Writing in Public 2015: Day 8, Month 1

Today was productive on the writing front, but not so much on the reading front.

In fact, the only thing that was completed today was the second draft of “Snowmelt.” It’s approximately 4,000 words now, and 8 scenes long. As I was writing I managed to come up with notes that will help with the third draft. The third draft begins tomorrow. I am on target for getting this finished and submitted by Sunday. Hurray!

Had to shelve the novel for today, and possibly tomorrow as well. The weekend is going to be busy with finishing up this short story, and getting caught up on the novel.

Ok, so here are today’s numbers:

 

Here are today’s numbers:

Blog Posts: 145
Planning and outlining: 0
Short Fiction: 4,000
Novel Fiction: 0
Salable words: 0

Total Fiction for Month: 7,250

Total Salable for Month: 1,000

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 7,250

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 1,000

Writing in Public 2015: Day 7, Month 1

Progress is coming on all but the reading front. Had bigger plans for today, but some emergency outdoor work coupled with recovering from an illness ruined my late afternoon and evening plans. But, all in all it was still a productive day:

  • Write “Snowmelt” and come up with a real name for it. The rough draft is finished, and I compiled all of my notes from that. A new outline is ready, this one with a better sense of pacing and overall cohesion. The second draft (Or what I call the “real first draft”) writing happens tomorrow. My goal is to blaze through all 5,500 planned words in one crazed session. I’ve done it before, so I know it’s possible. If I can do that, my next phase of editing can begin on Friday and wrap up on Saturday with a final read-through Sunday before it’s off to somewhere.
  • Edit my WOTF entry. Once again, time just didn’t pan out. I don’t want to get behind on my book outlining. Friday may just be one crazy edit session for both stories, “Snowmelt” and this one. We’ll see, because I definitely want to get this story edited before next week is finished. I printed off all 60 pages of the story and intend to go through it with a red pen. Haven’t done that in a long time, so I’m looking forward to it.
  • Continue outlining the Wendigo Novel 1. Currently still working on the scene summary outline. This “summary” is supposed to only be about 4 pages, but I’ve come up with closer to 6, and I’m only 25% through with the story. Going to be interesting to see where this goes. I’m still on target with time, though. I’m hoping to just power through this tomorrow afternoon and get the rest of it finished, no matter how long it ends up being. Then I’ll spend Friday paring it down into a shorter summary. It’s a skill I need to learn if I want to be able to write effective synopses for prospective agents/publishers, or effective blurbs for self-publishing.
  • Read Volume 30 of the Writers of the Future. Finished Volume 28 earlier today, finally. I have a bad habit of putting down the books I want to read in favor of doing more writing/outlining. I guess it’s good that I want to keep working, but it’s bad that
  • Read Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman. Still haven’t gotten much past the first chapter for the aforementioned reasons. Will have to spend some time playing catchup, and that’s always bad to try.

Remember: when writing a rough draft, expect it to suck. That way you can plow through and complete it. Writing it down the first time is the fun part. The real work begins with the rewriting and editing. But, before that can happen it has to be finished! Don’t try to make it perfect the first time, or it’ll never happen.

Here are today’s numbers:

Blog Posts: 1,750
Planning and outlining: 2,300
Short Fiction: 1,000
Novel Fiction: 0
Salable words: 0

Total Fiction for Month: 3,250

Total Salable for Month: 1,000

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 3,250

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 1,000

Writing in Public 2015: Day 6, Month 1

Progress is coming on all but the reading front. Had bigger plans for today, but some emergency outdoor work coupled with recovering from an illness ruined my late afternoon and evening plans. But, all in all it was still a productive day:

  • Write “Snowmelt” and come up with a real name for it. Managed to write scenes 2 through 6, and part of 7. Ten pages, or around 2,500 words. I’m more than halfway through the story, though the scenes will likely need to be re-ordered to get the pacing I really want. I still need to come up with a real name for it. The placeholder name is bugging me.
  • Edit my WOTF entry. Didn’t get a chance to look it over today. That was my afternoon plan, and it got messed up. I do not have time for it tomorrow, but I will see what I can do. It’s my hope to get this edited to the point that I’m really happy with it, then send it off to the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for a first attempt. If I get any feedback from that, I’ll make note and get it more polished for the Writers of the Future.
  • Keep working on the Wendigo Novel 1 outlining process, first with Michael A Stackpole’s “21 Days To a Novel“. Couldn’t start on Day 18, which is to come up with scenes that affect all the character arcs, or as many as possible. Got started on this, but could not complete it.
  • Keep working on the Wendigo Novel 1 outlining process, this time with the plan in Karen Wiesner’s “First Draft in 30 Days“. Day 5 and 6 in the plan involve a summary outline of the story. A good bit of the summary is finished, but I’m not quite there yet. I think Day 5 and 6 will take a couple more days, at the rate I’m going.
  • Read Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman. I’ve gotten through the introductory chapter. Could not get into this today, sadly.
  • Read Volume 30 of the Writers of the Future. Volume 28 is mostly finished, so I expect to start this tomorrow.

