Looking Forward At 2017

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.

Now, it’s time to start writing!

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I Want To Finish It

I’m at the point with last years NaNoWriMo novel where it sucks, sucks big time and I want to quit. I want to say screw it and trunk the story and move onto the next project that I want to work on. I want to finish it though. I know it’s not nearly good enough to be published. The protagonist has no real character, there’s not enough threat to him really. I’d need to do massive rewrites to do that, including rewriting the beginning, again, and I really don’t want to do that.

I want to finish it. I want to write an ending. I want to tie loose ends up and set some things up for if I do ever write the next book from this universe. Finishing is something I’m really bad at. I get stuck or I loose interest for what I’m working on and I give up and move onto something else. I want to break pass that issue I have. I want to be able to finish something whether it’s good or bad because there are lessons there. Lessons that I haven’t learnt much of yet because I haven’t finished much yet.

I just need to learn how to push through these hard parts of the process.

I’ve all but had two weeks off from working on this novel and I need to get my arse into gear and get cracking on it. Yesterday I deleted around 6000 words from the story, that’s pretty much all of the work I’ve put into it over the last few weeks. I need to find the hook of where to take the characters and give my protagonist something to get his teeth stuck into.

That is what I’m going to do now; I’ve got a few hours to get some work done and I want to be on the path that’s going to lead me to the end of the story by the time I shut my desktop off for the day.

2015 Writing Review

I came into 2015 with a very solid idea of what I wanted to write, but that went out of the window by the end of January. My plan was to re-write Earth, After Liberation so it tied into its sequel, Oppression, better. Then I’d write the third book in the series during NaNoWriMo 2015 and then edit them altogether once the third book was finished. None of this worked out at all. I think I was trying to over complicate the Earth, After Liberation re-write too much and it was beginning to loose its soul.

I’ve yet to go back to them as I don’t want to spend another three months working on something which wasn’t going anywhere. I think there’s something there worth saving but I’d like to get some new fiction done and finished. So for the foreseeable future I think they’re just going to have to wait.

The next major project I wanted to get done in 2015 was Project Apollo, which crashed and burned as well. Owen and I have been trying to make this story work for nearly a decade now and I’ve got to the point where I think it’s never going to work, but a lot of good has come from this failure.  We’ve got the potential to write at least a half a dozen stories directly from Apollo, probably more. We’re basically going to cannibalise it and take the individual stories and characters and build from there. I think what made Apollo such a hard story to write is that we have at least a half dozen Point Of View characters, as many A-level plot lines and equally as many B-level plot lines. Eventually I realised that we were trying to write a story with a huge amount of depth and complexities without building up to it with smaller, more straight forward stories.

I think Owen and I are a few years, and a number of finished books away from being able to pull off a story like that. As I said though its not been a total loss; we’ve got a lot of great stuff to pull from Apollo and we’re going to explore those for the moment.

Now onto my vampire collections. When I started on these again I managed to knock out about 15,000 words of story really quickly and with only a little trouble. I went back to this universe because I thought it would be a good way to rebuild my confidence after two major project for the year had failed, and it was going really well. Then I stopped for NaNoWriMo and lost my momentum for the vampire collection with it. When I resumed it in December I’d found that I was having trouble building a story, writing in 1st person, and keeping the characters true to how they are written in the first book and the first few stories of book two.

I took a break and wrote a short story about a mermaid, which I’m really happy with, but I haven’t been able to get back in the mindset of these vampire stories. I’ve got a few ideas on how to get back into the rhythm with them but that’s something for 2016.

I’m not going to say much about the mermaid story, aside from its written in 1st person and I may edit it to 3rd person as I like a lot of the content and think I could write more in that setting.

I won NaNoWriMo only after a serious kick up the butt from Chrystalyn. For NaNo this year I only had an idea which could be summed up in one sentence, and I will never write another long form piece of fiction based on that again. I got a good start but soon I was struggling and began to jump around a lot and write scenes with huge gaps between them and I soon realised that the story would need an absolutely huge edit-rewrite once NaNo was over.

As I said, NaNo cost me my vampire book momentum but Ive got a lot of good content to play with and I learnt to write more from my dark side and not worry about what people may think of some of what I write that may not be what people would expect.

At about three weeks in I was beginning to loose momentum. I think I’d gotten it in my head that as I’d need to do a lot of work on the story it wasn’t worth adding more to it until I’d read through and done some proper preparation on it. After a few days of me saying to Chrystalyn that I didn’t think I’d hit the 50k she basically told me to shut up and get writing. By this time I was needing 2000 words a day to finish on target. I think I rolled over the 50k with a day to spare, and I realised that I needed to hit that milestone as it showed me when the chips are down I can hit a deadline.

The Residents hasn’t moved forward much but we have done some work on it. It’s still a project I’m really excited about and looking forward to when both Chrystalyn and I are ready to commit the time needed to write it.

I have also written two outlines for Apollo universe stories.

Something I worked on towards the end of the year was creating a universe bible for all of the Apollo universe stories. I’ve written down a lot and just need to start typing it up.

I also wrote a ‘off the hip’ story for the Apollo universe at the end of the year. This is technically the first completed 1st draft that’s been written in this universe that doesn’t need extensive work to get it right. As of writing this Owen has read it and is very happy with it, but wants to add some details to it which we’ll be discussing soon.

I may not have completed many stories in 2015 but I learnt a lot. If a story doesn’t work it doesn’t mean its a failure because I took a lot of lessons from those failures. I hadn’t thought of it like that until Chrystalyn said it.

I’ve also learnt that I can hit a deadline, and can work on outlines without actually writing the story out. I’ve learnt a lot about world building and character development and growth. There’s a lot of other things that I’ve learnt this year as well, but they’re more subconscious and I haven’t realised I’ve learnt them until it occurs to me that I’m not making the same mistakes and so on.

I think I’ll look back at 2015 as a year where I didn’t finish much but learnt a lot more.

 

 

NaNoWriMo 2015: Day Thirty

No words added. I was tempted to knock out another 500 or so as that would have taken me to the 200,000 words written during the five NaNoWriMo’s that I’ve done. But I wanted to get back to working on my other pieces, so I started to type up my mermaid story. I got 1015 words down (which strangely enough took me over 200,000 words for the year).

I didn’t write as many words as I could have done as I don’t want to try and write 50,000 words a month; I haven’t decided how many words I should be doing a month yet but I’ve got a vague idea of what I’ll be doing if I can keep the momentum going.

I will be writing a post looking back at this years NaNo, but it may be at the weekend that I do.

NaNoWriMo 2015: Day Twenty-Seven

Yesterday I wrote 3067 words. About a 1000 of those before work and during my lunch break, with the rest in the evening. It’s great having some momentum again, and even though I’m out tonight for dinner and drinks, and I’ve got a family event tomorrow lunch time, I’m feeling confident that I can still get it done.

I’m at 45,680 words for the month with three days to go. Today I think I’ll have to try and snatch what words I can. Work till three, then sorting out the henhouse, then getting myself smartened up and then off out. I’m going to try and sneak a few words between getting ready and going out. Tomorrow, before and after my family event will be when I try to get a chunk of words done.

If you’d like to add me as a buddy at the NaNo site my handle is PeterJReaper, and there are links to my Facebook and Twitter on the right-hand side of the screen.