You can read it in the April 2016 issue of Under the Bed magazine.
You can read it in the April 2016 issue of Under the Bed magazine.
And that something would be me, of course.
I wrote 2,291 words and revised a short story (that will be going out on the submission trails by month's end.)
Work came to a standstill on Thursday, though.
That was the day Tanya had some much needed elective surgery. It also made Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday something of a blur. She's home now, safe, sound, and on the mend. But the caretaking will continue for the next week, or three.
Nonetheless, my writing should swing back to whatever the current normal is come Monday morning.
Only other thing of note, I joined a new writing critique group. Looking forward to participating in that.
Until next time, or something interesting happens, pleasant dreams...?
It is well past time for me to post an update of some sort. I need to do more on this blog than post terse memorials of the recent passing of figures important to my genres of interest (horror, science fiction, and fantasy). There is more to life than remembering death.
Nothing all that exciting to report on the writing front, I'm afraid. Like so many others, I was swept up and away by the onslaught of Holiday activity that turns December into a marathon of activity. I also found myself suffering a bit of a post-workshop slump, creatively speaking.
Last November I took part in one of Mary Robinette Kowal's Short Story Intensive online workshops. 48 whirlwind hours of writing, critiquing, and instruction that left me exhausted.
Although the workshop did give me a new short story, one that I have been tinkering with ever since, my post workshop exhaustion was so pronounced, I have yet to consolidate my various notes into a coherent journal entry. One detailing all I learned and got out of the class. Doing that just jumped to the top my pre-writing/post-writing grunt work to do list.
Why yes, I just so happen to be using my journal to fact check/help me remember all the things that have happened since my last "official update" post (in October of 2015).
Speaking of pre-writing grunt work. I finally hammered out the Seven Point Story Structure, character bio, and "Hollywood Formula" outline of Unwelcome well enough that all the major plot reveals and character dynamics "feel right" (i.e. the result of character action, motivation, and such). This helped me figure out why my opening felt so "loose" and weak. My primary character needed some interior agency to drive her into, and through, the events of the story. More than a phone call from an old friend asking for help.
Because I have done so much prewriting work on this story (the most of anything I have ever written, in fact) I already had all of the necessary pieces and threads. There was no need to change, or move around, any of the events that follow the set up. It was a delightfully quick (and deceptively easy) streamlining of the primary character's motivation (and actions) in the first chapter. A hearty thank you to all the fine folks at Writing Excuses for giving me the tools to tinker with this story. I hate to think how many failed drafts I would have stumbled through trying to figure this out while "discovery" writing the damn thing.
On the entertainment front, I loved the recent series of Doctor Who. I think it was an inarguable highpoint for Moffat and, if this had been his last season, a beautifully constructed victory lap for him. Insanely good.
Also insanely good, Jessica Jones. Wow. What an impressive first season story. Incredible.
Not as insanely good, but nonetheless very entertaining, was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Enjoyed the hell out of the movie and I am eagerly awaiting the next episode of the now endless saga.
The Hateful Eight was something I appreciated more than enjoyed. It certainly is the angriest film that Tarantino has made. So very confrontational and challenging. He pulled the rug out from under his audience and, unfortunately, I don't think his audience has appreciated it. The Hateful Eight is a Spaghetti Western homage to John Carpenter's The Thing and, ironically, Tarantino's film seems to have been as warmly received by its audiences as Carpenters now classic thriller had been welcomed back in 1982 (i.e. not at all!)
I have joined another critique group and, if things continue to go as well as they have been, I should have a story starting the submission rounds by the end of the month.
Onwards I go, because it is impossible (and unhealthy) for one to move backwards...
I also took an old fragment and created the framework of a complete story. Working title: Halloween Tradition.
I also took the first tentative steps in writing the Big Project. Working title: Unwelcome.
Those tentative steps? 350 words.
This week's pic? A stack of all of Unwelcome's false starts and pre-writing.
After I finished organizing and archiving my notes, drafts, and stories. I gathered up everything Unwelcome related, took it upstairs, into my office, and boxed it all up.
Yep, I made my first "novel" box.
I have no idea how Cthulhu Fluxx got in there.
I have decided to knock my weekly writing updates from Saturday over to Monday, because it just feels right.
Monday: 1,061 words. Tuesday: 822 words. I also finished the outline for my Big Project. Doing this gave me a sense of accomplishment and a creative high. The major story and character beats have been worked out. Next up, writing the first draft. So exciting!
The rest of the week was taken by revising my short story Play and finishing the books I am reviewing for the November issue of the Diablo Gazette.
On Friday, Tanya and I drove out to the lovely Cavallo Point (aka the Lodge at the Golden Gate). She had a work retreat, which gave me a picturesque location to read, write, and relax.
Saturday I finished my review for the Diablo Gazette: 399 words.
Sunday I wrote this post: 865 words.
Because we were only a five minute walk from the Golden Gate bridge, I thought this weekend would be an excellent time for me to start Touring the Movies.
What is this? (You might be asking.) Touring the Movies will be me blogging about going to various locations where memorable or iconic scenes were filmed for movies I have enjoyed over the course of my life.
Today's movie: Magnum Force.
Being a child in the seventies, a teenager in the eighties, and having grown up living in the San Francisco Bay Area; the city of San Francisco was synonymous (for me, at least) with the hyper-violent adventures of one Inspector 71, "Dirty" Harry Callahan.
Sure, Bullit, The Towering Inferno, High Anxiety, the (first) remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Time After Time, Escape from Alcatraz, and countless other movies. But the Dirty Harry movies were my favorites, and Magnum Force was my favorite Dirty Harry movie (until The Dead Pool).
Yes, the first Dirty Harry is a hard-hitting classic of lean, mean tough guy cinema. Yes, Magnum Force is a conventional and even pedestrian sequel. One that suffers when compared to the artistry and energy on display in the first film. But I still love the hell out of it. Why? Because it was the first Dirty Harry movie I ever saw. It had an impact (a sudden impact, if you will) on me that no other Dirty Harry movie can, or has, had.
Now, on to the scene.
Around the midpoint of the film, a member of the Magnum Force (a group of traffic cops acting as judge, jury, and executioner to the criminal element plaguing San Francisco) pulls over a killer pimp (wonderfully played by late character actor, and Dirty Harry series regular, Albert Popwell) and shoots him dead... repeatedly.
He's heading north, toward Sausalito, when his assassin pulls him over for supposed traffic violation.
Instead he drives past the Vista Point exit and takes the one for Alexander Avenue.
For some equally strange reason (Movie Logic, again) our soon to be dead pimp drives down past Fort Baker and underneath the bridge itself. Thus giving the assassin a visually isolated location to do his dirty work.
What's difficult to impossible to tell from the stills I have posted, is how, thanks to the miracle of movie editing, the pimp takes an exit off the eastern (northbound) side of the bridge, only to drive down the winding road that is only accessible from the western (southbound) side.
I approached this location from Fort Baker, where the high end Cavallo Point resort is housed. This should have been the direction the soon to be dead pimp would have driven. Walking underneath the bridge, I regretted my spur of the moment decision. It would have been helpful to watch the scene/movie before taking my hike.
Here are the two pictures I took of the location.
Because I did not watch the Pimp's Assassination prior to our arrival at Cavallo Point, I could only eyeball the location from memory. I would have much preferred an attempt at recreating the scene's establishing shot. This is something I will attempt to do in future Touring the Movies posts.
My second (and last) photo of the location was taken a little further up the hill. While it does not have the scope of the scene's establishing shot, it is still easy to see that, even with the seismic upgrading currently going on, the location has not changed all that much from how it looked in 1973.
