October Writing Projects

It is that time of year again.

Ah, yes.

Time to prep for NaNoWriMo.

And prep I will. But first, I have to finish the revisions on season 3 of Murderville.

Yes, I know. I’ve been working on this forever. Believe me, I feel it, too. Probably more than you. I’d love to be done with it. But it’s a two-fold issue. Number one, the rough draft has required a lot more rewriting than the previous two seasons. Like, I’m redoing a whole section of plot. Yeah. I’m also not thrilled with this and I’m not exactly sure what the hell I was thinking when I both outlined this and wrote the first draft.

On the plus side, I got a nice little side thing that happened in the first draft that I didn’t anticipate and it’s been nice to sort of bring that out and shine it up a little.

The second issue I’ve been having is with my mental health lately. My brains are scrambled eggs. While a lot of my energy issues resolved themselves when I started the iron pills for my anemia, my concentration is still shit in a lot of ways. I’m thinking it’s the usual culprits anxiety and/or depression. Leaning towards the former.

Anyway. It’s been a struggle to get through some days let alone a couple of pages of revisions. I’m going to attempt to step things up and try to push myself back to what I was doing before I was derailed about this time last year when the anemia started to worsen and I thought it was just me being lazy. I used to be able to revise entire “episodes” in one day. I need to get back to that.

Especially with NaNoWriMo looming.

2,000 words a day just doesn’t happen.

But what did happen? We hit another goal over on the Murderville Patreon. All patrons have been enjoying their reward and later this month, $2 patrons will be enjoying a bonus in the form of a cryptic poem dropping hints about season 3. Become a patron and get in on the goodies.

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Writing- NaNo 2017 Winner

As I said last week, my official 2017 NaNo was finished in 14 days. Yesterday, I validated The Fate of the Immortal’s Assistant and got my fancy little graphic to let everyone know that I am, indeed, a winner.

But when I think of this first draft, I don’t feel very much like one.

Two weeks ago, I talked about how hard this particular NaNo was for me. And it was. Start to finish, I hit more snags than I did grooves, creating a stressful drag that I did not enjoy. Even more frustrating is that, at least in my head, I like this story. I like the characters. I like the setting. I like the whole thing.

I just struggled mightily getting everything I liked down on the page.

As soon as I was finished writing the final words of the first draft, I wrote revision notes on the first page. I’ve never done that before because I typically like the story to sit for a few weeks at least before I read it again with fresh eyes and make my notes. But this time, there was no need to wait. I knew before I finished writing the first draft the major problems that need to be fixed. And I’m sure I’ll find more when I read it again when it comes time to do the revisions.

Looking back, I think getting off on the wrong foot really set the tone of draft. I normally have that first line, that first scene waiting for me, and this time, I really didn’t. Instead, I started in the wrong place, too early in the story. What I wrote the first two days, I think, was pointless. Some of it can be salvaged for later on in the story, maybe, but it was a bad place to start. And instead of starting over, I powered through. The story had trouble flowing because I’d already built a damn.

The revisions are no doubt going to be extensive and exhausting, but thankfully, I don’t have to worry about them for a little while. At least not until early next year. But, this NaNo has definitely been a very good lesson, a hard one, a lesson that I didn’t know I needed to learn because I thought I’d already learned it.

Start your story off on the right foot and the journey will be a whole lot smoother.

Writing–Was It Always This Hard?

Yesterday, I hit the halfway point for my NaNo. Well, I hit 25,000 words. I don’t know if it’ll be the halfway point of the actual story. The way it’s going, I think it might be.

I cannot remember, at least in the past few NaNos, struggling so much out of the gate. Typically for me, the first few days of NaNo are my easiest. The story is right there in the front of my brain and it is begging to be released. When November 1st rolls around, it’s like a floodgate opens and the story comes pouring out. I feel unstoppable. And I ride that momentum as long as I can because I know that come the middle of the story, I’m going to start to struggle a bit, slogging through until the climax starts to build. The middle is when the words are usually harder to come by.

This year, I was prepared for the same thing. A good start, followed by a bit of a slog, and then a strong finish. The story was in the front of my brain, patiently waiting, while I tried to keep myself occupied during the last few days of October.

Maybe that was a sign.

