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–New Release! Spirited in Spite Available for Pre-Order!

That’s right, kids. I have hit the big time. Well, big time in the sense that I’m going to give this pre-order business whirl.

Spirited in Spite

Gret Brown is a paranormal skeptic. She and her sister Heidi are investigating the Jayne House on Halloween, a project months in the making. And then plans change.

Much to her displeasure, Gret finds herself joined by ghost hunters, one of whom is Scott Spence, her old school rival, and two psychics of dubious abilities. Gret either has to try to investigate the Jayne House with everyone else or forfeit a night that she desperately needs in order to write her book on the place. However, choosing to investigate the house with the group endangers the secret to her success, a secret Scott Spence would delight in using against her.

Because the house is haunted.

And that’s a bad thing.

Spirited in Spite, my latest novella isn’t coming out until October 7th, but you can order it now and have it show up on her preferred reading device the day it’s released. It’s like magic!

You can pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Writing–September Projects

SeptemberFall is coming and for me that means a busy season. However, since I was (for once) smart enough to spend some time getting my ducks in their rows, I have a good idea of what I’m doing for the next three months, which is going to help tremendously.

This month I’m going to start revising the Zak Novella (yes, it still doesn’t have a title, shut up) that I wrote back in June or July, I can’t remember now and I’m too lazy to look. Point is that it has sat long enough and I’m ready to take a swipe at it.

The other big project for this month is designing the cover for Spirited in Spite and using the novella for a pre-order experiment. Now that Amazon offers it to us lowly self-publishers (Smashwords has for a while) and I’ve got more than a few titles floating around out there, I think this will be a good time for me to give this a try. There’ll be a whole informative post about it later (and probably another angsty post about it after that because I’m all too familiar with past data relating to me selling my work).

And in case I don’t have enough to do, I’m going to review and possibly revise/polish “Devil Temper”. It was a short story I wrote that I thought I might use for Yearly, but it didn’t end up really fitting in well. However, I think it might work out better for a new anthology that I’m working on.

I also want to start writing a new short story (that I’m eyeballing for a different anthology I’ve got in the works) called “The Seaweed Man”. I need more practice writing left-handed and I kind of want to write a little something new right now, so this will work out. It’ll be a nice brain-break from revising.

Because I’m doing more of that next month.

But that’s next month.

Writing–August Projects

sunI’ve decided to take a slightly different route with my projects this month.

I’m still feeling a bit burnt out on the whole revising thing. I looked at my list of projects that are still on the editing block and went, “I don’t feel like it”. And though I got a great rush from writing the Zak novella, I really don’t feel like it’ll be a good idea to spend another month working on something new, especially when I don’t think I have anything that in my mind is ready to be put down on paper. I don’t feel like spending a month struggling to get a first draft down just because I need something to do.

So I’ve decided to make August the month that I focus on business and organization. There are a couple of little writing things that I’m going to do so it’s not like I’m totally slacking (“She’s Not Here Anymore” needs to be polished and there’s an idea that’s been gnawing away at my brain that I want to get out and into a notebook before I lose any of the fun bits) and there’s nothing that says my revision burn out won’t become a flame before the month is out and I pick a project to work on. But I think my main goal this month needs to be a little bit to the left of writing.

The special edition of Yearly is currently available on Lulu. If it passes all of the distribution muster, it probably won’t hit any other distributor (Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, etc.) until September at least. I feel like I should use this as an opportunity to generate some sales and interest. When I did my first print anthology, I pretty much did nothing outside humble suggestions to buy it (and that got me to a place known as Less Than Nowhere).

But the difference with Yearly is that it is selling as an ebook. I’m wondering if I could get bold and offer the opportunity to get autographed copies (my ego!) or maybe even hold some kind of a contest to win copies. Something. Anything. I really need to work on this part of the business, the drumming up business part of the business. I have something that people are interested in. I should probably capitalize on it.

I’m also feeling a bit disorganized. I’ve got one more project going to the e-presses this year (Spirited in Spite is coming out in October! And it needs a cover still, but whatever) and I feel like I need to start lining up things for next year. I’d like to keep the same sort of publishing schedule, putting out two or three projects. I need to figure out what’s going to go out and when so I know how to really focus my project energy.

It sounds easier than it is considering this year I was so sure two of the projects I was going to publish this year aren’t even ready yet.

I think this month is going to feel weird because I won’t be so focused on working on the individual projects, but it’ll still be productive nonetheless.

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–And, Lo, Here Is the Fix You’re Looking For

Rainbow paperI’m not going to lie to you. The revisions/rewrites on The Timeless Man have been a slog, a real downer. I like the story, but I don’t. I like the character of Arthur Meadows, I like what Ivy is doing for him, I like the Blackout Wednesday parallel I worked, but the story is damn boring. I realize that I don’t need a mythological creature trying to kill people to make a story interesting, but dammit, something needs to be happening. And I have struggled all month long with that.

Until, like a beam of light straight from the Heavens coming down, washing me over with its brilliance, I think I found a way to make this story interesting.

Of course, it couldn’t come at a better time (she said sarcastically). After all, I’ve only slogged through this first round of revisions/rewrites and I’m almost to the finish line and I was so looking forward to putting this masterpiece away for a little while before I tried tackling it again. And for me to put in this fix, I’ll have to go back to the middle of the story and write in the new stuff, the new scenes and characters, which means I’ll probably end up changing part of the last third of what I wrote and probably the ending as well. So, here, when I thought I was almost finished (at least for now)…I’m not.