The only clip of the Pimp's Assassination I could find, unfortunately, does not feature very much, if any, of the scenic lead in to the big moment.
However, if you look through the pimp mobile's windows, as the assassin starts back up the incline. You will see the road I walked and took my photos from.
Open to the public, obviously.
This one is a tad late. But what better way to start a new writing week than by writing about last week's writing?
Because of family schedules and such, I usually take the weekends off. But Tanya had some work to do, so, on Sunday, I knocked around a story concept that had clicked in my head the previous evening.
Monday I wrote the damn thing: 1,044 words.
Tuesday: 510 words.
Then... BAM! A creative wall.
Feeling directionless, but needing to feel that I was doing something writing related, I spent Wednesday filing old drafts, transcribing some notes (from a talk I had with comic book artist-writer Mike Wolfer, way back in 2012 - shit, it's been that long!?!), and organizing all my "big project" false starts.
The reason it took all of Wednesday is that I have been putting off filing old drafts and such for too long.
But doing that very thing helped get my head around some lose ends and dangling threads. I kicked off Thursday reinvigorated. By the end of Friday I had the major issues with the big project ironed out.
At this moment I need to give generous and heart-filled thanks to both Dan Wells and Daniel Jose Older. Their lectures, and the one-on-one breakout session I had with Dan, at the Out of Excuses Retreat gave me the tools to look at the big project from perspectives (i.e. character desire and conflict driving narrative, etc.) that allowed me to work out the biggest of the pesky knots I had made. It also reconciled the core conflicting concepts that kept tripping me up.
Friday ended on a creative high. I had created strong, followable narrative lines I could follow from beginning to end. I may not know what is going to happen, but I understand why it needs to happen.
It's the difference between blazing a new path to the waterfall blind and blazing a new path to the waterfall using a compass and the stars in the night sky as a map. Whenever I get stuck at what seems like a dead end, I will be able to figure the best way around, over, or under that obstacle.
Now it's time to start making that path.
There was no writing update last week because I was on a boat, attending the awesome Writing Excuses: Out of Excuses Workshop and Retreat 2015.
The thing of it is, I didn't get all that much writing done. My wonderful wife kept pulling me off the ship and into her vacation.
If I were so inclined, I could try and make a big sarcastic stink about how I wanted to stay in our stateroom, or just on the ship in general, and tap-tap-tap away at the keyboard. But I'm not, so I won't.
After a day at sea, which I spent attending lectures on Description (in the morning) and World Building (in the afternoon), watching the Writing Excuses team record several episodes (attached pic), and having a fifteen minute "breakout session" (with Writing Excuses host Dan Wells) that helped work out some plotting issues with my "Big Project" outline, the lady love and I disembarked for day in Labadee, Haiti. (How's that for a run-on sentence?)
What neither of us knew was that Royal Caribbean, the cruise line our retreat was using, had leased a long stretch of land from the Haitian government. One that was not connected to the actual town of Labadee, at all.
While we did see the town of Labadee, Haiti from a distance, during an enjoyable boat tour, we were never able to make it over to the town itself. It seems the locals have refused a direct road connection with the resort location, as doing so would take away income earning jobs from the town's water taxi drivers. With Haiti plagued by 80% unemployment, no one wishes to deprive anyone of a much needed income source.
The evening retreat lecture was on Revision (Spinning Straw into Gold). That night I also got in on a game of Eldritch Horror and was the first to die. That kept me from staying up to the wee hours of the morning.
Day three we docked at Falmouth, Jamaica, where we did a great deal of shopping. We also went on an excursion that had us walking up the Dunn's River Falls. That was certainly a unique experience. One everyone in our group knew would be impossible to do in the United States.
The evening retreat presentation was supposed to be another Writing Excuses recording session, but technical difficulties, time zone mishaps, and assorted personal issues turned it into a fun question and answer panel.
Day four we docked at Georgetown, Grand Cayman. There we visited the small town of Hell, got to see a turtle breeding farm, and, most awesome of all, waded with sting rays in the crystal clear waters off of Grand Cayman.
The evening retreat functions were small group breakout sessions, mine focused on characterization, and, because it was the second "formal night" of the cruise, a cos-play cocktail party.
For some strange reason, call it a mixture of fatigue and my Brain Mouth becoming overstuffed with lobster tales*, I was not in the mood to snap pictures of the costumed attendees. Good thing a group photo was taken of the attendees and instructors that night.
Our last docking was Cozumel, Mexico. There we went out to the Mayan ruins of Tullum. I don't know what was more breathtaking. The oceanside vistas, or the oppressive heat and humidity. (Let me also say that this was our third or fourth excursion exertion in oppressive heat and humidity, we were getting overheated and overtired.)
The evening retreat presentation was a recording of the Writing Excuses podcast. Later that night, after dinner, I enjoyed several raucous games of The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow. Great fun, big laughs, late night. (Well, late for an aging fart like me. The younglings have a bit more stamina.)
Saturday was a sea day. Battling exhaustion, from the combination of active excursions and staying up late playing games, I attended two and a half lectures. The first focused on structuring story, the second was on how to best juggle multiple character viewpoints, and the half lecture was on dialogue. How was it a half lecture? Well, it was just after lunch and, getting blindsided by a dose of food coma, I dozed off during the lecture.
As much as I would have enjoyed attending the giant question and answer with the cast of Writing Excuses, I needed a nap. We did make it to the Farewell Party that night, though.
And then it was pretty much over. We returned to Fort Lauderdale the next morning, where we spent the day with a retreat attendee we had become friendly with, before catching our evening flight home.
Because the Writing Excuses hosts warned us all that writing could/would prove difficult in the coming days/weeks, I spent time on the flight, and on Monday, organizing and transcribing all of my notes from the various lectures. It was a great way for my Brain Mouth to chew up all the intellectual lobster tails it had been stuffed with during the retreat.
What little writing I did during the retreat consisted of tinkering with my "Big Project" outline.
After running out of notes to organize and transcribe I spent a few hours trying to reshape the jumbled mess of ideas my outline had become. Tired of it all, I threw my hands up and just started writing the damned thing.
Tuesday: 208 words. Wednesday: 300 words. Thursday: 415 words (not including the 875 word first draft of this post). Friday: 608 words (not including the additional 85 or so words added to this post during rewrites and polishing).
I hope the upward trend in word count continues.
Oh, and Querida got rejected.
*Pun. I know it's supposed to be tails.
As much as I would like to refrain from romantic hyperbole, I must say these have been some of the happiest years of my life. Even the hard parts were lightened by your warm, supportive love. I am so lucky to have met you six years ago.
Happy Anniversary, honey.
Now, to the writing up date.
Only Monday and Tuesday are worth mentioning. I wrote 983 words on Monday. On Tuesday I wrote some 1,077 words, all of it pre-writing (outlines and such) on a writing project and 204 words on the project itself, for a total of 1,281 words. The rest of the week was spent avoiding the diving board that would have me jumping into the thick of the project.
Maybe I should try getting into the shallow end.
Monday also saw my September story, Love, sent out to market. As with Querida, I am still waiting to hear back.
Remember last week, how I boasted about having whipped my short story Querida into submission shape? That was then, this is now.
The actual final "polish" read through happened on Tuesday and, yet again, it took far more time than I thought it should/would. No doubt because I took an elongated lunch break, to organize my trading card collection and fine tune my soundtrack shopping list.
Yeah. That happened.
But the "polish" read eventually got done and Querida was promptly sent out on its first submission.
