August: The month of where I guess I don’t write

Granted, its been a very mild summer, but August is still a helluva reason to keep inside. Which is good! I don’t write or code very well outside. Trust me, I’ve considered it, even tried it a time or two but it just doesn’t work out well. The glare on the iPad impairs writing, or the bugs are distracting, or the heat is soul-crushing. No no. I was made to be an indoor creature. Melding into my seat and becoming one with the machine. Beep boop beep.

So, we’re 21 days into August now and I still have yet to put finger to keyboard in any sort of writing. While normally, this would constitute a soul-crushing failure on my part, its mostly because I’ve been pouring effort onto WordKeeperAlpha to get it done and out this month. The great news is that I should be able to do just that! The bad news is that every time I look at my writing graph I see THIS:

Graph of no writing

 

Ugh… that flat line accuses me. It mocks me. Moreover, the characters from Impervious are bouncing around in my head, leading rebellions and killing each other every time I start listening to music. Once WordKeeper is out, I won’t be looking at it for a month. I’m going to set myself a nice big writing goal and go to town on it.  It’s about time to start gearing up for NaNaWriMo at any rate.  I’ve got a lot of words to write before the year is over, and I should be able to do that a lot easier with WordKeeper finished, or at least the base features done.

While I’m cleaning up the remaining code and polishing things off, I’m also identifying the next set of features that I’ll be working on and rolling out over the coming months.

  • Blog integration
  • Rewards for completing goals
  • Challenges (1k in an hour) (Don’t know how in the hell I’m going to do that one)
  • Trophies and XP (for more gamification)
  • Author pages so that you can share your progress

I’ve seen a few other projects that are doing some of the things that I’m doing, but no one is really focusing on motivation and word metrics like I am.  I really think that if I can get WordKeeper going and get it a following that I can keep it the best motivational tool for writers our there.  I suppose I have to make it that first, don’t I?  *sigh* Its back to work then, I guess.  At least, after a nice walk in this beautiful August weather.


Stalling out

Well, the 25k month in February isn’t going quite as well as I’d hoped. My wheels are doing a lot of spinning, but my fingers aren’t managing to type the words. Bother. I did get a good bit of writing done for Edge last week, but that doesn’t get me much closer to my goal of finishing the first draft of Impervious. I have been going over the story a bit more to get the ol’ creative juices flowing again and that’s given me a lot of good ideas on what I need to do in the next draft, but not much about what I’m going to do with the ending.

Or rather, I know exactly what I want to do, just not how I’m going to go about doing it. I think that my story to this point has been a little ill defined in its theme and certainly in what powers I’ve assigned to the protagonists and the antagonists and now I’ve written myself into something of a corner. Oh, the set up is great, the ending should be good, I’ve just got to figure out how I’m going to pull everything together at the climax to solve all my problems in a way that’ll make sense.

Granted, this is the first draft, and if any other human being were to read it they’d be completely lost. I’m not sure what other author’s first drafts look like. In my imagination, Brandon Sanderson sits down at his computer, breathes onto the keyboard forming a link between it and the divine word vault, allowing flawless prose to flow between the two points. In fact, given the level of what he does, I’m pretty sure that’s how it works. I’m just about ready to let my cats have a go at it. But, they’re far too lazy to do any real work for me, so I suppose I’d better just shut it and get back to writing.

Will a 25k month happen? Probably not. Will I finish Impervious this month like I wanted to? Also, all signs point to ‘No’. Will there be enough progress to get things done by next month and start in on the next phase? I certainly hope so. And if that’s going to happen, it means that tonight, I need to get some actual work done and see where it leads me. So, here’s me, signing off to get some work done and kill some characters…or maim them. I don’t know, I haven’t decided yet.


If you don’t succeed…

You know the rest. I didn't make last month's goal of 25,000 words. If you want excuses I have plenty; my computer dying, my own distractibility, and others. Honestly, the self destruction of my computer probably did more than anything else to stop me from reaching goal. My computer is one of the things that can destroy my concentration more than anything else. The silly thing died and I just couldn't focus on anything else until it was up and running again, which destroyed what would have been two of my best days of writing. This, boys and girls, is why I try and write away from home. Less distractions often leads to more productivity.

That being said, I'm starting another 25k word month, this time I'm getting started before the 10th of the month. With a good start, I should easily be able to reach goal and its going to be some very good writing. Edge is just about ready for a new chapter to be written, Impervious is right in the middle of an awesome action scene where the main protagonists finally meet (and possibly get in some really good fights). I've got a little momentum going again, so I should be able to jump right in and get to work.

In other news, big things are happening over at Edge of December as we're gearing up for our first Con's. Glenn's going to be going to Tuscon Comicon while I hold down the fort at Anime-Nebraskon. We're busy putting together various things to sell, new art, posters and biggest of all, new physical books! Though they aren't widespread, there is a physical, Edge of December Volume 1 that is full of pretty, wonderful art and extras that you just can't find on the site. Our goal, audacious as it is, is to hold a Kickstarter, get funded, and then get books two and three back from the printers before the Cons in November! Crazy! Ambitious! Perhaps undoable… but y'know what. Screw that undoable noise.

