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.



A Quiet Week

This last week has been a quiet one on the writing front. I’ve hit what I’m hoping is a minor road block with my Vampire book. Part of it is I’m struggling to write in first person at the moment but I think I’ve got to go back and read through the first book to refresh myself with the story and the characters. I also think that maybe NaNo has damaged this book a little. I stopped working on it to do NaNo and I think in hindsight I should have just worked on the Vampire stuff for NaNo.

I have gotten the other short story, the one in mine and Owen’s universe, finished. The first draft is done and I’ve just got to go through it and then send it off to Owen for his input. I should have also finished going through the Project Apollo read through, but that simply hasn’t happened. I am planning on getting a few pages read this evening after I’ve done a bit of writing.

Speaking of writing, something I’m trying to get in the habit of is writing every day. This caused me a slight headache on Friday when I realised I didn’t really have anything I could work on. So I decided to add a few words to my NaNo project. The story is quite fractured in a lot of respects, and I intend to go back to it in about a years time and read through it and then strip the best stuff out. So I figured that even if what I add doesn’t make much sense now it may be something that will bear fruit when I come to revisit it. That’s what I’ll be working on later this evening.

I do still have my Mermaid story to edit through, I’ll probably work on that over the Christmas period.

Right, I’m off to do some writing.

Yesterday’s Progress

Yesterday I got about 500 words written, split almost equally on my vampire book and this universe that Owen and I are working on. I also read through a few pages of the most recent Project Apollo draft and made a few notes for the universe bible. It also helped me come up with an idea or two for stories Owen and I have talked about, one of which is quite a big story point for the universe.

I would have liked to get more words written but I visited my Grandad who’s in hospital, he comes home today, and when I got home there wasn’t a lot of time to get much done which is why I done some reading of Project Apollo.

Something I am trying to do this week is get back reading again. I feel like I’ve been slacking a little lately so I want to change that.

Tonight I have dinner with friends so I’m not expecting many words done today, but I will be making time to write at some point.

Have a good day, everyone 🙂

Productive Day

So I wrote almost 4200 words today and read through almost twelve pages of Project Apollo.

The rough breakdown of words is about 3500 on my mermaid story, which wrapped the draft up. The rest of the words were on a story set in the Project Apollo universe, only a small little story though. It’s not one that Owen and I have discussed but I’m liking it a lot. I’m not sure where it’ll go or whether it’ll ever get published but I’m hoping it’s a good character building piece.

I did struggle to get going today, it seemed to take a long time to get those first few hundred words down. Once I did though I was writing like time didn’t exist and before I knew it I was looking at the last handwritten page and had a few words left to type.

The read through of Project Apollo is to pull details from it for the universe bible I’m building for the universe it’s set in and to mine it for the individual storylines. I’ll go into details as why I don’t think It worked as a book in another post. But we’re not going to throw away a tonne of work because the overal story didn’t work.

Looking Back At June

I haven’t tallied up my word counts from June yet but they’ll barely add up to about 5000 words.

Throughout the month I kept thinking June would be a write-off but looking back at it now I’ve realised that it probably done me more good than bad, in having this break. I was able to rest my creative muscles and when I did write it was small snatches of words that I did get down. There was no pressure to hit a daily target, no stressing over how the various plot lines were going to tie together as what I’ve been working on is a lot simpler than Project Apollo is.

I’ve also began to enjoy writing again, the pressure I’d put myself under had drained away my love of writing and it’s now slowly returning. I’m not sure I’ll be hitting big word counts again soon but I’m liking where the story I’m working on (Avoiding the game rewrite) is going. I know how I’m going to answer the big question which will run through the story, I will need to go back and insert a few little bits here and there to make sure it’s as prevalent as I want it to be, but I’m happy with that part of the story.

With Project Apollo, I’m not sure where that is going at the moment. There are issues which I’m not sure how to deal with and Owen and I need to sit down and work a few things out before we proceed any further. I won’t make a start on it again though until I’ve done this draft of AVG, I want to finish it so I can type it up in a month or two.
That’s the compressed look at June, I’m hoping I’ll slowly improve my productivity this month but we’ll see.

Progress Report

There’s been very little progress.

I could leave it at just that but I’m not going to. I’m taking this month off from Project Apollo because I was struggling badly with it. The last chapter I wrote wasn’t acceptable at all. It was lazy, badly written and didn’t move the story along in the manner that Owen and I wanted it to.

My struggles with it was causing me sleepless nights and was causing a noticeable amount of stress. It wasn’t until a close personal friend sat me down and told me to take a breather from it that I realised how much it was affecting me. When I spoke to Owen about it he agreed that a break was needed.

Come next month we’re going to sit down and have a strategy meeting and read through what we have so far to make sure it’s on the right track and try to plot out the next segment of the story. I think this may be the hardest part as we’re entering the middle of the story and we need to advance in the right way so it ties in with the ending we have in mind.

Since the month has started I’ve thought a lot about the story and the surrounding universe and I’ve managed to come up with a few solutions to problems we’d not been able to solve. I think relieving that pressure of getting it written unblocked my mind a little.

I haven’t stopped writing totally though; I’ve gone back to working on the Avoiding The Game rewrite and I’ve solved the problem I was having with that. This rewrite is a totally different pace to Project Apollo which has been a breath of fresh air and I’m actually thinking about starting to type it up (so far its all been written in longhand). I’ve got a much better idea of my protagonist now and I’m happy with the reasoning for some of the actions that other characters do. After chatting with a friend today I’ve solved a problem with my protagonists past that was bothering me.

