September Projects

It seems like after March and April, the months have just flown by and I have very little to show for it when it comes to writing.

Writing has been hard for me the past few years and the pandemic did not help. Sorry, ‘Rona. I know you tried by giving me a month off work, but it turns out I couldn’t capitalize on that like I’d hoped/planned/wanted.

However, as slow as I’m working and as little as I’m working on, I still count progress as progress and accomplishments as accomplishments. I keep hoping these little bright spots will lead me to the light.

This month I should wrap up the first draft of Early Snow. It’s turned out to be a decent novella, I think.

And then I’m going to work on a couple of short projects.

As luck would have it, a contest and an anthology looking for submissions both crossed my path. The contest challenges folks to write a story in 100 words, which I used to do all the time when I was doing fandom drabbles. And the anthology is a themed horror affair, something I’ve always found myself gifted at. I don’t presently have ideas for either of them, but the contest deadline isn’t until October and the anthology submission deadline isn’t until December. I have faith that I will be able to come up with something for both of these before the month is out.

Sad that it feels like I’m overestimating myself.

The bad news is that Murderville: The Coldest Case has ended. The very good news is that patrons can get the eBook on September 15th. And it’s not too late for you to become a patron, too. There’s one season left of Murderville, so don’t wait. Become a patron now. $1 an episode lets you read and gets you the eBook. $2 an episode lets you read, gets you the ebook, and gets you a sweet bonus every other month.

Episode 15 of Book ’em, Danno is live and episode 16 will arrive at the end of the month. In the latest, Wo-Fat is back, and there’s some trouble with an uncooperative witness. Listen, rate, review, share, like, tell your friends, shove it in your family’s ears. Any support is appreciated. In other podcasting news, I’m back on Eventually Supertrain, chatting with Dan about Automan. Listen in. We’re delightful.

NaNoWriMo 2019 Winner!

I hit 50,000 words on November 17th and finished the first draft of The Support Group Meets on Wednesday on November 21st. Final word count was about 54,000 words, which isn’t too bad. I’m already thinking of revisions. Of course, I’m going to sit on it for a while before I go down that road. No telling what some time and a fresh read will bring.

Most days, the words came pretty easily. The hang-ups were usually me getting started or not getting distracted by social media. I think all but one day I was able to get my word count in before my day job shift started. I was lucky. The story flowed really well. Any issues I had were me getting in my own way, like always.

One thing I’ve noticed in the last few NaNos in which I’m writing an actual novel and not a couple of novellas is that the first drafts are getting better. I’ve got a better understand of the story, even if I don’t have the most exact outline. My first wins were due to very specific outlines that I followed. Those manuscripts usually needed a lot of revision, but that bit of hand holding helped me get the confidence I needed to know I could get the job done. They gave me the base to build on to do a better job of crafting a first draft. They helped me get a better feel for what the story is and how to get it down on the page.

There are still things I struggle with. I have yet to successfully execute a B-plot in a first draft. And even after all of these years, description is something that usually happens in the revisions. I put some key things in during the first draft, but never enough. Some people put too much; I’ve always been the opposite.

The challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days is no longer a challenge for me. It hasn’t been for a while. Now the challenge of each NaNo is small and more specific. It involves challenging myself to do better, to write a better first draft, to work on my writing weaknesses.

Hopefully…someday…it’ll pay off.

Upon Review: A Tale of Two First Drafts

I spent the last week of January reading over two first drafts: The End of the (Werewolf) Curse, which I wrote back in 2015 for NaNoWriMo, and The Fate of the Immortal’s Assistant, which I wrote this past November for NaNoWriMo. One turned out to be in better shape than the other, which kind of surprised me.

I remember when I finished writing The End of the (Werewolf) Curse that I wasn’t very happy with it. I thought it was going to need a lot of work and so I shoved it to the side to wait its turn, in no hurry to get to it. I expected to feel the same when I read it this last month. I went in expecting that it still needed some serious work.

Gleefully, I was wrong.

Maybe gleefully isn’t the right word, but after the rough time I’ve had with my first drafts lately, I felt pretty gleeful.

Anyway.

It will need work, of course. There are some minor things that need to be taken care of and I have to do my usual thing of adding in details because I’m the worst at description. But as far as heavy rewrites, which is what I was expecting, that’s not in my future with this story. I’m actually really pleased how well the first draft did turn out.

Ah, those were the days, when I remembered how to write.

Because The Fate of the Immortal’s Assistant was just as bad as I remembered it. Yes, not too much time has passed, but even a decade wouldn’t erase that memory or the accuracy of it. I could see the struggle I had during that writing process in the words. It’s going to to take major rewrites to fix this story. Major rewrites. Major.

However!

When I was reading the first draft, I could see exactly what needed to be done to fix the story. So while this story will take a lot of work, I have a very good idea of what that work is and that is somewhat of a comfort.

I’m still not looking forward to doing all of that heavy lifting, but at least when it’s time, I’ll know just how heavy that lift will be.

The Long and Short of Some First Drafts

Safe to say that since I started doing NaNoWriMo, the majority of the first drafts of the novels I’ve written have been written during 30 days (or less) in November. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve written the first draft of a novel outside of November that I can’t remember the last time I did it.

