I’m back! I’m back with news!

So, I’ve been “gone” for a long time. Rather, my previous blog on my former homepage had been left to wither and die for months while I poured effort into my projects. The first of which being Impervious (first draft finished!), the second being Edge Of December (we have a Kickstarter!) and the last being WordKeeperAlpha (more on that in a moment).

I’ve been a little quiet on what was happening with Impervious because I’d entered it in a contest for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) winners. The contest was a great idea by Ravven, and others (who I will hopefully link as an edit to this post). Long story short, I won the first phase, but honorably lost to the aliterative and talented Janna Jennings. Even winning the first phase is huge for me, since I’ll be getting a lot of aid that will help me get Impervious out ready for publication sometime in the next year, including but not limited to cover art by Ravven herself! Seriously, she does some pretty awesome stuff. I reccommend checking out her current body of work here.

So I’m going to be kicking a lot of butt on Impervious in the near future, but really, if that’s all I was doing, shouldn’t I at least be half way done with the second draft by now? Maybe. Maybe if I wasn’t making a new tool for authors who want to set word goals and track their progress online! I call it WordKeeperAlpha and its online and functional. In fact, its a large reason behind why I changed hosts and moved this blog to a new site. Still, its free and pretty neat if I do say so myself. And even if it isn’t too neat, its free. Right now, WKA is still in the beta phase, and I’ll be adding features to it every couple months. Pretty high up on the list is the ability to share your graphs with social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Impervious is my primary goal though. Here’s a little peak at the graphing feature though… if you want to see more go and create an account.

Edge of December has been really busy too. We recently sent Glenn, Court and company to Phoenix Comic-con and by all accounts they had a blast, made friends (also a couple enemies) and made a good showing at our first con. I wasn’t able to join them this year, but when they return next year I’ll be in attendance (hopefully with a book of my own). Also, Edge has a Kickstarter going right now! Go there and you can still get in on our early Kicker opportunities. Save money by backing before everyone else and get not one, but two stories by me!

Now, since I’ve done nothing but talk about news in this post I’m going to leave you with a little bit of happiness for the day. By I Fight Dragons, this is The Geeks Will Inherit The Earth!

 


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.


Wow..this is kinda my bad here people.

Alright. I haven't posted on this thing since … uhm the end of October. That's pretty bad, granted, but honestly, I don't feel as bad as I should. Near as I can tell I'm the only human being who pays any attention to this so the only one I've been letting down is myself. Ok…now I feel worse, but not all that much.

Needless to say, things have happened since October. November happened for instance. The only period of time that I really don't feel guilty about not updating since I was neck deep in participating in and finishing National Write a Novel month. Technically, I didn't win, since I didn't actually start a novel but rather continued writing Impervious. What I did do was write 50,100 words in one month, and I feel pretty damn good for that. I completed the whole second arc of Impervious and got into the third and final act of the story.

Then I took a break in December. And most of January. So, fantastic success followed up by laziness. In my defense, I was getting used to a new work schedule that includes an hour commute. I'm getting into more of the swing of things now, but I get home late enough that I don't have loads of time every night for writing like I used to. I'm not making excuses here, just relating how my minds been working on things.

So, there's not going to be any more excuses. This month I'm doing a 25k word month and that should be more than sufficient to finish the first draft of Impervious. Following that I'm going to do a second and third draft of The Hard Truth, then start in on the second draft of Impervious. The first draft is so rough that I don't know how long it will take to finish, but when I'm pretty excited for what its going to become. Next November I plan on doing NaNoWriMo right; starting a brand new novel and pounding out whatever I can on it, probably an urban fantasy that I've had bouncing around in my head.

Today though, I'm getting the blog started back up, and doing some writing for Impervious and for Edge of December. We're going to have some Edge news coming up pretty soon here, so stay tuned. You know, if anyone can hear me.


All I want for Christmas is Scrivener on the iPad

To Literature and Latte: I know you guys are working on this, and as a developer I also recognize that making quality software takes time. I also know the absolute fun that comes from playing in Apple's sandbox. Please, if you read this, I'm not complaining. My recent experiences working with Scrivener on my PC have made me all that much more excited to get it running on my iPad too.

I will pay what you want. $10, $20…$50! Well, maybe not … ok yeah, I'd pay $50 if it worked well. This is how much I've been liking Scrivener lately. I've tried a couple other writing applications and was either underwhelmed with the experience, or overwhelmed by the complexity. Scrivener is simple, fast and has enough options that it is an honest boon to my writing, while not flooding me with things I feel I need to learn to use it to its full potential.

