2015: Excuses and Explanations

Ok, so, as years go, 2015 was actually pretty good from a writing perspective. Granted, I didn’t accomplish several goals that I set for myself, but I did make significant progress on many goals, and accomplished others that I hadn’t set. One goal that I did accomplish was writing more in 2015 than I wrote in 2014. I’ve got graphs to prove it too! Still, the title of the blog post has more to do with my love of alliteration than of anything else. Now, onward!

In 2014 I wrote a little more than 100,000 words. There are significant periods where I wasn’t writing much, which was primarily due to working on WordKeeperAlpha.


In 2015 I wrote around 135,000 words, which, while not the 180,000 I was aiming for, is a significant improvement. This year, too, there were significant dry spells, having to do entirely with buying a house.  That was a pretty huge thing.


While I wanted the second draft of Impervious done by November, that just didn’t happen. I did make really excellent progress with it though, the story going through several changes and revisions for the better. I’m roughly half way done with the draft two rewrite at the moment, with a pretty clear path of how to finish it out.  Draft three will have some significant work involved, but thankfully not a full rewrite. But, that’s for my “2016: Some clever title” post (coming soon.)

I spent a fair amount of time working on WordKeeperAlpha this year as well. Not too many new features, but mostly because I’m saving them all for one large update in the first half of this year. I’ve made significant changes to the graphing system that will let users choose their own goal graphs and graphs based on projects, too. I’ve also got the beginnings of an API that will let users post their progress on their blogs.

I ironed out a lot of bugs over the course of the year. Thanks to all my users who let me know about them when they crop up. I try my best to correct issues you guys have as soon as I hear about them, so please, keep letting me know.

Other things that happened in 2015:

  • We bought a house and moved! It’s completely awesome, and my office is sweet.
  • I got glasses and became that much older.
  • I won NaNoWriMo, which felt good after not completing it last year.
  • I built more IKEA furniture than I knew existed.
  • I replaced a faucet, earning my Homeowner merit badge!
  • Played perhaps too many video games and didn’t read enough books.
  • More stuff I’m forgetting about, because it’s lost in the pre-history of ‘last year’.

Well, that’s another year done. A new one is already under way, but as I said, I’m leaving goals and projects for another blog post. November – December were kind of non-months in terms of blogging, and that means I’m going to overcompensate by stretching out my ‘life-update’ posts as much as possible. That being said, I’m going to check out and try to get a head start on this year’s goals.

National Novel Writing Month in Perspective

Phew! So that was a thing that happened. In case it wasn’t obvious from the title I participated in NaNoWriMo this month, and unlike last year, I won! I won in the sense that I wrote 50,200 words, rather than finished an actual novel. I don’t think anything I ever write is going to be finished in a paltry fifty thousand words: Such is the fate of the genre author. I am including short fiction in that by the way. I’m absolutely awful at writing anything under ten thousand words, which is why I don’t submit to many magazines. More’s the pity.

Still, if you did National Novel Writing Month, good on you! Doesn’t matter if you finished or not. If you wrote one thousand words then that’s a thousand more words you have written now than you did in October. Since I wrote a big ol’ web app for the sole purpose of graphing my progress, I thought I’d show them off here. And since there’s nothing you can do to stop me… Well I don’t know where I was going with that, but here’s the graphs.


As you can see, I kind of rely on a few big pushes to get myself through the month. I also take more days off than I should. I think my goal for next year is going to be to write every day during the month, no matter how few words I log.  This is what my progress looks like through the lens of the NaNoWriMo bar graph:

Graph of writing in November 2015

I spent a good portion of the latter half of the month behind schedule, but I don’t think I ever got more than two days behind.  I’ve had months where I got really discouraged being just a day behind, figuring I’d have to load all that extra writing into one writing session or I’d never get caught up. Key lesson here is that if you miss a day, just make it up over several days and don’t let that bog you down.

Something that those of you who actually follow the blog might have noticed that I started off with very noble intentions of writing a NaNoWriMo journal that I wanted to use to kind of map my progress. That didn’t even last half way through the month. Oh well. Maybe next year? Yeah, probably won’t happen, but I’m always game to try!

So, what did I actually write? Up till now I’ve been a big fan of fantasy. I decided that this year I’d stretch myself a little bit and write some science fiction. I got the idea a while ago for a group of space pirates (think Firefly meets Honor Harrington) manages to acquire a fully equipped, brand new, colony vessel. The universe’s situation is kind of shitty, being pretty much a space dystopia. Companies have a method of colonizing new worlds via indentured servants, using them to build the base of the new world, then just keeping them there indefinitely. Two of the major powers are on the edge of war and things are just generally shitty. So, the pirates decide to keep the ship, and use it to basically start their own world. They grab a bunch of other colonists, and other people fed up with the way the universe works and bugger off.

