Good Morning 14th April, 2021 (Make Art Uncomfortable)

Hey folks, how are we all doing today?

Yesterday I wrote 336 words on a short story but also did a lot of research for the same short story, and I’ve come to the decision that I’m just gonna go balls to the walls and yet loose. I’m not going to worry about grounding it in reality. I’m just gonna try and make it batshit crazy.

I’m having trouble letting go when I write recently. Stephen King said in On Writing that you have to write like an orphan, or words to that effect. I was reminded of this when watching the film M.F.A. recently. At the end of the film there’s a line where it basically says art shouldn’t just preserve the beauty of life, but also the brutality. Make art uncomfortable. I love this message. So many of us grow up listening to music about good love, or films where everyone lives happily ever after.

Art is different for everyone. Some people thrive on the uncomfortable while others thrive on a good old romcom. Everyone is different and we embrace different things. For me, what I write, people will find uncomfortable. But some will find it fun. I can watch Saw movies with barely a flinch at the content, but watched The VVitch and The Ritual, made me squirm in my seat. But there are different degrees of being uncomfortable. Listening to the audiobooks of The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum and What Good Girls Do by Jonathan Butcher made me very uncomfortable. Even to the point where I had to stop listening to them. M.F.A. falls into that grouping. Although not as extreme as I Spit On Your Grave, it’s still a content matter that is not pleasant and when done wrong, without the respect the topic deserves it just makes a whole other level of horrific.

For films like The Vvitch and The Ritual, these made me uncomfortable because there’s a witchcraft/cult elements to them. An unknown factor that made me uncomfortable in a way I’d yet to experience. It’s something I’m still trying to put my finger on exactly why I find it uncomfortable.

Another book that made me uncomfortable is The Silence by Tim Lebbon. This one I had to stop listening to three times. It’s got a quiet brutality to it, one which I can see happening. There’s three distinct moments in The Silence which I could see myself being in that situation. Having to make an uncomfortable decision.

Not being scared to write things which people will be uncomfortable with or offended by is something I need to be better with. I’m not going to write something just because it’s shocking. I don’t think that works and people tend to see through things like that. I’ll strive to write what the story is asking for.

Right, speaking of writing it’s time to get a few hours done.

Rock on folks, never give up on that dream. Never let someone take it away or belittle it or you. Just keep going.

Good Morning, 17th March 2021 (2)

That is 695 words written this morning, and one character killed off!

It was a pretty straight forward session this morning. I managed to get rolling quite well, despite kitty interference, and the next scene my characters will really get thrown in at the deep end.

I’d like to be able to channel some of the bleakness I put into a story late last year, but where I’ve got through that part of my life I don’t seem to be able to draw from it at the moment. Obviously I don’t want to return to living with the sense of desolation I had back then, I work each day to prevent that. But I wrote some good pieces then and I think this story would work well with some of that vibe added to it. That said though, would it work for this story? This story has never had that depth of emotion to it, so it may screw up the vibe it has now.

But anyway! I’m at work and will be starting shortly. I always have a productive day at my day job when I’ve been able to get some words wrangled beforehand.

2020 Numbers

Originally posted on Buy Me A Coffee.

Last year was a mixed year for pretty much all of I would say. I’m no different. It was both the best and worst year of my life, from an amazing high to a low I didn’t know existed. If you’re a reader of my blog at petergermany.com you’ll know I’m not going to go into details on those moments. I talk about them because they did have an impact of writing. As you will see from the words I wrote and edited last year.

So, let’s get down to business:

  • January – 9011 words written
  • February – 11171 words written
  • March – 5691 words written
  • April – 562 words written
  • May – 1454 words written
  • June – 517 words written
  • July – 4524 words written, 39962 words edited
  • August – 14641 words written, 55323 words edited
  • September – 20471 words written, 7495 words edited
  • October – 15773 words written
  • November – 50615 words written (NaNoWriMo)
  • December – 13698 words written, 4477 words edited
  • Totals – 148128 words written, 107257 words edited

I only started tracking the words I edit in July which is why there are no numbers for them before that.

