Archive for category Ghosts of Venus

State of the Writer: August 2012

SPQR, Baby

2012 Goal: Query Nickajack. We’re on a similar pace as I mentioned this time last month, with a hope that we’ll be ready to step away and let alpha readers at the project by this time next month. Things are not going as quickly as they could, but that’s entirely because we’ve had other things on our mind, what with the baby now due in a little over four weeks. We’ve been working on both for roughly the same length of time, but one is going to be far more insistent on when it makes its debut to the world, so the shifting of priorities is unavoidable.

This morning I reached the end of Act Two in the novella I’ve been writing on the side, mostly during the mornings. I forgot to grab my morning writing total for the month before working on this blog post, but I know it’s lower than last month as I lost the first week of July to power outages and some vacation time. Still, July did see me push past 10,000 morning-written words, and tomorrow should see me cresting 15,000. I’ve averaged around 300 words a morning across all mornings, averaging in several zeroes, and closer to 350 on the mornings I’ve actually written. In the last few days I’ve also surmounted a block I discussed on Unleaded wherein I was only working in the morning. The evenings have seen me working on the novella, and even starting the outline of a new project of currently unknown length.

I am, if I am honest with myself, not being quite so productive a writer as I would like, nor nearly so slothful of a writer as I have at times been. The summer tends to do that to me.

State of the Author’s Beer. I should arrive home today to a shipment from Austin Homebrew featuring their oatmeal stout, which I will combine with Boysenberries to make the infamous Pi Stout. It’s irrationally good. I’m hoping to find some time this weekend to set up the small television in the kitchen and brew while watching the Olympics.

State of the Author’s Bees. After the scare at the beginning of the month, the hives look happy and healthy. They’ve nearly stocked up enough honey for the winter, though a little more certainly wouldn’t hurt. We’re going to thoroughly inspect them this weekend, make sure everything is a hunky dory as it appears. If it is, each might get a new super.

State of the Author’s Education into World History. This isn’t quite enough for its own post, but I’m quite thrilled with the amount of online material I’ve found in my quest to learn a little more about World History. I’m currently working through Richard Bulliet’s Columbia course “History of the World to 1500 CE,” watching Crash Course World History as it updates, and listening to A History of the World in 100 Objects while commuting. In the wings I’ve got Open Yale’s “Early Middle Ages,” and University of Houston’s “The Vikings.” That should keep me going for quite some time. If I still want more, I’ve been looking at another Open Yale course on the American Revolution, and UHouston’s course on the Normans. Big help was finding this page, which compiles free online classes offered by several universities. Phew, that was a lot of links.

That’s me. I hope to finish the first draft of Ghosts of Venus this month, do some good outlining and get started on a project currently called “Untitled of the Fourth Planet,” and see Nickajack through to a point that it’s ready for alpha readers. That’s an ambitious month, but I think we can do it. This week or next I owe my next Ace Double review. Spoiler: it didn’t contain my favorite individual story, but it was probably my favorite combined double.

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State of the Writer: June 2012 (belated)

2012 Goal: Query Nickajack.  We’re at a really good place with the book.  We’ve done a restructured outline of the first four chapters (which are now the first six chapters) that reflect some of the character changes we made later in the book, hang a Checkov gun up on the wall, and in general get a lot more done than they were doing.  That’s always going to be the danger of the hybrid writing style we were choosing, somewhere between outline and discovery.  Yes, we were outlining chapters before writing them, but I started chapter one when we were only about to chapter ten in the outline, and at times the outline got as close as only two chapters ahead.  We hit the halfway point of the year at month’s end.  Will we be querying by then?  I’m not sure.  I don’t want to sound pessimistic about the goal, but we do have a month of stepping away as part of our upcoming schedule, so we’ll only have five months left rather than six come the next State of the Writer update.

May saw me get started on a novella, expanding a story I wrote last year called The Ghosts of Venus.  So far it’s a very comfortable experience.  I always wanted to explore the world I made a little more, but never felt like it was enough of a plot idea for a novel.  I suppose this is the madness engendered by reading Ace Doubles.  My wife is even suggesting that I lengthened the partner piece, Vampires of Mars, and put them together as a DL Double.  I have promised the leader of my writers’ group that I’ll at least try to sell the novella length Ghosts traditionally before self publishing.  It’s better for everyone that way.  As of this morning the rough draft of the novella is a hair away from 10,000 words, and just transitioned from act one to act two.  This is right on schedule, since I was overall aiming for 15 roughly 2000 word chapters.

Also in May, I sold a short story to the Weird South anthology (reminds me I need to sign the damned contract, sitting on my printer, when I get home) and the Kickstarter for The Memory Eater successfully funded.  I’ve been promising an interview with the editor, but I’m waiting until the post Kickstarter work for him dies down a little.  However, he does have a paperback proof in his hands, so this is getting closer and closer to real.

State of the morning writing.    So far, this has turned into a rousing success.  Started last Tuesday, I’ve so far only missed one day and have maxed out at just under 500 words.  Total over the five days I’ve actually written: 1983 words, split between Nickajack and Ghosts.  It’s a great 400 word average that would represent around 100,000 words written if maintained every weekday of the year.  It’s amazing how a writing regimen adds up.  The challenge will eventually be making sure I have something outlined and ready for 400 additional words.  This morning I plunged into a Ghosts chapter that wasn’t yet broken into scenes, which isn’t something I wanted to do.

State of the writer’s beer.  I’m getting ready to brew again, but step one is finding one of my ingredients: Oregon brand canned boysenberries.  Their website has a handy list of which grocery stores carry them, which in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia area means only Harris Teeter.  According to their site.  According to my trips to six different Harris Teeters, including ones where I’ve seen the boysenberries before, not so much.  So I’m looking at buying eight cans off Amazon so I can have two cans.  This is all to replicate my most successful Mr. Beer recipe, though, so I suspect the rest of the berries will find homes in future batches.  It’s about the right time to brew again, as we’ll be back up to two beer drinkers in the house by the time we’re ready to pop the first bottle.

Coming up in June.  I’d be thrilled if we can get Nickajack to the point of our one months walk away and I can get Ghost of Venus to a completed rough draft.  In part because that would mean successful multitasking on my part, something I’ve never really tried as a writer.  21 weekdays this month, so I’m shooting for at least 7000 morning words, which is below my current pace, but I don’t want to push myself too hard to his word count goals in the morning.  Tomorrow: My next Ace Double review, as I kick this blog back into action.  And it’s not too late to pick my next Double to read.

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