I got a decent start on a first draft and not all of it I’m happy with. One of the things is that I have to really crank up the challenges the crew faces, but I have to do it in such a way that it doesn’t make their task impossible. For instance, just getting the colony ship in the first place required a LOT to go coincidently right that even I was having trouble buying it.  Of course, that was largely because I was making it up as I went.

I tried experimenting with just about every science fiction trope that I know and love, seeing what worked and what didn’t. I was setting up a pretty big universe, so I don’t know exactly how much I wanted to just dump on the reader, but I had fun trying things out. I had some aliens, had transforming space fighters a la Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (because if I’m going to write a sci fi it’s going to have giant robots), space battles, and I ended up tossing in an Artificial Intelligence.  I also, ahem, wrote a couple sex scenes.

What?! I was experimenting… Phrasing… Trying new things… damn … Look, everyone has their first try at something. I don’t know if any of those will see the light of day, but I figure it’s something I probably need to learn how to do at least decently well. And let’s face it. It is a little bit fun to write people boning.

This story easily had my biggest cast of characters to date and it was more than a little difficulty to keep them all straight. My evil businessman who is going to be the main protagonist ended up being mostly just competent and kind of amoral as opposed to cackling madly in front of a storm. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I ended up spending less time than I should have focusing on the Captain of my pirate ship… I just wasn’t really sure what made her interesting quite yet. In short, that story needs a LOT of work before its ever going to end up on bookshelves, if it ever does.

If anyone wants to read it, I’d be happy to share, but you probably shouldn’t be expecting anything great.

Anyway! It’s December now so I’m going to be getting back to work on WordKeeperAlpha.com and back to work on Impervious. I’ve had a little break and its time to take some of the lessons I learned in November and finish out the year strong. Be expecting more news about WordKeeperAlpha.com in the near future and hopefully an update on the status of Impervious. In the meantime, you’ve had a couple days, get back to writing! Show me those word counts, right down there in the comments. I want to see them!


NaNoWriMo Journal Day 13 (delayed): It’s my birthday!

As with all blogging activities, I could be doing better at this whole journal thing. But really, its hard to write more after you’ve been busting your hump to make your word count. 

Right now, I’m a little behind since I took last night off and played StarCraft. What? I am but mortal and subject to temptation as is any man. Still, since its my birthday today I took the day off work and set about catching up.  This is a nice free weekend for me, so I intend to not only make up for my missed words but get back ahead and on schedule.

Today I wrote another 2600 words, bringing me to 20,700 total. My goal for tomorrow is to hit 25,000, and then maybe 28,000 on Sunday. We’ll see how that goes.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with the story so far. I’ve got space pirates, transforming space fighters, a la robotech, tyranical interstellar corporations, a budding war between superpowers and I haven’t even gotten to the scenes I’m really looking forward to writing.

I’ve kind of split the story into two big scenes so far: the first was our introduction to the Elusive Raptor, captained by Cassandra Trubedier and crewed by a collection of fun (I’m hoping) privateers.  I even included a rather, ahem, sexy scene in this part. Wink wink. 😉

The next part is about the other main character, Alan Cradey, who’s going to start the whole ball down the hill by being pushed just a little too far. Now, he’s going to start pushing back.  I’m just about to the part where he starts pushing, and encounters the good crew of the Raptor. 

Whew! I’m excited! Its fun to write something new and different. Not that Impervious is boring me, but a little variety every now and again is good for an author? Right. Ok, I’m out, there’s birthday shenanigans to get to. Away!

NaNoWriMo Journal Day 9: A day of rest

Well, it’s been a few days since I wrote a journal entry, mostly because I burned myself out on writing over the weekend.  Friday night we had our Pathfinder game, which I really didn’t want to miss, but I’d built up a buffer.  Still, I fell a bit behind.  On Saturday I was beset on all side by leaves.  So many goddamn leaves.  I more or less made my goal for the day.  Sunday though.  Sunday I buckled in, and wrote for upwards of six hours and made up my lost time, and enough so that I could pretty much take a day off on Monday.  Which I did.  To play video games with my friends.

Don’t judge me.

NaNoWriMo Journal Day 4: To Battle!

My first space battle is heating up and its getting really fun to write it.  So much so that its difficult to call it a night tonight.  Unfortunately, the coffee shop is closing in a few minutes and I have work tomorrow.  Annoying, but what are you going to do?

The crew of the Elusive Raptor is hatching a sneaky plan to see them safely out of the trap they flew into.  How’s it going to turn out?  Weeeell, I know, but I don’t get to write it until tomorrow, so things are still up in the air.

Tonight I wrote 2260 words, not quite making my goal of 2500, but overall pretty decent.  I think I’m about a half a day ahead at this point, and if I can add some bonus words tomorrow then I should be able to take Friday off for my Pathfinder game.  For now, its time to go home, and get some sleep.