Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Stuff to Read (Pass It Along!)

I subscribe to the Fantasy Literature blog and they recently posted about the Summer 2011 edition of Subterranean Online, which is available now with some truly outstanding short fantasy stories. They're worth your time!

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Still Working!

I'm still working, even though this is the time of year when I usually have so many other "distractions" that my writing time diminishes. I refuse to quit, to set the work aside. I'm much too close! Soon I'll have my first completed piece to share with the world. I'm very excited.

Summer is already here, seemingly ahead of schedule. The days are getting painfully hot and the humidity is ratcheting up. Like last year, we are expecting a hot summer. I'm not one for hot weather!

To keep cool, I made two liters of sun tea yesterday, using a large jug of bottled spring water I bought for only a dollar. I removed a little water from the jug then set the tea bags in it. When I screwed the lid back on it, it held them in place. I set it out in the sun all day and it brewed "naturally", making a smoother tea. I used decaffeinated green tea, and it tastes great. I keep it in the fridge, serve it cold and drink it plain, but it's nice with honey, too. Since it's decaffeinated, I can drink it at any hour and that's convenient. When the jug's empty I'll recycle it. This is the easiest way I've found to make sun tea and it works great--nothing to clean up afterward!

I've started work on a new, long-term project, a fantasy novel that combines historical and fantasy elements. I'm giving myself a year to research it before I start writing it--that's the most research I've ever taken on for a specific project. It's necessary in this case and the subject matter is utterly fascinating to me. The novel is based on a super-cool idea. It has a super-awesome title and great potential if I can deliver. I think I can and I'm willing to try.

In the meantime, I'm still editing my current stories and they'll be done sometime soon. I'll let you know once I can set a release date. first release date!

Enjoy your summer, and keep on writing!


Friday, May 06, 2011

Writing & Reading

Still working on the story, doing a lot of fine-tuning. I came up with a second story, finished a complete draft and am letting that one sit while I go back to the first one. Sometime soon these will both be finished and I'll finally have something to share -- for real!

And I'm reading. I discovered a ton of great classic sci-fi on Project Gutenberg (check out their Collections and you'll find various genre lists). I downloaded 166 items and used Calibre to transfer them to my Kindle®. Tons of great stuff!

It seems my focus has shifted to shorter fiction for the time being -- and I'm happy about that. I'll work on producing some short stories and novellas, along with a couple of shorter novels, in the coming months. Shorter is better when you want to get something finished. After getting some stuff DONE and OUT THE DOOR (so to speak) then I'll have a sense of accomplishment which will fuel me as I go back to my longer epic fiction.

Wishing everyone a gorgeous Spring, and I'll let you know as soon as I have a completed story!


Friday, March 25, 2011


Yup, I'm busy like a bee. That's pretty busy! Just ask a bee.

The new story (tentatively titled New Story) is almost complete. A bit more editing, the minor kind, primarily on the last chapter written, and then one more chapter to go.

Back at it,


Sunday, March 06, 2011

Back at Work

I'm back at work, writing and editing a new story. I needed something different to work on for a while.

It's about 2/3 done already. I'll keep at it until it's complete, then decide whether to edit or rewrite a previous story or start another new project.

I grow the most when I move on to new work, but at some point I have to complete the editing on something!

Enjoying the process,


Thursday, February 03, 2011

In Memoriam

My father passed away today.

Just five words, but what an immense statement.

Under the circumstances, it went as well as it could. At least I got to speak with him while he could still understand.

This is new to me. I know it will take time to work through it. I'm coping well so far.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I'm not editing, but I am reading! I've finished a couple of novels in the past couple of weeks and am on to my next one. I'm really enjoying my Kindle! I got a reading light to go with it and what a difference that makes -- lights it up so I can read easily if the ambient light is dim. No need to turn on a bright light to see the screen! If you have an eReader, I definitely recommend getting a light for it if you don't have one already. Makes all the difference.

That's all -- no lengthy post this time!

Happy New Year,

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Puttin' On the Kettle

A few weeks ago I completed the 140k+ first draft of my new WIP. Since then, I've gained some distance from the story, and a more objective perspective on it. At first I had planned on editing the first draft. Now I've determined that it would be better to rewrite it.

