I managed to finish off the basics of the character details on the zombie story I’m outlining. It may seem a simple thing but each character now has a name and a fair few details about who they are and what their backgrounds are. I’ve just now figured out the next stage in this outlining and that is to decide what each character’s role in the story will be. I know what three characters will be doing in the story for definite, the rest I need to sit down and figure out how they play their parts.
No words today though. I went to the cinema to see Free Fire (an awesome movie) this evening so that took up a chunk of my time.
I’m going to call it a night now, and read a chapter or two of David Wellington’s Monster Island.
I’ve written 1493 words on this Fan Fiction piece tonight, and damn was it fun! This was the first writing I’ve done since the 8th of February. In that time I have done a little outlining and have editing two novella length pieces.
I’m a little surprised at how much easier it was to write those words with the outlining notes I’ve got. Considering how hard I found the outlining process for The Space Watch, I’m feeling optimistic about outlining in the future. I think with The Space Watch some of the problem I had was that it is a story Owen and I have been working on for a long time and maybe I was a little tired of it. Although I do think it’s turned out well. Another problem I think I was having was that I was trying to be too in-dpeth with it. With the outline I’ve been working on for this zombie piece I’ve not tried to do a chapter-by-chapter outline. Instead I’ve just written what happens in the story, and created the characters for the story.
When I was talking to Scott Sigler and A Kovacs a couple of weeks ago I spoke to both, briefly, about outlining and A said that Scott’s early outlines wouldn’t be very long, but his most recent book the outline is around the eighty page mark and much more detailed. I think that was what I was doing wrong; trying to put too much into the outline before I was ready too. It’s like when Owen and I were trying to get Project Apollo written, we weren’t ready to write a story that was as long or complex as that one is. The pieces I’m working on now are less complicated but I think the more that I outline the more complex they’ll get because I’ll be getting more experience with doing them.
In addition to the words I’ve written today I’ve done some work on the zombie story outline, not much but I’ve got some more work done on the characters. Aside from some character details I’m not sure how much more I need to add to this outline, but once I’ve finished these last few character bits I’ll leave it for a little while until I’ve finished work on this Fan Fiction piece. Once I’ve done that I’ll look to start writing the zombie piece.
I am going to try and get back into blogging daily. I find it quite motivating, which I think is good for me.
I’ve had another slow week, but as it came to an end I started feeling more myself than I have done in quite a few weeks. Thursday evening I was feeling a lot better and when I woke up Friday I actually felt energised.
So since then I’ve typed up my notes and order for my FanFiction piece. I’ve got a lot of organising to do with this project. I’m going to put it all into a Scrivener file and see what I need to add to connect the scenes together. I think I’ve got a good foundation, and a lot of what I need to be doing is connecting those scenes and expanding some of the scenes I’ve already written.
I have done some more outlining work on a zombie piece, but I’ve got to the point where I’m not sure what else I need to add to the outline that will be useful, so I’ve not done any work on it for a few days and see if anything shakes loose while I’m working on other pieces.
These last few weeks, okay more like two months now, I haven’t written a single word of fiction. As I said at the start of the post, I’m finally beginning to feel like myself again, and I don’t think I’d realised how unwell I was feeling. It was nothing major, but I think it was just a combination of loosing my Grandad at the end of January and some minor, albeit painful health problems. The last few months I’ve just not been myself. I do think how I crashed and burned on the Penal Earth rewrite I was working on at the start of the year hasn’t helped. About this time last week I thought about writing a short story, just a few thousand words, but I need to get some words down. Now I’m feeling pretty good again I’m going to try and get something done in the next couple of days. I’d just like to get some fresh words written, it’s been far too long since I have done that.
Owen is working his way through The Space Watch, I haven’t had any in-depth feedback so far, aside from a technical query, but I’m not expecting anything too detailed until he’s finished and we sit down and have a look at his notes.
I did finally get a Patreon going, and I’ve supported some podcasters and writers I’ve been following for a few years now. I’m a strong believer in supporting creative people, especially in this day and age when it seems like the arts aren’t being taken seriously, and I’m in a position where I can put a little bit of cash to people I like and respect.
Hopefully this coming week I’ll start moving forward again.
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.
A few times I’ve said here that I’ve got to stop diving in head first into writing a story as soon as the idea pops into my head. I always run out of steam when I do this, always. Outside of short stories, I can’t wing-it. That’s what I’ve done with Penal Earth, and the same thing that happens all the time happened. I ran out of steam, I got stuck and I couldn’t write my way out of it.
Now, I’m working on a zombie story that I’ve been playing with for some time now. It’s not one that I have tried to write yet, simply because I couldn’t find a feel for it. The other day I got a snippet of an idea for it and since then I’ve been making notes and trying to figure out a timeline. I’m not sure I’m going to do a chapter by chapter outline for it. I did this with The Space Watch, and it was one of the most crushing experiences I’ve had as a writer. I had no intention of doing that again, but I’m not going to close that door just yet, it may be a case that with The Space Watch I found it hard because its a story that’s been written a few times and I was kind of done with it at that time. It felt very much like a chore, and it wasn’t until I’d began to write it and I deviated from the outline that I really got stuck into it.
I’ve got a pretty good idea of how the story starts, but I’m also thinking about putting together strong characters. I’ve already got a few bits and pieces of the people who seem to be building up to be the main characters from the outlining that I’ve been doing, but I need to sit down and get some work done on those individuals and those around them. I’ve also had some good ideas about the state of the world as a whole.
This zombie piece is just one of a few projects I’m working on outlines for. Owen and I have a lot we are looking at doing in the next couple of years, and I’ve got solo projects that I’m quite excited about but I’ve got to get this outlining lark, down. If I don’t then I’m just going to keep running out of steam and repeating the same mistakes time and time again.
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.
Today was not the best for writing. I managed two hundred words on a story that’s set in the universe Owen and I have created. This story is fun, but rather challenging as it’s a more dialogue piece than an action sort of piece that I tend to steer towards.
I did have a brief conversation with Owen today, and I think we’re getting pretty close with the next major project from this universe. We’re meeting Sunday, so hopefully we’ll get the outline locked down.
That’s all for now. I’m going to try and update my progress each day, I’m hoping this helps me get back into a decent writing routine again.