Unfortunately my frazzled brain was incapable of understanding June comes BEFORE August and I submitted to something that had already been published. Ugh. That was embarrassing.
After wallowing in self-disgust for several minutes, I sent the story out again. After making certain it was an OPEN market this time.
Tuesday also saw the start of my review of Jill Dawson's The Tell-Tale Heart, for the September issue of Diablo Gazette. Wednesday say me procrastinate at writing said review. This a frequent issue for me, whenever I am writing a review for something that didn't do much for me. Stretch "meh" to fit 400 words can be daunting, if you let it.
I let it, and did not. finish the stupid thing until Thursday afternoon. Taking an unforeseen break to figure out just how fast San Francisco would be absorbed in an Invasion of the Body Snatchers scenario did me no favors, as well. Ugh.
Oh, and it would two to three weeks, tops. I also did not include commuters or tourists in that scenario.
The review was sent out Friday morning. Friday afternoon I did a little tinker with a short story.
Very little tinkering. Have to be honest about it.
Because the Hugo Awards will be handed out this evening, there is no more perfect time for me to post how I voted for my first ever Hugo. I think it's a tad premature to post any of my thoughts and opinions about my voting choices. That will be done after the winners have been announced.
1. The Three Body Problem - by Cixin Liu (Ken Liu, translator)
2. The Goblin Emperor - by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette)
3. Ancillary Sword - by Ann Leckie
4. No Award
Best Novelette, Best Novella, Best Short Story, and Best Related Work:
1. No Award
Best Graphic Story:
1. Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch
2. Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt
3. No Award
4. Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
3. Edge of Tomorrow
4. No Award
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):
1. Doctor Who: "Listen"
Best Editor (Long & Sort):
1. No Award
Best Fan Writer:
1. Laura J. Mixon
2. No Award
I abstained from voting in the Best Pro Artist, Best Fan Artist, Best Semiprozine, Best Fanzine, and Best Fancast categories.
Yup, I am still alive. For the moment. Things can change, you know.
"An excuse ain't nothin' but the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie."
There are countless excuses I can give for "falling of the writing wagon" (i.e. STOPPING WRITING), but the real reason(s): I became lazy, depressed, and distracted.
That is why I have started up this writing journal again, both online and off. I believe doing so keeps me accountable on both a private and public level. If I do not have something to share come Friday afternoon/Saturday morning, I had better have a damn good reason, not some tired excuse.
How did I do this week?
Well, I didn't write anything fresh, but I did do a massive, top-to-bottom overhaul of an erotic story that has been giving me all kinds of trouble. The overhauling was entirely character related, because the scenario just never played right. The working title for it had been The Session, but has changed to Play. I think the story might be a draft or two away from being submission ready. Only time and another read through will tell.
That rewrite took three days. It's a 2,379 word (10 page) story. Not good.
After I finished work on Play, and set it aside to cool, I turned my attention to a goofy dark fantasy yarn I have been working on, title: Querida. I had tinkered with it enough, felt I was close, but still needed help, so I ran it through my SFF writing critique group. Taking a great deal of their wonderful criticism to heart, I worked it over on Thursday and, at the end of the day, felt I had whipped it into submission form.
I think it was Raymond Carver who said he could only tell when a story was finished when all he was doing was moving commas and periods around. When I finished this most recent draft, I new the story had reached that point.
I'm letting Querida cool over the weekend. On Monday I plan to print it and read it out loud, to see if any grammar is in need of fixing, or polishing. Then it starts going out. After that, who knows?
So I was hard at work writing this story, see, attacking it (or just flailing at it) from all directions, when the house of cards that was its narrative structure collapsed in front of me. Seeing a story that I had been hammering away at for quite some time, to the point where the characters felt like they were my children, was a psychological blow that felt just like this looks:
I think you can understand why I spent a good portion of my Father's Day weekend in a sullen funk.
The implosion of a work in progress is nothing unique for a writer. It's just a fact or life, really. Every writer that has ever written has trunked a project, or thrown one out, because it is not working, or refuses to work, or just doesn't go anywhere or do a goddamn thing worth a damn.
But today is a new day, the start of a new week, and there are other stories that want to be told.
So it goes.
Saturday: 490 words.
Sunday: 0 words.
Monday: 0 words (spent the day watching the news, glues to coverage to the Boston Marathon bombing).
Tuesday: 1,242 words.
Wednesday: 1,050 words.
Thursday: 528 words.
Friday: 868 words (and back in front of the television, watching the situation in Watertown unfold in real time).
Not much writing to report this week, because I got hooked on the new Netflix series House of Cards and wound up binging on it. So a lot of my reading and writing time was taken up watching Kevin Spacey being sleazy and evil. I also spent a lot of time on the road, shuttling one of our cats to and from Radio Cat, for hyperthyroidism treatments. Now we have a radioactive feline slinking around the house.
I did manage to revise a short story, though. It is my fervent hope that it can start making the submission rounds in the near future.
While I am on the subject of revisions, remember the novel I was trying to revise, "The Haunted Bookstore"? I do, and I wish I could just forget the damn thing. Over the last few months I have spent far too many hours trying to make the story be something that it did not want to be. Earlier this week I cried "UNCLE!" and decided to just let the story become the story that it wanted to be, rather than keep trying to make it into the story that I wanted it to be.
So it goes.
Thursday: 730 words.
Friday: 280 words. (I have to hit the road, so I will be doing more writing tonight, in a hotel room, but this is what my day has given me up to now.)
This was the week I was supposed to get back into the swing of things? Doesn't seemed to have worked out that way for me, now has it?
The only other news I have to report is that I submitted the first of two stories to the upcoming Sword and Laser anthology. The second story I am going to send in needs a little more fine tuning, but it should be going out some time in the next week.
Until then, pleasant reading.
Monday: I wrote my Book Review column for the Concordian.
Friday: I revised a Flash Fiction short story of mine titled Halloween Spirits. It ballooned from ninety-six words up to one hundred and thirty-one words, because there were some images and ideas that I felt I didn't get quite right in the shorter version. They still don't feel quite right in this longer version, so another revision is inevitable.
Not much work, but work nonetheless.
It seems that my switching from a weekly writing update to a monthly writing update did not turn out to be the success that I had hoped it would be. I haven't been writing any updates, because I have been procrastinating far too much and, like a great many people, I suppose, I would much rather blog about my successes as a writer than my failures at writing.
So I am going to go back to writing a weekly update, to put some fire under my ass.
Now for the reason for this update: I sold a short story! The title is Sweet Sin and it will be appearing in an Age-Play Erotica anthology edited by M. Christian and published by Sizzler Editions. I will post a link when it becomes available.
Monday, July 2nd: I limped a mere 407 words into my attempted second draft (or the second attempt at a completed first draft) of The Haunted Bookstore. That's not a whole lot, but I am not counting the two or so hours I spent working out the story outline before I got comfortable enough with it, with how I had fit my original ideas together with the new ones, to start writing.
For the record, my first swing at a first draft is a staggering, for me, 43,890 words, or a gargantuan 214 pages, long. There is a whole lot of work and a whole lot of writing to be done until I am happy with it.
Tuesday, July 3rd: 1,060 words. That put me seven pages into the second draft of The Haunted Bookstore, even though I have, so far, only revised the first three pages of the incomplete first draft. If it keeps going like this I should have no problem reaching my original estimated word count of 60,000.
Wednesday, July 4th and Thursday, July 5th: 222 words. But I knew that those two days would be problematic for my writing. On the 4th of July there was the usual holiday celebration (with my wife's family) and then, on July 5th, I spent the day at the hospital while my wife had yet another major abdominal surgery. This time it was to repair a hernia that (we all hope) will alleviate the agonizing pain that has plagued her for the last several months.
