Sunday, April 14, 2019

Now Playing: BUBBLE TOES by Jack Johnson
Just Read: IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware--Greatly enjoyed this! I loved the aspects of memory and the mystery that produced. It was an interesting technique I might try to use in future stories.
Reading Now: DOCTOR SLEEP by Stephen King

March was a successful month. I finished a story at about 10,000 words, meeting my goal of one story per month so far in 2019. I also began forming an idea for April's story, and so far I am about 2000 words into it. I think I should be able to finish it by the end of the month. It's an old idea that I'm revisiting with a new perspective. It was originally an investigation into a murder, but this time around, I want the main character to have a lot more at stake.

I was also able to edit and submit a story to the Writers of the Future Contest, a story I had previously submitted but that was definitely too long--I cut out about 1500 words from the beginning with the aim of picking up the story's pace. We'll see if it worked.

And I haven't heard back from them about my first quarter submission, which is maybe a good sign?

I've been reading more as well. Somehow I've managed to have books in progress in multiple different categories--a non-fiction book on writing, a poetry collection, a short story collection, a novel, and a book on tape. When I was younger I never thought I would be someone who reads multiple books at once, but somehow I've become that. It was easy! And I'm enjoying every bit of it.

Here's to April being another successful month!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

February Foils

Now Playing: SHIMMER by Fuel
Just Read:  THE DETECTIVE by Roderick Thorp--Took me forever to get into this one, but ultimately I'm glad I read it, especially since the sequel was good, and the book that inspired the movie "Die Hard."
Reading Now: IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware

February wasn't quite as successful as I had hoped.

I managed to write about 8000 words in February, which is good . . . except that those 8000 words didn't materialize into a completed story. It's almost done--hoping to finish it either today or tomorrow--but it means I fell short of my goal of one story per month.

I'm trying not to cheat too much, and to actually hold myself accountable for this goal. But I did write two stories in January . . . .

I feel like I've been reading a lot, editing a lot, but only writing new stuff here and there. I wish my "new-word" output was higher. Though taking a step back, 8000 words is actually a good amount when I'm working full-time and traveling a lot. I can't kick myself too much.

Just always wish it was more.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Editing Marathon

Now Playing: BARRACUDA by Heart
Just Read: THE FIREMAN by Joe Hill--Really, really enjoyed this one. I've liked all of Joe Hill's stuff. This one started strong, had a lull, then picked back up after a long, slow burn (pun intended).
Reading Now: THE DETECTIVE by Roderick Thorp

First, update: It's been a solid January, and I'm on track with my goals of writing and submitting one story per month. I submitted a story that earned an honorable mention in the WotF to another magazine. It got rejected, but I'm thinking of other places to send it. For January 2019, it looks like I'm going to get two new ones. Both flash fiction stories, but that's okay. I've been writing a lot on both a longer short story and a novel.

Today, though, wasn't about new stuff. It was about a story I wrote for WotF back in 2017. It didn't place, or win an honorable mention. But I've heard about such stories being editing, resubmitted, and winning, and since I'm far away from anything new being ready to send by the end of this quarter, I thought I'd tackle it.

It's long. Over 14,000 words. And it took me ALL DAY to get through it. I think editing my own stuff is the worst part about being a writer, the part that feels the most like work. It just isn't as rewarding as new composition, and I never know if changes I make actually improve the story or not. I have a hard time stepping back and saying, "This needs to be changed. This story needs a faster pace. This part of the story has to go because it doesn't contribute."

Today was a drag. I think the story is better, but I really have a hard time knowing. I think I'm going to put it away for a while and see if I can come back to it with fresh eyes, like I did today, and spot any errors in the story's trajectory. The prose is fine. But it's so long, I have trouble knowing if anything doesn't belong. I feel like it all belongs.

Gotta find a book on editing fiction . . . preferably, for dummies.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year Stuff

Just Read: SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK--Great book! Very fun story, and loved all the cat references. Having just visited the Biltmore, I loved the details.
Reading Now: THE FIREMAN by Joe Hill

It's a brand new year! A chance to set and achieve a ton of new writing goals, and I have plenty.

But I'm only going to set vague ones, in the hopes of having a greater chance of achieving them. In brief, they are: Write more. Edit more. Read more. Submit more.

I'll only get specific with one idea: to write and submit at least one story per month the way I did back in my Write1Sub1 days. That worked really well for me, left a lot of time for editing, and was doable. So, I'd like to bring it back. Additionally, I'd like to read 50 new books this year. The most I've ever read was 40, but I think 50 is a good goal. Also, I have a shelf of fiction magazines I'd like to read and recycle--hope to make some progress there in 2019.

