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.

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May Writing Projects…and Some Furniture Moving

pinkflowerHow you like this newness? Yeah, I’m feeling bored and uninspired with this bit of blog. I want to do something different with it, but I don’t know what I want to do with it. I’m sort of an asshole like that. So, I figured that maybe a little bit of a layout change my help with my blahness. So far it’s only sort of working.

At least I’ve been productive on the To Do List of Doom, though.

Basically, aside from some cover art and print proofs, I’m set for the rest of the year when it comes to the self-publishing schedule. Everything I’m working on for the rest of the year will be stuff coming out for next year. Right now that’s looking like an anthology and some novellas. One of the novella ideas could go full novel, but I don’t know. We’ll see.

This month I’m going to finish the first drafts of “The Electronic Looking Glass” and “Cabintown Road” which I started at the end of the last month. Then I’m going to start working on one of the novella ideas I’ve got. There are four and their themes are sort of similar so they might actually make a good collection. Not naming any names because I’m not sure which one I’m going to work on and I’m not sold on the titles yet and I’ll probably change them and a 30,000 word story doesn’t need 95 tags because I keep changing my mind.

I’ve got two weeks off of one of my day jobs this month (this year teaching our “spring break” is two weeks in May; “summer vacation” will be two weeks in September) so I’m hoping to use that time to get a lot of writing done.

Yeah, I was laughing before I even finished typing that sentence.

Writing–Let’s See Where This Goes

Rainbow paperI’ve been working  on “Nadie Has a Dog” for the better part of the month and I’m finally getting to the point where it’s wrapping up.

I’ll be honest with you; I’m only now sure how it will end. I wasn’t sure before. In fact, the ending is nowhere near where I thought it’d be.

That’s probably because when I started the story, I only had a couple of scenes in mind.

-The beginning, in which we establish who Nadie is and how she got her name.

-The scene in which she acquires her dog.

-The first scene illustrating what she and her dog do.

After that, I figured I’d wing it. More than likely, writing those scenes, stringing together those parts of the story would lead me to the end. Actually, I thought the last scene was the climax and Nadie and her dog would ride off into the sunset.

Only they didn’t.

And I had to see where the story decided to go.

That happens occasionally with my short stories. I try to be a little more planned out with my longer works, like novellas and novels, just because there’s so much going on that I need to keep track of all of my threads. I let myself have some room to play, of course, but it’s more like dallying between set pit stops on a road trip rather than full on wandering in the woods.

With short stories, I can wander more, though I don’t usually. When I sit down to write, I know what the story is. I still manage to surprise myself, but the overall story is usually written with a solid beginning and ending.

With Nadie, I thought I knew the ending, but I didn’t. There was more story there than I’d originally thought. That’s both scary and neat. The potential to go so far off the rails that the story meanders into nothingness is there and that worries me. I don’t like it when my stories end up as bupkiss. But it is kind of a thrill to just write as it comes and see what happens and see where things go.

Nadie has turned out to be longer and not as overtly shocking as I thought it’d be. Instead there’s a touch of sweetness and a even a little humor to the story. And I like that! It feels right.

Sometimes it’s good to wander.

Writing–October Projects

pumpkinsJust because I’m experiencing a writing crisis of sorts doesn’t mean the party stops. While I’m  seeking validation by submitting to agents, I also have a different plan on the board that I’m executing, one that is sort of independent of that whole writer-validation thing that I talked about doing last week. Basically, it’s Operation: Get Some of This Shit Off Your To Do List, Woman!

So, last month involved me doing a round of revisions on the Zak novella (no, it still doesn’t have a title), writing a couple of short stories (“The Seaweed Man” is a lot longer than I thought it’d be and I’ll need another week or so to finish it; I also ended up writing another short story called “People Are Terrible”), and getting the pre-order of Spirited in Spite set up. All of the was done even while I was having my “Why am I here?” troubles.

This month, since it is of course October, I will have NaNo prep, which will basically just be me going over my outlines for the next two Ivy Russell novellas to make sure I know what I’m doing. Yes, I’m doing two novellas again for this NaNo and I will talk more about them in another post.

Speaking of Ivy Russell, to help me get in tune with that world, I’m going to finish the rewrites on The Timeless Man, which means finally figuring out and writing the new ending. It will be smooth sailing on further revisions once that is done.

I also need to do another revision of Hatchets and Hearts. I’m changing the time period. I think that will be the final big change that will really tie the whole thing together. It seems like everything I wrote during a certain few months of last year/this year was nothing but a struggle. It will be a victory when I get that all sorted.

And so there won’t be any dull moments, I’ve got a couple of new short stories I could write if I need to: “The House Down the Road” and “Nadie Has a Dog”.