The story was there, waiting, but waiting patiently. There was nothing insistent about it. So, when November 1st hit, I found myself watching as a blank screen filled up with words in an almost painful way. And when I hit my word limit for the day, I looked at what I’d written and thought, “Holy shit, this is all garbage.”

First drafts are supposed to be garbage, I know. I’ve written enough of them to be very familiar with my particular brand of garbage, which has evolved over the years into a better quality of garbage. The first few days of this NaNo, however, reminded me of when I first started doing NaNo and the utter dreck that I wrote. Not that it wasn’t salvageable, by any means. But it takes a lot more work to recycle that kind of garbage into something worth reading.

The first week, I struggled to hit my stride, to find the story, to write the story like I knew what the hell I was doing. It’s like fifteen years of serious craft study had suddenly vacated my brain and in a damn hurry, too.

I hit 25,000 words yesterday, which is on target for where I want to be, and I thought to myself, “Has it always been this hard? Is it like childbirth? I just forgot about the agony as soon as it was over, only to be confronted again during the next labor and delivery?”

And the truth is, no. It hasn’t always been this hard. Or maybe I should say that NaNo hasn’t been hard in this way for a very long time. I think I do forget some of the “labor pains”, so to speak, from year to year, especially since I try to find ways to up the challenge of writing a 50,000 novel in a month. This year, the challenge was completely unexpected.

I do not relish the thought of revising this first draft. But I know that I will.

I can’t resist a challenge.

November Writing Projects aka NaNoWriMo

Oh, yes. It’s that time of year again. Here comes NaNo number 14.

Last month I wrote, revised, polished, submitted, had rejected,  and submitted again a short story called “The Fog of a Future Forgotten”. I finally got a solid working outline done for The Stories of Us After Them. And I have Murderville Season 2 all ready to roll starting in January, with the official promo coming out next month for patrons and in December for everyone else. So, I am heading into this NaNo with nothing pressing hanging over my head.

This year I’m going to do something a little different. Normally, I pick one project (either one novel or two connected novellas) and then write 2,000 words a day, 4,000 words a day on weekends, in order to get it done well before Thanksgiving. But this year I struggled to pick between two novels that I’d outlined back in September that would be ideal for dashing out 50,000 words or so in a few weeks.

So, I came up with a compromise.

My official NaNo novel for 2017 is going to be The Fate of the Immortal’s Assistant. My goal is to write at least 3,000 words a day, which will have it done in a little over two weeks. And then when it’s done, I’ll start writing The Coop Run and try to finish it before the end of the month. If I don’t, no big deal. My official NaNo will already be done. I should have enough of the novel’s first draft done that finishing it up in the first week or so of December should be no trouble.

I admit that this is pretty ambitious. But NaNo has been something that’s always allowed me to push myself and get creative about how I do that. Every year I think maybe I should be done and every year I find something to write and a way to make it challenging and interesting. This is where I grow.

Bring it on, NaNo. I’m ready.

October Writing Projects

September was the the month of organization. I cleared a few ideas out of my head so I have more room to think as well as cleared a couple of things off of the To Do List of Doom.

The final blueprint of The Star Reader is done. It took a lot longer than I anticipated as it turned out to be much more involved than I thought it would be. It’s going to be interesting to see how this blueprint holds up when I write the first draft.

I also outlined The Coop Run and The Fate of the Immortal’s Assistant. The outlines are pretty basic compared to the blueprint I did for The Star Reader because these stories are a little more straightforward and a little simpler. At least in my mind.

The intended outline for The Stories of Us After Them is still undone, though. This story is much more ambitious than anything else I’ve ever done which explains why I thought something that would be easily done…isn’t. I will keep futzing with it. Eventually, it will all come together. Meanwhile, I did revise and post the related story “The Zookeepers Liberation” on Prose.

I also submitted a poem called “Il N’est Pas Mon Mari” that I’ve been working for weeks to a contest and wrote the first draft of a story called “The Fog of a Future Forgotten”, which I plan to revise and submit. It’s an idea I’ve had for a while, but only finding a possible fit for it gave me the motivation to write it.

So, this month, I plan on revising, polishing, and submitting “The Fog of a Future Forgotten” before I go to Seattle next week and polishing Murderville Season 2 so I can get it all scheduled and ready to go for next year after I get back.

And I’ll work on something while I’m in Seattle.

