I am not my word count

… my story however… That’s a different … story … thing.  You know what I mean.  Tonight is a writing night, a night I’ve specifically set aside for the writing of words and the making of stories.   Only writing is hard some nights.

I know I’m not alone on this.  Other authors get a really good story going, only to crap out half way, either do to lack of motivation, or entirely too much self-doubt, or something else that’s shiny pops up and they just have to chase it because you always have to chase the shiny things! Uhh… what was I saying…something something shiny thing…  Ah writing!

So, in my famous last post I claimed the goal that I was going to write twenty days this month.  That goal is not off to an inspiring start.  Here we are on the eighth, and I’ve got fuck-all done so far.  As the year goes, I’m not doing so bad, but if I want to finish this bloody book, I’m going to have to start cranking out more words.  I didn’t make WordKeeper just to sit there and mock me for how bad I was doing, sticking to my goals.  I made it to motivate me to see those numbers go up, and while that was happening my story would, of course, be writing itself or something.

*sigh* No, WordKeeper is doing exactly what I wanted it to do.  And if I feel like its condemning me every time I log into it, that’s my fault.  I mean, writing is still fun, I’m still full of stories that I want to tell, but writing this second draft is becoming painful.  Its becoming like … GASP! … work!

I know, I know.  Super surprising, right?  Writing a book is actually a ton of work, like every blog I’ve ever read claimed it would be.  And writing Impervious is still fun.  I still love doing it… its just much more… “work” than it was in the first draft.  I didn’t have to worry about anything in the first draft other than putting words on the page as fast as I could type them.  I didn’t have to worry about consistant worldbuilding.  I didn’t have to worry about settings, or characters that made sense from one chapter to the next.  All I needed was a loose idea of who was going where and I was good for a night.  That is probably why NaNoWriMo works so well for me.

So, no, I am not my word count.  My word count is goingto be hard as hell to keep where I want it while I’m in the middle of the second or third draft.  My book, on the other hand, is my word count.  So, no matter how painful it is on a given night, I need to write, and I need to make those words count.  A play on words was not intended there.  Lots of people don’t like keeping track of word counts.  They say “Don’t count your words, make your words count.”  Which is fine, I guess.  But you actually have to write words to either count them, or make them count … and right now, I’m just about writing them.

Impervious is happening people.  This is a book that is going to exist in real life, and people other than me are going to read it.  I don’t care if its just those family members I can guilt into it.  That being said, my hands are now warm.  I’ve chased the shiny little thoughts down the rabbit hole and I’m ready to get back down to business tonight.  To my fellow authors, whether you’re counting your words or you’re making them count, good luck in writing that thing.  Remember Chuck Wendig’s Penmonky’s Paean.  “I am a writer and I will finish the shit that I started.”


The Second Draft

My thirty thousand word month didn’t really come together like I’d hoped it would.  My goal is to write everyday, but I’m much better writing in spurts than I am writing regularly.  Having my own motivational program is helping, but it is also a bit damning when I look back on the month and see all the days that I didn’t write.

WordKeeperAlpha Graph for March 2015What is really good is that my writing is much more focused. You can see that I’m focusing much more on my work on Impervious, which is what I need to be doing. Unfortunately, as my beta readers know, all that writing you see up there wasn’t on new chapters, like I’d hoped it would be. No, just about everything that you see up there is worldbuilding and character work.

When I had writing group at the start of the month, they pointed out that my current chapter had some serious plotholes in it, holes that would show more and more later in the story.  What it all boils down to is that I didn’t actually think things out beyond a certain point in the story.  Certain characters were also hollow placeholders and needed some serious fleshing out, if only in my own mind.  Thankfully, I’ve got most of those details cleared up, and have several more chapters of details to fill in.   I may have even outlined another book that could conceivably be a prequel.  Go figure.

