Writing–June Projects

Megachile sp. (Megachilidae)

I actually have things and stuff to do this month!

First of all, I’m going to publish both Gone Missing and Night of the Nothing Man on Amazon. I kind of hoped that Smashwords would be enough, but it’s not. They need a little more exposure. I want people to read my poor, little novellas, dammit.

Speaking of self-publishing, I’ve got the first draft of four short stories done for my possible new anthology, so I’m going to start revising them. I still need one more story to finish out the collection to fit with the idea I have, but I’m not going to push that. It’s a late year thing, if it happens, so I’ve got plenty of time to come up with a final story.

After leaving it along for about a month, I’m going to start polishing The World (Saving) Series. One of my writing goals for the year was to have this thing achieve a state of doneness and if I can get it to happen in the next couple of months, that’d be swell. What happens after that is a completely different goal.

And I’ve always got my sooper sekrit projects to keep me busy and make me feel like I’ve got so many pressing things to accomplish if my ego needs a boost and I need to fill some time.

June won’t be dull.

Writing–What ARE You?

Cover of "The Blob - Criterion Collection...

I’ve been working on a non-fiction project since the first of the year (Sooper Sekrit Project #1). I wrote the bits and pieces of it in a notebook and nearly filled the thing up before I called it done enough to type up what I had.

So I typed up what I had.

And then I added more to the notebook, but I haven’t typed any of that up because what I’ve added isn’t done yet.

And then I jotted down some other ideas for it, but haven’t expanded on them yet.

And then I thought even more about the project.

And the only thing I can honestly say is that I have no idea what it’s going to be.

All of the bits and pieces and ideas and words and sentences and paragraphs and pages put together just add up to a mishmash of something with no real center or direction. I think it’s all good and useable and it all relates to each other, but it doesn’t exactly all go together, you know what I mean? It just doesn’t know what it wants to be.

I keep feeding it. It keeps growing. But it’s not assuming any kind of shape.

I think it might be the Blob.

I hope I can figure it out before I have to freeze it and drop it in Antarctica.

Writing–April Projects

Fly in the rain

I’m fabulous, except when I’m not.

I tend to underestimate my ability to not get stuff done and that’s kind of what happened in March. While I did get the short stories written, revised, polished, and posted, and made progress on both Sooper Sekrit Projects (which will continue this month), other things didn’t happen. This month, they need to happen.

First on the list is Night of the Nothing Man. I will get it up on Smashwords before the end of the month come Hell or high water. It’s taken more revising than I anticipated, but I’m closer to finished now. It will get done.

And once it does, I can go right back to starting the next round of revisions on The World (Saving) Series. I was supposed to start them before the end of the month last month. That didn’t happen. I’ll get Nothing Man out of the way and I’ll get back to work on that.

I’ve also got an idea for another short story anthology. That definitely won’t get done this month, but I’ve already been looking at story ideas. I think a couple of first drafts of some new stories might get written during my early mornings.

Sometimes, it feels like I’m not getting anything worthwhile done. I know that I am, but sometimes, it really doesn’t feel like it. Without that immediate gratification of feedback or a paycheck or the feeling of being DONE, it’s easy to feel like you’re just spinning your wheels when you’re really traveling miles.

Such is a writer’s life.

Writing–Scripting It


I remember my mother once telling me that I should skip writing short stories and novels and just write scripts because I like writing dialogue so much. She had a point. My stories have a tendency to be dialogue heavy and description can be a struggle for me. I’ve written a few stories without dialogue and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. If I can have a character talk to themselves, I will.

Sooper Sekrit Project #2 is a script. I think I mentioned that. Anyway, a few years ago now I participated in Script Frenzy, a now defunct off-shoot of NaNoWriMo. I wrote two 60 minute episodes of a TV show that I made up. I had great fun doing it. It held its own challenges, sure (format? Thank goodness for script programs!), but I got to exploit what I consider to be one of my strengths.

Sometimes I get ideas for stories and it’s during the hashing out phase that I realize it would make a lousy short story or novel, but it would make a great script. I then shelve it because, hey, I don’t write scripts.

And then last month it occurred to me how dumb that was. Why shouldn’t I write scripts? Just because I don’t live in Hollywood and really have no ambition to be a film/TV writer, that doesn’t mean there’s no reason for me to flex some different muscles. Let me be vain for a moment. What if one day one of my stories and/or novels is published and then optioned for film? Wouldn’t it benefit me to say, “Oh, yeah, I can adapt that. No problem. Let me do that for you.”? I think it would.

I’ve already got plans to practice my adaptation skills with Night of the Nothing Man once I get it up on Smashwords.

The reason why this a Super Sekrit project is because it’s a play thing that I have no intention of doing anything with seriously so I have no real urge to discuss it much in-depth. It’s a fun play thing that’s only for me. And so I’ll admit to doing it, but I won’t say what the script is about.

Just know that this project, even if I do nothing with it, isn’t a waste. It’s me developing and honing a different kind of writing style.

You never know. I might have to go to Hollywood one day.

Writing–March Projects

English: A White Clover (Trifolium repens). Fr...

Something old, something new…I’m in the mood to pile a whole bunch of stuff on my plate right now and since I’m feeling so eager and willing, I’m going to go with it.

In the old category, revisions continue on The World (Saving) Series. I’m done with this round of serious business revisions, but I’m going to start from the top in a couple of weeks and go through it again. I’m getting pretty happy with the way everything is working out and I don’t think I want to do any more major changes to the story. Thank goodness.