Remember: when writing a rough draft, expect it to suck. That way you can plow through and complete it. Writing it down the first time is the fun part. The real work begins with the rewriting and editing. But, before that can happen it has to be finished! Don’t try to make it perfect the first time, or it’ll never happen.

Here are today’s numbers:

Blog Posts: 381
Planning and outlining: 1,000
Short Fiction: 2,500
Novel Fiction: 0
Salable words: 0

Total Fiction for Month: 3,250

Total Salable for Month: 0

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 3,250

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 0

Writing in Public 2015: Day 5, Month 1

A new week, a new set of goals! Expect to see the following goals listed throughout the day. The first line for each bullet point will be the same, but the content of each paragraph will be different as I make progress with each goal:

  • Write “Snowmelt” and come up with a real name for it. It’s a short story set in the Wendigo universe and focused on the island of Vespast (Known as Westerland by the people of Ursel Province and the freemen of the Tundra Wastes). It’ll basically be a story about a Viking-like people and their new leader, a 15 year-old shieldmaiden who’s thrust into the position with the death of her father. I had hoped to get more done today, but found out that my outline for it has either been misplaced, deleted, or was never saved to begin with. I had to fall back on brainstorming notes and what was rattling around in my head. Didn’t get as much of the draft written today as I would have liked, but I did complete the first scene, or about three pages. More awaits tomorrow!
  • Edit my WOTF entry. Didn’t get a chance to look it over today. I plan to spend time on this tomorrow afternoon. My goal is to get it finished before
  • Keep working on the Wendigo Novel 1 outlining process, first with Michael A Stackpole’s “21 Days To a Novel“. I wrapped up Day 17’s work over the weekend, and had hoped to start Day 18 today. Wasn’t as efficient as I would like, but tomorrow is another day.
  • Keep working on the Wendigo Novel 1 outlining process, this time with the plan in Karen Wiesner’s “First Draft in 30 Days“. Day 5 and 6 in the plan involve a summary outline of the story. Basically, a several page synopsis that goes through the story scene-by-scene. I’m rather verbose when I’m writing up summaries, so this will end up being quite a bit longer than the plan calls for. But, that’s all right. As long as the ideas are down, they can be trimmed and expanded as needed later.
  • Read Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman. I’ve gotten through the introductory chapter. I plan to read more tomorrow. So far, so good! But, not into it enough to really give a running commentary.
  • Read Volume 30 of the Writers of the Future. I’m still finishing up Volume 28, but I expect to start this tomorrow. I’ve read a couple of the stories from it already, so I’m ahead of the game there. In Volume 28 today I finished reading a really good story called “The Poly Islands.” It was heavy on its environmental message, but in a very entertaining way. Very enjoyable.

While today wasn’t as productive as it could have been, it marks the first amount of new writing for 2015. Tomorrow, I expect to write quite a bit on “Snowmelt” and do a good bit of editing on the WOTF entry:

Here are today’s numbers:

Blog Posts: 522
Planning and outlining: 1,700
Short Fiction: 750
Novel Fiction: 0
Salable words: 0

Total Fiction for Month: 750

Total Salable for Month: 0

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 750

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 0

Writing in Public 2015: Day 4, Month 1

Today is Sunday, and I never really expect to get a full day’s work done on a Sunday. I plan for it, but only because I likely wouldn’t do anything if I didn’t do that. So, today I will just list what I did accomplish rather than what I planned to do:

  • Keep working on the Wendigo Novel 1 outlining process, this time with the plan in Karen Wiesner’s “First Draft in 30 Days“. Today I completed Day 3, which is coming up with a basic plot sketch for the story. This includes everything from stating the novel’s story goal, the subplots, any romance, points of tension in the plot, areas where that tension can be released, the black moment, the resolution, and any wrap-up to the resolution. Subplots is one area I’ve always struggled with when writing longer pieces, but I was able to come up with close to 10 basic ideas for this story. Some are mutually exclusive to one another, while others will be weaved together. It’ll be interesting to see what else comes up during the outlining process and then the actual drafting. It’s got me excited, and that’s one of the goals!
  • Finish editing my “Ultimate Evil” short story. The story is finished, and submitted. I was able to pare it down to right at 1,000 words. Again, I don’t consider it a hilarious piece, but hopefully its tongue-in-cheek nature will provide some amusement. This is my first short story of 2015. A very short one, but it was a short week. Next week begins a longer tale that should take the entire week to write.
  • Finish reading Rayne Hall’s “Writing Fight Scenes“. Success! All in all, a book worth picking up. Some of the information is common sense, but we all know that common sense ain’t so common. The chapter on euphonics was very interesting, as were the fight scene examples that she put at the end of the books. Makes me want to go pick up Storm Dancer now… And I just did.

Tomorrow begins the first full week of 2015. I plan to make use of every day this week, from completing a new short story to completing my WOTF entry to carrying on with the outlining and planning of the Wendigo novel. Also, I will begin reading a new pair of books: Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman and Volume 30 of the Writers of the Future. I’m looking forward to it all!

Here are today’s numbers:

Blog Posts: 435
Planning and outlining: 1,800
Short Fiction: 0
Novel Fiction: 0
Salable words: 0

Total Fiction for Month: 0

Total Salable for Month: 1,000

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 0

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 1,000

Writing in Public 2015: Day 3, Month 1

Today I set out with the following goals:

  • Read the second 1/3 of Rayne Hall’s “Writing Fight Scenes“. Success! Areas covered today: the difference between male and female fighters (Both physical and psychological), unarmed combat styles, types of fights, and how to write group fights (Group vs. Group or 1 vs. Group). All in all, very interesting. I didn’t know that women have a greater tendency to reach for improvised weapons in a fight than men do. But, when I think of my own tendencies I gravitate toward one of three things, depending on what I’m carrying: my fists (Never leave home without ’em!), my knife, or my sidearm. Very interesting, indeed!
  • Continue reading through Volume 28 of the Writer’s of the Future. I’ve read two more really good stories from the book. I’ll likely write up a post about it either tomorrow or Monday morning, whenever I finish the book. I’ve enjoyed some stories in there more than others, but I’ve liked them all so far. One can learn a lot about pacing, characterization, dialogue, and plot from reading other people’s works, as well as what one’s own weaknesses and strengths are relative to other authors.
  • Keep working on the Wendigo Novel 1 outlining process, first with Michael A Stackpole’s “21 Days To a Novel“. Day 17: Creating Problem Arcs is finished for three of my main heroes, and I have a pretty good handle on how to add more problems for my characters to solve throughout the course of the novel. I’ve wound up with a few interesting plot twists and scenes from this day’s exercise, and have increased tension between the three. This should make the novel more interesting.
  • Keep working on the Wendigo Novel 1 outlining process, this time with the plan in Karen Wiesner’s “First Draft in 30 Days“. Today I wrapped up Day 2’s exercise, which is coming up with general and character-specific sketches for the different settings to be shown in the novel. I’ve found there are currently four towns that will be visited, but there are at least as many towns that will only be mentioned by name in this book. I want to have a basic sketch for each of them, as some of the characters have either visited these places or will encounter people who have visited them. It pays to know more of the setting than will be shown, as it helps make the place feel more real. Tomorrow will involve the creating of plot threads.
  • Keep editing my “Ultimate Evil” short story. Yesterday was all research. Today was all editing. In the articles I am hoping to emulate I found that the length of the articles tended to be no fewer than 15 paragraphs (Sometimes one-sentence paragraphs, so maybe “blocks of text” is a better description) and no greater than 30. A minimum of 3 paragraphs was dedicated to the summary of the entire article at the beginning (The ol’ punchline at the beginning trick of news articles. Get to the point, then rewind back to the start), and at least 2 paragraphs were dedicated to an aftermath conclusion, although there could be a lot more. Ultimate Evil began the day at 32 paragraphs and around 1,250 words. I managed to cut it down to 1,100 words, but now it’s 35 paragraphs. I’m going to put it aside for today, but tomorrow I plan to finish it and send it to a few people I think will appreciate it for their comments. After that, it’s off to somewhere.
  • Continue my Writers of the Future third draft edits. I wanted to spend two hours on this today, but failed. It was at the end of my already packed day, and other things came up. That’s all right, though. Progress was made on the one story, so there’s always tomorrow!