One of the reasons that I admire Glenn is because he dreams big, he thinks big. I tend to be more conservative in my goals, and that, perhaps, hampers what I am able to accomplish. So, though it'll be a ton of work, I'm dedicated to seeing Books 2 and 3 available to the fine people of the conventions by November. Just doing that will do more for Edge than most of our efforts over the last year or so since I started writing. Its scary, thinking of everything that we're going to have to do, but its also exciting as well. Its rather trite and and a cliché, but “Those who dare, do.” So, I'm off to dare, and in so doing, accomplishing what we set out to do. Away!


Catching up and latest reads

So, now that I'm all married, honeymooned, and settled back in, its time to actually get back to the business of being a writer. I'll admit, I probably could have kept up better with writing, blogging and twittering the last couple of months, but most nights I just didn't feel up to it. Work and wedding just left me too mentally drained to go about the business of being overly creative. Instead, I mostly read and played video games. While video games are largely a waste of time, they're also a terrific way to bleed off stress which is mostly what I needed.

Now that all that is over with though, I've got plenty of time to dig in and get back to writing. My goals from earlier in the year remain the same: Complete six 25k word months and finish Impervious by the end of the year. I'll have to cram a little make those six months, since I only have one of them done, but I still think its doable. To that end, I started a 25k month yesterday, writing a whopping total of zero words. Yeah, not a great start, but doing anything is nigh on impossible when you had the cold that I did yesterday. I'm feeling better, and doing better today, what with ranting over at Edge of December and actually blogging today. With those monumental tasks out of the way, I'll be able to get back to punching out the words for Edge and for Impervious.

If you're coming over from Edge of December, I promised some info on books that I've been reading lately, because I think that they need to be mentioned. So, here we go:

The White Dragon, by Anne McCaffrey. This is the third part of the original Dragonriders of Pern series and there's just not enough good things to say about the Pern series or about Anne McCaffrey. I know that her son has been taking up her mantle and releasing new books in the world, but trust me, start with the originals. They are classics of science fiction for a reason. Yeah, sure. There's definitely an element of “You got your fantasy in my science fiction. You got your science fiction in my fantasy!” Here, but when McCaffrey does it, they really are two great tastes that taste great together.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. I know. Where have I been? There's a movie out now and everything. Even still, I probably avoided it because of the “Twilight Effect”. Harry Potter was awesome, and there can be no denying it. That was a sensation I could get behind because they were awesome books and it was an awesome story. And then the world blew up because of Twilight and it destroyed my faith in YA fiction for a while because of it and all the teenage vampire romance that flooded the shelves. So, I dug a hole and pulled the earth in after me and pretended that the world didn't exist for a while. Suffice it to say, I did Collins a disservice and would not have you make the same mistake. Hunger Games is a great example of a dystopian future and a marvelous use of the “lottery” story. I haven't read Catching Fire or Mockingjay yet, but they are most certainly on my to read list.

Star Wars: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron, by Michael A. Stackpole. I don't want to call this pulp, but I think it qualifies. If you're a nerd and you want to know what happened after The Return of The Jedi, then this is a great place to start. Michael A. Stackpole spins a good tale about the Rebellions most feared fighter squadron and this is only the first of them. The whole X-Wing series is a really good read and they've finally come to eBook format. If you're a fan of Star Wars I can actually recommend the entire Expanded Universe series of books, which covers a LOT of reading. But, if you want to start with small bites, the first four books of the X-Wing series is a great place to start.

I think that probably covers enough for now, I've got other things to write tonight and nobody's going to put up with a blog post that's as long as a chapter in the book they really want to read. But now, to writing…or actually dinner and then writing! Huzzah!


This will have to do for now…

Well, this is interesting. I have a blog again… So. Yeah. There isn’t really all that much I have to say today, other than I wanted something up on here aside from the sample post. I’m new to the whole WordPress blog structure, so I will undoubtedly be tweaking things and trying to muscle things into place.

As you might have noticed, mericlese.com is changing, and growing. Part of this is a reflection of real effort on my part, another part of it is my opposition to S.O.P.A. and P.I.P.A. that made me abandon my old host, goDaddy.com. Still, politics and dislike of sitting legislation aside, this is something I needed to start doing. You see, this is the Year of Writing for me. I’m going to complete my first novel, and complete two more submission ready short stories. I’ve got a good head start on my novel from December’s 25k word challenge, which I met, but I need to keep the pressure on. So, I’ll be doing six 25k word challenges this year, and maybe even up that.

That being said, perhaps starting a new website in January wasn’t the best way to keep me producing new story. I’ve used most of my writing time this month setting up the new mericlese.com, but thankfully I’m almost done. Yes, I know writing comes first, but I’ve also got to put forth a professional image or as professional an image as I can afford, both in time and money. I know, the images are done by me, not a graphic artist of fantastic renown. The design is (mostly) my own and not outsourced to a company to make a spiffy looking page and logo. We’ll say that comes later on in the career. I need readers before I need anything else; hence, my shiny new blog. Thing.

What you can expect to see here over the next year will be copies of my posts from over at Edge of December, someplace that you should all go if you want to read an awesome web-comic. There will be more on this later, have no doubt. Other content I’ll put up will be updates on my writing challenges, progress on projects, lessons learned while writing and other important news, such as my upcoming wedding to the marvelous Katie (joy levels reaching CRITICAL MASS!). Phew. So, that give you an idea what we’re going to be all about here. Give me some time to get settled in, kick all the tires, change the paint a few times and see what the little red buttons on the side do and I’m sure you’ll be, at the very least amused. Perhaps, you’ll even find yourselves educated. I know I hope to be. On that note, I’m off. Bed calls, and I intend to answer, forthwith!