NaNoWriMo 2014 Postmortem

Well, ladies and gentleman, November is over and its time to look back upon it and gaze upon my fine works.  Courtesy of WordKeeperAlpha here is how I did this month!

NaNo 2014

Final word count for the month was 24438 words, just about half of the required 50,000.  Do I feel bad? Maybe a little, but not as much as I might for past years.  I’ve won two years in a row so far and produced first drafts that needed to be all but rewritten before I felt comfortable showing them around.  This year I was working on the second draft of Impervious, which I found out was perfectly legal to do, (legal for the official NaNo rules) provided I was writing all new words and not just editing existing ones.  Turns out, pounding out that crap first draft is a whole lot easier than pounding out 50,000 words that you actually don’t mind showing people.  While I didn’t hit that lofty goal, I did manage to get a fair chunk of the next draft finished and am now sitting on 11 finished chapters and will be starting in on chapter 12 … well, soon as I figure out what the hell I need to happen in chapter 12.  Still, the writing will go on.

Unfortunately, this means that I’m not going to be able to get the second draft done by the end of the year, which is going to change the date when the third draft gets done, yadda yadda yadda.  What do you expect?  I’m an author and we are a shiftless and lazy bunch.  Still, I’m going to get this sucker wrapped up in 2015 and get the second draft of the sequel started on, with the goal of writing the first draft of part 3 next November.  Big plans, I know, but I think I can hack it.  This year I managed just over 100,000 words, AND created the new and much improved WordKeeperAlpha.  In 2015 I want to average around 15k a month, while still pushing out updates.  It should be doable, seeing as how most of the core functionality is already in place and I’ll just be making regular updates and new feature releases.  How did I do this year? Why, WKA knows that too!

WordKeeper graph for 2014

Yeah, November kind of kicked the rest of the months’ collective asses.  August absolutely sucked in terms of writing, and so did September, but that’s when I was really focusing on getting WKA pushed out.  Still, next year, more writing every month should let me get a considerable amount done.  I’m looking forward to it.  Impervious is really coming right along and I’m excited to show it to people.  I’m not writing December off either … well, I will be writing but… you know what I mean.  Shut up.  No, you shut up!

*pausing for Seth’s post NaNo psychotic break* 

Whubba?  Oh, right.  Sorry, I had a little moment there.  I think my cold meds are starting to kick in.  I’m going to go lie down for a bit.  I’ll be back soon with some new WordKeeperAlpha news as well as the awesome thing that happened halfway through November regarding my little abomination of code and graphs.  Later.


Battle For The Net

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.


Quick WordKeeperAlpha Update

I haven't been doing much work on WKA lately, mostly because this build seems pretty stable for the time being. Analytics say that I've got a fair amount of users now, at least compared to the last version, whick makes me pretty happy. Honestly, I am really happy with how things are working now. It does everything that I wanted it to do, and a bit more. I'm finding it very handy for my own wriiting, though I suppose your own milleage may vary.

Right now, we're about four days away from the start of National Novel Writing Month, and though I won't be participating (i.e. starting a new story) I will be attempting to write the full fifty thousand words, which means that for the next month, at least, I won't have much time for working on Word Keeper. I will, of course, find time to fix any bugs that crop up between now and the end of November, but I probably won't devote any serious development time until at least the beginning of November.

In all reality, I probably won't do any more serious development on WKA until after the new draft of Imperious is finished. This is mostly because I wasnted to have the second draft done months ago, with the third draft firmly underway by now. Part of the reason that didn't happen is because I sidelined that project due to work on Word Keeper, so now, it only seems right that I refocus my efforts on my own writing now that the program is in a relatively stable and complete state. At my current rate, I'm looking at having the second draft finished sometime early on next year … at least, assuming I make my fifty thousand word goal next month.

In regards to that, I'm doing pretty good. I'm doing my prep work, just like I would for NaNoWriMo, doing my best to write on a regular basis. Undoubtedly, friends and wife will be annoyed with me as a go into a state, of “non-existence” once the first hits, but what can you do? Writing must happen.

So, there it is. The Word Keeper you see right now is the one you can look forward to using for the next couple of months as I get Impervious in order. Starting sometime earlier on next year, look for some updates, including more social features, UI improvements, and more graphing options. I've got a lot of great ideas, and I intend to do a lot of polishing next year. Until then, everyone have an awesome NaNoWriMo and donate! The only reason I can do the things I've done is because they've done a lot of work and done awesome things first.

 


Why the “Open Letters to Jennifer Lawrence” are bull.

