Writing in Public: Day 22, Month 04

Today I did not do any active writing, but I did quite a bit of brainstorming on a couple of stories, but mostly on the story¬† I want to write for Penumbra’s “Pain” themed issue. The story is temporarily titled “Pain Junkies” and is going to be something of a mystery/suspense story. I don’t write these as a rule, so it will be a good exercise if nothing else.

The story is almost planned out, but I’m still having trouble coming up with try/fail sequences. At least initially. A lot of this will come as I just sit down and write out the rough draft, but I really want to get better at handling that in the planning phases. Well, anyway, my hope for tomorrow morning is to get the tale written and revised, but I’ll be content with a completed rough draft and some more brainstorming on the revision.

  • Blog Posts: 179
  • Planning and outlining: 1,000
  • Short Fiction: 000
  • Novel Fiction: 000
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 24,127

Total Salable for Month: 3,500

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 153,604

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 36,034

Writing in Public: Day 16, Month 04

Well, the next revision of “You Are My Brothers” is finished, but it still isn’t to where I like. Maybe that adage of art never being finished is true and I will just have to abandon the tale at some point. I’m going to set it aside for the time being and look at it wish fresh eyes come next week. I really want to do it justice, and it could just be my skills as a writer aren’t quite where they need to be in order to pull it off.

I had this happen with the short story “Sublease” that I was working on earlier this year. It’s a story I’ve been wanting to write for a couple of years, yet every time I’ve written – and finished – a draft it is never what I originally set it out to be.

This weekend and the first part of next week will largely be devoid of writing. There are a lot of outdoor activities going on this weekend, and next week I have a bit of work to catch up on. When I get back into the saddle there are a few stories I want to try and get finished by month’s end. Penumbra has an interesting theme this month (“Pain) as does Crossed Genres (“Typical”) amongst a few others.

  • Blog Posts: 248
  • Planning and outlining: 000
  • Short Fiction: 6500
  • Novel Fiction: 000
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 24,127

Total Salable for Month: 3,500

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 153,604

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 36,034

Writing in Public: Day 15, Month 04

The first main revision of “You Are My Brothers” is finished! Tomorrow I will attempt to revise it a second time. I’m still not entirely happy with what’s going on in the story, though. No story I write ever really matches the initial vision I have for it, but this one seems to be going in a completely different direction in some respects.

If I do not finish it in time for the deadline tomorrow I will consider holding it for the Writers of the Future next month. It will need to be reworked heavily, but I have some ideas on how to do that.

On a different note, the other day I received back the initial round of edits on “Mechanicis Solis” from Venessa Giunta. I haven’t yet had a chance to go over them, but once this is finished I intend to devote my full attention to the hard work Venessa has put into getting that story whipped into shape. She says the first round of edits is the most involved and – in some respects – the most painful, but I am looking forward to it. Any chance I can take to improve my craft, I’ll do it!

  • Blog Posts: 228
  • Planning and outlining: 000
  • Short Fiction: 5,503
  • Novel Fiction: 000
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 17,627

Total Salable for Month: 3,500

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 147,104

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 36,034

Writing in Public: Day 14, Month 04

The revision of “You Are My Brothers” is going sluggishly, but it’s getting there. I’ve added a new character I did not initially think needed to be in there, and I’m starting to see where other scenes and sections can be eliminated altogether.

My goal is for the story to be in the 9,000 range. I don’t want it to go too much beyond that, but if I get descriptive with the battle sequences it will need to be done.

  • Blog Posts: 108
  • Planning and outlining: 000
  • Short Fiction: 2,466
  • Novel Fiction: 000
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 12,124

Total Salable for Month: 3,500

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 141,601

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 36,034

Writing in Public: Day 13, Month 04

Today was a productive day from multiple standpoints, but most importantly from writing. I wrote enough of each scene of “You Are My Brothers” to be able to start the rewrite tomorrow morning. This is good, as the deadline for Sword & Sorceress is Friday, and I will do my best to make it happen.

I imagine the final word count for the story will be in the 7,000 to 8,000 range. This rough draft was lacking in detail. It was more to get the basic layout and pacing of the story down, and I think I’ve managed to do that.

Nothing new on the other tasks of the week, although I did finish reading David Farland’s Drawing on the Power of Resonance in Writing. It was a very fascinating read, and I plan to go back through it again in order to take notes. He goes into quite a bit of detail on just what resonance is, how it affects our choices as readers, and how it should affect our choices as writers. I plan to do a more detailed post on it in the future, but for now know it is well worth the investment. It’s a short book, but chock full of great concepts and ideas.

  • Blog Posts: 236
  • Planning and outlining: 000
  • Short Fiction: 4,158
  • Novel Fiction: 000
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 9,658

Total Salable for Month: 3,500

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 139,135

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 36,034

Writing in Public: Day 12, Month 04

It’s amazing how flashes of insight come when you least expect them. Just a little while ago I was working on my character list for “You Are My Brothers” and realized that the story structure I had spent the afternoon working on was lacking in try/fail cycles and conflict. Some of it was there, but not enough for the length of the story I was aiming for. And then a conversation with my wife on which of two ending ideas I had (A or B) led to a third idea that was much better and more complete than either of the others (C).

With that, I should be ready to start my rough draft of the story tomorrow morning. I should say rewriting as I wrote a good bit of the rough draft back in February, but it was very, very rough and doesn’t match the story structure I now have in mind.

My goal tomorrow is to get at least half of the story written before the day is out, if not more. I’m pushing off some other tasks for the day until this is done. All of it needs to be finished, but this comes first.

