Summer 2018

I have gotten a lot further behind on posting than I meant to.  Part of that has been because of the drain my day job presents during the late spring and summer.  But the more exciting reason is because I have two short stories I’ve been busy on and that I plan on submitting to various publishers as early as this weekend.

In effect, my creative energies have been channeled elsewhere of late and I have very little to offer at the moment.

In anticipation of this, I started something called a summer series last year, where my focus was redirecting the reader’s attention to helpful videos and websites.  It seemed to work well last year and I’ll be doing it again this year.

I will of course keep you posted should any of those stories be accepted for publication.  Meanwhile I’ll be busy with edits and with the July edition of Camp NaNoWriMo.

Have a happy summer!

Advertisements

Camp NaNoWriMo Round Up 2018

pexels-photo-735837.jpegI am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and will not be making regular updates this month.  This post serves as a general update on Camp NaNoWriMo and some other hot topics I’ve seen online.

Camp NaNoWriMo

I am continuing my rewrite of the novella I finished last year.  It’s going from a 30K word zero draft, to a more fleshed out 90K novel.  It is currently at 50K and I want to complete the draft during Camp NaNoWriMo this month.

So far I’ve written about 6,200 words, I know I’m a bit behind. But, I am going to be spending a good deal of time writing this weekend.

Twitter & Pitch Wars

If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed that I retweeted about pitching and querying.  I don’t have a strong stance on the Pitch Wars entry fee that created a stir online last week (and which was later replaced with their free model).  However, there were some good opportunities coming out of that which I wanted to share.

The Plan (Currently)

The discussion made me start thinking about my current strategy.

I will be looking for agents only once I have several published short stories, a draft I feel good about sharing beyond the sphere of my writing friends, and proposals for at least five more books.  I have some experience in the business world and I want to make sure I have a portfolio to offer before I look for an agent.

The guiding principles of my strategy are the following:

  • More Stories and Story Ideas = A long term source of revenue for the agent and the author.
  • Published Short Stories = They take less time to create and help me build a platform.
  • Building Platform = Maintaining a blog and actively using Twitter not only informs my audience, but shows an agent I’m willing to learn and actively work on self-marketing.

Ready Player One

I just had to watch this movie once I heard about it.  It was fun and I had a good time catching references and Easter eggs.

Discord Servers

I recently discovered the wealth of writing groups located on Discord servers.  Though admittedly they all vary a good deal, it is nice to find another outlet for connecting with other writers in a chat format.

This Reddit thread is a good place to start looking at the server options that are out there.

Writing is like Exercising

A lot of things are like physical exercising.  Playing music requires practice, keeping a house clean requires diligence, learning a new skill requires lots of use and maintenance.

Writing is not any different.

I have always written.  I loved the stories mom would read chapter books to my brother and I. We always wanted her to keep going and would beg her for more at the end of a reading.  When I was 9, I even attempted my own mystery story, it was not my best work of art and I think I may have gotten rid of that old copy (but not before my mom proudly showed it to my teacher).

Since then, I would attempt stories of my own sporadically, though my imagination was running wild 24/7.  In high school, I discovered several web comics that I absolutely loved and started making plans to possibly write my own.  I had character notes and a general idea of the plot but I never really sat down and wrote it (though, my drawing abilities excelled during this time because I was not going to produce a web comic unless I was sure I could make its quality stand out).

It was during this time that the ideas for my trilogy of fantasy books started coming together.

Finally, in 2015 a couple friends and I started our own critique group and for the first time I was writing more rigorously and more often.  I also participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and  I went from 16000 total words at the beginning to 180000 in the last two years on various drafts.

And you know what?  With every single second I spend critiquing, writing, and learning from writing masters, I can see my work become better.

I have a philosophy in life that we never really arrive.  Life is a journey and it’s also like a balance beam.  We are constantly improving and we are constantly having to adjust for our balance.  Like our core muscles, the more we consciously work at this balancing act, the less we notice the individual muscles, with every experience we’re strengthened so that the next time, we’re not as sore.

By practicing the basics, we become ready for what comes next.

Just like life, writing is an exercise, grow lax and it takes longer to get back into shape.

Seven Hundred Pages – An Affirmation

I told a friend recently that I have written over seven hundred pages between all my novels and short stories.

That number is staggering, and unbelievable to me.  Every time I say it, I remember that I’m, to quote a popular phrase, “in it to win it”.

It’s liberating.

It’s a reminder that I know I have a lot of revisions and rewrites to do, but I am already a writer.

I’m already an author.

I’m already committed to the work it is going to take to bring an excellent story to the table.

I’m going to get these stories finished and release them: traditionally, self-publishing, whatever it takes because I believe these characters are going to be and are already worth it.

Writing Excuses

The name of this post is a bit of a double entendre.  For one, I’d like to point those interested in writing to the podcast titled “Writing Excuses” put on by Wesley Chu, Piper J. Drake, Mary Robinette Kowal, Mary Anne Monhanraj, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, and Dan Wells.  It contains fantastic information and writing advice from established authors, I have enjoyed it and found that it does help my own writing.

Now, the other reason for the title is my excuses for not posting as often this spring.  I have been deep into edits and my day job has been extremely busy as of late, and both have cut into the time I have for keeping up with the blog as often as I’d like to.

There is some good news though, I have gotten a good deal of notes prepared on my novella and have been working on rewrites.  The short story collection I’m working has been put on pause for the moment.  I do have a few micro fictions I’d like to get posted here in the next few weeks.

And in the section of general geeky updates, I’m finding myself identifying more with Dr. Strange out of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes.  This has a great deal to do with my recognition that I need to take care of myself and not just my projects.  I tend toward worrying and anxiety, both of which have been catching up with me.  As a result, I’ve been looking into the benefits of yoga and aromatherapy to help keep myself centered and grounded.  There may be more here on that later.

Hope you are all having an amazing day!

Decluttering

With spring in the Northern Hemisphere comes inevitable spring cleaning.  A chance to go through what I have and toss out what has served its purpose.  This year I have my work cut out for me.

Now that I’m mostly settled in, it’s time to organize everything left over in storage from my move in December.

Being the nerd I am, I actually read a book to prepare for it: “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.  While I’m not sure I will be following her method in its totality there are a lot of takeaways for me.  One example is that I highly respect the idea that learning to declutter helps us learn who we are by what we find sparks joy in our possessions.

Ultimately, I am hoping the physical act of decluttering helps to hone my decision making skills for editing, a process that will essentially be decluttering and expanding my stories.