Considering the loss of my only day job, my plans for March haven’t really changed that much. Probably because I didn’t have any real solid plans to begin with.
Last month, I finished my latest round of revisions on (Vampires) Made in America, wrote the first drafts of two short stories, “Grandma’s Funeral” and “A Girl’s Best Friend”, and formatted Murderville: The Last Joke into an eBook novella. I also ended up writing the first draft of a short story called “Suicide Paris Green” (I told you I’d do something with that eventually) and published The Haunting of the Woodlow Boys as a stand alone novella eBook. And finally, I began writing the first draft of a story called Come to the Rocks, a story I thought would be about 4,000 words, but is now over 10,000 and headed straight for novella territory.
February was surprisingly productive.
This month I plan to finish writing the first draft of Come to the Rocks and start the first draft of another story that I really don’t know if it will be a short story or a novella. I love those kinds of surprises.
I’m also going to work on the Storytime Jukebox, try to make it a little more user friendly. I’d like it to be more popular, for obvious reasons, but I realize in order for that to happen, it has to be better.
Of course, anything I can do to boost my writing career will be happening this month in earnest. The ball, as they say, will start rolling.
The next episode of The Last Joke comes out on the 7th. Don’t miss out! Read teasers for episodes one and two and then become a patron.
It’s a short month, so naturally I’m going to try to accomplish several things.
Though I managed to write a poem a day last month, I need to finish the revision of (Vampires) Made in America. I probably would have finished it last month, but I was in Chicago for Cubs Con the weekend of my birthday. Oh, I still worked that weekend, but just not as much as I would have if I was home. Another factor is that I’m adding chapters, so writing the new content is taking a little bit longer.
I’m also going to write the first drafts of two new short stories for the next short story collection, “Grandma’s Funeral” and “A Girl’s Best Friend”. I’m anticipating these to be somewhat difficult because it’ll be such a gear shift and the ideas have been sitting around for a while so I’m worried they’ve lost their freshness. I’m sure I’ll be able to get some kind of a first draft for each of them, but I’m anticipating an extra effort for some unfortunate shit. Thank goodness I like rewriting/revising so much.
I’m also going to be formatting Murderville: The Last Joke into a novella eBook, which will be available to my patrons at the end of the year. I will also be giving my $2 patrons their first freebie this month. So, if you want to get it on that, check out the Murderville page.
Also, the next episode comes out next week. Check out the preview of the first episode and then find out how to read the rest.
2016 has been put to bed (finally and thankfully) and 2017 has begun. I have a general schedule of what I want/need to get done this year in terms of writing. As of right now, I have a lot of free months, but that is just an illusion. Those blank spaces will fill up quickly as I get this ball rolling.
And of course, this ball starts its rolling in January.
My plan this month is to revise (Vampires) Made in America. This is part of my ultimate 2017 goal of getting this novel to the point of ultimate doneness. I’ve got three of these Outskirts novels just sitting there like lumps. Maybe if I do one, then the other two will follow. It’s a thought.
I’m also going to write a poem a day. I know it’s not National Poetry Month and I know that I ended up a big loser in the poetry contest I entered (I guess my Honors English teacher was right about capitalizing that last line after all), but I still have it in my head that poetry is something I can and should do, even if just for myself. Ideally, I’d like to put it to good use (by that I mean publish it in some form), but I feel that just to play with words in that medium will be largely beneficial overall.
As a side project this month, I’m finishing up a script outline that I started in December. Again, it’s an exercise in a different medium, outlining and writing scripts, but the ideas translate well to novels/novellas. So I count it as time well spent even if the movie would never be made and the script itself never even shopped.
And, of course, Murderville: The Last Joke starts next week, so don’t forget to get in on that.
I think this will be a good way for me to kick off 2017.
It’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.
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.
The 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 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.
Last month was a bit of a struggle because I wasn’t feeling all that motivated to write. Little by little, I finished the two short stories I’d set out to write, “Through the Electronic Looking Glass” and “Cabintown Road”. I wrote a page a day on each of them and then did a finish line sprint one weekend when they were almost done. It took two weeks to get them done that way, but considering how rundown and blah I felt about the whole thing, I was just happy to get them finished. Whatever it takes.
The last two weeks were supposed to be spent writing a novella. The one I picked to do doesn’t have a sure title yet, but the idea was pretty fresh and I thought a thousand words a day would get it, if not done, then pretty close to done on the shorter side of the novella scale.
That didn’t happen.
I’m working without an outline and after about a week I realized that there was more to this story than I thought. So, it’s either going to be a longer novella or an outright novel. We’ll see. I’m going to keep working on it this month.
I’m also going to revise (Vampires) Made in America down to novella size. Since this first step is focusing primarily on cutting out all of the fat and repetition and such, I don’t think it will be too difficult, nor will it take too long.
Now watch me struggle with it.
And of course, it’s time for yet another self-publishing release!
Look for The Timeless Man, the second Ivy Russell novella, to come out sometime this month.
You 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.
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.
There 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.
The revisions on (Vampires) Made in a America continue to drag on, mostly because the more I work on it, the worse it seems to get. Like a knot in my sewing thread. The more I fuss with it, the tighter and more impossible it gets.
I thought I had it figured out in December. I thought I knew what I was doing and what needed to be done. And then I got a third of the way through the manuscript and went, “This is utter shit and it’s a total mess and this fix don’t fix it, son.”
And that’s how several other smaller writing things got done. Because I was needing to work on something while I tried to figure out how to salvage this manuscript. It’s not the story that’s bad. It’s the execution of the story that’s god-awful.
After a few days of thought, I realized that my biggest problem was that I needed to see the forest and at the moment I was looking at nothing but trees. I needed to get a sort of aerial view of the forest of this story to see if I can’t figure out where all the dead wood is and how best to rearrange the trees before this whole grove burns in a tragic wildfire of my own frustration.
So, I’ve been going through chapter by chapter, writing down a summary of each. Sort of like a map I guess. I’ve only been doing a chapter a day, though, because I’m pretty frustrated with this story and to do any more reminds me of what a disaster this manuscript is and makes me more likely to throw it all out. And I don’t want to do that. I want to keep a level, logical, objective, non-burny approach here. I’ll let you know if doing this helps because MY WAY is always the HARD WAY.
Thankfully, I have so many other writing projects that need attention so I don’t feel guilty about not doing enough during my day. I just do a quick chapter summary and then move on to something else that has the potential to piss me off.
I like to keep that writing frustration moving, kids.