Here are today’s numbers. Again, no new fiction written, but a good bit of groundwork laying:

Blog Posts: 663
Planning and outlining: 1,200
Short Fiction: 0
Novel Fiction: 0
Salable words: 0

Total Fiction for Month: 0

Total Salable for Month: 0

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 0

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 0

Writing in Public 2015: Day 2, Month 1

(Note: For January, there is no Day 1. Took the day off to be with family, and to read.)

Today I set out with the following goals:

  • Read the first 1/3 of Rayne Hall’s “Writing Fight Scenes“. I succeeded in this, and maybe read a bit more than I needed to. Areas covered today: the difference between entertaining and gritty fight scenes, and types of combat/weapons up to blunt weapons. There’s a good bit of knowledge in here, and many Youtube links to fight scenes to study.
  • Keep working on the Wendigo Novel 1 outlining process, first with Michael A Stackpole’s “21 Days To a Novel“. I am currently on Day 17 and miscalculated how long it would take. I allotted an hour for it, and it will take anywhere from two to three. I plan to finish this up tomorrow.
  • Keep working on the Wendigo Novel 1 outlining process, this time with the plan in Karen Wiesner’s “First Draft in 30 Days“. I’m using two different books because they each have a different focus. Stackpole’s book is focused primarily on characters and plot. Wiesner’s takes characters and plot and throws in setting, dialogue, subplotting, and a whole mess of other things that turn good novels into great novels. I recommend both books for those who have yet to get a novel written and want a place to start. I’d also recommend David Farland’s “Million Dollar Outlines” for this. Read it over last Spring and plan to re-read it sometime soon.
  • Keep editing my “Ultimate Evil” short story. It’s basically the telling of a good versus evil story in the format of a wartime newspaper article. I didn’t get to do much direct editing on the story today. I spent a couple of hours researching old BBC articles from World War II to get an idea of the kind of structure that most of those articles were written in. My goal is to finish it tomorrow and get it send off by Sunday at the latest.
  • Continue reading through Volume 28 of the Writer’s of the Future. I’ve read about 2/3 of it, so my goal is to finish the rest by the end of Sunday and start Volume 30 on Monday. I haven’t done this yet, but that’ll end up as bedtime reading.

And that’s it for the day. No actual fiction words written. Just a lot of planning that will hopefully make the writing part easy. Tomorrow I want to keep up with what’s listed here, but I also want to see if I can delve into my Writers of the Future entry (Yes, unfortunately I ended up missing the deadline with my tale. But, that just means it’ll be even more polished for next quarter).

Due to the holidays there is no Drafty Wednesday or WIPika Friday posts this week. That will pick up again next week! I’ll also be actively writing a new short story next week, so expect the work count to start jumping.

 

Blog Posts: 518
Planning and outlining: 1,880
Short Fiction: 0
Novel Fiction: 0
Salable words: 0

Total Fiction for Month: 0

Total Salable for Month: 0

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 0

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 0

 

Writing in Public, 2014 Review (And Goals for 2015)

I started the Writing in Public challenge back in February, and it was rocky from time to time. The first few months were productive, but then the summer hit. With the summer came a health crisis that still isn’t fully resolved. Brainstorming/outlining/reading happened during the summer, but not much with regard to writing. Even in the fall my productivity was limited to a few longer tales and several flash pieces. However, I’ve started to gain some steam during December, even with the holidays. I achieved nowhere near my original finished-story goal during the month, but the true goal was to get back into the habit of longer writing sessions. That succeeded, I am happy to say. With the holidays (mostly) behind, I intend to pick up the pace and get back to writing regularly each day.

I haven’t been keeping up with my word count as well as I should have these past few months, but I have a rough idea. I’ll list my writing totals in two ways below, the official count and then with the estimated count over the last bit of 2014.

The challenge for 2015 begins tomorrow, and I will be back to posting daily updates. I have a pair of short stories to finish tomorrow (One novelette and one flash piece), and then I shall see about some deep edits on them. Expect good things from next year!

In a few minutes I’ll get to work on my writing schedule for January. As I said on my Twitter page, I always plan to do 200%. That way when I only get half done I’m still in great shape.