This past year was a great one in a thousand ways, but as far as my writing goals, I maybe fell a bit short. I wrote four new stories and finished NaNoWriMo with a new 50K word manuscript (that's now about 60K). So, I did a good amount of writing, just not as much as I would like. I'm not beating myself up about it--I was a senior in grad school most of the year, starting a new job giving anesthesia during the rest of the year. But now that it's 2019, it's time to get more of a routine and figure out how to fit everything I'd like to write into my schedule.

I hope everyone has a blessed and productive 2019!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

December Lethargy

Now Playing: ANNA MOLLY by Incubus
Just Read: GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn--A ridiculous story, but I enjoyed it. The writing in particular was great. She does a phenomenal job of making me dislike everyone in the whole book.
Reading Now: SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK by Robert Beatty

You're reading the blog of a 2018 NaNoWriMo Winnerrrrrrr!!!

That's right, I was able to pound out 50,000 words in the month of November. Got my certificate and everything. Took me right up until the last day, and I had to manage over 5000 words on the 30th, but I did it, and it was worth the work.

So why did it take me over two weeks to post about it? Because I was exhausted, that's why.

50K in a month is a lot, but honestly it's not unfathomable. It's less than 2K per day average, which is what (I hear) the pros do when they write full-time. I don't write full-time, of course--I write on my days off and sometimes squeeze in a few words on the other days. So NaNo was a lot, but as I get better and better, and closer to being a professional, such output should hopefully come easier.

And, I'm recovered now. I needed to take a step back and reassess where my story was going. I also needed to do some reading, which got neglected in favor of writing. But I'm back and have managed about 3000 words so far this month, edited one story for the Writers of the Future Contest, and started brainstorming for January's story. I'm also trying to decide what my 2019 writing goals should be. More submissions, definitely.

As usual, the time for basking in the glory of a victory is short. Time to get back to work.

Monday, November 19, 2018

NaNo Update

Now Playing: BARRACUDA by Heart
Just Read: THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH--Loved this. Ken Follett has really catapulted himself to the top of my list of favorite authors, after reading The Century Trilogy and now starting in on the Kingsbridge Trilogy. Such a slow-pace, high-build, well-plotted work.
Reading Now: GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

I'm behind.

Not irrevocably so, but pretty behind. By the end of today, in order to be on track to finish 50,000 words in the month of November, I should be at 31,673. I'm at about 21,000. Ten thousand words in one day? That's a challenge. I could probably do it, too, but I doubt I will.

With Thanksgiving this week, traveling to family and enjoying time with them, I expect I'll be pretty far behind still by next weekend. I have eleven days to write about 30,000 more words. That's a lot!

I've got a good plan that extends to about seven chapters right now. I think that if I wrote all the prose in the plan, I would be close to 50K, about halfway through the novel. So there's a great amount of work ahead of me. I really want to hit that 50K mark, but honestly I really am more excited about the story itself. Which is the important part. Still, 50K . . . . So enticing.

Anyway, enough idle writing--back to the story!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Long-Awaited Sequel?


I've probably done more writing-related activity today than I've done in a long time, maybe ever. I was really excited about participating in NaNoWriMo this year. It would be my first since 2013, when I wrote a novel called Star Born. I wanted to use this November to write the sequel.

But first I needed to refresh myself. I wrote Star Born a long time ago, and though I remembered a lot of it and thought about it frequently, I wasn't as up-to-date as I thought I should be when starting its sequel. So I printed out a copy and took a pen to it, editing feverishly over the course of as few days as I could manage. I did it in about two.

But reading it with a pen and a critical eye turned out to be the quick part. It took much longer to go through the word document and type in the changes I made. Plus, I made a bunch of notes about details that needed to be added earlier in the novel, so it took forever going back and forth, adding paragraphs and details here and there, and being as careful as I could not to add something that created a plot hole somewhere else.

But I had the day off today and was determined to finish it. I edited 162 pages today, I'm guessing about 45K words. I'm happy with how it turned out. I think it needs one more read--a polish--before it's ready to be queried. However, I'm definitely ready to write the sequel.

Having spent the first day of NaNoWriMo editing, I'm a bit behind. Fortunately, it runs 24 hours for the whole month. So I'm going to publish this post, open Star Born 2, and start it.

I'll try to post regular updates throughout the month . . . but if Nano 2018 is anything like 2013, I'll see you in December.