I am in a slump. I know I am because I’ve been here before and I’m trying to pull myself out of it. I’m happier when I’m writing, I’m more at peace and it energises me like nothing else. So over the next week I’m going to work hard on getting back into the habit of working on writing. I’ve got brainstorming to do, notes to type up. My vampire collection needs editing and I’ve got fiction to write.

I’m going to try and blog more as well. I find that being productive with my fiction and blogging seem to go hand in hand, so I’m going to make more of an effort to post here as well.

A Productive Day

Despite what I wrote here yesterday I didn’t do any writing at all. I spent the day playing Football Manager and watching the score lines from the final day of the premier league season coming in.

Yes, I felt bad and very lazy about this.

Today though, I wrote 3100 words by about 1pm and then this afternoon I read through some Beta Reader notes for my vampire collection.

I emailed the latest, completed chapter off to Owen and I’m eagerly waiting to see what he thinks.

Now, as I said yesterday I think I’m only going to be able to work on Project Apollo when I have access to the Scrivener files, so why I’m on my lunch breaks at work I’m going to get back to working on the Avoiding The Game rewrite and I’m going to try and write on Project Apollo in the evenings. At worst I’m going to try and get a few thousand words done on Sundays.

But I’ll see how that goes 🙂

Project Apollo Update

Since I had my massive crash and burn on the Earth, After Liberation rewrite I’ve been primarily writing my first drafts longhand; which on the Avoiding The Game rewrite has worked really well and had been working well on the Project Apollo rewrite until a week or two ago. I’ve found in the last couple of weeks that I’m loosing track of some of the storylines and I’ve forgotten a few of the characters in the handwriting stage of this story.

I’ve been putting together a universe bible for the universe that Project Apollo is set in and I think I need access to that, as well as the previous chapters of this novel to be able to get it done properly. At the moment I’ve got too many red Xs on my handwritten drafts (those are what I out into a handwritten file when I need to add a detail).

So I’m kind of resigned to dropping the handwritten draft for Project Apollo. Which isn’t something I’m happy about; mainly because I’m not getting much writing time and what writing time I am finding is normally during my lunch break at work. So I’m going to loose that time there, but I also need to get my arse into gear.

This last month I’ve lost a lot of momentum, thats in part due to the day job getting busier. That in turn takes more of my energy and when I get home I’m tired and writing just isn’t something that I can do. The day job pays my bills, so writing gets sacrificed. That I do hate but I’ve got to find ways to work hard and then come home and write.

I’m going to take a few hours off today and just relax a little. We’ve got a bank holiday here tomorrow so I don’t have to go to work and I’m going to have a good bash at Project Apollo tomorrow as well as this afternoon.

It feels like I’m a little lost with Apollo, but I can still see the path before me. I just need to work my way around a couple of obstacles.

Good Morning, Friday

Good morning everyone, I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a post so I wanted to come on and give you all an update on what’s been happening.

The biggest thing has been an increased workload at my day job, which is great because it means we’re busy. On the down side it tires me out that bit more and that has had a negative effect on writing. That means we’re not going to hit the June 1st deadline, and I don’t think we’ll hit the July 1st one either. I’d love to say I’m going to get 1300 words written a day and hit the target but I’m not overly optimistic at the moment.

The story is going better then I thought it was. I’ve had this week as leave and coming into the week I had a few reservations about the story and where it was going, but now I’ve been able to work with a relatively rested mind I’ve found that the story is actually moving along nicely. There is work that needs doing but that will be fixed in the editing phase.

We are now at 30,000 words on this Project Apollo rewrite, which is about a third of the way through the story if we go by the 90,000 word target. That’s a soft target, it could end up a higher or a lower word count than that.

Looking back at April I managed to get 21,595 words written and so far this month I’m at 10,172. If I can have double that at the end of the month I’ll be very pleased as I think 1000 words a day is unrealistic at the moment.

That’s where I’m going to leave you now, I’m probably going to spend the rest of the day relaxing and doing some tidying up etc.

Putting Aside Fears

I hadn’t realised how long its been since I’d blogged last (25th April). So, here’s what I’ve been up to. The dayjob has been incredibly busy, and that has taken a lot of energy out of my system. Which means when I get home I’m pretty much wiped out. I’ve managed to get a few words down over the last couple of weeks but we’re very much behind from where we need to be.

I’ve got a week off work so I’m going to try and get caught up a little with where we need to be. It hasn’t just been the fatigue from work that has hampered the writing. We’ve come up against a couple of pacing issues which I think we’ve solved, although we’ll have to make some additional edits in what we’ve gotten written so far.

This feels like a complicated story, it may not be but it seems like it. We have a couple of storylines that we’re trying to piece together as well as building a universe that Owen and I both really want to be engaging for the readers. At times it feels like this is too much for me to do, that this is beyond my abilities but that’s not for me to decide. I forget the name of the editor but I remember hearing a story on a podcast where a new writer was speaking to an editor and this writer said that he/she wanted to submit to this editor but he/she wasn’t good enough yet. The editor told the writer to send them whatever they had and not to presume whether they’re work is good enough to be submitted or not, that’s the job of an editor.

So I’ve got to put my insecurities aside and get the story written. Owen and I will probably self-publish our work in the Project Apollo universe, but it will be seen by our Beta readers and I know they will tell us whether it’s good enough or not. They can’t do that unless we get the story written.