Friday, July 6th: 276 words. Once again I spent a lion's share of the day at the hospital, then brought my wife home. The surgery went well and she appears to be on the road to a complete recovery, thank goodness.
Saturday, July 7th: 505 words. Made my weekend workday quota. Yes!
Sunday, July 8th: 778 words. HULK SMASH PUNY QUOTA!!! I think my burst of creative energy was thanks (in very large part) to my choosing to listen to John Soderqvist's melancholic and lushly romantic score for Let The Right One In. His beautiful music underscored the dream sequence that I started chapter two of The Haunted Bookstore with perfectly. It made my Sunday writing time all the more vivid and enjoyable.
The rest of the month was pretty much a bust, though. The wife and I took an Alaskan cruise during the second half of July. While I did get some writing done on the cruise, it was not nearly enough to satisfy me.
Friday, June 1st: 577 words.
Saturday, June 2nd: 276 words.
Sunday, June 3rd: 539 words. At this time I felt that my writing muscles had gotten limber again, so I decided to return to my original daily goal of 1,000 words (minium) every Monday through Friday, and 500 words (minium) every Saturday and Sunday.
Monday, June 4th: 1,053 words.
Tuesday, June 5th: 1,393 words.
Wednesday, June 6th: 1,336 words.
Thursday, June 7th and Friday, June 8th were washes, literally. On those days I shampooed the carpets in our house and in the apartment of my wife's grandmother. I also went and saw Prometheus, before going out for a romantic dinner with my wife. But missing those two days put me 1,218 words under my weekday quota.
Saturday, June 9th: 217 words. 283 words shy of my 500 word quota. Not good.
Sunday, June 10th: 846 words. I pushed myself a bit, because I had to write a minium 783 words to meet my weekend work quota. I made it and went into Monday morning already 63 words into my 1,000 quota.
Monday, June 11th: 1,752 words. A big burst of energy, a great start to the work week.
Wednesday, June 13th: 524 words. I guess I paid for that big burst of creative energy. But I also polished my review of Curved Space: The Adventures of Stella Star and sent it off to the Concordian.
Friday, June 15th: 370 words. But I finished the second draft of a short story (one built from the things I that like scattered amongst the ruins of my first would be novel). So there is that.
Saturday and Sunday were destroyed by my new procrastination addiction, Good Reads.
Monday, June 18th: Finished Draft 8 of Querida. It's getting near submission ready.
Tuesday, June 19th: Started revising my new short story, Leaving.
Monday, June 25th: Finished the third draft of Leaving. Doing so turned out to be an emotionally draining experience, as the short story is comprised of elements from my failed attempt at a first novel. That novel had been titled Pipe Dream and, because of the aforementioned elements that I liked, I kept trying to make the story into something that it was not. The thing that it was not was a love story. After a great deal of brow furrowing and depression and self hatred, I plucked out all the stuff that I liked, and felt worked, and started from scratch. The result is Leaving, a darkner, meaner, and nastier tale. But one that is also a far more honest representation of the ugly truth that I had wasted countless years of my life trying to give a candy coating and call a love story.
Tuesday, June 26th: Having "completed" one Herculean task, I immediately commenced on another one and started working on Draft 2 of my Untitled Paranormal Romance Novel. I am the Super Bowl of Self Abuse, to be sure.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: Curse you, Good Reads! But my Untitled Paranormal Romance Novel now has an honest to goodness working title, The Haunted Bookstore. I felt that I had lost track of where I was going and written myself into a corner on my first swing at a first draft. So I set the project aside to let the idea and characters simmer a bit, while I revisited and tortured myself with my Literary Legacy Project. (See above.)
All that simmering seems to have paid off, though. Because I was able to retool my primary characters bios, working out their histories, how they are connected, or become connected, to each other, as well as ironing out how the "unexpected detour" works into the primary ghost/love story, instead of distracting from it. I also replaced a supporting character with an all new supporting character (a welcome change that, I think, will serve the story better, and was probably the end result of my having recently read Henry James short novel Washington Square). With all that organizational pre-writing done, I now feel ready to begin reworking and detailing the story outline, adding in the subplot that the "unexpected detour" created, and start working on draft two.
Tuesday, May 1st: 508 words.
Wednesday, May 2nd: 755 words.
Thursday, May 3rd: 133 words. It's a good thing that Wednesday was so good, because I wound up a massive 367 under my short term quota of five hundred words a day. (I plan to get back up to 1,000 words on weekdays, once the writing muscles get limbered up a bit.) Then again, Thursday was filled with numerous domestic errands and such. But I still got a little writing done, which is better than no writing at all.
Friday, May 4th (Opening day for Marvel's The Avengers): 621 words. 121 words over the current short term quota.
Saturday, May 5th (Free Comic Book Day): 0 words. I knew that when I started this supposed new writing career that weekends, which are family time and family errands time, would make writing problematic. May 5th is a perfect example of why that is. I spent two hours waiting in line and celebrating Free Comic Book Day (with my son) at Flying Colors Comics, where I got Zack Whedon to autograph my Dr. Horrible comic and the free Serenity comic he was handing out. I also got some cake. Then we hung out with the neighbors at a Cinco de Mayo party. After that we took Great Grandma out for dinner. It was a fun and very busy day, but no writing. So it goes.
Sunday, May 6th: 382 words. Which is both a better number than 0 and got me 132 words over my short term Saturday/Sunday quota of 250 words. (I plan to get it back up to five hundred.)
Monday, May 7th: 177 words. Ouch! I was "derailed" by my starting The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion, because that is the book that I will be reviewing for the June issue of the Digital Concordian, and being struck with a sudden and irresistable urge to go and see the movie itself, again. For the third time. So it goes. I consider it to be time well wasted.
Tuesday, May 8th: 904 words. 400 of those words were my review of The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion, which I zipped over to the Concordian.
Friday, May 11th: 826 words.
Tuesday, May 15th: 222 words.
Wednesday, May 16th: 598 words.
Friday, May 18th: 845 words.
Monday, May 21st: 584 words.
Wednesday, May 23rd: 512 words.
Thursday, May 24th: 394 words.
Friday, May 25th (first day of Baycon): 899 words.
Saturday, May 26th (second day at Baycon): 418 words.
Wednesday, May 30th: 1,044 words.
Thursday, May 31st: 629 words.
On Monday, April 9th, I submitted my review of Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President to the Digital Concordian.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes...
Jack a dull boy.
...and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All Work and No Play makes Jack a Dull Boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play...
...makes Jack a dull boy. All work, and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work, and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work, and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work, and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work, and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Yeah, it was that kind of month. You want to know what I wasted several days, almost an entire week, doing? Cleaning up and streamlining the categories on this blog. Really. Sheesh, all that writing time wasted.
But I was wasting time long before my little doodle project. Using all of the personal hardships of a recent family event (with a wee tad sprinkle of international travel tossed across the top) was a great excuse/distraction from writing. One that I have both used and abused.
I hid that abuse by changing my weekly writing updates to monthly writing updates. But even the most cursory glance of the postings in the My Writing category will show you that I have not been doing anything for the past few months.
Sure, cleaning up and cleaning out (not to mention streamlining to 0% Posting Fat) all of my categories gave me a false sense of accomplishment, but I knew it was false.
So, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and refocused on my writing.
Wednesday, April 25th: 732 words.
Thursday, April 26th: 555 words.
Friday, April 27th: 191 words. 309 words beneath my temporary 500 word quota.
