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.

November Projects aka NaNoWriMo 2015

nanowrimoIt’s that time of year again. Oh, yes. It’s time to put my butt in the chair and crank out 50,000 words (or more) in 30 days (or less).

This year I’m going back to writing an actual novel after two NaNos of doing novellas.

I’m heading back to Outskirts territory to write The End of the (Werewolf) Curse. This story will feature werewolf Paxton Perlman in a starring role and without his vampire buddy Stanley Ivanov at his disposal. Instead, he seeks help first from conjurer LittleJessie Witt and then from a coven of witches. It should be a good time. I’ve had this story bubbling in my head for a while and I think it’s ready to become words.

Unlike previous years, I’m not doing a detailed chapter by chapter outline. This used to be my go-to in past years of NaNo. After the first few years of failure, I found that if I had that detailed outline and new exactly what I was supposed to be writing that day, then I made my word count a lot easier. This has been my key to winning.

But, this past summer, when I wrote my novella-turned-novel (that STILL doesn’t have a title, for crying out loud), I didn’t have an outline. I just rolled with it until the end. I wrote without being sure of the end. And when I re-read it and revised it, I found that I’d done a pretty good job and I didn’t have to make too many story alterations. I’m taking this as a sign that I’m getting better as a writer, getting better at letting the story roll naturally without having to write everything down before hand to see where I’m going.

So, I’m sort of half-pantsing NaNo this year (“pantsing” refers to not using an outline, but writing by the “seat of your pants”). I have a basic outline and I know the main characters and I have a good idea about where the story starts. But I’m pretty hazy on where it ends and I only have a vague notion of how I’m going to get there.

This method worked very well this past summer to get 1,000 words a day. We’ll see how it works out when I’m trying to get 2,000 to 4,000 words a day (so far, so good).

Even if it doesn’t work the best, I’m confident that my skills will at least get me 50,000 words before Thanksgiving.

Optimism!

Go team!

October Writing Projects

pumpkinsHonestly, I don’t have a lot going on this month. This is mostly due to NaNoWriMo looming. I don’t like to jam my schedule full the month before I’m going to be focused on writing 50,000 words as quickly as possible. It wears out my brain and renders me useless.

The only things I HAVE to do this month are finish the revisions on the novella-turned-novel, which hopefully include finally giving it a title, and finalize my outline for this year’s NaNo endeavor, The End of the (Werewolf) Curse.

Things that I could do if I feel the urge: revise Voice, revise “The Wind Chime Tree”, revise “Darling”. I don’t think I’ll start writing anything new unless something irresistible pops into my brain.

Most likely I’ll be saving that energy for November.

If you haven’t voted in the poll to decide the fate of the Ivy Russell novellas, please do so. The poll closes next week. Yes, I know it’s only been open a day. What can I say? This has been eating away at my brain for months now and I’d like to finally have a conclusion.

And, if the majority rules that I do anything other than nothing, then I’ll have something else to do this month.

September Writing Projects

Yellow flowersThe busy month of August ended up being a little less busy thanks to some cancellations and an unscheduled week off, so I was able to get some little things done that I didn’t anticipate, including a rearrangement of my writing schedule for the rest of the year.

That was nice.

And this month I have a planned two week vacation at the end of this month/beginning of next month, so if I can work those weeks like I worked that unscheduled vacation week, I could very well exceed my productivity expectations.  But let’s not get ahead of myself here.

I’m still revising (Vampires) Made in America and I’ll spend this week wrapping that up. I thought I’d end up revising it down to a novella, but cutting out a whole POV and a bunch of redundant, pointless stuff didn’t even get it below 50,000 words. So, I’ve settled on it being a short novel. There’s nothing wrong with that. I did some preliminary, loose outlining on End of the (Werewolf) Curse, which will be the next Outskirts book and NaNo project, and I think it will follow suit as a short novel.

Once that’s done, I’m going to spend the bulk of the month revising the novella-turned-novel that still doesn’t have a title. I’ve itched to get back at it as soon as I figuratively typed “The End”. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and jotting some of the thoughts that come into my brain. We’ll see if any of them work out when I give it a read and get going on it.

If the timing permits, I may write a quick short story called “The Wind Chime Tree” in between novel revisions as a palette cleanser. I got the idea during one of my dog sitting stints (one was planned, one was an emergency) and I think it will make a nice, quick little ghost story for the ghost anthology I’ve been slowly working on. If the timing doesn’t work out, that’s cool. I can do it next month.

This month, though, should be much more relaxed.

August Writing Projects

sunAugust is going to be rather hectic in regards to my non-writing life, which means I’m not going to get everything done that I want to get done and it’s going to disappoint me and make me feel like a loser who’s not working hard enough, but I’m still going to try it anyway.

I finally finished the novella-turned-novel at the end of last month. It’s been a long time since I’ve written a novel and it’s been a really long time since I’ve written a novel without writing it all in November. I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment while I could because I didn’t get Voice or “Darling” done like I was supposed to, but I did finish Voice while house sitting for my aunt this past weekend. Done is done and that’s what counts.

So, in addition to finishing “Darling”, I’m going to revise “Cabintown Road” and “Through the Electronic Looking Glass”. I’m also going to try to start doing some serious revisions on (Vampires) Made in America. I tried cutting it down to novella size and while I did get some excess cut, I just really need to get in there and get it all done properly. I can’t avoid it, though I may put it off if August proves to be too difficult.

