I’ve not been well this week. I had something that made me ache all over, I had a temperature while also having the shivers. After a couple days of that, and some weird as hell dreams I’m feeling much better, albeit a little more tired than normal. But I did loose a couple of days where I’d like to have gotten some words done. I have picked it up the last couple of days, although as I’m editing this fan fiction piece I’m not writing bundles of words but I am making progress.
Outside of that I’ve finished my edits on a short story which I’ll be sending to an anthology soon, once my Beta readers have looked it over. I have also made some progress on an outline for an Assembly story. I’d like to light a fire under my arse and get that done and off to Owen so he can put his touch on it and see what he can improve on in it.
Speaking of Owen, I really need to get those final alterations on The Space Watch done. I may try and blitz through that once I’ve finished working through the chapter I’m editing for the fan fiction piece.
Time for some breakfast and then to the desktop for some work. Have an awesome day, everyone!
Good morning! Well, it’s another Sunday morning, the dog is snoring at my feet, and the cat is nowhere to be seen (probably stretched out on a bed somewhere). I can hear the birds singing in the garden but that is all the sound I can hear right now. I live in a rural area and this time of the morning on a Sunday is quite often very peaceful (as I said that a car went pelting up the road at a silly speed). Anyway, this last week has felt somewhat slow, writing wise. I’ve not written a huge amount of words but I have written everyday and have averaged about 300 words a day (I’m not including yesterdays words in that). So I’m pretty chuffed with that. It’s felt like an odd week where I haven’t got much work done, but I was quite pleased when I saw that I’d done that much this week.
This last week has seemed to have gone by in a flash, but aside from Wednesday when I had a Write-In, I’ve not had an especially busy one outside of the day job. That said though, I only really had Monday and Tuesday night’s to write. I did do a few words at the Write-In, but not many. My brother and his family have just moved house, so on Thursday night I helped him move a lovely sofa they have, which wasn’t easy but we got it out the old house and into the new one. That took a bit of doing. And then on Friday we moved the bulk of his furniture. So Thursday and Friday I didn’t get a lot written, but I wasn’t expecting to because of helping my brother out. Last night I just flaked out, but I did write 600+ words in the morning before I went to work.
This week I’ve got today to get some work done, and tomorrow is a bonus day. As it’s Easter Monday we get a Bank Holiday (same with Good Friday), so no day job. I’d like to have put a big dent into my FanFic piece. I’ve barely touched that this week and would like to make some serious progress with it. The majority of the work I’ve done this week has been on the short story I’ve been playing with. It’s over 3000 words now and I like a lot of it, although I’m not sure about how strong it is. It’s a story in Owen and my Assembly universe and at worst it’s a great character piece which is letting me flesh out a character we’ve got plans for in the future, and at best something we’ll put out one day, probably in a collection.
I am thinking through to NaNoWriMo a little. I know November is a long way off but it’ll be with us sooner than we know, and I’m seriously considering writing the zombie piece I’ve just done the primary outline for. I’m thinking of this story because I always assume I’m going to be able to do more than I can during a year. It’s about seven months till November and I’m not sure we’ll be able to get The Space Watch locked down by then, I’m also going to try and submit to some anthologies this year so I’d like a little time to be writing for them as well. I’ve also got one Assembly story I’m working on the outline for, and I’d like to get another couple of outlines done for next year. I’m also thinking like this as a way to start planning what I’m writing. I’ve tried to do that a couple of times but it doesn’t play out like that. Partly because I wasn’t outlining at all, or anywhere close to the depth of outline that I need to have. So, if I decide to do this zombie story for NaNo this year then I know I’ve got over six months to spend more time on the outline, I don’t think I need that amount of time but I’ll know what I’m doing and what time frames I’ve got to work with.
Having that amount of time will also give me time to work on any submission calls I come across, as well as some short stories I want to work on in addition to outlining and planning future pieces.
I’d love to be smashing out a thousand words a day and writing where the wind takes me, but I’ve been doing that for many years and it’s not working for me. I’m hoping this steadier, more prepared, approach will prove fruitful.
This is going to be a bit of a bulky post as I just sum up what’s been going on in the last few weeks.
It’s been a slow couple of weeks with writing, I’ve literally written no new words for pushing a month now. In that time though I have been working on an outline in much more detail than I have done in the past, and I’ve been working on getting last years FanFic piece read through. With the FanFic piece it’s a little complicated as I have to figure out what I’m going to need to connect the various pieces together, as well as figuring out what I’m going to re-write to make it all into a coherent story.