Speaking of which, here are the four goals I have for next year, in no particular order:

  • Four Novels
    • The most ambitious of my goals, but certainly feasible. Several authors I either read or know of are capable of writing quality fiction at that pace. If I don’t push myself to get books written, edited, and out on the market I’ll hem and haw and never get anything finished.
  • The Three-52s – Three Goals in One
    • Write 52 Short Stories
      • One a week, no matter the length. If I’m particularly inspired, I’ll try to squeeze a second story in a week. But, I’d rather have the whole week dedicated to one short story and work on a novel in-between brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and editing stages.
    • Read 52 Genre Books
      • This can include re-reading favorites and finishing series I’ve been following, but it will hopefully feature new books by new authors. One week, one book.
    • Read 52 Writing Books
      • At the moment I have somewhere in the area of 30 writing books I need to go through. I’ve read about 10 of them, but a re-read won’t hurt. Again, one week, one book.

David Farland really hit home the point that writers need to write, but they also need to learn. In one of this “Daily Kick in the Pants” newsletters he wrote of a woman who had written several novels over a long number of years, but had yet to sell any of them. She didn’t take criticism well, and only wanted to write the way she wanted to write. She never committed to improving her craft or to learning new things. As he put it, she was spinning her wheels.

Writing novels and short stories are the two dominant goals on my list. If all else fails, I must do those two things. But, without reading both within the genre and absorbing new techniques from craft books, my learning will not be complete. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be, and that means continuing professional education.

I’ll keep the site updated on my progress for each of these goals. Expect weekly and monthly updates on those, and possibly a new article series on the site to follow. At the very least it’ll be on the right-hand side of the site.

 

Official Word Count (Not including November and December)

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 259,809

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 55,512

 

Unofficial Word Count (Including November/December Estimates)

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 284,443

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 56,864

Introducing “WIPika(*) Fridays” and “Write 1 Sub 1”

On November 28th, while mass riots break out to see who will limp home with that 50″ TV that’s on sale for $99.95, I will start posting up weekly reports on how my writing is going. This will be a little different from the Writing in Public posts, which will begin again December 1st. In those posts I am just giving a basic update on the day’s activities and writing, but with WIPika Fridays I will post up brief excerpts of what I am doing. It will be done in the form of a few sentences or paragraphs of a piece to be submitted, or I will go through some of the things I’ve been brainstorming and how that works for me, or I may show a bit of the outlining process. Or, maybe I will do all three! It depends on the week, and what I think is the most interesting accomplishment for that week.

W1S1 2014 - Weekly ChallengeThis will go hand-in-hand with the Bradbury Challenge¬† (Also known as Write 1, Sub 1) that I am also starting Thanksgiving Week. My plan with that is to be a little bit more ambitious and actually Write 2, Sub 2. I want to write a flash fiction story each week, and a full-length short story each week. Will I be able to handle that? Well, we shall see. I am starting this during the holiday season for a reason (And not just so I could rhyme back there). Between November 24th and December 31st there are 38 days, or 5.5 weeks. Let’s be ambitious and say that’s six full weeks. Going by Write 2, Sub 2, that means I should have written and submitted 6 flash fiction stories and 6 short stories. I also want to write a novella-length work and get it out to Writers of the Future. That’s 13 stories in six weeks. If I can manage to do that during the general craziness of the holiday season, then maintaining that pace through 2015 should be a lot easier, barring any family emergencies or illness.

Will it happen? Maybe, maybe not. I know it won’t happen unless I attempt it and maintain a positive attitude while doing it. At the very least I will get more written in the next few weeks than I would have had I not pushed myself.

(*) The name of this section was inspired by 2:30 from the following Sequelitis Video by Egoraptor. Warning: profanity, hilarity, and the tearing down of an iconic video game will ensue!

 

 

Writing in Public: Month 6 in Review

Well, I may have stopped posting “writing in public” updates for the last couple of weeks, but writing was still accomplished. Not as much as I would have liked, but with harvest and canning season upon us that is to be expected. Canning 80 pounds of tomatoes takes up a lot of time, after all.

The biggest item of note is “Fire with Fire” is finished. It came in at 10,130 words, and it was successfully submitted to the Writers of the Future contest yesterday. We should expect results sometime in November or December. I am happy with the way the story turned out, but I am not holding out hope that it will make it into the final selection. An honorable mention would be enough for me at the moment.

I have big plans for October. “You Are My Brothers” still needs to be finished, as does “False Seer.” Both are long stories like “Fire with Fire,” and all three take place in the Soulweaver universe on the main continent of Pacem.

 

Total Fiction for Month: 52,114

Total Salable for Month: 11,118

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 259,809

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 55,512