The cork board and index cards alone are enough to make me want to be able to sync it to my iPad; a subset of the other features would just be gravy. Right now I'm using Daedalus for my writing app on my iPad, and while its excellent for just sitting down and writing, it's lacking in the areas that Scivener is strong.

I've finally reached the end of what I'm deciding is 'Act 1' of Impervious, and the big hold up is that I didn't know where to go from there. The answer? Do some plotting, genius. So, last night, that's what I did. I turned on Scrivener (which is already a repository for what I have to date) and started plotting, laying down cards and mapping out what's going to happen in the next act. Its simply brilliant how Scrivener doesn't get in your way while you're working. By the by, the Outline View is fantastic for plotting when you use it with the cork board.

Do you have trouble keeping track of all the different drafts of your stories? I don't. Scrivener has a neat 'Snapshot' function where you can save where you were and just keep on going. Speaking of revising, the dual screen feature is wonderful. I can look at the old version, and the new one side by side without flipping back and forth or keeping two different instances of word or Google Docs open.

Since I took over for writing Edge I've been using Scrivener to write bastardized screenplays for Glenn to turn into beautiful comics, and that works amazingly well. The keyboard shortcuts let you just write and the story and dialogue for the comic takes shape. I still have more to learn. Scrivener still has a double handful of features for me to figure out and incorporate into my writing routine, but it doesn't punish me for not knowing them.

Why the Scrivener love, now? Easy. I've had a LOT of free time lately, and I've almost always got Scrivener open, either for Edge of December or my other stories. The more I use it, the more I love it. Sadly, since so much of my writing is on my iPad, it makes more sense to keep writing on my iPad and sync that up to Scrivener, instead of the other way around. I'm not too sure how it would work trying to get stuff from Scrivener to Daedalus (Daedalus tends to have trouble with bigger documents). Which, brings me back to my fervent wish for Scrivener to come out with their iPad app. Seth WANT! But, I shall summon my patience, wait, and make with the word typey typey as best I can until my wish is granted. Until then, back to work! Later, folks.

 


Someone queue up a montage, please.

Hey folks! I know its been a while, but things have been…if not busy then distracting around here lately. I lost my job about a month or so ago and have been doing what I can to reacquire gainful employment, which includes phone calls, cover letters and teaching myself some new tricks.

First off, I hate cover letters. I understand their purpose, but it seems like such an antiquated notion in this day of digital communication. I find most things in the world of business confusing. Granted, the form of a cover letter is nothing compared to the impenetrable legalese of a contract or other legal document. I suppose I'm a bit biased, given that I'm an author and writing something that isn't pleasant to read and easy on the eyes causes me something very akin to physical pain. I feel a total lack of self expression when writing cover letters that I wonder how a manager could ever use it to get a proper sense of me, as a person or potential employee.

Second, and for the first time in this blog, we'll talk a little about code. Oye…this unemployment thing is making me feel old. I've been teaching myself the basics of MVC by developing a web application for building Magic decks (employers reading this, yes, I'm THAT nerdy). The process of moving my thinking from web forms to MVC has me thinking “but the OLD way was so much easier”. When no, it really wasn't, I'm just set in my ways, which is goofy since I've only been coding for six years or so. Either way, I dived head first into a completely knew way of doing web applications and it hurts my brain meats from time to time. That being said, I think I've got a pretty good handle on the basics and have even gotten some pretty neat things working in the Deck Builder application. Right now I'm working on my user system, trying to integrate it into the overall scheme early on so I don't have to go back and do it later, which is proving a little mind boggling. The world of computer programming is just so damn big! No matter how much I know or learn, there's whole realms of information that I don't even know about. And that's just in the .NET world!

Which brings us to today. I've spent enough time banging my head against programming concepts for the time being. Whether or not I wanted it, I've been gifted with what I've always wanted; plenty of time to write. So, from now on I'm going to split my time between bettering myself as a programmer and finishing Impervious. My goal was to have the first draft done by the end of the year, something that I was making decent progress on until the last month or two. Its at about 60,000 words so far, but that means I've got about another 90,000 to go before the first roughest draft is done. After that, the second draft is going to be, more or less, burning down what I've written so far and reforging it from the ashes. Its going to be a violent and frightening process, but I'm really, REALLY looking forward to the end result. I love the story so far, but there are things that I really have to play up in the next version, and other's that I'm going to have to drop. Its entirely possible that this first book will in fact become the first two books, I'm not sure yet.

Whatever. Before any of that happens though, I've got to finish it. And since I have the time, lets find out how long it takes me to punch out 90,000 words. What do you say? Now, I've still got plenty to do for Edge, and more to do aside from that (applying for jobs and what not) but writing is going to become something I do everyday again. Time to see what I can do.