Which brings us to April.  I still want to do a thirty thousand word month, but I also need to start doing some more serious work on WordKeeperAlpha, which means I’m going to have to temper those goals.  I think, for April, my goal isn’t going to be a specific word count, but rather to write at least twenty days out of the month.  When I sit down and actually get to writing, I can usually bang out at least a thousand words.  So, if I can write twenty days out of the month, I should clock in somewhere around twenty thousand words, which would be pretty respectible.  Not only that, but I’d just about be back on target for the year.

My resolution this year was simply to write more than I did last year.  I’m happy to say that, three months into the year, I am really accomplishing that goal.  In may last year I wrote less than five thousand words, and this month I should clock in at around twelve thousand, which is about what I did in January and February.

Still, I’m finding that getting that first draft done was the easy part.  While Impervious is a much, much better story than it was, its also a lot harder to write.  In the first draft, I could sit down and just write whatever the hell popped into my head.  Now, it has to make sense.  *eye roll* What a pain.

So, this month: write for at least twenty days, minimum fifteen thousand words and make some significant progress on new features for WordKeeperAlpha.  To my friends who are reading this, I’m counting on you to bug me and hold me accountable.  Now, I have some more writing to do tonight, if you will excuse me.


The Ides of March – WordKeeperAlpha update

Alright.  So it isn’t really the “Ides” of March yet, but I like say “ides”.   But I digress (“Digress” is another word I like). Here we are, three and a half months into the year and what do I have to show for it?  Plenty!  You just may or may not notice it.  That’s because I’ve been diligently (kinda) working on bugs and other issues that have been reported to me by my wonderful users.

That isn’t sarcastic.  You guys really are wonderful and I really do appreciate it when you let me know when something isn’t working right.  As stated before, I’m only one man, and the likelyhood that I’ll find everything wrong with this Frankenstein’s Monster that I’ve cobbled together is minimal, especially when I think it works perfectly.  Trust me, I know it doesn’t.

WordKeeperAlpha development has is largely limited to the weekends now, while I focus more on getting my book done.  That doesn’t leave me as much time as I’d like for adding new features, but I AM working on them.  If you haven’t noticed the bugs, I’m not going to lay them out for you here.  If you have noticed bugs, and they haven’t been fixed yet, please let me know, and I’ll make it a priority to fix.  One major one that has been repeatedly pointed out to me is that the “Remember Me” box isn’t working properly yet.  *sigh*  Don’t worry, I’m not sighing at you, I’m sighing at me.  I’ve though that I’ve had this stupid thing sorted out twice now, but every time I think I’ve got it whipped, it rears its ugly head once again.  I am working on it… in fact its my primary goal right now.  So please, bear with me for just a while longer.

Other feautres that I’m working on:

  1. Public author pages (don’t worry, you’ll chose if you have a public page or not.)
  2. An API, so that other people can develop WordPress or other blog plugin’s to share your progress and projects.
  3. A semi-public writing room and simple text-editor to accomidate word sprints. More on this below.

I’ve always wanted WordKeeperAlpha to be a more social experience for writers, but at the same time, I also don’t want to be the Facebook for authors.  There’s already one of those.  It’s called Facebook.  What I want is to create something that will let authors interact and motivate each other.  Motivation is the key here and I think word sprints are the first thing that I want to take a stab at.  I’ve been on the fence about it, since there are scads of different options for you to write in.   Hell, I’ve got no less than six apps on my iPad that I can write in, distraction free.  I don’t need to reinvent that particular wheel.  What I’m shooting for is a really simple writing environment that will let many authors participate in the same writing sprint.  It may work, it might not, but I’m going to try it and see what people think.

This, of course, is where you come in.  Do you think I’m going in the wrong direction with WordKeeperAlpha?  Is there something that you’d like to see more than a blog plugins or a feature that supports word sprints?  Do you think that would be the bee’s knees (I have yet to figure out why a bee having knees would be anything someone would be excited about)?  Leave me a comment and justify my exist…  I mean give me feedback on what you think I should do with WordKeeper next.