I was also published in three anthologies:

  • Corona-Nation Street from Burdizzo Books
  • Beneath The Leaves from Burdizzo Books
  • It Came From The Darkness from Red Cape Publishing and Phillip Rogers

I am so proud of these stories. My story in Corona-Nation Street, The Wank Diaries, had been written with this anthology in mind but I didn’t like the ending and with everything in life I’d forgotten about it until I’d seen a reminder pop up about it. So I rewrote the ending, which totally changed the tone of the story and I bled into it a lot. In hindsight maybe a little too much, now that I think back to it. But what it adds to the story I think gives it an impact that wasn’t there before.

The other two anthologies are ones I was invited into, with my story in Beneath The Leaves written long before life took a hard turn. My drabble in It Came From The Darkness was easy to write, almost impossible to get it down to the required 100 words!

Looking back now I’ve got the numbers right there, yeah, I’m incredibly happy with how much I achieved as a writer in 2020. There was a moment late in 2019 that I quit, then during the darkest moments of 2020 I didn’t make a decision but writing wasn’t going to be something I ever did again. When I started pulling myself clear of the dark hole I’d slipped into the words started coming again. I remember when I started blogging again last year, I talked about how I was struggling to get the words out again. The Wank Diaries got me going again. There was a deadline and I got it done in time.

That story got me back to doing what I needed to be doing, writing. Many things have helped me to get to the good place I’m in now, but that was a very distinct moment. Writing to me isn’t just a career. It’s part of my soul. Written into my DNA at the most primal level, and I’m never going to stop.

22nd January 2021

Good afternoon, folks!

It’s been a quiet week writing wise. A little ill health(nothing to worry about) took me off game for the best part of the week. Yesterday, although I was still feeling rough, I was planning to get some work done but pulled a few extra hours at work. So when I got home I was totalled and chilled out.

Today, I’ve finished an hour early but am only now getting the laptop out. I’m not planning on getting a lot done today, to a degree this week is a write off, but come Sunday I’m intending to get stuck in. Today is going to be a nice and steady few hours of work, no ball busting effort to get a big count in. I’m just going to edit until I’m beat and then, feet up!

Werewolf, the fantastic prequel to Matthew Cash’s Fur!

Something that frustrates me is I’m guilt tripping myself for not having done enough this past week, but I realise I’ve not done nothing. I have got a few words edited, not many but more than I’m giving myself credit for. Would I like to have more? Yeah, of course. But I’ve only got two days this week I haven’t worked on writing. It will be a low number week, but it’s still words done.

Dizzy helping me write this post…she didn’t contribute much!

Good Morning, Sunday 17th of January 2021

Good morning folks!

I was going to write an end of day post on Friday(15th) but I was working on a post for my Buy Me A Coffee page and accidentally wiped out two hours work on it! Yes, I almost cried. So I gave up for the night.

Aside from that, I had a productive day. I wrote 1176 on a new short story in my Penal Earth universe, and edited 3204 words on Black Blood.

I’m still some way off finishing this edit on Black Blood. It’s not like an epic mess, but there’s a lot of work to do on it to get it where I need it to be. The ending is still eluding me. I kinda know what I want it to be, but I think I’ve got to map it out better. Figure out the beats of it and make the pay off worth it.

I had Dizzy’s company for all of two minutes this morning!

The A4 pad I’m using has pages of notes I’ve got to put in and I’ve got a lot of details to put into the character profiles as well. I made notes for Penal Earth in the middle of last year, but I’m not sure where they are. So I’m going to need to have a search for them.

Horror Drabble Anthologies from Kevin J. Kennedy that I won in an online event ☺️

Today, is going to be productive. I’ve got today and tomorrow off and I want to make a good use of that time. I’ve a personal matter to spend time on tomorrow so I expect I’ve get more done today. I’ve had a good nights sleep, I’m in an exceptionally good place in life, aside from that one part that I don’t talk about.

Time to rock and roll!

January 1st, 2021…. Here We Go!

Here it is, 2021!

I can’t describe how hard 2020 was for me, and not just because of Covid. If I took Covid out of it I still had the worst year of my life, but it was also the best year. And it’s the good that is driving me forward.

The changing of a calendar isn’t going to magically make life like it was pre-2020. It really doesn’t work like that. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. The reason why I got out of 2020 in the good place I am in now is because I’ve worked my arse off to get here. To make the best of the world around me and keep my head high, and my eyes focused on the next goal.