I am excited about the idea and I think the changes will improve the story greatly. I think it might actually save the whole mess from being a snooze-fest. This is a great, great thing.

However, I’m not thrilled with the amount of backtracking this change will require.

This is what I’m talking about when I keep thinking the more I write, the more fluid and less time-consuming the process will end up being. I keep thinking the more I do this in general, the less I will end up doing THIS, i.e. rewrites because I should have thought of this in the damn first place.

Oh, well.

All part of the gig.

Writing–The Grand Writing To Do List

Rainbow paperI’ve mentioned before that I’m working on clearing off the bulk of my Writing To Do List. I thought that maybe some of you would like to see this mythological creature, as I’m frequently mentioning it, but not very good about getting too specific about all of the projects I have going on.

It’s not in any sort of special order and all of it is writing related even if it’s not actual writing.

  • Revise Hatchets and Hearts
  • Polish Hatchets and Hearts
  • Revise “She’s Not Here Anymore”
  • Polish “She’s Not Here Anymore”
  • Revise The Timeless Man
  • Revise The Rainmakers 1
  • Revise The Rainmakers 2
  • Revise (Vampires) Made in America
  • Write Fairliza
  • Write Parlor Tricks
  • Publish A Tale of Two Lady Killers
  • Publish Spirited in Spite

Hatchets and Hearts is, obviously, the novella I’m currently revising. “She’s Not Here Anymore” is a novella that I revised down to a short story. The Timeless Man, as you should know by now, is the next novella in the Ivy Russell series. The Rainmakers 1 and 2 are the two novellas I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year. (Vampires) Made in America is a Stanley Ivanov novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo a few years ago. Fairliza (which isn’t a title, but the name of the character) is an idea for either a long short story or a short novella that will more than likely be written this summer. Parlor Tricks is an idea for a what will probably be my NaNo project this year (or one of two projects if it looks like it’ll be a novella).

How the To Do List works: Projects that are/will be getting my attention are on the To Do List. I don’t put polishing any project on the To Do List until it’s had at least one round of revisions/rewrites.

That’s the Writing To Do List.

A living thing.

Writing– The (Self-) Publishing Schedule

Rainbow paperAt the beginning of the year, I established a sort of publishing schedule for myself. I knew that I’d be putting out Yearly in February, but I decided that I should set a couple more dates for the year to keep myself motivated and producing with the end game in mind.

After some thought, I settled on June and October (dates not specified, of course), already having some idea of what would be going out when. I thought the time span was reasonable enough for me to finish what I wanted to publish while publishing often enough to attract potential readers while keeping others interested with the new content.

I have a great way of overestimating myself.

The good news is that, provided I can come up with covers, I will be publishing according to my little schedule. The sort-of-bad-but-not-really news is that I’m not publishing what I thought I’d be publishing.

In January, I thought it’s be The Timeless Man and probably Hatchets and Hearts, even though one wasn’t even written at the time. Now, in May it’ll be A Tale of Two Lady Killers and Spirited in Spite, though I haven’t made the final decision on what will be happening when.

Turns out that Hatchets and Hearts and The Timeless Man have ended up being a lot harder than I anticipated.  Surprise, surprise.

This is why I end up working on so many different projects in different phases. I may think I know what I’m doing, but in reality, I’m a moron in need of plans A-Z.

Thank goodness for my need to always be working on something.

Writing–I Think I Got a Hit

YearlySo, Yearly has been selling pretty well, much to my surprise.

By selling well, I mean that it sold an average of a copy a day last month (the final count was 33). That’s pitiful if you’re someone else, but that’s fantastic if you’re me. Thirty copies of one title in a month is more that I’ve sold of everything else in over a year. I’ve sold over 60 copies of Yearly since its release in February. And things are already looking good for this month, too. If I could hit 100 total by June, that would be like meeting a goal I didn’t think I could even set. Sad, but that’s just how my writing career has gone so far. Slow build.

And by surprising I mean that I didn’t expect Yearly to do much of anything. It’s a short story anthology. I didn’t expect it to really hit on anyone’s radar. And yet, it seems someone finds it nearly every day. I’m not sure if this is the power of word of mouth or keyword searches or what, but I like it.

I think it also automatically sets me up for disappointment.

My own publishing schedule had me putting out something new next month. There’s almost always a surge of interest right after I publish something (except for Night of the Nothing Man, that’s just hated) because it’s new and people want to see if it’s worth the time and money. Inevitably, after that first week, interest disappears.

At least that’s the norm.

Right now, Yearly is a hit, but it’s also an anomaly. I’m not sure that the next thing I do will do so well. I may be a one-hit wonder instead of a chart topper.

I hope I can handle that.

Writing–May Projects

pinkflowerThe final polish of A Tale of Two Lady Killers is done. The contest essay is submitted. The slog to get projects completed continues.

Next up will be the final polish of Spirited in Spite.

And then I will be back to revising.

I probably should get back to The Timeless Man, but I haven’t quite worked out everything that needs to be fixed yet, so I don’t want to start it until I know the solutions to all of the problems. It can sit another month or so while I work the last few kinks out in my head.

Instead, I’m going to take another hack (pun intended!) at Hatchets and Hearts and maybe try to get in another round of revisions done on “She’s Not Here Anymore”. Of course, the latter will depend on how well the revisions of the former go. If they turn out to be a big struggle, then I’m not going to add to my pain. I anticipate the revisions on both of these projects, even though they’ve each been revised/rewritten before, to be rough.

But if by some miracle, they both end up being easier than I anticipated, there’s plenty of things left of my To Do List to fill my time.