… … 

Seriously, someone leave me a comment.  Its way to quiet around here.


Net Neutrality: Still a battle.

It’s kind of telling that in every piece I read against Net Neutrality, that not a single one of those people actually understand it.  Which isn’t to say that all the people who support it understand what it really is.  That’s kinda the way of politics: people with something to gain convince other gullible people to go along with their stance.

So, lets clear up what Net Neutrality really is.  We can start by taking a look at who stands to gain if we keep Net Neutrality and also who stands to lose.  Consider the names behind Net Neutrality; companies like Google, Netflix, Firefox, Amazon, Microsoft and over a hundred others that have built the internet that you use every day.  What do they have to gain?  In the case of Google, they stand to gain easier access to resources that will help them spread Google Fiber; something I desperately wish would come to my area.

In most other cases, what the companies stand to gain is … nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  For them, things will stay just as they are right now.  This should be conservatives dream issue!  We’re conserving how the net works, as is, right now.  Currently, the internet is a pretty level playing field, speaking in relation to getting your business online.  There aren’t any hurdles to face other than making something and getting it to people.   Net Neutrality isn’t something new that we’re trying to put into place, its how the internet was made in the first place.  What the Title II reclassification that the FCC has approved basically puts protections in place to keep it the way its been.  We’re not fixing something that isn’t broke, we’re trying to keep people from breaking  it.

Now, who stands to lose if Net Neutrality goes through.  First, I suppose I should explain to you what reclassifying broadband under Title II actually means, and why you don’t have to be afraid of it.  Basically, what Title II means is that ISP’s have to treat all information equally.  Every bit that goes along their wires has to be treated the same as every other bit.  This means they can’t give priority to some while slowing others down.  The email you are sending your mom goes at the same speed as the email that the president of Comcast, or the President himself.  That’s it.  That’s Net Neutrality boiled down to its very simplest.  And its why the ISP’s don’t want it.  Comcast, Verizon, AT&T all stand to lose money by being prevented from prioritizing content.

Could reclassifying broadband under Title II come back to bite us?  Ehhhh… maybe, but I doubt it.  TItle II is also what covers telphony services (your phone service).  How many of you are locked into Verizon to make your phone calls?  Don’t like them, what are your other options?  Just about anywhere I can think of you have no less than 5 other options to get your phone service through.  That’s what proper competition looks like.  Now, I’m not calling out Verizon and AT&T as model companies here, but you’ve got other choices, and that’s the whole point.  If Verizon were the only option for phone service in my area, what in the world would keep them from gouging me for every last penny they could suck out of me for the bare minimum of service that they could provide?

Comcast, at the very least, would have you believe that this isn’t the case, and that they are completely dedicated to the principles of Net Neutrality.  They assure us on their own website that “Comcast won’t throttle back the speed at which content comes to you.”  That is a direct quote.  It is also a lie.  Last year, Comcast demanded millions of dollars more from Netflix to stream content to their customers.  During the negotiations, Comcast severely throttled Netflix’s speeds to their customers until they caved.  That’s what Net Neutrality seeks to stop.



Internet Service Providers have spent millions of dollars buying legislation to prevent broadband service from being classified under Title II.  You will hear them spout all sorts of rhetoric about “protecting innovation” and “service to the American people suffering”.  Thing is, they don’t give a good goddamn about the American people.  That is apparent based on the absolutely abysmal customer service ratings and satisfaction ratings that they have.  Most people despise their internet service provider and for good reason.  Prices are high, service and quality is low, and the ISPs really couldn’t care less. 