Also in the old category, revisions on Night of the Nothing Man. I’m tightening things up and getting picky with the sentences. The goal is to have it up on Smashwords before the end of the month, which I’m pretty sure is going to happen without much trouble.

In the kind of old, but kind of new category falls a couple of short stories. They’re Outskirts stories that I’ve already written and intended to get up on the blog a while ago, but never got around to revising to completion. That’s going to happen.

In the totally new category, I’ve got an idea for another short story that I’d like to write and put up in the freebie section. Free reads are good reads.

And finally, in the classified files, work on the sooper sekrit project continues and I’ve added sooper sekrit project #2. In my continued effort to broaden my abilities, I’ve started work on a script. I’ve only completed one before and actually had quite a lot of fun doing it. I’ve got an idea (don’t ask) and I’m going to run with it and get some practice in.

Getting some of these things done is not an option. I’m running out of room on my plate to add anything else.

Writing–February Projects

English: rose bunch, Rosa sp. cultivars, flowe...

The revisions on The World (Saving) Series continues. I’m making progress and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how some chapters are in better shape than others and how many of them are in better shape than I remember. My goal to be able to call this manuscript done by the end of the year is looking promising.

Work on the sooper sekrit project also continues. It’s being upgraded from the morning project that kills time while I’m minding the kid two or three days a week (because I’m off that job for the month while the kid spends the month with his mom while grandma is vacationing in Florida) and I expect to make some significant progress on it by working on it more than a couple of days a week. I’d like to have the barest bones of the whole business done by the end of the month so I can definitely see what I’ve got going for me.

The big project this month, though, will be revising Night of the Nothing Man from a novel to a novella. Considering the strains I made fleshing it out to make sure I hit 50,000 words, cutting won’t be much of a problem. Really getting that story to be what I want it to be might take a little more work, but I’m still hoping to get it done by the end of the month. I’d like to be able to put it out on Smashwords by March.

The month is just a few days shorter, but I’m going to try to pack them as full as I can. I’ve got a lot going on and I’ve got a feeling I’m just going to be adding more to my plate. At the very least, there’s going to be a lot of idea jotting. I’ve been getting hitting hard with that lately, but I’m having trouble penciling all of them in, so they have to wait.

When it rains, it pours, and I’ve been caught in an idea deluge.

I hope my umbrella holds.

Writing–So About This Non-Fiction Business

Non-Fiction Section

My new sooper sekrit project is non-fiction. I’ve read a lot of non-fiction but unless you count blog posts, I haven’t written much of it.

Non-fiction is kind of intimidating to someone who spends most of their time making shit up. Sure I have to have my facts that I do use straight, but that’s just in the background to make the lies more real. Non-fiction leaves no bullshit room. It’s all gotta be accurate.

There’s also the worry of being boring. There’s no witty characters to hide behind. It’s all on me, baby. I’m somewhat entertaining on Twitter and in blog posts, but the idea of maintaining that for an entire book-length work seems scary.

It IS scary.

I’m terrified of being boring, mostly because I know how boring I can be. There are whole stretches of my life that are broad strokes of blah beige. I don’t want any book I write, fiction or non-fiction, to be boring. It’s just easier, to me anyway, not to be boring writing fiction.

To combat my fears and insecurities, I’m tackling this project bit by bit, no pressure. I’ve got an outline and now I’m writing out the basics. No pressure. No worries about the need to be correct or entertaining. It’s all about getting it down on paper and seeing what I’ve got.

Hopefully, it’s something real.

And not boring.

Writing–2013 Writing Goals


Last year I gave myself the goal of getting 50 rejections and ended up falling miserably short. However, I did learn quite a bit when it comes to goal setting my writing like that. First of all, I need to be more realistic. Second of all, not every goal is going to work for me.

The idea of getting 50 rejections seemed like a good one at the time because it would motivate me to submit more of my short stories. The problem with this approach is that I really don’t have the short story inventory to generate that many rejections, particularly when the rejection process is on a completely different time table. I have no control over when I get the rejections. They can take days or months. Combine that with a limited inventory and I found out that I tore my ACL before I even made it out onto the track.

However, had I not given it a go, I wouldn’t have learned that. I’m a sucker for learning things the hard way.

This year, I’m going to take a different approach to my writing goals.

My biggest goal is going to be revising The World (Saving) Series to a point of doneness. Not THE point of doneness, but A point of doneness. That means that I want to get the novel to a point that I’m done messing with the story and the structure and all I’m worried about is consistency, word choice, and descriptions. I want to be satisfied with the big picture of the story, so to speak. Giving myself until the end of the year seems reasonable, I think.

I’ve got seven short stories waiting on my ready list. I want to submit them all at least once. I’ve got three stories still out from last year. If they all get rejected, then I want to submit them all at least once, too. Any new short stories I write, I want to send those out at least once as well. Not exactly a lofty goal, for sure, but sometimes I feel very divided with my writing. This is a way to motivate some progress without being too hard on myself and getting discouraged. It also encourages me to give all of my stories a chance on the market instead of holding them back, afraid to let them be seen by the world.

I haven’t abandoned my idea to edit Night of the Nothing Man into a novella and self-publish it. That will get done sometime this year.

My current sooper-sekrit project is under way. Even though I don’t want  to talk about it, I’m working on it. And even if I don’t like the way it’s going or think it’s a flop, I’m still going to finish it. I need to develop a little faith in myself when it comes to working on non-fiction projects (that’s the only hint you’re going to get!).

I think these goals are good enough to keep me busy for the year. We’ll see how it shakes out.

If you’re taking bets on if I’ll be scrambling to submit stories in December, it’s probably a pretty safe bet to take. I know me.