Rolling For The Week

Tonight I’ve managed to get 988 words written. I should have gotten more done but I’ve been trying to figure out why my primary email account won’t let me send emails from any of my devices. Eventually I gave up and went to my Gmail backup.

I have receive some Beta Reader notes on a short story I’ve written. I was going to do look them over tonight but time has gotten away from me so that’s a job for tomorrow.

Now though, I’m off to watch a movie before I go to bed. I am feeling quite fired up again and I’m itching to get some words written, hopefully this week will be a productive one ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’d like to write more about what we’ve got planned, but that’ll be spoiling it ๐Ÿ˜›

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’tย 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.

Looking Back at 2014

Last year was a year that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It was a year in which I grew hugely as a person and as a writer.

On a personal level life was turned a little on its head in March when Tracie and I broke up. I’m not going to go into details, except to say it was an amicable break up. It was sudden though and it was quite clear to me that we’d made the right decision.
That changed a lot in my life about how I wanted to move forward. One thing I didn’t want to do was to dive straight into another relationship. I wanted to get my head, and heart, clear before even thinking about another relationship. I also wanted to make sure I knew how to be happy, or at least content, on my own. And I think I have done that. I still get my lonely points but they don’t last long and if I’m being productive with writing then it’s almost never.
I’ve been single since then, and I am okay with that. I’m enjoying having the time to myself and that time is letting me get writing, but more about writing in a bit. I think a few of my close friends may think I’m against meeting someone but if someone came along who blew me away then I’d embrace that, but I’m not willing to start dating someone who isn’t right for me.
That wasn’t the worst part of my year, I have family who are fighting serious health problems, but I won’t go into those in any detail at all. All I will say is that they are serious health problems that I wouldn’t wish on anybody.

A big upside of the year has been my cash flow. I won’t go into details but since becoming single it’s something I’ve worked hard on getting more stable. It wasn’t out of control but I was living a little close to the wire at times and I really didn’t like it. I’m not quite where I want to be, that’ll take a little while longer as I’m paying off a loan. But thanks to a little bit of luck this year is starting off really well now. Even without that bit of luck I would still be starting this year off on a good financial footing. Many months of being sensible are paying off and it’s a damn good feeling.

Now to the writing. Most of the year I was writing like I have always done, erratically. To occupy my mind I threw myself into writing after the break up and I got a short story written in about a day in April. That was also the first time I went to write-in with my local NaNoWriMo group. I’d been a member of the Facebook group for my region for a couple of years but this was the first time I really interacted with anyone from it, and I wish I’d done it sooner. This group has been incredibly supportive and inspirational since April and I don’t think I could have done as much as I have done this year without them (including a day when I wrote 7500 words, a personal best).

After that I turned to getting my vampire collection of short stories sorted out. Which I have done. This is a series that I have had stories written for since the end of 2009 and it felt really good to get the last story done and have them all tied together. I had to write a number of new stories to make the collection a decent size and to tie them altogether. This collection is with one of my primary Beta readers at the moment, and I’ve already had great feedback from another Beta reader. I’m hoping to have this out this year, I do have a date in mind but that’s staying with me until I have everything I needย in placeย to have it published.
For NaNoWriMo I wrote a sequel to the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2013. Before NaNo began though I wanted to go through the first story and get it all tidied up, but it didn’t work out like that. I spent a lot of time faffing about and cutting huge chunks of it, but I didn’t get done before November and decided to sort it out after I finished NaNo.
I ‘won’ NaNoWriMo this year, finishing with a good few days to spare. The problem I found as I was writing it was that it was much better than the first book. So during December I started to re-write the first book. I set myself an outside target of 60,000 words and I was over 30,000 when I finished writing last night.
That put me on 162,870 words for the year.

I just want to take a moment to talk about the two collaborations that I’m working on. Firstly, The Residents. This is still in the brainstorming stages but we’re getting closer to working on getting the outline done.
Project Apollo is a little closer to being ready for Owen and I to get the re-write started. Due to Owen’s work commitments he was unable to give the outline of the first third of the book a good look, over the last couple of months. So hopefully we’ll be getting more of the outline done, and locked down soon.