  • Blog Posts: 227
  • Planning and outlining: 1,400
  • Short Fiction: 000
  • Novel Fiction: 000
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 5,500

Total Salable for Month: 3,500

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 134,977

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 36,034

Weekly Goals – Week Ending 05/18/2014

Between the day job, breaking out the garden in preparation for planting, and a few other household duties the following will need to be done. If entertainment and sleep must be sacrificed, so be it!

  • Outline, write, rewrite, and submit “You Are My Brothers” to Sword & Sorceress. (05/13/2014)
  • Outline, rewrite, and submit “Water Cursed” to Triangulation’s Anthology Series.
  • Edit “Supply Chain Management” to On the Premise.
  • Outline, write, rewrite, and submit “Legendary Beast Defeated!” to Daily Science Fiction.
  • Read at least three short stories from “Writers of the Future” and reread for analysis.
  • Finish reading David Farland’s Drawing on the Power of Resonance in Writing. (05/13/2014)

Allowing Yourself to Read, But to a Point and for a Point

I don’t know if other writers have this problem, but allowing myself to read has been difficult of late. Reading novels and short stories used to be one of my favorite pastimes, and it needs to become so again. Yet, when I find I have the time to read I worry that I should be writing, or at least brainstorming or doing research.

The problem is I can’t reconcile in my head that reading the particular genre I wish to write in does count as research, and it can aid in the brainstorming process. Ultimately, reading is what makes us better writers. At the very least it serves as inspiration, for most of us turn to writing after reading something particularly profound. For me I had always liked to write here and there, but it wasn’t until I played a game called Betrayal at Krondor and then picked up the newly-released Serpentwar Saga by Raymond Feist that I realized writing was what I wanted to do. I was 11 at the time, and suddenly found myself burning through the 382 page Shadow of a Dark Queen. I went on to read all of Feist’s Midkemia-based work that was out at the time, then moved on to Jordan’s Wheel of Time, Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, Haydon’s Symphony of Ages, etc. In all these cases I could not put the books down and kept reading well into the wee hours of the morning just to see what happened next.

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to read a series as enthralling as these, but that could be where my fear lies. While there’s nothing wrong in reading for an hour or two a day before, during, or after the daily writing quota has been accomplished, it’s altogether another thing if you get sucked in to the point of losing productivity. On some subconscious level I must be worried that will happen the moment I start reading a story longer than 30 or 40 pages, and yet my goal is to ultimately write novel-length stories, and then novel-length stories in a series. If I wish to do this I need to go back and reread the series that got me into fantasy and science fiction in the first place, only this time with a writer’s eye. With the techniques that I am learning in David Farland’s Million Dollar Outlines and Drawing on the Power of Resonance in Writing I want to see which of these – if any – were employed in the series I love, to see how effective they are in practice.

With that said, I’ll be starting up my weekly goals in the next day or two, and I plan to update those goals as they are completed during the week. Reading both short stories and novels will be on that list, in addition to writing. The novels may have to wait for a couple of weeks, but I will at least narrow down which series I want to begin rereading, and then we’ll go from there.

For short stories, I need to broaden my horizons. I’ve been reading Daily Science Fiction a lot lately, but there are so many other great ezines out there (Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, to name just a few) that all need some attention, especially if they are places I wish to submit to. Before doing that, though, I think I will finish reading through my Writers of the Future anthologies that I’ve picked up here and there. Over the next few months I have several novelettes I wish to produce, and that tends to be what is accepted for that contest. If I’m going to write at that length, I should study the best available.

Writing in Public: Day 09, Month 04

Yet another day of brainstorming and research without much actual writing being done. Doesn’t help that the weather’s been sporadic and the times I’ve wanted to spend indoors has been spent outdoors working in the garden.

Anyway, I’m thinking the next couple of flash pieces I write will be written as news articles. I’ve got a couple of ideas that, if executed properly, will be short and funny. One will be dealing with vampires and the NSA, while the other will deal with the tendency for heroes in old tales (Or in the back story of newer tales) to seal away monsters rather than kill them outright when they’ve defeated them.

Tomorrow’s another day that will be hit-or-miss weather-wise. If the weather’s bad, I’ll be writing all day. If the weather’s good, I’ll be working on gardening before the weather gets bad.

  • Blog Posts: 167
  • Planning and outlining: 350
  • Short Fiction: 000
  • Novel Fiction: 000
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 5,500

Total Salable for Month: 3,500

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 134,977

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 36,034

Writing in Public: Day 07, Month 04

Already a week into May, and this is my second post. April business seems to have spilled over into May, but things are calming down a bit.

Over the past several days no new writing has been accomplished, but quite a bit of brainstorming has been going on. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword & Sorceress open for submissions until the middle of the month, so I’ve been focused on getting the story “You are My Brothers” ready for the big time. It’s a fantasy version of the Siege of Bastogne, with a group of all-female knights playing the part of Patton and riding in to the rescue only to discover that a worse threat faces them if they do not act on it in the next few days. I imagine the final product will be around 7,000 – 8,000 words.

Another story I’m hammering out the finer points on is “For All Mankind.” This will be a retelling of the Apollo missions from a militaristic, alien-invasion standpoint while attempting to remain true to the technology of the time. Some artistic license will be taken, but I want to try and keep a realistic tone to the whole piece. Likewise, this story will be on the longer side, at around 8,000 – 12,000 words.

Lastly, a friend of mine and I were brainstorming on how we could turn one of those “You’ve won an all expense paid vacation to Mexico!” robocalls into a story in and of itself, so I expect there will be some developments on that in the next day or two.

  • Blog Posts: 285
  • Planning and outlining: 1,200
  • Short Fiction: 000
  • Novel Fiction: 000
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 5,500

Total Salable for Month: 3,500

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 134,977

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 36,034