Sunday, April 29th: 456 words.
Monday, April 30th: 604 words.
No new stories were submitted or published in April, and I am still waiting to hear back about the two that are still out there. There WILL be more writing to report on next month, I promise.
I really wanted to start the month off with a sale. But that didn't happen.
On Sunday, March 4th, I got an email telling me that Battle Seance, one of the three short stories I currently have making the submission rounds, had been rejected. So it goes.
On Friday, February 3rd, I submitted my short story A Father's Love to Cemetery Dance Magazine. I am probably taking the longest of long shots, but it is one well worth taking.
That brings the total number of stories I have "out there" to three. The other two, Battle Seance and Sweet Sin, are both erotica stories. So it goes.
The family emergency (which I described in about as much detail as I feel comfortable in a recent book review) continued to hound my wife and I throughout February. It was not until President's Day Weekend that I began to feel as if my own head had been screwed back on correctly. That was the weekend when all of the seemingly countless, and endless, disability forms were finally filled out and delivered to the East Bay Regional Center, so they could then forward said forms to the Social Security Insurance office.
Having completed that painful task, my mind began to clear out enough so I could start focusing on this new writing career that I was supposed to have embarked on last year.
On Wednesday, February 22, I submitted my review of Paolo Bacigalupi's excellent science fiction novel The Windup Girl to the Concordian. The review will appear in the online paper's March issue.
I wrote a new short story, titled Unwelcome Return, that should start making the rounds in March or April. It is my hope that, by then, I will have another sale to post about.
So it goes.
New Year, new format, new pic:
You may have noticed a certain reliance on You Tube clips and book covers. That is due in very large part to my New Year getting off to a chaotic and unpleasant start.
In a January 18 posting I mentioned a family emergency that, at that time, was keeping me from writing reviews. That emergency was my autistic (and mentally retarded) son having a psychotic break. Dealing with a variety of doctors, facilities, and case workers (not too mention stress) pretty much fried my brain for the entire month. Most of my writing and my reading (both for fun and for class) just went down the crapper.
But I am back now. I ended the month by finishing and submitting an ageplay erotica story. I really hope it sells, as it would help salvage the start of the New Year.
Not much to report this year. I wrote six or seven short stories and I started a novel. I also sold one of the short stories I wrote to the anthology The Big Book of Bizarro, and I began a regular book review column over at the Digital Concordian.
Next year there will be more to report. A lot more. I promise.
"If you're gonna piss your life away writing some goddamn book that no one is ever gonna give a crap about, why did you have to involve my daughter? Let's say she gets pregnant. What are you gonna do? Three can't live on what you make. Two can't live on what you make."
I spent Tuesday and Wednesday finishing an unfinished short story, working title: Sweet Sin.
Thursday: I outlined some ideas for a developing story (working title: Something Wrong) and I also tinkered with an idea for a new short story, working title: Fogged In.
"It's what the people want!"
Last week, being Thanksgiving, was pretty much a washout. I know that is really nothing more than an excuse, but I am going to stick with it. I also managed to get my lethargic ass out of the house and down to Kaiser Mental Health and restarted my treatment for depression. Doing that also helped to thin the oppressive black cloud that has been choking me of late.
Doing so also got me started writing again.
Monday: 973 words. I started writing a somewhat fresh "new" story from the ashes of an older failed one (that would be Pipe Dream). I also began working on my book review for the January issue of the Concordian. By "working on" I really mean that I gulped down most Joe R. Lansdale's novel Devil Red in one or two sittings. Reading Hap and Leonard's violent and comical misadventures always helps cheer me up.
Tuesday: 1,505 words.
Wednesday: 1,209 words.
Friday: I followed some advice from an editor that had rejected A Father's Love and did some minor, albeit necessary, cosmetic tinkering. Mostly it was just trimming out some excessive dialog and adding in some more description in the second half. The result, I think, is a leaner, meaner story. One that I have decided to self-publish on the Kindle, as part of a small Dark Fantasy short story collection, in "early" 2012. Early meaning June, at the latest. I hope.
I kicked off the new work week by doing some pre-writing and research for Draft 3 of Pipe Dream. That led to my coming up with some rather twisted wrinkles for the story. Wrinkles I hope will work out.
Then the week kicked me back and I got called in for Jury Duty. Posts in the next few weeks may or may not be scarce. It depends if I am plucked from the pool or tossed back.
I submitted A Father's Love to The Horror Zine. It was rejected. I also finished the first draft of a short story called The Session, which may or may not wind up being tossed into the discard file, and did more revision work on: Querida, A Perfect Child, and The Cure.
A little change in the format this week, as I did somewhere between zero and none in the original writing department. I spent most of the week nibbling at (or trying to nibble at) textbooks for my technial writing course. When I wasn't doing that I was revising short stories for submission to who knows where.
At least I am still trying.
Hopefully I will have more news for you next week. Maybe it will even be good news!
Saturday: I wrote my monthly book review column for the Digital Concordian. A review of Allison Kingsley's brand new cozy mystery novel, Mind Over Murder.
Sunday: 0 words. I spent the entire day at California's Great America with the family, celebrating a newphew's 11th birthday.
Monday: I spent revising numerous short stories.
Tuesday. Another day spent revising short stories. Nothing new to see here, folks. Move along to Wednesday, please.
Wednesday: 1,194 words.
Thursday: More revising. Stories aren't written. They are rewritten.
Sunday: 0 words. Not surprising, as I spent the entire weekend volunteering up at the family winery. The free wine I get for doing so does compensate for the loss of any and all writing time. Please, feel free to order and enjoy some our fine wine for yourself. I recommend both the Picnic Hill and the Gold Hill. The Gold Hill is a personal favorite of mine, by the way.
Monday: 1,590 words. Not bad. To get my cold writing muscles warmed up I wrote a 437 word review of Moonstone's Kolchak Tales Annual #1, which went up on Wednesday. The end of Monday had me feeling like I was fully back in the game, since I have done no writing for the blog in well over a week.
Then I checked the mail and found a rejection slip from Realms of Fantasy. Now I have to find somewhere else to submit A Father's Love. Swell.
Tuesday: 403 words. Ouch!
Wednesday: 698 words.
Thursday: 274 words.
Friday: 0 words.
All I can say about this week is that is has not been a good one for me. The rejection (although not unexpected) hit me harder than I expected it would, and there are issues regarding my wife's still ongoing illness that arose on Thursday that just kicked both of us in the gut. For most of the week a black cloud of depression has obscured my mind and drained me of my creative energy. I know that this black cloud will thin and pass, it always does, it's just finding my way through and out of it that is so emotionally and intellectually draining.
But it can be done, and it will be done.
Total word count for the week: 3,041 words.
Saturday: 0 words.
Sunday: 0 words.
Monday: 0 words.
Yep, the first three days of the week were pretty much the Funny Farm scene that began my very first Week in Writing update:
Although I will not be stopping the updates (which are an accountability exercise) I do have to admit that writing them has a discouraging effect on me. "I haven't made my quota this week, I suck so bad. I'm a failure..." and so on and so forth.
After giving it a great deal of thought, I have also changed my daily goal to a uniform 1,000 words a day. If I am going to write, then I had damn well better write.
Tuesday: A 974 word review of Airport '77, which posted last Wednesday. Writing the review got my writing muscles somewhat warmed up enough that I could hammer out 506 words. That's not much, but it got me writing again and that's a start.
Wednesday: 1,032 words and a 475 word review of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters issues 4, 5 & 6, which posted yesterday.
Thursday: 1,843 words. None of it for the UPRS, just some heavy revision work on my story Pipe Dream.