Okay, yes, that doesn’t sound very definitive. But, I haven’t decided what project would be best suited to work on during the trip. It’s a given that I will be snapping pictures and taking in as much of the vibe as possible as stories always need settings (and I’ll also be doing some non-writing related work as well), but it might be a good time to work on a smaller, easier project.

I mean, yeah, I could also just not write, but what fun is that?

And finally, I’ll nail down what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. It’ll either be The Coop Run or The Fate of the Immortal’s Assistant. But not both.

I mean it, self. Not both.

If you’re a Murderville patron, look out for a paid teaser episode going live on October 10th. It’s a preview for Season 2. Also, if you’re not a patron, now is the time to become one. Not only will you get to read the first season, The Last Joke, and the upcoming new season, but we’re only a few bucks away from hitting the $25 goal, which means a Murderville Mini-Mystery! Only $1 per episode gets you in on the fun. $2 per episode also gets you bonus material. It’s a killer deal.

That’s Another NaNo Win

NaNo 2016 winNaNoWriMo was in the bag at a little over 50,000 words on November 19th and I got around to validating it on the 26th. I reconciled pretty early on in the story that I wasn’t going to hit 60,000 words like I usually do for my NaNo novels, but I sort of knew that was going to be the case. The story I had was a little thin, to be honest. As I wrote I saw places that will probably be fleshed out whenever revisions happen, but I didn’t bother following any of those tangents. More than any other NaNo, I just wanted to be done.

This was a sort of wild NaNo. For the first time in many years I didn’t make my usual 2,000 word minimum every day. Taking off for the Cubs World Series parade, I settled for only writing 500 words two days in a row, which set me back not only by my standards, but also by the NaNo daily need to stay on target.

I only made 4,000 words a couple of days. I usually hit that mark easily on the weekends, if not a couple of other days during the week. The fallout from the election really kinda consumed my existence for a solid week, week and a half. Most of my time was spent reading articles and being active on Twitter spreading information (I’m sure I was muted/blocked/unfollowed by scores of people because I wasn’t entertaining anymore and I’m sure the few people who know me in my offline existence were the first to go). I didn’t want to write anything, let alone some stupid novel about a conjurer that will probably never be revised and/or see the light of day, even if I do love my conjurer and her friends.

But I wrote it anyway.

Because that’s kinda the point of NaNo. Writing when real life intrudes. Writing when you don’t want to. Forcing yourself to make time for your words. This is my 13th NaNo. You’d think I’d have gotten that drilled into my brain by now. I guess it sort of is because that is what made me push to get my words written. I admit that some days were more of a struggle than others.

My final push saw me hit 6,000 words two days in a row. Like I said, I wanted to be done.

And I am and I’m glad and it’s win number 10.

Hallelujah.

November Writing Projects aka NaNoWriMo

nanowrimoIt’s that time of year again. Oh yes. Time to write 50,000 words (okay, 60,000 for me) in thirty days.

I finally figured out that I should just write another Outskirts novel. This one will feature truther (not THAT kind of truther) Maisie Day, conjurer LittleJessie Witt, and famed hunter Sister Mary Valle. The working title is To Tell the (Conjurer’s) Truth, which isn’t great, but not great titles are my thing. I’m not married to it by any means, so I can easily change it if I ever revise it.

Naturally, I say “if” because (Vampires) Made in America and The End of the (Werewolf) Curse still sit waiting. I’ll get around to them one day, I’m sure.

I’ve only outlined the first ten chapters of To Tell the (Conjurer’s) Truth, the idea being that for every chapter I write, I’ll outline the next. You know. Write chapter one and then outline chapter eleven. I don’t want to get too far ahead with this story because I only have a vague idea of what I’m doing with it.

Reassuring, no?

This could be a potential disaster, but I’m all in as always, baby.

Though my main focus will be on NaNo as my Novembers are usually spent (I think this is number 13 maybe), I did finish the first “season” of my Patreon serial idea. I’m going to attempt to revise at least the first episode or two during the month. Fingers-crossed that it’ll be something worth trying come the new year. As usual, I was feeling way too ambitious to think I’d have it ready to go before then.

I’ve also been writing essays on the side for the last month or two. Just another practice thing. A page a day of learning is good for my brain, I think.

Let’s hope I have some brain left after this month.