stretch. Maybe this time I can hold the focus for a while longer. It’s unlikely I’ll get back to the peak writing volume I managed by dictating during my long commutes in 2014 and 2015, but I have a lot of stories I want to tell, and, not to look too closely at the technological curve, it’s not lost on me that I may be as much as half done, or even a little more.

Because of the way my brain works, there needs to be a plan. Actually, by preference, there needs to be several plans: writing, publishing, marketing.

The basic writing plan, with short and long projects, editing goals, plotting, and so on, is the big one. It has daily word count goals for book length projects, short fiction projects, and non-fiction projects

The publishing plan will involve both long and short projects via e-book channels through Amazon and possibly Kobo markets, Watt Pad, potentially Smashwords, and an e-book store hosted on my own website, plus hard copies built through Create Space. It will also involve a submission plan for short work, and an agent or publisher hunt for at least one longer work per year.

Marketing will involve social media, blog posts, contests, giveaways, price leaders once I have enough work in the wild, and probably other things I haven’t thought of yet.

In the tradition of Peter Urs Bender (who first introduced me to the concept), all of these will be SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Bound. Of immediate note is that the social networking part of things will have nothing to do with the number of followers, but rather the number of posts per day, week, etc. That’s something I can control the quantity and quality of.

I’m essentially building these plans on five timelines: the rest of 2018, one year, three year, five-year, and ten year. At this stage, my builds contain the remainder of 2018, and then 2019 with detailed monthly goals and specific projects picked, though with some wiggle room and I can always re-forecast at will. Each of the longer term plans builds in specific projects (long, short, non-fiction) for 80% of the annual word count goal. The remaining 20% gives me space for overflow (because my expectations of what the final word count will be on something are often 10-15% short of what reality turns out to be) and to work on things that have occurred to me in between. Yes, that actually does mean that I have enough novel ideas to carry me through to the end of 2028 on that scale without adding any new ones, which seems unlikely.

There’s a similar plan on the publishing side. Although, the plan for the remainder of 2018 is essentially to learn about how things work again: formatting lessons, self-publishing concepts, physical layouts, potential sources for cover art, and so on. This is reading and experimentation for actually diving in next year. For 2019, I have several novel length projects I have elected to self publish, and one I have elected to attempt to either find an agent for more find a standard small press publisher for. There are also a handful of Novella and novelettes projects I feel are worth publishing as standalone’s, and some Star Trek fanfiction I wouldn’t mind other people reading, though these will be exclusively on Watt Pad and a blog I’m building for the purpose. Try not to laugh too hard, but I put it just as much art and effort into my fanfic as I do my regular fiction. This first group is all (with one exception) actually ready for other readers, it’s all Star Trek based, and it’s all set in the original series era, but I have rough-plotted or ideas for at least half a dozen stories in the Next Generation era as well. For the shorter tales, I like to try to focus on characters who didn’t always get a lot of screen time. Regulars, but not always principal regulars.

The 2018 remainder marketing plan is similar to the publishing plan: learn. Going along with that, I’m working to reestablishing my presence as an author on Twitter, and Facebook. I’m also investigating the idea of adding a third social media platform as determined appropriate. Right now, that’s looking like YouTube for readings, and I’m not adverse to returning to my love of podcasting, either. Additionally, I’ve roughed out a plan of regular blog posts, 2 to 5 per week, depending on other events.

What can I say, I’m a planner. Lots to do, lots to get done. And it’s very early days.

So, I need to get writing.

Be well, everyone.

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Return to Writing

Return to Writing

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So as the complete lack of content on my blog might indicate, I’ve been very focused on my primary career so far in 2018. To be honest, I could say that about 2017 and the end of 2016, but it’s paid off. I’ve had a couple of promotions, raises, and significant increases in responsibility and freedom, to the point where I now have the ability to take the largest department in my building and start to mold things into the shape I’d like instead of merely following the direction set. All of which are pretty cool, but taken together mean that a lot of other things in my life have had to give ground.

I’ve had to rearrange schedules and family items and work hard to make sure that the kids I still have living at him still feel like they have a father who lives in the same home. Not always easy, and one of the girls does occasionally remark that I work a lot, generally a clue that I need to reign in a bit, and I’m glad for the reminder. I think I’ve done okay by the family, and the latest job change has made up for some of the wacky schedules I’ve had to put up with over the past year and a half or so.

But my writing has also suffered a bit.

A lot.

To be completely honest, the sum total of my writing in 2018, from January 1st through July 29th, was barely more than 22,000 words, counting everything, and the bulk of that was in January. This year’s original goals are completely toast. But that’s okay. Really.

When we started planning a week-long summer getaway, writing was on the top of my list of things to get back to. Even taking the first full day just to enjoy the scenery and the local outdoors, here’s what I managed for the week:

  1. 4 blog posts, including this one.
  2. Dusted off the outline in progress for Seven Days a King, read through it, and added chapter-level detail for Chapters 21-31 of 40.
  3. Took a 358-word story fragment, hashed out a plot, and added 2,160 Working title is “Replaceable”, and it’s a science fiction tale that is probably about 40% done at 2,518 words. Maybe 35%. A couple of the scenes are not quite developed in my head.
  4. 2,502 words on Shrine, though only after being disturbed out how horrible the last couple of chapters I wrote were. Not going back. They can be fixed in later drafts.
  5. 5 chapters of the third draft of Arena.

Grand total, 9,106 words contributed to the writing gig across five of the six full days we spent at the cottage. I’m not willing to say they were all good words, but I do think they were all coherent words. And that was in among all of the cottage-y activities of the week.

The trick will be rebuilding a daily habit that my primary job doesn’t interfere with. Right now, this level of word count isn’t maintainable, but it would be nice to build up again.

Stay tuned and be well.

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2017 Writing Summary

2017 Writing Summary

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

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

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

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

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

Be well, everyone.

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