Writing–June Projects

roseAfter a month of doing a lot of revisions and polishing…I’m going to be doing more of that.

I’ve decided to go ahead and tackle The Timeless Man. I still haven’t worked out all of the kinks I think need to be worked out, but I’ve got several of them figured out and I might as well get them down on paper (or laptop computer files, as the case may be). It’s quite possible that the act of making those changes will lead to me figuring out the solutions to my other problems (or deciding that they’re not problems at all; that’s always possible).

I’m also going to prep (Vampire) Made in America for revising. This mostly involves re-reading the manuscript, putting everything together in one file, and making notes on what needs to be changed. I hated this manuscript when I finished it for a NaNo win a few years ago but after finishing The World (Saving) Series, it occurred to me what I could do to fix (Vampires). So I’m going into this reading with an idea of what needs to be done, which should make the read easier.

This should be enough to keep me good and busy for the month, but I’m aware of a growing itch to write something new. It’s been a while.

Also, it’s time to publish my latest masterpiece. It should happen in the next couple of weeks. Which will it be? Novel or novella?

I guess you’ll have to stay tuned.

Writing–And Then I Changed My Mind

Rainbow paperOne thing that really plagues me and my less-than-successful writing career is my adept ability to change my mind.

I decide to do something and then a few months later I decided that nope, that’s not what I want to do, and I do something else.

For example, I thought I wanted to put the first chapter of my novels in progress up on the blog. Nope! That lasted a few months and then I decided it was dumb and pointless and I took the only one I put up down (because I didn’t have much to show off to begin with).

That’s part of what spurs my change of mind. I come up with an idea that sounds great at the time and I jump on it, which doesn’t sound too bad. Until I go through with the idea and realize that, you know what, this might not be the best idea in the world because it turns out that, hey, I’m not as involved/invested/prepared as I need to be.

This has cropped up again with The World (Saving) Series. At first I thought I wanted to go ahead and self-publish it, which would require numerous changes so I don’t get sued for using trademarks without permission. In considering this, I thought it might actually work out because it could be these specific changes that could set apart my little Outskirts Universe from everything else that I write. It truly did sound like a good idea and I started doing some preliminary brainstorming in regards to the changes.

But then as I went along, I realized just how much needed to be changed and how much work that was going to be and was it going to be worth it in the long run? Would it just be easier to sit on this manuscript or maybe actually try to get it published traditionally so someone else could take care of any possible legal things that needed to be dealt with?

Here I sit at the crossroad of indecision, wondering which path to take.

So I’ve decided not to do anything. I’m not going to make changes and I’m not going to start flogging it about to agents on the off-chance that someone might want to represent it because they think they can sell it (I don’t think anyone is up to that sort of challenge; it’s not what one would call a hot ticket). Instead, it’s going on a shelf, to be referred to in other stories, but not to be seen.

Unless, of course, I change my mind.

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.

Writing–2014 Writing Goals

short story class

Last year my big goals were revising The World (Saving) Series to the point of doneness; submitting seven short stories that were ready and waiting; working on a sooper sekrit project; and turning Night of the Nothing Man into a novella.

Of those goals, I managed to hit most of them. The sooper sekrit project hit several snags and skids and brick walls. It’s still there, but I still don’t know what it is or what I’m going to do with it yet. And I didn’t submit those seven stories. I submitted a few of them, but in the end, they got designated for an anthology. So they will get published, just not submitted.

Of course, the two big goals, World and Nothing Man did happen. Both of them done and one of them published (I’m still sitting on World, not sure what I’m going to do with it yet).

This year, similar things will happen.

Yet another of my novel manuscripts will be revised to the point of doneness. I think it’s going to be Spirited in Spite. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. And if I get it done early enough and I’m feeling adventurous, I think I’ll start working on A Tale of Two Lady Killers in the same fashion.

In novellas, I have three that need to be revised and one that I have an idea for and would like to write. I feel like all of that should happen. Novellas are kind of my thing right now and I feel like I should ride that wave all the way to the shore.

I need to get back on track with the sooper sekrit project, too. Even though it’s just sitting there, I feel like I’ve done too much on it to just shelve it. There has to be something in that mess I produced and I need to find it.

And that, friends, are my 2014 goals. They don’t sound like a lot, but believe me, it’ll be work.

Writing–I’m Done…Now What?

English: Gharib al-Hadith, by Abu `Ubayd al-Qa...

I finished my last pass on The World (Saving) Series. So now I’m faced with the questions I didn’t want to answer earlier this month when I was making out my goals list.

Now what do I do?

I can’t go any farther with the manuscript on my own, that’s for sure. I’m not going to see any other changes that need to be done (though it’s possible that I could find grammar errors that I missed). I don’t have a regular beta reader and of the few friends that I’ve used in that role, I’ve never had them read a full-length novel manuscript before. I’m not sure I can impose on their time like that.

But even if I do eventually have this thing go through beta or ultimately decide not to, then what? What do I want to do with it? Do I want to try to use it to land an agent? Do I want to try to get it published with a traditional publisher? Do I want to self-publish it? Or do I want to just shelve it, chalk it up to learning since first novel manuscripts don’t usually sell anyway, and then move on to to something else?