I’ve got weddings and family visiting and friends visiting and day jobs and while all of that is sure to be a real good time, it’s going to sap all of my little introverted energy and leave me not a lot to write with. Others may be able to meet all of those real life obligations and events and do all the writing and then some and not even break a sweat, but I am not one of those people.

I’m more like one of those people who will only break your heart.

July Writing Projects

FireworksThings don’t always go the way we plan, sometimes for good, sometimes for not so good. For me, this happens more than I’d like to admit.

For the two of you that were probably anticipating it, no, you didn’t miss it. The Timeless Man wasn’t published last month due to technical difficulties (which will get their own post). Because it wasn’t published last month, it sort of mucks up everything else planned to be published for the rest of the year and I’m still working out how it’s all going to get done. We’ll see, we’ll see.

In much brighter, less aggravating news, the novella I started working on at the end of May which I continued to work on in June is most definitely not a novella now. I’m at 44,000 words and still going, so. Yes. Definitely not a novella. Definitely a novel. Still doesn’t have a title. I’m only doing about 1,000 words a day on it and since I’m doing this without an outline, just seeing where the story goes, and I only have a vague idea of how it all ends, I could get it done this month, but I’m not going to carve that into stone.

In addition to this, I’m going to write a couple of other things. One is a short story called “Darling”, which will mostly be posted as a freebie here on the blog because it’s been ages since I’ve given away free, fictional words. The other is a novella called Voice, which will go in the next anthology. I will also be revising “A Ride in the Country”, also slated for the same anthology.

So, aside from the non-publishing debacle, things are chugging right along and I’m getting my To Do List of Doom wiped out.

Thank goodness for that.

Writing–March Projects

green flowerYou may have noticed the lack of blog posts in the month of February. Or maybe you didn’t. Maybe you didn’t care. Whatever the case, the point is that you can expect random and fewer blog posts to be the norm for a while. My world is in a bit of transition at the moment, sort of like when I had the existential crisis last year, except it’s less crisis, more change.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean that I’m not doing writer stuff. My goal to clear out my backlog of projects remains intact.

Last month I finished making notes on (Vampries) Made in America and it has all been put to the side for the moment. I’m sick of looking at it. I also finished revisions on Odd Section of Town and Firebugs and Other Insects. I’m satisfied with how they turned out for the most part and I think the next step for them is beta and minor tweaks/polish. I also wrote “A Ride in the Country”, which was actually less writing and more taking a chunk that didn’t make it into Night of the Nothing Man and revising it into it’s own little stand alone bit that will go into one of the anthologies.

Speaking of…

This month, I’m going to be working revising short stories that I’m going to use for future anthologies. I’ve already finished a revision on “Nadie Has a Dog” just a few days into the new month (productivity, what?). Also going to be revised this month “People Are Terrible”, “Cover Up” (a rough draft that I found that I think will go nicely in one of the anthologies), “The House Down the Road”, and “The Seaweed Man”. Of these four, it’s “The Seaweed Man” that’s going to take the most work. It’s going to be more of a rewrite than a revision.

Slowly, but slowly, the backlog decreases.

Writing–February Projects

roseThere is no love here.

Well, maybe a little.

The (Vampires) Made in America saga continues. I will continue to assess this disaster area and attempt to rebuild.

However, in decidedly more productive ambitions, I’m going to put The Odd Section of Town and Firebugs and Other Insects through their first revisions. I’ve already given The Timeless Man it’s final polish (see, some good things did come out of that (Vampires) debacle last month), so working on the other two Ivy Russell novellas makes sense. I’m fairly optimistic that these revisions will not cause me any eye twitches, but I don’t want to get my hopes too high. I’ve got a great ability to jinx myself.

I’m also planning on writing a new short story called “A Ride in the Country”. Don’t panic! This story will be for one of the in-progress anthologies, so it totally counts towards my objective of getting all of the old projects completed.

And, of course, I’ll be publishing something this month.

Look for it around Valentine’s Day.

Writing–Happy New Year! January Projects

fireworksA new month, a new year, a lot of old projects that I need to finish up with.

Revisions on (Vampires) Made in America continue. I got about half-way through the latest round of revisions when something clicked and I realized what I really needed to do to make the story work. Which meant I had to start all over. Fortunately, I’m no stranger to such stupidity, so this prolonged round of revisions doesn’t bother me. Much.

I’m also going to do what should be the last round of revisions and the polish of Hatchets and Hearts. Then I can be done with that novella.

I figure that will be good enough to start the year.

I also need to figure out a self-publishing schedule for the year. Putting out three things last year worked out pretty well. They were pretty evenly spaced out and such. I’d like to do that again.

It’s just a matter of what and when.

And I currently have no idea about either of those things.

So, yeah. Off and running, kids. Off and running.

Writing–December Projects

SnowflowerThe only thing I have on tap for December is revising (Vampires) Made in America. That’s it, that’s all, and there ain’t no more.

With the holiday gauntlet I run and the Grinchmas practices I observe, time and energy are in short supply in December. I’ve found that having one big project to work on during the month usually yields better results than trying to obliterate some huge To Do List. The lack of pressure lends itself nicely to me getting the thing done and then getting more things done. It tricks me into being more productive than I intended to be.

So far I haven’t caught on yet.

If I do get my revisions done quicker than anticipated (and that’s quite likely), I’ll probably pick another project to revise, most likely the Zak novella (still no title) or one of the other stories that I want to put into the People Are Terrible anthology.

I’m actually looking forward to revising (Vampires). When I first wrote it, I didn’t like it all. After re-reading it, I find that it’s actually a lot better than I thought it was. It’s got potential.

Revising it should be an interesting time.