The problem with the first draft is quite simple: too much "show" and not enough "tell". I wrote too quickly, and failed to fully immerse myself in the story. As the work stands, the Reader will simply not experience the story at a level of depth and immersion that will make for rewarding reading. The story itself is rich enough, interesting enough -- I just need to bring it to life on the page with a more vivid sense of detail -- and not the kind of detail you can "edit in". In essence, I need to more fully realize the true voice of the story.

This sounds like disappointing news but it's not. The first draft was NOT a waste of time. I had the opportunity to work through the story which helped me to better learn it. I can use that draft to guide me in the rewrite, and I can even borrow some chapters and pieces directly from it, since some of it is quite good. Having that draft behind me, plus my notes on hand, I'll feel much more confident that I can finish this new draft and make it better.

I've already started rewriting, and have about 1.5 chapters done. I'm not going to set any definitive word count goals or chapter completion goals at this time. I'll go slow and write, experience, edit, tinker, improve upon, and move forward, then backward, then forward again. The only requirement is that I keep it moving, and that I try to finish about 3 or 4 chapters per week. However much I write will be fine, as long as it's of the quality that I'm looking for.

I know what I want this story to look like when it's finished, how I want it to read. I'm going to start fresh and immerse myself in it much more than I did during the first draft, and do my best to bring the story to life. My only concern is to keep moving, so I don't wear myself out. I know I have a limited amount of time to complete this draft before burn-out sets in. I'll try to remember to push on when I need to.

Putting on the kettle, since it'll be another long haul,


P.S. Congratulations to all those successful Nanowrimo participants!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Golly Gee!

It just kinda figures, don't it? I get myself all organized to start my editing work, and up come a few other things that are totally un-writing-related! And of course those other things are quite pressing! So, I'll have to hold off a week or two (or three) before I get down to work on my new writing goals because I need this time for those other projects.

That said, I did manage to complete the essential planning notes this past week for WIP B, and I did happen to edit 5 of the 80 chapters of WIP A. I'll still fit some work in here or there over the next week or two (or three), but I won't worry about specific productivity goals because I really won't have the time to devote to them.

When I am ready to start work on my new writing goals, I'll reset the deadlines as appropriate.

Wishing Nanoers all the best as they near the final week,


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Setting the Course

After taking a little time to read over the first draft of my WIP, and reflect on how to proceed, I've arrived at a couple of decisions!

First, I want to start immediately on my next WIP even while I begin editing the current WIP. After all, a professional writer should be comfortable juggling more than one project at the same time.

Second, I want to set my new working schedule as follows:

My new "work week" will run from Sunday to Saturday. I'll use Sunday thru Wednesday to work on the "new" WIP ("WIP B"), and Thursday thru Saturday to edit the just-finished, 142,000-word first draft of the "current" WIP ("WIP A").

The first step is to finish planning the new WIP B -- it's a story I've worked on before, so I'm only revising my planning notes and that shouldn't take more than a few days (I've already started this past week). I'll finish planning this week and start the draft next Sunday.

When Thursday rolls around this week, I'll begin editing in earnest of WIP A, the large, recently-completed draft. I've already printed it out in a format I can use for the initial editing, using my new printer -- what a relief it was to see how well it handled the print job! My last printer (an HP) never worked all that well, but this new one (a Canon) never misfed once and the quality is excellent. To help set me up for the editing, I'll gather together the editing notes I wrote while writing the first draft and organize them during the first part of this week, so I'm ready to print them out by Thursday to have a hard copy on hand alongside the printed first draft.

I figure it will take six weeks to complete the draft of the new WIP B, which is a shorter novel, plus this first week to complete the planning. That gives me a deadline of seven weeks for that task, which happens to be January 1, 2011.

I plan to take only three weeks for the preliminary editing of WIP A, which consists primarily of looking for stuff to cut out in order to shorten the lengthy draft. That gives me an intermediate deadline of December 4, 2010.

Then, I'll take four weeks for the first run-through, turning "telling" into "showing" wherever I can, and generally tightening up the prose. That gives me another deadline of January 1, 2011.

At that point, I'll establish the next deadlines for both projects.

In summary:

By December 4th: Complete preliminary editing (cutting down to size) of WIP A.

By January 1st: Complete first editing phase of WIP A; complete draft of WIP B.

Off and running!