I have got my vampire collection all sorted out though. This is one of the files that I’d done beta note adjustments on, but I’d lost the file and have had to do them all over again. As I was doing the changes I couldn’t help but think it might just be an idea to rewrite the whole thing as (I’d like to think) I’m a better writer now. Aside from the time it’ll take for me to rewrite another story I’ve written (50k plus words), I’d also loose some of the subtext that is in those stories. I listen to Armand Rosamilla’s podcasts (Armcast and The Mando Method) and he has said that he has thought about rewriting some of his older work, but he isn’t now who he was then, and they’d loose something if he rewrote them. I can’t help but agree. I also don’t want to be that writer that keeps working on the same things and never moves forward. I do suffer a little of that but I’m trying to pull away from it. Now that I’ve got this done, and ready to go off to other beta readers, I’m feeling like I am moving forward.
We’re also moving forward on The Space Watch. Owen is working his way through, putting his stamp on it and I’m looking forward to sitting down with him to go through it in detail and see what he thinks needs working on.
I did have a massive highlight last Saturday (18th March) and that was meeting Scott Sigler. Scott is one of my writing idols and he’s having a small European tour and as soon as I heard him announce the two London dates I immediately booked the 18th off so I could go and hang out with a writer who I’ve been following since 2007. I also got to meet his business partner, AB Kovacs. Both Scott and A are really fantastic people. They are both very engaging, passionate, hard working, and genuine. They’ve also got a great deal of appreciation for the fans, we call ourselves Junkies, and that was very clear to see on Saturday. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best moments of my life, and has opened my eyes a little to how much of a rut I’m in. Both with writing and life in general. I am taking steps to change that, but I am quite an introvert and it’s not easy for me to step out of my comfort zone.
Back to Saturday night though; in addition to meeting Scott and A, I got to hang out with a good twenty to thirty other Junkies who were an awesome group of people and were all so passionate about Sigler’s work. I also got to meet comedian, illusionist, and writer John Lenahan. John was podcasting back when Scott started off, and is such a cool dude. What made him even cooler was that he did the voice of Talkie Toaster from the TV series Red Dwarf!
Elsewhere, I’ve been getting back into the cinema. I’m a huge movie fan and it’s getting to the time of year when the movies I want to see are coming out. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been to see Lego Batman, Logan, Kong:Skull Island, and Beauty and the Beast. Lego Batman was a lot of fun, silly and over the top, which is what I was expecting. Logan was just brilliant! Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine with such commitment, understanding and passion over the years it’s going to be a shame not seeing him playing the character again. Kong was surprising good. Action right from the start and never did it feel like it was slowing down. It just kept its pace, and the action didn’t disappoint. It’s also the first time I’ve really seen Brie Larson in anything. She’s been cast as Carol Danvers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I was really impressed with how she was on screen. Beauty and the Beast is probably one of my favourite Disney movies. I saw the animated version a couple of times at the cinema when it first came out, and it’s always resonated with me. The live action version was good, but I think it doesn’t quite match up to the original. This is one of those times where I’ve realised this film was going to find it hard to impress me because of my love for the original, that said there was a lot I liked about the live action remake and I will definitely be buying it on Blu-Ray when it does come out.
TV wise, I watched The Expanse, and really dug it. It was a little bit of a slow start but once I’d gotten to about episode three I was locked-in. I’m looking forward to seeing the next series. It’s also reminded me I’ve got to get through the rest of the books in the series. I’m now getting stuck into Iron Fist, and am really enjoying it. It’s just taken a turn I wasn’t expecting. I could quite easily go and binge the last four or five episodes but I’d like to get some work down today.
Reading wise, I’ve not got Terror Byte by J.R. Park finished yet. I’m enjoying the story but I’ve let myself get distracted by movies, TV and comics in the last couple of weeks. I’m going to aim to get back to reading before bed each night, again and will hopefully have it finished by this time next week. Speaking of comics, I’ve just finished House of M, and really loved it. I’ve been curious as to what led up to Scarlett Witch’s ‘No More Mutants’ moment and I brought House of M simply because the cover looked cool and I was intrigued by the title. So seeing Scarlett Witch’s ‘No More Mutants’ moment was an added bonus. I’ve now moved onto Secret Invasion. I also listened to Alone by Scott Sigler. This is the third book of his Generations Trilogy and really ended the series well. The audiobook was narrated by AB Kovacs and she smashed it! A really impressive performance, and very easy to listen to.
Well, that’s about it. Sorry for the chunky post, it’s not often I break five hundred words, let alone a thousand! I am trying to focus my attention and energy better. I’m not being overly successful with it, but I’m trying. Hopefully I’ll have a productive week.