I’ve asked all of these questions before, probably on this blog, but now they’re not hypothetical. They’re not in the future. They’re really here, in front of me, waiting to be answered.

And I don’t have the answers right now.

I think, right now, at least for a little while, it’s going in a metaphorical drawer. I’m just going to enjoy the doneness for a bit, the sense of accomplishment that I actually saw a novel manuscript through to the end. Put off the questions for a little while longer.

Maybe in that time, when the glamour wears off and I start feeling the weight of that finished beast sitting on my hard drive, I’ll come up with the answers.

Or maybe at least find a beta reader that I don’t mind punishing.

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–Rereading the Written

English: Page of a manuscript written by Penns...

I’ve got several manuscripts that I’ve written that have been hanging out, waiting for me to get back to them. Some of them are just first drafts; others have had one or two rounds of heavy-lifting revision done to them. All of them were put to the side so I could focus on something else.

Since I didn’t have much going this month, I decided to read them all to see what I had and get reacquainted with them.

It was interesting to see where I was as a writer a few years ago. I can pretty much tell what was going on in my life just by reading the manuscript. It’s fascinating. Nobody else would be able to pick anything up, but I guess because I wrote it and lived it, I know exactly where I was.

Looking at the pieces in a more professional, critical light, I’m happy to say that all of them are workable to an extent. I could make them all into something that you wouldn’t gouge your eyes out while reading. Which is reassuring in a sense. There will always be work waiting for me because I’ve got four manuscripts in various states just waiting to be finished.

And it won’t be a waste to work on them since there’s something worth working on there.

I admit to liking some more than others. Spirited in Spite and A Tale of Two Lady Killers have gone through a couple of heavy-lifting revisions and their stories are pretty good. Fun, quick little things that won’t require too much more lifting to finish.

The untitled Ivy novel should probably be revised down to a novella because I padded that thing pretty hard. The other POVs can go (though I might save Leo’s and rewrite it as a short story). Sticking to solely Ivy and shortening it up will do the story wonders. I might also end up changing the location. We’ll see.

American Vampires, I don’t care for. It’s only a first draft, a NaNoWriMo draft at that, so it needs A LOT of work. And I know what I was trying to do with the original attempt at a story, but I missed the mark. Of all the pieces, I like this one least and it will take the most work. Somehow, though, I think it might be worth the effort. Eventually. I’m in no rush to get back to it.

When I’m done with The World (Saving) Series, it looks like I’m all set for the next revision project. I’ve got plenty to choose from.

Writing–I’ve Never Been This Close to Done Before

A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript,...

I completed my latest round of revisions on The World (Saving) Series. I was about half-way through when it occurred to me how little revising I was actually doing. Then it dawned on me that I was doing little revising because the story, for the most part, is done. As in, I’m not adding or deleting any more scenes, I’m not changing any more of the plot, I’m not doing anymore tinkering.

The heavy-lifting is officially done.

And that’s when I had my little moment of panic.

I’ve never been this done with a novel manuscript before. This the farthest I’ve ever gone.

I’m scared out of my mind.

It’s like a trick or something. I’m at the point in revising when I’m moving more to polishing than really revising. Now it’s all down to the nuts and bolts, the word choice and phrasing. The little things.

So naturally, I’m paranoid.

Not having ever been this far, I’m now thinking that there must be SOMETHING that I’ve missed. Some giant, glaring error. Some heavy-lifting off in a corner that I’ve walked by a dozen times, but never noticed.

Because I can’t possibly be this close to being done.

It’s a weird feeling, like when you think you’ve left the iron on (do people still iron?). You’re just sure that it’s on, but it’s not, but you can’t shake the feeling that the damn thing is still on. I cannot shake the feeling that I can’t possibly be this close to being done.

But I am.

Oh, I’m not stupid. I’m sure a good and proper editor would have a field day shredding this manuscript and exposing every single flaw it contains (and I’d be fine with that). But the fact that I’ve gotten this manuscript to the point where I could polish it up and submit it without (much) reservation is a milestone. Never have I been so close to this kind of completion. To me, it counts for something.

It also brings to the forefront of my mind that I should have an idea of what I’m going to do with this manuscript. Do I try to submit it to agents to attempt to get representation? Do I just go ahead and shelve it and start working on something else since first novels almost never get anywhere? I don’t know. I’m in new territory here.

I never thought I’d ever get this done.

And I never thought getting this done would be so scary.

Writing–May Projects

Happy Bokeh Wednesday

Uhhh…I’m kind of at a loss of what I should be working on this month.

I’m going to finish up the latest round of revisions on The World (Saving) Series. I’m going to continue working on the short stories that I’m either going to submit or use for the self-published short story collection.

I’ve now got three sooper sekrit projects and I plan on continuing to work two of them (one of them I’ve kind of lost the heart for).

And aside from that…I don’t know.

It sounds like a lot, but it’s not really. I may take a look at a few of my other manuscripts, just to see if there’s anything I want to start working on, but I’m not sure I want to start another big revision project before I’m done with World.

Maybe I should take advantage of this slow month and catch up on my reading. I’ve been slacking the past couple of months.

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.