Some people are going to have an issue with the things I’m going to say here…buuuuuut I’m willing to run that risk.  Recently, various celebrities had their cloud accounts hacked and naked pictures of themselves leaked.  That’s the crime.  Period.  Full stop.  End of story.  Among them is Jennifer Lawrence, an absolutely (from what I know of her) awesome lady.  She was understandably traumatized and hurt when people violated her privacy in a way that I have no frame of reference for.  I suggest you read her side of things here, because her words are going to be infinitely better than mine.

What happened to her is shitty, and her standing up and being willing to talk about it is awesome.  Do you want to know what else is shitty though (and yes, I’m using ‘shitty’ because that’s the perfect word for it)?  People who use her pain, to push forward their own issues and talking points.  Even worse, is taking the opportunity to preach at her as if she has to share your morals.  One quote was all it took to turn Jennifer Lawrence standing up for herself into “This is a perfect opportunity to tell people how she’s wrong and you don’t need porn.”

This just reeks of the “NotAllMen” mansplaining crap that pops up on a regular basis.

“Well, not ALL men look at porn.”

“She shouldn’t have taken the pictures if she didn’t want them on the internet.”

“I don’t want to spend time talking about what a stupid idea it is to take and upload explicit photos of yourself (a.k.a. porn)…” (That one is real and not just hyperbole.)

Its all the same BS.  Well, ok.  It’s different flavors, but still the same BS.  The latter is really ticking me off though.  All of these letters pick one quote out of her whole interview:

“It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”

And then proceed to talk about either what she did wrong: I.E. sharing pictures of herself with her committed boyfriend OR the goes into the Porn is bad (which I’m not getting into here) OR starts in examining her relationship and telling her what she’s doing wrong because its not the traditional Christian thing.

So, its not going to go over well with some of the people I know, but here it is.  Using someone else’s pain to put forward your Christian viewpoint is not Christian.  It is a crappy thing to do.  Your call isn’t to publicly shame someone else who is already hurting from something terrible that happened to them.  That’s not love.

Using someone else’s pain to promote your ideas is not Christian.  I don’t care what you message is.  I don’t care that you have the best of intentions.  If Jennifer Lawrence would read your “Open Letters” you would not be helping her in the least.  You’d be showing her that you don’t really care about what she’s going through, you just wanted to use what’s happening to her for a little signal boost.

And I know.  Some people probably have the best of intentions.  But guess what?  You’re not helping either.  Because by “pointing out her sin” or whatever you THINK you’re doing.  You’ve missed the entire picture and point of what just happened.  Jennifer Lawrence and the others who were hacked are the victims of a crime and here you are, wasting time telling them how they’ve screwed up, how THEY are the ones who need to get right with God.  That’s how I know you don’t care about the people who have been hurt by this, and how you don’t care about Jennifer Lawrence.  She sent some pictures to a man that she has been in a relationship with for many years.  Someone else violated her privacy and millions of men joined in that violation.  Why don’t you turn your “righteousness” on them?

I have been told my entire life that “God is Love” and I truly believe that.  I believe that Jesus loves us, and wants us to love others in return.  Maybe you “Open Letter” could think about what that really means for a while, and come back when you have a better understanding of the word, because I don’t think you really know what it means.  Am I being particularly loving now?  *shrug* Eh.  I’m an imperfect man.

Notice: I tried to be as respectful to Jennifer Lawrence and the other victims of the recent hack as possible and I apologize if that did not come across clearly enough.  If you want a good explanation of where this is coming from go and read a little of Chuck Wendig’s blog on #HeForShe.  To anyone wanting to explain how I’m wrong about Christianity and how we should treat people who aren’t Christian, please move along. 


The Dragon That Can’t be Fought

With the demise of Borders, the battle of eBooks is one that is primarily fought between Barnes and Nobles and Amazon. I won't discount Kobo, Sony or Apple, but in my mind they are three minor players in this particular battle. For my own part, I have a Kindle. I've had one for roughly three years now and I love it. If I were stranded on a desert island with only one piece of tech (and a solar charger) I would choose my Kindle without a seconds hesitation. Out of all the little gizmo's I have, it is without a doubt my favorite one. It even beats out the iPad, upon which I am writing this right now.

Chances are though, that if I had a Nook, it would be my favorite device. Really, the eReader itself is just the platform that allows me to enjoy well over 300 books on a device that weighs less than a paperback. I know, I know. Some people will go on and on and on about how you just can't read without the feel of the paper turning or blah blah blah. Sure, your physical book doesn't need to be recharged either…but that's not really much of a concern anymore. I plug the sucker in once a month and I'm good to go, despite how bloody much I can read when I really get into something.