Friday: 1,822 words. Again, it was all heavy revision work on my story Pipe Dream. My ever being able to finish the damn thing is beginning to feel like a pipe dream.
Total words this week (not including the blog posts): 5,203 words.
Saturday: 0 words.
Sunday: 1,056 words. I also wrote a 652 word review of the catastrophic creature feature bomb, Creature. The review will be posted on Monday.
Monday: 1,050 words. I also began rewriting my short novel, Pipe Dream.
Tuesday: 474 words. Although I began to fall behind on my weekly quota (again) I just could not feel bad about it. My wife had a complication from her recent surgery that required yet another surgery, so I spent most of the day sitting in a hospital room offering emotional and moral support to her. That is far more important than any daily writing quota could possibly be. Besides, I am only 420 words behind on my weekly quota.
Wednesday: 991 words. Ouch! Yes, while I am only nine words short of a full day's word quota, that shortage still makes me 429 words behind on my weekly quota. Even worse, I have been called for Jury Duty. While my wife is in the hospital. This is week sucks.
Thursday: 0 words. I was able to postpone my Jury Duty until November, so I was able to spend another day at the hospital with my wife, who is recovering nicely and more than ready to go home. When I got the postponement, I could feel the stress from the last few days emptying out of me like I was some kind of deflating balloon, and I was fatigued yet energetic for the rest of the day.
Both my wife and I thought that she would be able to go home on Thursday, but the doctor wanted her spend yet another night in the hospital, a decision that made her furious and me depressed, so I went home with our son and binged on Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes.
Friday: Wife came home and I sat down and pounded out 1,718 words. Again, if I hadn't been so far behind on my weekly quota at the start of the day, then that total might have been impressive. But this whole week has been a pretty tough one. I do like how I rebounded, thought. Got started on the final third of my UPRS while also doing some heavy revising of my short novel Pipe Dream.
Weekly minimum word quota goal: 6,000 words.
Total words written (not including my blog posts): 5,289 words.
Total words written (including my blog posts): 5,941 words.
Saturday: 527 words, written while staying in the Apple Cottage at the Sweetwater Inn in lovely and scenic Mendocino, California.
Sunday: I wrote my 400 word book review for the October issue of the Concordian. Being that October is the month of Halloween, I reviewed Adrienne Barbeau's novel Love Bites, her sequel to her debut novel, Vampyres of Hollywood.
Monday: 0 words. Disappointing, but not unexpected, since we spent much of the day on the road.
Tuesday: 0 words. Not only disappointing, but inexcusable.
Wednesday: 361 words. After two days of inactivity, my creative writing muscles were rusty. I also wrote 574 word review of the horror-comedy Tucker and Dale Versus Evil, which will be posted this Monday. Then I went to see Shark Night 3D, because I deal with depression in unique and silly ways.
Thursday: 2,653 words. That would have been an impressive word count for a day that had not started off with my being 2,712 words behind on my minimum weekly quota. So, let me shave 1,000 words off of that number (to count towards Thursday's allotted quota) and subtract the remaining 1,653 words from the 2,712. The end of the day still had me 1,059 words in the hole. I would have to write a minimum of 2,o56 words on Friday, just to make my quota.
Oh, and I also wrote a 765 word review of the unsurprisingly godawful Shark Night 3D. That one gets posted on Wednesday.
Friday: 1,279 words. I also wrote a 390 word review of Edge The Loner, which will post on Friday.
Weekly minimum word quota goal: 6,000 words.
Total words written (not including my blog posts): 5,220 words.
Total words written (including my blog posts): 6,949 words.
Sunday: A 657 word review of the comic book collection Jonah Hex: Lead Poisoning, and a vigorous polish of the final draft of my short story, Battle Seance.
On Sunday I was also made aware that a video commercial for The Big Book of Bizarro had been made. Here it is:
My mom will be so proud!
You can order The Big Book of Bizarro simply by clicking on the appropriate and easy to find link in the Read My Published Writing section, which is located on the right side of the screen.
Monday: 1,770 words. 1,222 of those words were for my Untitled Paranormal Romance Story, the narrative pieces of which just keep clicking together. I think it is now safe to say that it is looking like the first draft will be finished some time around the end of September, or the beginning of October. (Whichever comes first.) 76 of those 1,770 words were revisions and changes to the outline for my developing UPRS. I then typed up all of the vigorous polishes that I made to my short story Battle Seance and wrote a 647 word review of Hack/Slash issues #18 - 21, which posted on Wednesday.
But I still felt the need to get some serious writing work done. So I looked over the first draft of The Behemoth and fashioned a revision outline and started mapping out the second draft. That's where the remaining 472 of the 1,770 words came from.
All in all, Monday was a workday that I feel damn proud of.
Tuesday: 1,619 words. 1,458 of them on the UPRS itself, while the other 161 were from revising and expanding the outline for said UPRS. I also made the final corrections to Battle Seance, formatted the manuscript per editorial demand, and submitted it electronically. Now, after doing all of that work, all I can do now is sit and wait to hear back from the editor.
I also wrote a 274 word review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre one shot comic Cut!, which will be posted on Monday. I like my reviews to be a tad longer than 274 words, but there just wasn't all that much to write about. So it goes.
Wednesday: 1,327 words. After all of the power writing I did in the last few days, that amount seems almost like slacking off when compared to it. But it would be a false comparison. I also wrote a 665 word review of Crossed 3D Volume 1, which will post next Wednesday.
Thursday: 1,373 words. Most of it felt like thrashing around, even though all of it inched the story forward. The problem right now is trying to figure out how to show that the male and female protagonist are "perfect for each other" while I find a way to follow through on the framework I constructed to force them apart, then its all about having them overcome said conflict and reconnect for the "Happily Ever After" ending. This is a Paranormal Romance Story, after all.
On the plus side, while this project is playing out, other story ideas are starting to flesh out in my mind. So I will have plenty of stuff to keep my fingers busy for the rest of the year, at least.
Another bright side to the week is that, once again, I blew past my minium word quota goal before Friday. Nice.
Friday: 1,119 words, plus a 588 word review of Tanya Huff's fantasy novel The Enchantment Emporium, which will be posted on Friday.
Weekly minimum word quota goal: 6,000 words.
Total words written (not including my blog posts): 8,257 words.
Total words written (including my blog posts): 11,088 words.
Saturday: 0 words, but I did write a 690 word review of David Grove's Making Friday the 13th: The Legend of Camp Blood. That review went up on Wednesday.
Sunday: 1,204 words. Wow, a respectable regular work day number. One that not only got me caught up with the 500 words that I was supposed to have written on Saturday, but didn't, but that also put me 204 words ahead of my 1,000 word goal for Monday. Not too bad. Not too bad, at all.
Monday: 1,544 words. 1,127 of those words were for the Untitled Paranormal Romance Story that I have been writing. I "think" that I am just past the half-way marker for this story. But things might change. The other 417 words were spent updating and revising the story's developing outline. While I pretty much have all of the important points of the story mapped out. How those important points will be connected together in the final story remains to be seen. I also started revising a short story of mine titled Battle Seance.
Tuesday: 1,000 words. With the end of the month just around the corner I realized that I still had to whip a short story into shape so that I could make an August submission, because I want to get into the habit of submitting a new work to a publisher at least once every month. So I spent the entire day revising my short story Battle Seance, so that I could get it out on Friday, at the earliest, or on Monday, at the very latest. It's a 3,000 word (11 page) short story and I did a heavy amount of revisions on each and every page of it, so I consider my daily writing quota to be have been well met, although I did not get around to doing any "original" writing. So it goes.