That’s the general parts of the year that come to mind as I sit here and write this, next year I’m going to up my output for word count and also get things edited and closer to being ready for release.

Today’s Progress

I’ve been really brutal with Earth, After Liberation today and cut out about 3000 words, which takes it up to about 5000 all-in-all thats been cut. I’ve still got a lot to do on it, from connecting pieces up which are now a little more disjointed then they were and re-mapping all of the chapters so it actually makes sense.

Once I’d finished carving that up I read through a short story I wrote in March/April time and made some alterations before printing it off and red-penning it. It’s now with my grammar checker and once she’s done with it I’m correct any mistakes and get it off to a Beta reader or two ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, I’m going to chill out and play some Xbox ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

Slack Off Night

Okay maybe I didn’t slack off as in not doing anything tonight on purpose but once I’d had bath, dinner and washed the dishes it was pushing eight-thrity and then I went out and locked the hens up for the night and then its now. I know I’ve been on social media a little but no more then a normal night. I think it’s just been one of those evenings that need writing off.

I have only got about 10,000 words left to break up into chapters now so I’m going to try and have that done tomorrow. Then I need to start working through it and start getting the changes scribbled down. Normally I’d print it off and do a red pen run but I think I’ll go through with the red pen edits I’ve already made and at the same time make the other changes that I’m thinking of. Then I’ll print it off and hopefully that’ll be my last edit pass before it’ll be ready for Beta’s. While I’m doing this I’ll be making a few notes on the sequel. I’m not going to do an outline but I’m going to bullet point every idea I come up with and just have them to prompt me as I’m going. I already know the ending ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s one I’ve had in mind for a while and I think it’ll work really well here. If it does work out well then It’ll lead into a third book in the series, but that’s for next years NaNo (maybe).

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

I know these last two items weren’t related to Earth, After Liberation but I forgot to put them in last nights post ๐Ÿ˜›

The 2nd Draft is DONE!

Okay, so I should have written this on Sunday, but I forgot and the last couple of nights I’ve been busy. ย As you can see by the title of this post I completed my 2nd draft of the vampire collection I’ve been working on and it’s now in the safe hands of Beta readers. I did have feedback on two of the stories from a friend and she said she loved them ๐Ÿ™‚ ( I know you’re thinking ‘she’s his friend, she’s meant to love them.’ believe me, this friend would tell me if she didn’t like them).

Now I’m dancing between The Residents and Project Apollo; Chrystalyn and I would like to get started on The Residents soon so we’ll be aiming to up our planning in the next couple of weeks. The story and characters and the world building is pretty well thought through at this point so I think we’ll be focusing on planning and research. Project Apollo is growing well, despite the odd hiccup, ย but I’m not sure when Owen and I will be looking at getting cracking with this again as we have a lot to do before we can start writing. We haven’t spoken of schedules yet but I’m not sure we’ll be ready to really jump in this side of December, if not early 2015. If I’m honest I want to spend most of my writing energy on The Residents and be doing the planning bits of Project Apollo around The Residents. This last ten days I’ve been editing the vampire collection and working on developing notes for Project Apollo. This seems to be quite a good way for me to work; having a primary project and a secondary project. I like having two projects on the go as when I get stuck on one I can flitter over to the second and then as I’ll be planning and not writing I can exercise a different part of my brain ๐Ÿ™‚

 

That’s all for now, I’m going to shut everything down and get a chapter or two of Old Man’s War by John Scalzi read.

 

p.s. Guardians of the Galaxy was AMAZING!!!!!!!

Giving My Best

I will be the first to admit I’m not a great writer but I’m trying to improve all the time. I know I can string words together in a way that tells the story I want to tell but I’m determined to do my best to improve as I’m going. I’ve got some great Beta readers who give me some great feedback on my work which helps me improve as well.
If I’m not trying to improve my writing abilities then what’s the point in writing at all? If it’s bad, but I tried my best then I can live with that. If I’ve got something that has me saying ‘yeah, that’ll do’ then never let me near a word processor ever again.
I know I’ve still got a lot to learn but that’ll come with writing.

I’m not willing to make do, I want to create the best stories I possibly can and I’m not willing to compromise that. If I’m not happy with it, then it won’t see the light of day until I am happy with it.