Do I fall down? Yes, I fell down over Christmas and it took its toll on me, but I get back up and moving forward again. I don’t dust myself off until I know I’m not at risk of being sucked back into that dark little corner of my soul again. I stop that from happening by talking to friends and family, being productive with writing, going to work. I defeat the negative elements of my mind by engaging with the people I love, the communities that have embraced me, and just being me. This last six months has taught me I don’t need to be scared to show who I am to the world. Because despite what I’ve thought for most of my life, I’m not worthless.

This year will see the release of my first novella. That’s the only release that I have scheduled for this year, at the moment. I’ve got to do better at finding markets to submit to. I’m not just going to focus on word counts and look at completing more projects, submitting more, and knocking items off my to-do list.

Last year I had stories published in three anthologies, which I think might be my best in a calendar year to date, don’t hold me to that though. So, I’m aiming for at least four pieces published this year.

Okay, on to today. I kinda overlaid, like till almost midday! So I’m a little behind where I wanted to be, but I needed the sleep and I feel pretty good for it. I’ve posted my first video of the year to my YouTube channel. It’s also the first one where I’m talking to the camera. A little nerve racking, and I know it’s not the best but it’s a new venture for me where I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, and like with everything else, the more I do the better I’ll get!

I will be getting into the Black Blood read through/edit shortly as well. I’ve edited about 2000 words a day over the last few days so I’m looking at doing about 3000 today.

I doubt I’ll be writing a lot of new words today. I’ve got a short story that I need to have written and off to the publisher by April but I need to think it out a bit, get some brainstorming done on it, before I can start writing. I’ve got a good idea of a major element of it, but I need more to it. At the moment it’s a few lines and an idea. Which isn’t enough.

Enough talking, time for action! Have a good day folks! No one is going to make this year good for you, people can help, but it’s You who will make this year, and your life, good or bad.

Good Morning, 28th of December 2020

I’ve kind of had a week off from writing. I was expecting to use it to get through the Christmas period but I didn’t need to in the end. Yes, it was still tough but thanks to all I’ve learnt, all the help and support I’ve had from the people I love in my life I was able to manage it better than I was expecting to.

Raven going for a majestic look 😊

I was also a little stuck with where I was taking Black Blood. I kept trying to add words but it was becoming very evident that I wasn’t prepared enough to finish this draft. So last night I began making notes. I didn’t start reading through the draft, I just copied some notes I’d scribbled down while writing the later stages of the story and did a few sketches. I’ve never really done the sketches, well not since Owen and I were working on From the Shadows a very long time ago. I found doing the couple I did last night really helpful, okay it brought a problem I hadn’t expected but I think I can find a way around that, or work it into the story.

I’m going to start the read through today, with the aim of having it done by the New Year. It’s a lick over 50k words and I think I can manage that. I’ve looked at my work rota and I definitely think it’s doable. Especially as I’m not going to be doing a full edit. This is a read through to figure out what I need to add and take away. What I need to do to get the ending how I want it, and to give it the depth and weight it deserves.

I think it’s also time to move this draft into Scrivener. It’s going to be helpful to be able to break it down into chapters and scenes and then I can insert or remove sections much easier. I can also have additional information that I’m compiling in there as well. I think that’s the way to go.

Right folks! I’ve got a little tidying before I can start working so I’m hopping off here. Have an awesome day!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Twenty-Three

So, today was a good day. I finished up with 3724 words for the day, which puts me a little above where I need to be. So yeah, I’m back ahead but that doesn’t mean anything come tomorrow when I need to be hitting a good 2000 words again.

I also spoke to an editor I know and we’ve agreed a date for her to edit the novella I’m working on. And I’ve had an update from the gentleman who’s doing the cover for it, and seen it so far and I am stoked!

I’m working through till next Monday, with some long hours over the weekend, so I’m not counting on getting any words done then. I am off on Monday, but I’d like to be ahead of the game before then. So that means a solid few days writing between now and Saturday. I also have an appointment Wednesday night, which’ll be a couple of hours. That’ll also require a couple of hours of preparation tomorrow. So I’ve a lot to do, not including everyday stuff away from those things.

Can I do it? Yes, I bloody well can!