I mean before this last time.

My bright self decided after finishing the first draft of The Fate of the Immortal’s Assistant to immediately start on the first draft of The Coop Run. Had the former gone better, then perhaps the latter would have, too, and I wouldn’t be writing this post.

But the former didn’t and that could be why the latter took me more than two months to write.

The original goal was to write The Coop Run in the two weeks I had left in November. Once I finished writing the slog that was the first draft of The Fate of the Immortal’s Assistant, I didn’t have the energy to keep up the needed pace of 3,500 words a day to get it done. I decided to take it a little easy for a while, only writing 1,000 words a day, and then I’d pick up the pace. It looked at the time like the first draft would only be about 35,000 words and if I picked up to 2,000 or 2,500 words a day, then I’d have it done in the first week or so of December.

Oh, how dumb I can be.

It’s no secret that the holidays are my least favorite time of year and I actively try to not work on big projects during them because the entire month of December drains my life force. Let this past December be a good reminder of that.

Instead of my word count on The Coop Run picking up, it went down. I was basically writing 500 words a day most days and calling that good. I just didn’t have the energy to write more. I did end up picking up the pace to 2,000 words after January 1st, though that dipped again the week of my birthday. The slog feelings from The Fate of the Immortal’s Assistant carried over to The Coop Run, though I think overall it turned out to be easier to write, especially toward the end.  It also turned out to be longer than I thought it’d be. Instead of 35,000 words, it ended up around 56,000.

I actually ended up sick of writing the story. I wanted to be done so badly but just couldn’t push hard enough to finish it. It was a miserable feeling. And instead of feeling satisfied when I wrote the last word, I felt relief. Overall, it wasn’t the most enjoyable first draft writing experience I’ve ever had.

I do believe that I’ve learned my lesson, though.

No more novel first drafts in December!

December Writing Projects

Hello. I survived NaNoWriMo. As I mentioned in a few posts last month, it was a close call.

As anticipated, my first draft of The Coop Run is still not finished and I will continue to work on it throughout December. I’ve only written about 14,000 words (as of this post) because I had anticipated picking up my daily word count and that did not happen. Instead of writing more words, I started polishing (Vampires) Made in America. That will also continue throughout December. I’m a little more than half-way through, so I should have no trouble finishing it before Christmas.

I’m not sure I can say the same about The Coop Run. I suppose we’ll see. That pick-up in word count might still happen since I’ve got the majority of my Grinchmas making and wrapping done (the goodies I’m making have to wait so they’ll be fresh), but December has a way of sapping my energy. It’s one of the reasons why I usually don’t like to write first drafts during this month. But I did this to myself and I’ll see it through.

I’m also not sure how long this first draft is going to be. I was thinking it’d be another 50,000 words, but it might end up being closer to 30,000. Again, we’ll see.

So much seeing this month.

And since it’s the end of the year, I’ll be attempting to hash out a schedule/make some goals for next year. This year’s goals didn’t exactly work out. I only accomplished about half of them, but that happens. I have a tendency to be shit at long-term planning.

Here’s to hoping that I finish The Coop Run and end the year on a high note.

March Writing Projects

green flowerConsidering the loss of my only day job, my plans for March haven’t really changed that much. Probably because I didn’t have any real solid plans to begin with.

Last month, I finished my latest round of revisions on (Vampires) Made in America, wrote the first drafts of two short stories, “Grandma’s Funeral” and “A Girl’s Best Friend”, and formatted Murderville: The Last Joke into an eBook novella. I also ended up writing the first draft of a short story called “Suicide Paris Green” (I told you I’d do something with that eventually) and published The Haunting of the Woodlow Boys as a stand alone novella eBook. And finally, I began writing the first draft of a story called Come to the Rocks, a story I thought would be about 4,000 words, but is now over 10,000 and headed straight for novella territory.

February was surprisingly productive.

This month I plan to finish writing the first draft of Come to the Rocks and start the first draft of another story that I really don’t know if it will be a short story or a novella. I love those kinds of surprises.

I’m also going to work on the Storytime Jukebox, try to make it a little more user friendly. I’d like it to be more popular, for obvious reasons, but I realize in order for that to happen, it has to be better.

Of course, anything I can do to boost my writing career will be happening this month in earnest. The ball, as they say, will start rolling.

The next episode of The Last Joke comes out on the 7th. Don’t miss out! Read teasers for episodes one and two and then become a patron.

February Writing Projects

roseIt’s a short month, so naturally I’m going to try to accomplish several things.

Though I managed to write a poem a day last month, I need to finish the revision of (Vampires) Made in America. I probably would have finished it last month, but I was in Chicago for Cubs Con the weekend of my birthday. Oh, I still worked that weekend, but just not as much as I would have if I was home. Another factor is that I’m adding chapters, so writing the new content is taking a little bit longer.

I’m also going to write the first drafts of two new short stories for the next short story collection, “Grandma’s Funeral” and “A Girl’s Best Friend”. I’m anticipating these to be somewhat difficult because it’ll be such a gear shift and the ideas have been sitting around for a while so I’m worried they’ve lost their freshness. I’m sure I’ll be able to get some kind of a first draft for each of them, but I’m anticipating an extra effort for some unfortunate shit. Thank goodness I like rewriting/revising so much.

