Good Morning, Sunday

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.

IMG_1283
Scott Sigler and myself
IMG_1285
AB Kovacs

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!

IMG_1281
John Lenahan

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.

Good Morning, Monday!

Right! It’s the start of a new week and I’d like it to be a productive one. I’m working on the Avoiding The Game rewrite and that’s in longhand so I’m not going to get any huge word counts but I’ve got a minimum I’m going to be aiming for this week. I think I’m past the halfway point in the novel now, and I’ve passed what has been a difficult emotional scene to write, so it does feel like I’ve got the ending on the horizon.

I’d also like to start making Beta Reader suggested tweaks on my Vampire collection. I spent a little time yesterday creating a Scrivener file for the project, one which suits the layout of the book better then just the standard one I’d been using, and I’d like to be a quarter of the way through the edits by the end of the week.

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things here, the last few weeks have been very testing for me and it’s time I got my head back on the job once more.

Looking To 2015

I’ll just mention my words from the last two days. Yesterday I managed 933 but it was a struggle, today I’ve gotten 1321 words done and it felt a lot easier and much lees of a struggle.

Now, to what I’d like to achieve this coming year. I think my first priority is to get Earth, After Liberation and it’s sequel, Oppression, finished. I’m 33,000 words into the Earth, After Liberation re-write. I’d like to say I’m half-way through it but my 60,000 word target is a soft one and very flexible as the story will be as long as it needs to be. With Oppression I’ve all but decided to re-write it as well. I think it’s pretty good but I’m going to need to change a lot so it fits into the world I’m building with Earth, After Liberation. I could go and retro-fit it all but I’ve tried to do that before and it really doesn’t work for me, I’m finding re-writing is a much more efficient way for me to work. Now, depending on how the second book comes out in the re-write will decide on whether I make this into a trilogy or not. That was my original plan but as I was trying to get words for the 50k that is NaNoWriMo I found the story came to an end. Now if I can work the re-write out so that I have between 45,000-60,000 words without wrapping up the details then I’ll look to write a third, and final book that focuses on these core characters. I’ll only do that though if I have enough story for a third book, I’m not going to write three books with these characters just so I can say it’s a trilogy.

Earth, After Liberation should hopefully be done by February, hopefully. Then I’m tempted to jump straight into the re-write of Oppression. Owen and I were hoping to start the re-write of Project Apollo on February 1st but I’ve got a feeling that may not be a realistic ambition. Apollo is a big and complicated story and I’m not sure we can outline two thirds of the story in a month.

Owen and I have talked about more stories in this universe and I think we’ll be writing a few synopsis’ for these so we can make sure they tie in together when and where we need them too.

Another goal for the early part of this year is to get my vampire collection tidied up. I’ve had one Beta Reader’s notes back. Another is still looking at it, and i have one other person I really want to look at it, but they’ve just moved house and got their hands full getting settled in. I’ve got a date in mind that I want to release it, but again, thats a soft target. This collection has been five years in the making, holding it off a little longer isn’t going to make much difference to the book.

Brainstorming of The Residents is pretty thorough at the moment, and I think the next stage will be to start working on a timeline. There’s a few things that we’re waiting to sort out before that, but the story is looking pretty good 😉 I’d like to write more about what we’ve got planned, but that’ll be spoiling it 😛

I’ve got a zombie novella that I’d like to write this year as well. I’m thinking it’ll be about 30,000 word or so. I’ll write that for NaNoWriMo if I don’t write that third book I mentioned earlier in the post. The zombie story is roughly thought out but needs outlining and character work. The story is quite simply but the rest of the setting needs building up some before I make a start. If I don’t write it for NaNo I’ll try and squeeze it in at some stage.

Getting a few short stories written and submitted is also a goal for the year, but those will be more of a back burner item. I want to focus on getting some longer pieces completed.

There it is, my rough goals for the year. I deliberately didn’t mention much about publications. I am hoping to have my vampire collection out this year, I’d like to think Earth, After Liberation and Oppression will be close to being ready too, but I’ve made promises to self-publish before now and I’ve failed in those promises. Before I even think about announcing any dates, I’m going to have the story in mind edited, cover art done and formatted. So I’m not rushing to get everything together in a time frame.