This is the final piece of my work that has been printed. My story ‘Dark’ in the ‘It came from the darkness‘ anthology was one I was invited to submit to and I was very proud to have been. It is a collection of drabbles and poetry from many big names and I was very humble when I saw who I was alongside in it and hoped my story didnt let the anthology down. Like many of my published pieces it is in an anthology that is raising money for charity, and I really don’t want to put up a piece which isn’t my best work. This got accepted, which tells me I did a good job (the publishers, Red Cape Publishing have published one of my stories and rejected another one. So I know they don’t take something they either don’t like or isn’t good enough). I can’t really say too much about the story, seeing as it’s a drabble which is a hundred word story, there’s not much I could say that wouldn’t spoil it.

It was a good day 😊

Right, I’m off to bed. I hope everyone is doing well and keep cracking on, folks!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Twenty-Two

Good morning folks, how are we all doing on this brisk autumn morning?

I was going to blog last night, and write but I fell asleep. So I got a mighty 295 words written and I am now below the projected total I should be at. I was thinking about how to hit my words on days when I had an afternoon/evening shift as I was overlaying each morning due to poor sleep the night before. But now I’ve actually looked at my rota’s for the next two weeks I’ve got all morning shifts (they could change but we’ll see), so I should be able to get home, grab a bit of lunch and then get cracking.

Today I am aiming for a nice 2k day, maybe more if I can get my arse into gear. Then continue the 2k a day through the rest of the week. I need 1900 a day to hit target, so I really need to pull my finger out and get those words down. I can do this. I just need to be disciplined and sit in the chair and write until the target is hit. I keep telling myself I want to be more professional with this, to treat it like a career. So, I need to properly put the time in and not have the TV on in the background.

So, my arse is in the chair. I’ve got bits and pieces around the house to do as well, but I’m going to work that into my targets for the day. Write a 1000 words, go take the rubbish out.

Today’s featured piece of my published work is Pumpkin Attack in the Beneath The Leaves anthology that was written to celebrate the birth of the one and only Em Dehaney. When I got invited to submit I knew what I wanted to write about these antagonists but I knew I couldn’t just write a story from their point of view. I wanted to go a route I haven’t gone before and that’s where the protagonists came into it. Writing about teenagers I found tough, especially a teenage girl, because I’m not a teenage girl but I thought about someone who is finding their confidence and overcoming shyness, while still keeping to what they were comfortable with. I also wanted to write something about a parent who was themselves growing as a person, while still being who they are. So it was very tough, and a lot of the depth of the story I wasn’t really planning and it evolved as I was writing it.

Right, thats enough procrastination! Armand, if your reading this please yell at me because I’ve fallen behind when I’ve had no real reason to have done.

Rock on, folks! 😀

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Twenty-One

Good evening, all. One very tired human being here. Work was good, had a good laugh, and a work out. Since coming off leave at the start of the week I’ve not really had a shop floor shift (I’m a retail worker), and today made me realise that maybe I relaxed a little too much during my time off!

Words wise, as I overlaid I didn’t get as much written as I should have done, only 480 words, but I went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting. It’s also made me realise I’ve been playing it safe a little too much. Time to get brutal and bloody! Mwahahahahahaha!

I write this blog for myself. When I started out blogging I wasn’t sure what I was doing. Over the years it’s evolved into what this is now. I share word counts not to brag, not to get one over over writers. I do it because it reminds me that some days I can’t get words out, while other days I can knock out 2k easy.

If you read this and think or see other people talking about their word counts, don’t get put off if you aren’t getting the numbers that other people do. Especially during NaNoWriMo it can be off putting seeing so many hitting big counts, but as long as you’re getting words down it doesn’t matter. A hundred words a day, you’ll have a story completed before you know it!

Just write and edit at the pace you’re comfortable with.

My next published piece was in Corona-Nation Street. My story ‘The Wank Diaries’ has an interesting journey. I wrote it with the intention of submitted it to this anthology but I wrote it and wasn’t happy with how it came out. So I dropped it. This was when I wasn’t in the best of places. Then I had a big change in my life and I was lower than I’d ever been in my life. I wasn’t writing, but I saw Burdizzo Books MC Matthew Cash putting a post online reminding people of the deadline, so I looked at it again. Scrapping the ending immediately. What I then wrote I could never have predicted and wasn’t quite sure I was capable of writing. So much of the despair I was feeling came out in the ending of this story. Brian Keene calls it ‘Bleeding on the page’ and I definitely bled on the page here. I’m very proud of this story. It gave me something to focus on and get writing again.