Monday, November 08, 2010

Mid-Week Update (7.5 Weeks In)

Finished the final chapters! The first draft of my current WIP is now complete at 80 chapters and 142,040 words. I've also started reading the complete manuscript -- in sequence -- for the first time. I've reached chapter 31 and so far it's holding together very well! I know there are a few continuity issues later on, but these chapters are tight (except for a name or two, here or there). I'll report again after I've completed the reading.

Feels great to see such progress under my belt!


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Week 7: 75 Chapters / 135,077 Words

So close! Almost finished the novel within the past week, writing 18 new chapters and 39,964 new words! That was an amazing week!

There are 5 more chapters to go, the final 5, which I'll estimate at another 6,250 words, give or take a few thousand. I'll finish them up soon, obviously.

It's been quite a juggling act, keeping track of so many details. I remember back a few years to when I finished another lengthy manuscript. I felt as though I were trying to land a large jet aircraft that had been severely damaged, and not all its parts were working --- flashbacks to Karen Black in one of those airplane disaster movies.

Well, this time there has been a bit of minor turbulence, but nothing major. The darned thing is holding together pretty well, all things considered! I'm quite impressed with the enormous benefit I've reaped from having planned the story in detail beforehand. Definitely makes the job a whole lot easier!

Not that writing 140,000 words is "easy."

At this point, I'm debating whether to take a break or move directly into the editing. If I take a break, I can use it to plan my next novel. Either way, I'll start editing as soon as I can, within a couple of weeks. I want to whip this into shape for ABNA in January, if I can. If it takes longer, that's fine, too -- I've put so much work into it, and the story is so worthwhile, once it's done I feel it'll truly be worth something!

Best wishes again to Nanoers, that they reach their word count and other goals in November!


Monday, November 01, 2010

Mid-Week Update (6.5 Weeks In)

Easing up the past couple weeks helped me get through the fatigue and now I'm getting lots done! Of course, it helps that I'm writing the important chapters in the later part of the story -- they're high-interest, suspenseful, full of action, etc.

The current word count stands at 125,250. I've written 30,137 words in only four days! I revised the total chapter goal down to 80 chapters, which will be adjusted during editing as needed. Working within that framework, I have 70 chapters done, and only 10 to go!

With any luck I'll continue at this pace. I hope to finish the first draft sometime later this week!

Wishing all those Nanoers embarking on their noveling frenzy for November the best of luck!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Week 6: 57 Chapters / 95,113 Words

Golly, another week? The time is flying by! I wrote 13,345 words this past week, which is slightly above the 12,500 I set as my general weekly goal. It was a successful week in terms of words written, but as I only completed 5 chapters, I only reached half my chapter goal of 10 chapters per week. Obviously, these were long chapters. At least I still met my word count goal!

As you will notice in the sidebar, I raised the total word count goal on the progress bar back up to 110k since it appears likely the novel will continue to run long as I finish the last, and most important, scenes. I added one chapter to the anticipated total, bringing that number to 83. It may yet climb higher as I take more space to bring to life various portions of the story.

Again, as in the past, the extra material is not the result of surprising new adventures my characters are leading me on, but is simply due to needing more space to really bring the scenes to life. It's important to immerse the Reader in the world of the story, in the events as they happen, so the Reader will be able to identify with the characters and feel the emotion of what is happening. I set a word count pace that is a bit fast, and slowing it down is definitely helping with the critical scenes I'm working on these days. When I reach the editing stage, I'll look for ways to consolidate some of this to reduce the number of chapters and/or word count. For now, I'm just getting it down in writing so I'll have what I need to work with later.

It's still a fun story. It's still fun to work with these characters. I really enjoy getting caught up in the story as I write it. However, the fatigue factor has definitely set in. My writing is more erratic now, in that I'm not writing seven days per week as before, with daily goals, but am working on some days and not on others and am writing more when I do write to make up for lost time. The days off are helping me through the fatigue issues.

The important thing is to keep a positive attitude and remember how I felt about this story earlier. It's truly special, and I love it and the characters and feel Readers will enjoy it as well. It's worth my time, and worth the effort.

The end is in sight, in terms of completing this first draft. Looks like it'll still take me 8 weeks instead of 6, but at least that's better than the 10 I originally gave myself.

Dealing with the peaks and valleys, and carrying on through it all,