Wednesday: 2,086 words. As needless as it is for me to say, but I wish that all my writing days were this productive. 2,041 of those words were, once again, for my Untitled Paranormal Romance Story. I think that the massive amount of writing was due in large part to my mapping out all of the necessary plot beats for the remainder of the story on Tuesday. The other 45 words were adjustments and notes added to my outline for the remainder of the story. I like that I am about 111 pages into the story and, while the end is in sight, I still have some rich emotional and character ground to cover. I'm not quite certain how far away the ending is, at this moment, but I think it is safe to say that this will be another short novel. It's a good thing that there are e-publishers out there interested and willing to publish paranormal romance short novels.
I also did another rewrite of Battle Seance and am now on Draft 5 of that particular story. I also wrote a 471 word review of the new (and not so good) Conan the Barbarian movie, which posted yesterday.
Thursday: 859 words. While that final tally is 141 words short of my standard 1,000 word weekday quota, it nonetheless shot me 600+ words past my total weekly quota of 6,000 words. So what ever I wrote on Friday would just be gravy.
Friday: 1,942 words. That's a whole lotta gravy! 1,804 of those words were for my Untitled Paranormal Romance Story. 138 of them were adjustments, revisions and additions to said story's outline. I am trying real hard to follow a three act structure with this story and I can tell that I am definitely somewhere "in the middle" of Act Two. That means there might be another 75 to 100 pages left to write before I finish the first draft. Only time and typing with tell.
I also did the final rewrite and polish of Battle Seance. The story is now finished. All I have left to do is give it one final proofread to triple check for any grammar or spelling errors, then it's good to go out into the world.
Weekly minimum quota goal: 6,000 words.
Total words written (not including blog posts): 8,635 words.
Total words written (including blog posts): 9,796. Wow, only 204 words short of hitting 10,000 words in one week. Nice.
Ick. A bad writing week. A real bad writing week.
Saturday: 0 words. But I was attending the 90th birthday party of my wife's grandmother, which was held in Salem, Oregon and which was where I spent most the week.
Sunday: 63 words. That is a rough guess, though, as I did not note precisely the amount I wrote. It was just notes and such for my untitled paranormal romance short novel, though. No real writing, though. Too busy visiting the wife's extended family.
Monday: 0 words. Again, visiting the wife's extended family, but I was beginning to resent myself for not trying to write at least a little bit.
Tuesday: 0 words. The early portion of the day was spent travelling and the remainder of the day was spent fighting off the fatigue that resulted from it. The wife also wanted to go see a movie, so we went and saw 30 Minutes Or Less, a movie that truly hated me and loved making me squirm in agony. That's my review.
Wednesday: 404 words. Finally started limping back to the working writer's life with a review of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford for The Concordian.
Thursday: 1,203 words. A normal writing day, finally. I also wrote a 502 word review of Fallen Angel issues #20 & 21, which went up yesterday.
Friday: 1,421 words. I began the day hoping to push myself to meet my weekly quota, but that would mean writing close to 4,400 words in one day and I just could not do that. But I did toss in a 774 word review of Final Destination 5, which will go up on Monday.
Weekly minimum quota goal: 6,000 words.
Total words written (not including blog posts): 3,091 words.
Total words written (including blog posts): 4,367 words.
I'm hating myself right now.
Okay, enough of these "life is hard" excuses. I really need to work harder and focus more. The clock is ticking and time is runnng out, regardless of what life throws at me.
Saturday: 637 words. Not a bad count to kick-off the new work week. I did some outlining and planning on my untitled paranormal romance story (76 words) before actually writing some more of it (561 words). I not only inched past my minium quota for the day (500 words) but the untittled story moved past the 10,000 word mark. Good beans.
Sunday: 634 words. I also wrote a 487 word review of the first book in the Sidewinders western series, which posted yesterday, and that brought the entire day's word count to 1,121. Not bad for a "lazy" Sunday afternoon.
Monday: 1,382 words. 1,289 of those words were for the as yet untitled paranormal romance that I have been working on. The other 93 words were outlines for what looks to be should be Tuesday's writing.
Tuesday: 1,145 words. While the word count is a tad on the low side for me, it was still a very good writing day, as I finished writing with lots of ideas for tomorrow's writing, something that always makes me happy and feel successful in an artistic sense. Speaking being made to feel successful, my author's copy of The Big Book of Bizarro arrived (with check enclosed) in Tuesday's mail. Another book for the vanity shelf, awesome!
If that were not enough, I also wrote a 629 word review of Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan's novel The Fall, the middle book of their Strain trilogy. The review for that goes up on Monday. Add it all together and that makes for a 1,774 word day. Excellent.
Wednesday: 654 words. While my ideas might have been plentiful, the time I spent writing them down was not. So it goes. But I also wrote a 673 word review of Creepy Comics Volume One, which will post on Wedesday, and brought the complete word count for the day to 1,327.
Thursday: 2,154 words. The lack of writing last week really bothered me, so I decided to really push myself today. Having a surplus of ideas for the in development (but still untitled) paranormal romance story also helped.
Friday: 0 words, thanks to travel prep. More on that in next week's update.
Weekly minimum quota goal: 6,000 words.
Total words written (not including blog posts): 6,602 words.
Total words written (including blog posts): 8,391 words.
I know that you have to have heard the old saying, "Want to make God laugh? Then tell Him your plans." This past week was a wonderful example of how the fickle nature of random circumstance can muck up your plans.
With my son out of town and visiting his grandparents, my wife and I had a series of romantic weekend getaways planned, so I pretty much decided to take this week off from "serious writing" and just post a "Week in Writing" update of this week in next week's column.
That did not happen, obviously.
Saturday & Sunday: 0 words. The wife and I were in Monterey on Saturday and Sunday, and I did not get any writing done. Nor had I planned to.
Monday: 0 words. I had planned to do some writing, but there was an unexpected family emergency in the middle of the night and I spent most of the day at the hospital with my wife, so, once again, no writing. (The emergency was an unexpected gall bladder surgery.) Since I was just sitting around and waiting for long periods of time, I did burn through a book and a half on my iPad Kindle app.
Tuesday: I warmed up my cold writing muscles by writing a 702 word review of Ayn Rand's wretched novella Anthem, one of the books that I read on Monday. The review goes up next Monday.
Wednesday: 0 words. Wednesday had been the day that my wife and I were going to go up to lovely Mendocino for an extended stay. While I had planned to do some writing and research up there,* the trip was more of vacation from the day to day grind of working at home. However, due to that unexperted surgery on Monday, my wife could not handle the trip (which was not at all surprising or unexpected) and we had to cancel the trip. So it goes.
Thursday: 1,567 words. I finally sat down and got myself out of the planned rest and research groove and back into a working writer groove. All of Thursday's work was on my developing paranormal romance story. I also wrote a 585 review of the Masters of Horror second season episode The Damned Thing. The review for that goes up on Wednesday.
Friday: 1,031 words. Not a lot, but I hit my daily quota for the second day in the row and that is enough for me to end this particular "work week" on a somewhat positive note.
Weekly minimum quota goal: 6,000 words.
Total words written (not including blog posts): 2,598. Ouch!
Total words written (including blog posts): 3,885. Ouch!
*I am a big fan of regionalist writers, so I am creating a victional Northern California town in which to set or interconnect some of my stories and novels. The town is a composite of my hometown of Alameda, the Point Reyes National Seashore, and all of my favorite Northern California towns: Bodega Bay, Inverness, Olema, and Mendocino.
So it goes.