Slowly, but surely, I’m going to get this To Do List whipped.

Writing–July Projects

Rainbow paperIt’s official. I am burned out on revising.

This revision/rewrite of The Timeless Man has been most successful. I think I’ve fixed most if not all of the major story problems that were plaguing it. It’s not nearly as boring now! Everything in it now has a purpose. The only thing left hanging right now is the ending. It needs to be changed, yet be the same, if that makes any sense at all. Don’t worry if it doesn’t. I’m not exactly sure how to work that either.

But since I’ve had my revising, I’m going to take a step back from that and focus some energy elsewhere.

The read of (Vampires) Made in America continues (I got a late start on it last month and I measure out the reading so I fully digest what I’m I’m dealing with). The ideas I had for fixes going into the reading are sort of not going to happen at all. It seems that the first draft was a better than I remembered it being, so far story-wise. There are some changes that need to be made, but they’re not nearly as big as I thought they’d be.

I’ll be honest with you. When I got to the end of the first chapter, the last line made me laugh out loud. Now that doesn’t mean I’m fucking brilliant or anything, but it did signal to me that maybe this story wouldn’t be so bad after all.

To counteract my revising fatigue, I’m going to write something new. Sure that seems counter-intuitive since I’ve already got a huge list of projects that need revising and duh, stupid, why are you adding to it? But I need to flex my first draft muscles more often than just in November. The idea is for a longer short story, possibly novella, something that I’ve been kicking around in my brain for a while. I think it’ll be nice to just take the month and play in that world for a while.

And finally, I’ve decided to journey back into print, at least for a while. I’m going to put together a special print edition of Yearly featuring Gone Missing. I may throw in the first part of Night of the Nothing Man, just to see if I can’t drum up some interest in it. If this project goes well, I might look into giving other projects the same type of treatment, most notably A Tale of Two Lady Killers, since it is a novel. It’s going to have sell a more than a few more copies before I commit to that, though.

I’m really looking forward to shaking things up in July. My brains need the break.

Writing–Shelving It

Rainbow paperYou remember that untitled novella I was writing at the same time I was writing The Timeless Man? The one that was so insistent on being written that I decided to humor it and write it? Yeah, well, I didn’t finish it. I only wrote about seventeen pages, then made notes on what the rest of the first draft was about, and then shelved it.

I shelved the first draft of a short story I wrote earlier this year, too.

I’ve got plenty of stories on the shelf.

It’s not an easy decision for me to shelve a story. Usually, it’s a finished draft of something that I look at and go “no”. Rarely is the draft unfinished, but that happens on occasion. I don’t like to do it it, but it’s usually for the best.

When stories end up on the shelf, it’s usually because of how I feel about the story. There’s something about it that makes me realize the story isn’t meant to be worked on. It’s not to be done. I don’t hate the story. Worse than that. I don’t feel anything for it. Whatever burning need I had to get it out of my head and down on paper is long gone and I’m left with nothing but a sense of meh. That apathy is pretty much what dooms a story to the shelf. I can get past hating a story to get it done to completion. But if I have no feelings at all then I’m not going to force it. No good story comes from no feeling.

It’s not necessarily the end of the story, though. It’s on the shelf, not in the trash.

There’s always a chance that I might need that story later, that the initial feeling of urgency and NEED to write that story can return. And when it does, it’ll be right where I left it and I’ll be ready. It’s a win.

Sometimes being a pack rat can have its advantages.

Writing–March Projects

cloverThe main project for March is to finish writing the first draft of The Timeless Man. It’s more than half-way done and boring as hell, but I can fix that later. I just need to get it done. This is a project that I want to have completely done by the end of the year and the way I’m struggling with the first draft, I might already be in trouble.

The other novella that I’m working on, remember it? The one that was so insistent on my brain last month? Well, it’s not as insistent now. I’ll still be working on it throughout the month, but more as a distraction from The Timeless Man, a break from the blahs I’m having about that first draft.

So, The Timeless Man is the biggest priority this month.

However, I’ve been trying to come up with story for a contest open to various genres and essays. I think I’ve actually hit on an essay idea that might work for it and I think I’m going to give it a go and see what I can make of it. I’ve only written one other and it was pretty much garbage, but I’d like give it a go so I can feel like I’m doing something towards this deadline.

Last month I read through A Tale of Two Lady Killers, but didn’t get around to doing any of the little revisions that need to be done. I also realized that if I want to self-publish The World (Saving) Series, as I’ve been thinking about doing, then I’m going to make some changes to the manuscript. Maybe this month I’ll get around to doing those two things.

But like I said, first draft’s first.