Whether you like it or not, whether you have a Nook, or a Kindle or a Kobo or just use your cheap Android tablet or even your phone, eBooks are here to stay. Here me now, believe me later if you must, but eBooks are to Books, as mp3s were to CD's (as CD's were to tapes). And this is the point: There will always be a place for physical books, but the eBook will be the future, and just like with the music industry dragging its feet when digital music came about, the established publishing industry is having to be dragged into the future kicking and screaming.

Right now, Amazon is using some pretty shadey tactics to dictate its own terms to the publishing industry. Take the recent frakas between Amazon and Hatchet. Its really hard to brand Amazon as anything but the heavy of the piece. Yeah, they might be trying to get a better deal for authors, but they're also trying to get a better deal for themselves, and that's probably the most important thing for them. With every move it makes, Amazon is trying to corner more and more of the eBook market, and largely, its kicking ass.

The major publishers, the Big 6, (or is it 5 now?) don't like this. And I can understand why they wouldn't. Amazon is doing all sorts of crazy shit, like making an all you can read eBook service that tastes a lot like Netflix for books. Lets all remember what exactly Netflix did to Blockbusters for a minute. Anyone been to a Blockbuster lately, except for the going out of business sales? They're offering royalties that make a LOT of authors (myself included) wonder why they'd want to go with a traditional publisher. Not only that, but they're doing their level best to make sure that those same authors keep their books with Amazon as exclusively as possible. They've offered eBooks for a nominal price if you've bought the physical book with them any time in the past. You can RENT school books from them. They just introduced a book crowdsourcing service for indie authors that give some pretty good incentives for non-established authors.

You see that big list of stuff Amazon is doing up above? Every one of those things is something that the Big 6 should have doing. The problems they are having with Amazon being too big and powerful now? Its entirely their fault. Is Amazon right in throwing its weight around? Eh… I don't know. Will we regret it if they get an effective monopoly over the new publishing world. Most likely. Still, if the Big 6 don't like how Amazon is using its power now, they have only themselves to blame.

Seriously guys. This was your game to lose and, lets face it, you're losing. You even had a ready made ally in your corner in Barnes and Nobles. Their entire business was built on selling books… and now its half selling books, half selling other stuff and coffee. Not only that but there's TONS of indie bookstores you could have worked with. A year after Amazon started doing its “buy a physical book and get the eBook for a little more” thing, I still can't go to a Barnes and Nobles, buy the book and also get an eBook sent to me, even if I owned a Nook. That's just plain stupid.

I'll admit, several publishers are coming around, getting wise about how winds in publishing are going to blow. Tor and Baen are getting pretty good in the new digital world, as I would expect from people who publish genre fiction. It used to be you couldn't even buy Baen eBooks on the Kindle, BUT you could buy them from their own site, and all their books were priced damn good, were free of DRM and came in multiple formats. They didn't NEED to work through Amazon because they went and made their own system. If a publisher their size did it, there is absolutely no reason why the Big 6 couldn't have. If readers knew where to get their authors for cheaper, Amazon would lose a lot of its gas. Or at least, it would have.

Instead, the big publishing houses got scared of piracy. They slapped DRM on their books and raised prices because…reasons. I would love a reason from Penguine why the Dresden Files eBooks actually used to cost MORE than the paperbacks. No no… I'll wait. I am a Dresden Files FANATIC and I would have snapped them up without hesitation, even though I already own most of the paperbacks, and some hardcovers. But when you tell me that I have to pay $2 MORE for the eBook than I paid getting the paperback, there's something wrong with your brain. Its mistakes like that and many others that put you in your current position, and Amazon in their's.

I had brief hopes that the book publishing industry wouldn't have to learn the same lessons that the music publishing industry had to learn. Unfortunately, it seems that change is scary no matter what your business in. But hey, maybe its not too late. Like I said, its still your game to lose Big 6. If you want to beat Amazon at its own game you're going to have to start changing your mindset. If you embrace the digital change, start treating your authors better, and start courting the indie, there's no reason you can't take some of your own back. Not that you will… but I live in eternal hope that someone will listen to my advice. Now, if anyone of you is interested in an increasingly epic fantasy about an evil empire cast in the role of the good guys, I will instantly rewrite this to cast you as the hero of the piece. Let me know. I will completely be your bitch for a good publishing deal. Just sayin'. Think about it. Call me. Please?

Alright. Yeah. I'm coming on a little too strong. How about we give it a couple days and see how we're both feeling then?