I’m also going to be formatting Murderville: The Last Joke into a novella eBook, which will be available to my patrons at the end of the year. I will also be giving my $2 patrons their first freebie this month. So, if you want to get it on that, check out the Murderville page.

Also, the next episode comes out next week. Check out the preview of the first episode and then find out how to read the rest.

December Writing Projects and Other Tidbits

SnowflowerIt’s December! And December means that I don’t do as much writing work because I’m too busy wading through all of the holiday cheer to get much done. And yes, that was sarcasm because this has long been my least favorite time of year and I think I lost what precious little Christmas spirit I might have had back on November 1st when I inhaled about a pound of artificial snow during a floorset.

Anyway. Writing projects.

I’m going to continue working on The Haunting of the Woodlow Boys novella. Just writing 500 words a day, taking it very easy. I’m also going to start revising Voice, again taking it very easy. I have almost nothing made for Grinchmas so that’s where most of my energy is going to be directed. Making little bits of progress on writing projects is better than making none or stressing myself because I’m struggling to write and make Grinchmas. I can go full blast again in January.

Tidbits and News:

The distribution of The Ivy Russell Novellas paperback has hit a snag because that book is jinxed and/or I am terrible at my job. So for the foreseeable future, it will only be available on Lulu. Sorry for any inconvenience, but there shouldn’t be much because Lulu is just as good as the more popular marketplaces.

Speaking of other not so popular places, I’m doing a couple of holiday deals through Smashwords (which is compatible for most all eBook platforms) for my two 2015 eBook releases, The Ivy Russell Novellas and People Are Terrible.

Use the coupon code CW86C to get 15% off of The Ivy Russell Novellas.

Use the coupon code DS99F to get 15% off of People Are Terrible.

These coupons are only valid at Smashwords and the deals end on Christmas, so don’t miss out!

NaNoWriMo 2015 Done and Other Stories

nanowrimoI officially reached 50,000 words and the end of the first draft of The End of the (Werewolf) Curse yesterday. Compared to the last two years, I was positively slacking on the daily word count and the speed because it took me nearly three weeks to finish. In 2013 I finished in 12 days and in 2014 I finished in two weeks. I averaged between 2,000 and 3,000 words a day this year, which is good, but I still felt lazy.

I felt so lazy, in fact, that I started working on a novella in addition to working on NaNo.  At just a page a day starting on November 3rd, I managed to get about 5,400 words written on The Haunting of the Woodlow Boys.

But, back to NaNo.

The use of the loose outline worked out pretty well for me in terms of getting my word count in every day. My biggest hang-up as always is just getting started for the day. Once the words start, I usually hit my daily target in no time.

However, I admit that this first draft felt like a total slog. There are aspects of this story that I really like and I really hope I can build on when I revise it, but I also feel like this thing is boring as hell and my characterization is shit and everything is terrible. Considering I feel that way about a lot of my NaNo projects, I may be just a tad pessimistic about it, but I don’t think so.

But it’s done and that’s always the goal and it’s time to start thinking about other things.

When I’m doing NaNo, I don’t really want to do much else. I don’t want to read. I don’t want to write blog posts. I don’t want to work on any other projects (obviously writing the novella at the same time this year was the exception, not the rule). When I finish NaNo, it’s like touching back down after orbiting the Earth for a few weeks. Time to get back to the other things on the To Do List of Doom.

I’m working on getting The Ivy Russell Novellas paperback out and about.  Right now, it’s only available on Lulu, but eventually, it’ll get to Amazon and Barnes and Noble and such. I’ll also be updating the links to The Ivy Russell Novellas eBook, as it’s finally hit some other marketplaces.  So be sure to check that out!

Now, back to the word mines.

June Writing Projects

pinkflowerLast month was a bit of a struggle because I wasn’t feeling all that motivated to write. Little by little, I finished the two short stories I’d set out to write, “Through the Electronic Looking Glass” and “Cabintown Road”. I wrote a page a day on each of them and then did a finish line sprint one weekend when they were almost done. It took two weeks to get them done that way, but considering how rundown and blah I felt about the whole thing, I was just happy to get them finished.  Whatever it takes.

The last two weeks were supposed to be spent writing a novella. The one I picked to do doesn’t have a sure title yet, but the idea was pretty fresh and I thought a thousand words a day would get it, if not done, then pretty close to done on the shorter side of the novella scale.

That didn’t happen.

I’m working without an outline and after about a week I realized that there was more to this story than I thought. So, it’s either going to be a longer novella or an outright novel. We’ll see. I’m going to keep working on it this month.

I’m also going to revise (Vampires) Made in America down to novella size. Since this first step is focusing primarily on cutting out all of the fat and repetition and such, I don’t think it will be too difficult, nor will it take too long.

Now watch me struggle with it.

And of course, it’s time for yet another self-publishing release!

Look for The Timeless Man, the second Ivy Russell novella, to come out sometime this month.