Saturday and Sunday: 0 words. I was volunteering up at the family winery on both days and, when I wasn't pouring wine and such, I was reading Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's apocalyptic vampire novel, The Strain. I do not give that as an excuse for my not writing. It was simply how I passed the weekend away from home.
Oh, we also went and saw the surprisingly entertaining Captain America: The First Avenger.
Monday: 670 words. Not great, but after two days of inactivity it took more than a little bit of effort to get the creative muscles working again. I also wrote a 677 word review of The Strain, which was posted last Wednesday, after running a load of much needed personal and household errands. The total for the day, 1,347 words.
Tuesday: 1,190 words. Much better, in that it was all for my untitled paranormal romance story and the word count inched 190 words past my minimum quota for the day.
Wednesday: I typed up a portion of my short story Querida and did some revision work on a short story called Battle Seance. Both are close to finished, so they should both be going out this August.
Thursday: 962 words. I finished typing up my short story Querida and finished the latest round of revising on my short story Battle Seance. I set those two stories aside to cool and went back to work on my untitled paranormal romance story.
Friday: 1,894 words. I did some more work on my untitle paranormal romance story and revised another short story title The Cure.
Weekly minimum quota goal: 6,000 words.
Total words written (not including blog posts): 4,716 words. Ouch!
Total words written (including blog posts): 5,393. Meh.
Saturday, Sunday & Monday: 0 words. But I finally FINISHED typing up that old handwritten document. I also know that the low word count will also reflect my growing need to focus on my technical writing course. So it goes.
Tuesday: I outlined my character and story ideas for revising the handwritten document that I just typed up. Let's say that was five hundred words of handwritten material. I also submitted my short story A Father's Love (via snail mail) to Realms of Fantasy magazine and wrote a 653 word review of A Nightmare on Elm Street (comic book) issues 5 - 7, which was posted last Wednesday.
Wednesday: 1,243 words. This was the first time that I have worked off something akin to an outline and it felt strange. Nonetheless, this was the first time that I truly felt that I was back in the writing groove in almost a week. Also helping was that my writing on Tuesday and Wednesday not only got me caught up on my weekly writing quota, it nudged me a bit ahead of it.
Thursday: 313 words. Ouch! But I was on the road for most of my prime writing time. I also wrote a 691 word review of Hark!: A Novel of the 87th Precinct, which was posted yesterday.
Friday: 1,551 words.
Weekly minimum quota goal: 6,000 words.
Total words (not including blog posts): 5,158 (Close enough to my minimum goal to avoid total embarrassment, just not close enough to escape utter disappointment in myself...)
Total words (including blog posts): 6,502 (Thank goodness those two reviews helped get me over my minimum goal, though.)
So it goes.
Saturday AND Sunday: 0 words. Family obligations, Tech. Writing homework, and "other stuff" pretty much had me taking the weekend off from writing. That put me 1,000 words behind on my weekly "minimum writing" quota when I sat down at the writing station on Monday morning. Yuck.
Monday: 1,780 words. I finished the first draft of my short story Querida and then did some pre-writing (i.e. fleshed out a developing outline, created some character bios for said idea, etc.) for a possible "short" novel. The project is still in the development phase, though, and it is only going by the title Untitled Romance Novel right now.
Yeah, ROMANCE Novel. What of it? What is important to me is that I finished Monday only 220 words behind my minimum writing quota and not 3,000 words behind it.
I also got a rejection slip from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science-Fiction regarding my short story A Father's Love. So it goes.
Tuesday: 2,508 words. I think it is safe to say that I got caught up.
Wednesday (also my 44th birthday): 0 words. I took the day "off" to celebrate my birthday. The reason I use quotations is because I did spend a lot of time typing up an old handwritten manuscript.
Thursday: I wrote my column for the Digital Concordian, a 400 word review of Emma Donoghue's novel Room. I also did some more typing up of that old handwritten manuscript. It embarrasses me at how bad the writing is in some of it.
Friday: 0 words, but I typed at least a good fifty pages of my handwritten manuscript, so let's just say I did 2,000 words worth of work.
Fresh stuff next week.
Weekly minimum quota goal: 6,000 words.
Total words (not including blog posts): 4,688 words.
Total words (including blog posts): 4,688 words.
Saturday: 0 words.
Sunday: 1,590 words.
Monday: 885 words.
Tuesday: 1,302 words. I also wrote a 443 word review of Fallen Angel issues 17, 18, and 19. That one goes up on Monday.
Wednesday: 997 words. I also wrote a 574 word review of Friday the 13th: How I Spent my Summer Vacation, which will go up on Wednesday.
Starting the online class last Friday and getting a daily reminder that I am only living a pipe dream for a very the short moment (and loving the hell out of it) seemed to be messing with my creative mojo. The many troubles that I was having revising the behemoth were certainly not helping, either. It was not until Tuesday that I felt that I had created a new work pattern that fused my dreams of being a writer with the realities of the Technical Writing course. Two or more hours in the morning spent doing my real writing (i.e. the "creative stuff"). Then a break for lunch before I hit the books and the online courses for two hours or more hours. After that, I allow myself to kick back and read. Some of the reading is for fun, some of the reading is for my column at the Concordian.
But the erratic nature of the work week made for some concerns. So I added up where my daily quotas would have me at by Wednesday : 4,000 words (500 for Saturday, 500 for Sunday and 1,000 words on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday). Then I added up all the my non-blog related writing for the week up to that point: 4,774 words. Even with the interference of the class and my erratic creative work schedule, I was not only reaching my quota, but staying ahead of it. That got me calmed down somewhat. I wish I could say the same thing about this online course, which looks to be far more work than I thought it would be.
Thursday: 2,310 words. 2,000 or so of those words was the "first draft" of a short story that I am developing for a particular anthology that has put out a call for submissions. The story should turn out to be my July submission. The other three hundred or so words are the beginning of a somewhat comedic dark fantasy story. I have never written comedy, at least intentionally, so the story is an interesting test of some different creative muscles. No work done on the behemoth.
Friday: I took the morning off and watched John Carpenter's The Ward on VOD. While I enjoyed the film for what it was a lot more than my 627 word review might seem to say, I don't think it is going to enjoy a reevaluation as some kind of "minor" classic of the genre any time soon. Now that I think about it, the reevaluation of Ghosts of Mars doesn't seem to have happened yet, either. My review of The Ward will be posted next Friday.
I also did some "pre-writing" for a possible "third" draft of the behemoth. This was basically a free writing exercise where I described who the principle characters were and their motivations. I also looked over various notes and drafts and did some free writing of all the ideas (both old and new) that I have had to date regarding this project from Hell. I wrote about four pages, but did not count the words.
After my pre-writing exercise, I did some work on a new short story that I am writing. The title of the story is, at this moment, Querida (which is a hell of a lot better than the first one I thought up: The Date). This time I did count what I wrote: 445 words. Although that seems pretty light, I started the work day several thousand words ahead of my quota, so even "falling short" of my 1,000 word quota for the day (which I really did not, if you count the four pages of drafting and outlining AND the 627 word review of The Ward that I also wrote) I was still WAY ahead of my minimum quota.
Weekly quota: 6,000 words.
Total words (not including Blog posts) written this week: 7,529.
Total words (including Blog posts) written this week: 9,173.
Edited by M. Christian: Eros Ex Machina
Contains my first published short story, "Clean."
Edited by Rich Bottles Jr. and Gary Vincent: The Big Book of Bizarro
Contains my short story "Their Quiet, Bookish Life"
FictionMagazines.com: Under the Bed
Volume 4, Issue 7: Contains my short story A Father's Love