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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