We do a lot of streaming in my house, and as such, we pay for a higher tier service package, which promises speeds of “up to 100 megabytes per second”.   What that actually translates into is speeds of around 22-30 megabytes per second.  I doubt that there’s ever been a time, even once, when I’ve gotten the speed that I actually paid for.  But I’m just one person.  Of course, I don’t know a single person who’s ever gotten what they paid for.  Actually, I’ve never heard of someone who got what they paid for from their ISP.  If I heard of an ISP that actually provided the service they advertised, I would jump ship so quickly Cox’s head would spin.  Oh wait… I can’t.

In a “free market” when I’m not satisfied by my service, I have the option to choose different service.  This ability gives the people the power to force large corporations like Comcast, Time Warner and Cox, to treat their customers better, and give us a “fair” price, or what the “market” will sustain.    But wait… I CAN’T choose another provider because the major service providers have divided up the country and agreed not to compete.  This gives them no incentive to provide me with a better product, better service, or lower prices.  If I want broadband service, Cox is my only choice and I have to live with what they provide at the price they provide it at.  Tell me, libertarians who don’t want more regulation: how is the free market going to help me?  

“But Seth! Government regulation is BAD! It restricts growth and prevents innovation!”  

Bullshit. Sure, certain regulation can be abused and used against people, but regulation also protects people, the customers, from corporations who couldn’t give two rats asses about them.   Look around yourselves and pay attention.   When I read libertarian stances its almost like they’re talking about the “free market” as if it were some sort of benevolent god, or God himself, making his will for equality in all things known.  Sorry princess, doesn’t work like that.

Cities like Chatanooga, TN are putting in their own municiple, city run fiber networks that provide speeds of up to 1000 megabytes per second.   They provide residents with a couple tiers of packages, at prices that beat the stockings off of what local ISP’s are offering.  Instead of responding by lowering the prices of their own service in the area, ISPs are moving to block more cities from installing their own municiple networks at the local and state levels.  They coerce cities into legally binding contracts that prevent them from providing competition to their services, or they simply pay state legistlatures to pass laws that serve the same purpose.  This, is your precious “free market”.  A market where those with the most money are free to do as they wish.

I urge you.  Actually research Net Neutrality and don’t just listen to Ted Cruz, or any other mouthpiece of the Tea Party, because they either don’t know what they are talking about, or have been out and out bought by the cable industry. I know … “No, Seth! They’re patriots who want to protect our rights from the evil of Government!”  I’m going to call bullshit again.  

  1. The government isn’t going to be running the internet.  The NSA is already spying on every goddamn person in the US…so worrying that they’re going to do it MORE is a little dumb. (This is an issue for a whole other post.)
  2. You can’t have things both ways.  Either the government is an incompetant bungler that can’t do anything right, or its an Orwellian monstrosity that is reaching into every part of our lives to control us through internet and water flouridation.
  3. Take a look at your mighty heroes.  Then take a look at where their campaign finances come from.  Ted Cruz accepted what any sane person would consider a ludicrous amount of money from the ISP’s and now he’s against the issue that they are against?  Granted, he can still be straight up dumb… I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
  4. Your rights need just as much protection from large corporations as they do against the government. 

Well, the good news is that the FCC has reclassified broadband under Title II, and they have some other things in mind that would help increase competition, and encourage more cities like Chatanooga to install their own municiple broadband.  The bad news is that the ISP’s are buckling down and attempting to get legislation through Congress that would make the ruling of the FCC moot.  We’ve still got a fight ahead of us, but I think its worth fighting.  The internet might be stuffed to the gills with porn and various unsavory memes and morons, but its also a driving force of freedom, the economy, and information for the entire world.  It deserves to be protected, not monetized in any way possible.


Writing Fuel

As I do my best to write write more regularly, I’m trying to identify those things that spark my muse and get my imagination working, and those things that actively hinder those things. I know, I know, you can’t always rely on your muse to write, or else you’re just waiting on the fickle little bitch to get off the couch and get to work. That’s a one way ticket to ‘no finished book land’.

So, here’s a few of the things that work to get the creative juices flowing in me, and those things that I must absolutely avoid. Continue reading…