This week has felt quite odd. We had my Grandad’s funeral on Friday and although that went well (as well as any funeral can) its felt like a week where I’ve been out of sync. I’ve also not been especially well again also, which hasn’t helped.
On Monday I started making my red-pen changes to The Space watch, although most of the night was spent arranging the layout in Scrivener so I’ve got each chapter broken down into its various scenes. Tuesday night, after getting home from seeing The Lego Batman Movie (which is awesome!) I cracked on with a little planning on a zombie story I’ve had brewing for quite a few years. It’s struck me that when I’d thought that I’d not be able to build a story strong enough to write with this idea it was because I need to put more thought into it. This goes back to what I was saying the other day about making sure I get an outline done instead of just steaming into it, which I have tried in the past with this idea. I’ve got an idea, and I’m using a couple of movies as a sort of inspiration/format for the tone I want to aim for. I’ve done a little more planning for that, and have come up with an idea for one of the characters that I like a lot, so I need to see if I can make it work.
That’s what I’m going to be working on outlining wise for the next few days. I’d like to think I’ll be done with it by the end of this next week, but I’ve not done much outlining so I’m not sure what the timescale will be. That is my secondary project, my primary one is going to be getting The Space Watch sorted out. Now I’ve done all the logistics of switching it from Pages to Scrivener I don’t think it’ll take me too long to get it sorted out. Being me I’m planning on getting stuck in today when I get home from DemonCon (more on that in a bit), and I’m assuming that I’ll be able to smash out the rest of this edit pass by the end of the day. It’s probably about 25,000 words, which is doable, but I’m not going to bust my gut to get it done. If I rush it, I’ll start missing details and making mistakes.
I’ve had to stop working on my fanfic piece, simply because I was working on it during my lunch breaks but I’ve got to a bit where I’m going to need some time to sort this next section out properly. To do that I’m going to need more than a lunch break to do it. So what I’m going to do is get The Space Watch edited, then get through some Beta notes on my vampire collection, and then get stuck into it. Then I will be up to date with some work that I should have had done for quite some time, and then I’ll get this read through of the fanfic piece done and see where I need to go with it.
Just a quick word on DemonCon; this will be my third one, and I’m really looking forward to it. I am still feeling a little unwell, so thats dampened my enthusiasm a little, but I’m still pumped. I’m going to make more of an effort to ask people if I can take their pictures, there’s going to be loads of cosplayers there, and I’m going to make more of an effort to have a chat with them as well. I need to get over this shyness of mine and I think events like DemonCon, Birmingham Horror Con, and Bristol Horror Con are great places for meeting people and getting talking to them. There is such a great, warm atmosphere at these three different cons that I’ve been to, and the people who go to them are all into what I am. So hopefully the more of them I go to the less shy I’ll be.
Speaking of DemonCon, I’d better go and get ready.
I haven’t blogged this last week because my Grandad died on Monday evening. So, I’ve obviously been a little out of sorts since then. I have continued to write everyday, albeit not many words. I have done a few more pages of editing as well, although I’ve not been as consistent with editing as I have been with writing.
Yesterday (the 4th) was my first zero word count day of the year. I went to Birmingham Horror Con with a couple of friends, so that took up most of the day. And when I got home I was feeling so tired that the thought of writing just seemed to drain me further. I haven’t had much settled sleep this week for obvious reasons, so I sacrificed writing for a little down time. I am a bit annoyed at breaking that chain, but it would be naive of me to think I’m going to be able to write every day this year. Even with the best will in the world, some solid momentum, and the ideas transferring from brain to screen without much resistance, there is still these elements in life which make it difficult to hit a target like writing every day.
I’m sure with time I’ll learn how to manage writing each day with life events. In my own defence I’d planned to be up at 6am yesterday and write for a little of the time before leaving at 8am, but I slept through two alarms and didn’t get up till 7:30am. It was a great day though and I’ll write a post about it in the next day or two.
I have finished reading Silent Dawn by CL Raven, who I saw at the Con, and WOW! what a book. I’d definitely recommend checking that one out (and their other work). It’s a really engaging book that I’ll be writing a review for soon.
I’ve now reading Savant by Nik Abnett. I’m only about thirty pages in, but so far it’s very intriguing.
Not to start on a negative note, but I am already behind where I was hoping to be. I’d wanted The Space Watch done by now so I can get onto the next project but that’s not how it’s gone. I don’t think I’m going to be setting dates to be done by just yet. I think it’ll be a case of once one is done then I’ll move onto the next one. If I set targets by date and I don’t hit them then I’ll get demoralised and that can lead into falling into a rut easily.
