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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