A Little Growth

I’ve spent most of today reading through Earth, After Liberation and making the notes I need to fill in the gaps which have been left after the huge amount of deleting I did last month and as I was doing this I realised that it’s the same thing I was doing when I was getting my vampire collection into shape. I’ve also started work on a story outline for NaNo this year. Using the same method as I did when I was working on Project Apollo this last week. It’s also something I’m planning on for The Residents too.

When doing an Outline I use Pages to bullet point all the important parts of the story I want to include in the story. With project Apollo this wasn’t in order, but with my NaNo book it has been in order today, although I haven’t got far in it yet. Over the next few days I think I’ll be jumping about a little with what order I’m putting plot points down on as I know a few of the scenes I want to include later on in the story. I’ve found this can help as it pushes me to find what to put into the gaps to fill the story in, this goes back to what I was saying earlier in the post.

This is what I should have been doing two years ago, learning things like this that are obvious but it’s only now that I’m realising that to write what I want to write means I’ve got to be more organised as well as being focused and disciplined.

 

For now though thats me done for the day. I’m going to finish watching Speed Racer and then watch another movie 🙂

Thinking Forward To The Next Year

I wrote yesterday about expanding a short story that is screaming at me to work on it, but I’ve got another story that keeps popping into my head asking why I’ve abandoned it. It’s Avoiding The Game, the story I wrote during my first NaNo back in 2010.
I’ve tried to re-write this one once before but it just didn’t work. That was probably two years ago and now I think I’ve got a better picture in my head of what I want the story to be, I even have an ending!

Thinking of these two stories though has had me asking questions about what I need to be focussing on in the next year. I’ve got my vampire collection out with Beta readers and I’d like to think I’ll have it out next summer but I’m not setting any hard targets for things like that, not until I have the story itself ready and art work in place.
I’m thinking, outside of the collaborations with Chrystalyn and Owen, that I want to focus on Avoiding The Game (which will be re-titled as the current title doesn’t work anymore) and Earth, After Liberation and the two other books that’ll make up its trilogy.

Unless I get an absolutely smack me in the face idea that all but writes itself I think that’s where I want to focus my attention on in the next year.

More Work Then I’d Expected

My plan for today was to get stuck into making the changes I’ve made when red-penning to Earth, After Liberation. I’d figured if I did ten pages a day I’ll be done in about two weeks, but I’d hoped for a good start today. It didn’t work out like that. As I started to look through the first page I realised I had a story, but it had no structure, I didn’t even have chapters!

So, instead of making the edit notes I’ve spent a fair part of the day figuring out where to put a chapter break, and making the odd edit here and there. Once I’ve finished putting this into some sort of structure I’ll print it all off and red-pen it all again. I’ve also got to go and do some location scouting, all of which is near me and within a forty minute drive. The story is well planted in my head though so aside from one big change in the story, which is more of a location change then a story change, theres not a whole lot I have to do. I’m confident of the story and although I may add some content here and there I’m not going to change the direction much. One area I will be focussing on will be some scenes where I feel I’ve been lazy and explained briefly events instead of showing them. I’m only about ten thousand words into working out the structure and I can see I’ve done it far too much already.

I’d like to say I’ll have the structuring done this coming week but I’m not setting a hard target with that. I’ve got The Residents and Project Apollo jumping about my head as well so they may demand attention.

Speaking of The Residents; I spent most of last night working through the timeline of events from the bullet points I wrote down recently and found more then a few holes but I’ve found it helped out quite a lot.

Last week I also had my first bit of feedback from Beta readers on my Vampire collection 🙂

I know these last two items weren’t related to Earth, After Liberation but I forgot to put them in last nights post 😛

Subtle Influences

It struck me recently as I was watching Terminator 2 that I put Mini Guns into pretty much anything that I can and that it was the influence of this film and the movie Predator that gave me this fascination with this weapon. This got me thinking about what else I may have picked up during my life that comes out when I write, although I suspect this may only become obvious once I’ve had my work read by a few people.

This is a thought that has been running through my head and I suppose I like to put loyal and honest characters in my writing. I like putting certain vehicles in as well.  Having worked in the second hand car trade for the last fourteen years I’ve picked up on what generally is a good car and the types of car that I like tend to be reflected in some of my protagonist’ vehicles of choice. I mention guns a lot too. In my vampire collection I mention different pistols i.e. Berreta and Glock.

From now on I know I’m going to be looking at what I’m writing and trying to pick out where I’ve put my likes and dislikes into the text, which i suppose is all part of being a writer. We let our preferences come out in our fiction.

has anyone else noticed this in their own writing?