I’m trying to be realistic with my expectations for the year. I’m going to try and have The Space Watch done by November, and one other novella length piece. That’ll probably be something with Penal Earth (NaNoWriMo 2015). I’m not happy with what I’ve got right now, but I know what I want to do with it now. I can see turning the book I’ve gotten written at the moment into two and then add a third which will make up a trilogy. Then I’ve got a few ideas of where I want to go forward with stories in the world I’ve created there after the trilogy has been wrapped.
I’m not sure what I want to work on for NaNoWriMo just yet, and I know it’s quite sometime off but I want to be ready for it this year. I thought I was ready last year but not even close. I’m tempted to write on an idea I’ve got that’s been inspired by war children. That’s the piece I was planning to work on at the start of this year but I’m not nearly ready for it. I’ve got a lot of research and building work to do to be ready for it. This is something that I’ve learnt from FanFiction (and spoken a lot about) but having much more depth in my work and I need to lay groundwork before I start writing.
I am going to work on a few short stories and novelettes during the course of the year, but I don’t want to set myself targets that I’m not going to be able to achieve.
This year I just want to keep some focus on what I’m writing, and not to loose momentum. I spoke in my post Looking Back At 2016 about getting into ruts, and I’m going to try and keep alert to it and if I see it coming I’ll do what I can to stop myself falling into it.
Reading wise I’ve set my Goodreads challenge and I’ve gone for sixty books again and intend to hit it and not just get halfway like I did in 2016.
I will look back at 2016 as one of the worst years of my life. Now, I am lucky because in the grand scale of things it hasn’t been as bad as some peoples, but it’s been challenging. I’ve had two close family members have life changing health problems. The complications have caused a lot of stress but I’ve just tried to crack on and something I’m trying hard to do is living each days as it comes. I used to worry a lot, and I still do a bit but after listening to Chris Hadfield’s autobiography, An Astronauts Guide To Life On Earth, I learnt that thinking things through from the worst case scenario makes problems easier to deal with. That can sound a little negative but I think it’s helped me a lot in dealing with problems as they’ve come along. One of my favourite sayings of the year has to be “We’ll deal with it when we come to it”. Another one has been “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to”.
Another, self-inflicted, problem I had this year was I decided I was ready to stop being single. This one was an epic crash and burn if I’m honest, but a few lessons were learnt and I’m not even close to being as pro-active on that front as I was. I’m back to how I was at the start of the year and quite content as I am. If I meet someone then great, but I’m not loosing sleep over it.
Writing wise, I didn’t come close to achieving any of my targets from the start of the year. I wrote 195,396 words throughout the course of the year, but didn’t really finish anything. Most of the year was spent on Penal Earth, The Space Watch, and the FanFiction piece. I did complete three short stories. Two from the same universe as The Space Watch and one that is based off a (non-writer) friends story that she wrote for an assignment years ago.
Thinking about it now, I’ve written two novellas (to a degree) this year, but only one of them is in a decent shape. The FanFic piece is all over the shop and needs a lot of work. The lesson I’m taking from this is that I need to focus better. I need to get a draft finished that is coherent and not needing a ridiculous amount of editing.
Something I learned from writing FanFiction is that I need to have better depth to my stories. I need to work on character histories, adding more depth to the settings of the stories, and to more of the plots themselves.
Reading wise I should have done much better. I read/listened to thirty books over the course of the year. I had aimed for sixty but I think as more time progressed through the year it was a seriously unrealistic target. I didn’t finish vN by Madeline Ashby, or Day of Chaos: Endgame before the end of 2016 either.
NaNoWriMo was a success in that I did my best total of 58,558 words. I ended up with a very messy draft for the second year running. Then I had a major NaNo hangover in the early part of December (part of that was hitting a speed bump in The Space Watch). So come NaNo next year I’ve got to focus on getting a decent draft done. I know I can write 50k in a month, in 2017 I need to write a story that is coherent.
My big problem of 2016 was that I felt in a rut for the majority of it. I managed to pull myself out a few times, a few times friends had to drag me out of it. I quickly fell back into that rut though. Some of the reasons were the lack of progress with dating. Other times it was because I was getting stuck with a story and instead of moving over to something else for a couple of days I’d binge watch something (I must have watched all of The Big Bang theory episodes four times during the course of the year). That didn’t help and just sucked me into a deeper hole.
Right now I’m feeling very energised and pumped. I’m trying to be pro-active and get work done. For the first time in quite some time I feel like the stories are talking to me and ideas are coming quite easily. What I’ve got to master is not letting myself get stuck into a rut. I’ve got to become more consistent and get work finished.